Friday, May 29, 2015

Ask RC: How can an infinite hell be just when our sins are finite?

by RC Sproul, Jr.

The wisdom of this question, I would argue, is that it gets at the real horror of hell. A lake of fire is a frightening thought indeed. The greater dread, however, is the duration of hell, that it never ends. This, I suspect, is what tempts some to try to tweak the church’s historic view on hell, including everyone from John Stott to Rob Bell. Is it possible to posit a truly terrifying, painful hell that only lasts a time? Can we affirm the just judgment of God, and still hope that it will one day come to an end?

Well yes you can posit it, but in so doing you would expose a lack of understanding of the scope of the evil of our sin, and a lack of understanding of the nature of God’s judgment. Sin, the church has argued, must be punished infinitely because we sin against an infinitely holy God. The problem with taking a cookie out of the cookie jar isn’t the cookie, nor the calories. Rather it is the shaking of our fist at the God of heaven and earth. When we commit even the smallest sin we are committing what one great theologian calls “cosmic treason.” When we steal the cookie we are declaring to the God who made us, who sustains us, who daily pours out His grace on us, “I WILL NOT HAVE YOU RULE OVER ME.” Thus we stand infinitely guilty, and no amount of intensity to the sinner’s pain can trump the eternity of the sinner’s pain. As painful as it may be to admit, anything less than eternal punishment would not be just, given the depth of our depravity in rebelling against our Maker.

If, however, that still does not satisfy ones sense of justice, if we still find God less than honorable to punish the earthly sins of men with an eternity in hell, consider this. Men do not cease to sin when they die. That is, the souls in hell are still unregenerate, still captive to their sin. Indeed they are all worse than they were when they were on earth. Hell lacks the common grace of God, the restraining grace of God. It is true that even the sinners below confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but they do so with clenched teeth, seething with rage. It is true that their knees are bowed, but only because our Lord has broken them with a rod of iron. They hate God and curse Him for eternity.

Indeed one could argue that the deepest horror of hell is not that the pain will be so intense, nor that it will endure forever, but that we will ever become less and less what we were made to be. Without His grace we will continually devolve, and continually earn His continuing wrath. We, like hell, spiral ever downward into deeper and deeper darkness, deeper and deeper evil.

Hell is too dreadful a place to think on for too long. If you are comfortable with it, if the thought of it does not make you squirm, likely you don’t understand it. Sin, however, is still more dreadful, despite how comfortable we are with it. Hell is forever.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

No Time to Waste!

(adapted by Doug Nichols from the book Radical by David Platt)

What happens to people who never hear about Jesus? According to the book of Romans, all people know God, and all people reject God.  All people are guilty before God, and all people are condemned for rejecting God. God has made a way of salvation for the lost, and people cannot come to God apart from faith in Christ.  As a result, Christ commands the church to make the Gospel known to all peoples. The implication of these facts for our lives is huge.  If more than a billion people today are headed to a Christless eternity and have not heard the Gospel, then we do not have time to waste. There are at least 145 million orphans worldwide who need the Gospel and compassionate care. There are 160 million street children throughout the world who can only come to faith in Christ through the Gospel. The will of God for us is to give our lives urgently and recklessly to making the Gospel and the glory of God known among all peoples, particularly those who have never even heard of Jesus.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On Every Word

by Timothy S. McKenzie

Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” NASB

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” NASB

Deuteronomy 32:47 “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. NASB”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Actions Speak Loudest in Job Interviews and in Life

by Dan Miller

What you don't say tells a lot about you.

We are seeing an increasing creativity in interviewing today - on both sides. Many interviewers have a favorite question: "Why are manhole covers round? "How many barbers are there in Chicago?" "If you could be an animal, what would it be?" Some interviewers are big on non-verbal clues as we are told that 55% of communication is non-verbal.

J.C. Penney was infamous for taking potential hires out to breakfast. If that person put salt and pepper on their food before tasting it, the interview was over. Mr. Penney believed that this was a person who made decisions before having all the evidence. Jeff O'Dell of August Technology often asks candidates out to lunch - and suggests that they drive. "How organized someone's car is provides an amazing indicator of how organized the rest of their life is," he says. O'Dell believes that the best job candidates not only will have clean cars - "no Slim-Fast cans or tennis balls rolling around in the backseat" - but will also excel at the casual conversation in a restaurant. "It's a way to learn the personal side of things - whether or not they have a family, do they smoke, etc." - that doesn't come out in the formal interview.

"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7: 20 (NIV)

I also often ask to meet a client for lunch. In watching how they interact with others, how they treat the waitress, and how they attempt to pick up or avoid the check, I learn a lot about that person. Someone who belittles the waiter behind his back is likely to do the same on the job.

Dave Hall doesn't mind making employee candidates a little more nervous than they already are. Hall, a principal at Search Connection, likes to place want ads that list his company's name but not its phone number; he wants only candidates who'll bother to look up the number. When he's not entirely sure about candidates after their interviews, he instructs them to call him to follow up - and then doesn't return their first three calls. He says he's looking for employees who'll persist through a million no-thank-yous in making recruiting calls.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Daily Prayer for the World

Intercession literally means to stand between two parties and plead the case of one to the other.

As you pray around the world systematically, intercede for missionaries, Christian leaders and churches, the suffering, the poor, the 100 million street children and 143 million orphans of the world.

Sunday – South America

Monday – Central America

Tuesday – North America

Wednesday – Europe

Thursday – Africa

Friday – Asia

Saturday – Nations of  the Pacific

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:36-38)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Evolution Creates Liars

from May 2015

I think right at the outset of this article that it is necessary for me to say that in relation to the title, ‘Evolution Creates Liars’, my ‘target audience’ is very much those who on the one hand affirm that the Bible is The Word of God and then on the other hand deny the truth of 6-day creation, preferring rather to perhaps give their allegiance and support to ‘Theistic Evolution’. I will be quite up-front now in saying that for me, holding such a position, calls into great question that person’s claim to be a faithful Christian – it’s as serious as that. Why do I come to that conclusion? Well, shortly I will outline just some of the consequences of a professing Christian claiming to believe in ‘THEISTIC EVOLUTION’.  Read more ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Breakfast at Sally's

Recently I spent the day in a nearby town visiting and having breakfast with the homeless at the Salvation Army (Sally's). They offer many services to the homeless and needy which include three meals daily.

A friend arranged for me to have a meal and interview Richard LeMieux, (formerly homeless) the author of the book, Breakfast at Sally's. It was an excellent time of learning and I was able to share the gospel with him and others during the day.

Breakfast at Sally's is very well written and informs much about the homeless. 
However, it has very crude and filthy language in several places, language which did not need to be used and distracts from a wider use of the book.

Even though Margaret and I have worked with the poor here in the U.S. and other countries from the beginning of our ministry in 1968, we have a new partial understanding of the homeless and a concern to reach them with the Gospel and compassion. Will you join us?

Friday, May 15, 2015

What do We Believe about the Bible?

By Bill Mounce

There are four things that followers of Jesus believe about the Bible. I don’t have time to cover them in detail, but let me mention them and I’ll give you a website where you can learn more if you want.

This is really important material. The Bible wants to become your guide, and you have to decide whether you will believe it or not.

1. Inspiration
We believe that the Bible is “inspired.” This is not the idea that the Bible is inspiring, like a good novel or comic strip depending on your reading tastes. The Bible is inspiring, but that’s not the point. The doctrine of inspiration has to do with its source. Inspiration is the belief that the Bible came from the very mouth of God, that it contains his very words. Paul is encouraging his friend Timothy to persevere in his preaching, and writes this.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

“Breathed out” is a helpful translation. There was not a word in the Greek language to describe what Paul wanted to say, so Paul did what Greek allows him to do — he make up a word. He took the word “God” and the word “breathed” and put them together. Scripture is God-breathed; the words came from his very mouth.

Peter says the same thing using the imagery of being “carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

“No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

2. Authority
We believe in the “authority” of the Bible. Because the words come from God’s very mouth, they carry his authority. That is the flow of logic in Paul’s verse above. Because all of Scripture is breathed out by God, it is therefore profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and for training a person in righteousness. This is how Timothy, the man of God, can be made competent, to be equipped to do his ministry.

3. Canonicity
We believe in the process of “canonicity.” This means we believe God superintended the process of the church deciding what books belong in the Bible. This process took place over 400 years, and we believe God’s Spirit made sure we got it right. The sixty-six books we have are the right ones, and all the other books that were left out deserved to be left out because God did not write them.

4. Trustworthy
We believe the Bible is “trustworthy.” This ultimately is the issue for us. Because we believe God is true, we also believe that his words are true and can be trusted. We believe the Bible we have today accurately records Jesus words and deeds, and that the later writers like Paul, and the earlier writers like Moses, got it right. And so we look to the Bible to hear God’s authoritative word delivered to us.

I am sorry to have covered these points so quickly, but it is important that you as a new follower be aware of them. If you want to learn more them, please visit, click on the “Discipleship” link and then “Track 3,” and attend my “New Testament” class (or just click here). There are 3-4 hours of my lectures on these four topics.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5 Writing Lessons from William Zinsser

From his book, “On Writing Well”:

1. “I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”

2. “Less is more.”

3. “Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person.”

4. “Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.”

5. “Be true to yourself and to the culture you were born into. Tell your story as only you can.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The 10 Commandments of Christian Leadership Development

by Eric Geiger 

When it comes to developing as a leader…specifically as a Christian leader, here are ten imperatives for development. Though not an exhaustive or infallible list, these challenges will help develop you as a leader.

1.       Follow first.
Follow Jesus above all. Jesus is the One who transforms our character. If your love for Him grows cold, your character will suffer, as will those you serve. Without Jesus, your leadership may be transactional, but it will not be transformational. 

2.       Lead yourself.
The most difficult person to lead is yourself, but if you cannot lead yourself, how can you lead others? A lack of discipline in one area of your life will spill over to other areas.

3.       Set up chairs.
If you cannot set up chairs, you cannot be a leader. Christian leadership is about serving. If you are above setting up chairs and other tasks, you cannot and should not be a leader.

4.       Embrace pain.
Pain is inevitable and instructional. Because we live in a fallen world with broken people, there is great pain in leadership. Embrace the pain, and the Lord will use it to develop you.

5.       Submit to everyone.
Respect the leaders the Lord has placed over you, but also submit to those you have been asked to lead. Adjust to others as a servant. As you do, you will learn and grow from those you willingly place yourself under.

6.       Find a mentor.
Great leadership is often more caught than taught. Surround yourself with people whose lives challenge and encourage you.

7.       Read a lot.
John Wesley famously challenged Christian leaders to “read or get out of the ministry.” By reading, you surround yourself with great minds and great thinking. Read to develop yourself spiritually and mentally.

8.       Seek feedback.
Feedback helps you evaluate and adjust your own leadership. Continually ask for feedback from wise people who love you and the organization you are leading.

9.       Learn to lead by leading.
Quit waiting for the bigger assignment to prepare and develop; lead well in your current context and learn as you lead. Experience is the best leadership teacher you will have.

10.   Go home.

If you excel at work but fail to love and lead your family well, you put both in jeopardy. If you cannot manage your own house well, how can you lead others?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Caps for New Born Babies

There are thousands, if not millions, of 
new born babies as well as older children who need compassionate care in Jesus' name.

They are born into extreme poverty with parents who have little to give them, even to survive.

My wife, Margaret, works with several women in our church in preparing maternity packets (baby shirt, blanket, knitted cap/hat, etc.) to send to Christian Birthing Homes in the Philippines.

Margaret's goal is to knit one baby cap daily (she knits while we are driving, watching or listening to a sermon at night, and so forth).

Perhaps you and your church could do something similar as this small band of women, knitting and sewing to the glory of God! Why not?

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father, is to care for their distress. (James 1:27)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Wow, What a Smell!

After I spoke in a Filipino church in California, we all gathered for a big meal together. I noticed a very dirty homeless man eating alone so I joined him for a great time of discussion, but oh did he smell!

I learned that this homeless man came to church every week, and they took good care of him with food and compassion. I asked why he came to this particular church and he answered with a big smile, "They are so kind to me."

Even though he was suffering mentally, he was able to clearly explain the gospel which had been shared with him many times by Filipinos.

I asked about his work and he took me outside to his cart filled with recyclables, especially bottles of all sizes. He carefully explained what each was worth. He said he needed to earn at least $7 daily, but had recently felt that at his age of 50, he needed to take at least one day off per week for rest as the Bible taught. The first day he did this he found $20.

He also shared how the Lord had taken care of him in many ways, such as a place to shower and wash his clothes three times a week; a covered area to sleep in near a building’s fire escape; protection by night guards of the building’s parking lot; ice and water from Burger King in the summertime; and of course the love and concern of the Filipino church.

Suddenly it seemed as if his bad smell was replaced by the fragrance of Christ through the ministry of these dear believers to the homeless in Los Angeles. May God be praised!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Key Character Quality of All

What do you think is the most important character quality needed by all Christians in the home, church, community, ministry, or mission worldwide?

Margaret (my dear wife of 47 years) and I were discussing this on our regular fast walk, and both of us agreed the key quality needed is "humility".

Humility enables a leader (pastor, elder, mission/ministry director, Sunday school teacher, committee chairman, worship leader, etc.) to accept suggestions and even criticism without becoming defensive and offended. Because of a lack of humility, people get upset if there is any type of suggestion for improvement or even for a slight change. For example, board members will not bring up certain matters which need to be dealt with because of fear of offense or outburst of anger.

I have worked with Christian leaders, pastors and Christian workers worldwide, people you had to be extremely careful around all because of a lack of humility (I would hasten to say, however, that some of the most humble and godly people I have worked with and been around have been leaders).

What about you and me? Have we followed the command of Scripture regarding humility? "As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, HUMILITY, gentleness, patience...." (Colossians 3:2).

So, how are we dressed? Have we put on humility?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

8 Reasons Every Christian Should Sing Hymns


Not that long ago, 
hymn-singing was an inextricable part of corporate worship in essentially every Christian faith tradition. Fast forward a few decades to 2015, and vibrant hymn-singing is all but lost in most evangelical circles, and has a diminished presence in desperate mainline denominations. And make no mistake, our churches, people, and faith are all the poorer for it. There are many reasons to not neglect the long, ongoing tradition of hymnody in our churches. Here are just a few of them. Read more ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God’s Inerrant Word Or Scientific Theory? – D.M. Lloyd-Jones from Eric T. Young

If you are interested in my personal opinion, I shall put it like this: quite apart from my believing the Bible to be the inspired and authoritative word of God, on scientific grounds alone I have never been able to accept the theory of evolution. The difficulties I am left with, if I accept the theory of evolution, are altogether greater than the few residual difficulties I am left with when I accept the biblical record. But lest you may think that this is simply my own opinion, let me read you one or two statements from some authorities in these matters for you to see how I substantiate my statement. There was a biologist called Delage, who believed in evolution, and this is what he said: ‘One is or is not a conformist (that is to say, a believer in evolution) not so much from motives deduced from natural history as from motives based on personal philosophic opinion.’ Here is a man who believes in evolution and he says what really determines a man’s view is not so much his scientific knowledge as his scientific opinion. He goes on to say; ‘If one takes his stand upon the exclusive ground of fact, it must be acknowledged that the formation of one species from another species has not been demonstrated at all.’ And that was a man who believed in evolution and was a great biologist. Read more ...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Would You Believe What These Young People Sang!

Margaret, my wife of 47 years, and I recently spoke at a Christian youth fellowship. Would you believe they used a hymn book and they all sang the hymns! The youngest to the oldest in high school all sang loudly.

In comparison, when I spoke in the three services of a large church, I noticed the only ones singing were those on stage. We stood for 30 minutes while they performed as loud as they could to be heard over the drummer in his cage. The songs were oh, so loud and repetitive (over and over and over again) and certainly were not biblical or worshipful.

In our services, let's teach ALL our people to sing songs and hymns of worship that praise our glorious Savior! If only the praise and worship groups sing, then they are not leading the worship.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Rescue of Mahi (Little Tribal Lady in the Philippines)

Mahi was a young tribal mother in the Philippines who had just delivered her baby, but something had gone wrong. She was burning with fever. The tribal ladies had done everything they knew to do.

Mahi's husband was desperate for help. “What can we do?” he asked.

"She needs to go to the hospital in the city," one of the older ladies told him.

"Then let's go!" he almost shouted. They had to remind him it was 51 miles away. Because of the heavy rain, the roads now were thick, deep pools of mud. There was no way to get Mahi out by plane or by motor bike.

"We can pray," one lady said softly. Hope returned to Mahi's husband. He had forgotten that God was in their village now! Yes! They could pray!

Word spread throughout the village, "Pray for Mahi. She needs to get to the hospital!"

But by morning, Mahi was still far from the hospital and even closer to death's door.

Mahi’s husband heard voices outside the hut and went to the door. In the pouring rain, believing men from three different villages were gathering outside his hut.

"We'll help carry your wife," they volunteered. They held up a homemade stretcher.

The shocked husband was speechless. The weather would make the journey difficult. But this tribe also avoided rain and even bathing because they thought it was bad for their health.

Three teams of four men each would take turns carrying Mahi 27 miles over muddy, slippery, dangerous trails to a village with a vehicle.

Ten grueling hours later when they arrived at the intended village, there were no longer 12 men. There were many more!

Believing men in villages along the way had rushed to take over from the group of drenched, exhausted stretcher-bearers.

Mahi was put into a vehicle and rushed to the hospital nearly 25 miles away, and she survived.
But it's the unbelievers along the trail who were left shaking their heads. "What made all these men care so much -- and for a woman even?" they wondered.

Photo source: