In Everything Give Thanks

29 11 2019

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I think this short verse holds one of the most difficult commands in the entire Bible. I know it does for me. Corrie Ten Boom struggle with obedience to this verse as well. Listen to her story.

“We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw.
..Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
“‘Fleas!’ I cried. ’Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’
“‘Here! And here another one!’ I wailed. ‘Betsie, how can we live in such a place!’

“‘Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
“‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ’He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’
“I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen.

“In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…’”
It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.

“‘Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’
“‘Oh yes:’…“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.’”
“‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
“‘Such as?’ I said.
“‘Such as being assigned here together.’
“I bit my lip. ‘Oh yes, Lord Jesus!’
“‘Such as what you’re holding in your hands.’ I looked down at the Bible.

“‘Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’
“‘Yes,’ said Betsie, ‘Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’

She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.
“‘Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds.’

“‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–’ 

“The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’
“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.
“And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”
“Back at the barracks we formed yet another line–would there never be an end to columns and waits?–to receive our ladle of turnip soup in the center room. Then, as quickly as we could for the press of people, Betsie and I made our way to the rear of the dormitory room where we held our worship “service.” Around our own platform area there was not enough light to read the Bible, but back here a small light bulb cast a wan yellow circle on the wall, and here an ever larger group of women gathered.
“They were services like no others, these times in Barracks 28.

“At first Betsie and I called these meetings with great timidity. But as night after night went by and no guard ever came near us, we grew bolder. So many now wanted to join us that we held a second service after evening roll call.
There on the Lagerstrasse we were under rigid surveillance, guards in their warm wool capes marching constantly up and down. It was the same in the center room of the barracks: half a dozen guards or camp police always present. Yet in the large dormitory room there was almost no supervision at all. We did not understand it.
“One evening I got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. A light snow lay on the ground and it was hard to find the sticks and twigs with which a small stove was kept going in each room. Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.

“‘You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.
“‘You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’
“That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
“But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”

“Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!’”
“My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”

The reason we can obey this particular command is in the light of Romans 8:28.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If all things work together for our good then we can confidently give thanks for everything because no matter how bad anything seems all things work for our good and therefore deserve thanks.





Understanding Acts 2:38

24 10 2019

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

There is a lot of controversy surrounding a particular verse in Acts 2. Many false churches fixate on this verse as the main source of their doctrines. When I come across people from these churches their social media normally has this text prominently displayed, even some churches put it right out on their sign.

There is a danger in what is commonly called proof texting. The Bible is to be understood and interpreted in context. Scripture should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible was never intended to be chopped up in such a way that one verse cancels out another or entire doctrine could be built on the foundation of a single verse without respect to the context the verse is in.

This is called proof texting. It’s dangerous because it always leads to error. Every denomination that calls itself Christian yet veers from orthodoxy does so because they proof text particular verses. I remember door to door witnessing with a pastor and after going to the door of one of these people he moved on and the person followed him down the street yelling “believe Acts 2:38.”

When this happens it’s easy to lose balance and to fixate and even base your entire faith on one particular verse or doctrine. So what does Acts 2:38 mean? Does it cancels out other verses?

Consider Matthew 28:19:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Some would say that baptizing in the name of all 3 persons is based on this one verse and yet it’s not. Salvation is a work of all 3 members of the Godhead. The Father decreed it, the Son accomplished it and the Spirit applies it. It follows that the sign and seal of our salvation would be in the authority of all 3 persons.

The Acts 2:38 proponents have one basic problem: the deny the Triune nature of God. I don’t have space to delve in here but the Scriptures teach extensively on the doctrine of the Trinity so this is not a stand alone verse but a verse that can be clearly understood in accord with other Scriptures. Notice the individuality of the persons and yet the singular use of the word “name.”

It’s not the “names” of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It says in the “name” singular of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. They are individual persons but one God, one substance, one essence, one nature.

Does Acts 2:38 change that by saying in Jesus name only? No it doesn’t because you have to understand this verse in context. In this sermon Peter is pointing out that they had rejected Jesus and had crucified Him yet God overruled their objection and raised Him from the dead.

They had rejected the authority of Jesus as Messiah and King at His crucifixion. Now they must be baptized in the authority of this man whom they had rejected. He is not ignoring the words of Jesus in Matthew but speaking to the specific attitude of the crowd in front of him.

It would be like me preaching to Roman Catholics and telling them to reject the system of penance and repent of their sins. I don’t mention anything about the Trinity because they have a different issue. When I speak to a follower of the Watchtower I will address their need to recognize that Jesus is God and never mention Rome’s system of penance. It’s about speaking to the needs of the crowd.

Does this verse teach a works salvation? The answer is no because the message of the Bible is one of salvation by grace through faith. We see it in the salvation of Abraham in Romans 4, and it’s heavily emphasized in Ephesians 2 and Colossians 1. We see it also throughout the book of Acts like Acts 8, 10, and 16. We see it again in Romans 3, 5, 8 and 10.

To take this single verse and teach salvation by baptism would be to cancel out all of the passages on faith alone. So we must interpret this verse in light of the overwhelming evidence in the other passages. So what is Peter saying here? I want to use experts from my book “Understanding Believer’s Baptism” which will be available soon from this website.

“A second point pertaining to this verse is the term “for.” This word is often highlighted to demonstrate that the baptism was for or to cause the remission of sins. The problem is that there are several Greek and English uses for the word “for.” The word can also mean, “in order to get” (which is what these folks are saying) or it can mean, “because of, as the result of.

So is Peter saying they must be baptized in order to get forgiveness of sins? If he is then he is contradicting Paul who simply told the jailer in Acts 16:31 to believe.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

If I say “take two aspirin for a headache” am I saying to take two aspirin in order to get a headache? Of course not. I’m saying it because you already have one.

The same applies if I said I’m going to Grandma’s house for her birthday. Will she not have a birthday or even a party if I don’t go? Of course she will. My going is not to give her a birthday but because she is having a birthday. This is the clear use of the phrase in this passage.

Salvation is a free gift given by God to those who believe. We are commanded to have repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Peter is not contradicting these passages. He is not saying you must be baptized in order to complete remission of your sins. He is saying to be baptized because you have remission of sins.”

We know that baptism does not contribute to salvation because Paul clearly separated the Gospel from baptism. We all agree that the Gospel is what saves us the Bible says in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel is the Power of God to salvation so anything necessary for salvation is in the Gospel and yet Paul said God sent him not to baptize but to preach the Gospel.

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (1 Corinthians 1:17)

In that verse in Romans 1 Paul says the Gospel is the power of god to salvation for everyone who believes, once again it’s faith alone that saves. In fact the passages that mention salvation apart from baptism are numerous while the baptismal regeneration proof texts are about 3 or 4. It’s more probable that 3 or 4 verses are being misunderstood than that the hundreds of other verses are.





Was Judas Saved?

14 06 2018

A question I have heard many times is whether or not Judas who betrayed Jesus was saved. He was chosen to be an apostle, and preached along with the other apostles. When they performed miracles Judas performed them right along with them. Does this mean he was saved? The answer is clear from Scripture and that answer is no. The Bible says that it would have been better for him to have never been born.

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:24-25)

We are also told that Judas was possessed by Satan which I believe is not a possibility for a believer.

Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:26-27)

Jesus called Judas a devil.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70-71)

Jesus Himself said Judas did not believe.

“But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” (John 6:64)

We are not told that he went to heaven in fact the Scriptures seem to hint otherwise.

“That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25)

We don’t see the fruits of repentance in his life. Judas kept the money for the ministry of Jesus and was a thief.

“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:6)

Why would Jesus appoint an apostle who wasn’t a believer? The answer is to fulfill prophecy.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Some would say Judas repented so he must have been saved. The word repent in the New Testament means a change of mind. When Judas returned the money he changed his mind but it wasn’t Godly repentance. Godly repentance works life but worldly repentance works death which is exactly what happened to Judas.

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)





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.





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.





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?





False Prophets

31 01 2018

I wanted to address an issue that I believe is overlooked in much of the church today. The issue of false prophets. I’m not talking about Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland. I’m talking about false prophets that are not as easily identified as those in Charismania or in the common cults such as the Watchtower Society, Mormon church, or Roman church.

A false prophet is a person who speaks for the Lord or from the Lord and speaks falsely. The person who says God has said something but God didn’t speak. This person is defined as a false prophet and according to Scripture they are not to be listened to.

“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22)

I attend a Baptist church and the issue of people speaking for the Lord and then not following through is out of hand. I attended one particular church where over several years half a dozen people stood in front of the church claiming God had called them to pastor or be missionaries. None of those men followed through. One was even put into the office of a deacon after the fact.

They stood up in the assembly of the saints and said God had called them to something that they never acted on. This tells me God didn’t call them or they walked away from the call. If they walked away from the call there should be some concern. We should think twice before giving them any duties within the church.

If God didn’t call them then there needs to be an acknowledgement before the church. If they claimed God spoke publicly they should confess their error publicly. I attended one particular church where a man claimed to be called to preach. After a year he decided he was wrong and in a strong integrity move he went back to the church to confess it.

I can’t tell you how many church planters have come through saying God called them to a city only to try for several years then decide it’s not working and leave. If God called you there who are you to decide it isn’t working? Missionaries in the old days would labor sometimes 7 or 8 years without a single convert. They pressed on because God had called them. Today we have such a results based almost business like model of ministry that a person really feels they need to produce results or quit.

I suppose to sum the point up we need to be careful when saying God has spoken to us. To say God called me or God led me should carry a lot of weight and not be phrases we just throw out lightly. Churches need to hold members accountable to fulfill what they claim God has called them to and address the issue when they don’t act on the claim.





The Necessity of the Gospel

16 01 2018

This message was preached Sunday morning 12/31/17 at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California.

 





What Does Prison Ministry Look Like?

15 01 2018

A question I receive a lot is: what does prison ministry look like? I want to answer that as best I can. It may vary from situation to situation but I’ll share my policies and practices.

As for policy I keep it simple. I don’t want men to put me in any questionable positions. This means that while they may offer seemingly harmless gifts as thank you I simply refuse.

Don’t create an opportunity for blackmail. My policy is direct. I give only the Gospel and take only their gratitude.

My rules are simple. I give away only material that I bring in, no bathroom during chapel if there is no officer available for escort and no interruptions. If they are only there to get out of their building for a little while that’s fine with me as long as they don’t interrupt. I stress you respect me and I’ll respect you.

I give away Bibles to anyone who needs one and try to get right into the Word and preach. It’s preaching that saves sinners.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

I typically preach anywhere from 45 to an hour and then I open it up for questions. Some chaplains recommend against this but I have found it very helpful. I don’t want to give the impression of a performance. I don’t want them to feel like they are just there for me to lecture or yell at.

Many of them have honest Biblical questions especially after an hour long sermon. If someone seeking truth has questions I want to address those as best I can.

I always give a chance to respond to the Gospel whether they are saved or lost. I urge them to apply the message to their own lives. If they need to be saved I urge them to call on the Lord and if they profess salvation I urge them to surrender themselves again and get things right.





Biblical Repentance

10 01 2018

This message was preached at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Ca. during the Sunday evening service.

 








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