Frank Laubach

Ever heard of Frank Laubach? Probably not, I hadn’t until recently. If you were from the Philipines you would know who he was.

He had a goal to teach everyone in the Philipines how to read so that they could read the Bible. And, he did. He was a good Christian man who taught an entire country to read. Amazing stuff.

His Wikipedia page is 6 paragraphs long. In contrast, Miley Cyrus’ Wikipedia page has 115 end notes.

Now, granted, Frank is not as cute as Miley, but still. It obviously shows that what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God.

Are we preparing and training ourselves today to be ready for what the Lord may have for us tomorrow?

I beat my sister at Word Twist.

Sin and God’s Word

Why did the first sin happen?

First answer: Because man chose to disobey.

But why did the first sin happen?

Second answer: Because Satan deceived them.

But why did the first sin happen?

Because God said not to eat from the Tree.

Correct! The reason the first sin was possible is because God laid down a law. Where there is no law, there is no transgression.

This does not mean sin was God’s fault, but it does mean that if God never said anything there would be no sin.

Once God said something, Satan and the flesh got busy rebelling. The result of sin was the curse, there was no going back.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I’m glad God communicated with mankind; I’m not so glad that we have a hard time hearing.

Hearing God is not easy for us, but life depends on it. Hear the loving words of your Creator.

Church-Going Options

Americans believe that true freedom comes with options. It is the ability to choose that sets us apart from socialist nations and makes us free.

The point is true to an extent. But it is possible to have so many options you become enslaved.

If we take this into the church marketplace (one may call it a “den of thieves”), we can see the point.

You can find a church that fits your exact desires. You can surround yourself with the exact kind of people you want to be surrounded with and these people are usually just like you. They dress the same, talk the same, do the same things on Monday and bring the same dishes to potluck.

If you sense that you “don’t fit in” with your church anymore you leave and join another one that is more like you. You can jump ship whenever it seems right and find a more comfortable place to be.

The problem is that you will develop the thinking that “believers are people who are just like me.” No one calls you to anything higher, if they do you’ll just leave and go somewhere else.

We are optioned to death. We pick the most comfortable option and apathetically drift into hell.

All this time we should have been diligently seeking God, we spent a lifetime seeking those who were like us.

There is one option in true freedom and that is God Himself through the person of Jesus Christ revealed by the Holy Spirit. The three are one. There’s your options.

Advice on Trying to Find a Church

About 337 times a year I am asked my advice on choosing a church. I don’t mind the question, but I thought maybe if I answered it concisely once it may save me some time.

First off, let me say that the reason I am a pastor is because I don’t want to go to your church. OK, there are other reasons too, but that’s a big one.

Secondly, here is my list of church-picking advice:

*The Local Church exists to edify (build up) the believer into the perfect man Jesus Christ. That being said, the responsibility for your growth is on you, not your church. So don’t give me any of this “I’m just not being fed” stuff. It could be you are being fed you just don’t have taste buds for truth. Amen.

*The church does not exist to 1) make you happy, 2) fulfill your every whim, 3) give you a place to be you, 4) entertain you, 5) babysit your kids, and pretty much every other reason you are probably going to use to pick a church.

*It is my contention that a true believer can grow in any church. Some of the most growing times I’ve had in church were when I went to a church I disagreed with. However, picking the worst option so growth might occur is a risky proposition.

*The most important aspect of a church is how well they facilitate your seeking of God. When I say “God” I mean the God of the Bible. This means your church must treat Scripture very highly, as the things that are revealed belong to us.

*If your church teaches Scripture and encourages you to pursue God and godliness, I don’t care what else they do. That’s the main point and the main criteria.

*In the end, good churches are hard to find. There are about 6 of them in the world. This should not surprise you, it’s what the Bible says (OK, maybe it doesn’t say there are only 6, but it says there aren’t many). The odds of you finding one are slim to none.

*The “lack of good churches” excuse matters none at all on Judgment Day. If you “can’t find a good church” spend less time whining about it and more time creating one. Every man will be judged on how he built on the foundation, never once is the foundation judged for what was built on it.

My New Book’s Blog

My new book, The Gospel-Filled Wallet, has a blog. It will deal with various other verses that prove its point, false teaching concerning money, encouraging quotations, and various other aspects of biblical finance.

Feel free to drop by and give it a read. From now on it will be linked to in the blogroll to your right. Here are a few helpful links from it:

Why You Won’t like my Book

Outrageous Claim #1 for those who apply the message of this book

Outrageous Claim #2 for those who apply the message of this book.

How Giving Glorifies God

Give and Forget

My Big News

When I was in first grade I entered a contest for the “best book ever written by a first grader” or something. I wrote a book called How Mallards Got Their Colors. It was a real page turner. Readers laughed and cried and celebrated as the little white duck got his colors.

I won like, the best book ever written in the Western Hemisphere or something. MIllions of dollars were obtained, most of which my parents kept I guess.

Anyway, ever since then I have had many book-writing dreams. I have written many, many books. Many written; very few have been read. I never could quite manage to get one published.

Until now, anyway!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I got a book published. It is entitled, The Gospel-Filled Wallet: What the Bible Really says about Money.

It is not as thrilling as the Mallard book, but I must say it is pretty good. The writing is not perfect, but the message is completely consistent with Scripture, which I cannot say for my Mallard book.

The book is not up yet on Amazon. But Transforming Publications has it available from the printers here. You can also read it online at Google books.

Keep Yourselves in the Love of God

The title of this post is a quote from Jude 1:21.

The love of God is huge. It blows the mind. It is a powerful thing. It is a beautiful thing. It is so big it makes people not know what words to use, so they use the word “thing.”

It’s big.

It’s so big we may not be able to comprehend it. Like a person in Iowa imagining the ocean. It’s too big and different of a concept, not similar to any bodies of water they’ve ever seen. “It’s like the Mississippi River just more wider.”

Is it possible for a person to escape the love of God? It must be., or else Jude is telling us to do the unneccessary.

How does a guy go about keeping himself in the love of God? I’m not sure. I have to go with the context, which is surrounded by:

–be built up in the most holy faith
–pray in the Holy Spirit
–look for the mercy of our Lord unto eternal life

That’s a good start! The result of being kept in God’s love is that we reach out to those who are lost. Dealing with compassion for some and hasty fearful deliverance for others.

The love of God is big. It expands when it comes into a person, it flows out and reaches others. We are to keep ourselves in it so that others may enjoy it too. It’s a win-win.

Be Separate

Saints are people who are set apart, made separate by God. Saints are holy and something that is holy is separate, not marked out for common use.

Some Christians, in an effort to accentuate their holiness, have separated themselves from others and make it well-known that they are separate and very much superiorily so.

Being separate may not be a mark of holiness. Jude gives a characteristic of a wicked person as those “who separate themselves“.

They separate themselves in their own self-righteous superiority, they can’t bear to be with lowly people who disagree with them. They also separate to stay away from people who may ruin their fleshly fun.

There is a large movement in our day for American Christians to separate themselves from the church. Is this a good separation or not?

It depends on the individual. Why are they separating? Is arrogance a natural attitude while explaining their separation? Are they going to be with superior people doing superior things?

Believers are always marked by humility. A humble separation is possible, but it is primarily aimed at separating from evil influence, resisting fleshly lusts and fleeing all opportunities for the flesh to get riled up.

All believers are saints and all saints are called to be separate, but it matters how we choose to separate ourselves.

The Law Written in Most Hearts

My daughter came home with a contract from her teacher. It stated that if kids keep the following four rules they will be allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the year to an amusement park three hours away.

If any child violates any of the four rules they will not be allowed to go.

Even the Gentiles show the Law written in their hearts!

If Israel listened to what God said they could go to the promised land. If they violated His law they would not go. Just like my daughter’s field trip contract.

It’s funny how everyone gets this point except Christians who can do whatever they want and nothing really matters.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

–Galatians 5:19-21

Slow Down and Think

Seth Godin is a business writer. Recently he said “There’s a riot of information racing by, and to survive, we snatch little bits and then magnify them into what we embrace as the full picture.”

The point of his article was to make sure we make a good first impression because people generalize their conclusions about you off of this.

This is a problem for a person who teaches the Bible. The Bible is a large book. No pastor is ever satisfied that he said enough because you can’t cover it all. So people walk away from what you said thinking all sorts of stuff.

Since there is so much information, people take biblical information the same way. They catch a bit here and there about what it says, they remember their favorite parts and assume that’s what the rest of it says too.

One of the reasons the Bible is so large is because it gives both sides of every story. There is a season for everything and all things are beautiful in His time. Sometimes we gather and sometimes we scatter.

If people only catch the gathering part they will never scatter and vice versa. This is a problem because there is a time for both.

There is no simple solution for this. To understand the Bible you have to dedicate yourself with diligence to figure it out as a workman. Come, let us reason together, saith the Lord.  The only way to solve this problem is to teach people how to slow down and think.

Good luck with that.

Big Things on Day Three

Generally I try to stay away from reading into Scripture hidden meanings and whatnot as the plain meanings are hard enough. But sometimes there are leading passages that get a guy’s imagination swirling. Try this one.

God meets with Moses up on the Mount to discuss the giving of the Law.  He tells Moses to go down and have the people purify themselves and wait for the third day when God will reveal the Law.

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning” that God reveals the Law. Hmm. The third day in the morning. Hmm.

Interesting, no? Moses and Christ both were on a mount and both do something significant three days later. Christ rises from the dead the third day in the morning and the Law was given on the third day in the morning.


Moses and Christ Want the Same Thing

God intends that man listen to Him. Ever since The Fall, God has desired a people who would listen to what He says.

God used every means necessary to prove to man that he really can’t come back. No one can listen to all that God says. But God still desires it!

Most of your Bible consists of what is known as “the Law.” The purpose of the Law was to get people to listen to God.

“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”

If they listened to God they would be His peculiar people. Hmm, where do we know that phrase from?

Titus 2:14 is the more familiar passage. Here’s the difference between Moses and Christ: Moses said “listen to God to be His peculiar people” and Christ says “let me redeem you to be my peculiar people and then you will listen to me.”

Both approaches lead to a peculiar people who listen to God. It just so happens that only one way works: the way of faith in the provision of Christ. But never forget that both ways lead to a people who do what God says.

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Be Strong

Inadequacy can never be an excuse for getting out of Christian responsibility. Seems to me the only excuse a guy could have for not listening to God would be, “I would, but I”m too strong.”

We are told that when we are weak, Christ is made strong in us. So you can’t use the “I’m too shy” excuse or the “it’s not my thing” excuse. God does not choose the mighty ones but the weak ones.

Paul tells people to “be strong.” But note carefully what we are to be strong in. He does not say “be strong in yourself” or “be strong in self-esteem.” He says “be strong in the Lord” and “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

There is no weakness that disqualifies a man from serving his Lord. The only thing that can keep you from service is an overinflated head. The next time you whip out the old excuse as to why you can’t do what God says, see if the excuse really means “I”m too strong for that.”

Weakness is great. Try it sometime.

Spiritual Gifts Are About the Giver

The subject of Spiritual Gifts is very confusing. Christianity has done a fine job murdering this subject.

Spiritual gifts are first of all spiritual. They are not physical gifts you were born with, they are spiritual gifts you are re-born with.

Spiritual gifts don’t show up by psycho-analyzing yourself. Spiritual gifts work by studying and knowing the Giver.

Spiritual gifts are not primarily exercised when we have a better self-image. In fact, spiritual gifts are best exercised when we have a very realistic view of who we are in the flesh plus a realistic view of who Christ is.

Spiritual gifts are not about you.

We are to covet earnestly the best gifts, which means there are no set limit of gifts a guy can have. It also implies that we may go after other gifts. Since they are spiritual gifts, if we have the Spirit, we certainly can exercise all gifts, but a few may take precedent.

Spiritual gifts should be somewhat uncomfortable for our natural man to pull off, especially at first. But all fear, doubt and concern should be removed or limited by a healthy view of who God is.

Spiritual gifts should not be discovered by spiritual gift tests.

To hear my sermon on this subject, click right here.

Is He Is Or Is He Aint?

1 Peter 2:7 caught my attention the other day and its contents have been rumbling around my brain for a few days. It’s about Christ and our response to Him.

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner”

There are two groups and two opinions of Christ. It is a verse of contrast.

*The First contrast is between the groups: those who believe and those who are disobedient, the non-persuaded.

*The Second contrast is between opinions of Christ: He is precious–deemed worthy of honor–or He is disallowed, literally meaning to deem as of no value, to disapprove.

I appreciate when Scripture gives contrasts. We assume we know what “believe” means until we see Scripture’s contrast, which is “disobedient.” That gives another facet of what belief is.

It is also handy when Scripture further gives the out working of that contrast. If you believe you think Christ is precious, of infinite worth. If you disobey, you think Christ is of no value, like a precious metal that has not passed the test of genuineness. He is therefore not important enough for you to obey or believe.

There is depth in this verse. It says a lot in few words.  I like it. That’s all really. I just like it.

Two Views of the Christian Life Part 2

Yesterday’s post talked about our outlook on our life of faith being determined by how we think we got saved. If you think your decision saved you, your life of faith will be based on you. If you think you were saved by a work of God rebirthing you, your life of faith will be based on Christ.

So, is a man saved by not making a decision then? How can a man get saved without deciding to?

A man can decide to be saved (allow space for all Calvinist readers to vomit), but your decision is not what saves you. Allow me to explain.

Salvation is not something you can produce. You cannot rebirth yourself. Salvation is of the Lord and you must be born again. The Spirit makes the man a new creation and is placed in Christ and Christ is in him. You cannot produce these realities.

You can come though, otherwise God is lying when He says, “whosoever will may come.” Many rely on the earnestness of their decision as the test of their faith. “I know I”m saved because when I was 7 I said a prayer.”

This is their basis of salvation–the earnestness of a one time act, which should remind you of Jewish circumcision–“hey, we’re saved because we were circumcised as kids!” Paul had little patience for such thinking and I’m sure he’d be impatient with this one as well.

Deciding to go to baseball practice one time does not make you a baseball player. Deciding to learn where middle C is does not make you a piano player.

We know we are saved because there is fruit, there is love for God and neighbor, there is a growing into Christ, a departing from the things of the world and a transforming into the Son of God.

A guy does not decide to do these things; these are works of God in the believer. They are not works of the flesh, but resulting acts of the Spirit.

The just shall live by faith. It is ongoing, vital, growing, continuous and patient endurance produced by Christ in you. That is the evidence of true conversion according to Scripture. Saying a prayer one time is never once mentioned as a valid test of conversion.

Your profession of faith means nothing; the faith of Christ living in you means everything. Faith is a way of life, it is not a one time act. (Go here for a guy who says it better than I do.)

Two Views of the Christian Life

Your view of the Christian life will follow your view of how you think you got saved.

If you think you are saved because you “made a decision” you probably think that the Christian life is made up of what “you decide to do.” You won’t take seriously the imperative statements (sometimes known as “commands”) of Scripture, you only take seriously the parts you decide to do.

You don’t think there is any spiritual obligation. You live with your own self being the example: you are the determiner, you are the one with the power, or lack thereof, to do whatever it is you decide you should do, or not.

If, however, you believe you are saved because an actual work of God took place within you, that you are born again, and you are truly in Christ and Christ is in you, then you believe that your Christian life is primarily made up of what Christ has ordained and equipped you to do.

Christ is your example, not you. Christ is the determiner, Christ is the one with the power to do whatever it is He decided you should do.

You know there are obligations for the man in Christ, you know stewards are required to be found faithful. You will not view the impossibility of your flesh deciding to do good, but rather you will view yourself in Christ, how can I not do what is good?

Your view of how you think you got saved will determine your entire Christian life to follow. Make sure your view is consistent with Scripture and reckon it to be true. You must be born again; He said nothing about “you must decide really earnestly.”

More tomorrow. . .

The Law, Angels and You

Two verses by the Apostle Paul talk about the Law being the ordinance of angels: Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19. I recently came across both verses in unrelated contexts and noticed the idea.

The thought it inspired was: “What in the world does that mean?” I now have an answer: “I have no idea.”

Seriously, what? The Jews received the law by the disposition of angels and the law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. The italicized words share a Greek root word that means to ordain.

An attempted explanation is in Deuteronomy 33:2 if you read “saints” as angels, which I’m not sure I do.

Hmm. Any thoughts? I have no answer, so do not feel as if this is a test!

It Is Finished Means Something And Probably Not What You Were Told

WARNING!!! Pet peeve coming:

Over and over I hear people say that our justification is done because Jesus said, “It is finished.” This bothers me. Let me explain why.

I do not disagree that Jesus did all that was necessary for our justification; I do disagree that Jesus meant this when He said “It is finished.” I know this because Paul says “He was raised again for our justification.”

That alone settles it for me. When Christ said “It is finished” He wasn’t even dead yet, let alone raised again!

Furthermore, the “it” of “it is finished” is clearly defined for us two verses earlier. John 19:28 says in part, “…that the scriptures might be fulfilled, he said, ‘I thirst.'”

The word “fulfilled” is the same word as “finished” in John 19:30 where He says “It is finished.” What is finished? Every prophecy concerning His earthly life is finished once He took a drink of vinegar, fulfilling Psalm 69:21.

“It is finished” does not mean justification is finished! It means every prophecy concerning Christ’s earthly ministry is finished. This is not to say that Christ did not accomplish our justification! He did. It just means drinking vinegar does not accomplish justification!

We must be careful with words. Many will think this is stupid to even point out. But it’s this sort of scriptural flippancy that leads people to gross error. It’s the inch that extends to a mile. Just be careful, that’s all.

Messianic Questions and Sitcoms

John 7 is a fascinating chapter. It’s about people trying to figure out who this Jesus guy is. There is debate as to whether people are trying to kill Him or not, where He is going, how He got so smart, whether He’s the messiah, a prophet or just some smart guy.

It’s a fascinating study in human nature.

If you are a reader of fiction or an enjoyer of sitcoms, you want chapter 7 to end with nice music, music that reassures you and ends with a twang of hope and promise for the future.

Oh, things looked pretty dark in Jerusalem, but the Beaver and his friends, they finally resolved all the issues and are going to accept Jesus Christ as their personal God and Savior. Amen!

See you next week when more people on the brink of destruction come to Jesus! Same Shabbat time, same Shabbat channel.

Unfortunately, real life is not a sitcom. After debating who Christ is, wanting to kill him, not being able to kill Him, arguing about who He is, the chapter ends like this.

argue, argue, argue “And every man went unto his own house.” Yep, that was it. They all just went home.  

“Is that the Messiah?”
“I don’t know. Could be.”
“Does the Messiah come from Galilee?”
“Don’t think so. Why do you ask?”
“Cuz he’s from Galilee.”
“Oh yeah. Hm, I don’t think Messiah comes from there.”
“I don’t think so either.”
“Yeah. OK.”
“Alrighty then. See you later.”
“Yep. Have a good one.”

Isn’t that life? It sure is. Figure it out. Don’t just go home. Figure it out. Resolve it in your own head. Is this really God in the flesh? If so, quit playing games. Resolve to know Him and set your face like a flint to follow His Word.

God Detests What Man Honors

We all know that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God. We don’t have much of a problem with this one because it is fun to pick on smart people.

Here’s another statement just like that one, only harder to handle:

“that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

That’s a tough one. Let’s define some terms. “Highly esteemed” means something that is honored or exalted. Anything people celebrate or praise. “Abomination” means foul or detestable, and usually relates to idolatry.

Here’s what the verse says then: anything man honors is idolatry and God detests it.


The clothes we wear, the way we talk, the stuff we buy, winning games, nice kids, good manners, current hairstyle, good grades, vacations, and oh so many more things that man esteems highly. It’s idolatry and an abomination to God.

I’m sure there are loopholes though, so never mind.

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