Friday, March 28, 2008


The god of Open Theism?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Answering Islam

Muslim Hope - Welcome
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The Cross Isn't Sexy

Read the following post by blogger Timmy Brister.
The Cross Isn’t Sexy: A Dying Man’s Confession
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.1 Corinthians 1:18
During the first hours of the morning that commemorated twenty-nine years of being alive, I never more felt that death was at work in me.
For those who do not know, I work the graveyard shift (3rd shift) at UPS along with several thousand other folks, most of whom are college-age students taking advantage of the great benefits provided them. During the 3+ years I have worked there, I have come to realize that there are huge segments of society where the church has effectively failed to engage with the gospel. I would argue that many if not the overwhelming majority who work with me are not only unbelievers, they have never been exposed to any personal encounter with the gospel or Christian witness (for instance, almost my entire belt of coworkers who have attended church with me, only one has ever stepped foot into a non-Catholic church). Simply due to their schedule, they by default become some of the least reached people in Louisville, and their lack of engagement comes from the fact that they are practically non-existent to the people who work in the day.
My current job is to train new hires when they come into the division and area where I and about 200 other UPSers work. Each week I meet a new employee and spend the next five days teaching and training them in their new environment and help them get adjusted to their work requirements. As you would imagine, during this time, I have the opportunity of getting to know my new hires and they get to know me as well. After training them, it is common for me to visit them weeks and months after their training to see how they are doing, talk about life, and hopefully continue the friendship that was started as their trainer turned friend.
Over the past week, I have been working with a young man under the age of 21 who grew up without a father in his life. He has four kids by four different women from three different states. We began talking about kids, family, and marriage, at which point he told me, “It’s against my religion to get married. I just cannot do that.” So I asked him, “So what is your religion, then?” He told me that one day is he going to settle down and start going to church, especially since the ladies he has been meeting appear to be faithful church attenders.
One thing I noticed was a shiny silver cross on his necklace. So I asked him, “What does that cross mean to you?” He replied, “It represents Christianity.” I queried further. “So it is just a symbol or does it have any personal meaning to you?” Stumped, he returned with a question of his own. “I don’t know. Is it supposed to mean more than a symbol?”
At this point, two other co-workers began listening attentively to our conversation.
I told him that the cross was an old form of execution that was one of the bloodiest, more gory means of death. Hands and feet where crushed and pierced by nails, driven with hammers; blood poured from all four extremities of the body; pressing up to breathe caused even further pain as the person would gasp for air to keep from suffocating. If necessary, their legs would be broken to prevent further attempts of getting air, and the person would eventually pass out and die. A long, painful, bloody spectacle was the cross before a watching crowd. The cross is not covered in sterling silver but crimson blood; indeed, the cross is the symbol of death.
>Jesus Christ died on such a cross between two criminals. He was innocent, undeserving of such a death. Yet he willing chose to die there as a substitute for those who are deserving to die and bear the punishment for their sin.
He who was innocent died for those who were guilty, so that those who trust in him, though guilty, would not face death but be given life and forgiveness through that bloody cross. The only hope that you and I have in this world as sinners is the cross of Jesus Christ where God purchased eternal life for those who would believe in Jesus who died and rose again to bring victory from sin, death, and the grave.
My new hire, not knowing what to say, remained silent. I did too. I didn’t want that moment to pass on with another trivial conversation. After a few moments, I began see that the co-workers listening in had moved away and were talking to one another. Having felt that I answered my new hire’s question, we eventually got back on the subject of our children. He came to the point where he asked, “So Timmy, what else is there worth living for other than myself and my children?” I replied, “When I came to Jesus, and that cross became a reality to me, I died, and from that moment on,
I live everyday of my life for the one who died for me.”
As the night was coming to a close, a supervisor from the management team who I work under came to me, and the first thing he asked (in a rather firm manner) was, “Timmy, have you been preaching on the belt tonight?”
I replied, “Well, it depends on what you mean by “preaching”. If you mean sharing my life in the conversation with another person, then yes, but if you mean forcing Christianity down the throat of my co-workers then I have not.”
He replied, “I have been notified by others on the belt that you have been pushing your religion on other people, and they were deeply offended by what you said. You cannot pass judgment upon people and tell them how they should believe.”
At this point, it hit me that the co-workers who had been listening found the cross as folly and a rock of offense. Making my appeal to the manager, I said, “What was said tonight has to be taken in context. I was having a conversation about life, about family, kids, and the kind of jewelry on people’s neck. If you are going to have such a conversation like that with me, which happens everyday here, Jesus Christ is going to be talked about. It’s just who I am, and I cannot change that.”
Not liking my response, my manager again reprimanded me, “Timmy, you cannot do that. You cannot talk about your religion and tell people how to believe. You are pushing your religion on other people.”
Making my final appeal, my heart began churning, voice started shaking, and eyes were being moistened with tears. I said,
“Every day I work here at UPS, people are pushing their religion upon me. They are atheists and live like there is no God, there is no day of accounting, there is no purpose in life except living for oneself. And everyday, that religion is preached from one co-worker after another, calling me to unbelief, and I am offended by that. Everyday I hear godless talk, my Savior’s name slurred, and hear of things that used to make people blush, and I am offended by that. Without fail, my coworkers are being entirely intolerant. One would tell me of their love and passion for Kentucky basketball and another for Louisville football, and to believe contrary to them would be against their “religion.” Yet I have the same passion and devotion, not to sports or girls or parties, but Jesus Christ. So why is my “religion” the only one being called out here at UPS? Why am I the only person who is being labeled judgmental when I am doing the most merciful thing in telling people about the love of Jesus Christ? If we were to apply the same standard to others as you are applying to me, we would have to shut down all conversation among all co-workers from this moment on, and believing that will not happen, then you have forced yourself to settle with a double-standard predicated upon hearsay of those who found a portion of my conversation as offensive. On the other hand, I exhort you to visit with everyone of my coworkers and supervisors for the past three years, people who I have worked with and talked to on a daily basis, and determine whether the claims uphold any warrant. If at that point you believe that I am unfit to function as a trainer at UPS, I would resign immediately in deference to your judgment and the goodwill of UPS. But I want to make it clear to you that this is not about me, and it has never been about me. Young men like my new hire need someone who will actually take personal interest in them and want to genuinely help them in life, not shove them off like a package on a conveyor belt, and I am of the opinion that those whom I have been given to train, they will be to me of greater worth than a package to be delivered in five days but hopefully a friend for many days to come.”
Well, my manager kindly listened to me, and during the course of my appeal, gave me due consideration as I affirmed to him my desire to respect the standards of UPS as a trainer while not compromising my character or commitment as a Christian. We came to an agreement, and hopefully the Lord will continue to allow me to be a useful employee for UPS as well as a faithful representative as one sent into the night to reach the people of the night.
One thing I learned for sure that morning: the cross isn’t sexy. The cross is offensive. And while I believe
life is at work in them, death is at work in me. And in that I rejoice, for on the day that I am supposed to think about myself the most (my birthday), I was ushered into the reality that denying myself and taking up my cross is the least I can do for the one who loved me and gave himself for me. It was never more important to breathe in that dying man’s confession when I was blowing out candles, and for that, I praise God.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.2 Corinthians. 2:15-17

To read the comments click HERE.

The following article is by Jedidiah Coppenger and can be found HERE at SBCwitness.
Live Strong, Lance Armstrong
What do I have in common with Lance Armstrong? He's an international celebrity, a champion bicyclist, and a world-renowned philanthropist who has devoted his resources and his fame to fighting cancer, a cause most closely associated with the yellow "Live Strong" bracelets. And he's an atheist who has rather publicly ridiculed the Christian faith. I'm a Southern Baptist seminary student. But for a few days this summer I found myself with Lance (and 15,000 other bikers) bicycling across Iowa. For seven days, there we were: a group of rookies, some seasoned veterans, and one superstar.
It might be hard to imagine the excitement of riding alongside Lance Armstrong. Just imagine playing basketball with Michael Jordan. When my brother and I saw Lance Armstrong coming up behind us, we couldn't believe we were tearing through the Iowa countryside side-by-side with the man himself.
I didn't want to ruin the moment by saying something dumb. So we enjoyed a brief moment of silence. But I couldn't help myself. Caleb and I engaged Armstrong in some conversation: about the goodness of pie and homemade ice cream, about how much we appreciate his work against cancer since we lost a grandfather to it, about what keeps him going in his athletic pursuits.
We asked Lance Armstrong if he is a Christian and he told us no. We shared the gospel with him and told him that, as Christians, we're on board with his fight against cancer. We told him that we're not just against certain manifestations of death, but the whole thing. Since Jesus has overcome death in all of its ugly wholeness, we're all about taking on death itself.
I'd like to tell you that our witness about Jesus knocked Lance off his bike, like Paul on the way to Damascus. I'd like to tell you that he prayed to receive Christ and is now applying to Southern Seminary to study for the pastorate. But the story's not that dramatic. Lance didn't respond in repentance and faith. He graciously dismissed us. He may not have listened to the gospel, but what happened next sure turned my attention more closely to it.
After riding a little farther with him, my brother and I passed on ahead of Armstrong and the pack, opening up some highly coveted positions next to the superstar for other riders. As it happened, we were entering the town of Victor, Iowa. They were expecting Lance Armstrong. The streets were overflowing with spectators yelling Armstrong's name or "Live Strong," clapping, taking pictures, the whole deal. Yellow wristbands and shirts were as many as there were bikes. Lance was about 20 feet behind my brother and I and he was closing in on us. About midway through the town, he passed us for good. He and the "Live Strong" mob went on their way. My brother and I just looked at each other and laughed, as if to say, "What a crazy day."
Right then something struck me. It was kind of like when you're driving with your window down and you smell something that reminds you of a time of the year, an experience you had as a child, or something like that. The memory has a realness that almost overwhelms you. But the "memory" that struck me that day didn't come from a smell. It was from an event. And it didn't remind me of a past event. Strangely enough, it "reminded" me of an event still in the future, an event someone once wrote about.
The Apostle Paul wrote about a day that is coming when Jesus, the victorious warrior king, will return in triumph to this galaxy. Paul draws on an ancient pattern of a conquering king who returns from battle to his people waiting for him, cheering, outside the walls of the city, eager to march in with him in glory. Paul writes that all of us in Christ, living or dead, will rise to meet our heroic Messiah in the air (1 Thess 4:17). And we will march back into a new creation for a great celebration (Rev 21-22).
As I rode along, I realized how limited, by comparison, Lance Armstrong's celebration was. It is limited, ultimately, by death. Many of those cheering for Lance Armstrong will have their cheers silenced one day by cancer. All of us will have our jubilations interrupted by death. A yellow "Live Strong" bracelet can't ward it off.
I shared the gospel with Lance Armstrong as much as I could at the time, huffing along on a bicycle. I hope one day he sees it more clearly than I could say it. The day is coming when no one will be cheering for Lance. They'll be cheering for Someone Else, One who isn't on a bicycle but on a white horse. One day cancer will be defeated, not by yellow bracelets but by pierced hands and feet. Nobody will be cheering for Lance Armstrong on that day, but I hope he's there to cheer for King Jesus. I hope he hears and believes a gospel that is the only really good news. I hope he learns how to "Live Strong," with a life that is stronger than death.
Tags: Evangelism by Jedidiah CoppengerNo Comments »

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Prince of Preachers

Let me say, very softly and whisperingly, that there are little things among ourselves which must be carefully looked after, or we shall have a leaven of Ritualism and priesthood working in our measures of meal. In our revival services, it might be as well to vary our procedure. Sometimes shut up that inquiry-room.I have my fears about that institution if it be used in permanence, and as an inevitable part of the services. It may be a very wise thing to invite persons, who are under concern of soul, to come apart from the rest of the congregation, and have conversation with godly people; but if you should ever see that a notion is fashioning itself that there is something to be got in the private room which is not to be had at once in the assembly, or that God is more at that penitent form than elsewhere, aim a blow at that notion at once.We must not come back by a rapid march to the old way of altars and confessionals, and have Romish trumpery restored in a coarser form. If we make men think that conversation with ourselves or with our helpers is essential to their faith in Christ, we are taking the direct line for priestcraft.In the gospel, the sinner and the Savior are to come together, with none between. Speak upon this point very clearly, "You, sinner, sitting where you are, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, shall have eternal life. Do not stop till you pass into an inquiry-room. Do not think it essential to confer with me. Do not suppose that I have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, or that these godly men and women associated with me can tell you any other gospel than this, 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.'"

Monday, March 24, 2008

John 3:18

Click on the Pic to enlarge it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Proselytizing vs. Evangelizing

Proselytism and evangelism are not the same thing. To proselytize is to convert somebody else to our opinions and culture, and to squeeze him into our mould; to evangelize is to proclaim God’s good news about Jesus Christ to the end that people will believe in him, find life in him and ultimately be conformed to his image, not ours. The motive behind proselytism is concern for the spread of our own little empire; the motive behind evangelism is concern for the true welfare of men and thereby for the name, kingdom, will and glory of God
- John Stott, Christ the Controversialist (173, 174)

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I would like to correct myself. I hate Dirty Calvinism.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mission Song

For we know that our home is not here,

For by grace we're saved

and our home is in heaven

From where we long

for the appearing of our Savior

Lord Jesus, come to Your people here

We're waiting for Your now

And until You come we will obey Your commands

Let us go through all the earth

And tell of Your salvation

Let us not be satisfied

Until Your name is known

Let us shout it from the hills,

That You are the King of Glory!

Let us live and die for You as we wait

(Men) Lord Jesus, come.

(Women) Lord Jesus, come

Words and Music b y Gary Brumley 2002

From the C.D. Songs of Grace

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My Hero, an "unaverage Joe".

I met Coach Joe Lombard at the state tournament in 1999. I asked him what made him successful, expecting to hear him say something like "hard work, diligence, attention to details" or the like. However what he said caught me completly off guard. You do not hear coaches make statements like the one he made. You might hear preachers reply similarly, but even then, sadly enough, I do not think that it would be a popular response from them. Here I was, sitting beside one of the, if not the, greatest basketball coach, literally, in the world. I held his complete attention and was so unprepared to hear what Coach Lombard response was upon hearing, I thanked him, shook his hand and left with out another word said or question asked.
Coach Lombard shared with me the greatest advice that anyone could have given me. He said, "Son, you have to love your kids."

Here are a few of Lombard's accomplishments.
1 He has built a resume of stunning success with 13 state titles, four in the last five years.
2 One of those state champion teams, the 2002-2003 team, was also crowned nataional champions.
3 His teams have never won fewer than 25 games in a season.
4 He has averaged 33.3 wins per season with only an average of 3 losses!
5 He has sent approximately 90 players to the next level.
6 He was state runner up two years in a row as the boys basketball coach in Nazereth, Texas while he was also coaching the girls team who won the state championship both of those years.
7 He has also won 4 state championships as the cross country coach in Canyon.
Canyon's Lombard gets career win No. 1,000
AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN — When the inevitable finally happened, there was no fist pump, no yell and no jump for joy. Joe Lombard simply clapped quietly, turned to give his wife a kiss and hugged his children.

For a coach who just secured his 1,000th career victory with his 14th state championship, Lombard celebrated with quiet dignity.

"I feel like an average Joe," Lombard said after his Canyon Eagles defeated Kennedale, 59-43, on Saturday in the Class 3A final. "Obviously it's a special day. I feel honored. I was called to this profession."

Lombard is just the fifth girls coach nationally to reach the 1,000-win milestone and has done it with astonishingly few losses. In 30 seasons coaching in the small towns of Canyon and Nazareth, his career record is 1,000-92.

Ironically, Lombard's first game was a loss, making for a miserable drive home in the dark in West Texas. Actually, he lost twice that night at Hartley. His junior varsity squad lost as well.

"That was a long night," Lombard said.

There have been very, very few like that one ever since.

Located in the ranchland and rugged terrain of the Panhandle, Canyon is just a few miles south of Amarillo. The Eagles have won eight state titles in 25 seasons under Lombard, six since 2000. His 2002-2003 team was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.

The current players were determined to make their mark in such a proud history.

"We didn't win all 1,000 of them, but to be on the team to give him this one is pretty incredible," said senior Jade Tinner, who scored 19 points Saturday.

Sensing his current players might be feeling the pressure, Lombard assured them that he'd return next season — he's only 54 — and they can just as easily get the win in the fall.

But there was no chance the Eagles were leaving Austin without it.

To read the story in its entirity click HERE.