Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
Hard circumstances surround us about as much as air. From a flat tire on a rainy day, to opposition from friends, to family scuffles, to grave illness, and more, we will not remain insulated from difficulty.
And our responding to the inevitable can make all the difference. On one end, we can, by God’s grace, respond with God at the center so as to honor him. On the other, we can respond with self at the center so as to send ourselves into a whirlpool of error and anger. None of it is easy. At times, we can get into patterns where unbiblical responding becomes second nature (or first). If you have struggled like I have to maintain a God-centered perspective in struggles, you may need a biblical mirror held up to help facilitate change.
Here are a few adjustments we might need to make in our perspective as difficulty hits:
continue reading http://thecripplegate.com/responding-to-hard-circumstances/
Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Last week we posted an article which argued that the idea of a heavenly prayer language is untenable based on Jesus’ command concerning prayer in Matthew 6:7. Additional questions arise on the issue concerning Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14.
For example, some continuationists claim for the existence of two different types of tongue gifts. The argument claims that there is one gift in Acts 2 and another in 1 Corinthians 14. Among others, Nate Busenitz has demonstrated that this position is unsound from Scripture.
Other continuationists hold to the position of a heavenly prayer language on the grounds of various details in 1 Corinthians 14. As somewhat of a part two of last week’s post, this will briefly address some of the popular continuationist arguments therefrom. It will not deal with every detail in 1 Corinthians 14, but merely a few of the more common arguments posed in favor of the continuationist position.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
You hear it often these days in one form or another. “I’m not really religious, but if I was, I would be a Buddhist.” “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I hold to the ideas of Buddhism.” “I’m attracted to Buddhism because it is so peaceful, loving, and free.” It’s becoming increasingly trendy to display Buddhist prayer flags on homes and public places. A form of Buddhism is increasingly embraced in the United States, with an estimated 5-6 million adherents. Notable celebrities, for example, who reportedly hold to Buddhism include George Lucas, Keanu Reeves, Oliver Stone, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Before getting into the reasons why I am not a Buddhist, a brief summary of Buddhism is necessary.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
It was a typical night waiting tables in the fine dining room of the country club. Napkins were creased, flowers centered, and tables angled just right. Then my manager came to me with a warning I’ll never forget.
“Ok, Eric. Mr. So-and-so has a reservation tonight at 6pm.” Since I was newer, I did not know Mr. So-and-so. “You need to be warned about a few things. He doesn’t handle it well if things are not done his way.” The dining room manager proceeded to list a myriad of aesthetic and culinary requirements for Mr. So-and-so’s dining experience. The napkin had to be this way. The waiter had to approach him and his table a certain way. The water had to be poured in a particular manner. He had to be addressed in a certain way and tone. The food had to be set with a particular method. From start to finish, Mr. So-and-so’s dining experience came with several fiery hoops through which the dining staff must flawlessly leap. I was amazed. Working for a bit in fine dining, I was familiar with customer preferences and particularities. But this exceeded them all. “And if you do it wrong,” my manager warned, “you will anger him.”
As bad as all that is, I see too much of Mr. So-and-so in myself in various ways.
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
Though he was facing a brutal death before the ink could dry, I imagine that the apostle Paul had great joy at the time he wrote those words. Nothing could’ve been more thrilling to him than to be able to finish well. Nothing could’ve put him at greater peace prior to execution than having faithfully run the race in biblical ministry.
I recall sitting before our elders and professors just prior to launching into pastoral ministry: “You are going to have to keep a long obedience in the same direction.” With only eight years of pastoral ministry in the church I serve, I often think about the need to endure, especially as I see men in my generation disqualifying. And even more especially as the Lord shows me my own weaknesses.
For help in ministry longevity, it makes sense to look to those men who, by God’s grace, have weathered decades of the normal ministry storms without sinking. In our day, one of those is Dr. John MacArthur. This February, Dr. MacArthur will have been faithfully shepherding Grace Community Church for 48 years. That’s about 576 months or 2496 Sundays.
Monday, December 12th, 2016
Please join us on Saturday, December 24th from 6-7:15pm in the Pink Garter Theatre (50 West Broadway) as we celebrate the birth of Christ with singing and a message from God’s Word. Invite a friend! Childcare will be available for children ages 5 and under.
NOTE: A special offering with be taken to help families displaced by the civil war in Syria. All funds we collect with be given to Children’s Hunger Fund.
Saturday, December 10th, 2016
What Christmas commemorates is big for many reasons. With the incarnation comes the Savior. For those who repent, there is justification, adoption, redemption, reconciliation, regeneration, sanctification, and, one day, glorification. But if we back up a bit, with the incarnation, there is the arrival of the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. It’s difficult for a 21st century audience to appreciate the century-long yearning which the Hebrews had for the Messiah’s arrival.
But why? What is the significance of the Jewish Messiah?
Saturday, December 10th, 2016
Where: This year’s men’s winter retreat will be held at Old Faithful Christian Ranch in Island Park, ID on January 13-15. Directions can be found here. Please keep in mind that we are not able to drive directly to the ranch in the winter months. We will park in the parking lot off S. BigSprings Loop (note: take the second sign for Big Springs Loop.) When we arrive in Island Park we will be picked up by a snowcat (unless you bring your own snowmobile) that will take us to the camp. The ride is about 15 minutes and you will be cold if not appropriately dressed.
What to bring:
Bible, notebook, pen, winter gear (snow pants and boots, gloves, jacket, warm clothes for snowmobiling, etc.), a warm sleeping bag, pillow, and anything else you think you might need. Make sure that when you pack you have a beanie, gloves, snow pants and boots, and a jacket readily accessible.
What If I Don’t Want to Snowmobile?:
Many guys choose not to snowmobile during the retreat. There are alternative activities that are available during the day such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or relaxing at the lodge.
You can register here. Please plan on paying by cash or check at the retreat.
Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
As I look back, one of my greatest educational irritations is that I never was offered a class on thinking. Even if I was, I probably would not have taken it. Consequently, I operated contently with a sloppiness of thought and did not know it. And the problem seems to be widespread. Our day is one which is filled with thinking errors. We persuade with sentiment and experience rather than truth and logic. Rules of reason are violated often in the public sphere with little concern. Subjective fancies carry more sway in convincing us than objective revelation. It’s a day of serious errors in thought and reason.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Here we are again, launching into another holiday season. Most likely, many of us will be spending time with relatives of various spiritual persuasions both this weekend, and over the Christmas holiday. Times with lost relatives can be tricky.
I remember one such situation with my French, atheist grandfather who passed away a few years ago. His name was Georges Lycan, and he spent most of his life as a carefree, pleasure-loving actor in France. That I know of, he appeared in over a dozen Broadway-like plays in France, several TV shows, and about 50 movies, probably the most well-known being his role as Sheriff Stone in the Charles Bronson Western, The Red Sun.
From my early teen years, I often spent summers with him at his country home in the Loire Valley. He enjoyed spending those warm days showing me pictures from his acting days, taking me hunting, teaching me about French wine and cheese, and making me repeat the most difficult French words 100 times until I pronounced it right (e.g. “grenouille”).
But our relationship changed a bit when the Spirit of God gave me the new birth and I put faith in Jesus Christ. Not long after I was saved, I was off to France for another visit. I stumbled along as I attempted to explain to my grandfather that Christ had substituted himself on the cross for my sins. He fired back, proudly, “Je suis un athee” (“I am an atheist”). He tried to comfort me one day by saying, “Well, Eric, if I was going to be religious, I would be a Buddhist.” I often struggled with what to say and how. At times he was perplexed. Other times he would mock me. For example, when he dropped me off at the Paris airport that summer, he gave me a swift, “Bravo, Eric, on this new religion thing.” He had lived a life where, it seemed, he was always able to take care of himself. He had wealth, fun, and fame. The idea of Christ was as foreign as it was intrusive to him. For these reasons, family is often the crux of evangelism.