Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I see dead people.

David Sitton* makes a distinction between "unevangelized" and "unreached" (emphasis mine throughout the quotation below).
There’s an important difference between unevangelized and unreached peoples.

Unevangelized people are unconverted individuals in places where there are established churches. Unreached peoples are those that live in regions where there are no churches and no access to the evangelical gospel in their culture.

And to answer your question about the present trend; 96% of the missionary work force is still laboring in unevangelized, but not truly unreached regions. Here it is again – 9 out of 10 Christian missionaries that go cross-cultural are still going to reached places!

Here’s still another way to say it – Something like 90% of all “ministers” worldwide are concentrating on only 2% of the world’s population! We are massively overly evangelizing places where the gospel is already well planted! I believe that we need a substantial strategic redeployment of the missionary workforce to the areas where there is still no access to the evangelical gospel.

I've long been averse to the "everyone's a missionary" verbiage, even though everyone should be doing his/her evangelistic part to get THE mission accomplished. Like John Piper, I reserve that term for those who leave their homeland & family to cross a culture and relocate to an area needing the Gospel.

I'm not necessarily saying only those going to unreached peoples should be considered or labeled "missionaries," but I wonder if Paul would:
"I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation" (Romans 15:20, ESV)
Either way, we could sure use some more who are willing to see (spiritually) dead people and set out to reach the unreached, which is much more difficult by far.
*President of To Every Tribe Ministries, while being interviewed by Alex Chediak. (HT Justin Taylor)


Friday, September 25, 2009

I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.

I got the idea from Steve Camp, but here are my 10 favorite living Bible preachers/teachers.
  1. R.C. Sproul, Sr.
  2. John D. Hannah (DTS)
  3. John Piper
  4. Tom Ascol (Founders Ministries)
  5. Tommy Nelson (Denton Bible)
  6. Al Mohler (Southern Seminary)
  7. John F. MacArthur, Jr. (affectionately known as Johnny Mac)
  8. Alistair Begg
  9. Mark Dever
  10. Voddie Baucham
Do YOU have any favorite living Bible teachers/preachers? Are you able to listen to them on the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven?

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventure ... Excitement ... A jedi craves not these things.

The following are 10 distinctives of "Great Commission* Keepers" over the past 200 years, according to Luis Palau. They were given at a leadership conference in Washington, DC in 1988.

If you're interested in missions or church leadership, see how you measure up.
  1. Passion for those apart from Christ
  2. Christ-centered message (not diluted with social issues, or hung up on political agendas or political correctness)
  3. Holiness in every area of life ~ Don't play games with God. Admit, confess, and repent of sin, striving not to do it anymore.
  4. Boldness to try new methods ~ So what if we fail every so often? The important thing is that we are making an attempt.
  5. Willingness to endure criticism
  6. Commitment to a local church ~ This is the group that knows you, loves you, and seeks to help you.
  7. Love for the whole Body of Christ ~ Seek the unity that is found through Jesus Christ and don't care who gets the credit.
  8. Sacrificial financial giving ~ This is a basic realization that life does not consist of accumulating more toys and things. It is a realization that everything we have belongs to God.
  9. Serious about private prayer ~ Personal devotions are not just reading the Bible, but they are talking and listening to the still small voice of God.
  10. Faithfulness to the end

*The Great Commission ~ Matthew 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Forget about sports as a profession. Sports make ya grunt and smell.

While the Cowboys are still undefeated and in 1st place in the NFC East, I thought I'd share this.

Last fall, one of the local channels featured their 10 Greatest Cowboys:
10 Don Meredith
9 Mel Renfro
8 Rayfield Wright
7 Randy White
6 Michael Irvin
5 Tony Dorsett
4 Bob Lilly
3 Emmitt Smith
2 Troy Aikman
1 Roger Staubach

They also shared the fans' top 10 (in alphabetical order).
  • Troy Aikman
  • Cliff Harris
  • Harvey Martin
  • Don Meredith
  • Drew Pearson
  • Mel Renfro
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Roger Staubach
  • Everson Walls
  • Randy White

To that I would like to share my FAVORITE Cowboys:
  1. Tom Landry*
  2. Randy White
  3. Troy Aikman
  4. Bill Bates
  5. Roger Staubach
  6. Tony Dorsett
  7. Michael Irvin
  8. Chad Hennings
  9. Darren Woodson
  10. Drew Pearson
Forget whatever else you hear. My list is the right one.

* I know the great Tom Landry wasn't actually a Cowboys player, but he was the face of the franchise for decades and my favorite Cowboy.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I don't scratch my head unless it itches and I don't dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated. That's just the way it is.

It's always bothered me that African-Americans who choose to be Republicans are often regarded as "sell outs" or "Uncle Toms." I remember vividly a conversation where I had expressed admiration of J.C. Watts, but was told he wasn't "really black," because he was Republican.

In addition to such criticism being patently unfair, I think it overlooks a key historical fact, namely that the Democratic party has historically been the anti-black people party, and some would argue, still is. That is, of course, why the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African-Americans were Republican.

I've wanted to write on this topic for a while, but came across an article that puts together the facts in a way on which I need not try to improve.

For your reading pleasure, Why Martin Luther King was Republican, by Frances Rice.

P.S. I'm not so much criticizing African-Americans who choose to be Democrats, unless they do so blindly, but I am trying to defend the Republican party as a legitimate option (cf. Hip Hop Republicans), which in no way amounts to ethnic treason.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Sarcasm is anger's ugly cousin.

A prayer of Peter Marshall, which needs no commentary or introduction, only emulation:
I need Thee, O Lord, for a curb on my tongue; when I am tempted to making carping criticisms and cruel judgements, keep me from speaking barbed words that hurt, and in which I find perverted satisfaction. Keep me from unkind words and from unkind silences. Restrain my judgements. Make my criticisms kind, generous, and constructive. Make me sweet inside, that I may be gentle with other people, gentle in the things I say, kind in what I do. Create in me that warmth of mercy that shall enable others to find Thy strength for their weakness, Thy peace for their strife, Thy joy for their sorrow, Thy love for their hatred, Thy compassion for their weakness. In thine own strong name, I pray. Amen.

(cf. The Fruit of the Spirit (i.e., the Marks of a Christian) in Galatians 5:22-23)


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.

We finish our series based on The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do, by Mark Atteberry. The following are some notes from the Sunday school lesson at Providence Church.

DUMB MOVE #10: Accepting the Unacceptable

“Tolerance is the virtue of those who believe in nothing.”
– Ryan Dobson

Atteberry notes 2 things about the enemy described in Matthew 13:24-25.
• The enemy is calculating. [waits until everyone’s asleep before acting]
• The enemy is conniving. [sneaky, doesn’t set field on fire, but plants bad seed]

1. We need to wake up. We need to become more aware of what’s going on in our world and in the lives of our friends and family.

2. We need to speak up. Just as we warn people about physical dangers, so we need to warn them about spiritual dangers.

Atteberry suggests 2 reasons the secular media is quiet concerning “dangers that threaten our souls.”
• Their secular worldview doesn’t allow them to see through the eyes of faith.
• They figure it’s not their job; it’s the church’s.

As we sound the alarm, “we must never forget to reflect the heart and character of Christ.” [cf. Eph 4:15]

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“One thing that will help you in this regard is to remember that while watchdogging is critically important, especially in an age when Satan has so many subtle techniques at his disposal, it’s not our primary mission. Our primary mission as servants of Christ is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). So anytime you find yourself in a situation where you feel you need to speak up, ask yourself how you can do it in the least offensive way possible.”

3. We need to shape up.
  • “If we’re going to impact our communities and our culture in a positive way, we simply must put some walk behind our talk.”
  • “When we act outraged at the world’s values and then are caught living on the same level, we come off looking like fools.”
  • “We need to save our complaining about the world until after we have cleaned up our own house.”

Discussion Questions:
  1. Reflect on American culture over the last 50-60 years. In what ways have values changed? How has society become desensitized to things? Give examples.
  2. Regarding “speaking up,” which of the following would you do (or have you done) & which would you not do? Why or why not? Which issues would get your participation level up? (a) Write elected officials, (b) Call in to radio programs, (c) Participate in a boycott, (d) Participate in a demonstration/rally/march, (e) Vote (locally, state, national), (f) distribute literature, (g) other.
  3. With regard to “waking up,” how can we become more informed?
  4. How do you wake up, speak up, and shape up without subjugating our “primary mission” (i.e., without apathy or obsession)?

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Meditate on this, I will.

Lionel Woods sparked a conversation about the atonement and the potential for Christ's death to be fruitless, if nobody choose Him.

In other words, what if Jesus died on the cross and nobody believed? Could that have happened? To take it further, did Christ's death on the cross accomplish something, or did it create the potential for something and, subsequently, the potential for nothing?

For what it's worth, I shared the following. Label it what you will, but I think it's what the Scriptures teach.
I think the Father chooses a people as a gift to the Son (John 6:37, 39), the Son dies for that people (John 10:15), and the Spirit brings those people individually to from spiritual death to spiritual life (Eph 2:1-3) so that they freely choose the Light of the world, else they never could (John 3:3; 6:44), because they would never want to (John 3:19-20).

This has to do with the limitation of the atonement, for some limit its scope (the who) while others limit its effect (the what), but everyone (except the universalists) limit the atonement in some way. I prefer to think of it as the intent of the atonement, for whom did Christ intend to die?

From John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, I leave you with the following:
The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:
  1. All the sins of all men.
  2. All the sins of some men, or
  3. Some of the sins of all men.
In which case it may be said:
  • That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
  • That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
  • But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?
You answer, Because of unbelief. I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"

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