Evangelicals face a reckoning… (recommended article)

We reap what Trump has sown

He’s burned down the Republican party, emboldened white supremacists, mainstreamed conspiracy theorists, and more.

Yet of greater concern for me is the trail of destruction he has left within the evangelical movement. Tempted by power and trapped within a culture war theology, too many evangelicals tied their fate to a man who embodied neither their faith nor their vision of political character.  

Read complete article here:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/01/10/after-donald-trump-evangelical-christians-face-reckoning-column/6601393002/?fbclid=IwAR19M47p-KzIEhuS7OxZZuakGsCKSeddb0r9aq9C1Yo4fsJ7XwFXfC6jDlg

The Death of Sunday Morning

“These are not ordinary days. God is doing a new thing, and we need to respond well. He will not wait for us at the platform while we deliberate whether or not we will get on the train. Life will not return to business as usual in 2021. Pastor, if you try to cling to your Sunday morning model, your ministry might collapse.”

Full article here, from an FAI interview with Iranian brother M.

https://www.faipublishing.org/articles/death-sunday-morning

Churches facing permanent closure due to COVID-19

“As many as one in five churches could permanently close as a result of shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to David Kinnaman, president of the prominent Christian research organization Barna Group.”

( 1 in 5 churches facing permanent closure within 18 months WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020)

So maybe back to the example of the first church members.

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 5:42)

(Note: the temple courts was a public meeting place, not the equivalent of a church building)

An Exhortation for All Followers of Jesus in Troubled Times

The following is from an Asia Harvest newsletter. A link for the full article is included at the end of the excerpt.

World events are only going to get progressively worse as the world spirals toward anarchy, before the great and glorious return of Jesus. He will come to bring judgment and to clean up the mess we have made: “Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12).

How can a Christian strengthen their heart and mind to survive the dark times ahead? Our answer is one that you have probably never heard from a Christian organization before: do NOT ‘read’ God’s Word! People read newspapers, novels and webpages, but the Bible instructs us not to merely “read” the Word but to “Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

It’s not enough just to have a few favorite Bible verses, or to pick and choose bits of Scripture that make us feel good. To be healthy, a person needs to enjoy the full banquet of God’s Word, and not just grab a few snacks here and there. Throughout the Scriptures, we find the people God used greatly were those who diligently studied His Word, for example: “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

To survive the end times, we must study whole books of the Bible, and invest time each day in getting to know the Lord through His Word and in prayer. It’s time to get serious, or our faith will not survive the storms ahead. God’s Word will give us discernment and wisdom, enabling us to navigate through this life

We not only need wisdom as we live in this world, but we also must discern truth from error in today’s Church. Each day, thousands of pulpits and the airwaves are spewing out a false gospel that has stripped the Christian message of key words like repentance and holiness, and crucial teachings of the Lord Jesus, such as: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)..

https://asiaharvest.org/an-exhortation-for-all-followers-of-jesus-in-troubled-times/

I’d also refer you to my article here: https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/dont-study-the-bible/ which according the title may seem like a contradiction of the above, but just as context is vital in our understanding of scripture, context should be taken into account with this article. Read the whole article and not just the title.

To Whom Shall We Go? Article by Cheryl McGrath

A very pertinent article by Cheryl McGrath on her Bread For the Bride site.

As I always advise – PLEASE clink on the link provided after the excerpt and read the full article.

Into every life there comes at least one crucial watershed moment. Moments where the soul is sifted and the true motivations of our hearts are revealed. Moments when events align around us that will require hard choices and ultimately determine our destiny. It is my belief the slowing down currently caused by the world-wide coronavirus emergency presents the Body of Christ, individually and corporately, with such a watershed.

But more on that later; first I want to focus on a similar watershed moment recorded in the gospels. (The passage is John 6 – feel free to check it out.)

Read full article here: To Whom Shall We Go?

New Testament Prophets

Yesterday morning I received a newsletter that included a link to the article below, about New Testament prophets.

Such perfect timing!

It even includes an observation regarding examples of NT prophecy through Agabus that I had been intending to address in an article of my own – but instead I’ll recommend the article below, which addresses the topic in far more detail and astute observation than anything I wrote could have done.

Considering the response I got after some previous resources I shared, let me state clearly that my recommendation of this article is not an outright endorsement of any ministry or individual associated with the article. It’s not an endorsement of any ministry or person the writer of the article may have associated with at some time. I’m also not necessarily in agreement with everything the writer says in the article.

I don’t have the time or desire to forensically check the writer’s background or associations to make sure there’s not the tiniest bit of “heresy” lurking somewhere in the background. That was the approach of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, who continually tried to find something incriminating in Jesus and His message, by which they could accuse and condemn Him.

Instead of emulating the Pharisees we ALL need to consider the way of the Bereans, who gave Paul the courtesy of searching the scriptures daily for themselves to make sure what he was teaching was legitimate.

As a final note I ask that you follow the link to the WHOLE article and don’t merely read the brief excerpts I’ve provided.

 

If your theology is off, your prophecies may be as well. If you don’t believe that believers can suffer, then how can you prophesy that someone is going to suffer? If you don’t believe in judgment, you cannot prophesy judgment. And for those who think that all New Testament prophecy rosy, the only two examples we have were warnings; one about a famine and the other that Paul was going to be persecuted in Jerusalem.

_

After Paul lays out his very clear teaching on prophecy, he makes it clear that if you disobey or reject his teaching you are not a prophet.
If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored. (1 Cor. 14:37-38)

https://tikkun.tv/12-principles-on-new-testament-prophets/

So You Want To Go Back To Normal?

An article from Cheryl McGrath, with insightful observations about the current situation and our expectations beyond it.

Click on the link below the introduction to access the full article at Cheryl’s site.

Coronavirus. I doubt there’s a single person reading this it hasn’t impacted. Many of us are reeling at the extent and speed with which the world around has changed, dramatically, within what seems like a nano-second. It’s mind boggling, isn’t it!

Everywhere I turn – internet, TV news, social media, family discussion – the question of the hour is ‘How long before this is over? When can we all just get back to normal?’

With that in mind the Lord and I started having a discussion about exactly what this ‘normal’ is that we’re all so desperate to get back to. It turns out that from His perspective normal looks a bit different to what it might be for most of us. Actually, it turns out He’s looking at this whole coronavirus thing from a Kingdom perspective. Surprised? Shouldn’t be.

via So You Want To Go Back To Normal

Andrew Murray on Unanswered Prayers

Highly recommended!!!
An article from Jeff Weddle’s blog.

Taking a break from my own studies and thoughts, it’s always an encouragement to come across something that gives a degree of confirmation to what I believe the Lord has been showing me.

I strongly encourage you to click on the link to read the whole article on Jeff’s site. It is disappointing to see how so few people tend to take that advice when articles are recommended. (WordPress stats allow me to see how many people click on links provided).

 

anti-itch meditation

Prayer is a misunderstood and totally beaten to death subject.

The Bible is pretty clear about prayer, how it works, and what it does.

The problem Christians have is that our experience does not measure up to what it says. And when push comes to shove, we cling to our experience more than the Bible.

One verse that puts things clearly is John 15:7:

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Every Christian is going to claim that they abide in Christ; yet every Christian must admit they don’t get what they pray for. Jesus seems to say that getting what you pray for is the proof you’re abiding in Christ. We don’t get what we pray for, therefore, Jesus must be wrong.

It is at this point where creativity joins Christianity. How…

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The Days of Noah, Lot and Today

As always, click on the link at the end to read the whole of this highly recommended article.

What's Happening...?

Remember Lot's WifeJesus referred to two events to illustrate the condition of the world just before his return: Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom in Lot’s day. What are the similarities, and what can we learn for ourselves about these events?

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [Matthew 24:37-39]

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“distributed to anyone who had need” (recommended article)

A recommended article from Steve, posted on his Cross Purposes blog.

I’ve always wondered what “Christian conservatives” make of Acts 4:32-35 ?

If they read it at all, that scripture should raise some uncomfortable thoughts…

https://cross-purposes.blogspot.com/2019/09/socialist-christians.html

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need”. Acts 4:32-35