A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It Was Owned and Driven by an Old Woman....and only on Sundays!

I recently inherited a Cadillac Seville. It's a beauty of a car with all the bells and whistles that were available to the car world in 1995. It's a pretty dark teal color with cream colored leather seats and I must say, that for "an old person's car", as my one son dubbed it, it's quite pretty. I often exit a store or mall and find people admiring it as it sits waiting for me in the parking lot. And even though it is not at all what I would have picked (I'm more the pick up/ SUV type), it has been a tremendous blessing because it has kept us from having to walk everywhere that we want to go.

People often ask me, "where did you get it?" And I can honestly reply "I got it from an old lady who only drove it on Sundays." Invariably, they look at me with an expression that lets me know that they pity me in my gullibility. That statement is the classic, greasy used car salesman's line when trying to sell a piece of junk to someone that he thinks doesn't know any better.

But in this case, I did know better! I got my car from my aunt-in-law, who is notorious for meticulously caring for her cars. So even if we had paid $3,000 for the car, we would have still gotten a great deal! When she said that she didn't drive it much, only on Sundays, I could believe her because through my years of dealings with her, I have come to know that her word is good.

It got me to thinking about words, especially the words that we, as Christians, speak. I've often been convicted by Matt. 12:37 where Jesus warns the preachers of His day "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." So our "idle" or "useless" words will be judged. Now for someone who likes to talk as much as I do, that is a sobering thought. It made me wonder what people think when I talk to them about the Lord. Do they view me as I view my husband's aunt or do they see me more like the greasy car salesman trying to sell them something that I really don't believe in myself? Do the actions of my life prove my belief in the product that I present when I present them with Christ? And when I present them with Christ, am I using The Word and not my own interpretation?

After talking with students on the near by campus, I have found that most young adults don't put much stock in the words of Christians because organized religion has promised the world a bill of goods that it has not delivered on. We tell them what the Bible says, but we rarely show them. We have, in large part, misrepresented God to a dying world, because we really don't fully know ourselves, by experience, what it is that we are trying to sell them. And yes, sadly, we often make them pay, literally, to hear about the "FREE" gift of salvation.

When I am considering buying a product, I always ask the salesman, "do you have one of these yourself?" I've found that those who do and truly know that it is a good product are much more effective in persuading me to try it. They not only can tell me what's good about it, but also can practically tell me how it operates and what might cause me some difficulty. So when I buy the product I can have some confidence in my decision to purchase it and I'm not discouraged when I run into those difficulties.

We often tell the world that salvation is free...and it is free to receive. But it cost much to keep. When we got that car from the aunt, it was free. But it's not cheap to keep. There was the initial tag and title fee and insurance. Then we had to fill it with gas, which we still do on a much too regular basis! And there are repairs along the way--oil changes, brakes, fluids and the occasional zinger repair that leaves you eating nothing but macaroni and cheese for the next month.

Just telling people that "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" is not enough. It is true that He does love us and has a wonderful plan for us, but it can only be realized IF we first sell out and give all to Him. He is not something that we just "add" to our lives, like a new car is. When we acquire Him, it means that we have lost everything else. We have sold everything we own to have what He has to offer, like the man who sold all he had to purchase the field that contained a great treasure.

This is how we avoid "buyer's remorse." So many people come to Christ with only half the information that they need to truly make a decision about serving Him. Most of the time they come understanding how Christ serves us, but when faced later on with how they are to serve Christ, leave with "buyer's remorse" saying, "that's not what I signed on for!" And in a lot of cases, we present the goodness of Christ without first presenting the wickedness and lostness of man, allowing a man to "accept" Christ without a Holy Ghost conversion. Then, when prayers are not answered, they leave as well believing that God is not real or powerful enough to help them.

So when we speak, we must speak the truth, even if it means that our "pitch" will be rejected. But for those who receive "the words of life", a truly wonderful plan will unfold for them that they could have never imagined. And before we speak, we must fully know and believe and have experience with this Jesus that we are presenting. We don't have to be Bible scholars, only Bible experienced. I know my husband intimately, but I don't know everything He knows. He is way, way, WAY smarter than I. However, I can still present a clear picture of his character and personality to another person so that when they meet him, they will find that he truly is everything I said he was.

It should also be this way when we present Christ. People should be able to know what they are accepting, to understand the terms of that acceptance, and they should experience the power of that relationship through the new birth. And we should be known as people who speak the truth everyday......not just on Sundays.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Off To Work

Well, it's off to work! Yes, I'm a foul weather blogger! I will soon be outside everyday cleaning yards, mowing, pushing a spreader, slinging mulch, burning calories and then putting them back in every day at the fast food restaurant closest to my current job site!

So, I may not be blogging as much. Or who knows, all that time outside in the fresh air, on the tractor, in the flower beds may inspire me and give me more time for reflection and thought. Flowers are so much more inspiring than dirty laundry!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The War Over Worry by Dr. Adrian Rogers

Adrian Rogers is one of my favorite preachers! He sticks to plain, simple, pure Biblical doctrine. Of course, I am Pentecostal, so there are a few things I probably would be at odds with Him about, but nothing that keep either of us from heaven.

Being that there is such a big stir over David Wilkerson's latest warning, I thought that I would post this. It is, as are all of Brother Adrian's sermons, simple, practical and to the point. Have a wonderful weekend!

Adrian Rogers
source: Crosswalk

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matt 6:25-26)

Somebody did a study about what the average person worries about. They found that forty percent of what people worry about never happens. And thirty percent of what people worry about have already happened and you can't do anything about it. Twelve percent of what the average person worries about is what others say about you, which most of the time is untrue. Finally, according to this survey, ten percent of worry deals with your health and worrying will only make that worse!

That leaves about eight percent of the things that are considered to be real problems... and worry will not do any good with these either! Why is it that we worry about a lot of things that are not going to happen or already have happened? It's like the little lady said one time, "Don't tell me that worry doesn't do any good. Most of the things I worry about never happen."

Let me share with you four ways you can win the war over worry:

Trust in the Lord
God wants to prove Himself to you. Let me ask you, "How do you know that the Lord is the joy of your life?" You don't know, until He takes away your automobile or your health or your home or your family. When you say, "Jesus is all I need" make sure you can prove it. You'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.

Do Good
One of the signs that you're not trusting God is that you drop out of your usual activities. They get down. You say, "I lost my job!" Well, what are you doing about it? "Well, I'm just sitting around the house!" Well, quit it! Get out there and do something because you're trusting God to provide!

Delight Yourself in the Lord
Do you want to have a life of joy? Then, put your faith in something, or should I say Someone, who cannot be touched -- the Lord! God isn't finished with you until you find your greatest joy in Him alone. Now take the sentence very slowly -- God is going to keep giving you this test until you pass it. He doesn't flunk anybody out. And so, if you don't pass this time, He'll just run you through again.

Commit Your Way to the Lord
"Commit" literally means "to roll." It means to roll your burden on the Lord. Whatever that burden is, you are to give it to God. His shoulders are broad enough. Matthew 11:30 says, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Is someone critical of you today? Give it to Jesus. Has someone hurt you? Give it to Jesus. Are you unsure about your future? Give it to Jesus.

Rest In The Lord
This word "rest" means "to be silent." We want our answers yesterday. And God is saying, "Hush! Rest in Me!" Friend, God isn't interested in time. He's interested in timing. He's never in a hurry. And He's never late. Waiting on the Lord is like waiting for the sun to rise. You can't hurry it. And you can't stop it.

Trust. Do Good. Delight. Commit. Rest. What is the key to all of this? Jesus. When He is your focus, you can win the war over worry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear Sister--Letters of Hope and Encouragement

I am reading a wonderful book by Gisela Yohannan. Her husband oversees a large missions ministry within India and surrounding countries. The letters of this book are left in their original form, so some are years old.

Someone once told me that if you can't preach what you preach in every country in the world, it is not the gospel. These letters, though written to women in 11 different cultures, apply, in every culture, every country, every woman's life. So on Fridays, I will be posting a chapter of this book and I pray that it will speak to you as women and bring us all closer to Christ and one another. If you would like to read it yourself, it is a free download from gfa.org.

Here is the first one: Unity Validates Your Message

Dear Sister,

Perhaps you are surprised to receive a letter from me. Actually, I would much rather visit you and get to know you personally. But even if I could travel twice as often as I do now, I still could not get to all the places where Gospel for Asia (GFA) works.

Did you know that GFA has more than 2000 sisters in 11 countries, eastern and western, who are an important part of this ministry? Many of them are full-time workers on the mission field, in our training centers and offices. Others are wives of Believers Church pastors or GFA staff.

I strongly believe that the Lord wants to use every one of us sisters to touch the lives of millions of unreached people in Asia and help being them to Jesus.Since all of us are scattered across so many nations and mission fields, I asked our GFA leadership if I could start a bimonthly letter just to the sisters. They were happy to give their permission and set up a system so that you can receive my letters in your language.

the purpose of these letters is to encourage you in your calling and also help you realize that you are not alone, but are actually part of a large family that loves you and cares about you. In each letter, we will talk about on important issue that concerns us as sisters, so we can become better wives and servants of God. The letter will also include several specific prayer requests from our mission fields. This will give all of us the opportunity to pray together and believe God for definite answers. I am convinced that as we unite our hearts in intercession and in pursuing His purpose, God will draw us sisters together in unity, and we will begin to feel that indeed we are part of each others lives and ministries.

In this first letter, I would like to share a few thoughts about why unity among us is extremely important to God. Please take the time to carefully read each scripture reference you see.

We are to reflect God's nature. More than anything else, unity based on love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, demonstrates the nature of God to a world that is torn into thousands of pieces by strife, wars and hatred. All these directly result from man's selfishness and pride, their demanding and fighting for their own rights at the expense of others.

God on the other hand, is a Trinity that exists in perfect unity. God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit never compete with each other for anything.

God's plan is that when people watch our lives, they should see a true reflection of His nature in us. That's why Jesus prayed for His followers just before He went to the cross: "...that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us" (John 17:21). It's a very serious and sobering truth. We generally think that preaching confirmed by healings and miracles will cause people to believe in Jesus. But now we discover in Jesus' prayer that unless God's work is backed up by our unity, we actually destroy the credibility of the Gospel. That should alarm us enough to honestly examine our home life, our teamwork and our relationship with our husband, co-workers, leaders and church members.

Unity transforms us into a mighty force. Imagine a cart with a heavy load on it and 20 people each trying to pull it into a different direction How successful will they be to get to the next village? You know the answer. they will never make it unless they make up their minds and everyone pulls in the same direction.

Similarly, if people unite together in a cause, nothing will be impossible for them. That's what God said in Genesis 11:6 about the ungodly people who set out to build the Tower of Babel. How much truer should this statement be of us, whom God has called to build His kingdom?

Much frustration and lack of success in our ministries can often be traced back to the fact that our hearts are not united. If there is any resentment in your heart toward your leader, your co-worker, your husband or the ministry--even if you never express it is words--you have created a roadblock for God's Spirit to move.

What all could happen? Imagine for a moment--what could happen in your home, your mission field, our GFA ministry and your nation":

...if you and your husband were truly united in reaching the lost, and you would no longer seek for a comfortable life?

...if you and your co-workers would stop envying each others gifts and there would be unity on the team?

...if we as 2000 sisters began to pray daily for one another and the lost world, and God could mold us together into a powerful force whose only desire was to reach Asia for Christ?

Unity does not come without a price! It starts with a deliberate decision on our part to humble ourselves as Jesus did, to willingly lay down our rights and desires and submit to the will of God with all our heart (Phil. 2:5- ).

If we struggle to hold on to something we count so dear, let us consider this: Our life here on earth is so short. Unless we make our decision with eternity in mind, we will definitely miss God's plan.

My dear Sister, may I suggest that you save this letter so you can study this issue of unity further, whether privately, with your c0-workers or during your regular GFA sister's meeting. The most important thing is to ask yourself after each point, "how can I practically apply what God has shown me?" Unless you make specific decisions and take actual steps to implement them, you will not experience any spiritual growth in this area of unity. My sincere prayer is that all of us sisters will desire to become one in Jesus and be used by Him.

She then continues on with some prayer requests, which when they deal with her subject matter, I will include as well.

I believe the principles in this letter are powerful, not just for missionary wives, but any body of believers that claim to be a body, be it minister's wives, a local church body of women, a prayer group, a Bible study, or a family. How often we have things in our hearts towards one another that we decide not to let show and we think that it will be enough. But it isn't. We must have pure hearts before God as well and He sees everything. Sometimes I have something in my heart that I know about. I don't want it to be there, but I forget that I cannot change my own heart simply by willing it so. So I just lift it to the Lord, telling Him that I don't want it and to please take it and make my heart right. I used to think that I could pray right things and it would change my heart, but now I realize that I must have a changed heart so that I can pray right things. I must keep humble before God realizing that I can do nothing without Him.

And sometimes I have things in my heart that I don't know about. All I know is that I'm feeling out of sorts. My peace is interuppted, my joy level is low. I can't place my finger on what it is. So I go to the Lord and ask Him to show me and you know what? He always does. Then I can continue on by confessing it and letting Him take it from me.

Our lives are to be ones of righteousness, peace and joy. If they are, others will see, the Holy Spirit can move and the world can come to know Jesus.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Had My Doubts About Facebook

I never intended to have a facebook account. After all, I already had two email accounts and belonged to two groups on line. But due to pressure from the teens at church......."Miss Cyndi, you HAVE to get a facebook account"..........., I finally succumbed to the pressure and signed up.

Recently, I have reconnected with people that I have not talked to in 20 years! People that lived together with me in the state of misery, and the state of Missouri (simultaneously). It has been so good catching up on 20 years of joys, sorrows, and accomplishments. Most of us were in seminary together, dirt poor, excited about what God had in store for us, but living it all by faith and a little grit. It's very interesting to see where God has led us, and just how much we've changed, yet stayed the same though it all.

So although I had my doubts about facebook and I don't get involved in all the flair, hugs, booty shaking, and gift flinging, I do enjoy occasionally having a talk with some old friends and seeing photographs. (We all know how I love photographs.)

I am definitely a people person through and through in that when I make a friend, well, they are a friend for life, unless they tell me to go hang myself or something. For me, even if we have been separated by time, distance, or circumstance, my friends still live in my heart. All the things that I appreciated about them when I knew them are just as special to me now as they were then because they helped shape who I am today. To me, their contributions to my life are just as valuable to me now as they were when they made them, because I still feel that they are a part of me.

And, I left part of me with them and I often hope that what I left with them was a blessing to them as well. I have found that time allows me to look past the things that were hard and hurtful and remember, appreciating the things that were positive and a blessing. None of us are perfect and circumstances can be devastating to relationships. And very often, as 20 some years of ministry has taught us, many times relationships end badly because of mis-perceptions of those circumstances. And often too, once the damage is done, it's done. That makes my heart hurt. Life is way too short to be losing friends over things that aren't perceived correctly.

I've found over the years that many people tend to move on without taking those friendships with them. And I have to admit, it hurts. Some of those people were like children to me. And I am like the proverbial parent who sits at home thinking of their children while their children are all over the world, living their lives, not thinking at all about me. Of course, that is healthy for them. Children are supposed to grow up and move out and move on. But I sure do like it when occasionally they return "home" and leave a message for me on my wall.

One friend that I just reconnected with, and I, parted in some rather strange circumstances. But those aren't the things I remember about her. I hope it was reassuring to her to hear how much she had blessed me during those years of friendship, before the weird circumstances brought our friendship to an abrupt halt. But it only took a moment to get passed what separated us and reconnect with all those things that had drawn us so closely together.

I don't think a person can have too many friends, although having hundreds of "close" friends is impossible. But friends, past and present, are the ones who helped draw the road map of our lives. And when you return in your thoughts to places you've been before, well, you just can't help remembering all those who were there at the same time you were, and appreciating them for who they were to you, even if things ended badly.

Some are lost forever, but their contributions to my life are not forgotten nor unappreciated. And I still hold out hope that reconciliation might come. My life has been enriched and stretched and shaped by them. And I am thankful.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Guardrails-- (Sunday Sermon Monday)

We've all watched the movies of young teens, or women in a mid life crisis, or men in a mid life crisis, sitting on top of their seats in a convertible that is screaming down a long, flat, broad road, singing "Born To Be Wild......born to be wild.....born to be wild"..at the top of their lungs. How reflective of the American spirit. At it's root, the American spirit is independent and rebellious. We were 100 years ahead of our time in declaring independence from the powers that be. Many other nations were not self governing until the mid 1900's.

Unfortunately that rebellious, independent spirit has found its way into the Church and we see a rebellion against the powers that be in Biblical Doctrine. Part of this is our insatiable desire for something "new." If we do not have something to pique our interest that is new, exciting, bigger, better, faster....then we get bored. Unfortunately, we have accepted this as "the American Way." And while America is open to change according to the will of the people, God is not. God does not govern over a democracy. God's kingdom is a theocracy. It's His way or the highway. God's kingdom does not need to change, it was set up in perfection from the beginning.

A familiar saying in America is that "laws were made to be broken." That is just another indicator of our rebellious nature. But God's laws were made to be kept and they are for our benefit. Sound Biblical doctrine is the same as it was when it was delivered by Christ to the disciples and to Paul, who then passed it down to Timothy and Titus, who then delivered it to their spiritual children and so it has remained AND REMAINS TODAY the only real truth and standard by which we, as Christians, should conduct our lives and conduct. In lieu of some confusing teachings that we see on Christian t.v. that are trying to alter sound Biblical doctrine, Pastor took a "doctrinal Sunday" and taught us again on the doctrine of Biblical salvation, but he also spent some time explaining what Biblical doctrine is and why it's so important. That is what I am posting today. It's not his whole sermon, but it is the part that you haven't read.

Jude 3-4
"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungoldly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
There is a distaste of good doctrine in America. Doctrine simply means "teachings". Flesh becomes bored with the same old, same old. Our spirit should never get tired of Jesus and the doctrine of salvation.

Intellect also grows bored with much repetition. The Bible has limited information. People reading it with their intellect grow "bored" with it. The Mormons got so bored with it, they wrote another book--a sequel!

The function of the Biblical doctrine of the Bible is to act as a guardrail. If you took a cross section of a road you would see that there is the road in the middle, but on either side there is a ditch. God uses Biblical doctrine guardrails to keep us on the road and out of the ditches. Those ditches on either side of the road are the too extremes that intellect can take Biblical doctrine. In one ditch, there is legalism. In the other Antinomianism, which simply means "against or opposed to the law."

Since I do not have the know-how of drawing on this blog, I will do my best to compare them without the wonderful diagram that Pastor drew for us.

Legalism is law minded. It is works, but without faith. Legalists believe in prayer. They do good works in order to be saved. All of us know legalists. They say things like, "I'm just doing the best I know how and God certainly wouldn't keep me out of heaven. He sees that I'm doing the most and best that I can."

Antinomianism (AntiNom for purposes of saving my fingers)
Antinomianism is grace minded. It is faith, without works. Antinoms just "are". They sit around waiting to be "moved" before doing anything! It all sounds so spiritual, but it fosters laziness and licentiousness in those who practice it as we saw in the former scriptures.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 4:15-16 to "take pains with these things, be absorbed in them....pay close attention to your teaching; persevere in these things;.... for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." What things was he referring to? "The faith once and for all delivered to the saints" of Jude 3.

Attributes of Antinomianism

1. They deal strictly with faith and deny works
2. They have a "lust for knowledge" that "puffs up", so they are arrogant in their theology and demeanor.
3. Because of the suppression of the Biblical definition of "good works", they are often caught in habitual types of sins that they cannot get victory over and as we discovered from my earlier blog, they are stuck at justificaton by faith, which we will discuss further in a little bit.
4. They ignore large parts of scripture that speak of the works commanded, prepared, and accomplished by believers, the Holy Spirit, and God Himself.

In 1 Tim 4:1, Paul warns Timothy that "in later times, some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons...." Antinom is a doctrine of demons. It lends itself to just "being" and not doing anything. But scripture explicitly states that unbelievers and believers will be judged according to their works!!!!! James said there cannot be faith without works. If there are no works, there is no faith!

The antinom also confuses guilt and condemnation. Condemnation is a final declaration. There is no hope left for something that has been condemned. Guilt, on the other hand is the healthy product of the conscience. Guilt is the red flag that tells us that we are in need of forgiveness and drives us to the throne of mercy and grace in the time of need.

Paul further states in 1 Tim 4:6 that we are to be "constantly nourished on the words of the fatih and of the sound doctrine which they had been following." Sound doctrine, simply put, is pure teaching. We see in reading the rest of this chapter that we can slide away from this pure teaching and lose our salvation.

Antimons claim to have "secret knowledge" or the only anointing to teach doctrine. They often will say they have doctrine that was "lost". Anytime someone has "exclusive" teaching, RUN! They are a kook!

Antinoms have desires, lusts, and things they want to do that conflict with the instructions of scripture, so they change the Bible to include their lusts and desires. For instance, lately there has been teaching on national t.v. that says you can be a drunk, a thief, or a pervert and still be a Christian. But of course, you cannot be a murderer or a rapist and be a Christian, even though these are all listed together in the same lists of people who will NOT inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Their "Poster Verse" for this is of course Romans 7:14-15 where, on the surface it appears that Paul is saying that he is in bondage to sin. They ere in several respects.

First, they are ignorant of the writing style of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul often wrote with much sarcasm and rhetorical style, so to say that Paul was sinning while a Christian is a gross misinterpretation of this verse.

Secondly, if Paul is saying that he was in sin as a Christian, then all of his other writings are false. Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, then the antinoms interpretation of Rom. 7 cannot be true.

Charles Finney spoke of the antinoms and the legalist when he said, "the antinomian wants for God to produce feelings to works. The legalist wants to work to feel good. The Believer works because it is good and pleasing to God."

Lastly, the antinom confuses imputation and impartation. He says that at justification, righteousness is imputed and imparted. That is only half true. Yes, righteousness is imputed at justification, in fact, in the Greek, Hebrew and the Latin, justification and righteousness are the exact same word. But imputation is not impartation. We have a two fold problem. We have sins that have been committed that need forgiven. That is what happens at justification. It is a declarative act. We are declared righteouss, but we are not made righteous.

Justification is the remission of the penalty that has been put on Jesus. It restores us to favor, it acquits us of wrong doing and puts us in favorable standing with the law. It's as if our sentence has been served, and it was, but by Christ. It imputes Christ's righteousness to our account. Our sins are pardoned and we are restored to God's favor, BUT WE ARE NOT YET RIGHTEOUS IN OURSELVES!

The second part of our two fold problem is that being pardoned does not change who and what we are! We are still criminals and there is absolutely nothing that will keep us from going back out and doing the same thing again and again. There must be a change of our nature in order for us to not commit those same sins again. That is where the second part of the two fold solution comes into play. We not only need a change of position, but we need a change of condition which in turn brings forth a change of action! This is where the antinom leaves us. He stays at justification because he has not experienced the new birth that changes his nature and gives him victory over sin. So he stays at justification where he can sin, confess, sin, confess and still be a Christian. We cannot have communion with God until we are "BORN" of Him!!! But the antinom has to create this false peace to ease his conscience, which eventually does become seared as scripture warns and they are lost. The very, very sad part about this is that they will not realize their error until it is too late. They will live their whole lives thinking they are Christian and then end up in damnation.

Pastor then reviewed some of what he taught Wednesday night which I will not repeat. You can read previous blog for that, if you're interested. I understand that this is not easy reading, but it is necessary. So many of us deal with people professing Christianity that are not Christian. This will help us to understand where they are and hopefully help them get where they need to be. It will help us to know what to say and how to explain to them "true salvation". It will help us increase the kingdom of God, and not just church attendance. Leonard Ravenhill said that "we can grow the church and not increase the kingdom of God". The antinomian teachings that we see on t.v.--hyper righteousness teaching, as we have named it is prevalent and we must be on guard and defend the faith. It is imperative to the souls of mankind!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Church Family Business--Pastor's Edited Version

Pastor read my blog and edited my mistakes! I never said I was good typist or a good note taker, so if you have already printed this off, throw it away and copy this version. Now I know why I was not a professional note taker or secretary! HA!

Due to some "family issues", Pastor presented a simple, clear explanation of the Doctrine of Salvation on Wednesday night to the adults who meet together. This is of importance to our "family", and to the true "family of God", due to emerging doctrines that take partial truths and change what has been Biblical doctrine since the beginning of the church. Because there are some that were not able to attend the Wednesday night meeting, but who expressed interest in this, I'm posting it on my blog to make it available to them.

ANCC  March 4, 2009You can hold to a truth, but ignore the truth. When this happens, truth can become off balance. Such is the current teaching that I will refer to as 'hyper righteousness'". In fact, it can become heresy.

The great scholar A.J. Gordon quoted William Lincoln when he said "If there is any truth that the Holy Ghost has specially pressed upon your heart, if you do not want to push it to the extreme, ask what is the counter-truth, and lean a little of your weight upon that: otherwise, if you bear so very much on one side of the truth, there is a danger of pushing it into a heresy.

Heresy means selected truth; it does not always mean error: Heresy and error are very different things. heresy is truth; but truth pushed into undue importance to the disparagement of the truth on the other side." These "pet doctrines" are very prevalent in the American church the last half a century, and a much more dangerous doctrine has emerged that has to do with "righteousness" and "the cross."

All religions listed as Christian acknowledge and honor the cross. Catholics love the cross, Protestants love the cross. Even punkers, rockers, and Hollywood acknowledge the cross. But the topic we will address tonight are those who ignore part of the Doctrine of Salvation that concerns the cross. None of this is "new" doctrine. What is about to be presented is what all the great expositors of scripture and doctrine have preached through the ages.

There are two aspects to conversion. On the front side of the cross, we are dead to God already. We then must die to ourselves and to our old man resulting in a New Birth and Sanctification by Faith.

The Doctrine of Salvation

Justification by Faith
-Justification by Faith has to happen in order to receive salvation.

-The washing of by the Blood happens at justification. It is the work of Jesus
on the Cross. It is where we come, confessing our sin and being washed clean. But we are only clean, we are not righteous because there is nothing in us that can make righteous, clean or not.

-None of our works can achieve this, it is by faith alone

-It puts us in right standing with God

-It deals with the penalty of our sin

-It is imputed (given) according to Romans 4:6. That word means to "reckon, take into account, to credit." It brings us from a negative balance to a positive balance in moral conduct. Jesus' righteousness is put into our account. Then we must cross over into the New Birth and our New Life!

The New Birth --> Sanctification by Faith

The New Birth is the work of the Holy Spirit.

-It is performed by the Holy Spirit at conversion (Jn. 3; Titus 3:4-11)

-Good works are the result (Ep. 2)

-There is right living (Jn. 2:29) in God that keeps one in right standing with God

-It breaks the power of sin and gives a new nature that enables us to do right

-It is inherent holiness. We are made holy. Holy beings do holy things. It is their nature. it is the ability to live a holy life (1 Pt. 1:15). Second Corinthians 5:7 says we become a new creature, born according to His nature.

Although justification and the new Birth happen simultaneously in a true conversion, they are two separate things.

So we see that we cannot earn justification. And we also see that good works are the fruit of salvation. God does the works through us.

The main argument today is not over justification, but over holiness and works. Those who focus only on justification have an obsession with Romans 6&7. But because they do not consider the "counter truth", as quoted before hand, this causes a gross misinterpretation of those chapters. In fact, it has been found that most who hold so tightly to this doctrine are plagued with addictive behaviors that they have been unable to overcome and this doctrine eases their conscience so that they come to believe that they can continue to live in sin and be a Christian. This is the danger of this half doctrine of justification without the effectual new birth and sanctification.

The Problems of Hyper Righteousness

1. There is an ignorance of Biblical salvation and an ignorance of sin. We need more than forgiveness of sins. There must be a new birth that produces a Godly life.

2. There is a partial truth, a selective truth. This partial gospel does not call people to a new birth and Godly living.

3. There is an overemphasis on one truth at the expense of the others. This imbalance creates a theology for self-justification.

4. There is a mis-application of doctrine. The Christian life is sanctification by faith. This hyper righteousness doctrine separates what we are from what we do, which is nothing more than the ancient doctrines of the Gnostics of the New Testament.

5. There is a misinterpretation of scripture. Romans 7 cannot contradict the rest of Paul's writings or none of Paul's writings are true. There are no contradictions in scripture. Those who adhere to this hyper righteousness teaching have to be selective in the sins they allow. For instance, they seem to allow sexual perversion and drunkenness, but would not allow murder or theft. No one who habitually murders would be considered a Christian.

Galatians 5:16ff says that we have flesh. At salvation, the flesh is brought into submission, not eradicated. It is put under, similar to grass dying in the winter time. It is not eradicated, it is simply dormant. It stays dormant until the right conditions prevail, i.e. warmth, moisture, and nutrients, at which time it comes alive and begins to live and grow again. Similarly, the flesh stays dormant unless you feed it. We will have it until Jesus returns. Sin goes from being the habit to being the exception. We cannot be living in habitual sin and be a Christian. We cannot be sinners and saints at the same time. We are either a sheep or a goat.

In v. 21, we see that a drunkard cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. To inherit the Kingdom, you have to be a son of the Kingdom. To be a son of the Kingdom, you must be birthed into the Kingdom.

In Eph. 5:3- 6; 1Cor 6:9-11, they thought they could be in sin and still be righteous, but in Eph. 4:5 and 1 Cor. 6:9 Paul corrected that when he said "be not deceived." Romans 7 cannot prove that Paul was a fornicator. Many times in scripture he states that his conscience was clear. Therefore, he could not have been involved in sin.

6. There is a misunderstanding of difference between imputed and inherent righteousness. At justification there is imputation, but at the New Birth, holiness becomes inherent in the believer. That inherent holiness is our new nature that causes us to be different.

7. There is a condemnation of good works. Works are not evil. Eph. 2:10 says that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." The fruit of being born again is good works!

Titus 3:12-14: ...And let our people also learn to engage in GOOD DEEDS to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful. We work, as Christians, to please God, not to earn God's favor. We work because we ARE Christians, not because we are trying to earn Christ.

James 1:17-18: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

Romans chapters 1 and 16 talk about the "obedience of faith". There are works we work out of obedience to Christ.

James 1:22 Be doers of the Word and not hearers only

Matt. 7:21; We are known by our fruits. "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Lk. 6:47-49 "Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like:" The one who heard AND acted upon the Word stood.

In Lk. 8:21 and 11:28, it is the DOER that is blessed, not the hearer.

8. The hyper faith doctrine divorces the heart and the actions. They try to separate what is in the heart and the deeds, works and actions. Mk. 7:20-23 shows us that our action come from what's in our hearts. "And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." This is also found in Matt. 15:19-20.

We are judged according to our actions. What we are is what we do. We do what's in our heart. In Mt. 25:37, the righteous did not even know what they had done. They did what they were. That is the evidence of the new life. We do what is right because we are right!

Rev. 2:5: "Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and DO THE DEEDS you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of it's place--unless you repent. Now if Jesus is telling us to do the works, what are we going to do? Tell him, "oh no, Jesus ! That's works!" I don't think so!

Rev. 14:13..Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!" "Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their DEEDS follow after them." You have to have works in order for them to follow you!

Rev. 15:3 And they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are they WORKS, O Lord God, the Almighty..."

Not only will the righteous be judged by their works, but also the unrighteous. (Rev. 20:12-13)

9. The motivation of this doctrine is wrong! The one adhering to this doctrine has a need to feel good about themselves, to "be" somebody, so the creation of this doctrine, this half-gospel, allows them to claim righteousness while living unrighteous and to have something to preach that "no other churches" have.

Carlton Pearson could not reconcile that his once Godly grandfather died in his sins, so he accepted this inclusionist gospel to ease his own mind, instead of accepting the truth and allowing God to comfort him.

Jimmy Swaggart, who lived in habitual, sexual perversion, throughout his years of ministry adheres to this doctrine to legitimize his life and ministry. Anything less would bring him to the realization that he was not right with God and would discredit his ministry. He has the need to be someone and he is so arrogant in it, he presents it as a doctrine that God has only given "him" the understanding and anointing to preach, discrediting all the holy men of God through the ages who changed the world through the message of the true salvation message.

10. Pride is the cause and result of this doctrine. In 1 Cor. 5:2, the people in Corinth were rebuked for being puffed up and not mourning over the sexual sin that was found amongst the Body of Christ. There was one claiming Christ, but living in sin and refusing to repent. And they were instructed to discontinue any fellowship with the one committing it. The sinner was just that, a sinner, leaven in the lump. In v. 7, he says to "clean out the old leaven, for Christ the Passover has been sacrificed. They were "new creatures" and this sin could not be found amongst them because they were sinners.

Finally, 1 Jn. 2:29 says that "if you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him." 1 Jn. 3:7-8 says "Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in Him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

But if that dormant flesh does sin, (again, this is the exception, not a habitual practice), then "he is righteous and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness."

This is the true doctrine and practice of the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

O Happy Day!

As some of you know, Saturday was my last birthday! (No, I'm not dying. I just turned 49 and decided that I've had enough birthdays.) And what a day I had! It was not quite a perfect day, but it was close! (The only bad part was cleaning up the trash that my Husky (granddaughter) got into the night before!)

Some highlights:
Breakfast at McDonald's with my hubby!
Shopping with the kids because I didn't have to do anything else at home! Yea!
A cake decorated with lots of love and way too many candles!!!
Time with family. All my children and my adopted son as well!
Steak, baked potatoes, Normandy veggies.
Ice cream pie, cookies, a shopping card to the mall, a 16 gig storage stick for my photos on the computer (yes Naomi--that's 4000 photos--aren't you happy for me?), a new vacuum (normally I would say gifts with a cord are unacceptable for a birthday celebration but I was desperate! So it was a good call! And a very nice vacuum, I might add!), a designer cow magnet made from cinnamon and applesauce (my daughter ate my last one as a toddler and I've always missed it), new furry gloves to keep my piano hands warm, a designer card by Tiffy, a very large, fattening cheese cake from my secret sister (I'd invite you over to eat some, but then you wouldn't be a secret anymore--sorry!), and a watch that is reminding me that I have music lessons in half an hour.

And the cards, and the cards, and the cards!!! I love cards! And my friends and family were good to me. I had many laughs and tears of joy as sentiments were expressed!

What meant the most to me was all the extra time and trouble that people went to just to make the day special for me. I felt so loved, so appreciated, so blessed! Y'ALL ARE THE BEST!

A special "you're the best" to my totally computer illiterate hubby who actually went into a computer store and took a chance on a computer part. That was truly an act of faith and sign of your undying love for me! He then stretched his faith a little further by attempting to cook dinner because I wasn't up for Uncle Chen's--our favorite take out. Between him, my adopted son and my daughter, the house didn't burn down and dinner was delicious!

So since my birthday was so wonderful this year, I just can't let it be my last one. I mean they will have to top this one next year, right? So here's fair warning-- I WILL be turning 50 next year, so don't strike me from the gift list! :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Joy in Heaven (Sunday Sermon Monday)

Continuing with the missions theme, this week our Pastor reminded us of the value of a soul--it causes rejoicing in heaven when just one sinner comes home! What a thought! Of the 6 billion people on the earth, when just one of them repents, heaven is stirred to rejoicing!

Our text was Luke 15:1-10

Jesus was not afraid of sinners
Too many times Christians avoid sinners because they are afraid that sinners will somehow influence them in the wrong way. That is ridiculous. "Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world." Jesus went to the sinner.

Now Jesus wasn't hanging out at the local bars or the End Zone, he went to people's homes to minister to them. He didn't care that the religious leaders of His day didn't like the company he kept. (Now we are not to hang with professing Christians living in sin. The Bible is plain concerning that, but we are to hang with the unconverted for the purpose of relationship and a chance to speak to them of Christ. 1 Cor. 5:10-11. In 1 Cor. 5:1, the guy was kicked out of the church because of unrepentance and it was right to do that. He was denied fellowship with other believer's. The isolation brought him around and he was fully restored.)

In order to reach someone, you do not have to be like them. You just have to be like Christ. He is what draws them to Himself. You don't have to be a punk to reach the punks. You don't have to be a prostitute to reach a prostitute. You don't even have to be young to reach the young. Jesus said if He would be lifted up (if people would see Him), He would draw them unto Himself.

There are only two kinds of people--Sinners and Saints

In verse 7, the righteous (just) are defined as those who need no repentance. The have received victory over sin. Sin is the exception, not the norm. They live Godly, not in continual repentance. Living holy is possible!

In 1Jn. 2:29, we learn that the righteous practice righteousness. There is a righteousness that is imputed at the cross, after our sins have been washed away. This is a positional righteousness--right standing before God in Christ. But then, almost simultaneously we are reborn, made holy at rebirth. We are then not just imputed righteousness, but we ARE made righteous. Then we will conduct ourselves in a holy manner. It's not duty, it's just natural. A dog barks, because it is a dog. It's who he is. All of our actions come from our heart, i.e. you do what you are. If you sin continually, you are a sinner. If you live righteously you are righteous.

As Christians we love because it is our nature to love. It's not a burden. Heaviness is a sign that we have not been saved. We should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.