Wednesday, September 19, 2007

[twbowes-devotions] Explain this to me....

 The Consequences of Roe v. Wade
Total Abortions since 1973

And I wonder...

How many babies has the "Morning After" pill taken from us that we will never know about?

A handful of people die in a mine collapse. The nation mourns nightly over the network news. We ought to mourn with these families. We hurt with them. We should.

A bridge collapses in Minnesota and many die. We look upon the scene with horror. We should.

We are appalled when 230,000 die from a Tsunami. We should be.

The Holocaust saw over 7,000,000 die. We whisper when we talk about that. We should.

No news-cameras record the scenes that represent those babies' lives that are represented by that gaudy number above. We should be disgusted. We should have righteous anger that drives us to our knees and wakes our voices to speak for these who have no voice. We should do something.

We might think it's a problem in California or "up north" as someone recently said to me. Though I cannot guarantee this number the NC Right to Life website says that 2.2 - 2.3% of the total abortions have happened in NORTH CAROLINA. That's 1,068,980. Yes; you read correctly: ONE MILLION, SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED EIGHTY unborn children in OUR STATE that had no voice to beg for their lives.

How can we as a nation, with a clear conscious, continue this? Please tell me.

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Executive Director
Youth For Christ-Roxboro
Romans 12:1-2
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Luke #35 – Washed Clean and Fired Up

Luke #35 – Washed Clean and Fired Up

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.’ And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people” (Luke 3:15-18 – King James Version).

Have you ever noticed how it seems that spring cleaning requires making things messier before getting things really clean? Recently I cleaned out our cabinets and found tops to dishes that I had not seen in years. I filled up two trash bags with junk that some how we had at one time thought useful, but since had found no use for. I found some things in our cabinets that I had no clue why we ever thought we needed OR wanted. Most heartbreaking was finding products that we bought at one time but never used; obviously we never needed that junk either. At the pinnacle of the purge our entire kitchen floor, the stove, the table, and the counter tops were filled with plates, glasses, crockery, pots, bowls, plastic storage containers, fryers, pans, and every other thing you can think of. I looked at the whole mess and felt like giving up.

When it comes to repentance we often experience something akin to my cleaning adventure. When it comes down to actually repenting we find things in our lives that we had not dealt with in years. We find things that we wonder why we were holding on to. We find things that at one time we could not do without, but discover that that thing was never needed in the first place. We find things that we never wanted and wonder why we even have them. We find our lives in a horrible mess and we might feel like just giving up. We may even think that there is no help for the mess and that we might as well quit and just live with the junk we are holding on to.

John’s preaching on repentance caused the people to begin to think of the coming Messiah. Many wondered whether John was himself that Messiah. John knew his place in the scheme of things. He said, “I am not even worthy of being the slave of the coming Messiah.” (There is a lesson in there somewhere! We need to recognize our place and Christ’s place in the Kingdom. Whose will should come first?) John reminds us today that he was pointing to a much greater and soon coming Christ.

John’s preaching of repentance was like cleaning out the cabinets. John confronted people with the mess all of our lives are in. John baptized with water…his message was “Clean up! Get ready!” The word for today concerning that issue is that we need to realize that true repentance is a messy business that requires commitment and courage. It requires dealing with mess that has been around a long time, much of which we did not even realize we had (pride issues, sinful habits and thoughts, etc.). It requires the willingness to scrap a lot of things we hold on to. Washing, however, is a good thing. Get rid of the mess! It may be painstaking but I am sure it is needful. When it came to my cabinets it was an aggravating affair, but when I look at those well organized cabinets today I rarely think of the trouble they brought in getting them that way.

John then spoke of the Messiah’s baptism which would be the fire of the Holy Spirit. This is the indwelling of God Almighty into the believer enabling them not only to keep what repentance cleaned up but to produce fruit as well.

To delineate from the life that only cleaned the outside, John likened them to chaff. That’s the outside husk of a kernel of wheat; the part that is thrown away. Jesus considers outside change as the disposable part. John warned of that because it is a certain danger to the human way of doing things. Real repentance is being changed. It does not mean LOOKING changed. Repentance will not stick unless we fill with Christ all of the areas we took sin away from. So, we need to be washed clean of our sins by the baptism of repentance and have the Holy Spirit cauterize those areas with His fiery indwelling presence.

Too many times today we are more worried about being caught in sin than we are about ridding ourselves of sin. We don’t worry about the reality of our sin only the possibility that someone will find out. The warning we need to hear in this matter is that Jesus knows all and stands ready with His winnowing fork to separate the wheat and the waste. John knew the Messiah was coming soon…I believe He is coming soon too…COMING BACK that is.

Listen now…we may only see the mess that our lives are and feel like giving up. Have courage! Whatever we give up, Christ will replace with Himself. We all need to be washed clean and fired up…it is a tough business and may even be painful, but it WILL be well worth it!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Luke #34 - Pratical Preaching

Luke #34 – Practical Preaching

“And the people asked him, saying, ‘What shall we do then?’ He answereth and saith unto them, ‘He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.’ Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, ‘Master, what shall we do?’ And he said unto them, ‘Exact no more than that which is appointed you.’ And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, ‘And what shall we do?’ And he said unto them, ‘Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages’” (Luke 3:10-14 – King James Version).

I was talking with a pastor friend on the phone the other day when I asked him what he had preached on that past Sunday. He said “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” He said “I heard a sermon somewhere and I can remember nothing else besides the three points. They were: They wouldn’t bend, they wouldn’t bow, and they wouldn’t break.” I said, “Yeah, I know that sermon! You gave me the tape of that sermon from the pastor’s conference.” My friend said, “I couldn’t forget those points, so I preached on them.” I couldn’t forget them either. I don’t even remember the pastor that preached the sermon and neither did my pastor friend. The point was that it made its point. We both walked away from the listening to the sermon with something practical to put in our pocket. We both walked away knowing that we could not have a half-hearted faith. It was practical.

That’s the way brother John preached. Let’s look at three very practical examples of John’s preaching that we would do well to learn. The crowd asked “What should we do to show our faith?” John simply says for them to give of what they have. If someone takes something from us, supplement their theft by giving them more. That’s practical AND revolutionary. Rather than giving of what we have in these days and times, we concentrate on getting more for ourselves. Giving what we have proves our faith because we firmly believe that God will not leave us in need.

The tax collectors asked John what they should do. John said, “Whatever you do for a living, do it well and be fair about it.” For example, if you are a policeman reading this, don’t speed just because you can and don’t give tickets because of your personal preferences and prejudices. If you are a mill worker, don’t goof off and put in an honest days work. Goofing off on the job is no better than taking extra taxes as the tax collectors did…both are stealing.

The soldiers then asked what they should do. John said, “Don’t cheat others and be content with your pay.” A Christian that is never satisfied with their wage is a Christian that is not seeking satisfaction in the right place! A Christian that finds that they need to go around the system to make more money (not paying taxes for example) is a Christian that isn’t trusting God to take care of them.

Though John had tough messages to preach, they were practical. His messages were useful. In the few short sentences above John gave us three practical things we can use in our day to day lives. Now we must ask ourselves these three questions and let God analyze our hearts. Do we share what we have? Do we work honestly and deal fairly with others? Are we content with what we have or don’t have?

All three things are basically trust issues and will show us our true level of trust in God. If we really trust Him, we will live like it. We will trust that He will take care of whatever we lose in living for Him. Practical? Yes! Easy to hear and do? No! But, isn’t that the way of practical preaching and practical living? We are challenged to live real and trusting lives before the Lord. Are we doing it?

Here! Here! I like this fellow's style!

THIS ARTICLE IS CREDITED TO BAPTIST PRESS (BP) and can be found in it's original form here:

Iorg: Focus on 'Jesus Christ, crucified'

Posted on Sep 10, 2007 | by Amanda Phifer MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)--Jeff Iorg, at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's president's convocation, launched a year-long series on becoming "Kingdom-focused leaders."

Iorg urged returning and new students, faculty and staff at the seminary's Mill Valley, Calif., campus to remain focused on "Jesus Christ, crucified," no matter what other matters come along and demand attention.

"The Christian community today is distracted and often fragmented by secondary and tertiary issues," Iorg said. "We need to deal with these issues but not allow them to become our primary message. Never lose sight of the most important message of all -– Jesus Christ, crucified."

Citing the factionalism as well as gender and sexuality and charismatic issues buffeting the New Testament church at Corinth, Iorg noted that believers today face many of the same issues.

Such distractions must be addressed, Iorg said; the Apostle Paul, after all, wrote letters to the Corinthian church to address such issues. But Iorg reminded that "our focus must not be removed from our core message: Jesus Christ, crucified."

Focusing on "Jesus Christ, crucified," Iorg said, has three results: It confounds contemporary wisdom, demonstrates the power of God, and changes lives.

"You live in a world looking for all kinds of ways to incorporate the supernatural with the reasonable," Iorg said. "And you may use any number of methods to engage the culture with Christ -– dialogue, identification, service, study and occasionally even debate -– but don't confuse your method with your message.

"The message of Jesus Christ crucified is as radical, confrontational and controversial as it ever was in the first century," Iorg said. "And like the first century, people are likely to call you either a stumbling block or a fool. But you stay focused on our message -– Jesus Christ, crucified."

Then he added, "I'll tell you why you're here -– because somewhere someone witnessed to you Jesus Christ crucified, and He changed your life. There's no explaining you apart from that, is there?"

As part of the Aug. 23 convocation, students, faculty and staff each made covenant commitments to live out the mission and core values of Golden Gate Seminary.

Golden Gate is entering its 63rd academic year, with more than 1,700 students enrolled, including candidates in the seminary's new doctor of philosophy program in biblical studies. GGBTS encompasses five campuses across the West and dozens of Contextualized Leadership Development centers across the country.
Amanda Phifer is a writer at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.