“Those People” Need Christ Too

by G C Forsman

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks your

 ~ Casting Crowns

As Christians, we are doing an absolutely horrible job of sharing Christ with with world. I have thought this for some time now, and a recent post (An Open Rebuke… Er… Letter to the Western Church) by my friend Daniel M. Klem got me to thinking.

Certainly there are great people that God is using to make a difference, but what about each and every one of us who claim to be Christians?  Are we doing our part? How many people have you spoken with about Christ lately? How many Gay people have you convinced that Christians do not hate them? How many times have you crossed the racial lines to show the love of Christ? Do your actions show others that Christ really does make a difference in your life? Do your actions make others want what you have, or do they drive people further from Christ?

Paula White said, “God doesn’t focus on your current state, He speaks to you from your future! He knows your potential!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw the potential in each other instead of everything that’s wrong with a person. Maybe if we spent less time talking about people, and more time praying for them things could change.

Make an effort to love others through Christ as they are,
and leave it up to God to transform their lives!
~ Paula White

What is a Christian’s Role in the World

by G C Forsman

Everywhere you look, there are Christians being persecuted.

Hindu Extremists Refuse to Let Christians Buy and Sell in India

Christian Couple Attacked for Refusing to Recant Faith

Priest Beheaded as Crowd Cheers

School Shuts Off Mic as Valedictorian Voices Faith

Here in America, we know our country was founded on Biblical Principles. However, that doesn’t matter to people today. The church has always been persecuted. Jesus said “Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20, NKJV)

Murder is being committed in incredible numbers and justified a choice.

Doctor Found Guilty of First Degree Murder in Philadelphia Abortion Case

Second House of Horrors, Abortion Clinic is Investigated in Texas

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, NKJV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13–16, NKJV)

Gay Marriage is Accepted and Glorified

College Professor Demands Students Support Homosexual Behavior

Franklin Graham: No One is Entitled to Rearrange God’s Divine Order

The Homosexual in America

Selling Homosexuality to America

Gay Marriage Ruling Already in Use in Other Cases

State , Gay Couple Sue Christian Flower Shop

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NKJV)

Where Does That Leave Christians?

How should the Church respond to a culture that seems increasingly hostile toward Christianity and Christian principles?

We need to stop trying to inform people about the past, and start making an impact for today. As we see our culture, and the world, deteriorating into a moral-less ball of confusion it is our job to point the world to Christ. Resist the idea to run away from the world and cry “poor me.” We cannot seek special protection as a persecuted minority.

We seem to forget that right after God listed all of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God, He added, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NKJV) We need to engage the culture in a different way, our authority and power as Christians is not derived by any government institution; it is a gift from our Father in Heaven, The Almighty God. We must defend the truth lovingly, cheerfully, with a child-like charm and innocence.  Allowing others to see Jesus in all we do and say.

In a 2000 sermon, John Piper draws out six truths from 1 Peter 2:9-17 about how Christians should be involved in society and culture.

________

1. We were once all in darkness, along with the whole world.

Notice the phrase near the end of verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness.” We were once in darkness. The darkness of sin and unbelief and ignorance about God and his ways. It was the darkness of deadness in sin, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:5. This is the condition of our culture and our society. And we were once a part of it by nature. Why are we no longer?

2. God called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This truth comes from the same phrase in verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are not by nature smarter or wiser or more courageous than those who remain in darkness. The difference is that God exerted toward us an absolutely undeserved and compelling kindness: he called us. Paul put it like this in1 Corinthians 1:23-24, “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” It was the omnipotent call of God that wakened us from the spiritual sleep of death and opened our eyes to the power and wisdom of God in Christ. Let us never forget: Free and powerful grace alone is the decisive reason that we are able to see the darkness of our culture and be free in some measure from it.

3. God’s aim in calling us out of darkness is to send us back to (but not in) that darkness to “proclaim his excellencies.”

Now all of verse 9: “But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthooda holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” That is why you have been called out. That is why you are God’s people, a chosen race. We exist to display with word and deed the excellencies of God. This is the way God’s call came to us. Freely we received, now let us freely give. Our witness is not the same as the call of God. But God’s call happens through our display of God’s excellencies. When we speak and show God’s excellencies to others, we provide the truth that God may grant the blind to see. If we say nothing, they will see nothing. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). And new birth is “through the living and abiding word,” the gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25).

4. God’s aim is that the way we make his excellencies known to the darkened culture around us take place both by avoidance and by engagement.

This is very crucial to see. Some err here by stressing one to the exclusion of the other. One group is swept away with social action. Another is absorbed in personal holiness. The Biblical way is both/and, not either/or.

Notice verse 11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” This is the avoidance ethic. And it is absolutely right and necessary. There are things in our culture that we should simply avoid and abstain from.

But notice verse 12: “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Here we are “among the Gentiles.” Here we are going on display to the Gentiles. Here we are not just avoiding their effect on us, we are aiming at having an effect on them with positive action. “They observe your good deeds and glorify God.”

Over and over in the New Testament the writers stress that we were created and converted to be engaged relentlessly in a life of public good deeds. Indeed, Titus 1:14says that Christ died to “purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” The term “good deeds” does not mean sitting at home watching wholesome videos instead of going out and watching dirty movies. Good deeds means designing ministries for caring for AIDS orphans in Africa, and feeding the malnourished, and housing the homeless, and teaching the illiterate and ignorant, and freeing the addicted and fighting crime and visiting the prisoner and befriending the lonely, laboring in the cause of protecting the unborn and relieving the crisis of unexpected pregnancies, and a thousand other visible ways of doing good to others in the name of Jesus (see Titus 2:7-8;3:8Hebrews 10:22Matthew 5:16).

My point here is that, in relation to our sin-riddled culture, we should pursue both avoidance and engagement; both purity of heart and merciful involvement, both personal holiness and public justice. In short, we should with the mind of Christ be both culture-denying and cultural transforming. The transformed mind steeped in scripture will discern when and how.

5. Submission to cultural institutions (like the state, and places of employment and family) is not canceled out by our freedom in Christ (and our citizenship being in heaven, and our being “strangers and exiles on earth), but our submission is put on a whole new footing of submission to God.

You see the call to submission in verse 13: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.” Christians are not self-assertive rebels who kick against the pricks of regulations in government and business and schools and home. We are eager to be supportive and compliant wherever it does not compromise our commitment to Christ our king.

But notice the words in verse 13, “for the Lord’s sake.” Or: “On account of the Lord.” Once we may have been submissive out of fear, or out of conniving for advancement, or out of greed, or out of laziness, or because we believed that these earthly institutions really were our master. But that is not how Christians submit now. It is for the Lord’s sake.

Verse 16 is Peter’s interpretation of those crucial words: “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” We are free. We are not slaves to any human institution. So why submit? Why not drive at any speed we want? Why not pay whatever tax we feel like? Why not come to class late? Why not wear perfume to the first service and park in the most convenient place for ourselves? Why not come in at whatever hour you please as a teenager? Why submit to a hundred rules and laws and guidelines in our culture and work places and schools and homes?

The answer is, God freed us from these institutions as masters, and then sent us back into them to declare his excellencies as his servants, not the servants of man. We submit in freedom, for the Lord’s sake. Everything is on a different footing. All is from the Lord and for the Lord. Christ died to purify us for good deeds and we enter the world and the culture with a view to displaying the glory and the excellency of this great Christ.

6. Finally, Christians honor all persons, and seek to do it in different ways that are not the same for each, but appropriate to their roles in life.

Verse 17: “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” There is a special kind of honor for the king. There is a special fear for God. There is a special love for fellow Christians. But there is an honor for all persons, including the wicked.

Matthew Henry wrote:

The wicked must be honored, not for their wickedness, but for any other qualities, such as wit, prudence, courage, eminency of employment, or the hoary head. Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, the prophets, and the apostles never scrupled to give due honor to bad men (Commentary on the Whole Bible [Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., n.d.], 1019).

So in conclusion, let us not simply be a passive and apathetic people priding ourselves in our avoidance ethic. Let us live in the power of the grace that called us out of darkness into light and let us turn back to that very dark and dying culture and declare the excellencies of the One who called us, and let us be rich in good deeds, so that people might see the kind of Master we serve and give him glory on the day of visitation.

The Role of Spouses in Making Decisions

by Os Hillman

“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

When John Benson decided to make some financial investments in a new business venture, he was very excited about the possibilities for a handsome financial return. His business and financial background had served him well. John felt strongly that his wife Jenny would not understand the complexity of his investment, so he casually mentioned it to her. When she asked a few simple questions, John became defensive and justified his plans for investing in the venture.

A year later, after investing a large sum of money, John received a phone call from the investment company. All the investors who had put money in the company were going to lose their investment with no ability to recoup it.

This story could be retold repeatedly across the world. God’s principles for making decisions require input from both spouses, regardless of their level of expertise. If you are not married, make sure you seek wisdom from a few close associates you know and trust.

God has called married couples to be one. If we seek to make decisions independently, then we benefit from only 50% of the intended resource God has placed within our grasp. In marriage, this stewardship of decisions requires two people. God blesses this union by honoring the decisions made with the motive of glorifying God and relying on His Spirit to lead in our decision-making process.

Before you make a major decision, get confirmation for your decision from your spouse.

SUPREME COURT: GOD & BIBLE ARE IRRELEVANT

A great article from Jay Younts at Shepherd Press
June 26, 2013

supremecourtmain
In two 5-4 decisions, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the person of God and his Scripture are no longer relevant with regard to the institution of marriage. In the place of God, the Court has ruled that the will of men determines what constitutes marriage.

The court’s decision is built on a moral foundation less stable than quicksand.

Let’s be clear, these verdicts are more about the failure of the church to be salt and light than they are about the failure of the Supreme Court. For at least three generations the church has allowed her children to be taught that God has no part in the educational process. It began by teaching that God has nothing to do with math, science, economics, literature, or civics. This soon spread to the teaching that God has nothing to do with morality and history.

The court majority swept aside the view of marriage that has been upheld throughout recorded history. The court’s replacement view was not even a consideration twenty years ago. Arrogance moves with astounding haste and lack of caution.

[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]

Read more: http://kirkcameron.com/2013/06/supreme-court-god-bible-are-irrelevant/#ixzz2XTfXBmP2

Polyamorists Battle for Legal Recognition in Canada

A group of polyamorists says they want the same legal status as other relationships, following the group’s first national convention in Canada.

Polyamory involves intimate relationships between three or more people at the same time.

Canada redefined marriage in 2005 and saw a major legal case involving polygamy in 2011.

Read more at http://www.charismanews.com/world/40024-polyamorists-battle-for-legal-recognition-in-canada

Is this next for America too?

To God be the Glory

By G C Forsman

Delight yourself in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

(Psalm 37:4, ESV)

I have said before that we should be sharing what Jesus did for us with others, and tonight I want to do just that.

This week has been amazing and miraculous. But before I get to that, allow me to give you the back story.

I used to joke that it would be nice to work on the weekend, and have the week off.  Then God gave me just such a job.  I worked 54 hours straight starting at 3:00 pm on Friday, and ending 9:00 pm Sunday.  While working in this position, I was afforded the opportunity to teach a Bible Study every Sunday.  During one Bible Study, I was asked a question and I answered with the word of God (Leviticus 18:22). For standing on the word of God, I was rewarded by being fired from my job.

It is my understanding that when you get fired you cannot collect unemployment, and thought surely the company would protest paying me.  Somehow God removed all obstacles and unemployment payments began after the normal one week delay.  Almost immediately I found a part-time job that allowed me to continue to cover my financial responsibilities.  As I began my job search, I interviewed for a great position only 5 miles from my home. I was notified that I have been selected for this position.

So… God gave me a good job that I used to joke about having.  I stood on his word and was persecuted for doing so.  God responded by providing all of my needs, and then delivered even a better job closer to home.  He is truly amazing!!  I give God all the glory.  I know He protected my family and I, and that He rewarded me for standing on His word.

I know there are those who would disagree with God’s word, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

It is important to know God’s word… It is more important to know God. It is a relationship, not a religion.

Fathers are in the instruction business!

by Jay Younts

Fathers are in the instruction business–the business of instructing their children to live obediently for the glory of God. Our culture has come to scoff at and even disdain this notion. Parents, and fathers in particular, are seen more as caregivers than as leaders charged with the responsibility of building lives.

Words like leadership and accountability don’t sit well in today’s politically correct world. In this world everything must be done for the child in order to serve the child. According to this view, parents must provide care for their children while being careful not to contaminate their minds with stuff about authority and religion.

If fathers are relegated to the role of caregiver, then someone else has to be responsible to teach children how to think about their world. Sound far-fetched? It has already happened. The state has taken upon itself the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.

Thankfully, God’s command regarding the role of fathers has not changed. God has charged fathers with the responsibility to raise their children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Mothers and fathers are not primarily caregivers. They are the holy representatives of the God of Creation to their children. The father’s authority is not authority that has been given to him by the state. The father’s authority is mandated by God and derived from God.

Churches must rise again to actively promote the role of the father as the leader of the family. Husbands and wives form the distinct union of being one-flesh. Fathers function in that union to embrace the responsibility of instructing their children about the world. The gospel is the central component of this instruction. Presenting the gospel requires that the reality of sin must be clearly incorporated into daily instruction. This means that the reality of a Savior to whom all men must turn to escape punishment must also be a daily part of a child’s instruction.

This Father’s Day, the biblical role of father matters more than it ever has in America and the rest of the world. Fathers have been given the task of overseeing that their children are raised in the ways of God. Parents must not be relegated to the role of caregivers while others indoctrinate children in the belief system of the redefined family.

For the church to be salt and light we must reclaim the role of the father as the leader of his family. Fathers, commit yourselves to lead your family. Instruct your children to know and love God, to understand the world as the Bible explains it, and to honor their heavenly Father. Teach your children to live for the glory of God and the gospel!