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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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Why do bad things happen to good people? - Baptist Preaching - Pastor Daniel Pigott What does the bible say about bad things that happen to "good" people? Pastor Daniel Pigott goes through nine key things.
The Product of the Cross - Paul E Chapman - Baptist Preaching - KJV Sermon Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price on the Cross. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the Cross despising the shame. Why would He pay such a high ...
How Can You Escape the Damnation of Hell (Baptist Preaching) Why men in the Bible spoke strongly on eternal damnation in Hell, adapted from Robert Murray McCheyne, a great revival preacher To read Dr. Hymers' sermon ...
Murmuration (Official Video) by Sophie Windsor Clive & Liberty Smith

 

Murmuration - it is something amazing to see.
 
No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, tens of thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland.
 
The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations,
 
having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter's frigid bite.
 
Scientists aren't sure how they do it, either.
 
The starlings' murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practiced by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants.
 
As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven't yet explained the starlings' aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds' quicksilver reaction time of fewer than 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions and predators in the giant flock.
 
Two young women were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in this too-short video.
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Cultivating Your Heart for Revival Revival is more than simply having a special guest preacher and a few extra nights of meetings. True revival is a work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Habakkuk prayed, “…O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years…” (Habakkuk 3:2).Revival Will Come When We Recognize Our NeedDo you ever get discontent with your spiritual progress? Do you ever hunger for something more from God, or sense conviction from the Holy Spirit that things are not what they should be or could be? As long as you and I are content to keep the status quo spiritually—as long as we think we are doing fine—revival will not come.Denial of our true condition is a major obstacle to revival. Real revival will not come until we reach the place where we cannot and will not ignore the truth of our spiritual condition. The simple fact is: if we never take time to let God speak to our hearts, and show us our need, we will never experience revival.Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.—Psalm 139:23–24Revival Will Come When We Confess Our SinRevival is held back when God's people refuse to get right with Him. How can the Spirit of God freely work when our hearts are pre-occupied with other things? David understood this and sought the Lord's cleansing and restoration in Psalm 51:10–13.Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.I am constantly amazed at God's grace in my life. He truly is patient and longsuffering with me and is always, always, ready to hear my cries for mercy and forgiveness—when I repent and confess my sin to Him.For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.—Isaiah 57:15Did you notice? God will revive the spirit of the humble and the heart of the contrite ones. We often quote 1 John 1:9 which says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But we often forget the verse begins with the word if and that is the great pivoting point. No confession—no forgiveness and no reviving of the heart.The importance of confession is seen in 2 Chronicles 7:14 as well.If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.Will revival come? Yes, I believe it will, but only to those who are of humble hearts and willing to confess and forsake their sin.Revival Will Come When We Ask for ItWhen we are confronted with our sin, the devil tries to keep us from moving toward God. He tries to hinder us even after we have fully and honestly confessed our sin and received God's forgiveness. Remember the words of David? “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” David understood that a clean heart needs the joy of God once again.Jeremiah 29 has one of my favorite passages of encouragement. It reveals God's message to Israel at a time when they were going to be chastened for their sin. God extends to His people—including you and me—an offer of His presence and renewed Spirit:For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord:—Jeremiah 29:11–14We need revival, and I believe God is ready to send it when He hears our prayers lifted up to Him and sees our seeking hearts. Paul wrote to the believers at Philippi, “That I may know Him.” That should be our cry and heartbeat.God invites you and me to see what He can do in us, through us, and for us.Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.—Jeremiah 33:3Revival Will Come When We Are in the Place of RevivalAnd let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.—Hebrews 10:24–25
“Only when we “go vertical” and connect in a relationship with God through Jesus will we find the true joy that we are looking for.”Ed: On your 10-year wedding anniversary, you two felt very differently about your marriage. Dave, you thought your relationship couldn’t get any better, and Ann, you were hanging on for dear life and told Dave you had lost your feelings for him. Can you share a little bit about that night and how it changed your relationship?Dave: Our 10-year anniversary was a chance to celebrate our love and life away from the kids and the pressures of ministry. I was crazy busy trying to start our new church, as well as leading the Detroit Lions ministry as the team chaplain. I was never home. Ann was leading the home all by herself and overwhelmed with raising two very busy toddlers.When she told me that she had lost her feelings for me, I knew that I had to find out why and how. As she shared her heart about moving from bitterness to numbness, I felt a strong nudge—probably more like a shove—from the Holy Spirit, that said, “Shut up and listen.”Ed: Dave, what made you respond with prayer rather than reaching for your planner to persuade Ann that she was wrong?Dave: I actually was about to pull out my daily planner to prove that I was home more than Ann thought when I sensed God saying to zip my lip and just let her talk. As I listened, I heard God say one more thing: “Repent.”I knew that God was revealing to me that my relationship with Jesus had become lukewarm. I was so busy doing ministry for God that I had left God behind. God was saying that our horizontal marriage would never be what we wanted it to be unless I put Jesus back in first place.So I got on my knees right there in the front seat of our Honda Accord and put Jesus back in control of my life. Ann did the same, and it was the start ...Continue reading...
How I'm learning to lead God's people one basket of manna at a time.I’ve given up trying to manage my church. I’d love to be able to manage things—we all love to feel stable and certain. But I’m choosing something harder and better.I’ve tried the management approach. It required a lot of future prediction. I would begin a season of the church with a period of discernment and decision-making. Then I would set everything in stone so I could just cruise. Maybe a little trouble-shooting was required along the way, but I didn’t feel much need to check in with God each day. Why bother? I already had my plan.This approach was handy for crafting sermon series, shaping church vision, and leading staff. The moment when I finally came up with a polished, tidy plan for something important felt great. And so did the measurable success achieved by the plan—and more importantly, the planner. Of course, that was only if my plan succeeded.Few things make me more anxious than church finances. And as the pastor of a university congregation whose finances are rarely stable or predictable, I have many opportunities to feel financial anxiety. Because of this, budget reports often make me feel like a failure. Surely by now I should have figured out a way to stabilize weekly offerings, even with a transient congregation. Every year when it comes time to shape the next year’s budget, the current budget is rarely where I would like it to be. And every year I’m tempted to confront our problems by first making plans: calling megachurches to ask if they’ll partner with us, finding new ways to communicate our urgent need to every congregant, and many other action-oriented ideas.This approach seemed to work at times, but it always fell flat when I had to deal ...Continue reading...
Today's category: MiscellaneousNun In A Cab A nun gets into a cab and the cab driver won't stop staring at her. She asks him why is he staring and he replies, "I have a question to ask you but I don't want to offend you." She answers, "My dear son, you cannot offend me. When you're as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance and see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive." "Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me." She responds, "Well, let's see what we can do about that: 1) you have to be single and 2) you must be Catholic." The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I am single and I'm Catholic too!" The nun says, "O.K., pull into the next alley." He does and the nun kisses him. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying his eyes out. "My dear child, why are you crying?" "Forgive me sister, but I have sinned. I lied, I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish." The nun says, "That's OK, my name is Kevin and I'm on my way to a Halloween Party."View hundreds more jokes online.Email this joke to a friend
by Hohn ChoAs he is wont to do, Doug Wilson wrote and published to the general public a strongly-worded opinion piece regarding a matter of current controversy. I responded to him here, and Phil Johnson added a number of helpful points here. As an aside, I actually wasn't aware that Phil and Doug were friends, which I say only to highlight Phil's fair-minded impartiality in posting my article, and to reiterate that my words are my own and should not be attributed to Phil or anyone else. Regardless, Wilson replied here, which forms the basis of this blogpost. And like Wilson, I won't be addressing everything.For all of Wilson's protestations about "one-sided story-telling" and people being too "free to accuse without consequences" the reality is that my conclusions have been formed based on formal judicial actions and official public documents relating to the cases of Sitler and Wight, and as I mentioned in the comments to my previous article, CREC's final 2017 Presiding Ministers' Report about Wilson. So yes, that means a lot of sworn testimony and opportunities to cross-examine, which is also the case with a large portion of Denhollander's March 1, 2018 summary about Sovereign Grace. In that light, my conscience does not impel me in the slightest to attempt to reinvent the wheel by interviewing or cross-examining witnesses who have already spoken on-the-record. In any event, putting to the side his many criticisms of GRACE and Tchvidjian, the organization that did conduct an investigation of the Sitler and Wight matters was Wilson's own CREC denomination, and I phrase it that way because Wilson essentially formed the denomination, has previously been its Presiding Minister, and is its most well-known minister. Despite the (again, potential) bias of such an in-house investigation, it was interesting to note that the final Presiding Ministers' Report contained numerous clear and at times rather searing corrections for Wilson, some of the most concerning of which are excerpted below:A. Evaluation and Support of WightIn the Jamin Wight case, Christ Church leadership should have been far more careful in evaluating his character and fitness for ministry, and could have done so at an earlier date... In short, the great damage caused by Wight could have been mitigated by more rigorous forms of evaluation and accountability... In dealing with the Jamin/[redacted] marriage situation, it seems that it might have been wiser for the Trinity and Christ Church counselors to have had more individual sessions with [redacted] separate from Jamin, since it appears that [redacted] was often intimidated by Jamin's presence in the joint sessions... The committee also questions the wisdom of some of the language used to describe Wight and his crimes. In a letter to Officer Green, Pastor Wilson of Christ Church denied that Wight was a "sexual predator."11... Weighing in on whether a defendant is a "sexual predator" or whether he is properly charged with a certain crime is almost certain to cause unintended harm. For example, it can easily suggest to victims, even as it did in both the Wight case and the Sitler case, that the crimes against them are being minimized by the church... Also, in a letter to Gary Greenfield, Pastor Wilson stated that the Christ Church session was "distressed over the way Jamin took sinful advantage of your daughter," but "just as distressed at your extremely poor judgment as a father and protector" (emphasis added).12 This kind of language, especially in written form, is virtually sure to be received by victims and their families, as well as by many in the public, as blame-shifting from the criminal perpetrator onto those who are suffering the pain of the crime. As such, it is counterproductive...B. Counseling and Pastoral Care of the GreenfieldsChrist Church should have done more to care for Natalie and her family after the abuse became known. Pastor Wilson appropriately has sought forgiveness for failing to press harder against Gary Greenfield's objections in order to reach out to Natalie. We also believe the church could have provided better counseling services for Natalie (preferably a female counselor specifically trained to deal with sex abuse victims), as well as providing a wider and more sympathetic support network to help her deal with the shame, isolation, and trauma that follow such abuse. It would have been good for someone other than Pastor Wilson to be her primary counselor; she needed to be ministered to by someone with expertise in sexual trauma.C. Communications about Sitler's MolestationsIn the Sitler case, it was a serious mistake for Christ Church leadership not to formally inform the congregation (or, more specifically, all parents of young children in the congregation) of his pattern of serial molestations immediately after it came to light... There were other communication breakdowns regarding the Sitler case. For example, Christ Church elder Ed Iverson, who helped bring Katie Travis together with Sitler, was unaware of the full extent of Sitler's sexual crimes (specifically, he was unaware that Sitler had molested multiple children).15... Finally, with regard to Pastor Wilson's letter to Sitler's sentencing judge, we reiterate our previous cautions about pastors interacting with the legal system.16 In the letter, Pastor Wilson stated that he was "grateful" that Sitler would be "sentenced for his behavior" and that he wanted "hard consequences for him," but at the same time urged that the sentence be "measured and limited."...D. Sitler/Travis Marriage ComplicationsIn the case of the Sitler/Travis wedding, several things could have been done with greater pastoral care and foresight by Christ Church leadership... Under the circumstances, we strongly question the wisdom of Christ Church leadership in supporting and solemnizing the Sitler/Travis marriage. Looking at the court record, everything seems to have been barreling down the tracks, with both the court and the church on their heels. The judge was brought in only ten days before the wedding, and regarding the child, the judge was not brought in at all until after the child was born... Unfortunately, in the Sitler situation, we see no evidence these questions were seriously explored, let alone answered. There did not seem to be time. But would not that fact alone be reason enough to withhold support for the marriage and childbearing, at least until these questions could be adequately addressed?...E. Sitler's Reintegration into the CongregationChurches should carefully consider whether it is feasible or wise to try to minister to a sex offender if the offender has victims in the congregation—even if the church has the victims' consent. It is very difficult for churches to ensure that all of the inevitable distress, inconvenience, and awkwardness are borne by the offender, and none at all by the victims. This is not meant as punishment for the offender; it is simply part of accepting responsibility, which is the first step on the road to rehabilitation (as many sentencing judges have told defendants before them). Having offenders remain in the congregation can lead to victims leaving, as in fact happened in this case...Pastor Wilson's Blogging Responses...But when it comes to matters such as the Sitler and Wight cases, especially when victims are involved, an entirely different voice needs to be heard—one clad not in battle regalia, but in a humble linen tunic. Not only is this glorifying to God and the right thing to do, it is a kindness to victims, as well as to internet onlookers, who may already be confused by the allegations, and who will likely become even more confused by pastoral responses made with sword and mace. Had biblical humility and prudence been placed more to the fore—and that is what our suggestions are trying to express—we believe it would have placed Pastor Wilson and the entire controversy on a higher road.In that regard, let us point out a few specifics we believe are inconsistent with the high road:Engaging in online disputes with a person formerly under a pastor's care, particularly when the person has been sexually abused in any way. It is not wise for a pastor to argue with a sex abuse victim in public over the details of her case. It would be better for the pastor to absorb any wrongful accusations rather than engage in this kind of argument (I Cor 6:7).Discussing sensitive pastoral cases online. Such discussion can make others who need help more reluctant to seek it, for fear of having their cases turned into blog posts or Twitter fodder. It can also give the impression that a church is not a place where victims' voices can be 2heard (and all too often victims' voices have been suppressed in the church). While many in the general public may have no qualms about such discussions of personal matters, pastors should always take the high road.Using unnecessarily provocative language, including derogatory or calloused language about women. Referring to certain women as "small breasted biddies" or "lumberjack dykes" is not likely to serve an edifying purpose in this context. We note that this language has caused a good deal of anguish among pastors and elders of CREC churches who would otherwise be supportive of Pastor Wilson's ministry. Pastors should be careful not to give women reasons to avoid seeking help from the church. Instead, we should make it clear that the church is a place where all people are treated with honor and respect, and where victims can find grace.In this particular case, Pastor Wilson's rhetoric has, unfortunately, been found offensive and inappropriate even by many in his own denomination (including other pastors and elders). Pastor Wilson's blog posts regarding these cases have proved to be quite divisive even amongst those who consider him a friend and ally. A more prudent and temperate use of language would be helpful...Interestingly, even after much clicking, I can't seem to navigate to the report from the Christ Church home page, it doesn't appear to show up on the Christ Church domain after even very specific Google searches, and when I go to the direct link, the report is contained within an odd and difficult-to-use document interface that prohibits copying and pasting and downloading.[*] Say it ain't so, Joe, but it's almost as if Wilson is doing his level best to downplay or even bury the public report! I also note with great interest that neither Wilson in his reply article to me, nor his daughter-in-law in the links she kindly provided in the comments to my blogpost, nor any of the other supporters of Wilson in those comments, either linked to or even mentioned this report.Accordingly, it's deliciously ironic to see Wilson question whether or not I am to be "a trusted purveyor of information" and speculate about my "agenda" merely for declining to link in advance to some of his favorite defenses, particularly since Wilson himself is not a constant practitioner of this type of linking, and my blogpost was obviously an opinion piece opposing his position which made no claim to being comprehensive, devoting just two sentences to Sitler and Wight, since my focus was on broader issues.In any event, it's true that no one will ever know the full or complete story, that there's always that one last detail which could potentially turn the case, here in the real world we will always have limited capacity, imperfect information, and fallible minds, and yet we're still called to make discernments and judgments, particularly of people in the church per 1 Corinthians 5:12. Sometimes those judgments will happen in criminal or civil court (with the caveat that I certainly agree with Wilson that believers ought to heed 1 Corinthians 6:1-8), sometimes it will be an ecclesiastical body with authority over the subject, as was the case in the CREC report and Wilson.And sometimes it will happen in the court of public opinion, both inside and outside the church. That's the plain reality of the concept the Bible calls reputation and we see it in places such as Ecclesiastes 7:1, Proverbs 22:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-7 which I highlighted in my previous article, and 1 Peter 2:12. That last verse is particularly interesting, in that it calls us to make sure our conduct is so honorable that even when non-believers (wrongly) speak against us Christians as evildoers, our good works will serve as an even starker witness. So when a watching world condemns us for holding a biblical view of marriage, they will also have no choice but to acknowledge begrudgingly that we have in fact loved and cared for all people regardless of their particular inclinations... and not, say, insulted them as "small breasted biddies" or "lumberjack dykes" in Wilson's inimitable style.To be clear, I stand against "mob justice" and "lynch mobs" right alongside Phil and Wilson. I also deplore the Twitter and mainstream media "rush to judgment" mobs, with the recent Nick Sandmann and Jussie Smollett cases giving us two prime examples why. As I stated in my previous article, I share Wilson's views on the importance of the presumption of innocence and his concerns about the "woke" movement in the SBC and beyond. And I have absolutely zero interest in defenestrating, detaining, deporting, or even denouncing Wilson, really. None of those factors are at issue here. What I am saying is that people make reputational judgments all the time, from Yelp reviews to dating decisions to job prospects to churches, and usually with far less information than months and years worth of public court documents and other hard evidence that we've seen in the Sitler, Wight, CREC, and Sovereign Grace situations. And from that wealth of information, after careful consideration and not rushing to judgment, my utterly draconian proposals are that maybe Wilson should think twice before turning his rhetorical blowtorch up to 11 on the topic of abuse, and that Sovereign Grace should engage an independent investigation. Remember that, the next time someone tries to tell you I'm looking to jackhammer the foundations of Western Civilization.This brings me to the matter of Wilson's reputation, for he does indeed have one, given his high profile and his frequent and eager use of serrated blades on the Internet to propagate his own strong convictions and viewpoints. As a slightly more than casual observer for over a decade, I'd say that Wilson has a reputation for being a brilliant writer with an acid pen. He preaches a generally sound Gospel and promotes a generally biblical worldview, despite some minor to moderate concerns over matters such as paedocommunion, postmillennial theonomy, and Federal Vision, whether he's actually calling it that or not, these days. Obviously, he has a highly devoted flock of congregants, and I say that with genuine appreciation. And he's Mr. No Quarter November, who hates giving even an inch if he can possibly avoid it.[**] And I'd close by saying he's more than a little bit brash and bold, so much so that he often comes off like a bull in a china shop. Wilson himself has acknowledged similar things in the past, but the thing I'd sadly add is that from my perception, it's true to such an extent that I honestly cringe at even the notion of him attempting to counsel and shepherd abuse survivors, particularly in light of the public record on the Sitler and Wight matters. And before he or anyone else accuses me of being uncharitable, I will simply repeat the findings of the final Presiding Ministers' Report:We note that this language has caused a good deal of anguish among pastors and elders of CREC churches who would otherwise be supportive of Pastor Wilson's ministry. Pastors should be careful not to give women reasons to avoid seeking help from the church. Instead, we should make it clear that the church is a place where all people are treated with honor and respect, and where victims can find grace.In this particular case, Pastor Wilson's rhetoric has, unfortunately, been found offensive and inappropriate even by many in his own denomination (including other pastors and elders). Pastor Wilson's blog posts regarding these cases have proved to be quite divisive even amongst those who consider him a friend and ally. A more prudent and temperate use of language would be helpful...Despite all of this, Wilson still considers himself to be well-positioned to speak on these issues, apparently because he's a longsuffering martyr who's used to false accusations. In light of the CREC report and the court filings, however, I can't help but think that adopting a course of discreet humility would be far better than the risk of harm and disaster that comes from speaking out of a potentially misplaced self-righteousness.Anyway, Wilson is a big boy who gives far better than he gets, while I'm merely "a gent named Hohn Cho". And I have great confidence that this series of exchanges will have no lasting impact on his feelings, reputation, or honor. My far larger concern, and the reason I was even moved to say anything in the first place, is for the feelings, reputations, and honor of the victims of Sitler and Wight, for Denhollander and Mohler, and for survivors and their honorable advocates. They're inevitably the ones who are harmed by careless and unprofitable words, as I believe many of Wilson's have been, as CREC wisely pointed out. But again, I'm of no real account here, and so I don't have any expectation whatsoever that Wilson will heed what I say.I do pray, however, that as a minister called to the biblical standards and qualifications of an elder and as a man under authority of his denomination, he will ultimately heed the wise counsel of his own denomination's Presiding Ministers' Report.Hohn's signature[*] The Website That Shall Not Be Named, for the benefit of Wilson's supporters, has conveniently provided a fully-searchable document with added hyperlinks to other referenced documents. As far as I could tell, the text otherwise appears identical to the version on Christ Church's website, but I will patiently await accusations that it's somehow a fraud.[**] I stand by my perception that Wilson is known for doubling down far more than for apologies, but I acknowledge with thanks his link to point #7 of his Controversy Library, which I had never seen before. It contains links to two apologies from 2005 and 2015 for what I would call negligence relating to co-authors' apparently unintentional plagiarism (the latter of which happens to relate to A Justice Primer, the very book he cited in his original blogpost that I responded to), an apology to friends for a certain paragraph order Wilson used in the Sitler matter in 2015, and what I think is an apology relating to any offense from his "race" conversations with Thabiti Anyabwile in 2013. Whether the form and substance of these statements constitute "material" apologies I will leave to the reader, but having now been informed, I'm more than willing to stop saying that I cannot recall any apologies by Wilson.
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