Saturday, October 22, 2005

What is a Christian?

Throughout the course of our lives we are assaulted by many useless and inconsequential questions. Do we prefer Pepsi over Coke? What is the weather going to be like tomorrow? Will the NHL lockout ever come to an end? These questions, and ones like them, are petty and unimportant, because there are no major consequences to their answers.
But in life there are also some fundamental questions – questions that must be answered correctly in order to avoid negative… sometimes even severe consequences. For instance, knowing whether or not there is a difference between baking soda and baking powder is very important if you are trying to bake a cake. Being able to correctly answer which pedal in a car makes it go and which makes it stop is obviously essential! Before buying an animal as a pet, you would do well to consider if it is the kind that cuddles humans or kills them. Before getting married, you ought to have correctly answered the question, “What makes a good spouse?” And before you die, it is essential you come to the right answer to this question: “What is a Christian?”
This last question is really the most fundamental question of life for you on earth. It is, in fact, a life and death question for which there is absolutely no room for error. It is a fundamental question because its answer has fundamental and severe consequences...

Read the whole thing here...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

US Soldiers Accused of Burning Taleban Fighters' Corpses

BBC NEWS Article
It's tough to be America.
Assume for a minute that this report is true and that US soldiers did indeed desecrate the corpses of these Taleban fighters. Just assume it is true.
A person should be outraged at such an act as it breaks all the rules of conflict.
But, my oh my, where is similar outrage at Muslim radicals who swoop innocent female civilian aid workers off the street and proceed to slit their throats on video!
I am not a pundit or brilliant social commentator, but one cannot help but notice that the US gets way more public "spankings" (at least in MSM) than anybody else. The tone and rhetoric reserved for the most powerful nation in the world is unbelievable.
Of course, I am NOT condoning the actions of these soldiers. They are repugnant! But so is a lot of other stuff done in the world and we ought to see the same level of condemnation for that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Church Hopping and Boring Pastors

I was talking with a friend last week from out of town who told me they had just started attending their 5th church in 15 years. I thought more about this after our conversation and concluded that North Americans are just too consumer-driven when it comes to “finding a good church.” That is, until I thought through each transition of my friends.
In each instance, these dear folks were part of a church where the leadership began to change their ministry “style” or “philosophy” while they were there. In other words, the church itself changed – either doctrinally or methodologically. The church they committed to was not the same church they felt constrained to leave.
Now, without going into all the details, suffice it to say that the changes that took place in each case were substantial. You won’t get any argument from me against sempre refomata! But, always reforming is not the same thing as flip-flopping or trading in your sermon for a drama and a song.
My own view (for what it’s worth) is that churches whose leaders feel compelled to re-invent themselves every few years will never grow deep in spiritual matters – unless that change is toward instrumental prayer, expositional preaching, genuine worship, vibrant community, personal evangelism and Spirit-empowered obedience to the commands of Christ.
I pity folks who spend their entire Christian life having to learn the next “key” or “secret” every 5-8 years! These trends have grown almost predictable. In my day it has gone Gotthard, to Crabb, to PromiseKeepers, to Openess, and now Emergent. Each one building on the other in the sense of looking for some elusive sense of meaning – apart from instrumental prayer, expositional preaching, genuine worship, vibrant community personal evangelism and Spirit-empowered obedience to the commands of Christ.
We need men who will be content to lead by faithfully doing the essential tasks of a pastor as outlined in the Scriptures. There may not be much publicity or book contracts with that approach – nor stubble and straw to kindle the fire in the day of judgment.


Yikes! Nearly three days of zero or extremely limited internet availability gave me a quick (and painful!) lesson in how central this form of communicating has become to our culture. I might just write a letter and mail it at the post office this week - just to see if I can still do it!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Don't Forget

FRPS tomorrow: "Irresistible Grace”

Mr. Brad Powers

Pastor, Berean Baptist Church

, ON

Meetings are at:
Thistletown Baptist Church
2534 Kipling Ave.
One block north of Finch Ave. in Rexdale (northwest Toronto). Parking is off of Stevenson Dr.

A Friend of God - Reconciled Forever!

Reconciled (Colossians 1:21-23)
"Estranged and hateful," such was I.
To my Creator, God Most High.
A fool who thought his soul was free,
While blind and deaf, without one plea.
But Christ, the Lamb of God, who came
To bear my curse and bear my shame
Appeased the rightful wrath of God
And now my soul is overawed!

For I am the Offended's friend
By grace I cannot comprehend.
Now reconciled to God the King,
I cannot help but praise and sing!
My Rescuer, the Righteous Judge
Now looks at me and holds no grudge;
He casts my sins from west to east,
Invites me to His heav'nly feast.

Then alienated by my sin
Now made holy and pure within
Then hating Him who once made all
Now made blameless never to fall.
Then doing evil all my days
Now made faultless to His great praise.
O, such amazing grace is this
That snatched my soul from the Abyss!

All this because my Saviour died,
His body cruelly crucified;
The Father's justice fully met,
I stand before Him without debt.
He smiles at me and calls me, "Friend."
The enmity put to an end.
O, Jesus thank You, and Lord, please,
Keep reconciling Your enemies.

Words © 2002, Paul W. Martin