Do you struggle with lack of assurance of salvation?

child faithPerhaps you’ve wrestled with this issue for some time, and have never come to a place where you were satisfied. So many times we complicate the matter and forget that Jesus said, Matthew 18:3 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Of course let me say at the outset that I deny the idea that you can simply say a prayer and be saved. Lordship salvation is the only type of salvation and there are no other kinds. If we say that we are Christians but have no love for Him, no love for His people, and no love for his Word, the Bible would call us liars and say that the truth is not in us. In this case, lack of assurance would be warranted. Repentance is a necessary component of the Gospel, because when we truly believe we will repent. But there is a sense in which we overcomplicate the Gospel pretty regularly. And those who are saved are the ones who constantly doubt, and those who should be worried, sleep like babies at night. Continue Reading…

When I was a really little kid a cheesy 80s horror movie hit the big screen. It was called Gremlins. The story is about a boy who finds a small, fury, odd-looking creature called a mogwai that seems as harmless as a hamster. But you discover that if this unassuming little pet stays up past midnight, and has a snack, it morphs into a grotesque, evil, brutally violent monster called a Gremlin! Like I said, it was the 80s.Mogwai

I begged my parents to let me watch it, all the kids at school were talking about it. They wisely refused. The movie was a box office hit and soon spawned merchandise like the fluffy toy version of the mogwai. As compensation for not allowing me to see the movie, they bought me this fluffy toy mogwai to add to the posse of teddy bears on my bed.

One day I was at a friend’s house for a sleep over, and his parents said we could rent a movie. We rented Gremlins. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and when I got home I was too scared to go into my room because I now knew what that harmless looking mogwai was capable of if he was fed after midnight. I had nightmares for months, and donated my toy mogwai to some unsuspecting neighbors so that it could torment other little kids and leave me alone.

The Bible talks about another insipid danger which people consider mostly harmless. But what they don’t realize is that it turns into an evil monster when it is fed after midnight. It’s called the sin of anger.

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Having grown up in the densely populated state of New Jersey, I learned to drive in one of the more hostile traffic environments in America. Between the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the occasional foray across the George Washington Bridge or the Lincoln Tunnel into some part of New York City—especially Manhattan—I’ve been in my share of close calls and quick decisions. When you add the fact that I now live in Los Angeles and use some of the busiest freeways in the country on a daily basis, it’s rather a miracle that I’m still alive. In fact, there are often times when I consciously thank the Lord while driving that I was spared from this or that potential accident. I certainly know that my passengers have improved their prayer lives while driving with me from time to time.

Because of this absolutely ridiculous vehicular heritage, I often make it a point to observe the different patterns other drivers follow and decisions they make while I’m driving. Sometimes I even think to myself, imagining what I would have done if a driver lost control or decided to change lanes abruptly, or whatever. “If he made a mistake and needed to jump in front of me, could I get out of his way?” Stuff like that.

Now, some people without the NY/NJ/LA driving heritage might think I’m going a little overboard here. And they might be right. But I realize that in certain situations I might have only a fraction of a second to react. I need to be so prepared with a sound way of avoiding an accident that my reactions are just second nature. Because in the moment, I won’t have time to think clearly and dispassionately evaluate my options. The craziness of the moment simply won’t allow it. At least not where I’m driving.

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June 2, 2016

Fearing the mic

by Josh Thiessen

For many the fear of public speaking is rated higher even than their fear of death. Personally, I was scared to death (no pun intended) of speaking publicly growing up. So as I began taking leadership roles in the church (teaching Sunday school, preaching, etc.), it took me a long time to get comfortable in front of people and confront my fear of man.

The more I have preached the more comfortable I get. But lately, I have realized that their should always be some level of caution or fear when preaching. Teaching is a a great responsibility and should foster a healthy level of glossophobia because teachers will face a greater judgment (James 3:1) . When I first started preaching, I could easily trace my fear to a sinful desire to please man. Now, I’m discovering a healthy fear that includes my judgment before God for the things I teach. I think examining both fears are healthy for every teacher in the church. Continue Reading…

342491561_640One of the greater areas of confusion at large today among God’s people is an understanding of the church. Ecclesiological error abounds, perhaps more than any other issue in contemporary Christianity. What is the church, exactly? Why does it exist? What should the church do? Who are, and are not, God’s kind of church leaders? What are they for? How should congregations relate to their leaders? Anyone in church ministry can tell you that they interact with error surrounding these, and related issues, on almost a daily basis. And the consequences are not insignificant.

For this reason, and more, the leadership team at Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida created the Ekklesia Conference seven years ago. Ekklesia has as its mission, “to instruct Christians in the inseparable truths of Christ’s church and His gospel. Our desire is that believers would passionately serve and commit to the advancement of those realities with lifelong conviction.” Each year, a theme is chosen which relates to the local church (check out past messages). This year’s conference, entitled, “Sheep and Shepherds,” will bring much-needed clarity to the issue of recognizing spiritual influence. Over the weekend of September 16-18, speakers will answer questions such as, “What is God’s kind of spiritual influence?” “How do I recognize what kind of influence I should be seeking?” “How do we navigate the onslaught of supposed influence out there today?”

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What keeps you from sharing the Gospel? For many the main answer to that question comes down to awkwardness.

Awkwardness is defined as causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.

And while with most things it is probably helpful to have a keen sense of when awkwardness is on the horizon, we must remember what is at stake when we think about the eternal destiny of those around us.

I’d like to encourage you to rethink the common thought that it is better not to share the Gospel than to do it awkwardly. So here are five reasons why it’s ok to share the Gospel awkwardly.

Everyone is awkward at first

The first time I held a baby you should have seen me. I was so uncomfortable. I was so stiff. I was afraid to breathe. I was only concentrating on one thing and couldn’t think about anything else at the same time. It’s a miracle I didn’t drop the baby. I’ve been out sharing the Gospel with many people who came along side me. It’s fascinating to watch others preach the Gospel. Not only is it super encouraging, it’s an opportunity to hear the Gospel preached and to watch an unbelieving heart come into full-contact with the only truth that can save them. I’ve watched many people go out “their first time ever” and let me tell you, they usually feel uncomfortable. They stumble on their words, they mis-speak, and usually they feel like a failure. And let me tell you, I am always so proud of them. Sharing the Gospel is probably the hardest thing in the world.

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comradesYesterday marked the 91st Comrades Marathon Race in South Africa. Since the first race in 1921 the Comrades Marathon has become one of the most famous and prestigious of all ultra-marathons. Winning the race is a coveted achievement. But there are many ways to win the Comrades Marathon.

As I discuss in The Preacher’s Payday, you can win it simply by finishing first, like Bill Rowan did in 1921 by coming in a mere minute under nine hours. You can win it five hours and 18 minutes, like David Gatebe did yesterday, setting the new record. You can win it more times than anyone else, like Bruce Fordyce did: nine times. You can even win by running against people who are not running. Yes, you can win a Wally Hayward medal if you finish in under six hours or a Bill Rowan medal if you beat his time of nine hours.

But you can also win the race by beating the real competition: pain. It is the pain and fatigue that most runners are trying to conquer, not the person in front of them. It is a challenge of body and mind, and runners are racing against themselves. And so the awards reflect this. Most races award a gold medal for 1st, silver and bronze for 2nd and 3rd, and everyone else gets a pat on the back.

But the Comrades organizers realize there is more to this race than coming first. Everyone who finishes within the twelve hour limit gets a medal. Even those who come in during the last hour, get the Vic Clapham copper medal. And as agonizing as the challenge, that medal will outlast the memory of your pain and fatigue. It is that image that the New Testament writers use to picture our awards ceremony.

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I started this month with an experiment: listen to 12 sermons from Revelation 6, from 12 well-known pastors; half amillennialists, and half premillennialists.  I ended this month with a new (to me) argument for premillennialism. Let me explain:  Continue Reading…

PIC BY JENNIFER LOCKRIDGE / CATERS NEWS - A father and daughter playfight looks a lot different when dad is a 400lb killing machine - but luckily for this little lion cub his cheeky nib at fathers tail didnt end in tears. In this hilarious picture little lion cub Lusaka ferociously grabs dads between her teeth - an action which sees her tiny paws lift off the ground. Sadly for Lusaka rather than dad Luke howling in pain like a wounded wildebeest, the king of the jungle seems to pretending not to notice. Despite the pestering Luke eventually gives in and like all good dads decides to join in the mock life-and-death struggle. Like a feline WWF wrestler he pins his mini assassin off-spring to the ground in mock anger. The remarkable record of life with the family of lions was recorded by amateur photographer Jennifer Lockridge, at the National Zoo, in Washington DC. SEE CATERS COPY.

i.dailymail.co.uk Jennifer Lockridge

Today’s post was written, in part, by my wife, Leslie Davis. Due to the nature of the post, a wife’s take on the subject was necessary.

In last week’s parallel post, we looked at 50 ways that husbands might tempt their wives to resent them. Resentment is something that tempts all marriages at one point or another. It’s more common than we might think.

We had several requests (from ladies!) for an article from the other perspective. Today’s post is in response.

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Recently a young lady came up to me with a question, “What does it mean to honor your parents?” Although I pointed her to a few Scriptures that came to mind, I don’t think I had a great answer to her question. It got me thinking, how can adult children obey and honor their parents? Ephesians 6:1-3 says,

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Honoring our parents has lifelong ramifications. Although there are circumstances where obeying this verse becomes impossible (parents die, they are abusive, they abandon their children etc.) we are called to honor them. So here are some ways we can apply this verse as adult children.

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