Monday, July 29, 2013

Creation a reading written by James Weldon Johnson

This reading "The Creation" is from the book, God's Trombones written many years ago by James Weldon Johnson, a black preacher from down south. 

Some of you have heard me do his reading "Go Down Death." This is a special one as well. I love the book of Genesis because it gives me the foundation for who I am and why I am here in this world. I trust you will be blessed by the reading of James Weldon Johnson on creation.

Here is a partial quote from an article on Genesis that you will find informative and helpful.

The Importance of the Book of Genesis

A surveyor must always begin from a point of reference. So, too, history must start at some definite place of beginnings. The Bible is, through and through, a historical revelation. It is the account of God’s activity in history. As such, it must have a beginning. The book of Genesis gives us our historical point of reference, from which all subsequent revelation proceeds.
In this book we find the “roots” of the inhabited world and the universe, of man and nations, of sin and redemption. Also, we find the foundation of our theology. Fritsch, in The Layman’s Bible Commentary has referred to Genesis as “the starting point of all theology.” J. Sidlow Baxter has written,
The other writings of the Bible are inseparably bound up with it inasmuch as it gives us the origin and initial explanation of all that follows. The major themes of Scripture may be compared to great rivers, ever deepening and broadening as they flow; and it is true to say that all these rivers have their rise in the watershed of Genesis. Or, to use on equally appropriate figure, as the massive trunk and wide-spreading branches of the oak are in the acorn, so, by implication and anticipation, all Scripture is in Genesis. Here we have in germ all that is later developed. It has been truly said that “the roots of all subsequent revelation are planted deep in Genesis, and whoever would truly comprehend that revelation must begin here.”
From A Walk Through The Book of Genesis at the

Friday, July 26, 2013

Two Great Books by Michael A. Robinson

These are two great books on presuppositional apologetics by Michael A. Robinson. Every Christian should read them. God Does Exist, and The Necessary Existence of God. These books will not only help you to defend the faith and enable you to answer objections by unbelievers they will also challenge you to be a faithful witness for Christ. 
At the end of The Necessary Existence of God Michael Robinson gives these practical suggestions on getting started with a witnessing program:

1. Pray- Ask God for a holy zeal for the lost.
2. Plan- Scratch out a specific time on your calendar to go out and evangelize.
3. Prepare- Pick up some tracts, a note pad, and a pen.
4. Partner- Call a friend in advance to go out with you.
5. Preach- Step out and go to hand out tracts in the marketplace.
6. Pray- Pray for the lost to come to Christ. Pray daily for a passion to witness to your neighbors, coworkers, store clerks, and everyone you see in your personal routine.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Great Article by Nancy Demoss on Loving and Supporting Your Spiritual Leaders

How To Love And Support Your Spiritual Leaders


God's Word gives us wonderful guidance on what attitudes and actions we are to display toward our spiritual leaders. Use the following questions to help evaluate how you can better love and support those who shepherd you, and honor God in the process!
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
  • Do I regularly take time to recognize my spiritual leaders and to identify the contributions they have made in my life?
  • Do I respect those who minister spiritually to me?
  • Do my spiritual leaders know that I admire and love them?
  • Do I express appreciation and gratitude to my spiritual leaders for their labors on my behalf?
  • Do I speak well of my spiritual leaders to others?
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7).
  • Do I seek to learn from the lives of my spiritual leaders?
  • Do I seek to emulate godly characteristics in the lives of those who have taught me the Word of God?
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls,as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not withgroaning . . .” (Heb. 13:17).
  • Am I responsive to the direction of my spiritual leaders?
  • When my spiritual leaders stand before God to give account for my life, will they be able to do so with joy?
  • Do I allow anyone to “watch for my soul”?
  • Do I make it easy for my spiritual leaders to lead me spiritually?
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father . . .” (1 Tim. 5:1).
  • When I have a concern about a spiritual leader, do I approach him prayerfully, respectfully, and humbly?
  • Have I been careful to avoid “attacking” or “confronting” my spiritual leaders?
“Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim. 5:19).
  • Am I careful to avoid making charges against my spiritual leaders, apart from going through the necessary biblical channels?
  • Am I careful not to plant seeds of disloyalty by giving evil reports to others about my spiritual leaders?
“For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed . . . I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:4-6).
  • Am I careful to give God the glory for the spiritual growth and fruit in my life?
  • Am I careful to avoid exalting one spiritual leader above others?
  • Do I realize that ultimately it is God who is at work in my life, and that those men who have most impacted me are merely His servants?
  • Do I avoid a sectarian spirit, refusing to take sides with one leader against others?
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages’” (1 Tim. 5:17-18).
  • Do I express honor in tangible, practical ways to those who lead me spiritually and minister the Word of God to me and to my family?
  • Are the financial needs of the pastoral staff in our church being adequately met?
  • Have I invested financially in the lives of those who have discipled me and helped me grow in my walk with God?
“One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches” (Gal. 6:6).
  • Am I investing materially in the lives of those who teach me the Word?
  • Do I look for opportunities to minister to the practical needs of my spiritual leaders?
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions . . . Brothers, pray for us” (1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 Thess. 5:25).
  • Do I thank God for the leaders He has put in my life?
  • Do I pray faithfully for the men who are in positions of spiritual leadership over my life?
  • Do I take initiative to find out how I can pray for my spiritual leaders?
© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Marriage Matters

This is a wonderful article by Ken Connor. The battle for the soul of our country is being fought on many fronts today and the Christian who would honor Christ must stand on the principles and teaching of the Word of God. I trust this article will  be an encouragement to you.

Would Anthony Kennedy Brand Jesus a Bigot?
By Ken Connor
 Jul 03, 2013
With the decision of the US Supreme Court last week in U.S. v. Windsor, the subject of marriage has been much in the news. By a vote of 5 to 4, the high court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined "marriage" as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and limited the word "spouse" to apply only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.

Led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority ruled that Congress' definitions were constitutionally flawed because they didn't include same-sex couples. Currently a minority of states (only twelve) permit same-sex couples to marry, while the remaining 38 states refuse to extend the rights of marriage to homosexual unions.

The majority's opinion is short on constitutional exegesis (not unexpected since the Constitution does not speak to the issue of same-sex marriage), but long on invective. Kennedy, the Court's Moralizer-in-Chief, impugns the motives of the lawmakers who passed DOMA and accuses them of being motivated by malice and hate. Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion, sums up the accusations hurled by Kennedy and company: The lawmakers' purpose was "to disparage and injure" same-sex couples and the motive of DOMA was to "demean," to impose "inequality," to impose a "stigma," to deny people "equal dignity," to brand gay people as "unworthy," and to "humiliate[e] their children.

That's a lot of rhetorical venom spewed by a largely unaccountable, non-elected branch of government towards the elected representatives of the American people. But when black-robed supremacists find themselves short of constitutional authority, it is perhaps understandable that they would resort to painting their opponents with the brush of bigotry and, as Justice Scalia points out, brand them as "hostis humanis generis," or "enemies of the human race." Sadly, those of us who oppose the killing of innocent children in the womb and support traditional marriage have become accustomed to such tactics.

One can only assume that the Court's majority would ascribe similar motives to Jesus of Nazareth, whose position on marriage appears not unlike that set forth in DOMA. Responding to a question from the Pharisees about the permissibility of divorce, Jesus reminded them of the Creator's intention that marriage was to be an enduring institution between a man and a woman:

"…[A]t the beginning of Creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate." (Mark 10:6-9 NIV. Internal quotes omitted)
Jesus' definition of marriage did not appear to contemplate a union of same-sex partners. So what would Justice Kennedy and his colleagues have to say about the motives of the Savior of the World? Would they brand him a "hater," this God who loved sinners so much that he became a man and laid down his life for them? Would they characterize him as malicious and bigoted? His words, after all, have informed the views of millions in the Western world who adhere to a view different from that of Justice Kennedy on this subject.
Please, Justice Kennedy – you who have lectured the country and the Congress on the superiority of your moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage in contrast to the hateful view of those who oppose it – how would you judge the motives of the Supreme Judge of the Universe, the one who invented the institution of marriage and laid out its parameters? The American people anxiously await your decision. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Why Do We Need Spiritual Leaders Today?

Those aspiring to be spiritual leaders in the Lord’s work must not forget what Henry Blackaby once said about the importance of leadership:

"The greatness of an organization will be directly proportional to the greatness of its leader. It is rare for an organization to rise above its leaders."

If the leader of a church or organization has serious character defects in his life, it is only a matter of time before someone will have the wisdom and courage to say, “The Emperor has no clothes.”

Why do we need spiritual leaders today? Here is a list of a few of the more important reasons that I can suggest:

1. We need spiritual leaders to discern the times in which we live. 1 Chronicles contains a list of those who assisted David in battle against Saul, among whom were men of the children of Issachar, “which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Without spiritual leaders the church is left unguarded and unprotected from the false doctrines and new errors that may arise as cultures change and nations drift away from their Christian heritage.

2. We need spiritual leaders to alert the church of the presence of wolves in sheep’s clothing. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock, Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).

3. We need spiritual leaders to guard and to guide the flock in times of spiritual storms, trials and difficult times.  (John 10:1-15.)

4. We need spiritual leaders to feed and nurture the flock. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”  (Acts 20:28.)

5. We need spiritual leaders to stir the church out of its lethargy. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17.)

6. We need spiritual leaders to defend the faith. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the 
    hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15.)

God is indeed looking for spiritual leaders that He can thrust into His service. He is looking for people with love and passion for Jesus Christ. They must be people who are willing to spend their lives in tireless devotion to the Master.