Friday, January 30, 2009

The Year of Living Dangerously - Al Mohler Sermon Jam

This is a powerful sermon jam that is an excerpt from Al Mohler's Southern Baptist Seminary Convocation Message "The Year of Living Dangerously" you can find the full length message here.

Listen and ponder where our treasure is and what really matters this side of eternity . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Testimony - Overcoming Depression and Attempted Suicide

This is a testimony from Heath who is one of my very dear Australian friends. Though Heath has been through real hardship he is a living testimony to the transforming work God does when He saves somebody. I knew Heath before he was a Christian and he is definitely a different person. It was Heath who asked me to post his testimony which is amazing in itself because he is very shy by nature - testifying again to the transformational work happening in Heath's life.

Here is the audio of Heath's testimony. (If you struggle with the accent it is only because Australians are the ones who speak normal and everyone else is weird).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Atheist Confessions About Witnessing - Penn Jillette

Well known Las Vegas comedian/magician and atheist Penn Jillette is known for being outspoken in his atheism (In January 2007, Jillette took the "Blasphemy Challenge" offered by the Rational Response Squad and publicly denied the existence of a Holy Spirit).

In this video Jillette recounts an encounter with a Christian who gave him a Bible and witnessed to him. Penn waffles a little at the start of the video but watch it through because his comments contain some very revealing (and convicting) information about what many atheists think about "lukewarm" Christianity. Check it out . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Legalism and Modern Evangelicalism - Paul Washer

"Everybody is wanting to do something when we ought to be wanting to be something."

- Paul Washer

Sobering words . . . may we all examine ourselves in the light of God's truth and let that truth search our innermost caverns of darkness.

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (II Corinthians 13:4-5)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Get This Book!

While living in Australia, a good friend of mine and myself attended a church for many years without understanding that we had never heard the true biblical Gospel. This fellowship was typical of many congregations we find in the west today. Eventually we left this church hungry for the truth. My friend and myself started tapping into good biblical teaching which was an exhilerating journey of discovery. Among the many great resources we have been exposed to is a book called "The Gospel According to Jesus". My good friend was so impacted by this book, and its content is so important, that I have decided to post today what he had to say about this book.

Title The Gospel According To Jesus
Tagline What Is Authentic Faith?
Author John MacArthur
Edition Revised & Expanded Anniversary Edition
ISBN 978-0-310-28729-2

I'm struggling to properly articulate just how good this book is. Please bear with me as I indulge in an embarrasing but genuinely heartfelt list of excessive superlatives.

1. Drop everything you are doing. Go and get this book. Put your life on hold until you've finished reading it. I mean it.

2. This is by far the best exegetical book I have ever read. Period. Better than any Spurgeon book - which is a big call for a big Spurgeon fan such as myself. Better than Hell's Best Kept Secret. Better even than "Ashamed of the Gospel".

3. Reading this book reminded me of what Tozer said of Faber: "His love for the Person of Christ was so intense that it threatened to consume him. It burned within him as a sweet and holy madness and flowed from his lips like molten gold." Molten gold flows out of this book. Even the appendices!

4. As I read this book, I realised that, with regard to the Gospel, my salvation, and Biblical exegesis, I have been sitting in a very dark room for a very long time. Reading this book, the door was starting to be prised open, and the light was pouring in, and my eyes, half-blind from long dis-use, were both hurting from the light, and were straining to make out the shapes in the light. Sadly I'm not too sure I completely like what I see......

5. I finally (partially) understand some of the difficult sayings of Jesus. For many years now, I have "dispensationalised" the Bible thus: A. the Old Testament. B. The New Testament from Acts onwards. C. The gospels, with Jesus saying strange things that don't seem to fit in either the New or the Old. I have been assuming that Jesus was trying to subtly introduce pre-New-Covenant, pre-salvation concepts to Old Covenant listeners, hence the cryptic, seeming half Old half New nature of His sayings. I now realise that my understanding of the Gospel has been so faulty, and so tainted, by my long term exposure to the eroded modern version of the Gospel, that I did not even recognize the Gospel from Jesus Himself.

6. I feel like I've just heard the gospel for the first time in my life.

7. The book includes an entire chapter on the definition of repentance!!

Now, stop reading your email and go and get the book! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ronnie - Coming Soon to a Seeker Sensitive Mega Church Near You

Have you met Ronnie? Maybe he's the guy who sits next to you in church. Maybe he's the guy who hangs out at youth group or maybe Ronnie is you . . . at least to a certain extent . . .

Ronnie is a cutting satire that has a scary amount of reality to it. Ronnie is the by product of the co-mingling of a consumer driven society with a biblically illiterate church culture.

I thank God for all the pastors out there who persevere in faithfull exposition of God's Word oblivious to the latest "40 Days of Your Best Prayer of Jabez Now" fad that's sweeping the mega-church down the road. True success is faithfulness to the mandate God gave His Church - preaching the Word on two occasions - in season and out of season!

Think about poor old Noah for a moment. 100 years of preaching righteousness without a "church growth manual" - no wonder noone else got on his ark. If your pastor has not bowed his knee to the Baals of self esteem, success, and sensuality. If he faithfully expounds the Scriptures preaching Christ crucified. Cling to him, thank him, listen to him, and resource him to continue in his labor.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Tony Jones (Part 3)

Tony Jones and the F-Bomb

After a fairly large amount of exposure to the "emergent conversation" it has become apparent that the use of coarse language is fairly commonplace. This is obviously not the case for every individual who is a part of the "emergent village" but it certainly seems to be an alarming trend.

It is no surprise when the national corodinator of the emergent village is not averse to some of the worst forms of "colorful language". Tony Jones speaking about the Bible wrote:

"This connection between deconstruction and the Bible is especially meaningful, methinks. I am quite convinced that the Bible is a subversive text, that it constantly undermines our assumptions, transgresses our boundaries, and subverts our comforts. This may sound like academic mumbo-jumbo, but I really mean it. I think the Bible is a f***ing scary book (pardon my French, but that's the only way I know how to convey how strongly I feel about this). And I think that deconstruction is the only hermeneutical avenue that comes close to expressing the transgressive nature of our sacred text."

There it is, a great case of bad theology and bad language going hand in hand. Tony Jones, "theologian in residence" at Doug Pagitt's fellowship otherwise known as "Solomon's Porch" drew deep from his well of Christian apologetics and stated (concerning the issue of swearing):

“People in the Bible swear. And we need to re-think the cultural context of swearing.”

Really Tony? Do you really need to use that language? Is it the best witness to the fallen world around us? When Paul writes to the church in Ephesus:

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

is it possible that your coarse language could fall into this category. Tony Jones would argue in the negative but either way is it really worth taking speculative chances with the word of God or erring on the side of caution in order to take care not to offend God. The Bible makes a very strong case against offending God - think Ananias and Saphira - and also to avoid the appearance of evil.

Here is an interesting article I found on the subject so you can make up your own mind:

Why any Christian would fight for the liberty to use foul language is beyond me, but there is a growing debate as to whether cussing is appropriate for the believer. Let’s start with two basic facts:

First, There is no verse in the Bible that specifically says, “Thou shall not use any of these words,” followed by a list of the most common cuss-words of our day. Second, the verse most people use to argue against the use of foul language is Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth . . . .” As the second half of the verse seems to indicate, the “unwholesome word” Paul has in view here is probably not a reference to individual cuss-words, but rather to unkind, unhelpful, or untrue statements or messages that would tear a fellow believer down rather than building him up.

Having said that, I wouldn’t want anyone to rush to the hasty conclusion that cussing is appropriate. In my view there are at least six reasons to conclude that cussing is inappropriate for believers.

1. Many of the words known as cuss-words are descriptions of immoral acts, filthy emissions of waste from the body, or private body parts. Whatever the original meanings of these words, these vulgar meanings are undoubtedly connected with them now. When a person uses one of these words, he is calling to mind one of these acts or objects. With this in mind, remember that Paul tells Christians to dwell on things that are honorable, pure, lovely, and excellent (cf. Phil. 4:8). When you use language that calls to mind some obscene act or private body part, you are not only dwelling on the wrong objects yourself, you are also making it difficult for your hearer to focus on the right things.

2. The Christian who uses foul language in public wastes the opportunity to set himself apart from many unbelievers who commonly say the same things. The fact is, the person who does not know you but hears you fire off a cuss-word in a sentence would not likely think, “Now there’s a fine Christian man (or woman)”? Your speech leaves him with no reason to suspect that you are any different than everyone else, and therefore, gives him no reason to listen to what you might have to say about Christ.

3. Paul wrote to Corinth, saying, “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). He did not want Christians to offend anyone unnecessarily, not even the unbelievers around them, and certainly not a fellow Christian. He was not referring to the offense of the gospel, of course, or an offense taken by someone who despises certain Christian beliefs or practices. Cussing is not part of the gospel message, however, and it certainly is not an essential Christian practice. Therefore, if even a single Christian (or an unbeliever, for that matter) is offended by your foul language, you have sinned.

4. Many movies receive an “R” rating because of foul language, meaning that even unbelievers recognize that cussing is inappropriate, at least for children. Additionally, in many public parks and other venues, the use of foul language is prohibited altogether. Frankly I find it shameful when Christians claim as a personal liberty that which even our pagan society recognizes as offensive.

5. Given the fact that the tongue is “a restless evil and full of deadly poison,” that which cannot be tamed and which “defiles the body” (James 3:6, 8), Christians should have as their “default setting” a natural suspicion of what comes out of their mouths. This thought is affirmed by Proverbs 10:19 which says, “When there are many words, sin is not lacking.” The fact is, the more you say, the more likely you are to sin. Using these biblical principles as a guide, if there is any question as to whether or not something produced by the tongue is sinful, we should always err on the side of caution rather than appealing to our liberty.

6. One would hope that Christians who claim the liberty to cuss in public, among their families, or even in the presence of other believers, would at least find such language unthinkable in the presence of Jesus Christ. The fact is, however, if you would not cuss in His presence, then you cannot cuss with a clean conscience at all because as Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

I would never want to rob a believer of any genuine Christian liberty, but our liberty in Christ is not “the right to do whatever is not explicitly prohibited.” Christian liberty is freedom from the slavery of sin (Rom. 6:16-22), freedom from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), and freedom to “have as our ambition . . . to be pleasing to [the Lord]” (2 Cor. 5:9).

Judge for yourself, but please make your highest aim to glorify God in all that you do and say (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31). And remember as you judge that “there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:4).

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

Sunday, January 4, 2009

False Teacher Exposes Himself - Marjoe Documentary

This video (sorry, but the sound is a little out of sync with the video) serves as a sobering lesson to those of us so easily seduced by every new sensation that arrives on the scene of "Christian phenomenon". This is not to suggest that every televangelist is a fraud nor that I endorse Marjoe's mockery of the Living God that he will one day face in judgment. I cringe when I watch this but believe it is helpful viewing to the legions of people out there who desire the reality of God in their lives without exercising biblical discernment. Watch this video and be reminded of why the Apostle Paul commended the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica" because "they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so".

To watch the whole documentary go to

Please exercise some biblical discernment next time you view some "Christian television".

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Man's Inventions v God's Directions - Can You Spot The Difference

Let me ask you what are you being fed in your "local church"? Does it come from the tree of man made religion or God breathed Scripture? When you sit in your pew this sunday listen carefully to the preaching and discern whether humanity is portrayed as the victim or the perpetrator, and whether the God being preached offers happiness or righteousness. Answer these questions and you will have a good idea whether you are eating at the right table.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Conflict Between Modern Preaching and Scripture

A friend of mine recently wrote to me expressing concern over the approach that people like Ray Comfort use in their evangelistic endevours. The comments were very much in line with what I would call the mainstream evangelical approach to evangelism.

Some of the objections he raised included:
1. This method of evangelism turns people off to the message.
2. I believe the Bible talks about preaching the message of God in Love.
3. We should not preach in a fire and brimstone kind of way.
4. I never saw any of the people that he was talking to inpublic come to faith in Christ.
5. We are not called to condemn, we are called to love.

What follows is my response to the objections he raised. I thought this might be of help to many of us who have to respond to or consider these common objections.

The seeker friendly approach has several false premises, the biggest one being the idea that people seek after God when Scripture plainly states the opposite:

As it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one". (Romans 3:10-12)

While we should not try to hinder the Gospel through hypocrisy in our own lives it is not us who "turn people off to the message". Scripture plainly lays out that people won't embrace the Gospel for the same reason that a thief can never find a policeman.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:7-20)

It is ironic that the best known verse in the Bible is followed by some of the least known verses as evidenced by the abundance of preaching that is in direct contradiction to John 3:18-20.

Another objection raised was "I believe the Bible talks about preaching the message of God in Love. This would mean that you have to preach Gods message in a loving way not in the fire and brimstone kind of way". Who is to say that it is not being preached in love. Love is the supreme commandment and so we should do all things in love but the Gospel imperative in Scripture is to preach it rightly.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

If God demonstrated His love in dying for us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8) then it follows that it is impossible to preach God's love without unpacking the issue of sin. The idea that there are 2 types of preaching ie "love" or "fire and brimstone" is a big strawman. I advocate neither of these. What I do advocate is preaching the whole counsel of God and this includes judgment and damnation. It should not be our sole focus but we should not ignore it either. Again, salvation makes no sense without explaining what you are saved from. Grace, being undeserved favor, makes no sense without showing why we don't deserve it. The sinner who we witness to is presently under God's wrath (John 3:34) and it is simply not loving if we avoid informing them of this reality. Scripture again describes unregenerate sinners as "enemies of God in their mind by wicked works" (Colossians 1:21).

It is also not reasonable to pronounce God's wrath without explaining it. This is why we start with who God is and who man is and why we use the mirror of God's law to show a man his true sinful condition. We should come to Christ for righteousness rather than happiness and it is only when we see our unrighteousness that we will hunger and thirst after this wonderful righteousness found only in Christ.

Furthermore, showing someone their true sinful condition is not condemning them. It is showing them what Scripture plainly states - that they are already condemned

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18)

Isn't that the loving thing to do? The cruel thing to do is comfort someone in their hell bound rebellion against God.

It is also important to remember that salvation is of God. Conversion is a work of God and as such it is foolish to pass judgments on whether or not people seem to profess faith in Christ and how many converts there are. If we measured Noah's or Jeremiah's success as preachers by this method they would be downright failures. The God honoring thing to do is to measure their success purely by faithfulness to the message they were called to preach. It is perilous to forget that our job is to preach the Gospel rightly and that conversion is a supernatural transforming work by God's Holy Spirit:

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)