Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
An unusual amount of professional athletes reside in the town where I live. The adventurous mountain terrain attract them. Big name brands in the outdoor sports industry gobble up some of the most talented skiers, snowboarders, and mountaineers for sponsorship and association. And there seems to be a common theme among these individuals: they carry a sense of privilege when it comes to association with the most prestigious brands in the sports industry. They carry an unapologetic honor when it comes to the names that they represent on their skis, jackets, helmets, shoes, packs, and more. And though their respective sports involve hard work, it does not seem to dampen that sense of honor in who they represent.
I’ve wondered sometimes if I live with that sense of privilege with something far more significant than a professional skier sponsorship. If I’m honest, I have not. In fact, it’s often been the opposite. My own self-preferring ways combined with an entitlement-saturated culture mix to poison the great sense of privilege that it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, April 6th, 2017
It’s a question that arises often. “What is a parachurch ministry?” The “para” in parachurch comes from the Greek preposition which can communicate, “alongside” or “beside.” Generally, a parachurch ministry is a Christian-based organization which seeks to come alongside the New Testament local church in a variety of ways. There are a myriad of wonderful parachurch ministries for which God’s people should be grateful.
But many parachurch ministries functionally remove the “para” from their doings. They would be better called, “huper” (“above, beyond”) or “antichurch” (“instead of, against”) ministries.
Some of the common problems with parachurch ministries include:
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
Whether we serve in a youth group, have kids of our own, or we are educators, almost all of us will interact with kids. And chances are, those interactions will involve helping them navigate conflict. Johnny will scuffle with Joey in youth group. Suzie will offend Sally in class. At some point, the kids in our lives will likely be on one end or the other of misunderstanding, mocking, exclusion, accidents, hurt, and more. These are huge opportunities for us to tenderly and wisely shepherd them in how to handle the inevitable.
Not much will change when they grow up. Conflict will only increase. Consequences are more severe. So, we have a responsibility to shape the next generation in wisely handling the inescapable conflicts of life.
Whether toddlers or teens, here are a few considerations as we help kids handle conflict. The first few are theological, the last few are more practical.
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
Cornerstone’s annual Quarter Cookout is one of our main outreach events in which we strive to display the Gospel in our love for our community, our love for Christ, and the direct proclamation of his Good News to the individuals at the event.
This year’s Quarter Cookout will be on Saturday, March 14th, starting at 12pm (setup at 10am-11:30am) and ending around 5-6pm. There are a number of ways in which we need some helping hands – please use the form below or
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
The claim is heard often these days. It usually goes something like this: “How could you cessationists believe that the miraculous spiritual gifts have ceased? You must not believe in the Holy Spirit.”
I have encountered this accusation many times from misled continuationists. It is as grievous as it is ill-informed. The implication is that charismatic views of the apostolic-age miraculous gifts are all there are to the Holy Spirit. If you reject those, then you must not believe in him. But this is a severely anemic understanding of the true Holy Spirit.
Even worse, it is an accusation of heresy. Charismatics and continuationists who make this claim are, in effect, accusing cessationists of affirming a heretical view of God. The biblical God is Trinitarian. That is, he is triune: God is one in essence and yet three distinct Persons (Father, Son, Spirit). To conclude that one disbelieves in the Spirit, therefore, is to accuse of believing in dinitarianism; that God is di-une: one God, two Persons. It is similar to the old error of socianism. But this is a view of God which differs greatly from than that of Scripture. Therefore, the dinitarian comment could not be more serious.
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.