Monday, August 31, 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy

By Matt Tyler

"And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord
God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come." And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are You, Our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:8-11

Isn't it always about God? Isn't that what it's all about? What is it? It is everything. Everything is about God. Always and forever. And the best thing about this Truth is that it's supposed to be; it should be.

So many amazing Truths about God can be pulled from these four verses. How does one write about such a loaded passage in a way that does justice to the passage? One cannot. However, by the mercy of God who gives us the Holy Spirit, perhaps a reader, or at least myself, will be encouraged.

This is such a marvelous picture of the worship of our God and Savior. In a world where worship is often seen as boring unless "I" get something out of it, this passage does a great job of showing a fearsome group offering up praise to the Lord. This worship is anything but boring. This worship is anything but selfish! Day and night the beings pictured in Revelation offer up praise to our Holy God.

And doesn't He deserve it? Think about all the God gives to those who love Him. Even the mercies He offers to unbelievers are an incredible thing. In view of God's love for us, our lives should be characterized by "day and night" worship (Romans 12:1-2 for example) of the Lord God. If we really believe He is holy, should not our lives portray complete obedience to the Father? Should not our days be dramatically affected because of the belief that God is the Almighty who sits on the throne forever and ever.

If the Lord really is worth to receive glory and honor and power then we need to be a people who daily, minute by minute, hour by hour, ascribe to Him glory and honor and power.


Because He Is. And if He really Is, then He deserves it. And if He really Is and really does deserve worship from Creation THEN worshipping God is the best thing for us. We do not worship God for us; we worship God because He is God. However, By His grace he allows us to worship Him and this is the best thing for us.

Everything is completely, utterly, amazingly for God's glory. Church is not necessarily about you or me. Worship is not about you or me. Heaven is not about you or me. Even Jesus' death, which was for you and me, was primarily to glorify God.

Today, fall before Him. And not because you want some emotional experience. Let's face it: even when we worship genuinely we do not always "feel" like God is there (sometimes there are desert periods). In addition, do not fall before Him because the posture is somehow "more Holy" or "magical." But fall before Him because of His great Worth, because of His great glory. Fall before the throne of God because He deserves to be honored. And do this realizing that you are able to do it only because He has had mercy upon you and allows you to. Do this realizing that only those whose sins have been covered by the blood of Christ (through repentance and faith) have access to God (Romans 5:2 is one proof of this).

Worship Him.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Power of the Cross

By: Matt Tyler

"What is the Gospel?"

This has been a question that has been thrown around repeatedly over the past several years. While I believe there are certain contexts in which it is okay to ask this question, it is sad to realize that so many who profess Christianity do not know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ actually is. And if they cannot even answer the question that is the most basic to our Faith then how can they be genuine Christians? I think what Jesus said is true: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7)."

I would love to spend an entire blog post on this subject expanding on it and looking for some of the sad reasons why this is. However, I want to focus much more narrowly today. Since so many who profess Christianity don't know what the Gospel is then one would think that this would be displayed in the types of songs that we sing. Indeed, this is exactly the case in today! So many contemporary songs (not all, mind you) are more about worshipping "me," "myself," "I," "we," and "us." The fact of the matter is so many Christian songs lack any real theology or even praise of the One True God.

While this is another subject for another day, I would like to post a song in which the Gospel is understood and proclaimed. "The Power of the Cross" by Kristyn and Kieth Getty is one of my favorite songs and truly captures the heart of the Gospel. The song is edifying to the worshipper, but more importantly, I believe, glorifying to the Creator. Let this be the song on your heart today:

(Click on the phrases to see Bible verses dealing with that line.)

The Power of the Cross

"The Power of the Cross"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS: This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought,
Every evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the victory cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the power of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Preach The Word! Part Two

By Matt Tyler

I have a heart for people. But more than that, I have a heart for people to repent and trust in the God who gave them life. I don't want to see people go to Hell. I have been given so much and I just want to give back a portion of what Jesus has given me. The most loving thing I can do for someone is to proclaim the Message to them. Because of their sin, they are going to face something terrible: Judgment Day. And so am I.

I want to be able to tell God, who mercifully and graciously saved a wretched and disgusting sinner like me, that I followed his command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-2). I want to tell Him that I preached to all the World that those who believe will be saved but those that do not will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16). I want to tell God that I preached the Gospel that he commanded us to preach (Luke 24:45-47). At the same time, I don't want to be responsible for someone not hearing the Gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel

A person will have to face God whether I talk to him or not. His sins would send him to Hell whether I talked to Him or not. But I love people and I want to do everything I can to tell them about Jesus. The most loving thing I can do for them is to tell them that they have sinned against a Holy God and deserve to go to Hell, like me, but the good news is that God provided a way for them to be saved in His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is illustrated in this point: If someone was about to fall off of a cliff why in the world would I go up to them and say, "Hey! Here is some money for food tonight. Okay continue on your way?" I would not do that! I would run up to that person and say, "Hey you are about to fall of this cliff. Don't go that way!!" And, you know, in the process I just might take them out to dinner. Is that something I have to do to tell them not to fall off the cliff? No. I can tell them to turn around regardless of whether I feed them or not.

What are you going to do? Christian, when are you going to be concerned for the lost? When are you going to stand up and proclaim the Gospel?

It breaks my heart if you disagree with me because I really want to stand next to you and proclaim, with you, that the Gospel is the power of God to save people. And I know that God wants us to be proclaiming His Word. I know this because it's in the Bible.

Preach the Gospel. Period.

Live it out, but for crying out loud, preach it out.

On a positive note, there are those who are doing this. Everyday people are realizing the need to get out and preach the Gospel to people. I have heard of people who have been saved within the last month because someone cared enough about them to be one of those "crazy" Christians who go door to door. I've heard of people within the last month who have come to know Christ because they were handed a track. I've heard of people who were saved thirty years after hearing a street preacher. They were saved as a direct result of not being able to get that street preacher out of their head. People are Biblically living out their faith and proclaiming the Word of God. God is doing incredible things. In countries across the World Christians are being killed because they went out onto the streets and told people that Jesus was the only way. And people came to know Christ because of it. God is working. He will win- He has won. Will you be in on it? Will you be an agent for Him to accomplish this?

I pray that you will.

[For Your Consideration]

Act 2:14-41

1 Corinthians 1:17-29

1 Corinthians 2:1-13

And a word from the Prince of Preachers:

"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned or unprayed for."
--Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preach the Word! Part One

By Matt Tyler

Stick with me. I know this is another long post. In fact, it's even long after I broke it up into two parts. Bear with me. Shorter blog posts are coming.

I have a burden. This burden is for the lost. This burden is great because Jesus lives in me and He has a burden for the lost. I've always had a deep desire to proclaim the Gospel to people. However, within the last year, God has used some people to teach me that I have not loved nor been burdened enough for the Lost like God has been.

Charles Spurgeon said this: ""Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that."

There is a popular quote attributed to Francis of Assisi that goes like this, "Preach the Gospel and when necessary used words." I want to say two things about this quote.

Fact #1: Francis of Assisi NEVER said this quote. I do not know how it was falsely attributed to him, but he did not say it. In fact, Francis of Assisi was a street preacher (yes, he was one of those crazy, but completely Biblical, guys who went out on the streets and preached the Truth).

However fact #1 is not as close to the importance level as fact #2: This quote is a threat to evangelism and the Gospel. This is the truth I want to focus on and explain.

Interestingly, I do not know one single person who has come to know Jesus just because someone was "nice" to them. This I largely because there are many people who are 'nice.' In fact, atheists can be nice. Jews can be nice. Buddhists can be nice. Yet all of them lack a very important thing: They have not repented of their sins and put their trust in Jesus. Please do not misunderstand me. We MUST have Biblical Character in our daily lives. We must walk in obedience to God and much of that obedience is giving to others, talking politely to others, being self-controlled, and humble. But many people forget about the verses in the Bible that say things such as this:

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2.

Or even more relevant: "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14.

Many people forget that Jesus preached the Word with words. Jesus spoke the Truth. Do you really think that people wanted to stone and eventually crucify Jesus because he fed 5000 people and healed the lame? Absolutely not. They wanted to stone Him because He told them something extremely offensive. He told them that that they had sinned against a Holy God and were on their way to spend an eternity in Hell unless they believed on Him. Instead of skipping through the Gospels and reading only the parts about giving to the poor, eating dinner with sinners, and healing people, I challenge you to go read the whole Gospel. This includes the parts where Jesus' street preaching is so hardcore that people want to stone him. Go read in Acts where Peter stood up in the middle of the city and proclaimed the Gospel to people (three thousand people repented). Go read Paul's letters where he exhorts people to preach the Gospel.

Those most opposed to preaching the Gospel with words comes from the post-modern generation that we live in. They proclaim that words are meaningless. They claim that witnessing to people is "forcing Jesus on others" or "irrelevant" or "ineffective." The problem with this stance (besides the fact that it is completely contrary to the Bible) is that it is contradictory to what they are indeed saying. How can you proclaim that words are meaningless? Am I to believe that statement is meaningless? These people proclaim the problems of indoctrinating people. What they fail to realize is that they are indoctrinating people with that kind of rubbish. Do you, sir or madam, not realize that God communicated to us in words? Do you not realize that this is exactly what the Bible is? God's WORD. Do you not realize that Moses, who wrote Genesis, and John, who wrote Revelation, communicated their messages by PREACHING (out loud).

I've alluded to the fact that I completely agree that we must live clean lives and let our actions back up what we are saying. Preaching the Gospel is not an alternative to living a clean life, sharing lives with others, pouring into their life, giving and meeting their needs. Rather, they go hand in hand. You cannot effective preach the Gospel without living it out and you cannot effectively live it out without preaching the gospel! Now, allow me to be honest with you? Those of you who speak only of, "letting your actions speak" or relational evangelism, can I just be honest with you? You are the ones who are watching your R-rated movies, you are the ones who are into pornography, you are the ones who are using disgusting and dirty languages. I am not judging you, I am doing the Biblical practice of showing you that you are being hypocritical. In other words, you can go around proclaiming all you want to that your actions should be the things that leads people to Christ, but realize you, even you, are not buying into what you are saying. Your actions prove that.

Okay, I know that was a hard paragraph to read. Realize that I myself have struggled with some of those things in the past and there are some things that I still work on every day. I am not perfect. But I am trying. By the grace of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit I will overcome sin. Go read the book of 1 John, 1 Peter, and Jude; it will completely blow your mind when it comes to holiness.
Please don't just take my word for all of this though. The only way people can be changed is through the reading and hearing of God's Word. Look at just SOME of the MANY passages in the Bible that speak on this subject:

Psalm 40:9

Matthew 4:17

1 Peter 1:25

1 Corinthians 1:23

2 Corinthians 4:5

Read those passages and check back tomorrow for my conclusion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Encouragement From the Life of Joseph

By: Matt Tyler

Recently, I read Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles Swindoll. What a great book! I highly recommend it to people. True to the book's title, the basic topic of the book is a study on the life of Joseph. His story is recorded in Genesis 37-50. It is an awesome, true, and relevant story to study especially when thinking about trials, rejection, temptations, abandonment, and a whole range of other issues. However the book especially hits home when it comes to the issue of Faith. And that, among other reasons, is why I studied the life of Joseph recently.

Anyway, I wish I could type up the entire book on this note for you to read, but that isn't very plausible. I also wish I could review the book but time does not permit me to do so. Instead, I will type up a section I came across today that might be an encouragement for Christians. This encouragement is especially for those who wish their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would live as God calls us to live- namely, a life of holiness.

Keep this verse in mind:
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Here is a section from Charles Swindoll's 'Joseph' as it relates to Genesis 39:

"You must not be confused by the immediate results. Again, remember Joseph. After doing what was right and resisting evil, he was falsely accused and dumped in prison. And if you take the time to read ahead, you'll see that he was later forgotten for an extended period of time.

Don't be confused by the immediate results. You may lose your job. You may lose your lover (if you want to call that person a lover). You may lose acceptance by the group. You may be ridiculed. You may be bumped out of the club. You may be the only one who's not "doing it (whatever it is)." Then be the only one! If you name the name of Jesus Christ, name it fully, name it completely, and keep yourself morally clean from this day forward. Even if it means demotion or loss of stature or loss of a job. Get out! You owe it to your character and to your family. Most of all, you owe it to your God.

...Whatever your situation, no matter how alluring or pleasurable or momentarily delightful the bait looks, don't linger. Claim the supernatural strength that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and, operating under the control of His power, stand strong in His might. Right now, this very moment, determine to be a Joseph. Make up your mind to join his ranks- and from this day forward, resist.

Otherwise, you will yield. It's only a matter of time."

Let this be an encouragement to you today. 'Stand strong in His might,' as Swindoll says. This is a great reminder to me as I go out and face the World. Joseph lived. And he faced huge challenges as he lived in and faced his world. But He stood strong in the mighty arms of God.

The World, and sadly many Christians, will yield. Sometimes we can get so discouraged by that fact that we end up doing the very things we do not want to do, as the Apostle Paul says. Resist. Fight. Life isn't peaches and cream (which sounds gross to me anyway) unlike some teachers will tell you. It is a struggle. But in the arms of our God we can face those trials. We will keep the Faith. And we can resist when we use the self-control the Holy Spirit gives us. And that, my friends, is the key. The believer get's the fruit of the Spirit, he receives the ability to apply the Truths of Scripture to his life.

When we put our trust in Christ and we begin to really know and understand our Lord and Savior then that becomes our strength! He is our Lord. He is over our lives. He is our King. The knowledge of this gives us strength because we know that Jesus Christ endured to the end and we our 'in' Christ. But interestingly enough and praise God for it this also gives us supernatural strength.

You have it. So, use it. Back to Joseph. The reason this is displayed so beautifully in Genesis 37-50 is because of what Joseph went through. We read the story with the ending in mind. And even when read for the first time the tension is released with the reading of the next verse. But this was Joseph's life. He spent years on a roller coaster of extreme, uh…excuse me, EXTREME
ups and downs. He did not know how it was going to end. He did not know why it was happening. His brothers turned against him. Your brothers in Christ may do the same. You will have ups and downs. You know what strategy Joseph used? The Lord was with Him and he lived with integrity (Genesis 39: 4, 8, 13). Are you a believer? Then the Lord is with you also. So live with integrity!

On a final note, view life in this manner: Genesis 50:19-20, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."

Pyromaniacs: Communicating better: what must I do?

Pyromaniacs: Communicating better: what must I do?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Truth, Forgiveness, and My First Blog Post

By: Mitchell Lynn

Forgive me, I am new to this blogging thing, so if my thoughts are random, or boring, I apologize. I will work on presenting logical, entertaining blogs to you loyal followers. I was given the opportunity to intern this summer at Foothills Bible Church in Littleton, Colorado. Part of my duties for this job included preaching, hanging with students, and teaching Sunday school. A couple Sundays ago I taught on an often forgotten book in the Bible, Philemon. Wait… is that in the Old Testament or New? This tiny letter (only 25 verses) is found between the New Testament books of Titus and Hebrews. While studying this intimate letter, a few things stuck out to me.

One of the First things I noticed was the search for truth that Onesimus hungers for. See Onesimus was a slave, and while slavery then was a lot different than the slavery we understand in the United States, (in fact, freedom was a relative term in the Ancient Near East) he still had very limited rights. Onesimus leaves his owner, Philemon, and makes his way from Colosse to Rome (about 1,300 miles) in search of Paul. A lot of different ideas were going around Colosse about Jesus. In fact, this is why Colossians was written. But Onesimus wants to know the truth so he leaves all that he knows, and heads to the only reliable source that he knows, Paul.

Where is this kind of devotion to truth today? We question truth, ignore truth, and completely deny that any kind of truth exists. This epidemic is haunting our culture and is a threat to our youth. As Christians we need to search and dig for the truth of scripture, and proclaim that truth to a confused generation. 2nd Corinthians 4:2 says: “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God”.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the power of forgiveness. Paul’s thesis for writing the letter was to urge Philemon to forgive Onesimus. Pleading with Philemon to take him back. It doesn’t matter what he did, Paul sends the letter to Philemon saying that this man is now your brother in Christ, so do the right thing and forgive him. How hard is it for us to forgive those who hurt us? Gandhi once said: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Paul does not order Philemon to forgive him, he wants him to do the right thing on his own. He wants him to forgive Onesimus, just as Christ has forgiven him.

My fiancĂ©e Anna illustrates forgiveness almost every day. I have made huge mistakes in my life that have lasting consequences, yet without hesitation, she forgives me for those mistakes I have made. Anna sees the forgiveness that Jesus has given her on the cross, and she lives out that forgiveness every day. Colossians 3:13 tells us: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.

Have you received the forgiveness that Jesus offered on the Cross? Christians, are you offering forgiveness to those who have wronged you?

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.

I Am Lacking.

By: Matt Tyler

Yes. It is true. I am. Often my notes are written to try and encourage people to evangelize more, live authentic Christian lives, or come to repentance and faith in Jesus. However, this note's focus is slightly different, yet the call is still the same. I messed up today. I mess up a lot. Everyday. My flesh is weak.

At the time of writing, I had read a little pamphlet by John MacArthur just a few hours before. This was not the first time that I had read this little pamphlet, but I decided to read it again. God has given Johnny Mac a lot of wisdom and I often learn from him by reading some of his material more than once. This pamphlet is called Found: God' Will. First of all, I highly recommend it, it provides the BIBLICAL way of discerning God's Will, which, by the way, is a lot less complicated then we make it.

Now, within the pages MacArthur talks about living a Spirit-filled life (here I am a Baptist, talking about being filled with the spirit ;) ). There are two significant things that John MacArthur says that are at the forefront of my mind: First of all, he says that the Spirit-filled life is yielding every decision to the control of the Spirit. He then goes on to ask what the spirit filled life actually is. What does it look like? According to MacArthur, it is being saturated with the things of Christ with His Word, His person.

Whew. I see that definition and I look at the Biblical characters that were great examples of this and I find I am truly lacking. For all of my talk on the importance of verbally sharing our faith and socially living it out, I often mess up in all areas of my life. I am not perfect. Far from it.

This was displayed beautifully (or not so beautifully) several weeks ago in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I was with a couple of friends and I was catching up on a few things. I was in a hurry to get back home but we still talked for a few minutes. All of a sudden, a man in a dark van pulled up next to us and started asking us for some money. Apparently, he had his daughter in the back seat and he had to make it back to Fayetteville. He needed gas. Well, we now live in a day and age where it is rare for people to carry cash on them. I am that type of person. Sure I had my debit card...but cash? Nope. I had none. The Wal-Mart gas station was less than a football field away and I could have easily driven over there and filled his van up with my debit card. I could have driven over there and spent a few minutes sharing the Good News with this man. But I didn't. I could have let God use me as His ambassador. But I did not. My excuse: I have no cash and therefore I cannot. Sorry sir, go on your way. Sorry sir, I have the greatest News in the whole world: You can escape punishment for your sin, but instead of meeting your needs and telling you about it, I need to go.

Now I could argue, and it may be true, that I just didn't think about pulling out my debit card for him. I could argue that I wanted to be wise with my money- heck, I didn't know anything about this guy! I could argue whatever I wanted to. What I can honestly say, though, is that sharing the love of Jesus with this guy was not on my mind. It hurt me to say no to him, that was probably the Holy Spirit, but sharing Jesus with Him was not on my mind. If it was, I probably would have remembered my debit card. I probably would have driven over there with him. If I was truly saturated with the things of Christ, while I was filling up his car I probably would have showed him that he had sin in his life and needed to get right with God.

Some will try and reassure me: Matt, don't be legalistic, you don't have to help everyone that comes your way. Matt, it's really okay that you forgot this one time. Matt, you didn't have cash on you. [Insert your reassurance remark here]. While I am reassuring myself, or you are, that man still has needs and he has met yet another Christian who didn't explain to him the Most Important News in the whole World. And there is a chance he NEEDED to hear that.

I serve a God who is in control. He is sovereign over all things. That alone gives me the reassurance that I need. And while I did mess up, my prayer is that next time I will be prepared.

Frankly, it takes work to "yield every decision to the control of the Spirit" as Macarthur said. It's not necessarily the easiest thing to do. However, for the believer it should be a somewhat natural response in view of all that God has given us. As Christians, the importance of craving the pure milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:3) is incalculable. After all, it is only through reading the Word of God daily that we can saturate ourselves with the things of Christ. And while it is true that you, and I, are lacking we cannot use that as an excuse to cover up our responsibility. Our lives need to be full of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, forgive me. My flesh is weak and I am lacking. I want to be saturated with the things of Christ. Guide me in that. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, which covers me when I am lacking.


This is a post that was first posted on Facebook on Tuesday, July 7th 2009. It has been slightly edited.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Message of Truth…From an Atheist

The first half of this note comes from The Charles Darwin Bible which is a Bible that is used to answer the most common questions evolutionists have about Christianity. It can be found at

Penn Jillette, the taller, louder half of the magic/comedy act "Penn and Teller," is a well-known atheist. He is so committed to atheism that he claims, "I cross the word 'God' off every dollar bill I touch."
However, late in 2008, Penn said that after one of his shows, a business approached him and gave him a Gideon New Testament. Pen noted, "It was really wonderful. I believe he new that I was an atheist, but he was not defensive, and he looked me right in the eyes...and then gave me this Bible. I've always said that I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I don't respect that at all. If you believe that there's a Heaven and Hell, and people could be going to Hell, or not getting eternal life, or whatever, and you think that, 'Well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward'... how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn't believe it, and that it was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you- and this is more important than that... He cared enough about me to proselytize and give me a Bible."

This is an incredible statement, especially when considering that it was an outspoken atheist who said it. In addition, it should convict us and spur us into action. If an unregenerate man can put the equation together shouldn't believers be able to see the simplicity? I would think so. However, this is so often not the case. How unfortunate!

I remember hearing this statement from Penn Jillette for the first time. I shared the quote with a fellow believer soon after hearing it. He didn't put the equation together. In more or less words he stated that I shouldn't be getting advice from an atheist.

Interesting point. To some it may seem like wise advice. So who is right?

I didn't continue on with the conversation to much after that but I had a particular question in mind: Can God use an atheist or a non-believer to communicate truth and messages to His people? The answer to that question is a resounding, YES! Let's look at the Bible for our authority.

What about Nebuchadnezzar? What about Balaam? He was a wicked man who blessed Israel! God used him! There are several occurrences within the Bible (which should be our main source) and history that speaks to the fact that God can use atheists and other non-believers to communicate Truth, especially when we live in a society where many people claiming to be Christians can't even stand up and communicate Truth (another topic for another day)!

Even when it comes to the government, whether Christian or not, God uses them for His pleasure. "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes." Proverbs 21:1

So, we can conclude that God can communicate His Truth through the unbeliever, if He wishes.

So, what can we learn from Jillette's statement? He quotes someone saying that they won't share because it may be socially awkward. I would add to that statement. Many times people use excuses such as, "It's not "relevant,'" "You can't force people," " I don't want to push people into/away from Christianity," "It's not my spiritual gift," "I'm not brave enough," "I don't have all the answers," "I'd rather be their friend first," "I'm more of a friendship evangelism kind of person," or whatever.

I have just one comment to such statements: it was Paul who said, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel."

I challenge you to share the Gospel with someone before the week is through. And don't stop there. Share it with two people the next week!


This post was originially posted on Facebook on Friday May 1st, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jesus Died for a Child of Satan

When I think about all that God did for me-- that He would save a wretched, disgusting, sinner like myself; that He would die for the creation that turned their backs on Him-- I am at awe. But it is even more incredible to realize that, not only did Jesus died for wretched sinners, those wretched sinners happened to be children of Satan.

This is tied with the doctrine of Adoption. This is the doctrine I have been thinking about today. Before repenting of our sins and trusting in Christ we were enemies of God. We were the children of Satan. It is one thing for someone to die and save their friend, child, or ally. But God sent his Son to die for people who were His enemies, children of Satan, and people who had totally rejected him. When we trust in Christ, He adopts us into his family and we become Children of God. This has several implications. But, for the sake of time, I want to offer a closing thought that focuses on these two implications:

1. If you are a Christian: You have been saved from so much: hell, death, sin, sons and daughters of Satan. Rejoice in your adoption into God's family and tell others (verbally and with actions- that is the Biblical way) about Him. Rest assured in Him, have your peace, and know that you are now a child of God.

2. If you are not a Christian: Jesus died for sinners, for children of Satan. You are a child of Satan and you have lied, stolen, and blasphemed the name of the God who gave you life. Think about how bad you are and realize how much God must love you to die for you. Repent (turn from) your sins and trust in Jesus.

I hope you find encouragement in that today!

This post was originally posted on Facebook on May 25, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Burdens: Driving with the Lord

Sometimes it is hard for me to write notes (as hard as that is to believe) because I have so much I want to say. Many times I don't say as much as I want because I don't want the details to bog down what my ultimate message is. Such will probably be the case with this.

I went to camp with my youth group this past week. We got back on Friday. It was an awesome week. Many times you come back from camp on a spiritual high and then loose it a few days after you get back. That is the typical story for many people. The reason is usually because at camp a student gets to hear the Word of God preached every day, praise God every day, and avoid sin that so easily traps us. Sometimes when a student gets back he stops getting in the Word, forgets to praise God, and falls back into sin. Well, it's my prayer that, that does not happen with those that were at this camp. However, with all that said, I will say that I came back from camp excited about how it went, yet sad to leave, yet happy to be home. Lots of emotions there.

This weekend was a good one. I got to spend time with my girlfriend after not seeing her for two weeks. I got a new phone. I got to spend a little time with my family. I got to blow things up. However, this morning I had to drive back to Buffalo, MO for church. I've been driving back and forth a lot this summer (not as much as I would have to if I didn't have a job at SBU) between Missouri and Arkansas. Sometimes it can get discouraging to be torn between two places.

6AM Sunday Morning: This morning I woke up to drive back to Buffalo. I went to bed a little around 1 AM the night before. I had seen my girlfriend all day Saturday but that was it after not seeing her for two weeks. Part of me missed camp. Part of me missed being at home. Along with all of that I had several other things on my mind. Some of those things I could put my finger on. However, there were other things on my mind that I didn't even know about- I just knew they were there. For two hours I drove back with burdens on my heart.

Hour 1: The first hour I sat there in silence. Just thinking. Just sitting.

Hour 2: The second Hour I turned on some praise songs and listened to them. It's not normal for me to have a trip like that and not be listening to a Sermon on my Ipod or a segment of Wretched Radio (I know...I'm weird. But I love that stuff) SO I listend to songs such as : You never Let Go (two times!), Shine, Clear the Stage (three times!), and others.

God can use songs to speak to us (especially ones that are based on His Word). Sometimes, it is good to sing those songs. Always, it is good to ponder the Words. Many times they are describing the Awesome God. Those songs were good and they did speak to me. It is amazing how the Lord can show up in those songs, even after you have heard them time and time again and give you new insights. The God of the Bible is real. He is the only God. I know it. The proof is everywhere. The proof is plain. The Bible says that all men know that there is a God. Creation attests to it. Creation is all around us (Romans 1:20, among others). Well another proof is that God is there. He is just there. He opened my eyes to some things using these songs. I was able to worship God this morning within them.

Thirty minutes outside of Buffalo: I finally turn off my music. My heart is still heavy. I am still burdened. I am weary. I am discouraged. I start running through some verses I know. Why is the Word of God supposed to be Preached? Paul commands Timothy to do it. He commands us to do it. The WORD of GOD is to be preached because it alone is the Power of God unto Salvation. Only the Bible. It awakens us. It speaks to us. The Holy Spirit illuminates it for us and helps us to apply it. It reaches into our soul. Why? Because the Word of God is the Words of the living, real, powerful, magnificent (why are there not enough words to describe him? Why is there not a word that can describe Him) Lord of all Creation. Christian, that is why you should be in the Word everyday. Someone said that, Sin will keep you from this book, and this book will keep you from sin. You don't have a desire to read it? What sin is there in your life that is keeping you from having a desire to read it? You need to turn from that sin. As do I when sin keeps me from desiring the Word of God. It is the pure, spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:1-3) Nonbeliever, you don't believe it? What sin are you so in love with that it is keeping you from believing in God? Repent of it and turn to Jesus today. I struggle with memorizing Scripture. I need to more than I do. I used to when i was younger. Why did I stop? Thank you God for reviving my memory. God gave me a verse this morning. I didn't have it completely memorized but I knew it well enough for it to speak to me. Moreover, I had my Bible and was able to find it quickly without wrecking (I don't recommend opening your Bible while driving). It was this verse:

Jesus is speaking: "Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29

So I did. And I did.

You may have burdens. You may need rest. Perhaps it is a sin. You can't get rid of it. Give it to Jesus. He died for you. He bore those sins and God's wrath was poured out on Him and thus your punishment is put upon Jesus if you would just turn to Him. Perhaps it is not a sin, just life. Turn to Him. He is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1ish...?) He will provide you with comfort. Come to Him with trust and a repentant heart.

This blog was originally written as a Facebook note. It was published Sunday, July 5th 2009.

My First Post

While I am new on blogger, I have been familiar with blogging for some time now. I subscribe to and read daily blogs from several different people. In addition, I have been using my Facebook as a blog for as long as I have had it.

Often I used my Facebook to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to my unsaved friends. Sometimes, I would write about what God was showing to me. And a few times I Would review books that I had read.

This blog will be used in much the same way. My desire is to glorify God. One of the ways to do that is to write blogs that will edify myself and other believers as well as proclaim the Gospel to unbelievers. This is what I wish to do in this blog.

Over the next several days I will take some of my favorite Facebook notes and post them on this blog. Once this job is complete I will start writing fresh blogs about, well- whatever comes out of my fingers. Enjoy- and get to work preaching!

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