Thursday, May 31, 2007

Questions for Reflection

These are 22 questions the members of John Wesley's Holy Club asked themselves every day in their private devotions over 200 years ago. I would highly recommend them to all of us for reflection and consideration...
  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I relly am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update on Hispanic Ministry in Arnold

We had another great time of worship and study in the word this week. This week we focused on the depravity of man, next week we will be focusing on the necessity of salvation by grace through faith alone.

Prayer Requests
  • Yaneli asked for prayer for a family member who is lost.
  • Yaneli desires to come to church on Sundays, but she does not speak English. She may attend the normal services at Rockport anyway...however we ask that you pray over starting a early service to allow others who have requested this time to come.
  • Pray for our mission team from Rockport that will be traveling very soon to Mexico!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

When things don't seem "black and white"

Recently, there are so many people that have been asking me for advice concerning matters that tend to be in a category of "grayness." What I mean is these questions usually do not involve explicit commands in Scripture, but need to be interpreted and call for a word that is not used much today. These issues call for "discernment."

Two things that I would like to say to this. First, I know that I could not write something that could outdo what is already been written, so I will simply point you to this great two-part blog post by Eric Simmons from Covenant Life Church. I beg you to read this!!! http://boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001494.cfm

Second, consider attending this year's New Attitude conference in Nashville, TN. If you are already going, perhaps we might run in to each other there. If you cannot make it, I would encourage you to listen to the sermons and renew your mind in the truth of God's Word (Romans 12:1).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Update on Hispanic Ministry in Arnold

Daniel and I met today and shared a wonderful time of fellowship and rejoicing over the Word of the Lord. Afterwards, we had a very special time of prayer crying out that the Lord would advance this ministry to the Hispanics of Jefferson County.

Yaneli could not make it tonight, but did call to let us know. Daniel and both feel that she is going to be an key part in helping us reach others in the community. Please pray for her, she is so excited to be associated with a Bible-believing congregation and she desires to have fellowship and to be discipled in the faith.

Adultery and Apostasy

Most people do not use these terms anymore. Why? I would guess for two reasons really, but perhaps both reasons actually come from the root of the second one. First, because as a society, we are quickly becoming the T9 text prediction culture that knows nothing more (this is somewhat of an overstatement) little characters as (ttyl, gn, ty, rotfl). Second, because such words that I have used in the title do not seem "nice." They are very offensive in nature and they hurt and in our culture, we just don't like such things. However, God has a different viewpoint. These are the exact terms and concepts that were used in Scripture to describe his people who have gone "a whoring" to other things rather than turning to the one, true, God who is forever praised.

I was reading this morning from a fabulous book by Francis Schaeffer, entitled "The Church Before the Watching World. Let me start by asking you...have you ever had moments when you read things, think of things, and you are so overwhelmed that you just don't know what to do with yourself? Many times this comes over me when I am reading through the Scriptures, but today, this happened as I was hearing this great teacher issue a harsh rebuke and a warning.

PARENTS AND CHURCH LEADERS...PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING WORDS, THEY ARE DEVASTATING!!!


Francis Schaeffer was talking about the crushing consequences of liberal theology when he draws some conclusions from Scripture. I wish that I could just quote the entire book here, but I would strongly suggest reading all of the Scripture references in this book and then again consider the argument.

Spiritual adultery is worse, much worse, than physical adultery. But it also much worse, let me say, than the Jews following their idols. Oh, how God spoke out against the Jews following their idols! What strong figures of speech he used in love in order to bring them to their senses! But modern liberal theology is far worse, for it turns against greater light, against greater blessing. Modern liberal theology is worse than following Molech of old.

Molech, whose idol was in the valley of Hinnon, was a heather god whom the Jews were constantly warned against following. And what a god he was! The central act of his worship was the sacrifice of the first-born of every woman's body. According to one tradition, there was an opening at the back of the brazen idol, and after a fire was made within it, each parent had to come and with his own hands place his first-born child in the white-hot, outstretched hands of Molech. According to this tradition the parent was not allowed to show emotion, and drums were beaten so that the baby's cries could not be heard as it died in the hands of Molech.

There, I would say, stand many in our day. Many of those who come to me, those with whom I work, are the children destroyed by a worse than Molech. Men--men who were supposedly the men of God--have stood by while the children were eaten up by modern theology. And then we are told to show no emotion.

Some of us bear marks of these things from the background from which we come. All of us are marked in some way because our Western post-Christian world has been undercut by liberal theology. Every scar this present generation has, every tear cried, every baby which some of you who read this have willfully aborted, ever drug trip you have taken, cannot be separated from the fact that the church has turned away and become unfaithful. Men of this generation are babies in the hands of Molech. And are we, as mere dilettantes, supposed to stand by, hear their cries and cover them up by beating loudly the drums of a profitless discussion? I tell you, No. We are to weep and to act.
(54-55)

I tell you...we are to weep and to act. Wow. I am speechless.

In all things...Christ preeminent!

Aaron


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Going to Thebes, Illinois...and another Prayer Request

Headed back to Thebes, Illinois

Rachel and I will be heading to Southern Illinois next weekend for Mother's Day. I will be preaching in the AM and PM services at the First Baptist Church. This is a real treat because this is the church where I grew up. Please remember us in prayer as I finish preparing this week.

Tuesday Night thoughts...

Please be in prayer as this Tuesday Night as we prepare for the Spanish Worship Service. Last week Daniel was commenting that we have had many different people come since we began, but there has been no consistency...to this point. However, we see something very promising in this new lady that is attending. This is in part because she sought us out.

Reflection from breakfast

I was discussing Baptist Catechism question #5 with a young man the other day, and as I was reading something today by Francis Schaeffer, something came to mind. This question of the catechism asked "How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God." The first part of the answer is where this blog entry is going to be focused. The first part of the answer to this is "the Heavenliness of it's doctrine." Or...you could say...in some sense...It's teaching is supernatural.

Liberal theology has for a long time tried to separate out the "supernatural" component in God's revelation. For instance, in years past, they have set on a course to prove that there is a "historical Jesus" and that you can prove everything that he did by history, and there is no need for the "supernatural" because everything can certainly be explained in "naturalistic" thinking. (I know...for some...may be some big words here.)

Let me discuss in one area...how this has shifted our thinking. (I would encourage some research in the areas of science in the 1800's because you can see how the theology of the Universities and the seminaries paralleled the thinking of the secular world.) The church univsersal largely has accepted this same position in regard to salvation.

One can clearly see this in the "popular view" of what salvation is. It has been reduced, over the years from a supernatural, God-pleasing act that was decided long before the world began, where God's plan was to crush is Son in order to redeem a chosen people for His own possession. What does the reduction look/sound like? Well, there are many different manifestations...such as salvation being reduced to a mere human decision.

Now, we are reaping the results of such teaching and ideology. What are the results? One result is largely unregenerate congregations of people that participate in "church." Even among those who are born-again, there are large groups of people that judge manifestations of God's supernatural work by natural argument rather than looking at God's Word for direction (how sad). Put all of this together...what are we creating for ourselves? When the world looks at us...they see powerless, divisive, less than genuine people that are meeting together to attend something that we call "church."

What is the cure? Oh to Look upon the Christ in the Scriptures and to believe in Him and have life abundant. Oh to be set free to love the truth of the Word of God rather than the world's teaching.

I would encourage those who have been formally "turned off" by the concept or the name of "catechism" to rethink your reasons and consider embracing such a tool. I will now include some comments from Catechism Question #5...

Question 5: How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?

Answer: The Bible evidences itself to be God's Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, and its power to convert sinners and to edify saints. But only the Spirit of God can make us willing to agree and submit to the Bible as the Word of God.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:6-7,13-16; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:18,129; Acts 10:43; 26:22; 18:28; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 15:4; John 16:13,14; 1 John 2:20-27; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17; 4:4, 6.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Update on Worship Service In Spanish

A New Contact

Well, tonight's service went very well and we have a new participant in our Tuesday night Bible Study. How did this come about? Well, we received a phone call from a young lady that said that she had been praying for a long time that she could find a Bible believing church where she could connect. She recognized that there are many Catholic congregations, but she attended a Baptist Church in Mexico, and desired to be part of an Evangelical church here in the United States. She had been praying about this and then she saw our flyer posted in a Mexican grocer.

This young lady's name is Yaneli, and please pray for her. Also, pray that the Lord might use her to help reach out to other Hispanics in the area.

Daniel brought an excellent sermon tonight regarding the foundational doctrine of the Trinity. Please continue to pray for him and his congregation as he is pulled in many different directions but is very much committed to assisting us with this work in Arnold.

Prayer requests
  • Armando - He is working different hours and right now is not able to come on Tuesday nights.
  • David - He has made a commitment to come...if we could have a service on Sunday mornings.
  • Jesus - He mentioned to me tonight that he would be interested in changing his work days or perhaps attending a service on Sunday morning.
  • Possibility of a Sunday Morning Service - The need for this appears to be common with several people now. Right now we would have to start early, end early, partly because people would have to go to work, and the other part is we simply do not have the space at Rockport.
  • Potential English Classes - This is a desire of some, and in talking with Daniel, we believe that this should be a ministry to those who are attending. However, we would again be pressed for time, teacher, and resources.
Thank you all for those who follow up on this ministry. Please continue to pray earnestly for resources (both laborers and funding).

In Christ,

Aaron