Friday, May 30, 2008

New CCW Website!

CCW has updated revamped his fantastic website (! Check out insightful articles, evangelistic tools, book reviews and church helps.

"Christian Communicators Worldwide exists to propagate God’s Word through preaching and publishing, and to visibly demonstrate the life of trust in order to transform lives and reform churches."

Read more about CCW's ministry.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tim Keller at the University of California, Berkeley

Dr Tim Keller speaks on "belief in an age of skepticism" at California, Berkley (3/4/08).

Good stuff.

Pray for a brother in Christ serving in Africa

A friend of mine is heading to Africa today on a 6-week missions trip. Please pray for this brother as he seeks to bring the light of the Gospel of Christ to this dark and needy part of the world.

He hopes to post updates to this blog, lightdestroysdarkness, during his six weeks for friends and family.

Reminder, if you know this young man and you visit the site, please do NOT compromise his safety by mentioning his name or the country he is visiting in any comments or emails.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mormonism Exposed

Think LDS theology is not that far off from Biblical theology?

Check out this interesting exchange with two LDS elders on the streets of New Zealand.

Mormonism Exposed - Part 1

Mormonism Exposed - Part 2

Mormonism Exposed - Part 3

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dharavi - Mumbai, Asia's Largest Slum

A friend of mine, and brother in Christ, recently visited Mumbai, India on a business trip. He returned with eyes wide open to the need for the Gospel in that part of the world. I am looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing more stories. (hint-hint!)

My friend spoke of the unbelievable poverty and--what is worse--the utter darkness to Christ. The chaotic break-neck pace of the cars and bikes and rickshaws in the big city of Mumbai stops for no one. Drivers would think nothing of hitting children, but traffic slams to a halt to avoid harming one of their "sacred" cows!

80% of the population are Hindus, 12 1/2% Muslims, and less than 2 1/2% are in "Christian" denominations.

My friend told me to google the Dharavi slum in the middle of Mumbai, India, where 1 million people are crammed into roughly one square mile of real estate! Here is a video from the BBC about the "architecture" of this place.

Is it me, or is the host a little too "geeked out" about the architectural innovation, while completely blind to the plight of these suffering Indians?

Please pray for this needy country. As Operation Word points out, "India has more (and larger) people groups with no Christians, churches or workers than any other part of the world."

The need is great. Pray for India!

I can't get John Piper's powerful message--given at the recent T4G conference--out of my mind!

Challies summarizes the message well:
Piper looked to six passages from the book of Hebrews. He said that we would need to ask and answer correctly, what is the great reward? What is the joy set before us? What is the city to come? He looked to Hebrews 10:32-35, 11:6, 11:24-26, 11:35, 12:2, 13:12-14.

... Every glory of the Savior, every facet of His majesty, is poured into the little word “him” in 13:13. “Let us go to him outside the camp.” Jesus is not standing back and saying, “Go back!” He is saying, “I am out here! You are in there where it is so safe. But I am out here. Come to me…” The sweetest fellowship with your Savior and your treasure that you will ever know is the fellowship of His sufferings. It doesn’t get sweeter. The supremacy of Christ is not just His perfect fitness to bear our sins and not just the supremely valuable reward He will be at the end, but it is also present, personal, precious treasure. “Come to me, I’m out here,” he says. He won’t ask us to go where He won’t be with us. We will know Him in depths and ways in radical Christian sacrifice where we would never have known Him any other place.
Listen to this message today. Perhaps Christ is calling you to "go to Him" in India, outside the camp!

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Psalm 96:3-5
For more reading:
National Geographic feature on Dharavi
Operation World page on India
Let the Nations Be Glad!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Closing with Christ by Jim Elliff

Check out this excellent article by Jim Elliff (Christian Communicators Worldwide) ...

Closing With Christ

By Jim Elliff

When modern evangelical churches seek to bring the unregenerate to Christ (and they should do so with passion), they often fall prey to a formula which produces disappointing results. The pattern runs something like this:

  • Extending a public altar call
  • Praying "the sinner's prayer"
  • Giving immediate verbal assurance that one is in Christ on the basis of the sinner's sincerity and the accuracy of the wording of the prayer
  • Immediate, or near immediate, public announcement that this person is now in Christ
  • Public baptism as a symbol of death to sin and life in Christ

This pattern has been passed down and repeated because few are taking the necessary time to examine both its flight from Scriptural precedent and precept and its dismal effect. When asked to give more careful consideration to its content and outcome, however, we are finding that many, thankfully, are rejecting this inept structure in favor of a better, more biblical one. The above list will seem familiar to every soul-loving believer, but the very evangelistic passion we have for our neighbors and unconverted family members should drive us to lay our present methods up against the truth for a well-needed examination. Like the short-of-breath fifty-year-old who has never been to the doctor, it is time for a major check-up. What then is wrong with the above list?

First, there is no biblical precedent or command regarding a public altar call. Whatever might be said for its use, we cannot resort to the Bible for support. Jesus nor Paul, nor any other early Christian leader used it. Did Jesus ask his listeners to come to the front after He preached the Sermon on the Mount? Did Paul say, "Every head bowed, every eye closed" as Luke quietly sang the invitation hymn on the Areopagus? Did Peter have seekers raise their hands as a sign of their interest in Christ at the end of the Pentecostal sermon?

Quickly it must be said that I espouse a verbal call to Christ in a most serious way and believe that the spoken invitation to come to Christ is a part of all gospel preaching. We "compel them to come in." When Moody failed to offer a public altar call on the evening of the Chicago fire, he stated a new resolve: "I learned that night [a lesson] which I have never forgotten; and that is, when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there, and try to bring them to a decision on the spot. I would rather have that right hand cut off than to give an audience a week now to decide what to do with Jesus." I could not agree more with his underlying sentiment, but this does not argue for an altar call. Evangelistic preaching does say, "Repent and trust Christ now." But there is nothing sacrosanct about getting people to occupy a certain piece of geography at the front of a building. Nor have I kept them from Christ by not having them respond to a public altar call. Rather I am offering them Christ without anything in between. I want nothing between their soul and the reality of Christ's offer. To put something in between is a practical sacramentalism.

Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875) popularized this method through his mourner's bench. There was a person here or there that used it in an occasional manner prior to him, but he put it on the map. Reacting to Finneyism's ineptness, theologian Dabney commented:

We have come to coolly accept the fact that forty-five out of fifty will eventually apostatize [fall away].

On the other side of Finney was the veteran evangelist Asahel Nettleton (d. 1844), whose converts stood. For instance, in Ashford, Connecticut there were eighty-two converts, and only three spurious ones. In Rocky Hill, Connecticut, there were eighty-six converts and they all were standing strong after twenty-six years, according to their pastor. Nettleton rigidly refused to offer public altar calls, believing that it prematurely reaped what would turn out to be false converts. C. H. Spurgeon, the Victorian "Prince of Preachers," thought similarly. The long-term history is consistent on this issue; you may and should examine it.

Attached to the altar call (and to personal evangelism) in this model is the use of "the sinner's prayer." What can be said about this? Is it found in the Bible? The sad truth is that it is not found anywhere but in the back of evangelistic booklets. Yes the Scripture says, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved," but this means to evoke or place confidence in the name of Christ. The sinner may express genuine faith through a prayer, but to pray such a prayer is not the essence of the required response to the gospel invitation.

The typical "sinner's prayer" as evangelicals have come to express it, has three elements: (1) a mere acknowledgment of sin, which is not the same as repentance, (2) a belief in the act of Christ's death, which is far removed from trust in his person and work, and, (3) an "inviting Christ into the life." The last phrase hangs on nothing biblical (though John 1: 12 and Rev. 3: 20 are used, out of context, for its basis). It is considered, nonetheless, to be the pivotal and necessary instrument for becoming a true Christian. But God commands us to repentingly believe, not to invite Christ into the life.

Following the above, immediate assurance is given to the one who prayed on the basis of the sincerity of the person and the accuracy of the prayer. But it is the Holy Spirit who gives assurance of life in Christ, not the evangelist (Rom. 8: 16). We are to relate the basis of assurance but leave the actual assuring to the Spirit. This is rarely practiced in modern evangelicalism. We prefer rather to take the place of the Spirit in assuring the pray-er and therefore seal many in deception. It is not the efficacy of a prayer that saves; Christ alone saves. The well-quoted passage on assurance, 1 Jn. 5:13 states: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." "These things…written" are the tests in the rest of the letter which give a basis to determine if we are truly converted.

In many cases the next step is to publicly introduce the one who has prayed the sinner's prayer and has just been told that he or she is a Christian. I have cringed to find that some leaders turn around after five minutes of "Just as I Am" and announce that the persons coming forward are converted. Sometimes the person has not been known to the pastor until that moment! Regardless, his optimism is often not founded, since extremely high numbers of these never show any competent sign of being converted. I am not intimating that people cannot be saved immediately, but that our early acceptance of the persons coming forward has often led us to "eat our words" about their new life in Christ.

Finally, there is the last stage of public baptism. It is interesting to note that in much of evangelicalism which is Baptistic, the number supposedly "being saved" and those being baptized is vastly different. If a hundred were purportedly converted during some sort of evangelistic effort, then we might not baptize but thirty of them. But out the thirty, as seen among Southern Baptists as an illustration, statistically only ten or eleven of those thirty (34 %) would show up on a given Sunday morning and only four or five (12%) on a Sunday evening (in churches that have services at that time). They do not really love the brethren or the atmosphere of godliness. All of these, however, have prayed the prayer, walked the aisle, been told they are Christians by someone in authority, and were publicly declared to be such.

Would it not be better for a system to be re-instated which comes closer to recognizing only the smaller number of true Christians? Is it love for the lost that will perpetuate practices producing such damning deception in so many—or is it merely love for success? Or should we assume that most leaders have simply gone on with "business as usual" without ever thinking it through at all? I prefer to believe the later is true in most cases. Whatever the motive, however, those deceived on our rolls are still damned.

The more biblical way of "closing with Christ" is to focus on the gospel itself, without props. Whereas the altar call method can be tacked on to just about anything, no matter how absent the gospel, the biblical method demands the hearing of the Word. "How will they believe without a preacher."(Rom. 10: 14). It is the "by the will of God that they are begotten, through the Word of truth" (Jam. 1:18, emphasis mine). They are "born again…through the living and abiding Word of God" (1 Pet. 1: 23, emphasis mine).

It is interesting to note that the Bible account focuses attention on the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, and his life and work, when presenting the gospel to those who do not believe. There is virtually no explanation of the nature of repentance and faith; merely its mention seems to be enough. Why is that so? It is because of this wonderful reality. When the Word is preached and the Spirit is at work, the sinner is brought to conviction of sin and he cannot love his sin any more. He must repent. And when the Word presents Christ as the only hope and the Spirit is at work in the sinner, he sees no refuge for his soul but Christ. He must believe. Where else could he possibly go?

What about those passages that deal with the nature of repentance and faith in detail? Those passages are there for the presumptuous. The Epistle of First John, James, and many other portions help the professing believer understand the nature of faith to test the quality of the faith he says he has. But on the main, evangelism, after laying out the awfulness of man and his sin, and the consequence and offense against God, focuses its gaze on Christ and His work on behalf of sinners. And the people simply believe. There is no emphasis on anything else. They just believe—no laboring of mechanics or methods or perfectly worded prayers, or walks to the front. They believe because it is all they can do.

The New Tribes Mission has been instrumental in giving us the best of missiological tools in their chronological approach to working with tribal groups. They teach the Bible from its beginning, laying out each story in sequence without revealing what is beyond that point. When they come to Christ, they do not present the gospel in its doctrinal entirety until it comes in the passage. In other words, they leave the person to experience the New Testament as it was experienced by those closest to Christ. In their video depiction of a tribal group in this process, the day to explain Christ's death comes. To the man, the New Guinea tribe visibly shows its sense of shame and remorse for the crucified Master. Three days are given before the group returns. Then the resurrection is explained. In the midst of the presentation, an older man jumps to his feet and loudly exclaims, "Ee-Taow," or "I believe." Others stand with the same exclamation, though this tribal group is normally reserved in their expressions. In time the whole tribe is chanting "Ee-Taow, Ee-Toaw," and jumping up and down. This went on for an extended period of rejoicing. A tribe was re-born in a day!

Such a response, with varying degrees of emotion, is the nature of believing in the New Testament. It was entirely incidental whether anyone prayed a "sinner's prayer" or walked to another place to take someone's hand. The powerful Word had encountered the people through the invincible Holy Spirit. This is New Testament evangelism.

You may not agree with my assessment, but it is my contention that our use of the altar call and the accouterment of a "sinner's prayer" is a sign of our lack of trust in God. Do we really believe that the Spirit convicts and regenerates, and that His Gospel preached and read is the ordained means He uses? Surely there is nothing unbiblical or non-evangelistic about the man who preaches the gospel forthrightly, prays earnestly, appeals urgently and places his entire trust in God to do what only He can do.

1999 Jim Elliff
201 Main, Parkville, MO 64152 USA
Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright.
Other uses require written permission. Write for additional materials.

Monday, May 19, 2008

God's glory in hardship

I had a blast this weekend fellowshipping with Countryside's missionary to Mexico, Pastor Brian Warne, and the native Mayo-Indian brother, Norberto, who is partnering with the Warne's in Sinaloa, Mexico. Norberto came up to personally thank our church for our prayers and resource support for their family during the last few years.

This dear family has suffered immensely as their daughter, Rebecca, has had a life-changing brain tumor. She was in a coma for several months and at one point her parents were told she was clinically brain dead. Struggling for so long to find adequate care in a country notorious for poor health care, she is now, by God's grace, in a Ronald McDonald house in Texas. She has been improving slowly but steadily, but it could take five years or more before she functions with normalcy.

But to see Norberto's smile and hear him testify of his absolute trust and confidence in Christ during this trial was such a blessing to all of us. I am tearing up now just thinking about how special it was to have been there with Pastor Warne to meet this man at the airport Friday, and begin to get to know him a bit by talking to him through Pastor Warne who interpreted. It was an honor because God obviously loves him so dearly to have ordained so much suffering for him! What a dear vessel that the Lord has chosen to reflect with such brilliance the glory of God! Many others in our church have visited the Warnes in previous years and know and love Norberto.

At the end of the Sunday night service, after seeing slides and watching videos of the work in Mexico, we got to hear Norberto's testimony, through Daniel Warne (Pastor Brian's oldest son) who interpreted. Then the men of the church put their hands on Norberto and prayed for him and his family. It was a memorable and Christ-honoring evening!

While not a pastor yet technically, obviously Norberto has a pastor's heart and calling. Please pray for this godly man and what the Lord will do through him. Pray for his family as well and for Rebecca to continue to improve. We heard so many stories about this sweet seven-year-old!

I hope to post more about Norberto and the Warne's ministry in Mexico in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Joyce Meyer at the Sprint Center - Stay Away!

Joyce Meyer seems like a very nice lady. She even looks a lot like my Grandma, a compliment since they are both very youth-ful looking despite their ages!

Thankfully, my grandma is not a heretical false teacher like Joyce Meyer!

I learned that she is coming to KC this weekend and will be speaking at the Sprint Center for three "free" shows.

Meyer is very popular because she tells people what they want to hear, namely that we're not sinners! Most of her teaching is very practical from what I understand.

But Meyer's teaching must be tested for truth, and from what I have seen it is found lacking! She teaches that Jesus ceased to be God on the cross and when He died, He paid for our sins in hell (not on the cross as Scripture teaches). She parrots other Word-Faith teachers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and others. In addition she boasts that her extra-Biblical knowledge comes from divine revelation, thus denying the sufficiency of Scripture! Oh, and get this: she believes she's sin-free!

Here are some notable quotes (from Berean Faith):

The cross wasn't enough, Jesus redeemed us in hell
  • "And you've got to really glean some things out of the Word of God to really get hold of what He [Jesus] did for you during those three days. Jesus said, 'It is finished.' And He meant the Old Covenant. The job He had to do was just getting started. He really did the job the three days and nights that He was in hell. That's where the job was done."
  • "He was pronounced guilty on the cross but He paid the price in hell."
  • "There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell"
Jesus was the first born again man

  • "God rose up from His throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless Son of God, 'Let Him go.' Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus. He was resurrected from the dead -- the first born-again man"
Above Reproach - testing their spirits

  • "The Bible can't even find any way to explain this. Not really. That's why you've got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I'm telling you. I've got to just trust God that He's putting it into your spirit like He put it into mine."
  • Meyer says "that the changed lives are proof enough," that she's "anointed by God to do what I'm doing."
I'm sinfree!

  • "I'm going to tell you something folks, I didn't stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn't a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that's heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I'm righteous and I can't be righteous and be a sinner at the same time. All I was ever taught to say was, 'I'm a poor, miserable sinner.' I am not poor, I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I was and if I still am then Jesus died in vain. Amen?"
  • "I might as well go and smack Him right in the face if I'm going to go around and feel guilty and condemned. Every time you feel guilty and condemned it's just like slapping Him in the face and saying, You didn't do a good job. You didn't do a complete job. I'm an old rotten this and I'm an old rotten that."
Angels tell me what to say

  • "Now spirits don't have bodies, so we can't see them. Okay? There probably is, I believe there is, and I certainly hope there is several angels up here this morning that are preaching with me. I believe that right before I speak some anointed statement to you, that one of them bends over and says in my ear what I'm supposed to say to you."
Please take a few minutes and carefully listen to this expose on Meyer, where you can here the heresy from her own mouth.

So when the Sprint Center opens its doors this weekend ...

Don't be a part of this undiscerning (though spirited) group of sheep!

As Paul warned the Ephesians in Acts 20, ...
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts20:29-30)

For more reading on Joyce Meyer ...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Charles Haddon Spurgeon - For God's Glory!

This quote has been on my mind of late, from Spurgeon's Morning/Evening Devotional (compliments of the Truth for Life website):

Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Job 14:14

A short stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so enjoyable as work; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to danger. The bitter cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine that sparkles in the golden bowls of heaven. Our battered armor and scarred countenances will render more glorious our victory above, when we are welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world. We would not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not sojourn for a while below, for He was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share His kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honorable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it. Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we still have a part to play shining as light in the dark wilderness of sin. Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God's glory. A tested saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King's crown. Nothing reflects so much honor on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work and his triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving in or giving up. We are God's workmanship, and He will be glorified by our afflictions. It is for the honor of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each man surrender his own longings to the glory of Jesus and declare: "If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth. If to live on earth forever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven." Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience until the gates of pearl shall open.

Please note: Devotional material is taken from "Morning and Evening," written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth for Life with written permission. Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright (c) 2001, Good News Publishers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day 2008

I'm thankful that our kids have such a good mom, my beautiful wife, Aimee!

Adriana, 11 in June, wrote this piece about her mom, so I thought I'd share on this very special day in which we honor our moms.
Need of a Mother
All through out my life I would complain. I felt as if I had too much to do and nobody to help me. I was very angry at my mom and angry with God. I was living a selfish life of sin.
Then something unexpected happened. In the middle of the night my dad woke me up and told me I had to babysit my two year old brother and seven year old sister while my dad took my mom to the emergency room.
After a while my grandparents came and took us to their house, Praise God!
But I was still thinking about Mom.
It had been a whole week and she still wasn’t back.
Her being in the hospital made me realize how much I need a mom to help with school, cleaning, making dinner, and loving and raising her kids.
I was also thinking about how God gave me a mom that is perfect for me and my siblings. God was in control in this event in my life and still is. I felt horrible about the way I had acted before, and it was wrong. Through God’s grace He forgave me, and my mom got home soon after that!
I will never forget God’s grace shown in this event. I love my mom.
This ordeal happened in February when Aimee was hospitalized for her migraine attacks. She's being treated now by a chiropractor and has seen some very promising results, for which we give God much praise!

Aimee, the girls love you and are delighted to have you as their mother!

Happy Mothers Day!

P.S. To my own mom: if you're reading, love you, thanks for sticking with me despite my "annoying years", ... age 3-20.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Daily Carson 05/10/08

A final quote from the Afterward of A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by DA Carson.
And now, Lord God, I ask your blessing on all who read this book, for without it there will be no real benefit. We may have education, but not compassion; we may have forms of praying, but no fruitful adoration and intercession; we may have oratory, but be lacking in unction; we may thrill your people, but not transform them; we may expand their minds, but display too little wisdom and understanding; we may amuse many, but find few who are solidly regenerated by your blessed Holy Spirit. So we ask you for your blessing, for the power of the Spirit, that we may know you better and grow in our grasp of your incalculable love for us. Bless us, Lord God, not with ease or endless triumph, but with faithfulness. Bless us with the right number of tears, and with minds and hearts that hunger both to know and to do your Word. Bless us with a profound hunger and thirst for righteousness, a zeal for the truth, a love of people. Bless us with the perspective that weighs all things from the vantage point of eternity. Bless us with a transparent love of holiness. Grant to us strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, calmness in conflict, patience when opposed or attacked, trustworthiness under temptation, love when we are hated, firmness and farsightedness when the climate prefers faddishness and drift.
We beg of you, holy and merciful God, that we may be used by you to extend your kingdom widely, to bring many to know and love you truly.
Grant above all that our lives will increasingly bring glory to our dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip us with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Click here to read all the Carson quotes I posted from this book.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Daily Carson 05/09/08

Another great quote from page 223 of A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by DA Carson.
He asked for strength that he might achieve;
he was made weak that he might obey.
He asked for health that he might do greater things;
he was given infirmity that he might do better things.
He asked for riches that he might be happy;
he was given poverty that he might be wise.
He asked for power that he might have the praise of men;
he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.
He asked for all things that he might enjoy life;
he was given life that he might enjoy all things.
He has received nothing that he asked for, all that he hoped for;
his prayer is answered. -Anon
Click here to read all the Carson quotes I posted from this book.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Daily Carson 05/08/08

Another great quote from page 223 of A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by DA Carson.
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.

I thought that in some favoured hour
At once he'd answer my request;
And, by his love's constraining power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry power of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

"Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried.
"Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?"
"Tis in this way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'st seek thy all in me!" -Anon
Click here to read all the Carson quotes I posted from this book.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Daily Carson 05/07/08

We return this week to finish out the last few quotes that I took down when reading A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by DA Carson. I can't wait to read this book again!
Suppose, for argument's sake, that every time we asked God for anything and ended our prayers with some appropriate formula, such as "in Jesus' name," we immediately received what we asked for. How would we view prayer? How would we view God? Wouldn't prayer become a bit of clever magic? Wouldn't God himself become nothing more than an extraordinarily powerful genie, to be called up, not rubbing Aladdin's lamp, but by praying? "Please give me the ideal spouse, today. In Jesus' name, Amen." "Please raise up eighty-two more missionaries for Zaire, complete with their support, by the end of the week. In Jesus' name, Amen." What an easy and domesticated religion. But this is not true religion. This is magic, not worship; it is another power trip, not hearty submission to the lordship of Christ. It is superstition, not a personal relation with the Father God who is wise, good, and patient. He may give us what we ask for; he may make us wait; he may decline. He may give us the goal of what we ask for, but by quite another means, as when he provided Paul with more grace to cope with the suffering inflicted by the thorn in the flesh, rather than removing the thorn. (p. 222)
Click here to read all the Carson quotes I posted from this book.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Sacred Sandwich

New favorite website to pass along. (click the images to enlarge) ...

The Sacred Sandwich has gut splitting satire to enjoy! So get over there and get to browsing their photo gallery!!! They take old pictures and put funny subtitles underneath ...

Here are a couple of the Sandwich's famous advertisements ...

Tim Tebow

Check out this article from ESPN about how Tim Tebow, Florida heisman trophy winner quarterback, uses his football prowess as an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The article tells how Tebow, homeschooled missionary kid, visited two prisons in Florida on April 19th.

I also wrote about Tebow here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Piano Recital

God has blessed our children with some musical talent and an exceptional piano teacher who has been a huge blessing the last two and 1/2 years. She was patient and kind and found creative ways to motivate our daughters! We will miss Amie Neal as she will be going off to college! While we will have to find another piano teacher, Ms. Neal will be impossible to replace!

Here is Sophia's 4/27 piano recital...

Here is Adriana's 4/27 piano recital...

Here is Myles doing his own recital while we waited out a tornado warning in our basement...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Day of Prayer at State Street BSG

At StateStreet we are blessed to have a Bible Study Employee Network Group and are allowed to meet in conference rooms, promote events, and even use company resources and all-employee emails to promote participation in our group!

The idea is to be employee-focused to improve "retention" and foster "mentoring" and "inclusion" and a lot of other buzz words you hear in corporate America. There are many other network groups for every "affinity" under the sun. Ours is centered around studying the Bible and encouraging believers and seekers through prayer and studying God's Word. Each of these network groups is allowed one "signature event" each year. Our group’s event is the National Day of Prayer.

Thursday we put on a video-conference NDoP event during lunch and invited the entire company through mass emails and posters. We were one of three sites participating, the others being Boston (corporate headquarters) and Sacramento.

Looking at this picture makes me wish we went with one of the rooms with the big-screen tv's. Man, that TV looks small!

Boston kicked things off at 11 CDT. They gave an introduction about the Day of Prayer and gave some background information about the Bible Study Group (BSG), which started in Boston a decade ago. Boston had several guest speakers, preachers that were influential in the life of Phillip, the point man in Boston. Phil is a dear brother in the Lord and was elated to have his preachers there. His joy was contagious, as was the fervency of their prayers.

Our guest speaker in Kansas City was Pastor Mike Summers of Countryside in Olathe, KS. Mike preached a powerful message from 2 Chron 20 to a packed conference room (we had almost 40 in attendance), many of which were new to the BSG!

It was truly an honor to have Pastor Mike there since he has been so influential in my spiritual life. It was surreal to be sitting next to him when he preached. Took me back to when Aimee and I stood before him during our wedding and he preached on the 5 P’s of marriage.

Pastor Mike and I watch the Boston group finish up the first hour

I got a lot of feedback from those who came, thanking me for having Mike speak, and that they were encouraged and inspired.

We gave away a lot of resources: 32 ESV Outreach Bibles, 36 Jim Elliff books (Pursuing God and Wasted Faith), and almost thirty CD's that Pastor Mike brought to give out (our church put this fantastic CD together which features a 5-6 minute presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ!)

Here is me peddling Jim Elliff's book Wasted Faith. We are going through this book in the weekly study.

California followed our hour and Jim, the facilitator in Sacramento, led a more casual small-group type discussion on the subject of prayer in the work place. This laid back time was a perfect balance to the more formal preaching being done in the other groups, and since their office is much smaller it made much more sense.

Today (Friday) our audio/video guy emailed me the URL links to the video of all three sessions. After some editing, we will be making these available to everyone in our BSG via the corporate intranet sight early next week. So everyone in our group will be notified, and anyone looking into network groups will be able to find these. We have over 20,000 employees worldwide.

God truly granted our desire to honor Him with this event! For that, I gave thanks as I drove home Thursday. I still can't believe what God is doing at StateStreet! I can't wait to see the impact this will have on many souls!

For your edification, I will close with the outline for Mike's talk, that he sent me earlier this week to preview what he'd be speaking on ...

What to do when you don’t know what to do

This will be taken from 2 Chronicles 20:1-23 in the Bible. Most people have been in situations where their back was against the wall, there was no way out, and they were completely out of options. In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, God’s people suddenly found themselves in a crisis. Their backs were against the wall and they were trapped.

My talk will examine the question: “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” From 2 Chronicles chapter 20 I will discuss three critical responses that people should have when they face the impossible.

I. You should position your heart to seek God. (3-13)

This point in the talk will deal with the purpose of prayer and will discuss how people are to seek God when they don’t know what to do.

Some of the themes that will be highlighted are:

Prayer acknowledges the impotence of man and the omnipotence of God
Prayer acknowledges the ignorance of man and the omniscience of God
Prayer acknowledges the dependence of man and the sovereignty of God.

II. You should discipline your mind to wait on God. (14-17)

This point in the talk deals with the priority of patience and will discuss how people are to wait on God to work out His purpose.

Some of the themes that will be highlighted are:

Worrying about the unknown is a useless pursuit
Waiting on God is a difficult pursuit
Watching God work is a glorious pursuit

III. You should direct your life to worship God. (18-30)

This point in the talk will deal with the power of praise and will discuss how people are to practically follow God through life’s obstacles.

Some of the themes that will be highlighted are:

The worship of God is a corporate thing
The worship of God is a joyful thing
The worship of God is a powerful thing

Thursday, May 1, 2008


This was one of the best days of my life in terms of seeing God work (more on that coming soon), so I sang this familiar song to Him in praise for what He has done!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Don't worry, I was driving home and only God heard me!

I found out this "doxology" actually has several more verses. The song that is familiar to most church-goers is just the last verse of the hymn "Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun" written by Thomas Ken in 1674.

"Ken wrote this hymn at a time when the es­tab­lished church be­lieved on­ly Script­ure should be sung as hymns—with an em­pha­sis on the Psalms. Some con­sid­ered it sin­ful and blas­phe­mous to write new lyr­ics for church mu­sic, akin to ad­ding to the Script­ures. In that at­mo­sphere, Ken wrote this and sev­er­al other hymns for the boys at Win­chest­er Col­lege, with strict in­struct­ions that they use them on­ly in their rooms, for pri­vate de­vo­tions. Iron­ic­al­ly, the last stan­za has come into wide­spread use as the Dox­ol­o­gy, per­haps the most fr­equent­ly used piece of mu­sic in pub­lic wor­ship. At Ken’s request, the hymn was sung at his fun­er­al, fit­tingly held at sun­rise. (From CyberHymnal)"

Now for the hymn in its entirety... enjoy!

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike