Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wondering about Halloween?

If you're a Christian wondering how to approach today with biblical wisdom, the following article by John MacArthur may prove helpful. You can read it here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The marks of a true Christian

Have you ever been perplexed by a friend who claims to be a Christian but displays so little of it in his or her life? They've 'received Christ' but that seems to be about as far as it goes. I'm not talking about days or seasons of back-sliding sloth. All true Christians temporarily distance themselves from the lordship of Christ in isolated situations. I'm talking about those who claim to be believers but the overwhelming evidence long-term testifies that their loves are elsewhere. How are we understand such people? John Piper helps us when he writes:

"One way to describe this problem is to say that when these people 'receive Christ,' they do not receive him as supremely valuable. They receive him simply as sin-forgiver (because they love being guilt-free), and as rescuer-from-hell (because they love being pain-free), and as healer (because they love being disease-free), and as protector (because they love being safe), and as prosperity-giver (because they love being wealthy), and as creator (because they want a personal universe), and as Lord of history (because they want order and purpose). But they don't receive him as supremely and personally valuable for who he is. They don't receive him the way Paul did when he spoke of 'the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.' They don't receive him as he really is - more glorious, more beautiful, more wonderful, more satisfying, than everything else in the universe. They don't prize him or treasure him or cherish him or delight in him." - John Piper, Think, pp. 71-72

Will we love such 'Christian' friends enough to challenge them with the demands of the grace of the Cross?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spiritual disciplines?

In recent decades we've seen an upsurge in focus on practicing key spiritual disciplines toward a deeper walk with God and greater sanctification. Much good has been gained in the church and our lives as a result. At the same time, for performance-driven people like me, emphasizing spiritual disciplines has often caused us either to become proud of our spiritual accomplishments in keeping the disciplines well or become discouraged at our frequent failures. Tim Chester admirably helps address this issue when he writes the following:

"Some people call [such things as Bible reading, prayer, community, worship and service] spiritual disciplines. But I believe this is unhelpful terminology. It can make Christian growth seem like an achievement on our part. In reality, it's God who changes us through his grace. The only true spiritual disciplines in the Christian life are faith and repentance, actions that direct our attention to God's gracious activity. So I prefer the traditional term the means of grace. These are ways in which God is gracious to us and by which he strengthens his work of grace in our hearts. They are the means God uses to feed our faith in him. This is what sowing to the Spirit looks like in practice." - Tim Chester, You Can Change, p. 140

Well said.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cult alert

Ephesians 5:11 tells us, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."

One of the less enjoyable but sometimes necessary duties of spiritual leaders is to alert the people of God to wolves in sheep's clothing. Sadly, that is necessary today due to the recent arrival in Minot of a group called The World Mission Society. They are a non-orthodox movement from Korea claiming to be a Christian church who most often target women, college students and youth. Their founder, Ahn Sahng-hong, claimed to be an incarnation of the second coming of Christ. His wife claims to be 'Mother God'. They bear the classic marks of a cult.

In light of this, I encourage you to do the following:

1. Educate yourself. You can learn more here.

2. Pray. Ask God to protect people in Minot from the unbiblical lies touted by this group and for
the Holy Spirit to awaken them to the bibilcal truth about Christ.

3. Engage. If you know of any Koreans in Minot - particularly at MSU - alert them and educate them about The World Mission Society. If you encounter folks from this cult, go out of your way to show them the love of Christ and lovingly challenge them with the truth of the gospel from Scripture. God may open their eyes to the truth. Let's pray He does.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Godly thoughtfulness

John Piper's book Think was recently released, encouraging Christians to maximize our minds to the glory of God - toward very practical ends. I'm currently reading the book and not being disappointed. Why is a book like this important for American Christians at the beginning of the 21st century? Piper gives some cogent reasons:

"I hope this book will rescue the victims of evangelical pragmatism, Pentecostal shortcuts, pietistic anti-intellectualism, pluralistic conviction aversion, academic gamesmanship, therapeutic Bible evasion, journalisitc bite-sizing, musical mesmerizing, YouTude craving, and postmodern Jello-O juggling. In other words, I believe thinking is good for the church in every way." p. 17