5 ways to destroy church unity


james1948:

Excellent thoughts.

Originally posted on Mike Livingstone:

“I have never yet known the Spirit of God to work where the Lord’s people were divided.” Like D.L. Moody, neither have I. Instead, most of us probably have seen too often how disunity hinders the Spirit’s work in the church and damages the church’s witness to the world.

Unity in the body of Christ can’t be taken for granted or taken lightly. Unity is a gift from God made possible by the cross of Jesus and made effective by the working of the Holy Spirit. It’s not something we can create, but unity is our responsibility to guard. The greatest threats to church unity come not from outside the church, but from within. So we need to be on guard against attitudes and actions that destroy unity, like these:

1. Making everything about you

Reality check: The church doesn’t exist to make you (or me) happy; it exists to glorify God.

The way to maintain unity is to think of others as more important than yourself…

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The heresy of worshiptainment


Originally posted on Mike Livingstone:

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

Would it be enough?

Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”

HALLOWEDNESS, NOT SHALLOWNESS

Like Tozer, we…

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THE GOSPEL


Love it

Live it

Give it

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Teenager in Prison


108 –April 18 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

Posted: 17 Apr 2015 05:23 PM PDT

Yudintsev, Andrei

Teenager in Prison

  “But he’s just a kid!”  Surely those words could have been said of Joseph in Egypt, or of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon. But that might also have been said of Andrei Yudintsev, who was eighteen when he and his friend, Vladimir Timchuk, were arrested during the Thanksgiving service at their Baptist church.  The lads thought they might spend a short time in the local jail or be fined, but soon they discovered they were going to be “tried” and the mandatory “guilty” finding would confine them for years in prison. They were given prison terms of three and a half years.  Following a brief incarceration in the local prison, the two were transported to different prison camps.  On April 18, 1982, Andrei arrived in his camp where he worked as a welder.  For two years, he had no Christian fellowship, but one day he was told that a fellow believer had been brought in.  He rejoiced to meet Pavel Zinchenko and to discover that they had many mutual friends.  The men continually encouraged each other which made the burdens of prison almost tolerable.  In the course of time, a third believer, Vladimir Blasenko from Nikolaev, was also transferred into their camp. Vladimir had suffered severely for his faith, but his captors could not break his spirit. Valdimir was thrilled to discover that Andrei and Pavel had a New Testament, and he read late into the nights.  Andrei reported:  “At first it might seem that this was a waste of my youth, but when it was over, nothing remained except gratitude to the Lord and gladness.  David says in Psalm 33, ‘For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name.’”  “He’s just a kid?”  Of Andrei we can say, he became a man, and a special kind of man, a man of God!

Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 225 – 226

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Freedom of Religion and the Indiana Law


Freedom of Religion and the Indiana Law: On the verge of Government Run Faith

by Bro. Jeff Haney

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29

Biblically speaking, there are two times, and only two times when it is necessary for the children of God to disregard, disobey, and defy the laws of the land and simply refuse to obey their government:  1.) When the government by law forbids someone from obeying God – Daniel’s praying against the law that forbade it; 2.) When the government by forces someone to disobey God – Hananiah, Azariah, and Meshael, (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) being forced to bow to a false god.  Only when circumstance fit within the framework of those scriptural principles can a child of God rightly and flatly refuse to obey the laws of the government ruling over them.

I have never seen a time in our nation when either one of those scenarios were the case.  To my limited knowledge there has never been a time, when I, anyone I know, or anyone I have heard of, was forced into disobeying the God of the Bible.  Conversely, to my limited knowledge there has never been a time when I, anyone I know, or anyone I have heard of was forbidden from obeying God.  Within the scope of my vision frontwards, backwards and all around I have never seen either of those cases play out in our society . . . until now.

Though not here yet, we are standing on the cliff of Government Run Faith.  Of course we have seen government run health-care on the front porch of the evening news for a while now.  Government regulations grip every industry from education and finance to bean sprouts, pot holes, and outhouses.  If what is happening over the law being passed in Indiana is any indication of the direction and mood of those wanting the government to regulate body fat, and hairstyles, the next big thing is government approved belief.

The central issue in those shouting the accusations of discrimination is the fact that they cannot and will not stand for someone believing a particular behavior is wrong.  As one commentator said, “No one would dare expect a black baker to prepare cupcakes for a KKK rally.”  Why then on earth would someone expect a Bible believing Christian to endorse a gay marriage?

Regardless of how loud it gets said, how long they say it, or how many people chime in, in agreement, the scenario they present of a Christian florist refusing flowers for a gay couple is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be discrimination.  It is discernment, conviction, and belief based on the Word of God not to aid and abet a sin that has always been, and always will be a sin.  It is not bigotry, it is not hatred, it is not intolerance.  We do not provide alcohol to alcoholics, we do not carry people with gambling problems to casinos, we do not drive get away cars for bank-robbers.

Acting upon homosexual attraction is not acceptable to the God of creation. It is not okay, it is not to be embraced, applauded, aided or abetted.  From what God has said to man, it is morally illegal, it is spiritually illegal, it is eternally illegal, it is outright bona fide, sin.  Period.  That is the end of the subject for Christians, and it will never, ever, ever, change.  As I have said before, if God said something different, then every Bible believing Christian in the world would say something different.  We do not take our cues from “how we are born” we take our cues from “What God has said.”

If those who’s tolerance is a one-way street would speak in plain honest language, what they would says is, “You are not allowed to believe what you believe, and you are not allowed to behave according to that belief.  You cannot believe the Bible, you cannot obey the Bible, and you cannot proclaim what you say the Bible says.”  Of course that’s my words in their mouths, but that is what I’m hearing from those who have more heat than light.

According to the direction of the mood of this country, the heart of their heat, and their hate is aimed at regulating what Americans are allowed to believe. It is not socially acceptable to “believe gay marriage is wrong.”  If that course of thinking continues to be fertilized and fed, it will not be long before it is not legally acceptable to continue to “behave” with the conviction that gay marriage is wrong.  Changes are definitely coming, and they are the kind that are not worth making

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WILL A MAN ROB GOD?


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
WILL A MAN ROB GOD?
I know, I know! Everybody’s mind is made up from the title of this article what it is going to be all about. When pastors choose this title and use Malachi 3:8, it is almost always a message of giving of money to the cause of the church. So how could this be any different. Well, think with me and see!
Certainly, a lot of churchgoers do rob God in the matters of tithes and offerings as the context of this Old Testament passage of scripture indicates, but that is not the primary burden of this article. Robbery of God takes on a much grander scale of which robbery in tithes and offerings is but a symptom. Consider that when one repents from sin and receives Christ Jesus into his heart, he is born from above and his spirit sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. That person has been purchased by the shed blood of Jesus. He is no longer his own, but a subject of Jesus. As such he is to render praise and honor to his Savior (how logical). So what do many do? They find any excuse, and the slightest one at that, to miss church worship services or the giving of themselves in any noticeable way to honor the God of their salvation. Many, yes, many, would be embarrassed beyond words if they were called upon to lead in prayer, because prayer is a stranger to them. Will a man then rob God of the just honor due Him? Will a man rob God of the glory He is to receive from him in His church? Will a man rob God of His rightful place in his heart? Will a man rob God of His rightful place in his home? Will a man rob God of the power of personal testimony that he is failing to share with others? How many ways modern Christians do rob God!
The problem is a heart problem! Moreover, that speaks to the attitude toward tithes and offerings. Jesus pungently said it when He taught that where a man’s heart is, there will his treasure also be. So, look around. Where does your money go? Where is your leisure time spent? Where do you find your joy? There is where your treasure is. Certainly, it is a precious few who find their heart and their treasure in the things of God. Among far too many the decision is repeatedly made to rob God! It is robbery, sheer robbery! It is the kind of robbery that a sermon, or brow-beating, or grudging change will NOT fix. It is the kind that underscores heart trouble.
Knowing that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of deeds whether they are good or evil, wisdom cries out for a return of the heart to the God who bought it with His precious blood. When that cry is heeded, all the other things will be fixed.

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87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

Posted: 27 Mar 2015 04:42 PM PDT

Trail of Blood

He bore the Saviors Marks in his body

Wouters van Kuijck was finally burned at the stake on this day in 1572 after he was tortured and scourged in the prison at Dordrecht, Holland.  He had been moving his family from place to place in his effort to avoid arrest, for he was considered a heretic by the State Church for his belief that salvation was a personal matter of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.  The bailiff learned where Jan was residing and he and his men came to arrest him.  Knowing that his arrest would end in the capture of his entire family, Jan said in a booming voice, “it is I” when the bailiff knocked and asked, “Does Jan van Kuijck live here?”  Of course it was designed to allow his family to escape, which they did.  During his imprisonment he wrote a dozen letters that have been preserved, eleven to family including his daughter and one to his captors presenting clearly his faith and a warning to them of judgment.  He concluded that letter with these words, “I confess one Lord, one faith, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and in all believers.  I believe only what the Holy Scriptures say, and not what men say.”  Fearing his testimony Jan’s mouth was gagged before he was taken to the place of execution.  Somehow he managed to relieve himself of the gag.  A fellow believer was able to draw close to him and he opened his shirt and showed him his bloody body from the scourgings, and said, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  As the fire was kindled he looked over those assembled and cried, “…farewell my dear brethren and sisters, I herewith commend you to the Lord, to the Lord Who shed his blood for us.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon condensed from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp.180-181.

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UK Convicts Christian,


Coming soon to America

The Trumpet

Muslim Judge In UK Convicts Christian, Says Which Verses Are Allowed In Street Preaching

Posted: 25 Mar 2015 10:48 PM PDT

michael_overd

Coming Soon To America?

A Christian street preacher convicted and fined by a U.K. judge, who also serves with an Islamic Shariah court, is guilty of having breached the public order by his choice of Bible verses.

Michael Overd, a former British paratrooper who has been street preaching for five years, was convicted this week of delivering “homophobic sermons” over a loudspeaker in Taunton, Somerset, last summer.

Overd faced two charges relating to claims by homosexuals he had offended them and another of causing “racially aggravated” harassment targeted at Muslims, the BBC reported. He was found guilty of only one of the “homophobic” charges.

Overd, 50, was fined $300 and ordered to pay compensation and costs totaling $1,800 at Bristol Crown Court.

“I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing ‘emotional pain’ to someone who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue,” said Overd. “There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.”

District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi told Overd he should not have referenced Leviticus chapter 20 in explaining the biblical view on homosexuality, but “clearly indicated that he could have used chapter 18 of the book,” reported Christian Concern.

Qureshi, who according to a 2009 article in “The Brief,” chronicling the rise of Shariah law in Britain, serves with the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, the overseer of the nation’s Shariah courts.

Qureshi found no problem with Overd’s use of Leviticus 18:22 which describes homosexual activity as an “abomination,” but a reference to Leviticus 20:13 was impermissible because it prescribed the death penalty.

Overd agreed he used Leviticus 20 in his comments but never referenced the death penalty.

“I am being punished for words that never passed my lips,” he said.

Overd, who initially told the judge he would not pay the fine but relented when threatened with 45 days in jail, took particular issue with Qureshi dictating which passages from the Bible were lawful for him to use.

“I am amazed that the judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached,” he said.

“I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty, but the judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The judge is redacting the Bible.

During sentencing, Qureshi criticized Overd’s speaking style and his training as a preacher.

“In my view he enjoys coaxing people into asking him questions so that he can reply loudly into the microphone to answer them. The only semblance of civilized conversation is when they commend him, if they disagree he shouts them down.”

Accusing Overd of “double standards,” Qureshi said the street preacher believed he was right and everyone else was wrong.

Qureshi continued: Overd “does not display any scholarly approach to the topics but merely preaches whatever little he had learned, regardless of being rude or bullying to others. He happily shouts out the negative points in any other religion.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center – Overd’s attorney – disagrees.

“Mike is clear that he is motivated by love, not hate. Indeed, this is in line with the message of the Bible,” she said in defense of her client.

“It’s clear from the evidence that he has consistently dealt with people’s objections in a balanced and reasonable way. He has explained his beliefs. He hasn’t been aggressive or targeted anybody in particular. The evidence bears all this out.

“Mike’s boldness and his witness to Jesus is remarkably similar to that of the apostles in the early years of the church.

“They were also hauled before the courts to defend themselves for preaching a message of love and truth. They also faced trumped up accusations in an attempt to portray them as ‘disruptive.’

“Now, as then, the disruptive ones appear to be the people who bring accusations, on the flimsiest of evidence, against a man who loves Jesus and loves people. This is why Mike gets up and preaches in Taunton town center.

“There will always be those who disagree with the Bible’s teaching. But we should defend to the hilt the freedom to proclaim it in a loving way, which is what Mike Overd always seeks to do.”

As for Overd, he said he has no intention of allowing the court to dictate his street preaching.

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FIND US FAITHFUL


FIND US FAITHFUL

We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road.

And those who’ve gone before us line the way –

Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.

Let us run the race not only for the price,

But as those who’ve gone before us, let us

Leave to those behind us, the heritage of

Faithfulness passed on thru godly lives.

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,

And our children sift thru all we’ve left behind,

May the clues that they uncover, and the mem’ries

They uncover, become the light that leads them,

To the road we each must find.

O, may all who come behind us find us faithful,

May the fire of our devotion light their way.

May the footprints that we leave lead them to

Believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey,

O, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

Joe Duvall

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Cicero: One Law for All


Cicero: One Law for All

DAILY DABBLE IN THE CLASSICS, CICERO

Cicero (106-43 BC)

In the last years of the Roman Republic, Marcus Tullius Cicero, penned his dialogue De Legibus (On the Laws). Regarding the Nature of Man, of Justice, of Right, of True Law and of the Framer and Proposer of this Law, Cicero testified:

Of all these things respecting which learned men dispute there is none more important than clearly to understand that we are born for justice, and that right is founded not in opinion but in nature. There is indeed a true law (lex), right reason, agreeing with nature and diffused among all, unchanging, everlasting, which calls to duty by commanding, deters from wrong by forbidding… It is not allowable to alter this law nor to deviate from it. Nor can it be abrogated. Nor can we be released from this law either by the senate or by the people. Nor is any person required to explain or interpret it. Nor is it one law at Rome and another at Athens, one law today and another thereafter; but the same law, everlasting and unchangeable, will bind all nations and all times; and there will be one common Lord and Ruler of all, even God, the framer and proposer of this law.


Source: Cicero. De Legibus (On the Laws) 11, 4, 10.

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