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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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Christian digital broadcast television network, TBN Salsa has successfully reached millions of homes in America via TV and online streaming but now the English speaking network ran by Latinos and owned by Trinity Broadcasting Network is prepping to reach more on cable.
by Hohn ChoBen Sasse sells Runzas at a Cornhuskers game.Ben Sasse sells Runzas at a Cornhuskers game.enator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) is a solid Christian brother who was an "elder in the United Reformed Churches in North America and served on the board of trustees for Westminster Seminary California" and is currently "a member of Grace Church, a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) congregation" located in Fremont, Nebraska. He has been outspoken about his faith and his values while avoiding a blindly loyal Republican party line and maintaining a healthy (and I believe appropriate) amount of nuance, including in this recent speech on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And whether or not one might agree with him on everything—he has been quite plain with his concerns about President Donald Trump, for example—it has been encouraging to see a Christian brother navigating with integrity the dirty field of politics.He's just written a book entitled, "Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal" and an adapted excerpt of it is available here. Longtime conservative columnist George Will has covered it briefly but well, with a powerful pair of paragraphs here:Loneliness in "epidemic proportions" is producing a "loneliness literature" of sociological and medical findings about the effect of loneliness on individuals' brains and bodies, and on communities. Sasse says "there is a growing consensus" that loneliness—not obesity, cancer or heart disease—is the nation's "No. 1 health crisis." "Persistent loneliness" reduces average longevity more than twice as much as does heavy drinking and more than three times as much as obesity, which often is a consequence of loneliness. Research demonstrates that loneliness is as physically dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and contributes to cognitive decline, including more rapid advance of Alzheimer's disease. Sasse says, "We're literally dying of despair," of the failure "to fill the hole millions of Americans feel in their lives."... Work, which Sasse calls "arguably the most fundamental anchor of human identity," is at the beginning of "a staggering level of cultural disruption" swifter and more radical than even America's transformation from a rural and agricultural to an urban and industrial nation. At that time, one response to social disruption was alcoholism, which begat Prohibition. Today, one reason the average American life span has declined for three consecutive years is that many more are dying of drug overdoses—one of the "diseases of despair"—annually than died during the entire Vietnam War. People "need to be needed," but McKinsey & Co. analysts calculate that, globally, 50 percent of paid activities—jobs—could be automated by currently demonstrated technologies. America's largest job category is "driver" and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.I've always appreciated whenever science and statistical studies confirm basic truths which have been set forth in the Word of God for millennia. The emerging data regarding loneliness are no exception. Starting from Genesis 2:18, when God declared, "It is not good for the man to be alone," the entire sweep of human history has focused on relationships, whether vertical or horizontal. And our great God has always cared deeply about those relationships, even exemplifying them perfectly in the awesome three-in-one mystery of the Trinity. In the Old Testament, we see the history of the covenant people of Israel, and their relationships both inside and outside of that group. Likewise, in the New Testament, we see the history of the covenant people of the church, and their relationships both inside and outside of that group.Outside the church, we see the imperative of evangelism, of "Go therefore" from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, to all nations, with the joyful truth of the Gospel and discipleship in the Word of God. In Romans 10:14-15, we read how preachers of the Gospel are to be sent to unbelievers, with even the preachers' feet being praised as beautiful. And in the second Great Commandment in Mark 12:31, we know that we are to love our neighbors even as we love our own selves. All of these verses and concepts demonstrate the critical importance of relationships with the outside world.Meanwhile, inside the church, we see the glorious beauty of the one anothers, those commands which believers can only fulfill in Christian fellowship and the corporate assembly. It's a truth reinforced by the image of the church as the Body of Christ in Romans 12:5, Ephesians 3:6, Colossians 1:24, and perhaps most extensively in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, where we see that each member has a diverse role and function, and that only when working together as an organic whole is the Body truly operating as God has arranged and intended. Ideally, the Body of Christ ought never be a place where any member suffers chronic loneliness born from the negligence or apathy (much less hatred) of the brothers and sisters in his or her local church.And yet as an elder in a relatively large church with approximately 5,000 members and many more regular attenders, concerns like these are the ones that really tie up my stomach into knots and drive me to my knees in prayer. How many of our members struggle with loneliness and alienation? How many people "slip through the cracks" and depart, feeling uncared for and unloved? We've had a homebound ministry for as long as I can remember, and several years ago, a godly, hypercompetent man named Justin Harris greatly improved and streamlined our membership and attendance processes before becoming the senior pastor at another blessed congregation, and it's both a joy and a relief to the elders to know that our members can be contacted regularly if certain needs or challenges might be resulting in extended absences.But what about the rest of the Body of Christ, such as newer folks, or those who attend only sporadically, or perhaps even people used to participating only on the fringe? I know and understand that members themselves have a responsibility to be faithful and avail themselves of the ordinary means of grace, but what about my own role as a fellow member of the congregation and even more, as a servant-leader of my own particular local body? How can we better serve these beloved brothers and sisters, especially in a culture and age where singleness has become the norm for much longer periods of time, thus delaying or removing the traditionally and biblically normative alleviation for loneliness, specifically marriage and, Lord willing, family?I have only two suggestions in this regard. First, strive on and remain diligent in your efforts (Proverbs 13:4). Do not weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9-10), be devoted to one another with brotherly love and preferring one another in honor (Romans 12:10), even regarding one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). And when you're tired, pray for God to supply you with strength (1 Peter 4:11), knowing that the power of Christ is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and that when we are weary and heavy-laden, our Savior will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).Second, and far more importantly, the Scriptural truth is that God is the only one who will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is the one we must turn to when we are lonely and afflicted (Psalm 25:16). Even if our own parents were to forsake us, God will receive us (Psalm 27:10). And Jesus Christ is with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20), nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35), and indeed, He is even dwelling inside of us in perfect union (Romans 8:10, Galatians 2:20)! Not only that, but He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us (Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Timothy 1:14)! And as I reflect on the many missionaries and martyrs who have been imprisoned for years and even died physically all alone, I believe that conveying and reinforcing these incredible truths from the Word of God to every member of the Body of Christ can only serve to help them in the area of loneliness.When we see well-formulated scientific studies showing the gravely detrimental effects of loneliness, it offers yet another reason why I believe the increasing obsession over ethnicity in the church today is such an unfortunate distraction. Among broader societal ills, I've written previously about why I believe abortion is arguably more than 5,000 times as important of an issue as, say, police shootings of unarmed people of all ethnicities. But even within the church itself, as someone who has a righteous hatred of ethnic partiality and believes actual sin in this area ought to be confronted and purged from the visible Body as much as possible, I still have to wonder whether issues such as loneliness might be an even more dire—if perhaps less stylish—concern than ethnic partiality, just as issues relating to adultery, divorce, and pornography might be an even greater corruption of our visible Christian witness. And as I strive to shepherd the portion of God's flock that He has placed under my care, I pray that I will always strive to be sensitive enough to reach out proactively to those brothers and sisters who seem perhaps a little bit out of place, out of sorts, or even out of hope, no matter what their ethnicity might be.Hohn's signature
Congratulations to Conrad Dejesa III (DJ) on his high school graduation. Pray for him as he is studying Medical Technology at the Trinity University of Asia in the Philippines. Also graduating is Eden Santos from GCC’s Culinary Arts program. She’ll be headed to West Coast Bible College in the fall. [...]
This morning two Jehovah's Witnesses, or Watchtowerites came to the door (I'll explain why some people call them Watchtowerites at the end). It was an older gentleman with, I presume, his wife who was in a wheelchair. They began the conversation as they often do by asking what I thought about the problems in the world today and quickly moved on to offer me copies of The Watchtower and Awake . Notice, their first port of call is not the Scriptures, but their commentary on the Scriptures, the Watchtower . Several interesting topics were covered over the time they were here. Each reveal that while they call themselves Christians, their beliefs and teachings are far from Christian. Some of the topics we covered: 1. The Trinity and the Deity of Christ The Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity. They believe God created Christ. Immediately you can see how vital a difference there is between Christianity and the Jehovah's Witnesses. If Christ is not God then He could not have suffered and died for sinners. They point to a number of Scriptures and twist many of them. I quoted John 1:1 and the lady immediately came back with their version of the Scriptures which says that the Word was A god rather than the Word was God. I took them to Colossians 1:16 which speaks about Christ and tells us that by Him all things were created. Somehow they passed over that and moved to another topic. 2. Creation. Concerning creation he said they did not believe in a literal six day creation. He spoke of II Peter 3:8 and quoted that with God a day is as a thousand years. I asked him how that worked with teachings in Exodus 31:15. There the Lord tells Israel to work 6 days and rest the 7th. I asked if that meant we are to work 6 thousand years and then rest for 1 thousand. He went back to quoting that with God a day is as a thousand years. I then referred to the rest of II Peter 3:8 which says that a thousand years is as a day. For his argument the second part of the verse cancels the first. I then asked him about the mention of the evenings and the mornings in Genesis 1. There we read about the evening and the morning being the first day etc. Because of a literal reading, the original languages and basic grammar we can be sure that Genesis 1 speaks of literal 24 hour days. They both then started talking about God simplifying things so we could understand. I asked them if that meant that God did not write what He meant to write, so we had to understand what was not there. They denied this, but of course this comes back to their magazine, the Watchtower. At some point in the conversation, not in any single moment, the tide of the conversation turned. By God's grace I had become the one controlling the conversation instead of him. This is when he started to step backwards and kept trying to make an exit. I do not know much about apologetics, but it seems this is one of the keys, controlling the flow of the conversation. I think it indicates the one who is confident in their position and understanding. They left on a good note and I came inside and printed off some studies I had done on the Trinity plus some information I had compiled on how to witness to Jehovah Witnesses. They had come to convert me so I could not see how they would be offended by my showing them how I teach on how to try and win them to the Lord. By this time, though, they were out of site. I silently prayed I would be able to find them again and go ready to take the family into town. I took the material with me and as we pulled out of our drive there they were, returning to their vehicle. I pulled over, went to the man and offered to take his material if he took mine. :) We exchanged material and went our separate ways. I pray that they will be challenged to consider what they believe and hopefully come to Christ. Watchtowerites? - Well, this is because their final authority is not the Scriptures, but the Watchtower magazine. Anyway, if you would like a copy of the material I gave them then just let me know and I will send you a copy. One of pieces of literature is mostly information I compiled from www.carm.org. (http://www.carm.org.)
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