Monday, January 20, 2014

A Vision of God

Do you have a vision for God in 2014?

Before any work for God there always comes the vision of God. To behold Him, to be lifted up above our troubled hearts, above our worries and conflicts, and to be absolutely sure that we have spoken with God, and He has spoken with us—this is the indispensable preliminary of doing anything in God's service. If a servant of the Lord is uncertain of his Master, he or she will be uncertain of everything that follows in his service. If you and I have no doubt about having seen God, then our divine service will grow sweeter and clearer and easier every year we live. I have heard people say, "Didn't Paul's Christian life begin with the question, 'What will you have me to do?' But actually it did not; no life begins with that question. It began with the question, "Who art thou, Lord?" Acts 9:5ff. When Paul had settled that it was the risen Christ who appeared to him, then came the much easier question, "What will you have me to do?" We cannot feed the multitude out of an empty basket; we cannot present the Lord until we have seen the Lord.

As we move into 2014 make it your desire to get to know God.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

The Bible consists of sixty-six books which are divided into one thousand, one hundred, eighty-nine chapters. These chapters are further broken down into thirty-one thousand, one hundred seventy-three verses.

And out of these thirty-one thousand, one hundred seventy-three verses exactly one hundred are devoted to telling the story of Jesus’ birth. In fact, all of the details of the first Christmas, the stable, the manger, the star, the shepherds and wise men, all of it can be found in two chapters, one in the book of Matthew and one in the book of Luke. Two of the four gospels completely ignore the events surrounding His birth. The simplicity of the Christmas story stands in sharp contrast to extravagant Christmas celebrated by many Christians.

Christmas was costly as well. It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the little Babe.  It cost mothers in and around Bethlehem the massacre of their babies by the cruel order of Herod.  It cost the shepherds the complacency of their shepherds' life, with the call to the manger & to tell the good news.  It cost the wise men a long journey and expensive gifts & changed lives.  It cost the early apostles & the early church persecution and sometimes death.  It cost missionaries of Christ untold suffering & privation to spread the good news. It cost Christian martyrs in all ages their lives for Christ's sake.  More than all this, it cost God the Father His own Son—He sent Him to the earth to save us.

May we as believers rise in celebration of the Newborn King and His incredible sacrifice for us!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Shroud of Turin

The "Shroud of Turin" has figured in the news of late. The Shroud of Turin of course is a piece of linen cloth approximately 14 feet long by 4 feet wide. Historically, it first appears about the year 1360 A.D.  Some Roman Catholic authorities contend that it is the burial cloth of Christ; they claim that it contains His very image and thus is proof of the Lord's death and resurrection.  Pope Paul VI declared the shroud to be "the most important relic in the history of Christianity." Pope Sixtus VI declared that in the shroud "men may look upon the true blood and the portrait of Jesus Christ Himself."

Now, after decades of speculation, new research suggests that the Shroud of Turin, one of the Catholic Church's holiest relics, may very well be much earlier that the 14th century.  The latest battery of experiments has led experts to conclude the cloth may have come from the first century A.D., making it old enough to have been used to bury Jesus Christ.

Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua, announced the findings in a book that hit shelves Wednesday in Italy, reports Vatican Insider. Fanti has written several papers about the shroud, including one in 2011 that hypothesized how radiation could have caused the image of a man's bloody face and body to appear on the cloth.
In his most recent effort, Fanti and a research team from the University of Padua conducted three tests on tiny fibers extracted from the shroud during earlier carbon-14 dating tests conducted in 1988, according to Vatican Insider. The first two tests used infrared light and Raman spectroscopy, respectively, while the third employed a test analyzing different mechanical parameters relating to voltage.  The results date the cloth to between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D., per The Telegraph.

I invite you to listen to a recent radio presentation with Gary Habermas, New Testament Scholar from Liberty University, about the evidence for the Shroud.  He is the leading scholar on the Resurrection of Jesus today:

Monday, March 18, 2013

How Rich are You...

How rich are you?  Perhaps that is a question that we all should ponder.  Jesus taught about money more than just about anything.  Billy Graham once wrote this, “The key of the selfish, unregenerate person is get. The key word of the dedicated Christian should be give. The Prodigal Son set off a series of negative events destined for failure when he said to his father, ‘Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me’ (Luke 15:12).” “Our Lord’s command was, ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…’ (Luke 6:38). Yet it was more than a command. It was an invitation to glorious and abundant living. If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area of his life.”  Check this website out.  See how rich you are.  

$8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.

$30 could buy you an ER DVD Boxset OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.

$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

6 Styles of Evangelism…

We are called to be ambassadors for Christ according to Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 5:20  "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."  But, how will you go about it.  Below are 6 separate styles identified in the New Testament.  Which one do you think best fits you! For more info check out Becoming a Contagious Christian by Mitelberg, Strobel, and Hybels.

Acts 2:38-–41 is an example of this style. Peter tells people to repent and be baptized. He is in their face with the gospel. Billy Graham is an example of this style. He paints a clear picture of God’s plan for life in Christ and leaves a person with a decision to make.

Acts 17:16-–34 is an example of this style. Paul is in the Areopagus, a place of debate and conversation, and he tells the people about God. He uses their desire for truth to introduce the nature of God revealed in Jesus. He uses a statue to an unknown God to tell them about the one true God. Lee Strobel is a modern example of this style. Lee was an atheist, and came to Christ through his wife’s change of life transformation through the Christian faith. He had many doubts about the faith, but once he claimed a relationship with God through faith in Christ, he started to see how the Christian worldview made sense. He now writes and speaks about how a relationship with Jesus has changed his life and is changing the course of creation.

John 9:1–34 is a biblical example of this style. The blind man is healed by Jesus, and his testimony is about how Jesus has changed his life. What he knows about Jesus is that before he met Jesus he could see! In an encounter with Jesus, his sight is restored. 

Luke 5:27–31 is an example of the interpersonal style. This style is conversational. Matthew, the tax collector, finds new life in following Jesus and invites his friends to a party where they can hang out with Jesus. 

John 4:1–32 is an example of an invitational style. The woman encounters Jesus. She is a person who goes to the well in the heat of the day so that no one is around. She is the topic of conversation around the well because of her lifestyle. However, in Jesus she experiences the love of God. She experiences being loved as she is, but being loved way too much to be left as she is. Out of the change in her life, she bears witness to people in her village, both those who supported her and those who were against her. 

Acts 9:36–43 is an example of the serving style of evangelism. People come to know the love of God because Dorcas cared about their human condition.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Song of the Week...

Enjoyed this video clip that someone recently sent my way.  Make sure to turn your speakers up and enjoy.. 

The LORD is my strength and song......Ex.15:2 

Since most conservative Mennonite and Amish churches sing only A Cappella hymns in their churches, it is not surprising to find that there are numerous Mennonite and Amish A Cappella choirs, quartets, and family singing groups. Most of these groups sing in simple four-part harmony. 

Altar of Praise Chorale is a mixed  A Cappella group, comprised of some of the best male and female singers in the conservative Anabaptist world. Members of the group come from various Anabaptist backgrounds: Beachy Amish, Mennonite, and Charity Christian Fellowship. 

This is the  A Cappella   Hymn  "WHO AM I?" 

Check it out:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls…

Is the name given to a collection of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts found in a number of caves in the barren foothills of the Judean wilderness, just west of the Dead Sea. These documents represent one of the most extraordinary archaeological discoveries of our era.  It is a wonderful opportunity for us in the Cincy area to take advantage of seeing part of this collection first hand. .  Many folks have stood for hours just to get a glimpse.  I urge to go before April 14, 2013.

As a reminder about the scrolls themselves…more than one-third of these documents are books of the Old Testament, which are older by at least one thousand years than the hitherto earliest known Old Testament manuscripts.
The discovery of the scrolls carries an interesting story.  It is generally traced to 1947 when an Arab shepherd boy missed one of his goats. While searching for it in one of the steep valleys, he threw a stone into a hillside cave and heard what sounded to him like the breaking of pottery. He summoned his assistant and the two entered the cave and found some pottery jars 25 to 29 inches high and about 10 inches wide. In these they found objects that looked much like miniature mummies but were actually leather scrolls wrapped in squares of linen cloth. They were covered with a pitch-like substance, possibly derived from the Dead Sea. With a only a vague idea that they had discovered something significant of antiquity, especially that might bring them money, the shepherds divided the scrolls and set off for Bethlehem, where they located an antiquities dealer and offered him the scrolls for twenty pounds.  The dealer if you can believe it reportedly refused to buy them.

Afterward they were directed to Jerusalem where, after bargaining for weeks, they sold four of the scrolls to Archbishop Athanasius Samuel of St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Monastery and three to E.L. Sukenik, professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. After Archbishop Samuel presented his scrolls to several authorities who were uncertain about their content and value they were taken to John C. Trever, acting director of the American Schools of Oriental Research (Jerusalem), who photographed and studied some of them, then sent copies to W.F. Albright. This well-known authority tentatively dated them "about 100 b.c.," and declared them "an amazing discovery.