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Two Good Articles on Blood Moons…

The blood moons are in the news and on the minds of people within Christendom. So, I thought it might be worth posting some articles that will discuss the matter from a biblical standpoint. The articles will critique the ideas of two men, John Hagee and Mark Blitz. * Here are the articles: Tim Challies and Answers in Genesis.red moon

The people promoting the present importance of the blood moons generally have to do a lot of “proof-texting” in order to make their case. Additionally, they take upon themselves (more…)

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“The Spirit Himself…”

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, Communion w/ God, Pastoral concern, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 12 August , 2013

Whether we are faithful in praying or not, whether we pray rightly or not, God the Holy Spirit is deeply earnest and divinely effective in personally communicating the saint’s deepest needs to the Father. Romans 8:26-27

Defense of Marriage Act

So, DOMA is struck down. This decision makes clear that for those who oppose same-gender marriage and related matters there is tough sledding ahead.doma

Our ultimate hope is not in governmental or societal change, it is in Christ. Any effort we might make (more…)

Tick-tock-tick-tock…

Of course there is some value to seeing themes of redemption, grace and the like in popular media (songs, books, motion pictures and in television programs). The Spirit of God does indeed open our eyes to see our world’s messages differently. But let us never forget that He does so by means of His Word.

Let’s say a Christian reads his Bible 5 min/day, https://i2.wp.com/www.hourplace.com/store/images/catswingtail.gif (more…)

False and True Believers–Jonathan Edwards Style…

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, discernment, Holiness, Pastoral concern by Sam Hendrickson on 18 March , 2013

Therefore if there be no great and remarkable abiding change in persons that think they have experienced a work of conversion, vain are all their imaginations and pretenses, however they have been affected. Conversion is a great and universal change of the man, turning him from sin to God. A man may be restrained from sin before he is converted; but when he is converted, he is not only restrained from sin, his very heart and nature is turned from it unto holiness: so that thenceforward he becomes a holy person, and an enemy to sin. If, therefore, after a person’s high affections at his supposed first conversion, it comes to that in a little time, that there is no very sensible, or remarkable alteration in him, as to those bad qualities, and evil habits, which before were visible in him, and he is ordinarily under the prevalence of the same kind of dispositions that “I would not judge of the whole soul’s coming to Christ, so much by sudden pangs as by inward bent. For the whole soul, in affectionate expressions and actions, may be carried to Christ; but being without this bent, and change of affections, is unsound.” Religious Affections 126 – 127

When life is bleak, harsh, and in a death spiral…

Posted in challenging human thinking, discernment, local church, Pastoral concern, Uncategorized, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 9 July , 2012

From a FB post…When life is bleak, harsh, and trying…

When sorting out the phenomenally difficult times/things of life, the answer NEVER lies in pushing away from the basic graces that God provides.
1. No valuable answers come from stopping regular Bible intake–hearing God’s Word read, preached, taught.

2. No valuable answers come from refraining from proclaiming the Good News to those in need (as someone did for us).

3. No valuable answers come from praying less not more.

4. No valuable answers come from pulling away from worshiping with the local church–to get “family or______________time”.

5. No valuable answers come through the stopping of serving other Christians in the local church, and serving the lost.

6. No valuable answers come by blaming God or others for the mess we have made of life, or by blaming God for the evil that others do to us(even those who said they loved us once).

7. No valuable answers come by running to worldliness while squelching righteous thoughts. In short: there is no hope for the messes, headaches, and heartaches of life except in the graces that God has provided.

So…where are we looking for answers? Where are we teaching our families to look for answers? Get over ourselves and run to Christ!

Many Evangelicals do not Believe that God is Very Specific About How to Worship Corporately

 

J. Ligon Duncan III:

Evangelicals have for a century or more been the most minimal of all the Protestants in what they think the Bible teaches us about the church in general and in their estimation of the relative importance of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).

  • They do not generally believe that church government is established positively in the Word;
  • they often do not see the local church as essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission or to the task of Christian discipleship;
  • they are suspicious of order as restrictive of freedom…

Consequently, since the doctrine of worship is a part of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of the church, they are not predisposed in general to expect much in the way of important, definitive teaching about the conduct of corporate worship…

…The greatest obstacle to the reform of worship in the evangelical church today is evangelicalism’s general belief that New Testament Christians have few or no particular directions about how we are to worship God corporately:

  • what elements belong in worship,
  • what elements must always be present in well-ordered worship,
  • what things do not belong in worship.

To be even more specific…we may say that

  • evangelicals emphasize the dynamic of Christian worship (the grace of the Holy Spirit)
  • and its motivation (gratitude for grace, a passion for God),
  • but de-emphasize the standard (the Bible)
  • and goal (the prime telos [the purposed end] of glorifying and enjoying God).

Evangelicals do think that worship matters, but they also often view worship as a means to some other end than that of the glorification and enjoyment of God:

  • some view worship as evangelism (thus misunderstanding its goal);
  • some think that a person’s heart, intentions, motives and sincerity are the only things important in how we worship (thus downplaying the Bible’s standards, principles, and rules for worship);
  • and some view the emotional product of the worship experience as the prime factor in [evaluating] “good” worship (thus over-stressing the subjective and often unwittingly imposing particular cultural opinions about emotional expression on all worshipers).

Evangelicals believe these things about worship, but they do not think that there are many biblical principles about how to worship or what we are to do and not to do in worship.

In part, this may be the result of an understandable misunderstanding of the precise nature of the discontinuity between  the worship of the people of God in the old covenant and the new covenant.

…Consequently, though evangelicals know that the Old Testament has instructions on what Israel was to do in worship,

  • they tend to think that there are few if any abiding principles [let alone commands] to be gained for Christian worship from the Old Testament,
  • or they think that the New Testament emphases on the heart, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and worship-in-all-of-life displace these Old Testament principles,
  • or they think that the New Testament has correspondingly little or nothing to say about the how of corporate worship,
  • and some even think the category of corporate worship disappears altogether in the new-covenant expression of the economy of God…

And not surprisingly, these assumptions help an evangelicalism enveloped in a culture of individualism, relativism, and situationalism remain, in its approach to the gathered worship of God’s people,

  • strong on the individual, weak on the corporate;
  • strong on the subjective, weak on the objective;
  • strong on the heart, weak on the principles.

Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, P & R Publishing, 2003, pp. 24 – 26

[Nota bene: These are Duncan’s words, but I did the bulleting to make the lists and long (dare I say run-on?) sentences more easy to navigate.] Presented with all the usual waivers as to how his beliefs and practices differ from mine, etc… I.e. simply because I am quoting him doesn’t mean you should become a Presbyterian or whatever…I’ll trust your discernment…

God Hates Purposefully Mixed Worship & Sacrifice-Exodus 32

Some more thoughts on modern Christianity’s tendency to intermix worldliness in with the things of Christ.

It’s not some new phenomenon as we will see below.

When this artist to the right is “excited” that his album was used for a World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE) 25 year Anniversary service (and no, it was not chosen because it spoke a contrary message of God to those present, but because the music fit right in), you have to wonder if you want the people you love to be warned about the messages of such people. Maybe some will think you out of step “with the current Christian times”, or just a nosy, cranky curmudgeon. (Who among us would deny such are true of me? Heh heh.)

But as I preached last week, if you are doing Good News living and others have a problem with that, their beef is not with you, but they’ve just found their complaint escalated to the highest levels–Christ and the Father. So, I won’t be hurt if you disagree, but, at that point my feelings and my opinion means nada, nil, nuthin’–zilch. Someone else’s opinion does.

This kind of thinking comes from (John 15:19 – 16:3)

Anyway

God’s rightful glory is given to someone else when we intentionally mingle godly things in with pagan things. And God does not stand for having His glory diverted, stolen or reduced.

I contend that “Christian” bands like these and others, often show their desires to find ways to have and hold “the world” while trying to have and hold Christ.

That’s God-glory-robbing kind of stuff–and that is a dangerous place to be, and these can be spiritually dangerous people from which to get your teachings about God.

Consider how things went in the 15th Century BC:

Exodus 32

  • People often lose confidence in the people God has ordained as their spiritual leader (Verse 1)Exodus 32:1  Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.
  • In doing so, they then reveal what their real desires are–what they truly want to worship (instead of the One True God)(Verse 1)“come make us a god”
  • Other spiritual leaders may well be as spiritually weak as those they lead and cave into their sinful desires (Verse 2) Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
  • Such leaders can end up mixing in “God-talk” and “idol-talk” as a way of gaining the approval of the sinful people, and as a way of making themselves feel better for introducing sin into the things of God–“this is your god” and “tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” (Verse 4) He [Aaron] took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
  • When such leaders intermingle pagan, sinful things in with the holy things of God, the people (whose hearts desire sin, self and their own lusts) will go along with it and even do “the godly stuff.”–they “offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings” (Verse 5)Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
  • And when the “God” stuff is over, the sinful idolatry and self-centered fulfillment merely continues (Verse 6)So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play
  • God’s holy righteous anger burns against this kind of spiritual God-talk and idol-worship (Verses 7 – 35)–Go ahead go to the passage and take a look–God’s punishment on Israel was ugly, brutal and indicative of His love for His own glory.

Seriously, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to be listening to people who are willing to look at God this way?
  • Should I be learning my information about God from people who look at God this way?
  • Should I be using the messages of such people to help me individually worship God?

It ought to sober us to think of what God did in the Golden Calf Worship-of-Jehovah-Disaster.

Who is really your God/god?