PEACE AND LOVE BABY

February 10, 2018

I don’t know whether you know what humanism is, but humanism is the pervading philosophy of the media, Hollywood, today. Humanism is a philosophy that makes man the center of the circumference of everything. Now the humanists are an actual organization. That is, there is an American Humanist Association, and they make their goals very clear and very plain. But there are a lot of people who are not members of the Humanist Association who are humanists at heart.

Now, simply defined, humanism is man’s attempt to solve the problems of mankind independent of God. Man’s attempt to solve humanity’s problems apart from God. Now, one of the leading humanists has written this for you and for me to understand what humanism is all about, and I quote precisely: Humanism is the viewpoint that human happiness is its own justification and requires no sanction or support from supernatural sources.

Plain English, be happy and leave God out of it. Listen to it again: Humanism is the viewpoint that human happiness is its own justification and requires no sanction or support from supernatural sources.

But the most dangerous part of humanism is they don’t believe in an eternity. And without the concept of eternity there can be nothing sacred.

So we can do anything we want, with our mind, our bodies, there is no morality.

We need to confront people with eternity, with the love of God. Do you know why the “Jesus Movement” was so big in the late 60’s and 70’s? Love, baby, love. It was like the book of Acts, all over. Now granted there were a lot of cults back then and high drug use (that’s a pun), but churches were filled. The long hairs and the bald, flower power and grannies. If the church would stop all it’s in house fighting and love at least the brothers and sister in the body of Christ, we’d see church evangelism begin to flourish.

It starts at home, love and peace, peace and love baby.

Rock on.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Men of God (part 2)

January 5, 2018

Godly Men (part 2)

Paul exhorts 1 Timothy 6:11 to “flee these things.” The verb “flee” conveys the sense of running continually to escape a dangerous enemy. “These things” refers to what Paul has just been talking about in verses 9 and 10: the evils attached to the love of money. These evils include “foolish and harmful lusts” and even the danger of straying “from the faith in. . . greediness.” Greed is the sin of false teachers who pretend to speak for God, but whose true goal is personal gain.

Other things a man of God must flee from include sexual sin (1 Cor. 6:18), idolatry_ (1 Cor. 10:14), and youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22). From anything which might distract his heart from God or detract from his ministry, the man of God must flee.

It’s not enough to just rebuke it or claim it. I saw a bible advertised online that is just for Pentecostals or the Joel Osteen ilk, that was supposedly filled with one sentence sayings that were spiritual defenses against dark forces. I mean that sounds more like an ad for Dungeons and Dragons than a bible.

But of course in this 1 minute world, what else could you expect.

Of course these are probably the same people that claim the devil made them do it or my personal favorite I hear all the time; “I just couldn’t help myself.” Really, what are you a zombie?

Ok, I’m done ranting, you see a temptation, flee, literally get away from it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Anne, she went off her medication and is living in panic attack city.

Seriously if you were prescribed a medication, don’t quit taking it unless you talk to your doctor. Or the side affects are worse than the illness, but still talk to your doctor.

BABLE

December 22, 2017

Babylon, Babbel, Nutz,

In Dr. James Kennedy’s book; ‘Evangelism Explosion’ he wrote one thing that is often overlooked in talking to people about Christ, especially people in cults,(although now days I would apply this rule to everyone you talk to since we are so multicultural and pluralistic these days).

The rule was this; you have to agree what words mean. For example you just can’t start out a conversation and ask someone “is Jesus Lord of your life” and expect an answer that is mutually understandable to both parties. An agreement has to be reached that each word in that statement has the same meaning to each party.

This also important as we talk to other believers; we need to ask them what their theology allows them to believe, so we know that we are really talking about the same thing or even if both parties know what the other party is talking about.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about; my Bachelor of Science was in New Testament languages and theology (double major) from a Reformed Theological viewpoint, my masters was in theology was from a Brethren seminary, my M.Div., was in counseling psychology were I went for clinical work at a very Freudian institute but also continued at the Brethren seminary; my doctorate was in the Psychology of Counseling from an Evangelical college that was mostly Dutch Reformed.

But the whole time I am a preacher in a Pentecostal Church or working with Oral Roberts.

Sorry to make you wade through all that; the point is that I realize I speak in Pentecostalese. (that one does not make it through spell check).

So here’s the reason for this devotion, twice now for devotions we’ve talked about ‘secret sins’ and twice now in Christian dialogue with born again believers that have never had any association with Pentecost, they have never heard the term used before, and like the devotion pointed out they knew that there could not be such a thing as secret sin, as God knows all.

So I had to explain to both these mature in the Lord, brothers and sisters that the Pentecostal movement is filled with very poor theological constructs that are used to often make the church toxic, controlling and yes even cult like. Add to that Arminian Theology (you can lose your salvation).

And that is one of the things that I have fought against in trying to make the movement more scripturally based and less experientially based. (good luck with that, it’s not always gladly accepted, as feel good often out sells knowledge and soundness of doctrine). And since that has spread to all these independent non Pentecostal churches, where Jesus is like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer, or God has to do what you say faith speaking nonsense.

So in our conversation between believers (Christians of other denominations) let’s make sure we are using the right words and agree to what our words mean, in order to express ourselves or it will be the Tower of Babel between the brethren.

God bless

Drop us note at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Denise H. newly married (3 months) and she isn’t sure it wasn’t just about the sex. (where’s the love).

Pray for Abbey, 38 years old and a snow boarding freak, fell and fractured her hip and no one saw her go down. She was praying out loud and

A cross country skier heard her and found her, and it turns out he’s an EMT. Praise God for that.

Ok,, bible quiz and bible give away. What country has killed and eaten more missionaries than any other country? \\

Weird questions right, you can choose a large print KJV or a compact NIV study bible. Just email the answer to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

INSTANT VS. BREWED

December 16, 2017

INSTANT COFFEE VS. BREWED

YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE OF A DEBATE GOING ON IN SOME THEOLOGICAL WORLDS.

IN THE SIMPLEST FORM; IT’S HYPER HOLINESS VS. MATURITY.

OR, INSTANT SANCTIFICATION REALIZED NOW VS. GROWTH.

SO ONE CAMP SAYS YOU SHOULD HAVE IT ALL RIGHT NOW, YOU’RE SAVED, SANCTIFIED (IN PRACTICE AS WELL AS STANDING). AND THE OTHER SIDE BASICALLY SAYS THERE ARE STEPS, OR PHASES TO YOUR CHRISTIAN MATURITY.

THE INSTANT NOW GROUP BELIEVES THAT UPON YOUR SALVATION YOU NO LONGER SIN BECAUSE YOU ARE SANCTIFIED. THE OTHER GROUP SAYS IT’S A BATTLE.

JUST SO THERE IS NO DOUBT IN YOUR MIND I’M IN THE GROWTH GROUP.

THE INSTANT GROUP IGNORES ROMANS 7 AND REFACTORIZES IT TO PAUL TALKING ABOUT A CARNAL BACKSLIDDEN PERSON (IN THEIR EYES UNSAVED).THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN ETERNAL SECURITY EITHER.

MY CHIEF CONCERN WITH THIS GROUP IS THEY ARE SUPER LEGALISTIC AND WHEN THEY GIVE AN ALTAR CALL TO BELIEVERS YOU HAVE TO CONFESS TO AN ELDER YOU HAVEN’T SINNED SO YOU CAN TAKE COMMUNION AND HAVE THE HAND OF CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP EXTENDED TO YOU.

NOW THIS GROUP OF “INSTANTS” IS SMALL, OF COURSE THEY ARE PENTECOSTAL WHICH IRONICALLY IS A “SECOND BLESSING” TO THEM, WHICH COUNTER ACTS THEIR OTHER THEOLOGY. AND SOME GROUPS DON’T BELIEVE YOU ARE SAVED UNLESS YOU SPEAK IN TONGUES AT YOUR SALVATION.

THIS IS ONE OF THE POOREST FORMS OF THEOLOGY.

IF ONE PERSON FOLLOWING THIS DEVOTIONAL PAGE FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME CAN TELL ME THEY DON’T STRUGGLE, NEVER FAIL, NEVER SIN, NEVER STUMBLE. THEN I WILL TELL YOU YOUR DELUDED OR IN A CULT OR BOTH.

(Colossians 1:9-12) I GUESS DOESN’T EXIST TO THEM.

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

INCREASING IN KNOWLEDGE, BEING STRENGTHENED, ENDURANCE, PATIENCE, SOUNDS LIKE A GROWTH PROCESS TO ME.

I’m approaching Paul’s prayer as a picture of spiritual growth, but don’t miss the fact that it is a prayer. It shows us how Paul prayed for these new believers, most of whom he did not know personally. Along with Paul’s other recorded prayers (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Phil. 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; 2 Thess. 1:3-12), we can learn how to pray for our families, our friends, for ourselves, and for other believers. When Paul says here that he and Timothy had “not ceased to pray” for the Colossians, he means that they had often remembered them in their prayers. Use this prayer as a guide for your prayers!

SO DON’T BE ALARMED IF YOU HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR AND HAVE STRUGGLES. WHEN I GOT SAVED THE DRUGS DROPPED AWAY RIGHT THERE. A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE (ALSO A PASTOR) GOT SAVED AND TOOK 3 YEARS TO BEAT HIS HEROIN ADDICTION 100%. I CAN’T EXPLAIN WHY IT WORKED LIKE THAT. I PERSONALLY THINK HIS FAITH IS GREATER THAN MINE, IF YOU KNEW WHAT HE’S BEEN THROUGH.

IT’S LIKE BOXING (MY SECOND FAVORITE SPORT) THE SECRET IS GETTING BACK UP. (AND IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING MY FAVORITE SPORT IS JUJITSU. (ESPECIALLY AS TAUGHT BY THE GREAT PROFESSOR WALLY JAY).

SO GET UP, GET OVER IT, GET ON WITH IT.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

HIJACKED

December 4, 2017

HI-JACKED

Susan Smith drowned her two toddlers by strapping them in their car seats and aiming her driver-less car into a lake. Political cartoonist John Deering drew a cartoon showing her car being hauled out of the lake, complete with a South Carolina license plate, a Baby-on-Board sign in the back window, and a Pro-Choice sticker on the rear bumper. There was no caption; there didn’t need to be. His point was clear: If it is wrong for a mother to choose to kill her toddlers, why is it not wrong to kill them a few months before?

A Planned Parenthood newsletter earlier this year ran an article titled, “Help Stop the Violence and Defend the Right to Choose.” The violence referred to was not killing babies, but killing abortion doctors. I’m against killing abortion doctors, but I’m also against Planned Parenthood which kills babies! Pro-choice means the choice to kill children who just aren’t as old as other children. The right to choose to kill your children should not be legal because it is not moral. Let’s drop the rhetoric.

The latest Planned Parenthood brochure says they are a good choice when it’s not convenient for you. Don’t wreck your plans your life call us when it’s inconvenient.

I want to recommend that you listen to Pastor Steven Davies, at Wisdom for the Heart ministries. And today’s sermon. 12/03/2017

He reads a speech by the president of Planned Parenthood, declaring that the services they provide are holy, sacred, and divine. That they are providing a sacred gift.

Ok, right now your blood pressure should have shot up, your fists curled and maybe a little cussing. Really, we can’t talk about our faith at work if you are a Christian, but an abortion clinic is holy, sacred and divine.

Dr. Walter Martin, the excellent author of the book “kingdom of the Cults.” Writes a great thesis in the beginning of his book, “we must agree what words mean.”

It started with Bill Clinton defining what sex meant, and now the language of God, of the Judeo-Christian world is being hijacked by abortionists. Do you want to know why? It because they are defying God, they are reprobates, their minds are darkened and they blaspheme God. It’s not politics it’s about the tower of Babel. What men think in their mind and imagination they will carry out against the wishes of their Creator.

Friends we need to pray for our country like never before and stop these ungodly people and their agenda.

if you have had an abortion, God loves you and forgives you.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RINNNNNG! RRRRIINNNNNGGGGG!

November 4, 2017

Okay first thing to remember is that this is not a crash course on demonology or even theology it’s just a story; although it’s a true story and even though my theology has changed (matured), none of that is relevant.

So it’s one of those oh my God I’ve answered the phone again, and a little old lady says, “pastor would you come over to my house I think it’s possessed.”

So what the heck, yes ma’am, I will come over. So this is a lady that does not go to my church, I’ve never heard of her before, oh yeah and she says she talked to the pastor next door and he says; I’m just some crazy old lady”.

So that’s all the information that I had, so I’m  going to visit a possible crazy woman who thinks her home is possessed. So first of all it is a nice neighborhood, and she does have a lovely home And Everything Is well kept.

I knock on the door, and this woman answers the door and she looks perfectly sane and in her right mind. And she is all “you must be the pastor, please come in” (cue creepy music). So I go in the house it is very well kept, very clean, no weird smells everything appears to be normal.

So she says, “well pastor let me tell you there is some kind of ghost living in my basement and at night when I’m asleep he comes up bothers me, then my bottom dresser draw slides open and all these little naked people come out and dance all around me. Would you go down in the basement and do whatever it is you do and get it out of here?”

So I go to the door that leads down to the basement and I flicked the light switch, and just like every good horror movie, the light does not does not come on. I look at her and she says oh he always does that he unscrews the light bulb. You will have to go down the steps and open the door reach out screw in the light bulb and pull on the cord”.

Okay is it just me or is my heart hammering like a 12 air hammer?

I asked her do you have a flashlight, you already know what the answer is, “no the batteries are dead.”

So, here I am walking down the stairs and I am praying, “sweet Jesus do not let there be anybody down here, demonic or otherwise.” (you also have to remember tactical flashlights have not been invented, just the giant cop mag light that I don’t have.)

I push open the door, it is pitch black, I cannot see a thing. I look over my shoulder and see that the lady is standing there at the top of the stairs wringing her hands. And you know what I’m thinking of right now, you just know something is going to happen.

So I’m trying to keep the door open with my right foot, and reach out with my left hand and try to find this light bulb that’s hanging from the ceiling so I can screw it in and pull on the cord and oh sweet Jesus let there really be light down here and nothing else not even a mouse.

Well what I did not know is that it was a swinging door because right then when I found the light bulb the door swings shut. At least I thought it was swinging shut, actually it was swinging towards me, and as I rushed back toward it, it was at the apex of its swing and bam I get slammed in the head like a sledge hammer as whacked me. I thought I was attacked by whatever was down in the basement; and man I am freaking out.

Forget about spiritual warfare, calling the name of Jesus, I’m in fight mode, out comes the Emerson combat knife and I looking for something to cut. I hear the lady at the top of stairs calling out; “are you okay, you have to watch out for the door it swings both ways.”

Foolishly I realize what has happened and I calm down and realize how glad I am she didn’t see the very unspiritual, totally freaked out Holy Roller going all Rambo.

I turn on the light and you guessed it, nothing down there. I’m praying to calm down, relax, take a deep breath and somebody taps me on the shoulder, I can instantly tell you it’s not the lady, its someone taller and bigger than her and I’m thinking you already freaked out once is it time to do it again?

The problem in most fights if you are not the attacker you are behind the power curve and catching up will usually get you cut, shot, or worse. But I think that moment I just felt calm and settled just long enough to not just lash out. Good thing it was the pastor from next door, he was worried because I’d been in the house a long time and remember he thinks his neighbor is crazy.

He sees the goose egg on my forehead and is asking if I’m alright and did she throw me down the stairs, is there somebody really down here. I tell him what happens and we both have a good laugh.

So we go back upstairs and I tell this lady there is nothing down there. Her response “maybe you should go there at night because that’s when they come out.” Guess what I said, “sure thing.” (Maybe I do need to have my head examined.)

Well no suspense, went back at her bedtime, sat in the basement with all the lights on and two flashlights and nothing.

So is she crazy who knows, is her house possessed, not that night. I never heard from her again. Hopefully she’s alright.

Do I still answer the phone and get sucked into crazy situations, yes I do. Moral of the story I don’t go into strange houses by myself. And I always have a flashlight.

Some time I’ll have to you about the time I was asked to do a cult abduction from a vampire cult. See I still answer the phone.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SHEEPDOGS’

October 31, 2017

Romans (16:17-20)

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. 20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

I’m a church planter, for a large part of my ministry it has been my role to start churches from scratch. In hotels, store fronts, street preaching, house churches, fire stations.

After getting a church up and going and mentoring a young man, when there is a core of mature believers and a sound financial base I turn the church over to this young pastor. My final words have always been the same, “preach your way through Romans” make it your life’s work to grasp this book and you will never stray after any false doctrine.

Paul’s intention throughout this epistle has been to carefully expound the truth of the gospel and to explain its practical implications and obligations. Early in the epistle he alluded to those who would encourage others to live in a way that offends the righteousness of God:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32).

Our Lord Jesus warned about those who would come as “sheep in wolves’ clothing.” His words apply to those of whom Paul speaks in our text:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).

In order to identify those whom the saints at Rome are to “keep an eye on” Paul indicates three “fruits of falsehood” which characterize those who pose a threat to the saints.

The first fruit of falsehood is strife. Paul says we are to “keep an eye on those who cause dissensions” (verse 17). The old adage, “divide and conquer,” seems to be one of the fundamental tenants of those aligned with falsehood. In Romans and elsewhere in Paul’s teaching, strife is condemned, and Christian unity is upheld. While retaining the distinct identity of the Jews and their future hope, Paul has sought to demonstrate the unity which Jews and Gentiles experience in Christ. In Romans 14 and 15, Paul has forbidden debate and tension which can arise out of differing convictions. But just as communism has sought to expand by fomenting strife, so Satan seeks to further his cause by adding fuel to the flames of friction and discord.

Teachers who depart from sound doctrine engage in speculation and argumentation which results in strife and friction:

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels (2 Timothy 2:23).

In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit of the flesh. He shows that strife and discord are the fruit of the flesh, while unity and harmony are the fruit of the Spirit:

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:13-26).

The second fruit of falsehood is stumbling. Our Lord Jesus had severe words for any who would be the cause of the stumbling of another, especially one of His “little ones”:

“And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

In Romans, Paul has just taught that we dare not be the cause of a brother’s stumbling:

So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification (Romans 14:19–15:2).

The strong should help the weak, and they should not cause them to stumble. Those who are promoters of falsehood are a cause of stumbling. The weak are their prey, those not well versed in Scripture or alert to the dangers of false teaching.

The third fruit of falsehood is the attack against biblical teaching. The Scriptures are the standard by which all teaching must be evaluated and to which all teaching must be subordinate:

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

“Every cult is either the Bible plus or the Bible minus.” False teaching either seeks to subtract from the Bible or to add to it. Paul warns the Romans that the peddlers of error will always be recognized by their departure from the doctrines the Scriptures teach, which now includes Paul’s epistles.

Bring your bible to church, get copies of the pastor’s sermon, if you have doubts about a sermon call an elder brother or a pastor you’ve known from before and ask. Go to your pastor and ask him to clarify. A mature pastor will not be offended. A young pastor or hypocrite might attack you or belittle you. Don’t be intimidated. Churches that have sound preaching, expository preaching, and sound full gospel messages are in my opinion rare.

Be a sheepdog and help guard the flock, study to show yourself approved isn’t just a bible verse for pastors.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Jennifer in prayer, Tuesday morning 5:45 am, surgery for her eye, pray she has peace and no fear and the doctor’s hand guided by the Lord.

 

cuts like a knife

September 7, 2017

I was asked to do some counseling at a major college today, and do a group therapy session and then presentation to an auditorium full of young girls. The reason, cutting and self mutilation has become epidemic on the campus.

For the most part, she’s like any other teenage kid. Sometimes brash, sometimes sweet; sometimes mature, sometimes childlike; sometimes carefree, sometimes melancholy. It’s those melancholy times that set her apart. She carves her pain into her arms with a razor blade, or burns it into her flesh with a lighter.

She’s not alone.  As its publicity grows through movies, TV shows, books and music, so do the number of teens (and preteens) who try it.  CNN now reports that 1 in 5 teens have intentionally harmed themselves at least once. Many try it initially because it’s trendy (especially in goth and emo subcultures), but move on.

A portion continue the behavior as stress management or punishment or because of the addictive high they get.

Most of the habitual self-injurers are girls. Many of them are high achievers, have eating disorders, and/or have been abused. Most feel high levels of pressure, stress or expectations. The most prevalent self-mutilation is cutting, but behaviors like burning, choking, and throwing oneself down stairs aren’t uncommon. Though violent, self-injury is not a suicide attempt.

Unfortunately, because awareness of the behavior is so new, medical and mental health professionals often don’t know what to do with these patients. Parents bring their kids to a professional for hope, but end up even more discouraged when that expert tells them she or he can’t help their child. Think of it as the early days of AIDS. Most doctors were as confused as anyone else. It’s the same here. Most organizations specializing in cutting, self-injury and self-mutilation are created by laypeople directly affected by the problem. The medical community has pockets of advancement, but they’re slow in coming.

Behavior to watch for includes trouble dealing with stress, has an eating disorder, covers their arms or legs in all weather (wearing long-sleeved shirts, wide bracelets or sweatbands on their wrists, avoids swimming, etc) and explains away injuries.

If someone you know is a self-injurer, getting specialized help quickly is key. Find experts who deal specifically with this problem. They may need to be removed from people and media that encourage the behavior. They will also need your prayer support, unconditional love and a shame-free safe environment. For most habitual self-injurers, the problem won’t go away on it’s own. Our kids are under attack, and they need people to stand up and rescue them.

you need to check your kids social networks on a regular basis. Put a software program on your computer that will track and also keep them from web sites that can promote this behavior.

Don’t be shocked, Girls as young as nine years old are being pressured to have sex. I’m just going to be blunt here, let your young girl dress like a slut at age 7 and up and you are putting them at risk. Seriously,  get rid of your TV. no computer in the bedroom, have a community computer in the kitchen or dining room. Put locks on your kids bedroom windows to keep them from sneaking out. Put tracking programs on their cellphones.

It’s 1984 and your Big Brother. don’t be naive, talk to your kids everyday, about every topic in the world so they will talk to you about anything and everything.

Don’t put your head in the sand. My daughter was raped at church camp, cutting became her way of dealing with it. It’s taken 30 years for her to deal with it and be a healthy young woman physically, mentally and spiritually.

if you feel your in over your head get help.

God Bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

FIGHT’N WORDS

May 2, 2017

Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.

Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is the church’s national anthem and the cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions.
In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way.
For the true Christian the one supreme test for the present soundness and ultimate worth of everything religious must be the place our Lord occupies in it. Is He Lord or symbol? Is He in charge of the project or merely one of the crew? Does He decide things or only help to carry out the plans of others? All religious activities may be proved by the answer to the question, Is Jesus Christ Lord in this act?
There are a great many bogus Christs among us these days. John Owen, the old Puritan, warned people in his day: “You have an imaginary Christ and if you are satisfied with an imaginary Christ you must be satisfied with imaginary salvation.”
There is only one Christ and the truly saved man has an attachment to Christ that is intellectual in that he knows who Christ is theologically. For you know there is the romantic Christ of the female novelist and there is the sentimental Christ of the half-converted cowboy and there is the philosophical Christ of the academic egghead and there is the cosy Christ of the effeminate poet and there is the muscular Christ of the ail-American halfback. But there is only one true Christ, and God has said that He is His Son.
We are under constant temptation these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament.
Even among those who acknowledge the diety of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God. The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind.
Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord Who as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.
But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate, and marvellously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.
The argument of the apostles is that the Man Jesus has been made higher than angels, higher than Moses and Aaron, higher than any creature in earth or heaven. And this exalted position He attained as a man. As God He already stood infinitely above all other beings. The apostles were not declaring the preeminence of God, which would have been superfluous, but of a man, which was necessary.
Those first Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew, had been raised to a position of Lordship over the universe. He was still their friend, still one of them, but had left them for a while to appear in the presence of God on their behalf. And the proof of this was the presence of the Holy Spirit among them.
One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology. We think of Christ as God but fail to conceive of Him as a man glorified. To recapture the power of the early Church we must believe what they believed. And they believed they had a God-approved man representing them in heaven.
Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him.
The discredited doctrine of a divided Christ goes like this: “Christ is both Savior and Lord. A sinner may be saved by accepting Him as Savior without yielding to Him as Lord.” Christ’s saviorhood is forever united to His lordship. Christ must be Lord or He will not be Savior.
To teach that Christ will use His sacred power to further our worldly interests is to wrong our Lord and injure our own souls. We modern evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam; Christ will not be used by any of Adam’s selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the true Lord of glory after all.
The Spirit never bears witness to an argument about Christ, but He never fails to witness to a proclamation of Christ crucified, dead and buried, and now ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name.
The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited, constitutional monarchy. The king is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

TRUMP (NOT THE PRES)

April 2, 2017

It’s traumatic when thieves steal your identity and your money, but there is something far more traumatic and tragic, namely, when spiritual con artists, who claim to be Christian, deceive the unsuspecting. The stakes are much higher than someone’s life savings. The eternal destiny of souls is at risk! Since the days of the New Testament, Satan has planted these deceivers in Christian churches, where they prey on the untaught or on those who are disgruntled. To avoid spiritual deception, you must develop biblical discernment and be vigilant at all times.

But we live in a day when the whole idea of spiritual discernment is minimized because spiritual truth is minimized. The slogan is, “Doctrine divides. Let’s set aside our doctrinal differences and come together on the areas where we agree.” Another popular mantra is, “Jesus said that they will know that we are His disciples by our love, not by our doctrine.” The implication is, “Set aside your doctrinal views and accept anyone who says that he believes in Jesus.” Tolerance, unity, and love are viewed as much more important than doctrinal truth, which often smacks of pride.

I have had my share of unpleasant encounters with those who arrogantly claim to have the truth. They beat you up with it, not showing much grace or kindness. But we should not allow such experiences to cause us to throw out the biblical emphasis on sound doctrine. It is not a minor theme in the Bible!

It is highly significant that John, the apostle of love, who has just written that love is an essential mark of the true Christian (2:7-11), now calls these false teachers “antichrists” and “liars”! He doesn’t call them “brothers in Christ,” who just have different ways of understanding things. He makes it plain that they were trying to deceive the true Christians and that they were not Christian in any sense of the term. True biblical love is not divorced from an emphasis on biblical truth. To compromise the truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ is to be hateful to the core, because such error results in the eternal damnation of those who embrace it.

In these verses, John applies his third test by which you may evaluate the soundness of a teacher, as well as your own life. He has already given us the moral test of obedience to God’s commandments (2:3-6). He has given the relational test of love (2:7-11). Now he gives the doctrinal test of truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ (2:18-27). He says,

To avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of people and doctrine.

The section (2:18-27) falls into three parts. In 2:18-20, John shows that to avoid spiritual deception, you must develop discernment with regard to people. In 2:21-23, he shows that you must develop discernment with regard to doctrine, especially, the truth about Jesus Christ. In 2:24-27 (which we will study next week), he shows that the means of developing such discernment is to abide in the Word and in the Spirit.

  1. To avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of people (2:18-20).

John contrasts the false teachers with true believers. He addresses all of his readers as “children,” (see 2:13), implying their vulnerability and the need to be on guard against these unprincipled men who were trying to deceive them (2:26). As a wise spiritual father, John is giving important counsel that will help us avoid being deceived.

He says, “It is the last hour.” The way that we know it is the last hour is that “many antichrists have appeared.” Some have said that John mistakenly thought that Jesus would return in his lifetime. Such a view undermines the divine inspiration of Scripture. If you buy into it, you cannot trust anything that the apostles wrote. You become the judge of Scripture according to what strikes you as true. This view also impugns the intelligence of the apostles. John had heard Jesus say that no one knows the hour of His coming (Matt. 24:36). It is not reasonable to accuse him of being mistaken here about the time of the second coming.

Rather, John is calling the entire period between Jesus’ ascension and His return “the last hour.” No one knows how long this period will last, but the phrase, “the last hour,” implies a sense of urgency, in that Jesus may come at any moment. Jesus concludes His teaching on the end times with this application to the wise hearer: “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark 13:33).

John says that a distinguishing feature of this age is that antichrist is coming and that even now many antichrists have appeared. John is the only New Testament writer to use this word, and it only occurs five times in four verses (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). But the concept of the antichrist is more frequent. Daniel 7 talks about the horn and Revelation 13 talks about the beast, both of which refer to antichrist. Paul (2 Thess. 2:1-12) mentions the man of lawlessness who will exalt himself and display himself as being God. His coming will be “in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). He will deceive many, who will perish. When John says that antichrist is coming, he refers to this future evil leader.

But when he says, “even now many antichrists have appeared,” he means that the evil spirit that will characterize the final antichrist is already working in these false teachers who have left the churches. The prefix, “anti,” can mean either “instead of” or “in opposition to.” It may contain both ideas here. The false teachers rise up within the church and present a system that subtly presents something instead of Jesus Christ. The false teacher may use the same label, “Jesus Christ,” but he will not be the same Jesus that is presented in the Bible. If a gullible person takes the bait, he is led farther away until finally he is in total opposition to Christ.

These false teachers, whom John labels antichrists, did not carry pitchforks and wear red suits with horns and a tail, or T-shirts saying, “Warning: I am an antichrist!” Rather, they arose in the churches. Some of them may have been elders or pastors, who for a while had taught the truth. Paul warned the Ephesian elders, “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Now these men were leaving the churches to form new groups, saying, “We have come into a deeper knowledge of the truth. Follow us and we’ll let you in on this secret knowledge.” John gives three guidelines to watch for:

  1. BEWARE: SATAN WORKS IN THE REALM OF RELIGION.

False teachers invariably adopt Christian terminology and posture themselves as being Christians, but they are not. They usually begin within the church (2:19) and at first, their teaching is orthodox. They often have attractive personalities and they build a following of people who seem to be helped by their teaching.

But, eventually, they begin subtly to veer from the truth. There may be multiple motives. Sometimes, they fall into immorality, and to justify their sin, they have to deny Scripture. Or, they may love the acclaim of being popular, along with the financial rewards that often go along with a successful ministry. It feels good to be in demand as a speaker, to stay in luxury hotels and speak to large crowds. As a man’s popularity grows, he grows in power. He hires a loyal group of lieutenants who carry out his wishes. No one dares to challenge the man’s teaching or lifestyle, even though he is preaching heresy and living in disobedience to Scripture. But, in spite of his deviance, he is still trafficking in the realm of religion.

Note, also, that there has never been a perfect church, even in New Testament times while the apostles were still living. We sometimes idealize the early church, thinking that if we could just get back to the New Testament principles, we wouldn’t have all of the problems that we constantly battle in the modern church.

But, these early churches had gone through the damage of false teachers in their midst, who now had left the churches to form new groups. Undoubtedly, they took with them people from the churches. Whenever that happens, those who still are in the church are confused and wounded. They wonder, “Why did our friends leave? They claim that they have found the truth now and that we are in the dark. Maybe there are problems here. Maybe we should leave, too.” This is how the enemy has worked from the earliest days of the church. Don’t be surprised when it happens.

  1. BEWARE OF ANYONE WHO BREAKS FROM THE TRUE CHURCH TO FORM A NEW GROUP WITH NEW THEOLOGY.

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (2:19). John’s words here do not apply to people who get disgruntled in one evangelical church and leave to join or form another evangelical church. While that practice is usually regrettable and sad, it is wrong to label those who left as heretics, unless they also have abandoned core Christian truth.

Heretics not only eventually separate themselves from true Christians to form their own groups, but also, they deviate from orthodox Christian doctrine on major issues. They claim that they have the truth and that others do not, or that they now see things that others do not see. And, invariably they try to recruit others from within the church to join them.

While such situations are painful and unpleasant, John’s words here should prepare us not to be surprised or disheartened when it happens. If it happened to the churches under John’s care, it can and will happen to churches today. But, when it happens, we need to think biblically about some issues.

First, true Christians are born of God. The key issue with these false teachers was, they were not of us. They did not share the new life in Christ that brings us into His body, the church. So, they felt free to leave. You can be on the membership list of the church without having experienced the new birth. While I believe that it’s important to join a church, it is far more important to make sure that you’re truly of the church through the new birth.

Second, if you truly know Christ, you will persevere with the church. It is imperfect. It contains difficult and irritating people. But, it is family! You were born into it through the new birth, and so was everyone else who has truly trusted Christ. While you may not have picked these folks to be in your family, God picked them and you’ve got to learn to get along with them! Although they often grate like sandpaper against your soul, it’s by persevering with them that God smoothes your rough edges. You will experience hurt feelings and misunderstandings if you get involved in a local church! Be committed to work through these matters. Don’t bail out on the church!

Third, note that John was more concerned about purity of doctrine than he was about church growth or unity. He never says, “We should go after these dear brothers and bring them back!” Or, “Let’s set aside our differences and love these men.” Rather, he says in effect, “Their departure shows their true colors. Let them go!” Of course, we need to evaluate the seriousness of the doctrinal matter at hand. Sometimes sincere Christians have to agree to disagree or even to work in separate parts of the Lord’s vineyard. But if the doctrinal issue is a core matter of the faith, purity is much more important than unity or church growth. We should not measure a church’s success by the numbers who attend, but rather by its faithfulness to the truth of the gospel.

So John says, “Beware, Satan works in the realm of religion. Beware of anyone who breaks from the true church to form a new group with new theology.”

  1. BEWARE OF ANYONE WHO OFFERS “NEW TRUTH” THAT OTHERS HAVE MISSED.

The test of orthodoxy is submission and adherence to the apostolic teaching contained in the New Testament. If someone comes up with some new “truth” that no one else has discovered since the days of the apostles, beware! The heretics claimed that they had now been initiated into a deeper level of truth than the average church member had experienced. It always flatters our pride to think that we have some level of truth that others lack, or we have had some special spiritual experience that other poor souls are missing out on. These false teachers were claiming such knowledge and offering it as bait to those who had yet to be enlightened.

This is probably the background to verse 20. There is a textual variant here. The KJV (and New KJV) follows the reading, “you know all things.” Most other versions follow the reading (probably original), “you all know.” John is telling his readers that spiritual knowledge is not restricted to some elite inner circle. Rather, they all know the truth of the gospel because they all have the anointing from the Holy One, which refers to the indwelling Holy Spirit that Jesus, the Holy One, promised to send.

The false teachers may have been using the word “anointing” as a technical term for being initiated into their special gnosis, or knowledge (John Stott, The Epistles of John [Eerdmans], p. 107). But John takes their term and uses it of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of the new birth, God’s Spirit opens our blind eyes to see the truth about our sinfulness and the all-sufficiency of what Christ did on the cross to pay for our sins. This simple gospel message is what these believers had heard from the beginning (2:24). Rather than moving on from it to some “new truth,” they needed to abide in the old gospel truth that they had believed from the start.

So John’s first point is that to avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of people. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and his servants disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14, 15). But, they are liars and deceivers!

  1. To avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of doctrine (2:21-23).

The late philosophy professor Allan Bloom began his 1987 best-seller, The Closing of the American Mind ([Simon and Schuster], p. 25), “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” He goes on to say (pp. 25-26), “The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.”

He was right: We live in a day that has rejected the idea of absolute truth, especially in the spiritual realm. It smacks of arrogance to say that you know the truth and that others who do not share your view are wrong. You’re free to have your own spiritual opinions, as long as you don’t claim that your view is the only true view.

This prevailing tenant of postmodernism has now invaded the church through “the emergent church.” This growing movement downplays preaching (what could be more arrogant than for one man to stand up and say that he is proclaiming the truth?). And it magnifies sharing personal experiences in an accepting, non-judgmental atmosphere.

Notice how contrary this is to John’s statement in 2:20, “you all know,” and to 2:21: “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” That sure sounds like John believed in absolute truth in the spiritual realm, and that you can know when you’re right and others are wrong! There are three implications here, which I can only touch on briefly:

  1. SOUND DOCTRINE REALLY MATTERS!

John says (2:23), “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” He goes on to say (2:25) that all of this concerns God’s promise to us about eternal life. That’s fairly important! If you deny the truth about God’s Son as revealed in the New Testament, you do not have the Father and you do not have eternal life!

A popular sentimental, syrupy view goes, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.” When you share Christ with someone who buys into this thinking, he will respond, “It’s nice that you believe that, but I have my own beliefs.” According to this view, sincerity is the main thing; truth doesn’t matter. That is utter nonsense! You can sincerely drink poison, believing that it is medicine, but it will kill you just the same. Sound doctrine really matters!

  1. SOUND DOCTRINE IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED WITH A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

John says that if you deny the Son, you do not have the Father. He goes on to talk about abiding in the Son and the Father (2:24). “Abiding” is John’s word for fellowship or a close relationship with God. His point is that if you deny cardinal truth about Jesus Christ and yet claim to know God, you are deceiving yourself. This is not to say that a new believer must be able to give precisely correct theological statements about the trinity or the two natures of Christ in order to be truly saved. But it is to say that if someone knowingly makes heretical statements about Christ and is not open to correction, his salvation is suspect. Sound doctrine necessarily goes along with a genuine personal relationship with God.

  1. SOUND DOCTRINE ABOUT THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL.

Most heresies go astray with regard to the person or work of Jesus Christ. John Calvin pointed out that since Christ is the sum of the gospel, heretics especially aim their arrows at Him. The only way that we can know the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). These false teachers were denying that Jesus is the Christ (2:22). This probably was more than a denial that Jesus was the Old Testament Messiah. The context here, which refers to Jesus as the Son of God and which closely links the Father and the Son, indicates that these false teachers denied the full deity of Jesus Christ. They denied the incarnation, that God took on human flesh in the virgin birth of Jesus. They taught that “the Christ” came upon the human Jesus at His baptism and departed at His crucifixion. John says that they denied both the Father and the Son.

The modern cults all go astray on the person and work of Jesus Christ. They deny His deity and His substitutionary death on the cross. They deny the trinity. Some of them speak in Gnostic fashion of “the Christ within us all.” By denying the Son of God, they do not have the Father. In the words of this apostle of love, they are liars, deceivers, and antichrists.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com