Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Mark Time?

I have been thinking about goals for the next year. Why do we do this? Why do we make new years resolutions? Why do we look back at the past year or the past decade? We are creatures who desire to see progress and be productive. Why is that? it is because God made us to be productive. The question is: what are we producing?

Here are some verse that I want to be thinking about in this process:

Psalm 90:10-12 10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? 12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Philippians 1:20-21 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:9-11 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Colossians 3:1-4 1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

1 Cor. 9:23-27 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

1 Tim 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

May Christ's goals for us be our goals for ourselves!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Profound Simplicity of Christmas

In the midst of all the ridiculous commercialization of Christmas, may the true message of Christmas not be missed!

Behind the simple decree from Caesar Augustus that sent Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem was the profound sovereign decree of God that moved him to do this so that Jesus Christ the Son of God, the eternal King would be born in the city of David as prophesied in Micah 5:2!

The simple couple took a simple Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, but their were profound kingdom implication because these two were descendants of David and the virgin born Savior would be the biological child of Mary and the child of God through the Holy Spirit, but would also have the legal right to the throne of David through Joseph who would adopt him! He fulfilled the prophecy of the King who would reign forever! (Lk. 1:32-33; 2 Sam. 7:12-13; 16)

The simple birth of Christ in Bethlehem in a shelter for animals near a simple inn was the humblest birth imaginable. He was laid in a manger: a feeding trough for animals. But this was nor ordinary baby! This was a profound babe! He was the son of God, the Savior of the world, the King of the ages, God Himself come in human flesh to rescue us! (Lk. 1:30-32; Is. 9:6)

The simple shepherds out in the field were the first to hear of the good news! The lowliest of all of the people of the Jews and yet they heard the most profound birth announcement. Suddenly their simple sheep pasture was filled with profound glory as an angel of the Lord appeared in brilliant light. The angels says, …, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 NASB95
A multitude of angels appear and sing praise to God for His wonderful work of bringing salvation to helpless mankind.

The shepherds exercise simple faith and go to see the babe in a manger: Christ the Lord! As they see Him they give a profound testimony about Him as they relate the pronouncement of what they had seen and heard. The simple people around the simple inn reel in profound wonder as the consider that this baby may be the Savior of the world! Mary treasures these things in her heart believing that her Son will be her Savior and the Savior of all of those who would believe on Him.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Have you considered the profound simplicity of Christmas?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Abraham's Plight

How delightful was the newborn babe,
the child of promise had arrived,
the cherished birth of their old age,
the hope of all mankind survived.

He grew in strength and became a lad,
the apple of his parents eyes,
the first full son they'd ever had,
no good to him would be denied.

But then an awful command was given,
the word from up above,
offer him up to God in heaven,
your son the one you love!

Why would God take our son?
why must he now die?
Why would he take the one we love?
Why? was their heart's cry.

How could he be the hope for all,
How could God's word come true,
Abraham believed God the LORD,
and He knew just what he had to do.

The knife raised high into the air,
the lad with fear filled eyes,
the Voice from heaven stopped his hand,
God would provide the sacrifice!

Joyful tears flowed full and fell,
the boy would keep his life,
and so the hope remained alive,
the hope that points to Christ!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crossroads Bible Studies Underway!

Four lovely couples are gathering together with us to study The Stranger , an overview of the message of the Bible. We are having a wonderful time and learning much together. So far we have covered an overview of who God is according to the Bible, Creation, and the Fall of Mankind. At this point the picture looks pretty dark. The all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present, infinite, eternal God has created the heavens and the earth and has set mankind into the Garden to know Him and to love Him and to serve Him and to represent Him on earth, but mankind has rebelled against their all good creator following Lucifer in their pride. God will bring about the sentence of death for man--but there is hope--the seed of the Woman... Stay tuned!

Come and join us at 6pm on Sunday nights in Suamico! Email me if you wish to be a part of this.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Exciting New Bible Study In Howard-Suamico!

You’re Invited!

If you live in the Howard-Suamico area of Wisconsin, please consider joining us for a Dessert Fellowship in Howard on Sunday, September 13th at
6:00 O’clock in the evening.

The purpose of this gathering is to tell you about a Bible study that will be held weekly in the coming months. Bible teacher Caleb Azure is looking forward to meeting you and will explain the details concerning the study as well as
answer questions that you may have.

The future Bible study will be based on the book The Stranger On The Road To Emmaus by John R. Cross. The book is about the “big picture” message of the Bible.

We are tenatively planning to hold Bible studies every Sunday at 6:00pm in the Howard-Suamico area beggining on September 20th.

For more information contact Caleb:

Monday, June 01, 2009

Velvet Elvis Chapter 6 "New": Nauseating Evil Words

I'm sorry, but I have to call it how it is. As a preacher of the pure word of God and as a defender of sound doctrine, I was truly nauseated as I read chapter 6. Bell starts out with recalling how frustrated he was as he spoke to someone who was trying to deal with their sin. After that he presented what seemed to be on the surface a presentation of the Christian's Holy position in Christ. The doctrines of substitutionary atonement, imputed righteousness, and positional sanctification in Christ are surely worth rejoicing about. However, Bell subverts these doctrines and makes them something far less than biblical.

First off, essentially what Bell advocates is that because we have died with Christ and the old man has been destroyed we should be overly concerned with getting rid of sin. Instead we should try to live in the light of who were are in Christ. The only trouble with this is that it goes against about 50% of the NT teaching. Christ did teach in the Sermon on the mountain that human righteousness is useless. However, he one must see himself as poor in spirit or devoid of spiritual good, one must mourn over their sin, one must have a meek attitude about themselves, one must hunger for righteousness, these are the ones who enter heaven, find comfort, inherit the earth, ans find satisfaction. The writers of scripture certainly want us to consider our position in Christ: If we have repented (turned from rebellion against God) and trusted Christ (put our whole faith and trust in His person and work for our salvation)then we are righteous in Christ and acceptable before God. But it is this very teaching that causes the writers of the New Testament to encourage believers again and against to walk worthy of this, to be Holy, to put off sin and put on righteousness. God wants us to root out sin in our lives. He wants us to do it in the power of His word and His Spirit and not in a fleshly legalistic way. 1 John 1:9 tells us that believers as a habit of life confess their sin and find forgiveness.

Second, and even more dangerously Bell advocates universalism: the view that all are saved because of the death of Christ on the cross because of sinners. This is "another gospel". This is very serious indeed (Gal. 1:6-8). Bell misinterprets Christ's statement "If I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself." He says that this means that "All People. Everywhere. Everybodies' sins on the cross with Jesus." He says that, "...this reality of forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody." He goes on to say that all people need to do is realize that Christ has already forgiven them and just let God write their story instead of writing it themselves. This sounds good on the surface, but what is left out here is a clear understanding of God's holiness, man's sinfulness, the response of repentance and faith, and genuine followhship of Christ: constantly putting of sin and putting on righteousness through the grace of Christ. Paul said in Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." Peter called the people to repent at Pentecost. John says in 1 John 5:1 that those who are born of God confess that Jesus is the Christ! Christ's sacrifice is only applied to those who turn from their sin and begin actively trusting in Christ and His finished work for their salvation. Anything less is a false gospel.
Third Bell replaces that Biblical idea of a real heaven and Hell with an idea of only heaven and hell on earth. No time to even go here--but this is obviously wrong. Here are some texts to look at (Matt. 5:22-30; Mt. 10:28;2 Pet. 2:1-17; Rev. 21:8)
In the end Bell reverts to the old liberal social gospel. There is nothing new here. He equates the true gospel with social reform. We do certainly want to care for the poor and needy, but the best way to do that is to give them the true gospel not a false one. Then we also want to provide physical care as well. We cannot replace true Christianity and the true gospel with a false gospel of simple social action.

Jude 17-25 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.NASB95

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rob Bell is a Master Deceiver: Yes a Wolf

I have taken a long break from reading Velvet Elvis , but now I am back in it again. As I read "movement" five: "Dust." I was struck by the fact that Rob Bell is a false teacher and as such must be clearly named as one. Jesus promised that there would be wolves (Matt. 7:15), Paul and Peter affirmed it (Acts 20:29; 2 Pet. 2:1)and they were there in the early church and they are here now. Rob Bell is one of them. How can I say that? Well in this movement Rob Bell very cleverly draws a person in by wowing them with Rabbinical backgrounds and then takes these thoughts and makes Jesus say exactly the opposite of what He actually says in scripture which is our only absolutely true source of information! Essentially he lays out the basics of how Jewish education works and how ones graduates to become a student of a Rabbi and then a Rabbi. He talks about how most Jews didn't make the cut. He says that because the Galilean disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, were fisherman that it shows that they didn't make the cut. According to Bell, the way that a Rabbi would tell you that you had made the cut was to say "Follow Me." So he says that when Jesus said follow me to the disciples what he was saying was that they were good enough to make the cut. Bell says that Jesus believed that they could be like Him. He ends the chapter by saying this: "God has an incredibly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of doing amazing things. I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to have faith in God. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that God has faith in me." What Bell has done here is to absolutely pervert the message of scripture. He forces his interpretation of Rabbinical backgrounds into the New Testament scripture and comes up with a fanciful interpretation of what Jesus is trying to do. Why not just let scripture speak for itself by dealing with Jesus' words in their context. Then the message of scripture would not be perverted. Jesus did not believe in the goodness of man, he believed in the goodness of God. He did not put His trust in men, He put His Spirit in them to turn them away from self trust and to trust in God. In the context of Christ's calling of the fishermen in Luke 5, Peter had to realize that He was unworthy to be in the presence of Christ because of his sinfulness(Luke 5:8). Self confidence was not what he needed to become a follower of Christ. He needed Christ confidence. This is why Christ had showed him by controlling the catch of fish that He was God and had power over all the universe. This is what we need today: God confidence and not self confidence. Here are some verses in the Bible that show that what we need is not to believe in ourselves but to believe in God.

John 15:5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.NASB95

Philippians 3:2-3Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,NASB95

2 Corinthians 12:9-10And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.NASB95

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.NASB95

Proverbs 28:26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.NASB95

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They Finally Found the Missing Link.....Not:)

Sky News Reports "Scientists Reveal The Missing Link in Evolution".

What a colossal coincidence that they "found" this missing link in the year of Darwin's 200th birthday. Well I guess that makes sense. If the universe could just randomly be in the perfect order to support life on earth and if something could just randomly come out of nothing and if processes so complex that we can't fully understand them are constantly going on to continue life on earth, and if we just randomly have the wisdom and intelligence to talk about these things, then it makes sense that this find of the missing link could just randomly happen on the anniversary of Darwin's 200th birthday!

Well obviously all of this is extreme foolishness. Genesis 1 clears things up nicely. As long as people reject the plain sense of God's word foolishness will prevail. This is what Christ said through Paul:

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but 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. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.NASB95

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blame it on the Credit Card Companies!

USA Today has an article today called "White House and Congress Target Credit Card Rates". The article talks about how President Obama and congress are going to go after the Credit Card companies to force them to stop raising their rates. I have to admit that I was not pleased when my credit card rate recently went from 12% to 18%. However, I knew that could happen when I got the credit card. America's financial system is built on credit. There are always risks involved in borrowing money or launching business ventures. Pure capitalism rewards hard work and sound investment over the long run. When our government bails out people who have made poor choices the system fails to work. Now credit card companies and banks are trying to save there own bacon by probing ways of increasing income. I understand why they would do that. Our goverenment wants to hyper regulate all of this to make sure that everyone can get out of whatever jam that they are in.

I have to ask a question at this point, wouldn't it be better to let people suffer from poor decisions and hopefully learn their lesson? If someone runs up $50,000 worth of credit that they can not afford and begins missing payments shouldn't they be penalized. We are quickly becoming an absolutely "no fault" society. People want to live however they want and then have no responsibilty for their actions. Our government now seems to want to facilitate this. When we ask for government to do this we better be ready for where that will take us.

The real problem is as always a spirtual problem. We are all sinners and left to our own devices we will make poor choices. If we make poor choices and we have no consequences we will make worse choices. This is why God has given us government: to reward good and punish evil. It is time for us as Americans and as people in general to realize that we are responsible for our own actions, not somone else.

Look at this text and see what God says about responsibility:

Romans 6:23 The wages (just due) of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)

We all deserve eternal punishment because of our rebellion aginst God, but God freely chooses to give us eternal life in Christ. We have to own up to the fact that we deserve God's punishment because of our sin. Then and only then can we turn to Christ to save us from our sin through His death on the cross in our place, and His ressurection which made the way for life for us!

Take responsibility and then receive grace: then be a responsbile Christian!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rant #4: Rob Bell not a Super Pastor

In movement 4 of Velvet Elvis. Rob talks about how when he was training for ministry and thinking of what kind of a church he wanted to be a part of and eventually plant, he wasn't seeing any where people were really connecting and having a real experience with God. So he wanted to do something totally diffrent. He talks about the plant coming together in a strange way. It seems that they didn't do anything on purpose, but his thought is that God was just putting it together. Somehow tons of people showed up on the first Sunday. He was excited but didn't know what to do. He began a talk on the book of Leviticus. He speaks of it in a bit of a strage way how all of the sacrificial and social terms drew attention. He doesn't talk about the main points of the book: God's holiness and how Israel was to come to Him and walk with Him. The church was grwoing by leaps and bounds. One day he realized that he couldn't be super pastor and had a breakdown. This led to him seeking counseling and ultimately psycho analysis. He discovered that he was embracing the salvation of Christ but not the healing of Christ. He found that he had suppressed experiences from his childhood that had to be dealt with. He began to be "healed" and returned with joy to his ministry this timing understanding that he couldn't do it all and wasn't super pastor and it was ok for him to be growing and being healed with his people.

Well, there is some good in this. It is good for us to realize that we are not super pastors and that we need to be sanctified daily just like our people. It is also good for us to realize that we can't do it all and we need the help of others and most of all the power of the Holy Spirit. However, there are some major problems in this movement as welll. First, Rob doesn't seem to understand that throwing a church together with out a biblically driven plan isn't a good thing. We need to have a biblical philosphy of ministry to keep us centered on the kind of church that Christ would have as plant instead of the kind of church the culture would have us plant. A biblically driven church plant begins with the power of the Holy Spirit and the word of God and protects us from exalting ourselves. (1 Cor. 1-2) A Biblical philosophy of ministry also calls us to shared leadership. (1 Tim./Titus) Third, when we "hit the wall" in ministry the answer is not in psycho therapy and self actulization. The answer is what Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 4:

2 Corinthians 4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.NASB95

Christ does have the healing that the world needs, but we need to do His work His way. Then He will be pleased with us and He will bless His word!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

When is Murder Murder?

The Associated Press reports:

Belkis Gonzalez, 42, was arrested Tuesday and charged with practicing medicine without a license and tampering with evidence, both felonies, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. If found guilty, Gonzalez would face at least a year in prison and up to 15 years.

For a while it seemed that this abortion clinic owner might get away with this atrocity, but now it seems he will be charged. The AP report goes on to say.

The teenage mother, Sycloria Williams, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Gonzalez knocked the infant off the chair where she had given birth, and then scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag, and threw it out.

The clinic's doctor, Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique, had been scheduled to perform the procedure, but Williams went into labor after being given drugs to dilate her cervix and waiting for hours for Renelique to arrive, the suit said. The doctor has said he had been on his way to the Hialeah clinic when he was called to treat another patient who was bleeding.

People are outraged when they here about this, and rightly so, but strangely people would not have been outraged if this baby would have been murdered around the same time, only in the usual way that babies are aborted.

When is Murder Murder? Is a baby a baby, or is it something else? evidently this baby was a baby, and so are the rest who are aborted.

Jeremiah 1:5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, ...NASB95