Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Strong in Another's Strength

June 14, 2009 By: David Mathis
Re-post from Desiring God Blog

Laziness is not the alternative to living in your own strength. Paul talks about being strong in the strength of another.

Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
Colossians 1:29: “I toil [to present everyone mature in Christ], struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
2 Timothy 2:1: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 15:10: “By the grace of God I am what I am.... I worked harder than any of [the other apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
Romans 15:18: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me.”

And it’s not only Paul who has this category for being strong in
another’s strength. Peter and Hebrews join in as well.

1 Peter 4:11: “Whoever serves [do so] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21: “Now may the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight., through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Both Peter and Hebrews move directly from being strong in another’s strength to praising Jesus. When we forsake the sinful alternatives of passivity and mustering up our own strength, and instead pursue power in another’s power, that Other is mightily honored.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

RESOLVED 09

The RESOLVED 09 Conference is going on now. We were not able to make this conference (Just like the Advance09 Conference - sad.) but here are the links to all of this years talks and sermons, as well as the 2007 and 2008 RESOLVED Conferences!

In a strange and wonderful irony, the greatest problem on Earth is resolved by the greatest reality in Heaven.

Sin—it is the poisonous nature of humanity. The depth and breadth of sin is evident everywhere in our world. It is the fundamental principle in every person and the driving momentum of every society. From our first parents in Eden to infants drawing their first breath this day, every human is infected with sin's rebellion against God and His Word. As the Christmas carol languishes, "long lay the world in sin and error pining."

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). This is the reality from Heaven that resolves sin. The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s amazing and solitary resolution for sin and sinners. The death of Jesus stands forever as God's most glorious act. And it was for the purpose of defeating sin.Resolved 2009 will focus on sin. What is sin? How bad is it? Where did it come from? How can I be saved from it and its consequences? Is it possible to stop? Our 5th Resolved Conference will explore these questions and provide biblical answers.

John Owen wrote, "Be killing sin, or it will be killing you." Join us at Resolved '09 as we rally to understand and battle sin.

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Advance09 - Resurgence of the Local Church

Resurgence of the Local Church: A conference about God's gift to his people - the Church!

For those of you who were not able to make it out to North Carolina, (Like us) and missed the Advance09 conference, or maybe you hadn't even heard about it, here is there vision.

Vision:
Christ promises to build the Church, and that no force will prevail against it. Yet, the local church has been heavily battered in battle. Sadly, churches in America are in steady decline, with over 4000 closing their doors and 500,000 members leaving each year--never to return. This is not what the Lord desires. The Apostle Paul tells us that " . . . through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places". The local church is called to lift-up Jesus so that all the world might see Him. The local church is called to make known the Gospel and to be the vehicle of redemption for the world. Led by local churches, Advance09 is a conference committed to the resurgence of the local church for the glory of God. Our aim is to equip attendees with the Gospel so that the local church might become all that Jesus calls it to be. At this conference, we hope to ensure that on our watch and in our time we honor Jesus and see the resurgence of the local church.


Here are ALL the messages and talks for you to listen to in case you missed the conference:

Advand09 Messages Posted by Desiring God

Enjoy!

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Twitter: Summations

Coming soon on the GDS Twitter account, we will be doing summations of the Bible, the Gospel and Theology in 140 characters or less!

We were hanging out, surfing the net, listening to Tedashii, discussing life and a post from John Piper, when we came up with this challenge for ourselves; could we sum up the Bible in 140 characters of less? How about the Old Testament? Or Salvation?

We are sure that our Summation Tweets will not fully be able to sum up any of these topics, because it's the Bible, and who can fully sum up something that an infinite God wrote and inspired?!

We are doing this partly as a fun challenge for ourselves and as something interesting and fun for our followers, but know that we are not trying to be flippant with the text or disrespectfully handle the Bible or any of it's content.

We are definitely in love with Twitter, in case you didn't know, and while we are not sure how this challenge will work out, it might inspire you or another reader to make their Twitter God centered and Christ exalting!

Do you have a topic you would like us to try to sum up on Twitter? Put it in the comments or if you have a Twitter account, send us a DM. Feel free to try your own too!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

R.I.P., Aung San Suu Kyi, The World Doesn’t Care

I found this great post on: The European Weekly, New Europe It is very insightful and direct.

Author: Andy Dabilis
31 May 2009 - Issue : 836

Just mention Darfur and George Clooney, Mia Farrow and the A-list of Hollywood celebrities will jump in front of cameras faster than a politician can put his hand in someone else’s pocket. Say Tibet, and Richard Gere and the rest of the has-beens trying to salvage their careers will prostrate themselves before the Dalai Lama and the world will rally ‘round the flag, as it did when protesters in Europe and the United States tried to disrupt the Olympic flame on its way to the Olympics in China, where there is no translation for “human rights.”

Mention Aung San Suu Kyi, the brave pro-democracy leader in Burma - the world’s most corrupt country which the illiterate high-school drop-out military leaders there call Myanmar - and you’ll get a brief flurry of press releases from activists everywhere, full-page ads, letters dripping in sincerity and politicians jumping on the bandwagon, but only until lunch. And she won’t he saved.

At least Clooney and Farrow care, which is more than you can say about the alleged leaders of the US and the European Union, because she’s been allowed to rot in the jail of her house arrest for 13 years. The 63-year-old Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace Prize winner – has had the courage to withstand isolation and the certainty she will never be released, proved when she was tried on trumped-charges she violated the terms of her house detention by allowing an uninvited American guest, who had to swim a lake past guards around her house, to get there. Fortunately for the government, he was caught swimming back and arrested by the guards who let him go there, so do the math on that set-up. The charges came as she was due to be released from a six-year stretch in house arrest, but that would have come as Burma’s leaders say they are moving toward democratisation and elections in 2010. Maybe they forgot she won the last elections in 1990 with 80 percent of the vote, and is the rightful ruler, but hasn’t been allowed to take power. Guess what will happen in the next election? If she lives, of course.

The biggest diplomatic disgrace – that’s saying a lot in a profession that gorges itself on cowardice – has been the consent of the world, especially the US, EU and eunuchs of the United Nations, in not getting her released, and the failure of Europeans to take to the streets to demonstrate. It’s not that hard. The EU just has to tell China, which really rules Myanmar and its energy potential, to get it done, or trade will be cut off, or maybe the China can be flooded with pirated Paris Hilton movies or the UN can warn it will hold a Security Council meeting in Yangon and bore everyone to death.

After French President Nicolas Sarkozy was spanked by China for meeting with the Dalai Lama, it’s been left to his wife Carla Bruni to be the EU president, writing a letter asking for Suu Kyi’s release, pointing out that “To imprison (Suu Kyi,) and all of the regime’s opponents, is to smother any hope for democracy in Burma.” It was a nice, na├»ve bit of thinking since the world doesn’t really want democracy in Burma because it’s more profitable to have slaves mining the rubies that Burma is famous for and are smuggled into the EU and the US to be worn on the fingers of women protesting inhumanity. So despite some Hollywood parties and weak sanctions, nothing will happen to Myanmar, no protesters will take to the streets of Paris, London, Madrid, Rome or New York to demand Suu Kyi’s release and she will remain locked up for telling the truth, because that’s also a crime in Brussels and Washington.

ADabilis@NEurope.eu

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Travel the Road Vlog


Did you know that Tim Scott and Will Decker from "Travel The Road" have a Vlog?! I didn't until just today. One of our staff members found it online.

Click here to watch some of their newest adventures.


Will is hilarious and a great photographer (check out their website) and on their DVDs Tim does some of the best narration work I've ever heard. Not to mention that they boldly go all over the world doing front line mission work to places, people and countries that most of us would never even dream of trying to reach, all for the name of Christ and the glory of God. They have partnered with Overland Missions to go to more than twenty-five countries with the specific mission of preaching the gospel to unreached people groups and encouraging the church to be active in their faith and to share the Gospel.

The episode of Travel the Road that I have been permanently impacted by was in Season 2, Episode 9. (Click the link to watch!)



Tim and Will visited the Reindeer Tribe on the steppes of Siberia by divine appointment. They had heard about this people group and wanted to go share the Gospel with them, uncertain if anyone ever had. The roads were far too rough for their vehicle to travel, so they and their interpreters rode horses for six hours up into the mountains to the area where the Reindeer Tribe was thought to be camping. Night was fast approaching and the weather was turning colder, they needed shelter. They stumbled across an empty tent belonging to one of the outlying Reindeer families and decided to take shelter, hoping that the owners would not be angry for their imposition when they returned.

In the middle of the night a father, named Holston, and his son returned to the tent. They were very gracious and were happy to share their tent with these strangers. They even made them food and hot tea to help warm them from their long journey. Holston told Tim and Will that a group of missionaries visited them two years ago and showed them the Jesus movie and then gave a picture book about the gospel to his son. Since then, his son had been reading the book every day and kept telling his father that Jesus would come again.

Then Holston told them where he and his son had just come back from. Early this morning he had taken his son farther up the mountain because he thought that they should offer sacrifices to their land. But, his son told him that he would only worship Jesus. Holston replied to his son sarcasticly, "You pray to Jesus, and if He appears, I will believe also." The father and son had been walking all day, up the mountain and then back down to their encampment, only to find these missionaries, sent by God, in their tent waiting for them! Needless to say, Holston was surprised but he also grasped the weight of this moment. He remembered what he had said to his son only that morning.

Tim and Will, along with their translator, shared the Gospel with Holston again. In this visit, Holston saw a God who was bigger than the gods he worshiped, he saw a God of impeccable timing and wisdom. He saw a God who was faithful in His promises, even to one small boy who believed in the hope of Christ on the steppes of Siberia. That night, Holston said that he would worship Jesus as God. The next morning, the rest of Holston's family came home. He explained to them that these missionaries had come to tell them about God. He wanted to hear every story they could tell him about Jesus, his life, work and ministry.

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. (The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.)" (Psalm 145:13)



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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can a Christian Commit Suicide?

Thank you to The Fools Gold, I found the inspiration for this post at his blog. I've been thinking about this topic for a while (because at times I've worked with suicidal youth), so I was very glad when I stumbled across the John Piper quote he had on his site.

The question is, can a Christian commit suicide and still be a Christian? Or to put it another way, can a person who professes faith take their own life and then go on to Heaven?
This wonderful, Christ exalting answer comes from a funeral message John Piper preached over a year ago for a young man at Bethlehem who committed suicide. He addresses this issue in the following excerpt from the online manuscript:

The stake is this: True Christians can commit suicide. Or to put it another way:There is nothing unique or peculiar about the final act of life that makes it determinative in validating or nullifying our salvation. Or let me say it another way: The final season of faith with all its battles and failures is not the only season of faith that will bear witness in the Last Day that we were born again.

For example, suppose tonight, in my physical weariness, the remaining corruption in my born-again, Christian heart were to get the upper hand, and pride and self-pity and anger were to lash out verbally at my wife. And then suppose that in a great self-justifying huff, I stormed out of the door, got in the car, bolted carelessly through the stop sign on 18th Avenue and was broadsided by a truck and killed in an instant? Would I go to heaven?

Unless I have been a hypocrite through all these last fifty-five years of my Christian life, the answer is yes. For these reasons: 1) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for my sins and bore the wrath of God in my place so that all my sins might be forgiven. 2) Jesus Christ lived a perfect life of obedience so that by his obedience many sinners could be counted righteous, including me. 3) This sacrifice and this righteousness become mine by faith alone when I trust Jesus as the Lord and Savior and Treasure of my life. 4) This trust is embattled till the day I die, with seasons of strength and seasons of weakness, seasons of darkness and seasons of light. 5) If the last season is so dark that I die by my own sin, that season is not the only season that God takes into account when he presents the evidence that my faith was real.

The scripture that came to my mind after reading the article above was this: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

The power of Christ's blood cannot be rendered ineffective by any force; not by sin or even death. In fact, sin and death are the very reasons that Christ came into the world. The very things that most people believe repels God is why he came.

While it is true that God is repelled by sin, (His nature is infinitely perfect and no sin can exist in His presence), God ordained a way from the beginning of time to fulfill both his wrath and his mercy by taking on our sin and enduring God's wrath. The power of His blood arcs over all of time, it reaches back into the past and justifies the saints of the Old Testament who had faith and into the future for sins we (and our grandchildren) have not yet committed.

If God were not sovereign over these things, He would be no God at all. However, Him being sovereign over death and sin prove Him to be God. "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." (Revelation 1:17-18)

God is also merciful, He knows that we are dust and He cares for us. God is all powerful, but unlike pagan gods, he is not a god who is constantly angry and demanding. He is a God who has come to provide for us by and through His own death. I recently found this beautiful quote by Tozer:

"When through the blood of the everlasting covenant we children of the shadows reach at last our home in the light, we shall have a thousand strings to our harps, but the sweetest may well be the one tuned to sound forth most perfectly the mercy of God. ... Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate. Both the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the mercy of God, but the Old has more than four times as much to say about it as the New." ~ A.W. Tozer

By: Tavia Pitkanen

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For Christians Fear and Faith Are Not Compatible

I found this commentary by Mark Larson at Christian Examiner Online and wanted to share it with you. Did you know that worry can be a sin? Why? Because oftentimes when we worry we are not trusting God and His promises. I hope you read the article below and are encouraged to to find your peace in Him.

We are living in a nervous nation. Not since the terror attacks of 9/11 has the country been immersed in such constant anxiety.

Even signs of progress are tempered with an underlying sense of insecurity. There are many reasons for the increasing fear factor in America (and the world), but one thing is very clear: If we don’t get out of this mode we will be destined to stay in the rut, inactive and emotionally paralyzed. That’s when Satan does his best work.

In recent months an endless stream of news stories has made the situation worse. First we were told that the recession was happening, even back when it wasn’t. In the midst of a seemingly endless political campaign there were people almost gleeful about the prospects of a financial downturn. When the country was hammered by a very real mortgage meltdown, bank failures and stock slides, we were told it was going to get worse… maybe a return to The Great Depression. Other disasters such as the Bernie Madoff scandal didn’t help our confidence, while Uncle Sam’s bailouts added more stress due to huge mounting American debts.

As a longtime member of the media, I am embarrassed by the behavior of colleagues who relish the opportunity to fan the flames of fear. Frustrating, yes, but it’s the nature of the business to highlight disasters, frayed nerves and apprehension. There’s a saying in the news business: If it bleeds, it leads. In other words, the top story is always that which is most shocking. And in today’s non-stop information world, no single news source wants to be the first to get off of a story. There’s too much competition for the most “compelling” items. So the problem feeds on itself.

After a nearly two year, steady drumbeat of, “The economy’s awful, job losses are increasing and there’s assorted misery” accounts, we saw the emphasis shift to health scares. “Swine Flu” (or “H1N1,” so as not to offend actual swine) became the hottest item on daily newscasts. Words like “pandemic” and comparisons to the epidemic of 1918 became commonplace. (No matter that just plain-ole’ basic flu kills more than 35,000 annually, way more than the Pig Virus.) The Swine Flu drama also unfolded just as the “May Sweeps” were underway… the hottest month for TV ratings. Hype equals big numbers and bucks. As a bonus, Newsweek released a cover story on a new survey trumpeting how the country is giving up on religion. Everything added up to a non-stop media message: You have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It’s coming for you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Americans aren’t economic gurus or medical professionals. So if we hear something often enough it becomes reality. The economy has plenty of critical, real challenges, but we’ve now talked ourselves into believing there’s no way out of our problems and this is as good as it gets. Unfortunately this is when government bureaucrats step up and offer to “fix” everything. Too often we’re willing to give them too much power, hoping for instant gratification.

Yes, the whole world is in sick-and-nervous mode and we may be in this for some time. So what do we do about it? We fight fear through faith. Someone has said the acronym for fear is F-E-A-R… “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Research has shown that a very small percentage of things that worry us become evident. FDR was right: Most times we have “nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Christians should already have this figured out. But since we’re human, it’s very easy to get caught up in negative moods like everyone else. Maybe it’s time to check our spiritual compass and see if we truly believe what we say we believe, starting with the hundreds of “fear nots” in the Bible. Then do a study on references to being “strong and courageous” and how God is ready to “fight our battles.” Remember, the daily battles we experience are often in our heads and hearts … it’s internal. In other words, we must choose to rise above it all and plug into the power source.

C.S. Lewis said, “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted … in spite of changing moods.” Oswald Chambers wrote this about anxiety: “If your heart is troubled, you are not living up to your belief.” Ouch. He also noted this: “It is the most natural thing in the world to be scared, and the clearest evidence that God is in our hearts is when we do not get into panics.”

There’s been panic-a-plenty in recent times and always more on the horizon. Fighting the fear factor requires courage and persistence, and staying constantly connected to God.

Doing nothing allows the enemy to win … but perfect love casts out
fear.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“I Am His”

“I am His by purchase and I am His by conquest; I am His by donation and I am His by election; I am His by covenant and I am His by marriage; I am wholly His; I am peculiarly His; I am universally His; I am eternally His.

Once I was a slave but now I am a son; once I was dead but now I am alive; once I was darkness but now I am light in the Lord; once I was a child of wrath, an heir of hell, but now I am an heir of heaven; once I was Satan’s bond-servant but now I am God’s freeman; once I was under the spirit of bondage but now I am under the Spirit of adoption that seals up to me the remission of my sins, the justification of my person and the salvation of my soul.”

- Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth
From the blog: Of First Importance

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Don't Waste Your Life Tour Review

The Don’t Waste Your Life Tour from Reach Records features: Lecrae, Trip Lee, Sho Baraka, Tedashii, and FLAME (click on the links to follow them on Twitter, sadly FLAME does not have one). I wanted to start by saying that this was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The entire concert was centered around praising God and preaching the gospel. With each performance these young men spoke with a beautiful passion, about God, not wasting our lives, and Lecrae even stopped the music at one point so he could speak to the audience about something that was on his heart. They also took a few breaks inbetween sets to preach.

The music was amazing; you could see that the Lord was working there. Their theology is solid in every song, and they are passionate about spreading the Word of God throughout the earth. All of the G.D.S. staff members recommend attending this concert, because it isn’t just a concert, it is four talented believers preaching the Gospel to a beat!
On top of a great concert Saturday night, the next day two of us were able to meet Lecrae, and FLAME, after Lecrae gave everything he had left of his voice for the Lord for the offertory song in church, (he performed Don’t Waste Your Life). They are very sincere believers and were very gracious. It was a joy to get to meet them.

As I sit here writing down my thought’s I am praying that the Lord will bless this tour, revive hearts, and save souls while using these men as vessels to give Him glory and further His kingdom. Buy your tickets soon, the concert we went to was sold out!


Extras:
1) You know how sometimes you get an album that you love and then when you go to the concert it's just not the same? The bass is turned up to far, or the music is way louder than the vocals, or the band really doesn't know the music and they are totally out of sync? Well this tour is the exact opposite of that!!! The music at the concert is album quality people!

2) The club that we went to see the show at was giving away the new "Don't Waste Your Life Sermon Jams" CD so we were really excited to our hands on copies of that.

3) Did you know that Reach Records has a division called "Reach Life"? It's the ministry side to there music. Check it out!


Review By: Ian Pitkanen

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    GDS Theme Passage

    "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus
    Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for
    Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine
    out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give
    the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
    the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure
    in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power
    belongs to God and not to us."
    - 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

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