En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘believe’

“Whosoever will….”

Posted by Scott on June 11, 2008

Just a response to things I have heard for nearly 40 years in the church:

I have heard many pastors, teachers and evangelist make statements when asked about Election…”What do you do with ‘Whosoever will…’?”  The claim is that “Whosoever will…” is the balancing act of “You did not choose me, but I-God chose you”.  There is no balancing act in this…both of these are on the same side.  I have read and heard stated a comment C.H. Spurgeon made one time…it goes something like this and may be paraphrased:  “we enter heaven through a door that says “Whosoever will come..” then as we enter we look on the other side and above the door it says “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”  They ask this as though it is in conflict with Reformed Theology (Calvinism).  The fact is “Whosoever will come…and God chose us” is not in conflict with the Calvinist Theology at all…this is the same door, they are both on the same side, not some balancing act. 

As preachers, pastors, evangelist, and teachers we are to simply present the entire gospel truth found in God’s word to all.  The ears that hear and hearts that are regenerated (Born Again) is up to the Holy Spirit…whosoever hears the word of God and comes to God for salvation may come.  Where is the conflict there?  Fact is that the ears that hear and act upon what they have heard with a regenerated heart will come and those that act in this fashion are of the Elect (Chosen)!  Those that come with a repentant heart, given faith by the Lord, ready to believe, may come to God for salvation…whosoever!  I have never found the conflict that so many seem to have with John 3:16 and the Calvinist Theology….nothing in conflict at all.  The call goes out to all, but only those chosen will come.  It is a narrow way that leads to the narrow gate to access to our heavenly Father…this narrow gate is Jesus Christ alone taught by scripture alone!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“For God…” salvation starts with God.  God is the initiator of our salvation!  As sinful depraved men we will not come to God unless He starts the process first.  He will draw us to Himself.

“…so loved…” this was His design not mans.  This love is a special kind of love for a special kind of people…His chosen people from all parts of the world.  His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.  God designed this before the foundations of the Universe came into existence.

“…the world…” this was His design for His people from all over the world.  It was a call to all kinds of people…Jews and Gentiles alike.  This salvation message was not just for the Jews, but for all who hear His call to salvation.  His people are all over the world not just in Israel, Jerusalem, America, or any other part, but all over.

“…that He gave His only begotten Son…” this is Jesus Christ the only Son of God…not an adopted son or daughter as we are.  This was a special and most important distinction so that we would not confuse Christ sacrifice on the cross as being just anyone on the cross…it was the one and only Son of the living God…God the Son Himself on that cross!  This was also fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament.

“…that Whosoever believes in Him…” those that hear His calling and act in true belief will be saved.  This belief cannot occur without being Born Again (regenerated) first, repentance of sins, then faith and belief.  This is not the free will of man, but the Sovereign Will of a gracious God.  This is not a cheap statement…God’s grace shown in this simple verse is not cheap nor should we cheapen it by dumbing it down so that anyone who blurbs out a few words can think he is saved…the true believer’s life will change in the direction of God not man’s desires.  Not everyone will come to a true faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Many will pray a prayer, walk an isle, get dunked ’til they bubble in some Baptistery, many will claim they are saved because their family was “Christian”, but they are just as lost as any atheist, agnostic, or skeptic.  Actually it is even worse to have come so close to Christ yet be so far from Him to not be known by Him though one may have went to church all their life, sung in the choir, taught Sunday School, prayed out loud in church, etc.  

“…shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  this is a promise.  As a chosen child of God we can rest upon this promise that if we sense the openness in our hearts to receive the Word of God, humbly come before an awesome God in true repentance at our sinful depraved life absolutely torn that we have acted this way before God, prayerfully ask for forgiveness of our sinful being, and believe in Jesus Christ that He is Who He says He is..this is a life changing belief that permeates our entire being, then we can live on that promise that we are saved…permanently saved!  We can live on the fact that we will not perish in hell, but will live on forever with God in heaven someday.  We can stand firm on this fact although millions will tell us we are stupid and uneducated to believe in such…count this as joy! 

To be chosen by God without any effort on my part is the most awesome fact in scripture.  This is true grace.  The fact that I was wondrously miserably going through life without God.  Yet, in God’s Sovereign plan I had been chosen before the beginning to be saved.  He knew that my depraved sinful evil wicked heart would not desire Him nor would it ever come to Him on its own…so, the Holy Spirit went to work on me years ago to regenerate my heart, so that at the proper time of His choosing and for His purposes I would receive the Word of God in my heart and accept the fact that I was and am a sinful person.  The fact that the only way out of such bondage was to ask for God to forgive me of this sinful state of being and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  Without God going to work on me first I would still be wondering aimlessly through life rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell.  You see, man loves his sin.  Think about it…before God radically saved you or someone you know, the love of this sinful life permeated every part of them or us.  Only God can changed that.  This was the life of being a dead man spiritually walking through life…a dead man cannot revive himself…God must grant the spark of spiritual regeneration. 

This is where people jump off the good ship….this spiritual regeneration will only be sparked in those to whom God has Elected!  We do not know who these people are, but God knows His own and He will not allow one of His chosen ones, His sheep to be lost.

“Election is the act of God whereby in eternity past He chose those who will be saved.  Election is unconditional, because it does not depend on anything outside of God, such as good works or foreseen faith (Romans 9:16).  This doctrine is repeatedly taught in the Bible, and is also demanded by our knowledge of God.”    John MacArthur “Considering Election”

Remember this, God will not give up His Sovereign Will at anytime in order to give way to man’s free will if He so intends to save a particular man.  If God gives man over to his own depraved free will that is tragic and means that the man is hell bound without hope.  Man’s free will is at war with God’s Sovereign Will, yet by the grace of God, man’s free will is beaten down in order for God to save His own. 

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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True Salvation Is Through Jesus Christ Alone!

Posted by Scott on June 5, 2008

Easy believism taught by many mainstream churches today is not the true salvation taught in scripture.  This “gospel” being taught that God loves you just as you are and he wants to bless your life now…that you can have “your best life now” is a false gospel.  Until a person comes to terms with the fact that they are a sinner condemned to hell apart from a work of God in their life and that repentance is required they will not be truly saved.  You cannot just believe in Christ and not deal with the sin.  This is why so many churches today are racking up great numbers of so called “converts to Christ”…just believe and you are saved, but without repentance.  Anyone will come that kind of Jesus…just believe in Him and you have a ticket to heaven and yet you do not really have to change your life at all….this is wrong and heretical.  Jesus says we must deny ourselves and follow Him.  Was His life on earth easy?  No!  To follow the Jesus Christ of the Bible, to follow the God of the Bible, will not make you the most popular person on the street.  As a matter of fact it will most likely divide your street with most people being on the opposite side from you.  To believe, have faith in and follow the Jesus of the Bible, the true Christ, will require you to turn from the way you are going right now and go the way of Christ.  Our best life is in the future with Christ in the New Heaven for all eternity…it is not right now!  I encourage you to watch John MacCarthur speak on this very subject.  It is a great video.  Enjoy and search your heart today!

 

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Stop Standing Between the Two Worlds!

Posted by Scott on June 3, 2008

Click below to hear a great message on Repent and Believe by Paul Washer:

If the world is what you seek then take it and run with it.  If it is Christ you desire, then repent and believe and run with Him with all your being.  Stop standing in the middle of the fence in both worlds desiring to partake of the world in sin and all her wicked ways, while you desire to get to heaven and escape hell.  God says he will “spew you out of His mouth”.  You must choose this day whom you will serve…is it the world or God, cannot be both?

 

Audio by Paul Washer on Repent and Believe!

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The Desires of Our Heart!

Posted by Scott on April 30, 2008

In my morning studies it was wonderful to come across this passage of scripture again.  I have read this passage many times before, but this morning the meditation on this passage was fruitful in my life.

Psalm 1:2-3  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

Delighting ourselves in the Lord requires daily meditation upon the word of God.  Think of the requirement for our physical health by eatting numerous times per day.  The mediatation of God’s word is the same way.  We need to feast upon God’s word in order to sustain a healthy and growing spiritual life. 

This is like the tree mentioned in the passage.  We are like this tree to God.  A tree planted by a stream of water grows slowly but surely over time.  It has a fresh supply of water daily that never runs dry.  As the tree grows slowly as we grow slowly it will yield its fruit in its season.  We too will yield fruit that glorifies God in its proper season as well.  This tree’s leaves never wither due to lack of nurishment or water.  As we are planted near God always, He is our constant source of nurishment and fresh water. 

The scriptures have only one true authentic meaning or translation, yet it yields numerous applications for our lives.  As we study on God’s word daily and come across the same passage from time to time, we will find a different application many times within the same verse of scripture.  The depth to the well of God never ends.  The well on top looks the same as always, but the water drawn from it is just as rich as the first water ever drawn…God’s word is the same, rich with every reading.  God knows exactly what we need in application of His word at each moment of our life. 

Other scriptures to meditate on about “Delighting in Him” are:  Joshua 1:8  Meditate on God’s word constantly and be careful to obey what you read as it applies.  1 Timothy 4:15 Be very diligent in meditating on the word of God.  Be sure to give yourself completely to the Word of God and be careful to obey what you have read as it applies.  Isaiah 58:13-14 Keep one day holy as the Sabbath to honor Him, Glorify Him, and worship Him.  In this we will delight in Him even more.  Psalm 63:5-6 The evening is an especially good time to meditate on His word taking us into the night.  God calls evening the first day in Genesis 1:5.  What we meditate on in the evening that takes us into our rest at night effects how we start our next morning.  Pslam 119:23 Do not be bothered by those around you who may redicule or slander you.  Just keep meditating on God’s word.  Look to the Bible for counsel.  Meditate on the decrees and statutes.  Psalm 119:99-100 Wisdom comes from meditating on the word of God.  This produces a better understanding of this life and the life to come.  You wil find yourself witha better understanding than your teachers and counselors and elders.  Continue to be odedient to His word and the understanding you now have.  1 Samuel 13:14 We find God calling David “a man after His own heart”.  Why?  David meditated on the word of God, he would wake up in the middle of the night to meditate on the word of God and was always thinking upon the ways of God and His awesomeness in his life.  Psalm 37:4 We are to make the Lord the delight of our life.  In this way He will give us the desires of our heart because we now have the desires He wants in our heart.  Through meditating on the word of God constantly we will understand what it is God intends for us to desire.  God transforms us through His word.  If we do not spend much time in the scriptures how can we expect to know what it is God desires for us? 

Truth to apply:

1. Meditation on the word of God transforms our thoughts to God’s thoughts and desires. 

2. Begin our day in the evenings as our last thoughts being on God’s word.  This will influence the dreams and rest we have at night to assist in the start of a brand new morning.

3. Psalm 1:2-3 He tells us that we will prosper in all that we do if we constantly meditate and read His word.  Why is this?  Because the word of God is a light to our path.  He guides us by His word.  This leads us away from evil counselors and unfruitful activities.  It is important to our faithfulness to meditate on His word daily.  “Prosper” in the Hebrew is tsalach or tsaleach meaning to “push forward” or “come mightily”…it is also to be “profitable” to make “profitable”.  God intends to supply us and use us for His purposes.  For some that could mean financial wealth to be used to further His kingdom and for others it could mean a wealth of knowledge and wisdom beyond our years that can be used to further His kingdom.  Prosperity comes in different shapes and sizes.  I do not think it means many cars and houses, but the wealth is to be given out as God directs and may be needed to further ministries that struggle to keep going or supply families with needed resources during difficult times in their lives.  We are simply to stay in His word constantly in order to know the direction we are to take and how to use that which He prospers us with.

4. Meditation can assist in helping us go to sleep easier.  However, at times it may dislodge impure thoughts in our minds that results in a bad dream.  This is simply purifying our minds and hearts for the fresh new morning ahead.  Refer to John 15:3..the word provided by Christ cleans us and restores our hearts for His greater use on a daily basis.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Continue in the reading and meditating of God’s word regardless of the direction of this world.  Only His word has sustaining power that leads us into eternity.

Scott Bailey 2008

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The Post-Truth Era Strikes Again!

Posted by Scott on March 7, 2008

by Dr. Albert Mohler Jr.

The question of truth has always haunted authors of controversial stories — including both fiction and non-fiction. Nevertheless, non-fiction was understood to represent a claim to be a true, even if highly interpreted, account of reality. Or, at least that has been the understanding until recent times.

Now, in the age of Stephen Colbert’s concept of “truthiness” and what others have called a “post-truth era,” the lines between fiction and non-fiction are becoming more and more blurred. This is true even in the case of some well-known, popular, and influential works.  Does the truth matter anymore?  Do we care if fiction is presented as non-fiction?

In 1992 Guatemalan author Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, largely on the basis of her book, I, Rigoberta Menchu, in which she claimed that she and her family had been subjected to horrible persecution by right-wing Guatemalan forces and the government. While it is likely that this was true, at least in general terms, serious questions have been raised about specifics in her story. Is this not a problem?

In 1976 Asa Earl Carter released another book destined to be a best-seller. Writing under the pseudonym of Forrest Carter the book appeared as The Education of Little Tree. The book was presented as an account of the life of a young Native American boy. It later turned out that the story was not an autobiography at all, but a work of fiction. Nevertheless, the book is still cited as a non-fiction account in many contexts.

President Ronald Reagan had asked historian Edmund Morris to write what many considered the authorized biography covering his life and presidential administrations. Readers were shocked when Morris’s book, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, appeared. The book was not a traditional biography at all. Instead, Morris wove together fictional and historical materials so that the reader is never sure which is which. After controversy ensued, the book’s publisher had the audacity to claim that Morris’s methodology actually represented an improvement or advance in the biographical form.

Two years ago, James Frey was forced to admit that his purported memoir, A Million Little Pieces, was not a truthful account of his struggle with drug addiction.  Then, just last week, the literary world was shaken by the news that Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years by Misha Defonseca is yet another fake.

All this is background to today’s revelation in The New York Times that the book world has been rocked by yet another literary admission.  Truth has been victimized again.

From the story:

In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

The problem is that none of it is true.

Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that published “Love and Consequences,” is recalling all copies of the book and has canceled Ms. Seltzer’s book tour, which was scheduled to start on Monday in Eugene, Ore., where she currently lives.

Here is the most interesting section from the paper’s report:

“I’m not saying like I did it right,” Ms. Seltzer said. “I did not do it right. I thought I had an opportunity to make people understand the conditions that people live in and the reasons people make the choices from the choices they don’t have.” Ms. McGrath [editor for Riverbend] said that she had numerous conversations with Ms. Seltzer about being truthful. “She seems to be very, very naïve,” Ms. McGrath said. “There was a way to do this book honestly and have it be just as compelling.”

That is the saddest aspect of this entire controversy.  This statement just about says it all:  “There was a way to do this book honestly and have it be just as compelling.”  The truth would have served just as well — and would have led to none of these embarrassments and humiliations.

We may live in what some would style a “post-truth era,” but the fact remains that the distinction between fiction and non-fiction matters — and far beyond the literary world.  The truth always matters, and only the most deluded may believe that we can live without it.

Still, there is hope in all this.  Every one of these revelations has brought a sense of outrage.  This just might be a sign that an instinct for the necessity of truth survives even yet.

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Masculinity without Manhood?

Posted by Scott on March 7, 2008

by Dr. Albert Mohler Jr.

It does not take great intellectual sophistication to see that we are in a period of widespread gender confusion. As with so many other developments of our times, our evolving language betrays more substantial shifts in the culture.

Writing in The Boston Globe [warning, article includes crude language], Mark Peters argues that the proliferation of “man” terms indicates this confusion over manhood and masculinity.

“Hey guys. Is it time for a manogram? Did you get your manimony check?,” he asks. Then he points to the bigger picture:

If you feel like you’re seeing man words everywhere, you’re not alone. Movies, TV shows, ads, and the Web have been pumping them out. Some are painful puns, some crude slang, and as a genre, they say a great deal about our ever-in-flux gender roles.

Man words come from many man caves. Manimony (alimony paid to fellas) got a boost when it was used on “Cashmere Mafia” this month, just as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” spread manscaping, which encompasses shaving, waxing, plucking, and other deforestation of the male bod. Manny – the word, not the ballplayer – was popularized by stories about Britney Spears’s male nanny, and mancation caught on after Vince Vaughn said it in “The Break-up.” Commercials feature man laws, man food, man suits, and man thongs. US soldiers in Iraq call the traditional Muslim dishdasha a man dress, while a resurgence of traditional manly activities has led some to discuss a menaissance.

So a “manogram” is a prostate exam and a “mankini” is a swim suit popular in Europe — where it should stay. Peters, who is a keen observer of language, understands well that these linguistic innovations indicate confusion.

Here is the most important section of his article:

How to act like a man is a humdinger of an issue if you are one. The late Steven L. Nock, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, said in an e-mail to me last year that it doesn’t take much for women to prove that they’re “real women” in the widely accepted senses, but men are in a more slippery situation, especially with the role of father/protector/provider not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was. “[M]asculinity must be continuously earned and displayed. It is never won,” Nock wrote. Without a traditional role to embrace, being a man requires constantly defining yourself in opposition to all things female: “No wonder things like man-purses attract attention.”

Peters, citing the late Steven L. Nock, argues that men “are in a more slippery situation” precisely because “the role of father/protector/provider [is] not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was.”

This really does get to the heart of the issue. Men should not expect to be comfortable with an understanding of masculinity that is not based in these roles and responsibilities. When manhood is not defined in these normative terms, confusion necessarily follows — complete with a new and confusing vocabulary.

In a biblical perspective, manhood is defined in these roles and responsibilities.  A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God.  A society that rejects or sidelines these roles and responsibilities — that does not honor fatherhood and hold it out as expectation — will sow seeds of disastrous confusion.  The damage to our language is among the least of our problems.

While the Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-28), the history of the Christian church indicates that these represent a minority.  The normative expectation is that a young man will mature to take on the role of “father/protector/provider” that Peters correctly sees as “not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was” within the secular culture.  Those men who are faithfully living out these responsibilities are not likely to be too concerned about finding true masculinity.  They are living it.

When this expectation is no longer normative, it should be no surprise that men struggle to define masculinity.  The focus shifts from family to fashion accessories.  Our language betrays our confusion, but the confusion reveals a larger betrayal. 

We lie to ourselves if we believe that we can hold onto a healthy masculinity without honoring true manhood. 

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Boys…diagnosed with ADHD, but are they really? Dr. Mohler Jr.

Posted by Scott on February 27, 2008

OK, So What Kid Doesn’t Fit this Description?

When thinking of signs of our times, consider this advertisement from a Nebraska newspaper. The ad was brought to my attention by a helpful listener to the radio program.

Now, let’s think carefully about this. Can’t sit still? Can’t play quietly? Loses things? Does not seem to listen? Has difficulty paying attention? Is fidgety? Honestly, do you know any 6 to 12-year-old children who do not fit this description?

The number of children — especially boys — diagnosed with ADHD has skyrocketed in recent years. While some boys may well have some kind of genuine problem, the vast majority appear to be diagnosed as, well . . . boys. As physician Leonard Sax, author of Boys Adrift, explains, a diagnosis of ADHD lets everyone off the hook, so to speak. The boy is told he is not responsible for his behavioral problems, the parents are relieved of anxiety over inadequate parenting, teachers and bureaucrats have a new pathological slot into which boys can be filed, and drug companies get to sell pills. Everybody wins.

But, as Dr. Sax argues, the diagnosis and the drugs can have far-reaching consequences for the boy. I am not a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a pharmacologist, or a medical professional of any sort. I am a former boy, however, and I know very well that every boy I have ever known would fit the categories described in this advertisement.

I would write more about this, but I just can’t sit still. Now, what were we talking about?

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. (February 27th, 2008)

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Giving Thanks for ALL Things! by Dave Stallings

Posted by Scott on December 11, 2007

Giving Thanks for ALL Things

Ephesians 6:18-20 says “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

My prognosis remains the same today. I still carry around with me, blood cells labeled “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (in fact, in two more weeks I will have finished my 2 year maintenance program). At that point I go on a “Wait & Watch” program where they do nothing until my symptoms resurface. I try to wear a smile every single day. I am grateful to my God for the blessings He has shared with me throughout this ordeal. My family has never been closer in our 37 years of existence. All of the studies to date indicate that I will have fewer years on this earth than most men my age and I remain grateful for the experiences that have been given to me over the last 2 1/2 years. These are blessings that could have never come without this particular difficulty in my life.

I think of Sandy and her probing questions while sitting in the chemotherapy room time and again. Today I feel confident that Sandy has her own personal relationship with God because he brought both Sandy and I together one day. As I knelt there in front of her chemo chair with a needle stuck in my chest, I remember that it was that day that she asked Jesus to control her life. I think of Steve who today wears a different pair of shoes because someone wanted to be a blessing to him through Barb and I.

I think (quite often) of my good friend Mike, who left us in December of 2005, to go and be with the Lord. My wife and I were at his bedside two days before he went home to be with the Lord. He was sleeping peacefully, little if any expression on his face. I walked into the room, bent over his bed and kissed him on the forehead and spoke his name. He never opened his eyes, but he smiled. I don’t believe it was a smile brought on by his facial muscles but rather his heart as he recognized my voice. I talked to him, I read about God to him and prayed (I’m sure) with him and within the next 48 hours he was sitting at the feet of Jesus without any pain, without any tears other than perhaps tears of joy as he was ushered into his heavenly home. I remember saying to Mike during that time, “Michael, when we come to the edge of all the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; either there will be something solid to stand on, or we will be taught how to fly,” and I truly believe that Michael learned to fly that day.

I live every day of my life in pain and if you are reading this blog you probably experience the same thing. It is tough and sometimes it looks as though there is “no way out”. And for some of us, this is true. However, just the mention of our Lord, Jesus Christ, brings a smile to my face because I know with every confidence that He is building a mansion for me and if it is tomorrow or 5 years from now, He will just be placing the last nail in my home in glory. That’s is REALLY something to look forward to.

Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might“!

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, Who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma two and a half years ago..his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”….his blog is http://www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com/, his personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhataz.org/

-Scott Bailey 2007

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A Case For Christ!

Posted by Scott on December 3, 2007

 Go to the website hear! The Case for Christ – The Hearing
Is there a case for Christ? If there were to be an arbitrary legal hearing – a court case to determine whether or not Jesus Christ is in fact the only begotten Son of God – would He be vindicated by the evidence, or exposed as a fraud?

The Case for Christ – The Prosecutor
Has anybody ever compiled the evidence to determine the case for Christ? As a matter of fact, Lee Strobel, an atheist at the time he undertook this endeavor, decided that he would prove Jesus Christ to be a fraud by the weight of the evidence. Strobel was certainly qualified to undertake such a task, compiling the case against Christ. He has a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School and was an award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune. Strobel’s area of expertise was Courtroom Analyst and he rose to the rank of Legal Editor of the Chicago Tribune. Furthermore, Strobel was not biased towards defending Christ – he was an atheist!

The Case for Christ – The Findings
Strobel divides the case for Christ into three basic sections:

1. The Historical Record:

2. A Profile of Jesus Christ:

3. The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:

The Case for Christ – Examining the Evidence
In trying the case for Christ, Strobel cross-examined a number of experts and recognized authorities in their own fields of study. He conducted his examination with no religious bias, other than his predisposition to atheism. Remarkably, after compiling and critically examining the evidence for himself, Strobel became a Christian. Stunned by his findings, he organized the evidence into a book he entitled, The Case for Christ, which has won the Gold Medallion Book Award for excellence. Strobel asks one thing of each reader – remain unbiased in your examination of the evidence. In the end, judge the evidence for yourself, acting as the lone juror in the case for Christ.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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The Awkward Irony of the Atheist Sunday School!

Posted by Scott on November 29, 2007

Dr. Mohler’s Blog

 

Incongruous as it sounds, atheists are now organizing Sunday Schools. TIME magazine reports that many non-believing parents are concerned that their children are not adequately grounded in secular thought and feel left out of experiences like Sunday School that are common among their friends.

Reporter Jeninne Lee-St. John understands that the idea seems a bit strange. “On Sunday mornings, most parents who don’t believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids’ soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there’s no need for church, right?”

Well, not exactly. Lee-St. John explains this new development:

But some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. “When you have kids,” says Julie Willey, a design engineer, “you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on.” So every week, Willey, who was raised Buddhist and says she has never believed in God, and her husband pack their four kids into their blue minivan and head to the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, Calif., for atheist Sunday school.

Packing the kids in the minivan for atheist Sunday School is likely to sound more than a little strange to those accustomed to more traditional Sunday Schools (that teach children about God) but it is fascinating that atheists are concerned that their children need secular instruction.

It seems that many atheist parents are concerned that their children should learn at an early age how to deal with the challenge of living among Christian believers. Furthermore, these parents want to ensure that their children and teenagers learn their own secular values.

The report explains that the growing number of atheists and non-believers in the nation are becoming more concerned about their children, and are establishing both Sunday Schools and atheist youth camps in order to inculcate secular beliefs and morality within the next generation.

The magazine offers a very interesting description of what goes on at a model atheist Sunday School:

The Palo Alto Sunday family program uses music, art and discussion to encourage personal expression, intellectual curiosity and collaboration. One Sunday this fall found a dozen children up to age 6 and several parents playing percussion instruments and singing empowering anthems like I’m Unique and Unrepeatable, set to the tune of Ten Little Indians, instead of traditional Sunday-school songs like Jesus Loves Me. Rather than listen to a Bible story, the class read Stone Soup, a secular parable of a traveler who feeds a village by making a stew using one ingredient from each home.

Down the hall in the kitchen, older kids engaged in a Socratic conversation with class leader Bishop about the role persuasion plays in decision-making. He tried to get them to see that people who are coerced into renouncing their beliefs might not actually change their minds but could be acting out of self-preservation–an important lesson for young atheists who may feel pressure to say they believe in God.

My guess is that these atheist Sunday Schools will not be as successful as these parents hope. “I’m Unique and Unrepeatable” just can’t really compete with “Jesus Loves Me.” Children have not yet developed cynicism and, in general, are quite eager to believe in God. Children taught from the Bible in Sunday School learn that they were made by a loving God who cares for them — and then move on to learn much more about what the Bible teaches. No “secular parable” can compete with that.

In a strange way, the rise of atheist Sunday Schools illustrates the central dilemma of atheism itself. Try as they may, atheists cannot avoid talking about God — even if only to insist that they do not believe in Him. Now, atheist parents are organizing Sunday Schools as a parallel to the Christian practice. In effect, atheists are organizing themselves in a way similar to a local church. At least some of them must sense the awkward irony in that.

By Dr. Mohler Jr.

-Scott Bailey 2007

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