HDR_BrokenFence-800x300It was a few months after surgery and the bills started arriving. Thirty thousand for this, forty for that. My medical bills were racking up. Thankfully, the co-op to which I belong (and my godly wife) had a handle on things and were coming through in the clutch. But there was one reimbursement that was absent, and it was a big one. A check from a co-op member in the sum of about $20,000 was supposed to come in to pay the hospital, but it was late. One month. Then two. I lost my cool on more than on occasion. “Where is that check?!” “Who is this person keeping us hanging like that?” “What is their problem? Don’t they know that we have six-figure bills here?”

Then my wife got the letter. Along with the check was an apology from the individual. “I am so sorry that this is late. I have cancer and am going through rounds of chemotherapy right now, and, because of that, have been experiencing memory loss.”

Bronson Caves in Griffith Park.

I wanted to crawl into a cave and never return. The Holy Spirit necessarily and lovingly crushed me with conviction. The judgmental spirit. The speed with which I assumed the worst. It was sinful. And it’s something I have struggled with far too often.

“Love…believes all things” (1 Cor. 13:4, 7). Love believes the best about one another.

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It was around 3:20 in the morning on a cold night in March of 1964, when Kitty Genovese returned from her regular shift at a bar in New York. She parked her car, and began her walk to her apartment complex like every weeknight for the past year.

This time though, Kitty noticed a man following her, so nervously, she headed up an adjacent street hoping to get away from the man. To no avail. The man grabbed her and stabbed her.

She screamed in pain, “He stabbed me! He stabbed me!” A man looking down from his apartment complex yelled “Let that girl alone” so the assailant, taking his time, walked away. But as soon as the lights went out in the apartments, he quickly returned and stabbed her again. This time more people seemed to notice as she cried, “I’m dying! I’m dying!” This time more lights went on as more people took notice, so the attacker drove away.

Finally the assailant returned and found her in anguish as she desperately tried to crawl up the stairs to her apartment and stabbed her for a third and final time. The police were finally called at 3:50 am. In less than 2 minutes they were on the scene. A man and an elderly lady came forward to speak with police and no one else.

The New York Times reported that there were almost 40 people who heard or saw the attack that night and did not call the police. “A simple phone call and she would still be alive,” sighed a detective.

As the story gained interest many of the neighbors were interviewed and asked why they didn’t call the police. All kinds of excuses were given. Some of the most memorable were:

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April 18, 2016

Holy Genes

by Clint Archer

Cheaper by the Dozen is the charming biographical story of the efficiency expert and father of twelve, Frank Gilbreth, who lived in the early 1900s. His contribution to modern life includes fungible scaffolding, the touch typing system, and improving efficiency in countless procedures such as extracting tonsils, laying bricks, and language learning.dna

But he’s most famous for his energetic brood of six boys and six girls, who from an early age were all tonsil-free prodigious polyglots, who could touch type, communicate in Morse code, and lay bricks with alacrity.

Many people wondered how he kept control of such a lively litter. The answer lay in the remarkable obedience of his children. The kids loved, trusted, and respected their parents, and never wanted to let them down. Being disobedient to their father was considered unthinkable. If you asked any of them why they were so efficient in their use of resources, so dedicated to self-improvement, and why they enjoyed being part of a large family, their answer would be simple: Because I’m my father’s child.

Efficiency was in their genes. They were born into a family culture in which waste was deplored, economy was prized, and synergy was expected. These were the mores embodied and modeled by Mr Gilbreth himself. The children imbibed their dad’s nature, his methods, and his values, much the way we do when we become children of God.

Christians long for holiness and strive for sanctification. And we do it because we are offspring of a holy Father. The longing for holiness is due to our new nature and our new Father.

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Empty Tomb 2Because it’s easy to limit our reflection and meditation on the resurrection of Christ only to Holy Week, we’ve been doing some post-Resurrection-Day reflection on the significance of the resurrection. Two weeks ago, we looked at some theological and practical implications of the resurrection as it relates to the person of Christ. Last week, we began considering the significance of the resurrection for believers. There we learned that the resurrection is the ground of our regeneration, the ground of deliverance from death’s fearful slavery, and the very foundation of the Gospel.

But that’s not all. There are more benefits the resurrection brings for the believer in Christ.

The Holy Spirit

Fourth, the resurrection guarantees the New Covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In his Pentecost sermon, Peter is explaining the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit that has manifested in the disciples speaking in languages they had never learned. And he says in Acts 2:32–33: “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore”— that is, on the basis of this raising up of Jesus—“having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

So Scripture links the coming of the New Covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit to the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

Jesus Himself teaches this in John 16. As He is with His disciples in the upper room on the eve of His betrayal, preparing them to live the Christian life without His physical presence, He says, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). The Spirit will come to permanently indwell the disciples because He is going to the Father. If Christ had simply died and remained in the grave, He would not have gone to the Father, and the Spirit would not have come.

And note how glorious Jesus views the privilege of the indwelling presence of the Spirit. He sees it as so valuable that He Himself says that it is to the disciples’ advantage that He—their Lord, their Master, their Savior, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, the one in whom all things hold together—go away from them! The permanent indwelling of the Spirit must be a phenomenal blessing! And it is ours as a direct result of the resurrection of Christ.

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Car-insurance-Savings_31345647

save.ca

Insurance companies amaze me sometimes. Something like one little speeding ticket or a minor fender-bender, and everything changes. Your monthly payment sky-rockets. They no longer trust you. Simply for doing the human thing of making a mistake, you henceforth are placed on insurance detention. They not only record the minor mishap, but your previously good relationship with them goes sour from merely one mistake. One little blunder results in a tarnished relationship.

Too often we can be the same way in our relationships with one another. Someone commits a few small sins against us and look out; like the graceless insurance company, the relationship gutters. We place them on our spiritual detention list for relational prosecution. We are no longer trusting, but suspecting. We are no longer caring, but gossiping. We are no longer inviting, but ignoring. We are no longer loving, but judging. And we are sinning.

“Love…does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Cor. 13:5).

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A little over a year ago Steven Furtick, a Pastor in North Carolina, preached a sermon called “It Works Both Ways.” Recently on his Facebook page he took a two minute clip from that sermon and posted it on his facebook page.

broken 10 commandmentsIn short he paints a picture of a parent who finds his child with a severe head injury after having fallen off of the monkey bars. The parent scoops the child up and heads for the car. As he begins driving, he doesn’t even notice the speed limits and even if he did he wouldn’t obey them, because of his love for his child. Similarly, Furtick says “God broke the law for love.” God after giving us the law, displayed his love by breaking it. In essence he loved us more than His own love.

There are many problems with this theologically and philosophically but it is not my purpose in this post to detail them. (If you’re interested in those Tim Challies wrote a very helpful post here)

The reason why the allegation that God broke the law particularly bothered me, and what I am hoping to demonstrate in this post, is that even a simple reading of a single chapter in the Gospel of Luke would show how meticulous Mary, Joseph and Jesus were in making sure Jesus kept the whole law precisely. As we have been teaching through Luke in our young adults group it is clear that in order for Jesus to be the mediator between God and man, He had to be the perfectly obedient God-Man. In fact, so great was the Trinity’s concern for keeping the law, that the One who was being sent to fulfill the law was placed in a family that would be meticulous in their obedience to all the law’s demands in bearing and raising Jesus.

Here are four brief examples from just one chapter of Luke’s Gospel which demonstrate Jesus and His family’s obedience to the law.

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24-7One effective incentive to keep prisoners compliant is the rewarding of good behavior with extended visiting hours for family. One correctional facility in Spain, the Aranjuez Prison, boasts some of the most docile and well behaved prisoners in the world. As long as inmates remain submissive and appear punctually for roll call, they are permitted to have their entire family stay with them in prison indefinitely.

Of course, the spouse and children are permitted to come and go as they please, as long as they don’t smuggle contraband items to the jailbirds. This is a perk that could very easily be abused, and yet it is exceptionally rare that anyone violates the rules, for fear of losing the great privilege of unlimited access to loved ones.

I wonder how seriously you would take your sanctification and your own holiness if you knew you could lose your uninhibited access to visit with God?

Moses was one who truly grasped what a goldmine it was to meet with God. He never got bored, in fact he got greedy for more of God’s glory. Consider what led to this jaw-dropping honor…

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Empty Tomb 1Last week, we looked at the significance the resurrection has as it relates to Jesus’ Himself. The resurrection identifies Jesus as the Second Adam, the seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, and the Son of David. It also vindicates the testimony He had given about Himself.

This week and next, I want to consider the significance of the resurrection for believers. What implications does the resurrection have for the people of God? In fact, every aspect of our salvation—our regeneration, our justification, our sanctification, and our glorification—is tied in some way to Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

The Ground of Regeneration

1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Peter says our new birth comes through the resurrection of Christ. Our new spiritual life that is born in our regeneration has its source in Christ’s resurrection life.

And we are made to share in that resurrection life through union with Him. Ephesians 2:5–6 says that while we were dead in our transgressions, God “made us alive together with Christ . . . and raised us up with Him.” Because of the union that believers have with Christ, Scripture says that our spiritual resurrection in our being born again has its source in Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

And so the resurrection is the ground of our regeneration.

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workingsheepdog.co.uk

Amusing sheep stories abound. Some of my moments of more rigorous chortling have been in response to real-life sheep tragi-comedies. One of the more recent involves what is called the “Draad Kruiper,” which I heard from my good friend, Pastor Anton Van Straaten. “Draad Kruiper” is Afrikaans for, “fence crawler.” The story goes like this: Continue Reading…

The Foundry Bible Immersion is a ten-week discipleship program for college-aged students (ages 18-25). Located at Immanuel Bible Church in the Washington D.C. area, this program is focused on preparing young people to become bold evangelists, give them deep biblical and theological knowledge, and to expose them to all the ways that they can serve in the local church.

A little over a year ago we sent out a call: was there anyone who was crazy enough to move to Washington D.C. for ten weeks to read the entire Bible, do evangelism, learn theology, missions, and more in the classroom? Well six students decided to take us up on it. Here is the impact God had in their lives through the program, in their own words:

Abby Breyer – Arizona

imageI have two words for the 10 weeks I spent at The Foundry Bible Immersion: LIFE CHANGING!! People ask me what the biggest take away is, honestly, ALL of it was so impactful. It is very difficult to say something short about this program because God did many incredible things.  God showed me His sovereignty on a whole new level, He showed me this through reading the Bible at the pace we did, through the teachings, through evangelism, through the daily routine I had with the other students, He continually showed me that He is in control always, that what man means for evil God uses it for good. I got to see how great our awesome God is in the smallest of things and in the biggest of thing on this trip. A verse that is applicable for what I experienced and need to continue applying everyday is “He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30. That is something I learned continually, I must be humble at the feet of Jesus so God will increase and get the glory, so I may see His sovereignty over everything! Through the 10 weeks I was super encouraged and spurred on to do missions even more than ever before, I have a stronger passion and love to serve Jesus and I love Him and understand God’s Word more because of this trip. Unforgettable and forever changed because of this program. Thanks and praise be to God for His faithfulness.

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