woman fatally bitten by a snake in church

8 11 2006

This sad story calls for discernment. Apparently this woman attended a church that believed that believers would demonstrate their saving faith in the practice of snake handling. This is truly sad. No doubt they are referencing Mark 16.17-18 which says:

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

These signs were promised to the apostolic community (Matt. 10.1; 2 Cor. 12.12) and served to authenticate the preaching of the word (cf. v.20). These ‘signs’ were not intended to become normative for all ages. For even a generation after the apostles we see the writers looking back in describing these miraculous signs (Heb. 2.1-4; cf. also 1 Cor. 12.29, 30).

This is truly sad because of the sufficient preciousness of fellowship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit without the trumped up drama of handling snakes. Does not a story like this compel Paul’s words to Timothy to your own hearts:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth 2 Timothy 2:15

follow up to the John Stott post

24 10 2006

There was some good dialogue regarding the John Stott interview in CT. As a follow-up, let me just highlight a few great statements from the interview and then a concern or two that I have:

::Good Stuff::

To the question of what is an evangelical?

An evangelical is a plain, ordinary Christian. We stand in the mainstream of historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. So we can recite the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed without crossing our fingers. We believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

For evangelical people, our authority is the God who has spoken supremely in Jesus Christ. And that is equally true of redemption or salvation. God has acted in and through Jesus Christ for the salvation of sinners.

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CT article on John Stott & Evangelism

18 10 2006

john-stott.jpgChristianity Today has an interview online with John Stott. Stott has some great comments and then some interesting and rather peculiar statements as well. See if you pick up on them.

Becoming more impressed with Jesus

4 10 2006

Mark 14:65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.

This scene is emotional gripping. You just need to let the reality of these words sink in through your mind and into your heart and let it break it.

For consider the dramatic irony here:

-The one who has all of the honor of heaven is served with the most dishonoring contempt by his own creation.

-The cheeks that were kissed by his virgin mother, touched by those he healed, later kissed in betrayal by one of his closest friends is now dripping with the venomous spit and of his accusers.

-The one who is omnipotent and omniscient has now submitted himself to be blindfolded.

-The one who is without sin is beaten like a vilified rebel.

-The one who has all power receives crushing blows.

-The one who is all knowing is now being quizzed and mocked by rebels.

Jesus is enduring such mocking and abuse at the hands of sinful men. His face is littered with flem, slaps, and punches. His eyes are covered and his glory mocked even further with the taunting “Prophesy!” Knowing also that Isaiah tells us that he was “marred more than any man” (Is. 52.14).

We read back into the text and are thankful and rightly so.

But are you broken?

See because if you were somehow able to transport yourself to the scene described above and able to come up next to Jesus and lift up the blindfold a bit and have the punches stop for a moment so that he could hear you, and if you could ask him, “Jesus, why? Why are you doing this? Why are you putting yourself through such torture? Just tell them what they want to hear? Please stop!! This is not right!!”

You know what the Savior would say?

Based upon a passage like 1 Peter 3 we have a pretty good idea of what was going on in his mind. Jesus was bringing sinners like us to God (1 Pet. 3.18).

So to the question of why…Jesus would say…it is for you my sinful child. I am submitting myself to this display for you that you may be rescued from yourself and your sin.

With every blow across the sinless brow of Jesus we have the indictment of our sin and the amplification of his gloriously resolute love.

This scene, like every other scene in the earthly ministry of Jesus, he did he did not take any shortcuts. He did not cut around the devilish temptations and he did not pander to the abusers here, nether do we see him short circuiting God’s plan on the cross as the sinless Savior gives up his own life after completely guzzling the eternal wrath of God while shamefully hanging upon the blood stained wood of Calvary.

So if Christ is yours today, please know that it is because you are Christ’s! Christ had his sheep on his mind as he was battered, mocked and shamed.

So marvel at the infinite love, grace, mercy and resolve of The Savior today.

Be more impressed with Jesus; for he is infinitely valuable and we grossly undervalue him. Indeed he is beautiful.



Rick Warren in the Wall Street Journal

5 09 2006

[Rick Warren]In a page-one story today in the Wall Street Journal journalist Suzanne Sataline wrote an article outlining a controversy in a Mississippi church centering on the employment of Rick Warren’s popular but not necessarily biblical ecclesiology.

Judging by her appraisal of Warren’s ministry perhaps she was at the same Saddleback service as me.

“Mr. Warren preaches in sandals and a Hawaiian shirt, and he encourages ministers to banish church traditions such as hymns, choirs and pews. He and his followers use “praise team” singers, backed by rock bands playing contemporary Christian songs. His sermons rarely linger on self-denial and fighting sin, instead focusing on healing modern American angst, such as troubled marriages and stress.”

(HT: Eric Ball)

Doing Family Devotions

30 08 2006

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

The Scripture is pretty clear on the fact that we have a responsibility to be training our children in the truth. Christian fathers in particular have a responsibility to be leading and training their families in the Revelation of God.

Many men struggle in the area of family devotions. It is kind of like evangelism, we know we have to do it but it is the doing it that is the problem.

Because I have echoed the Scriptures command for you and me to act like men and because some folks have requested that I talk about it, this is a quick guide to doing family devotions.

What follows is not an exhaustive how-to manual but rather some things that we do in trying to “teach them diligently” (Duet. 6.4) as God has commanded. Most of these things are things that we do, I am not saying that everyone has to do them, but rather supply suggestions in effort to be helpful.

-1- Be in the Word yourself

If you are going to teach your family to love the Word of God you better love the Word of God yourself. God’s design in commanding men to lead their families in the truth is to be preserving faithfulness throughout generations not modeling self-dependence and hypocrisy.

If you have not gone to the well of truth to draw fresh water from heaven than do not pretend to have something to say to your family. Instead, retire to a place where you can open up the Bible and drink from the fountain of grace that you might be fueled to speak of how impressed you are with Christ. You must know the Jesus you speak of, and not just know him but love him; this love is birthed by divine grace through the word of God and sustained by the same means.

-2- Choosing a Topic

In our family we usually go through books or sections of books of the Bible. We have been most recently going through Mark’s gospel, but I felt the need to work on teaching my family to pray more biblically, so we have been working on the Lord’s prayer in Matt. 6.

I have found that narratives are great for our family due to their ages. This also forces me to continually explain the context and themes of the book. I am learning too!!

You may have something that needs to be dealt with in your family. Family devotions are a great place to do this. Study as the leader and communicate what the Bible says and apply it to specific circumstances.

-3- Open the Bible

This is always a good thing! When you as the leader open the Bible you show your submission to what God says and you are modeling faithfulness to the Word. You may have the text memorized, it doesn’t matter, open the book and read it. Show your family you love the Bible.

Your own handling of the Scriptures expresses your view of the Scripture. Is it authoritative? Then you must open it up, interact with it and submit to it as you endeavor to apply it.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part iii)

11 08 2006

Here is part 3 of the the look at how to live a miserable Christian life. The goal here is obviously not to be miserable but to be filled with heavenly joy by being good stewards of all that Christ has given us. The first 2 post may be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).


6. Resist Biblical Correction

It is interesting the way God has done things. He has saved sinners and then commanded them to work out their salvation (Phil. 2.12). We are to be progressively growing into the likeness of our Master. This obviously implies a current state of practical imperfection.

God has been pleased to give his saints the word of God to be learned and applied, specifically within the context of the church of God. We are to practicing the “one-anothers” that are commanded (love, serve, encourage, admonish, etc..). This practice serves to chip away fleshy barnacles and mold Christ likeness in accordance with his word.

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