Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Engaging culture: A necessary task

Sunday night we had our first session of our "Worldview University". We are going to have to add extra seating or change seating for next week based on the turnout and the anticipation and feeling of engagement was palpable. 

I want to reiterate a core position that was communicated regarding our Biblical stands and living them in a growingly antagonistic culture. We truly can take our cues from Jesus, and then Paul, and work hard at keeping the gospel at the center of all we do. It is the gospel that changes hearts, you and I are testimonies of that change. When we become convinced that the next election or an argument on Facebook is how we can change the world we have allowed Satan to drag us into the muck of meaninglessness and have become disillusioned to the power of the gospel.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A 92 year old prayer for today

Samuel M. Zwemer (1867-1952), “The Apostle to Islam,” prayed this for the Muslims and the Middle East:
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy kingdom: We pray for thy prodigal children in Muslim lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth.
Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ. Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Savior. Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldly confess thy name.
Hasten the day of religious freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected. May the tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall prey to Islam but be won for Christ. Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every church and mission. May all Muslim children in mission schools be led to Christ and accept him as their personal Savior.
Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labor among Muslims the tenderness of Christ, so that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church, and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights. Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power. All our expectation is from thee.
Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Muslim world, and fulfill through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, “O, that Ishmael might live before thee.” For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

God delivers: Hewa woman are set free

Sunday morning our church gathered together in prayer for 4 Hewa women condemned to die. They along with their children and grandchildren were facing the reality of a "head witch's" decision that the measles outbreak was their fault and they must be killed because of it.

First Baptist Church joined with countless other believers all around the world in praying for their rescue and for this to turn to an occasion for gospel clarity and an embracing of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This morning we received this update:
"According to Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz, the message from the missionary and government delegation was well received. In the end, the local commander declared all suspects free and banned the sorcery courts.

ABC news in Australia is reporting that at the meeting not only were the women released, but a ceremony was held where the “head witch” turned over a stone declaring she would not be involved in this kind of activity again.

Praise God for a favorable outcome for Susana, Kontas, Mifila and Helen; their children and their grandchildren!

Please continue to pray for the Hewa people who have not yet and heard or believed God’s Word. Please pray for other villages and people groups in Papua New Guinea who have similar practices.
The youth coordinator for the Western Highlands provincial government of Papua New Guinea, Ruth Kissam, said earlier this month that violence against women accused of witchcraft is a national emergency and it is  creating a refugee crisis in some parts of the country."

Let us be reminded of the importance of prayer and the intense need for the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world - we can make a difference.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mark 11: No faith / No Figs

As I read Mark 11 today I spent some time considering the truths behind the fig tree: you know, the cursing of the fig tree that had no fruit.
What lies behind this?
What are we to make of it?
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
I feel like one of the disciples left scratching my head. I feel right there with Peter in verse 21 when he asks Jesus about what that is all about.

And what was Jesus' response? "Have faith in God."
Ok...   Then Jesus describes what it looks like to have...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"After darkness, light!"

The transfiguration moment had to be one of the most amazing moments for Peter, James, and John. Jesus, the light of the world, becoming radiant - intensely white - His greater glory shining through and God the Father declaring His Son's identity and His authority.

God's Word (the Bible) tells us of Jesus  (The Living Word) is exalted by God the Father through the spoken word. And they were able to see it all. Impacting. Unforgettable. The kind of moment that can

Friday, January 9, 2015

Heart problems?

How's your Heart? How often do you focus on having a healthy heart? Whether it's the physical heart beating in your chest or the spiritual one that gets suffocated in self and longs for
more of God, we tend to give them limited attention. We tend to focus on the surface. How many made a new years resolution to get a healthy heart? OK, maybe the guy who just had the quadruple bypass.

Jesus pinpoints this in this passage. God sees many people who talk a good walk, but

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mark 4: Ears to hear?

"He that has ears to hear, let him hear." - Jesus

Some just cannot hear. Some just will not hear. Some are resolved in remaining hearing impaired. It may be a "what I refuse to hear, I cannot be held responsible for" mentality. It's largely a spiritual impairment. Like trying to talk football stats and reviewing the latest games with someone who has zero interest in the game. Paul refers to them as "natural" as opposed to "spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:4). They cannot hear because they are truths that are only understood through the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise they appear as just foolishness.

We need the Spirit at work helping us as we read God's Word and discern the climate around us. If you are having trouble getting something from the Word. You have hearing trouble today. Really on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom. He supplies and will help you advance beyond the seedling stage to a fruit bearing plant: a follower of Christ that leaves Christ's footprint wherever you go.