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September 28, 2007

An Opportunity to Apply the Golden Rule

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12, NKJV.

On Thursday, I received an email from a good friend of mine Joe Quattro, who works at the First Assembly of God church in Brookefield, Connecticut. He forwarded to me the message below with hopes that anyone may be able to help this single mother, who lost her fiancée in a tragic car accident on Friday evening, September 21, 2007.

This is a legitimate request and situation having confirmed it myself. Please read the message below and if there is anything you would like to contribute, a mailing address is provided at the bottom. All items can be shipped to Peter Brady's home address, which is provided as well.

If you have any additional questions you can email me at ktmichaelson@yahoo.com

Please circulate this as much as possible. God bless you all.

On Friday evening, 9/21, my nephew was tragically killed in a car accident. He was only 21 years old. He leaves behind a fiancée, Shannon, and a 3 week old baby girl, Ariana. My nephew did not have life insurance and Shannon is faced with having to go back to work 3 weeks after having her baby. Needless to say, the whole family is distraught over how we can help Shannon and baby Ariana.


I thank you for your offer to open up the request for help for Shannon to your subscribers. We are hoping to be able to provide her with enough supplies to relieve some of the financial burden so that she can enjoy her maternity leave with her baby. I have witnessed first hand the miracles that the HDHM has performed (from helping bring food to the pantry, to raising money for single moms, to making Christmas for a family).

Your network is truly amazing and I thank everyone for any little bit that they can do to help our family. Paul was a wonderful man with a zest for life and a heart of gold. He was a hard worker and was so excited to be a new dad. I have attached a picture of Shannon, Paul and baby Ariana taken just three weeks ago. Below is a list of items they are in need of.

Thank you again for anything you can do.

Michele

  • Diapers - any brand, needs increasing sizes from size 1 and up (has enough newborn)
  • CVS gift cards - for prescriptions for the baby, as needed
  • Playtex drop in bottle liners
  • Wipes - any brand, non scented
  • Baby wash
  • Similac powdered formula
  • Gas cards - to help her get around to doctors appointments while she is on maternity leave
  • Stop & Shop gift cards - to purchase baby items
  • Babies R Us or Kohl's gift cards
  • Clothes - she received a lot of small clothes from her baby shower, could use size six months and up - spring clothes (should be on clearance now)

They are also doing a scholarship fund for Ariana. Any cash donations would also be appreciated.

--
Pete Brady Boss Man

Handy Dandy Handyman
26 Shamrock Drive
Brookfield, CT 06804
203-740-1243 (Phone)
203-740-2524 (Fax)
www.hdhm.org
"A Non-Profit Company working as a Ministry"
Fed ID 32-0092917

September 24, 2007

Who is at the center of your life?

Last year, the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl defeating the Chicago Bears 29-17 in front of millions of people, who watched the game and the presentation of the Vince Lombardi trophy to Coach Tony Dungy. They also heard him publicly declare his faith to a worldwide audience.

I am reminded from the Scriptures what Jesus said about such a public profession of faith in Him, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33, NKJV).

"Coach Dungy's life displays his steadfast belief in God and his submission to God's Word. His story is a guide for basic living and a confession of his belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

Excerpt from the book Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker.


Notice the Lombardi tropy is not at the center of this group circle of prayer. The trophy is not their idol, nor are they worshipping it or the game they play, but they are honoring God and giving thanks to him in everything they have done (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Whether it was intentional or not, this photo demonstrates the priority of Christ in Tony Dungy's life, as well as for those on the team who are Christians too. Jesus Christ is the center of Tony Dungy's life. Not football or the Vince Lombardi trophy, but Jesus Christ and Him alone.

None of us play a professional sport where our performance is on display in front of thousands of people each week, but our lives are on display before others and more importantly before God, where our lives are naked and open before Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).

Campus Crusade for Christ uses a Gospel tract titled The Four Spiritual Laws, which is where these two circles come from. These circles above are displayed and a person is asked, where is God in your life right now? Is He seated in His rightful place in your life or is He on the outside of your life and you sit on the throne?

Look back at the picture again of the team in prayer. Forget that Tony Dungy is the head coach of a professional football team. Look at him as a person and ask yourself, is Christ at the center of my life like his? Should it be? Should HE be?

I felt at one time there were things I had so desired to have in my life materially and even financially that I believed would bring more satisfaction and happiness to my life. But now my sentiments echo the apostle Paul, "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;" (Philippians 3:7-9).

Many people acknowledge that God is outside of their lives and realize that He should be in the center of it, as we humble ourselves to Him by submitting to His will and His Word.

So where is God in your own personal life? If He is on the outside and no change is ever made to repent of your sins while becoming born-again, then Heaven will not be the place for you. Every sinner who remains unforgiven, unrepentant will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).


References
Photo courtesy of my grandmother via an email. Thanks Grandma!

Retrieved on September 24, 2007 from http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/story?id=3366802 .

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

September 19, 2007

You can't make it on your own

When Jesus had counseled a wealthy young man, he asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17). Jesus said that he knew the commandments and what God expected from him and He answered him saying do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness (lie) and honor your father and mother (v 18).

Those were just five of the ten commandments. What about the other five? Was God his one and only God, or was it his wealth? "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:2-3).

Was he idolizing or worshipping his wealth or any of his material possessions more than God? You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything...you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I the Lord your God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5).

Had he used the Lord's name in vain? You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

Was his wealth so important to him that he neglected going to the synagogue (church) and worked instead, or he never went at all? Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).

Did he ever covet, long for something that belonged to someone else with envy? You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's (Exodus 20:17).

Was he obedient to these commandments as well?

When this wealthy young man said that he had been obedient to those commandments since his youth, Jesus then challenged him to see how obedient he was willing to be to truly learn what it took to inherit eternal life.

"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." (vvs 21-22, emphasis mine).

Jesus clearly illustrates to us that if other things are more important to us than God, then we do not deserve to go to Heaven. We must repent of our sins and become born again as He said (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:5, John 3:3-5).

The apostles preached this too, "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord," (Acts 3:19).

I recently received this cartoon illustration that depicts a few people taking up their cross to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24). The simplicity of the cartoon makes it obvious that a person needs Christ, to become born again, in order to inherit eternal life.












"I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6, NKJV
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved

September 16, 2007

Evangelism blooper

Yesterday, I was out doing some personal 1-on-1 witnessing handing out Billion Dollar Bill tracts. As one young woman was walking out of the nail salon I said to her, "I'd like you to have one of these after getting your nose and tails done." She looked at me weird and I knew something didn't sound right with what I said, so I tried again and said, "I'm sorry, I meant to say your nose and tails."

Still realizing that I had things mixed up, she was chuckling at my blunder and I finally said, your nails and toes and it still didn't sound right! She received the tract though with some humor.

Have a great week.

September 13, 2007

You never know when it could be your last breath

I just read this incredible story of a young man named Seth, who asked his pastor about the importance of personal evangelism, particularly to his friend Ben.

The blog account of this story is here, "
Heart for the Lost: You never know when it is someone's last moment" and the Salt Lake City news story, with a video interview of Seth can be found here.

Please read and watch this story.

Imagine if either Seth or Ben could have said to their friend who killed Ben, as Stephen said as he was being stoned to death, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." (Acts 7:60, NKJV).

"whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:14.

For more information about personal evangelism, click the banner below.

The Way of the Master


Have a blessed weekend.

September 8, 2007

Lower the Law

The Way of the Master ministry publishes a devotional message to encourage Christians, to evangelize those who are lost without Christ, on a daily basis. The comment below from Charles Spurgeon was posted on June 9, 2007.

Charles Spurgeon (the Prince of Preachers) said, "I do not believe that any man can preach the Gospel who does not preach the Law ... Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the Gospel of its ablest auxiliary [most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ ...They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place."

I agree with Charles Spurgeon where the Gospel will have no affect on an unrepentant sinner without clearly expressing the following:
  • Each person has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)
  • Anyone who strives to keep all of the Ten Commandments and fails in keeping one, is guilty of breaking all of them (James 2:10)
  • The Ten Commandments (the law) is good if it is used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8)
  • The law is our schoolmaster, or tutor, for bringing us to Christ that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24)

A sinner is helpless when it comes to not making the grade according to the Ten Commandments, but we are not left hopeless.

The Bible, particularly the Ten Commandments, is our tutor that assists in the declaration of God’s justice for sin.

The apostle Paul writes about his journey to Greece where he held nothing back from those who listened to him preach publicly that was helpful, going from house to house declaring, “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20-21).

The prophet Jeremiah tells us what the Lord has said when he asked Him why there would be misfortune among the land, "And the Lord said, "Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them." (Jeremiah 9:13-14). (Baal, a Phoenician deity).

Oh how people would realize what a good thing God has done to redeem us from our sin! Oh how they should realize what God has done to punish sin in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ and not allow us to suffer His wrath! "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4). Or can you say as the apostle Paul said to the Galatian church, "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." (Galatians 2:21).

A person is not justified by God because of their efforts to keep the Ten Commandments, no, a person is justified in God's sight by their faith in Jesus Chirst, because no person on earth can be justified by their effort to prove their obedience to the Ten Commandments apart from faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:16).

Any congregation should be deeply concerned when the whole counsel of God is not declared as it should be (Acts 20:26-27). I would fear the following being said by Christ himself to those who “thought they were saved,” saying, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ (Luke 13:26-27).

How sad it would be for a person who believes that just because they give thanks to God for food before meals, who teach even the slightest bit to others God’s ways when they knew only half of what they should truly know from His Word? How tragic that would be for the supposed saint who may be headed straight for hell instead of Heaven? And it would be an even greater tragedy for the minister who thought they were building God’s kingdom with saints when they were not born-again nor even converted to enter the Kingdom of God, just as Jesus said (John 3:3-5, Matthew 18:3).

A friend of mine from church commented about a letter to people pleasing pastors I had posted and shared with them (see below) saying, “I always wonder what happens when we soft peddle the Gospel to people. We give them some of the truth, but not all of it, some of His love, but little of His judgment. Instead of being born-again and experiencing transformation, they end up smug and self-satisfied, certain that they are saved, when in reality they are not.”

Ministers of the Gospel, evangelists, every born-again Christian should not be sowing to the flesh which only reaps corruption. Ministers, evangelists, every born-again Christian should to sow the Spirit of the Word of God into the lives of others that reaps everlasting life (Galatians 6:8).

In a commentary by Matthew Henry regarding Isaiah 30:8-18, he writes, “If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.”

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;” David writes in Psalm 19:7. The law of God, His Ten Commandments, is perfect to convert anyone from the way of darkness and sin into the light of life, but many are afraid to use what is perfectly established by God and instead create a way that is comfortable and more suited to a way that appears to be effective, but not biblical.



To all people-pleasing pastors, preachers, and gospel workers:

I have noticed that you speak of how many souls you have seen “come to the Lord.” The thought of it makes you feel accepted. May I ask a question? How many have you seen come to repentance? You may rejoice, but the angels in heaven only rejoice when sinners repent (Luke 15:10). Please allow me to remind you about the rich young ruler who ran and knelt before Jesus and walked away just as quick. You can find that in Mark 10. Sir/Madam, don’t you see this is what many are doing? They may have “come to Jesus” but when they come face to face with Him they “go away sorrowful” because they never knew Him.

I am a street preacher. I deal with many of whom you have helped “lead to Jesus” on the streets while they are in a drunken stupor. I persuade men and women to turn from sin and obey Jesus, yet they tell me they are saved. They have come to your revivals, suppers, and BBQs. They enjoyed the “fellowship” with all the talk of fishing, cars, and sports, almost as equally as their sin. I pour out tears of anguish praying they would repent and be converted, while you glory in “a job well done.” I put my reputation and life aside to persuade men and women to flee from the wrath that is to come, while you gain stature and reputation. You kiss babies and hug children, while I get spat upon and called names by your “converts.” If you only knew the pain and frustration you have caused Christ, you would tremble in shame.

I tremble and fear at what you have done. My heart explodes in pain at all the souls you have helped on to Hell. You vaccinate sinners to the Truth. After you have inoculated them with self-confidence, they now smile at where they are spending eternity. Oh, how little do they know when they get to eternity they will lift up their eyes in torments. I pleaded with them to repent, but you had told them they only needed to confess. Why do you do this? Do you hate Christ? Do you hate men and women like me? Do you glory in the pain and trouble you have caused us?

I weep when I think about you standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Sir/Madam, don’t you know that in Proverbs 17:15 it says, “He that justifieth the wicked” is an “abomination to the LORD?” Is that what you have done? You tell men and women that they are saved, while they wallow in wickedness. You say, “welcome to the family.” The Bible teaches that if you live in sin you are of the devil (1 John 3:8). Are you in their family?

Do you have no power in prayer? Do you just “believe in yourself?” Are you just a puppet on a string? When the people pull, do you just follow? Why, why do you do this? I beg and plead with you not to comfort people in their sin. They will perish if they do not turn from sin. Your “business” may flourish, but they will perish! Please, do not do this anymore. I ask you from the depths of my being; stop pleasing men more than God. Please just preach the Bible. Please just preach and let the Spirit confirm. Please, I plead with you, stop this insult to all righteousness. You may not listen to my words, but please at least listen to Christ weeping over your pathetic excuse of preaching.

Weeping and travailing,

A Street Preacher (copied from
http://gnnteam.blogspot.com/2007/09/powerful-message.html)

Finally, Tony Cappocia posted a critique about the Purpose Driven Church written by Michael J. Penfold (www.webtruth.org) who says, “When holy living, Spirit empowered preaching, loving unity and faithfulness to truth doesn’t seem to bring ‘results’, turning to the new methods advocated by Warren will only spell disaster. There will be results – but all of the wrong kind. A generation ago A.W. Tozer wisely said, “One of the most popular current errors, and the one out of which springs most of the noisy, blustering religious activity in evangelical circles, is the notion that as times change the church must change with them.” Since faithfulness to God’s word, as opposed to what evangelicalism calls success, will be the standard of reward at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor 2:4-5), obedience to the command to preach and teach, without trimming our sail to the wind of the world, is the most pressing need of the hour.”

Are you a good person?

References
Penfold, M.J. (n.d.). The purpose driven church (a critique). Retrieved September 8, 2007 from http://www.biblebb.com/files/pdc-critique.htm

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

http://wayofthemasterminute.com

http://www.biblebb.com

September 3, 2007

Be Entertained or Be Edified

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:8.

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them...providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church…the need is for Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men aflame.” - C.H. Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was known as the Prince of Preachers and his quote above is as relevant to today’s church, as it was to those of his time who may have believed that something, other than the divine preaching of the word of God would benefit an audience.

Should a church be so led with entertainment to attract people to its building, or should it be led by the Spirit of God where the name of Christ is exalted and proclaimed? Remember, Jesus said that if His Name was lifted up He would draw people to Himself (John 12:32).

The power of God’s Word can affect more of a change in a person’s life than any type of Broadway style theatrical performance that occurs in a church. The pastor’s role is not that the church should have the best show in town, but that through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, the congregation is edified in developing a deeper more meaningful understanding of the Scriptures. Scripture tells us that God’s word is alive and powerful too, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).

Looking up the definition of the word edify, it means to instruct or improve morally or spiritually. Are pastors doing that? Are they primarily interested in the spiritual improvement of the body of Christ or creating such an environment that is similar to a mall or a Broadway performance and using non-biblical language and positive sermons to attract people for attendance? Are they not driven with a deep burning passion to see people transformed by the renewing of their minds through the Word of God (Romans 12:2) and His Spirit that should live within them (1 Corinthians 3:16)? Or are they wanting to be a good teacher, life-coach who instructs people on “The Power of Visualization” where the sermon is more psychological or philosophical than it is biblical?

Scripture defines what God wants to see church leaders do. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Ephesians 4:11-13, emphasis mine).

Sadly though, pastors in many churches around the country feel there is a desperate need to be culturally relevant with today’s generation, by becoming like the world around them. Game systems such as the Wii, PS3's and Xbox360's are amenities now in some churches and these items capture the attention of kids. Most parents cannot afford such high-end entertainment items, but hey, the church in town has them so why not just take the kids there so they can play with it, right? Wrong!

iPods and text messaging are consuming the attention of today’s generation of children and the parents do little about it because they want to satisfy their cry to be just like their friends. Keeping up with the Jones’ and the Jones’ are headed to hell too because their lives are manipulated by everything else in life, which takes them away from God rather than passionately pursuing Him, loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27).

"When amusement is necessary to get people to listen to the gospel there will be failure. This is not the method of Christ. To form an organization and provide all kinds of entertainment for young people, in order that they may come to the Bible classes, is to be foredoomed to failure." -- G. Campbell Morgan

In Entertaining Ourselves in Church, Dave Brown writes, "Not so surprisingly this carries over into politics, where image over substance is so pervasive, but it has also profoundly penetrated religion. With more and more emphasis on emotional experience over the Bible and Biblical doctrines, we’re seeing churches mimicking the TV entertainment format. The new orthodoxy in many American churches seems to be everything must be turned into entertainment in order to get people to pay attention to us. Feeling good in church has become such an overriding concern in some places one wonders if they learn anything about God or even lose the presence of God in their worship."

In a 2002 Wichita Business Journal article, "Tod Ford, an architect at McCluggage, Van Sickle & Perry, says church sanctuaries are being planned as places for entertainment. He says a big reason for the gradual change is that churches now have to compete with other aspects of entertainment in order to reach young people. The thrust now is becoming the celebration of the assembly and not so much the written word," says Ford."

The church’s focus should be on equipping and sending the congregation out into the world to preach the Gospel as Jesus gave His followers the authority to do so. But it has been distracted in believing that it must “do church” differently because of the way society and culture dictates and manipulates our lives away from God.

Scripture defines and provides an example how a church grows and it is found in the New Testament book of Acts in the second chapter. It reads, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42, 46-47).

A mega church can look great on the outside because of its enormous size and inside attributes that make it similar to some commonly visited entertainment places in the local neighborhood. It can look like it is spiritually filling within its walls by the number of people going in and out, but it is truly empty because of the severe lack of true nourishment it needs to feed the congregation, the pure milk of the Word to grow from (1 Peter 2:2).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Brown, D. (n.d.). Entertaining ourselves in church. Retrieved September 3, 2007, from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/3505/entertaining.html

MacArthur, J. (n.d.). Seeker-friendly churches. Retrieved September 3, 2007, from http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=articles&aid=230863

Mazullo, L. (2002). Church entertainment becoming more than just an organ and choir. Witchita Business Journal. Retrieved September 3, 2007 from http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/stories/2002/01/21/focus2.html

Morgan, G.C. (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2007, from http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/lochurch/enterta.htm