Friday, December 22, 2006

Resurrection Life

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:1-17

This chapter begins with an obvious assumption, that of our being raised with Christ. Therefore what follows is based upon our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. As such, we are then commanded to live in a certain way and reckon the body of sin dead to its former passions and lusts.

Verse 2 gives us the key; setting our minds on the things above, where Christ is. Many times we read in scripture of the need to guard our minds from corrupting thoughts. Our mind is the gateway to our heart and as such we must guard what we allow to be entertained there. What we allow into our minds ultimately enters our heart and becomes the things we wrap our affections around. This is where idolatry begins, by entertaining wrong thoughts which effectively ensnare our heart in misguided adoration.

We are warned to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, and furthermore this is where Satan begins to attack our faith. If we resist the devil, he will flee from us. David wrote, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee". He obviously understood the need to train his mind to focus on scripture and by doing so, his response would be to medidate on the law of God, thereby restraining him from sinning.

As believers today, we have not only the word of God but also His holy Spirit. His indwelling Spirit is opposed to our fleshly desires as scripture says, "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh". They are indeed contrary to one another. By taking God's grace, we are able to overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil. God has commanded that we live an overcoming life, we have no legitimate right to sin or excuse for the same. He has provided all the means for our victory, His very life and nature. Christ Himself is our victory and wants to express Himself through our lives. However, we must daily yield to Him and by taking up our cross, deny our own lusts and selfish pleasures.

God's grace is the enabling quality to overcome any temptation, sin, or trial. For where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. We are never beyond the place where his grace cannot lift us up. God's grace is simply Christ offering Himself as our supply.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fineprint on Finney

I have read much of Finney's heresy in the blogosphere. While not very familiar with Charles Finney, I did read a short biography the other night as I was very curious to see who this man was. However, I found nothing in that biography worthy of labeling him a heretic. So my dear readers, could you please enlighten me as to what exactly this man is guilty of. I would appreciate a point form list of what exactly you find disconcerting.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Missions Minded

I have been slipping here, obviously. Here is the next addition of the missions focus I am trying to maintain.

Gospel for Asia is one of the premiere missions currently operating in the Indian subcontinent. While they are based primarily in India, their influence extends into many neighbouring countries, including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

If you have not read Revolution in World Missions by brother K.P. Yohannan, then you have missed out on one of the most important movements happening in the kingdom today. GFA is on the cutting edge of evangelism in the 10/40 window and has seen thousands come to Christ every year. There are simply too many things to say about this awesome organization so I will simply refer you to their website where you can become more familiar with their work.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


(I hope to return to regularly scheduled programming soon, until then please read this important development concerning the EU)

Europe's New Official Language

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such asreplasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas. If zis mad you smil, pleas lev und coment.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Love & Marriage

If you are not married, this post may seem irrelevant. However, I think you can probably understand what I am trying to say.

For those of us who have been married for a while (myself 13 years), the early days of courting and marriage seem a bit distant as the rush of life consumes our thoughts and energy. But if we think back to those times when we began to fall in love with our future wife or husband, we realize how much our every waking moments had been spent comtemplating our future marriage and life together.

Now I must confess that my thoughts are not consumed all day long with my wife now, as work and the responsibilities of life crowd in, but my love for her is definitely richer and deeper than when we first married. I am beginning to understand the love that Paul talks about in Ephesians, although I have far from arrived.

Is this your experience as well...that marriage has progressed from purely warm and fuzzy to something of depth and meaning? Is this not what the norm should be, that we grow closer together in oneness as we set our affections upon the Lord?

Sadly, this is not the case for thousands of marriages. The proof is that divorce has become a common and everyday occurence in our society. Even in the Church today divorce is rampant, and to make it worse we have preachers who compromise this message making it more acceptable. It is hard to find one family that has not been affected by a marriage breakdown.

Marriage is a wonderful picture of Christ and His Church, and Paul speaks of this mystery in Ephesians. For no reason will Christ forsake His Bride but is lovingly preparing us to meet Him and enter into a joyful fellowship for all eternity. But as God's people, are we truly loving the Lord with all of our heart, or has the love of money and temporal pleasures caused us to lose our first love? Christ's warning in Revelation was quite severe to the church at Ephesus. They had become guilty of losing their first love and He warned them to repent lest He should come and chasten them.

God loves us with a jealous love and will do whatever it takes to correct us when we stray from Him. But His desire is that we submit to Him and enjoy the riches of His grace and the fellowship of His table. In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore. What are you being satisfied with today? Let us return to the Lord, for He will pardon our iniquity and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Link

Well, it's about time I added a new link in the chain. So out of a completely selfless motive, I am linking to JD Hatfield's blog, Voice of Vision. JD has suggested I need to round out my theology a bit more and he is happy to assist in that matter.

There are a couple of reasons I like JD, first being we share the same name. Secondly, our fathers share the same name...and before you ask, no, we are not cousins. JD pastors a church down in the sunny citrus land of Florida, and has a very good attitude towards discussing topics of a Biblical nature. I appreciate his willingness to avoid contentious name calling and seek unity based on scriptural truth.

I can't help but think that I have heard the name Hatfield somewhere before though...hmmm...could it have been on an old episode of the Flintstones where Fred goes to visit some distance relatives in Arkansas. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Anyways, I think I am now well roundedly linked to reformed brethren and calvinistically minded individuals. To avoid the danger of becoming unbalanced, I need to find some other view points. Does anyone have some recommendations?

By the way, nobody likes a person to remain unlabeled. What in your opinion is the label you would attach to my beliefs as you have read them. How am I coming across?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Faith Alone

We all know the verse in Ephesians that declares we are saved by grace through faith, and this totally apart from any form of works. The mere fact that it is the grace of God that saves us precludes any act on our part of coming to Christ on our own merit. I think we would all agree on this point.

However, I think sometimes the meaning of 'faith' can become obscured or fuzzy, and we attach meanings and assumptions that are possibly not correct to try and properly understand this word. Hebrews chapter 11 states that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Therefore faith at its core has the implication of something that is not really tangible, and yet so profoundly understood that it transcends the realm of logic and reason and that of sight and sound.

Curiously enough, the word 'faith' stands alone and is only defined by its measure or activity. I have not confirmed this 100% completely, but I cannot think of one instance where faith has a modifier either preceding or following it.

Is there such a thing as a modifier for the word 'faith'?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sinless Perfection

The doctrine of Perseverance teaches us that a genuine believer will last or persevere until the end of his or her life. They will ultimately prevail over sin by demonstrating fruits of repentance. While not perfect, their lives will have obvious signs of works which therefore prove the legitimacy of their faith.

I do not wish to discuss the Biblical accuracy of this doctrine today, but rather to look at the matter of sin in the life of a 'genuine' believer. As we know, God does not wink at sin nor does He overlook our sins. We know that He has paid the ransom to redeem us from our sins and the power of sin. Why then do we continue to sin?

If we have the nature of Christ within us as the Bible says, why do we as christians continue to sin? Why do some of us experience more victory over sin than others? How much can a believer sin and still be a 'genuine' christian? Has God ordained that we sin?

From the following verses, it would seem God desires us to be perfect in all that we say and do. Is this theoretically possible for us to do? Why or why not? I would really love to hear from my Calvinist friends.

2Co 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Php 3:15
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

2Ti 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

1Pe 1:15
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1Pe 1:16
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

1Jo 2:1(a)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

Joh 8:11
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Japan Mission

Last week I mentioned listening to a radio program called "Unshackled". One of the programs featured a missionary to Japan. In the two part series, South African, Neil Verwey describes how the Lord led him to go as a young man to Japan. Prior to his going he had vowed not to get married, but shortly after arriving met a single missionary lady who he eventually fell in love with. Neil and Peggy Verwey founded Japan Mission and have been serving the Lord together in Japan for 50 years. Even today, Neil has no plans of "retiring" but desires to be used by God for the furthering of the kingdom in Japan.

Neil describes the challenges and rewards of bringing the gospel to the Japanese people. Because Japanese culture is so tightly family oriented, many Japanese feel they must first ask their parents for permission to become christians. They also feel much pressure to continue in the idolatrous practices that are so much a part of society.

Japan has one of the smallest percentages of evangelical believers of any country in the world. Truly the harvest is plentiful in that nation, and in desperate need of messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ. If you are seeking a nation to minister to, Japan definitely ranks as being very needy of prayer. May God do a mighty work there and set the captives free.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The True North

My wife took a few photos around the house.
In the bottom one, our 8 year old son is looking
out at dusk towards a sundog.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Check It Out!

Doing book reviews was always a big reason I decided to blog. However it seems I failed to get really started in that regards. Then after reading many of the book reviews by fellow bloggers I felt somewhat ill prepared to properly give a review.

People read books for all sorts of reasons. For some reading opens up doors of knowledge and learning, while for others reading gives them an enjoyable pastime whereby they can escape into a fantasy world of their imagination. As a young boy I loved to read adventure novels as well as anything to do with the outdoors, military, or cowboys. I was greatly intrigued by military history and loved reading through books detailing great wars of the past.

Within the heart of every man is a longing for adventure and excitement. Sadly, many of us pass the days cooped up behind desks, or chained to endless menial tasks. Our yearning for this adventure wains as we age but there is always a quiet longing lurking in the heart. God has designed men this way, and while these desires have been greatly abused throughout history, nevertheless God is still looking for men who will step out in faith and trust Him to lead them into the unknown.

For many of us who grew up as church kids or were raised in christian homes, we thought of the christian life as a docile and passive existence where we attended the meetings and were good quiet little members of society. So when I began to read "Rebel with a Cause" I was immediately drawn to the adventurous lifestyle of Franklin Graham. Even after Christ saved him, Franklin was still willing to risk his safety to reach people with the gospel, and bring much needed relief through meeting physical needs.

I had always though of both Billy and Franklin Graham as simply evangelists who never really knew what the average man went through, or for that matter ever exposed themselves to hardships etc. But as I read this book, I gained a whole new sense of respect for Franklin and his ministry, Samaratin's Purse.

While this book definitely doesn't rank as a theological book, it nevertheless meets the most important requirements for any sound theology; that of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost sinners. I was impressed that Samaratin's Purse makes sharing Christ the main reason for their endeavours and ministry. From what I can gather, they have not simply become another christian humanitarian organization that gives but neglects to preach the message of Christ, rather, their desire for the word to be spread is evident in their condition of accepting projects.

A very interesting concept I read about was something that the founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce, called "God room". I will let Franklin explain:

From India we went to Katmandu, Nepal, and Iran. While traveling with Bob, I learned many of life's lessons. But the lesson Bob taught me that stands out above all else is what Bob called "God room". "What do you mean?" I asked him once when he started talking about "God room". He gave me a glance that was close to disgust, almost as if to say, "Don't you know?" He took a deep breath and sighed before he said, "'God room' is when you see a need and it's bigger than your human abiities to meet it. But you accept the challenge. You trust God to bring in the finances and the materials to meet that need. "You get together with your staff, your prayer partners, and supporters, and you pray. But after all is said and done, you can only raise a portion of the resources required. "Then you begin to watch God work. Before you know it, the need is met. At the same time, you understand you didn't do it. God did it. You allow Him room to work."

Is that not the essence of faith? Allowing ourselves to go beyond what our eyes can see and by faith accept the challenges the Lord puts in our path? God wants to be glorified through our lives, but we must be willing to let Him have control and the ultimate say. This concept lit a fire in me as I began to see more the practical working of faith.

This book is a personal look into the life of one of America's most famous Christian families, and yet it is more than simply a autobiography. I found it to be faith challenging as I was presented with situations where christian men were willing to step out by faith, and allow God to be magnified while bringing the gospel and food and clothing to impoverished souls.

I would strongly encourage you to get this book and allow your faith to be stretched. May we all be willing to ask, "Lord what do you have for me?"