Biblical Authority

1 03 2018

The Bible has put into place within the local church definite authority. The authority is vested into a position the Bible calls Elder, Bishop, or Pastor. One thing we don’t take serious today is the authority of the local church. I probably take local church authority further than most in the modern church. I’m saddened at how uninvolved the church is in the lives of the people.

The Bible speaks of definite authority vested in church leadership.

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)

The rule here is authority, they have authority because they are watching for your soul. Don’t buy into the hype that a pastor can’t tell you how to live your life or raise your kids. They are vested with the responsibility to instruct from the Word of God in these issues.

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)

Here Peter says the elders are to take oversight. They are not to do it forcefully but by being an example. Pastoral authority shouldn’t be authoritarian in nature but by demonstrating through their own lives Christ-likeness.

When I grew up I learned of two incidents my grandma had with two different pastors. She felt they had done wrong and she confronted them about it. After she spoke her peace that was it.

We never heard about it, at least not until we grew up. She didn’t leave the church and she didn’t talk about it in front of the family or bad mouth the pastor. I have no doubt she didn’t even hold onto it herself. She spoke her disagreement and let it go.

Today people get upset about something and they leave the church. This is because they are not truly submitted to the authority of the church. If they were they would have a sense of commitment and work through their problems.

This is also why people sit and bad mouth their church leadership in front of their families. They bad mouth the pastor then wonder why their kids doubt what the pastor preaches. This is also why people leave churches after a new pastor comes in.

It’s common for people to vote in a pastor then decide a few weeks later they don’t like him and they leave. In my opinion this is sin. If you want to leave a church then leave before a new pastor comes in but once he is there you need to submit to his leadership unless he violates the Word. We need a new dedication to the authority of the local church. We need to stay and work out our problems. It’s no wonder our kids don’t learn commitment when we teach them to leave at the first sign of trouble.

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School Shootings: Questions and Answers

26 02 2018

Much of the world was caught off guard by the deadly shooting at a Florida public school. Unfortunately much of the talk since the shooting has not been very helpful. Let me place a few disclaimers on here. I am not a pro-gun conservative nor am I an anti-gun liberal. I don’t buy into the our side vs. their side politics. I believe all political issues need to be examined in the light of Scripture not party rhetoric.

I’m not especially for guns nor am I especially against them. So my perspective is as neutral as I believe it possibly can be. I often joke that Republicans gave away my 4th Amendment after 9/11 so I don’t feel especially bound to protect their 2nd Amendment.

The liberal argument of more gun laws is not the answer since guns are not the problem. These guns have always been accessible and yet the shootings are a recent development. We need to figure out why in the last 20 years school shootings have become common but the last 200 years they were not. What has changed? When we figure out the problem we can figure out the answer.

Another problem with more laws is that laws don’t change anything. The same logic would say to end drug abuse just outlaw drugs. Yeah, they are outlawed and yet drugs are still a problem. If we outlaw rape perhaps rape will stop. Oh yeah, rape is illegal and yet they happen. It’s illogical to say that if we ban guns then gun violence will stop.

We also cannot lose sight of the problem of big government. The FBI knew of the threat and failed. We need to dismantle this oversize government that fails time and time again to actually protect us. We give up our rights for safety and end up less safe. Both sides of the political spectrum need to let go of this proven falsehood that government is the answer.

Conservative talking points are just as off base. The President and many others would have us believe that giving everyone guns would solve the problem. Many honest gun owners will admit that it is very difficult hitting a target. This is true on a shooting range with ear coverings and focus. Imagine how difficult with adrenaline pumping with panic and fear in the air?

I believe you would create more casualties. There is also the issue of licensing these teachers and maintaining their practice and their guns. If its required the guns would have to be provided for them and there is the issue of forcing teachers to carry. I believe in the Constitutional right to carry and the right not to carry.

The problem is found in the human heart. I’m not sure why the liberal even thinks school shootings are wrong. They have to borrow from the Christian worldview to arrive at that conclusion. If we are all animals then killing each other isn’t wrong. By having an issue they are admitting there is intrinsic worth in human life that does not exist elsewhere in creation.

If evolution is true then survival of the fittest would have to be considered. Their opposition to school shootings lies in direct opposition to the very foundational principles they claim to hold dear. The secular worldview is a maze of contradiction.

The cause of school shootings is not too many or too few guns so both sides are wrong. It is found in our teaching our children that they are just animals, life has no purpose or meaning and there is no judgment after this life. The secular worldview is the cause of this problem.

Why didn’t it surface until now? The answer is that over the last 50 years we have grown more and more humanistic that now the fruit is beginning to be harvested. We have taught them that they are animals so they act like animals. We taught them that there is no judgment so they act as though there is no judgment.

The answer is the Gospel. To teach our young people that they are created in the image of God which gives them worth. That they were created to glorify Him and that He will call them into account one day for their lives. That life doesn’t end at death but that eternity goes on without end. The answer is the Gospel and the solution will never be found in Washington or Sacramento. The pulpits of America and the God fearing parents are the solution. This can end if we get back to the truth and not the lies of secular humanism.





Murder is not Subjective

20 02 2018

Abortion is murder. There I said it. Now that the truth is out I want to address a blatant hypocrisy of the pro-abortion crowd. In America if you kill (whether intentionally or not) the unborn baby of a woman it is counted as murder. If you kill a woman with child then you are charged with double murder or if you just kill the unborn child you are charged with murder. This is a Biblical point of view.

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.” (Exodus 21:22-23)

The utter hypocrisy is that our society counts the unborn child as a life unless the mother doesn’t want it, then we say it isn’t. This is insanity. Either it is a life or it isn’t but our desire for it can’t decide that. Can you imagine if we applied that logic to anything else. Divorce laws go out the window because she is only my wife if I want her to be. Killed your 12 year old? Well if you didn’t want him he wasn’t really alive.

The truth is that we know it’s a life and we suppress that because we love our sin. This is what the Bible says.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)

This verse is saying that we suppress the truth because we love our unrighteousness. The truth is that we know a baby in the womb is still a baby but when it suits our wicked desires we deny it yet when we feel it’s something we want we claim it’s a life. Men and women are in prison for murdering unborn children and yet abortionists do the same thing everyday.

Men and women are in prison for hiring someone to kill a person and yet women pay abortionists every day to violently rip a baby apart. We think we are soothing our conscience but one day the conscience will stand to condemn us on the day we stand before God in judgment. We must repent as a society of this double-minded standard and protect all life.





Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

14 02 2018

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday in Roman Catholic tradition. Catholics get a cross made of ash put on their forehead as an outward sign that they are fasting for Lent. I wanted to address some major concerns about this practice in light of what the Scriptures teach.

Ash Wednesday is a violation of the spirit and letter of Matthew 6:16-18

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus is very clear that we are not to appear to fast in front of other people. Ash Wednesday violates this directly. I don’t believe that Jesus is just addressing the heart because He does tell us not to physically look like we are fasting. Catholic.com tries to cover for this by saying that Jesus didn’t really care if we look like we are fasting He was just concerned with the heart. They even argue from complete silence that the ones He is addressing were not truly fasting:

“First of all, Jesus’ primary concern is hypocrisy. What he is condemning are acts undertaken to show off one’s personal piety. If the intention in doing an otherwise good act of mortification is to draw public attention to oneself, then, Jesus says, the attention received from the public is the only reward that person will receive, rather than the heavenly reward for which we are searching.

It is also noteworthy that Jesus says these hypocrites are “neglect[ing] their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.” Perhaps those Jesus was condemning were not actually fasting but creating a surface impression so as to win the praise of others for their presumed piety. God, who sees the heart, knows whether or not they were really fasting. Hypocrisy, after all, is creating an appearance that is at odds with reality. (Article by Michelle Arnold, 2017)

To argue they were not really fasting is to argue from silence. To argue that the only important point is humility which is the spirit of His instructions is to ignore the plain meaning of the text. Yes humility is the reason we are commanded not to make our fasting public but the command to not make it public is still valid. It would be a gross misunderstanding of the Scripture to say that Jesus meant only don’t make it public if you’re not humble otherwise its okay.

This same article argued that the practice is Biblical because of a text in Maccabees 3:47. First of all that text is not even accepted as Scripture by the Jews. It was never a part of the Hebrew canon and was even rejected by Jerome and others because of that fact. Secondly, these were Jews performing a historical mourning ritual. There is no command for or example of Gentiles doing this.

Also of note, they rent their clothes and wore sackcloth. Why only a partial obedience by Rome? The truth is that Rome is notorious for finding Biblical passages that have even the vaguest reference to one of the non-biblical doctrines to support it. Even though they argue against Sola Scriptura they know the importance of it. Another point is that these ashes were sprinkled on their heads not smeared on the forehead.

Another point in reference to the above article is that they say it’s not to be done as an outward form of false humility. Many, if not most, American Catholics rarely attend church or practice their religion, yet they accept Ash Wednesday in large numbers. What you have is millions of people with no sincere desire to follow the church wearing a false symbol on their heads simply to look righteous.

This is also part of the system of penance set up by the church. Penance is the idea that we need to help pay for our sins. We need to make satisfaction for our sins. This is a spit in the face of the work of Christ. He made a perfect offering for sins.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:12-18)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the propitiation or satisfactory payment for sins.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

If He is the satisfaction for our sins (and a perfect satisfaction I might add) how can we do anything to satisfy God’s wrath on our sin? The answer is we cannot. The article does end well and I want all Catholics to heed what it says.

“Believe in the gospel!”

The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. We cannot make atonement for our sins because we are dead in sins. A perfect atonement is needed and that perfect atonement is given by Jesus Christ. We are not saved by contributing good works to the work of Christ but by trusting entirely in what Christ did on the cross.

On the cross Jesus paid in full the debt of your sin by taking on Himself the guilt of your sin. He now offers you His perfect righteousness as a free gift. You can be right with God because in salvation we are united to His Son. All you must do is to put your faith and trust in Christ and what He did on the cross. Call on the Lord to save you. You can be perfectly purified right now for all sin by putting your faith in Christ. Turn to Him today He is a perfect and loving Savior.





Lancaster Prison Update

11 02 2018

This is a brief ministry update for 2/11/18

 





Praying with Meaning

9 02 2018

The prayer of Jabez became a popular prayer among evangelical Christians. I’m not saying his prayer was bad for him to make but I question the motivation of Christians making that their prayer today. The reason I believe that most people love the prayer is its request for physical prosperity. An increase in land and territory. In our day of the prosperity gospel we are taught that the ultimate sign of Gods blessing is material and physical abundance.

Not too long ago I was listening to myself pray and was disappointed at the shallowness of my prayers. I noticed that those around me were praying the same way I was. My prayers were limited to what amounts to memorized dialogue such as you would see in a movie. When praying for the offering “Lord bless this offering bless the gift and the giver.” When dismissing the service “Lord dismiss us with your blessing and bring us back to the next appointed service.” What was strange was that 5 different men could pray and say a slight variation of the exact same thing.

Private prayer seemed almost worse. Saying the same things time and again. Asking for the simplest things without much thought. “Lord bless so and so” and “Lord if it be your will do such and such” “Lord provide their needs” Lord put a hedge of protection” “Lord bless the pastor” “Lord bless the church.” I readily used the word bless without much definite description. This made the blessing so general if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t know it.

Then I read some of the prayers of Paul and I realized how empty my prayers truly were. Listen to the Apostle pray:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” (Colossians 1:9-11)

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” (Ephesians 1:15-19)

I quickly realized how shallow and non-specific my prayers had been. I had been asking God to bless people in some general sense or to expand their material blessing without ever giving thought to the weightier matters namely their spiritual understanding. So let me encourage you to listen to yourself pray and ask yourself is your prayer a sign of unbelief? Are you praying in generalities because you’re afraid God won’t answer it?

Does your prayer only center on physical needs and blessing? These are hard questions as praying is almost an art form we have spent our lives perfecting so that we can impress those around us but are we praying to man or to God?





January 2018 Prayer Letter

5 02 2018

Greetings:
We hope that your new year is going well. It’s been very busy for us but definitely fruitful.

Church:
On the first Sunday of the year our church voted unanimously to call Don Thomason as pastor. Pastor Thomason took over officially on the 21st of January. We are blessed to have him and look forward to serving with him for years to come.

Street Ministry:
Our street ministry has been very active as the year gets underway. On New Year’s Day I was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with a few others sharing the Gospel. It was my first time there so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it went very well.

We also continued our ministry on the streets of Bakersfield. We gave out 664 tracts, helped feed 3 people in need and gave away clothes for 100 people. The crowds at the Downtown bus station have been larger than normal so we have had many hear the Gospel.

Prison Ministry:
The men in Lancaster have been suffering from the flu and many of the buildings have been quarantined. What I found so encouraging was the hunger of the men present to hear the Gospel. Some had been sick and had to miss services and there was a definite hunger to get back into the Word.

North Kern has been busy but so much still needs to be done. 1 inmate told me he had been waiting 2 months for services and during another chapel I was told men wanting to come had to be turned away for lack of space. My heart breaks when I see men desiring to come who can’t. I have been having 3 or 4 services per week but there are so many men.

I’ve started a weekly evening Bible study more for discipleship to help the men nearing release. This service focuses on how to live the Christian life. My hope is to strengthen their walk before getting back to the outside.

I was able to send 3 Christian growth books to men as well as receive several letters from inmates sharing what God has done in their lives. I gave out 63 Bibles, preached to 120 men and saw 1 man put his faith in Christ and another 7 were stirred about their souls.

Other News:
We took on 1 new supporting church in January which was a real blessing, but there are still many needs. Pray we can share our work in more churches and see more support come in this year. I look forward to the day when I can hold 15 or 20 services a week in the prison and preach several days a week on the streets.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the “donate” tab at the top of the screen or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon








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