Monthly Archives: March 2015

Your Identity is in Christ, Dear Christian–Don’t Believe Anything Else

“I’m an alcoholic.”

“I’m a sex addict.”

“I’m a workaholic.”

“I’m a soccer fan.”

“I’m a glutton.”

“I’m very spiritual.”

The problem with all of these?  You’re focusing on your sin and yourself.  Satan is most pleased with that. But when we come to Christ, our identity is ultimately in Christ, for that relationship will be the only one that will last.  “Yes, but I’m spiritual.”  Only if that spirituality is connected to Christ.  And only if that spirituality is exalting Christ rather than your spirituality.

When Christ saved us, He adopted us as His child.  We are His.  That won’t change!  That world loves labeling people–so you give them this one.

I am:

Wide-eyed, Sanctified, Blood Bought, Spirit Taught,
Bible Totin’, Scripture Quotin’, Satan Bashin’,
Sin Trashin’, Christ Followin’, Pride Swallowin’,
Hard Prayin’, Truth Conveyin’,
Faith Walkin’, Gospel Talkin’,
Bonafide Big Time Believer
and proud of it!
(Anonymous!)

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Unbelievers Prosper, Believers Struggle: What to Make of It?

Those who deny Christ seem to be the ones who prosper and receive the most attention in this life.  In fact, even those who claim to be inside the church of Christ who begin to deny things clearly written in His Word are given a seat at the table of progress, lauded for finally “coming around.”  Other seem to escape the troubles of this age, wearing the necklace of pride, believing God is either ignorant or absent in bringing any consequences.  Therefore, those who trust in Christ alone not just in theory but also in practice struggle in such a system. 

But those who “set their mouths against heaven,” who rebuke the Christian for their cause, who try to subdue the people of God who fail to bow to the idol of sex and self that so marks our age—even though you prosper in this life, we beg of you to repent in this life because of the reality of the life to come.  All that matters in this life is what you do with the Author of Life, Jesus Christ.  Only God and your soul will last—and the only way to God is through Christ. 

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near GOd;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all your works” (Psalm 73:25-26).

May that be so with us.  Unbelievers may prosper, and believers may struggle.  Christians, come to the “sanctuary of God” and discern the end of the faithful and unfaithful.  Be comforted!  But also be vigilant and bring that message of eternal comfort to others!

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He Understands Our Heavy Hearts

He understands what heavy hearts we have sometimes, when under a sense of sin.  Satan says to us, “Why should you pray? How can you hope to prevail? In vain, thou sayest, I will arise and go to my Father, for thou art not worthy to be one of his hired servants.  How canst thou see the king’s face after thou hast played the traitor against him?  How wilt thou dare to approach unto the altar when thou hast thyself defiled it, and when the sacrifice which thou wouldst bring there is a poor polluted one?”  O brethren, it is well for us that we are commanded to pray, or else in times of heaviness we might give it up.  If God command me, unfit as I may be, I will creep to the footstool of grace; and since he says, “Pray without ceasing,” though my words fail me and my heart itself will wander, yet I will still stammer out the wishes of my hungering soul and say, “O God, at least teach me to pray and help me to prevail with thee.”

— Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), The Golden Key of Prayer, from “12 Sermons on Prayer.”

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A Synagogue of Satan?

When Jesus spoke to the church at Smyrna, he encouraged them to stay strong against the Jews who, though thinking they were serving the true God, were really a “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).  A synagogue of Satan?  Yes.  Any religion or worldview that rejects Jesus as the only Savior and Lord is fueled by Satan’s spiritual warfare and deception.  This could be a Temple of Satan, a mosque of Satan, a Kingdom Hall of Satan, or even a “Church” of Satan.  This goes against a mild-mannered, soft, safe Jesus that so many believe He is—but He’s honest.  And we must deal with this!  No matter your age, background, skin color, or how devout you are to your religion or worldview, all that matters is what you do with the crucified and risen Christ. 

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Back to Blogging — One Paragraph at a Time

As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged much.  In fact, my last entry was on February 3rd of this year—and up until that point, I was trying to blog more prolifically.  What happened?

Well, that’s a good question—and I really don’t have an answer.  While I love blogging, if other issues regarding family or church arise, then blogging is down the list.  If I only have an ‘x’ amount of time during breakfast and I have a choice between Bible reading and blogging, I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to read Scripture (although I haven’t always chosen wisely on that front). 

But still, blogging is useful for a number of reasons for me.  (1) It helps me interact with various issues that arise personally, in our culture, and even in the church of America.  (2) It helps my congregation know their lead pastor’s heart and mind on these issues.

So, I’m back somewhat to blogging, but in a different format.  My aim is to blog one paragraph a day (maybe two, but one is the goal). 

So, here’s the first paragraph:

My primary concern as your pastor is not for the church to grow. My primary concern is for the church to be obedient with what they know. If we are not obedient with what we know from Scripture (especially the Great Commission), we cannot grow—and we should not grow. This, for me, has become a growing conviction.  I sense that God has called all local churches to serve as missions hubs, distributing the gospel to areas where the gospel is needed. The Great Commission is and must be the DNA of our churches, whether we realize it or not. When Christ said He would build His church (Matthew 16:16-18), He desired the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to be the building blocks and the “genetic code” (to use DNA language, which we will discuss later). These serve as the absolute, essential non-negotiables of Christ’s church, so we must take them seriously. In fact, we must go so far as to continually have Great Commandment/Commission lenses with all that we do and say in connection with Christ and with his church at ARBC.

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