Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tweets of the Week Part 7

If you love God, you hopefully abandon yourself to Him. If you love sin you hopelessly abandon yourself to sin. Jer. 2:25 Trevor M. 

The Christian life is a life in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ all because of Christ. Burk Parsons

God's grace is not for when we feel we most deserve it. It is for when we feel we least deserve it. Let grace be grace. Dane Ortlund

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That ain't gonna happen without the gospel. Scotty Smith

I reckon that grace has filled more buckets with saints' tears than law has. Erik Raymond

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol

Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol (Rock Star Chronicles)

If there is one main point that was made clear to me after reading this book, it is the fact that NOBODY is beyond reach of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Creston Mapes skillfully writes the story of rocker Everett Lester, who, for most of his life was chasing after things that would promise him freedom, but ultimately enslaved him. One person in his life, however, saw the futility of Everett's enslavement to sin and began praying for him to surrender his life to Jesus Christ.

Although I can't identify with being a hugely popular rock star, I can identify with looking for things outside of Jesus Christ to satisfy me. This book makes you think. And you come to the conclusion that the high life is not getting everything you want, but rather being a servant of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, reading about Karen Bayliss, the person who prayed for Everett Lester, was so encouraging. She was someone who greatly cared for Everett and believed in the power of prayer.

If you're a Christian I think you will greatly enjoy and learn from this book. If you are a non-Christian this book might be hard for you to read, however, I leave you with the question, why not see if Jesus can do the same to you as he did to Everett Lester?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tweets of the Week Part 6

It's a massive lie to believe that the "good life" is a life where the world revolves around me & I get whatever I want. Stephen Miller

There is not even a distant second to compare to when it comes to the glory, beauty & supremacy of King Jesus. Stephen Miller

Let's be ravenous readers of the Bible. How else will we know what grace looks like in every situation & relationship? Scotty Smith

Comfort is not about a situation or location, but about the presence of a God of grace in every situation and each location. Paul Tripp

If you are united with Christ, you are as secure as he is.  Jared Wilson

Psalm 23 - believing the Lord is my shepherd means trusting He knows what I need and where I need to go.  Zac Martin

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tweets of the Week Part 5

Seeking God's will for your life can be a big distraction from seeking God Himself. You cannot know God and miss His will. 

Be not condemned by the ways God doesn't use you, but surprised at the ways He does! Mark Dever

Whether or not we believe it, see it or seize it, there will be enough of God's grace for this day. God does not lie. Scotty Smith

If you abandon all this world offers and follow Jesus, you will have more than you could ever dream. And it will last forever. Lk. 18:28-29  Trevor M.

Happiness is found only in holiness, and holiness is only in keeping God's word. Psalm 119:8-18  Jesse Johnson

We exist, for nothing less, than to enjoy the glory of Jesus. Jeff Medders

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can Non-Believers be Moral?

I was listening to the audio of a debate between a Christian pastor and an atheist. The pastor is Bob Thune, who is the head pastor at Corem Deo Church, in Omaha, NE. I typed out his answer to a couple questions below. You can listen to the audio here. I would highly reccomend it.

Question: Can you name one moral or ethical act that you think cannot be performed by a non-believer?

Answer: There is no moral or ethical act that cannot be performed by a non-believer. Ethics is a human thing not a distinctively Christian thing. Humans are made in the image of God. So the fact that we are human means every human being has the capability to perform ethical acts. Non-believers can sometimes be more moral than believers.

Christianity is not a religion that believes that people are saved based on their ethical obedience. Rather Christianity is a religion that acknowledges and admits human brokenness in the world. Christianity encourages us to look to Christ for salvation and for restoration to the image of God. So my answer to the question is nothing.

On the other hand my answer to this question is everything. The bigger question is what makes an act ultimately good? Why should I live an ethical life? The ultimate standard for ethics is not what we think is right or good, but that we should live for the glory of God. By this estimation, every act would be judged by human criteria of ethics or morality, but is it done with the intent of worship to and glory toward God? By that capacity only a believer would have the capacity to act in a way that is glorifying God.

Conclusion: It is possible for nonbelievers and all human beings to act ethically in a limited sense for the good for human society. But in the ultimate sense, we have to refer to the higher question of what defines the ultimate standard of reality, and that is the glory of God.

Question: Can you have morals without believing in the Christian deity?

Answer: I think you can have morals without believing in the Christian deity, because morals have very little to do with what you believe or don’t believe, and a whole lot to do with what is exactly true about the human condition and what it means to be a human person.

You can have morals without believing in the Christian deity, however, you cannot have morals without the existence of a deity. If there is no God you can have no basis for morality. All moral judgments assume an absolute moral vantage point. Anytime someone says should or should not is making an absolute ethical obligation. And such statements can only be made if there is some external vantage point outside of us that can ground those statements. 

Obviously not all of us believe in the existence of a deity, but we all believe that people should and shouldn’t act in certain ways. Anyone who has a morality is borrowing from the Christian tradition whether they know it or not. It is not possible to make any moral judgement except borrowing from the Christian worldview by making that judgement. You can absolutely have morals without believing in the Christian deity, but you cannot have morals without the existence of a deity.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tweets of the Week Part 4

If I demand more of this life than God promises, I'm a fool. If I expect less in this life than God promises, I'm a fool. Scotty Smith

If you have any doubt, whatsoever, about what Jesus thinks about you, by all means, don't look at you, look at the cross. Scotty Smith

Whatever momentary delight or relief sin may offer, it is never worth the cost. Nancy Leigh DeMoss

If you have breath in your lungs today, don't waste it. It's for the purpose of worshiping Christ. Stephen Miller

If we could call forth the greatest preachers of history, they would testify that during their earthly life they were babes in the Gospel. Paul Washer

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Service in God's Local Church (Guest Post)

1) The church is a body of people who have received redemption from creation's fall so that the Father would put Jesus' preeminence on display (Col. 1:14-18)

2) Redemption is for the glory of God: The way in which the God delights in and glorifies each Trinitarian member as it pertains to creation/redemption is by the Father electing some and giving them to His Son; the Son laying down His life so that He may save a people for God's own possession who reflect Him; and the Spirit taking the work of Christ and applying it to the elect (Jn. 6:37-65; Eph. 1:3-14; Col. 1:15-22).  According to the eternal covenant, the Father and Son (and, by implication, the Spirit) delighted to do this for their name's sake (Isa. 42:1-8; 49:1-6).

3) Redemption involves restoring image-bearers back into their intended state and condition. The definition of a human being is an image-bearer - particularly, God's image-bearer (Gen. 1:26-27). That image was spoiled by the fall (but not completely destroyed). Redemption involves restoring that image-bearer back into his intended state of fellowship and peace with God and imaging His glory. Because Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), to image God is to image Jesus.

4) Consequently, God's purpose for His church is to conform them to the image of His Son: "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers" (Rom. 8:29). Our gathering as a body is toward this purpose: "But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:7, 12-13). This is why we are given spiritual gifts. 

5) God commands us to joyfully minister to one another (using the grace/spiritual gifts he has given us) for the purpose of building one another up into Christ's likeness/image (All of Paul's epistles; 1 Pet. 4:9-11). 

6) The God-ordained means for doing number 5 is in a local church where all the spiritual gifts come together in unity, and under the authority of the church offices God has established (elders/pastors, deacons) (Eph. 4; 1 Tim. 3:1-15; Tit. 1:5ff). Submitting to and obeying the leaders God has placed in our lives involves coming under their shepherding care as those who have watch over our souls and will have to give an account (Heb. 13:17). 

7) A believer is someone who loves his brothers by laying down his life for his brother in service to him. This is not a first-class Christian; this is a Christian. We do not love merely in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 Jn. 3:10-18).

-Brian Onstead