Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Using Satan to Spread the Word? Say What?

A Texas church has begun using a testimonial from Satan in its advertising. The billboard reads, "I Hate Victory Family Church - Satan." A church official reports that more than 3,000 people have visited the Victory Family Church (Decatur, Texas) website since the sign went up, and church attendance is up as well.

The official went on to say that this only the first salvo in the church's campaign to get people's attention. The next full-size billboard will read, "Victory Family Church Stole My Kids -- Satan."

What do you think? Inspired? Blasphemous? Misguided? Not surprised?

What should we, the church, say to this "campaign?" Getting beyond one's visceral response, what's the correct Biblical response?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is It Any Wonder? Where's Our Priority?

An estimated 75 million adults (42%) said that reading the Bible is very important to them . . . but less than 50% of Americans can name the first book of the Bible.

Then, of those 42% that said they read the Bible, the average amount of time they spend reading their Bible is less than 7 minutes a day.

And yet, the average person spends almost 5 hours a day watching TV.

Is it any wonder the condition we find ourselves? The condition of the church?!

How about you? What's your condition?

Joshua 1:8a This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.

Psalm 119: (15) I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (16) I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (105) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (147) I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. (148) My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness

Helpful Resource - D.A. Carson, For the Love of God

Saturday, June 09, 2007

That is NOT the Gospel!

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:25-26)

"When was the last time any American, African, or Asian ever said Jesus is all-satisfying because you drove a BMW? Never! That's idolatry! That's not the gospel. God is enough! He is our treasure!" (Pastor John Piper, Birmingham, AL, Nov. 2, 2005)

Strong message and words from John Piper. Agree? Disagree? In whole? In part?

Friday, June 01, 2007

God's Smiling Face Hidden Behind Frowning Providence

Lord, even in the face of the dark clouds that we face this day, or that loom on the horizons of our tomorrows, we declare your great sovereignty over our todays and tomorrows, and that your smiling face is turned toward us as we remain humbly submitted to you and your word (Is. 66:2). Lord, we thank you that your faithfulness is great (so much greater than ours), and as a result, we have hope for today, and even brighter hope for tomorrow! Surely, your mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23)! So we give you praise - the sovereign God from whom all blessings flow! To you belongs all the praise, glory and honor! Amen!

"One of the best illustrations of God's hiding a smiling face behind a frowning providence is the story of how John Owen failed to help John Bunyan get out of prison. Repeatedly when Bunyan was in prison Owen worked for his release with all the strings he could pull. But to no avail. But when John Bunyan came out in 1676 he brought with him a manuscript "the worth and importance of which can scarcely be comprehended." In fact Owen met with Bunyan and recommended his own publisher, Nathaniel Ponder. The partnership succeeded, and the book [Pilgrim's Progress] that has probably done more good, after the Bible, was released to the world—all because Owen failed in his good attempts to get Bunyan released, and because he succeeded in finding him a publisher. The lesson: "Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face."
(John Piper, The Chief Design of My Life: Mortification and Universal Holiness, Reflections on the Life and Thought of John Owen [1994 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors])

"There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God is faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a profest brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises. Ah, faltering soul, severely-tried fellow-pilgrim, seek grace to heed Isaiah 50:10, 'Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.' When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God, cry out, 'Get thee hence, Satan.' Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of His love, wait on Him for more light. In His own good time He will make it plain to you. 'What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter' (John 13:7). The sequel will yet demonstrate that God has neither forsaken nor deceived His child. 'And therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him' (Isa. 30:18)."
(A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God [Baker, 2006])

See also, John J. Murray, Behind a Frowning Providence (Banner Of Truth, 1990); and, The Providence of God, from Monergism.com.