Posted 9/30/14 at 11:18 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Randy Alcorn
Someone has said, “Live simply that others may simply live.” Of course, there is no automatic relationship between my simple living and someone else being rescued from starvation or reached with the gospel. There is only a relationship if I, in fact, use the resources I have freed up to feed the hungry and reach the lost. This itself assumes I will continue to make a decent wage. For if I go off and pursue simple living for simple living’s sake, spending what little I earn on myself, it does no good for anyone else. The point is not merely saying “no” to money and things, but using money and things to say “yes” to God.
How can we live more simply? There are thousands of ways. We can buy used cars rather than new, modest houses rather than expensive ones. We don’t have to replace older furniture just for appearances. We can mend and wear clothes we already have, shop at thrift stores, give up recreational shopping and costly clothes and jewelry, cut down on expensive convenience foods, and choose less costly exercise and recreation. Some of us can carpool, use public transportation, or a bike instead of a car or second car. But these are things few of us will do unless we have clear and compelling reasons. Here are six: FULL POST
Posted 9/30/14 at 10:13 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).
Do everything you can to make sure your church does not put legalists in charge of anything. Doing so is a death sentence for all they touch.
“The letter of the law killeth; the Spirit giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
The legalist is a self-proclaimed Christian who reduces our duties to God to a list of rules. Legalists delight in the Ten Commandments, of course, but since the New Testament does not codify a list of tasks we must do in order to please God, they do it for Him.
How kind of them to help God out. (I’m recalling an old definition of a legalist. He says, “I know God didn’t require this in the Bible, but He would have if He’d thought of it.”) FULL POST
Posted 9/29/14 at 11:52 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
I and my fellow elders at Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church have been focusing on elder training over the past couple of months. Part of that involved preaching on 1 Timothy 3v1-7, a sermon that ended up with 10 points (not usually recommended!):
1. The vital importance of these verses: This saying is trustworthy
This passage is the second “faithful saying” and is introduced with the same words as the amazing statement of soteriology in 1 Tim. 1:15, emphasizing the importance of ecclesiology.
2. The huge responsibility in these verses: the position of an overseer
Paul uses “shepherd,” “elder,” and “bishop/overseer” interchangeably indicating that they are three different words for the one office. To “oversee” includes observation, analysis, discernment, guiding, guarding, etc. FULL POST
Posted 9/29/14 at 11:27 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” –C. S. Lewis
How important is the Christian faith? Listen to the Lord Jesus in just two of hundreds of similar statements from Him:
–”I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5)
–”Unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
The faith of the Lord Jesus Christ is a life or death proposition.
Of the 100,000 excellent things C. S. Lewis said in his writings, and of the hundreds of memorable quotations we pass along from this brilliant British brother, perhaps nothing is of more lasting significance or greater benefit than the way he sharpened the line between faith and unbelief, between weak allegiance to Jesus and the real thing. FULL POST
Posted 9/26/14 at 4:35 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Ron Edmondson
I remember the first night in my own house. New wife. Mortgage payment to make each month.
I felt responsible — more than I ever had in my life.
And, honestly, there was a part of me afraid. It wasn’t a boogie man kind of fear. I’ve never been one to be that kind of afraid very much.
It was a revering kind of fear. An awe of the weight of the responsibility. The enormity of the demand in front of me.
I wanted to be a good husband. Be a provider. Protect my home. Pay for it. Keep a roof over our head.
And the night we brought a baby into our house. — wow — having grown up most of my life without a father in the picture, I certainly wanted to be a good dad.
Those were normal fears of the entry into manhood. I’m sure girls feel similar fears.
Those fears are long gone. I haven’t felt them in years. We’ve kept the house. Actual had several over the years. Praise God. God blessed me as a dad. I have two pretty good children. (Actually they are excellent — seriously — two of the best men I know.) God has been so good to us. FULL POST
Posted 9/26/14 at 11:39 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“Sirs, we would see Jesus” (John 12:21).
Nothing tells the story on you and me like what it takes to defeat us.
Some of us, like the Saints’ Jimmy Graham, have to be double- or triple-teamed to stop us from serving Christ. Others of us can be safely ignored because we’re no threat to the devil.
I am impressed in reading the gospels at the people who did whatever was necessary to get to Jesus. Here is a partial list. You may think of others….
1) In Mark 2, four men brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus. Unable to get into the house, they carried him onto the flat rooftop and tore open the tiles and lowered him into the room. I am impressed by their perseverance.
2) In Mark 5, the woman with a 12-year hemorrhage worked her way through the crowd to get to Jesus. “If I can touch but the hem of His garment, I will get well.” People with her affliction avoid crowds, but look at her. I am impressed by her determination and pushiness, even. FULL POST
Posted 9/25/14 at 2:32 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Randy Alcorn
Years ago when my children were still at home, before leaving on trips, sometimes I said to them, “I’m not expecting anything to happen, but remember, if it does, I’ll see you again in Heaven.”
Some would consider this morbid or inappropriate. But why? Mortality is a fact of life. What do we gain—and what do our children gain—if we pretend it isn’t? I’m going to die. So are you. So are our children. We don’t know when, but we do know it will happen—unless, of course, Christ returns in our lifetime. He will return, but throughout the centuries He hasn’t yet, even though countless people believed that He would return before they died.
How many children—whether ten years old or forty—have been traumatized by the sudden loss of a parent? When Dad and Mom speak openly of this possibility, it’s a gift to their children. If Christian parents remind their Christian children that the worst that can happen in death is temporary separation, it’s reassuring. Their relationship cannot be terminated, only interrupted. What will eventually follow—whether in hours, days, years, or decades—is a great reunion, wonderful beyond imagination. FULL POST
Posted 9/25/14 at 11:33 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
“When the shepherd puts forth his sheep, he calls them by name” (John 10:3).
The sweetest sound in all the world, we’re told, is our own name.
We can be dozing through the roll call, but the sound of our own name being spoken penetrates the mist and wakes us up.
We can be reading a report or newspaper and hardly paying attention. Our own name in black and white jumps out at us. It may as well have been in letters three inches high.
My name is who I am.
Our second son was christened John Marshall McKeever. Very soon after arriving home from the hospital, his maternal grandmother looked up from where she sat adoring this gorgeous child. She said, “He looks like a Marty.” And just so easily, he became that. (Marty says he’s glad. “All my life I’ve felt like a Marty.” Whatever that means. Smiley-face here.) FULL POST
Posted 9/25/14 at 10:56 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
Yesterday we looked at five strategies to stop us getting pulled down by the faults and failings of other Christians. If that didn’t work, here are five more:
1. Springboard from Christians to Christ
When you are tempted to start mulling over someone’s imperfection, think instead about the opposite perfection in Jesus. If you are pained by someone’s harsh or lying tongue, consider how Jesus’ words were full of grace and truth. If a friend is condemning the pastor’s self-promotion, turn attention to the One who made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant. If you are discussing the rampant materialism of some Christians, remember also to ponder the Christ who, though He was rich, yet made Himself poor, that we through His poverty might become rich. There is no sin found in a Christian that cannot act as a springboard to Christ and his contrasting beauty. FULL POST
Posted 9/24/14 at 11:55 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
How do we stop getting so depressed at the failings of Christian pastors and people? Here are five of the ten strategies I try to use. We’ll look at the remaining five tomorrow.
1. Try to see Christ in even the worst Christian
Although Christ is molding each of His people into His beautiful image, none of us show that image perfectly. Our immaturity and sin blight and deform His work. However, no matter how marred the image, there is still a trace of it somewhere in every Christian. Just as even a severely disabled person still shows some lovely aspects of God’s image in them, so the most fallen Christian has something somewhere in their lives where they excel us in portraying Christ’s image. It’s up to us to find that and admire that. FULL POST