Archive for December, 2013

A Misguided Methodist & Marriage

December 13th, 2013 1 comment

wesleyI am teaching a college course in our ROAR Bible College entitled, The Consequences of Ideas, in which we highlight the power of ideas in shaping the world around us. The thesis of the course can be boiled down to this one simple truth: When our ideas mirror God’s, the result is great blessing both for the individual and society. Conversely, when our culture is built upon lies, people suffer.

Just this week, we highlighted the powerful impact of John Wesley’s ministry upon a sin-ravaged and morally bankrupt Britain during the mid-eighteenth century. In just two centuries after the Reformation, Britain had become a cesspool of corruption. Family breakdown, child abuse, alcoholism, pornography, public lewdness and perverse forms of entertainment had become the norm. The misery level was at an all-time high.

It was through the powerful, prophetic preaching of John Wesley, who called the people to repent of their sin and to turn to God, which helped to bring about one of the greatest cultural awakenings in history.

Perhaps this is why the news of a leading Indiana Methodist Bishop’s lack of support for the Marriage Amendment (HJR6) is so disturbing, and frankly, so “un-Wesley!” Wesley’s whole ministry was built upon the firm conviction that individual redemption leads to social regeneration. He believed the gospel not only transforms individuals, it also gives us firm principles for building healthy nations and a common social life under God. While he steadfastly loved his enemies, he never shirked from his God-given mandate to call his nation to return to the Lord. While history reveals that Wesley’s own marriage was in dire need of a tune-up, he nevertheless would have recognized same-sex marriage for what it truly is: a perverse, counterfeit and a direct assault upon God’s revealed design for healthy marriages and families.

William Wilberforce, a disciple of Wesley, understood the role of Christ’s Church in promoting biblical morality for the glory of God and the good of the people. His twin callings, “the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners” helped to end the oppression of slavery and the reform the moral climate of Britain’s culture. Wesley’s ministry and message spawned a whole generation of reformers. May that legacy continue among the faithful Methodists of our day.

Faith-filled Prayer

December 13th, 2013 No comments

Faith is the Launch Pad of Prayer

“It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. Why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6 (Message)

We see from this passage that faith actually precedes prayer. Why? Because you will not earnestly and diligently seek Him in prayer unless you believe that God really exists and you believe He cares enough to respond to your needs.

Now the reverse is also true. If your prayer life is non-existent, what does it reveal about your faith in God? We may profess our deep and abiding faith in Christ but our prayer life will always reveal whether our profession is true.

Understanding the Nature of Faith

Sometimes when we talk of men and women of great faith, the average person simply “checks out.” What comes to their mind is a spiritual superhero with a big “S” on their chest and a long cape! We often feel like spiritual wimps who simply are overmatched by the call to have faith in God. We mistakenly think faith necessarily signifies strength, OUR strength. Faith is something I must muster.

Let me share a story that highlights, what I believe to be, a more biblical understanding of faith:

“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength. So it is when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” (Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, p.9)

What a powerful picture of biblical faith. Faith is not about YOUR strong ability to trust God. Rather it is the recognition of MY weakness and my desperate need for God’s strength. The paradox is that those strongest in faith are those who are painfully aware of their on weakness. The proud and self-sufficient do not pray. The humble and weak are regulars at the bar of prayer.

Our eyes should be taken off self, removed from focusing upon own weakness and allowed to rest securely upon God’s strength.

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Schaeffer & The Great Evangelical Disaster – Timely Words For Today’s Battle

December 2nd, 2013 No comments

schaefferI’m preparing to teach a class this week at our ROAR School of Ministry here at Living Stones Church where I serve as the senior pastor. As I was preparing today, I came across some vintage wisdom from one of the contemporary church’s greatest thinkers and cultural prophets, Francis Schaeffer. In light of the current national debate over the definition of marriage and the family, I felt his words are just what we need to hear as we wrestle with our moral responsibility to stand for God’s truth, especially in areas like marriage where He has clearly revealed His will.

When we venture into the public arena to speak for God, we must make sure we do so from a broken heart. We aren’t mad at people who happen to hold positions that stand in opposition to God’s truth. On the contrary, we love people while we hate and resist “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Our righteous anger must be directed toward the “pulling down of strongholds” that have kept people in bondage. So we must stand for truth, but we must do so in a way that honors Jesus, the Truth (John 14:6). Schaeffer reminds us that,

“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.”

Truth must look like Jesus. It must flow from the heart of one who has been transformed by Him. It must be filled with and fueled by love (Ephesians 4:15). But truth must be spoken, nonetheless.

Once again, Schaeffer’s admonition rings with contemporary clarity and power:

“Truth carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless….Most of the evangelical world has not been active in the battle…Here is the great evangelical disaster – the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth…the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.”

All of our concern to “be loving” is meaningless apart from the call to “speak the truth.” Love acts as a guide to truth, but it does not replace the truth. The Church of Jesus Christ must lead the way in speaking out and sharing God’s truth in the areas of sexuality, marriage and the family. As Schaeffer rightly observed, “Most of the evangelical world has not been active in the battle.” This, too, must change. Our silence in the day of battle is an endorsement of the “spirit of the age.” We must recover from the “great evangelical disaster” before it is too late.

Act now! Call your state representative and your state senator and tell them to stand for marriage. Express your support for HJR6 and encourage someone you know to do the same.

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