The Days of Noah

Recent events in our country have stirred the church into an uproar. People I come into contact with are asking, “What does this mean for the church?”, “How should we respond?”, “Will we see persecution for speaking the truth, will be prosecuted for hate speech for preaching the Bible?”

While I do not pretend to know all the ramifications of the recent Supreme Court decision, I do know this: light shines brighter the darker it is outside. In our work around the globe, I have seen Christians and the Church do far more with less, in much more hostile conditions than the American church even contemplates doing. If we had been busy preaching the gospel without compromise, sharing our lives and beliefs with others, living righteously and not winking and dismissing sin in the Body, we would never have come to this point. Confession of sin and repentance is a foreign language in most churches. Cultural Christianity has been laid bare and found wanting, and all the hand-wringing in the world isn’t going to change things.

Now, more than ever, the Church is to continue her mission — rescuing people from the kingdom of darkness by proclaiming Jesus as the only hope for mankind. We are to be salt and light, exposing evil and flavoring the world with good deeds so that even are enemies are forced to acknowledge that we are beneficial and give glory to our God.

American Christianity has lived in a cocoon for so long, we believed we were never going to face persecution. We believed we were the apple of God’s eye, and He would never let us go through hard times. After all, we are the ones saving the world through our mission efforts. Our mistake was that of Israel. They also believed this and could not fathom God sending them into captivity. They winked at sin and corruption in their midst and believed that they were morally superior to other nations. It took centuries to knock that out of their heads. Seventy years in exile, decades under occupation, finally expulsion from their homeland that God had given to them. What makes us think God will deal with us any differently?

Now is the time for the Church to humbly acknowledge its failings, repent of making itself an idol and go back to our first love, Jesus. We need to do the things we did at the first — mortifying sin in our bodies, following Jesus without regard to cost and rejoicing when we are found worthy to suffer for His name. Our example should be the 3 Hebrews in the Book of Daniel. They did not bow to political correctness, they boldly told the truth, they lived uncompromising lives and when faced with punishment they did not whine or cry but stood fast, willing to endure whatever the penalty was, even if it cost them their life. When we act like they did, the church will once again become a force that will change society.

This, I believe, can be our finest hour. We have a great opportunity to declare our beliefs and to live them out while the world is watching. Let those who come behind us, find us faithful.

I am also reloading a podcast called “The Days of Noah” that I preached some time ago. I find it appropriate at this time.

Lessons In Hospitality Humilty: Hosting Without A Couch, Chairs, or Table

taethne:

A fantastic article. A hard lesson that I am still learning, but thank God I have gotten much better at!

Originally posted on Do the Word:

2015-04-08 UU visitation-01We just spent the last month of our lives being hosted in a home with little to no furniture.  There were no couches to sit on and at times there was barely enough seats around the kitchen table–er, I mean folding table at which we ate dinner.  But it was one of the best experiences that we’ve had being hosted.

I would have been surprised, but I’ve experienced this before.  Every week we visit the homes of North Korean defectors in South Korea.  They will often cook for us and gladly share their lives with us.  At times, they will even host us overnight.  But it’s often very strange for American visitors (me included) because they have no beds, no kitchen table, no couches . . . and might I add, very small apartments! I often think that if a North Korean knew how strange it was for Americans they might…

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God’s Response to Christian Genocide? He Sends a Bible Book

taethne:

Awesome article

Originally posted on Do the Word:

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“…barbaric atrocities committed against Christian minorities”…”blood…splashed everywhere“…”Christian communities being brutalized and extinguished“…”Is there not a stage when violent reciprocation becomes the only effective alternative?”

These are the recent news reports and opinions about what is more and more frequently being called “the year of the Christian genocide.” One commentator writes that the situation “can only be compared to the first centuries when Christians were hunted down as criminals in the Roman Empire.”

Amidst warnings that the situation will worsen “unless world leaders take more concrete actions to safeguard the religious and human rights of people,” and amidst claims that Jesus’ teachings don’t mean what they sound like they mean or  don’t apply in this case of large-scale barbarity, it’s worth asking:

How did God respond in that comparable situation of Christian genocide in the first centuries of the church’s existence?

He sent a…

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On Leaving A Legacy

Recently I got to witness something remarkable – a true legacy. In my duties as a hospice chaplain, I get to meet many families. Few have made such an impact on their community more than Mr. Joe. It wasn’t that Mr. Joe was blind. Many people are. It wasn’t just that he worked decades at a slaughterhouse while blind, remarkable as that was (truly blind, not just legally blind.) It wasn’t that he still worked his farm everyday while blind nor taught dozens of teens how to drive while blind (as scary as that sounds, it also explains a lot…) What impressed those of us who tended to him during his last few weeks on earth was the legacy he left behind in his family.

His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were there. Not just physically, they were present with him. Not on phones or tablets or gaming systems – they were present to attend to the needs of him and his wife. The vast majority of them are all active in church. They treated those of us coming into the home to help care for him as family, not just hired help. As chaplain I get to stay with the family following death and the same treatment continues. The family is genuine and their faith is evident. This is the impressive legacy.

Stories of Mr. Joe are many and legendary in his community. More important than the stories, as compelling and entertaining as they are, is the legacy of a godly, caring family that he has left behind. They will, God willing, continue to impact the community for the kingdom of heaven. I can only pray that when my time comes, my family will show such a legacy. What about yours?

The Return of True Christianity

One of the better articles from the past year or so regarding Christianity and the culture of American society was by Matt Lewis ( http://theweek.com/articles/448500/christians-silver-lining-losing-culture-war.) With the redefining of traditional marriage to equality based on preferences instead of biology, values held by Christians over the past 2,000 years are being systematically ignored and punished. As Mr. Lewis suggests in his article, this is not all bad news. It might be that the nominal, cultural Christianity that only pays lip service to the commands of our Lord will be stamped out. As falsely professing Christians and denominations pander to the culture, true Christianity will be revealed and empowered even as it is persecuted. I remember as a kid a missionary on furlough saying that their was nothing wrong with the American church that a good persecution wouldn’t cure.

Now, I believe that Christians, as Paul writes in Romans, are to live as peaceably with all men as is possible. I also know that it is not always possible. I know that our Lord said we would suffer if we followed Him. Peter writes that we should not be surprised when fiery trials come upon us. I do not wish to live in a time when Christians are ridiculed, fined and imprisoned for holding to Scripture. I do not wish for my children to live in such a time. I hope and pray, though, that now that such a time is coming upon us that we stand firm, holding onto our Lord without apology or shrinking back. I pray we engage those around us boldly, in love, seeking to penetrate the hardness of their hearts with kindness, compassion and the truth of God’s Word.

Now is the time for followers of Christ to examine themselves and see if they are really His or not. John tells us that we will know who was a real believer or not by seeing if they stay or leave. Do we love Christ or American Christianity? Do we follow Jesus when it is easy or because He alone has the words of life? Do we follow the changing laws of men or the unchanging Law of God? Do we cave in to keep jobs, homes, and retirement funds or do we stand firm and trust in the Lord to preserve us and provide for our needs?

Erick Erickson over at the website RedState.com coined the phrase, “You will be made to care.” No longer can the church sit on the sidelines, wringing hands and moaning the sad state of the Union while failing to engage it. Now we need to be salt and light, shining God’s truth and exposing deeds of evil. We need to be preserving what is good and pure and enhancing the communities where we live. We need to be busy practicing good works so that unbelievers see us and give glory to God for us being His representatives and presenting His presence to them. More than ever we need to stand up and choose this day whom we will serve – God or current society. You cannot serve two masters. We need to be in serious prayer for the courage and strength to stand in the face of opposition as well as for perseverance to endure hardship without shrinking.

We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

CHORUS:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Artist — Steve Green

 

Easter Giveaway — Audio Book

For a limited time, Ta Ethne is giving away a free audio copy of The 180 Project: The Power of Biblical Repentance.  Fill out the contact form (substituting your information, of course) and request a free audio book, then find and follow us on twitter. There are only 25 copies available during this free promotion so get yours now. Once they are gone, they are gone.

Free Resources This Weekend

Our Kindle edition books will be free to download from Amazon this weekend. From Good Friday through Easter, you can get Is Jesus Enough?, The 180 Project, A Heart Hungry to Worship, The Quest and Dominos from the Kindle store. Enjoy and pass the word along.