Sunday’s Newslinks 01/24/10

January 24, 2010 at 9:36 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

 

4 More Malaysian Churches Attacked; 1 Vandalized
Three more churches in Malaysia were targets of arson Sunday and another was vandalized in the latest wave of attacks on the country’s Christian minority.

 

Ugandan Lawmaker Refuses to Withdraw Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Aid Groups Urge Int’l Community to Help Sudan Keep the Peace

Prison Fellowship: High Rape Rate of Juveniles Unacceptable

Anglican Leader Calls for ‘Tougher Church’

Southern Baptist President’s Surgery Went ‘Great,’ Says Family

Tens of Thousands Sign Petition Urging Holder to Move KSM Trial from New York
(CNSNews.com)
– More than 60,000 people, including members of Congress and three former presidential candidates, have signed a petition calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to move the trial of Khalid Shiekh Mohammed (or KSM) from New York City to a military tribunal.
Continue Reading Sunday’s Newslinks 01/24/10…

The purpose of the church

November 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about this for awhile, but it becomes more apparent the more I study the scriptures. I’ve studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 John, and now I’m doing a study on the spiritual gifts. In every study, I’ve seen a picture of the church, and when I compare the picture I see in the scriptures with the one that I see in America, they don’t match. It seems like the church in America (and other countries) no longer understands its purpose. No one seems to know what the church is about and this leads to a lot of busyness with nothing substantial to show for it. There are numerous churches who have many ministries and events but to what end? Certain churches are growing and the numbers are increasing but is this a proper gauge? When did it become all about the quantity of “Christians” in the church instead of the quality of the Christians as shown by the way they live their lives?
 
So, what is the purpose of the church? Well, first, you have to understand what the word church means. The word church is found only in the New Testament. It is the Greek word ekklesia and it means: church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers, a riotous mob, but usually to a Christian assembly, a church: as a totality or in a specific locale. In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place. So what does this mean? It means that the church is not the building you meet in whether it’s an actual church building or someone’s house. Instead, a church is the group of believers that meet in that building. Nowadays, it seems like people are more concerned about the state of the building than the state of the people meeting there. It is important to understand that it’s not just anyone who meets, it is the believers who meet. Those who are not believers are not part of the church.
 
Now that we have a simple understand of what the church is, what is its purpose? There are a few things that the church was designed for. The main purpose of the church is to glorify God. Many people would say that it is seeking the lost, but I disagree. As believing individuals, our main purpose in life is to glorify God. Why would that change when we gather together? If we do not glorify God, then it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing does it? There are other important purposes for the churches existence as well. A few of these can be found in Ephesians 4:11-13.
 
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists,
and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs
to the fullness of Christ.
There are some interesting things to note here. First, there are specific reasons why God gave the spiritual gifts and none of them have to do with someone becoming rich and famous. It’s not the point of this blog to go into whether or not some of these gifts still exist or not (I believe they do) so I’ll leave that for another time. Second, the church is for the equipping of the saints. It is not for sinners. That may sound harsh or unorthodox now, but it’s the truth. The church and its purposes completely revolve around born-again believers. But, today this is not what we see. So many churches have gone to “church growth methods” like the ones at Willow Creek or Saddleback in order to get numbers. In doing so, they’ve gone out to the non-Christians to ask them why they don’t come to church and then tailored their “churches” to suit those who are lost. It seems to be a very weak and very dangerous substitute for evangelism. Instead of going out into all the world to preach the gospel, many try to lure them in with wordly entertainments preach the precepts of men as the doctrine of God.
 
The fact that the church is for believers becomes even more specific though. There are many churches who are filled with believers, but they are still not fitting the purpose that God intended. Why? Because the saints are being entertained instead of being equipped. The churchgoers come to service on Sunday and hear a sermon series on the summer blockbuster movies or popular music icons (like U2) instead of hearing the unadulterated Word of God. They don’t hear the truth or how they can apply it to their lives so that they can grow in holiness. They don’t get the scriptures they need to defend the faith and fight the good fight. The sad thing about all of this is that it is now commonplace. If things don’t go this way, it is an anomaly.
 
The purpose gets still more specific though. The saints are to be equipped for the work of service. What service? Simple. Going out to preach the gospel to all creation, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teach them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us. The equipping of the saints also facilitates the building up of the body of Christ so that we are unified in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God. This too has not happened. There are numerous denominations and each one of them is going to heaven while the rest are going to hell. We are obviously not unified in our faith. Thousands of Christian brothers and sisters are spurned and treated unbiblically because they don’t fit in the right clique. They are not able to exercise their gifts to glorify God because they aren’t related to someone in charge or because they don’t have the right kind of clothes, the right salary, or the right kind of car. Not only are we not unified in our faith, we’re not unified in our knowledge of the Son of God! There are many people who claim to be Christians who have a false view of Jesus or the gospel. They don’t believe that God is in control, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or that the Trinity exists. Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God! And these are supposed to be BELIEVERS! Many churches have tossed aside what scripture says in order to embrace a man-made system that provides them the money, power, and prestige they want while neglecting the needs of the church and the lost!
 
From what I see in scripture, this is not how it’s supposed to be. The church is supposed to be like this. You are saved and you become part of a local church. The pastor-teacher teaches you the truth and shows you how to apply it to your life so that you can glorify God and grow in holiness. You are taught about the spiritual gift(s) that you have from scripture (not man made doctrine!).You then begin to use these gifts to glorify God. The church also makes it possible for you to learn how to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. You do this either by becoming an evangelist (if that’s your gift!) and traveling the world preaching the truth or by taking the opportunities presented to you daily as you go about your life. When someone responds to the gospel in repentence and faith, they become part of the church and the cycle continues. There is nothing about entertaining the lost at church. There is nothing about catering to those who hate God, but this is what is happening.
 
Part of the reason our country (and world) is in the condition it is in is because the church has left its purpose in order to pursue worldly things. Many “pastors” today seem to hope that the one or two lines they sneak in about Jesus in the middle of their sermon series on the Spice Girls will somehow be absorbed by osmosis. They seem to think (erroneously) that it’s enough. It’s not enough. Until the church gets back to fulfilling its God-given purpose and loses all of the other things that it has taken up in hopes of inflating its membership, it will never accomplish what it is supposed to…

Arm Yourself – Persecution

August 31, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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In America today, there seems to be a horrible disconnect with the rest of the world concerning persecution. Many children and adults who grow up in the American church have no idea or understanding of what persecution really is. Sadly, many don’t even realize what is happening to Christians outside the U.S.

In America, we consider persecution to be when people attack us verbally for our beliefs. We see anti-Christian groups like the ACLU and various atheistic groups as persecutors when they try to get Christmas images removed or when they try to get “Under God” removed from our money. To many, persecution is covering up images of Moses in the government buildings in Washington, D.C. or it’s seeing our ability to speak out against issues like homosexuality or abortion slowly eroding away. For Americans, persecution is uncomfortable and disconcerting because it removes some of the things we take for granted or bursts our little bubble of warm fuzziness. Continue Reading Arm Yourself – Persecution…

Newslinks 08/16/08

August 16, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Saturday’s Newslinks brought to you by

 

At Ease Tees

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=208460

 Millionaire Christian businessman walks his talkThe attention of many media outlets was focused on the founder of Chik-fil-A recently when he decided to not put three girls in jail for vandalizing his home. The damage would cost the three girls $30,000 to repair. Instead of sending them to jail for the damage they’ve done, Truett Cathy has made an agreement with the courts and the parents of the girls. Mr. Cathy has provided a list of terms that the girls must abide by to remain out of jail. The terms include 1,000 sentences, no TV or video games for six months, and reading good books. These terms must be overseen by the parents of the girls (one of whom is an “A” student). Cathy said “putting them in jail would just send them further downstream” and that it was his hope to “help them realize that they know right from wrong”.

The fact that the media were focused on this says something about how common it is. I think that this is a wonderful example of what Christianity will do not only for those who believe but also for everyone else. Mr. Cathy didn’t pamper them or remove their punishment, he just provided something that will hopefully help the girls grow and change. More Christians need to stop pushing the “love” of God while ignoring the justice of God…

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http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080809/hybels-challenges-thousands-to-refuse-god-nothing.htm

Hybels Challenges Thousands to Refuse God NothingOver 50,000 leaders ended a two-day summit repeated a number of proverbs spoken by Mother Theresa. The leaders were attending the Leadership Summit, hosted by the Willow Creek Association, where Bill Hybels spoke about the Catholic nun as an example to Christians. Hybels said that the whole summit was worth it if only to study the life of Mother Theresa, who he claims is the one person who has affected his life the deepest. Hybels said that God is “still looking for a yielded heart” and has something better planned for this generation. He asked, “are you lighting up the radar screen of heaven with your yieldedness?” This was the 13th summit held by Willow Creek

Ok, the first question that comes to mind is: Why isn’t Jesus the most influential person in the life of Willow Creek’s pastor? I don’t have a problem with learning about things from the lives of others, but as a Christian, Mother Theresa doesn’t deserve the place that Hybels has given her. As a Christian, Jesus should be the one who has affected us most! Mother Theresa cannot save souls from hell…As far as “lighting up the radar of heaven”, does God not know where His people are or what they doing that He needs a radar? God may be looking for a “yielded heart”, but what He requires of Christian is obedience. Unfortunately, that is something that many in the church ignore to their peril…

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http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080809/calif-court-oks-homeschooling.htm

 Calif. Court OKs HomeschoolingA state court in California has decided that parents can homeschool their children without having a teacher’s credential. This decision reverses a previous decision made in February that would require parents to have a teacher’s credential to homeschool their kids. When the first ruling was made, both James Dobson and Arnold Schwarzenegger protested the decision and praised the reversal as a sign to Californians that their elected officials would defend the rights of the parents. The original decision was made in response to one family and the allegation that two of the family’s kids were beaten by their parents.

I don’t say this very often and that probably won’t change in the near future, but I applaud California and the decision that was made. I understand the concern of children being hurt, but to say that this should be an excuse for not allowing children to be homeschooled is ludicrous. I would love to see more children being homeschooled. I hope that the issue is laid to rest, but that remains to be seen.

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http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080811/multi-religious-retreats-offer-variety-in-faith.htm

Multi-Religious Retreats Offer Variety in Faith

The Abode of the Message in New York has begun to offer retreats that cater to those of multiple faiths. These retreats are not separated by faith, but instead are all one retreat where Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians, etc. are worshipping together. These retreats offer the guests the opportunity to deepen their faith without converting. They are not the only ones making this offer. In other places, Buddhists at the Zen Mountain Monastery say that there is no dispute between their teachings and a person’s search for God. Reverend Tom Reese says that people are coming to realize that we don’t have a “hammer-lock on God or salvation”, that “God is bigger than us”, and that we should “respect that and other people”. Many are saying that the idea that there are many ways to God is not an evangelical belief.

This is where a wrong view of tolerance and Christianity will get us. To be tolerant of others doesn’t mean that we compromise our Christian beliefs, even though that’s the definition that is given nowadays. Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that no one will get to heaven any other way. The idea that Christianity and any other religion are compatible shows a lack of understanding of Christianity. I also have to disagree with Reverend Reese. We do have a “hammer-lock” on salvation. God tells us in His Word exactly what someone needs to do to get saved. God is bigger than us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t understand Him. He has revealed Himself both in scripture and in His Son.


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