Consider the Lilies..   

Mar 11, 2018

Kicking babies..

I remember the first time I heard about Smith Wigglesworth.
I was standing in the entryway at LifeGate Church next to a flight of stairs talking to Pastor Jeff Payne about faith and obedience.
He told me about this guy who brought a baby back to life by "dropkicking" it.  
He told me that as Mr. Wigglesworth held the dead child in his arms that God told him to kick the baby.
He did and the baby was brought back to life.
Pastor Jeff told me this story with a look of admiration on his face.
Justin Peters nailed it in this interview when he said "how can any thinking Christian not be absolutely appalled at that?"
I definitely wasn't a "thinking Christian".  
Most who attend churches like that aren't.
I am ashamed to admit that I was amazed at the "faith and obedience" of Smith Wigglesworth too.. 
Because I was not a thinking Christian who understood the Bible and practiced real discernment but rather a naive, deceived person who trusted false teachers.
It wasn't just Pastor Jeff who admired this baby-kicker.  Pastor Tracy Rice was a fan of his as well.

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (we call it Hogwarts) actually took students to the grave of Mr. Wigglesworth (and others) so that they could lay across their graves and "suck up the anointing" of this heretic.

If these are the sort of things you are learning about at your church, leave and find a church that teaches Scripture.

Feb 27, 2018

The "gift" of Discernment..

"A lot of times when people think they've got the gift of discernment, what they really have is a hypercritical personality." - Phil Johnson

This will be one of my more embarrassing confessions...

A few months into my time at LifeGate church I was sitting in their Starting Point class fuming because of two guys who were talking during the class.
I don't even remember what they were talking about, only that by the way they were talking and the expressions on their faces, I knew they were just blowing smoke and making themselves out to be more than they were.
It was pretty obvious.  
I could tell by the way others were looking at them that they felt the same way.
So I sat there getting more and more annoyed.
When the class was over I grabbed my stuff and marched out of the room.  
I didn't stop to talk to anyone and I even bumped a couple people on my way out without apologizing.
*I wasn't saved at this time and I was pretty accustomed to acting like a brat*

On my way home the pastor called me to ask me why I rushed out so quickly.  
I don't remember what I said exactly but it was something along the lines of "those guys are full of sh*t.  They went on and on, lying about themselves and how great they were and you just stood there and let them!"
He replied (and I remember this word for word): "Oh Ren, I've had a feeling about this for a while but now I'm sure of it.  You have the gift of discernment!" he told me to come to his office and he'd help me to understand what it meant.
Basically what it came down to was that I had a super power..
God had given me the ability to know truth from lies.  Who was for real and who was a fake.  Who was lying and who was telling the truth.
About anything and everything.
Yep. Another one of those invisible gifts that people in the hyper-charismatic church get, to make them feel special and somehow more powerful and loved by God than your average, boring, legalistic, Christian.

Now I know what you're thinking..
"But Ren, you study everything..  Didn't you study discernment too?"
Well of course I did!
I read everything in the hyper-charismatic pastor's library about it.
I talked to the pastors at the hyper-charismatic church.
I listened to "sermons" about this magical gift of discernment by hyper-charismatic people.
Sermons by super smart theologians like Joyce Meyer and Robert Morris and Beth Moore.

I grew so much in my gift that pastors would introduce me to other people and say things like "this is Ren, talk to her, she has an amazing gift of discernment".
I would use this gift to 'help' other people in the church.

I wish I was making this up.
You have no idea how embarrassing it is for me to admit this now.

If you haven't noticed yet; once I was told that I had this amazing and special gift, I completely forgot about every other person in the room who was also annoyed by the incessant bragging of those 2 guys.  
I had forgotten that it was obvious to EVERYONE IN THE ROOM.
Because this was MY gift.
This was MY special super power.

But what I didn't do was look at what the Bible had to say about discernment.  
Well except for the verses about the gifts of the Spirit that every hyper-charismatic takes out of context.
**by the way, when I say out of context, I mean not properly understanding the context in which the text was written- to whom, by whom, when, and why. 
You can recite an entire chapter of the Bible and still be taking it (understanding it) out of context.**

So.  What is discernment?
The word discern and its derivatives are translations of the Greek word anakrino in the New Testament. It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine.”

The key words: diligent search, to examine.

John MacArthur describes it thus-
"In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically."

So- "making careful distinctions about our thinking."
This means taking every thought captive and not making snap judgments based on a feeling or a hunch. 

R.C. Sproul said-
"To some it is given in unusual measure as a special grace gift (1 Cor. 12:10), but some measure of it is essential for us all and must be constantly nourished. The Christian must take care to develop his “sixth sense” of spiritual discernment. This is why the psalmist prays, “Teach me good judgment and knowledge” (Ps. 119:66)."

Now here- "some measure of it is essential for us all and must be constantly nourished."
This means that everyone who is truly saved; everyone who has received the Holy Spirit has been graced with biblical discernment.
Some more than others.
But why?
Well. That's pretty simple actually.
They pray, they search the Scriptures, they learn.
They work at it.

Yeah, work. 
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment. - Philippians 1:9
To know wisdom and instructionto understand words of insight,- Proverbs 1:2
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. - Ecclesiastes 1:13
and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writingswhich are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. - Timothy 3:15

So is biblical discernment a gift or is it learned?
Like I said, every true believer has been graced with biblical discernment.
You have to be saved before you can truly understand the Word of God.
Anyone can read the Bible.
Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans..
But only those who are saved can understand it.
The Bible says so.
But they have to feed their discernment.  Nourish it with the Word of God.  They have to learn it.  They have to read it. They have to meditate on it, and they have to pray for it. 
I'm not just giving you my opinion here. I promise.  
The Bible says all of this.

The problem is, there are so many people who have been taken in by false teachers who believe they are saved but aren't.
So they believe whatever they are told by the false teacher because what they are telling them sounds good.
That's how I know that I wasn't saved at that time.  Of course I didn't know that then.
It's only because I am saved now that am I able to look back on the things I learned from Joyce Meyer, Robert Morris, Beth Moore, Les Beauchamp, Tracy Rice etc, and realize that they were ALL lies.
I know that they are lies because now I understand Scripture.
Anyone, believer or unbeliever can listen to a couple of windbags brag about themselves and know that they are full of crap. 
But not everyone can discern a false teacher from a biblical one.
Not everyone can discern the true teachings of Scripture from lies taught by ungodly teachers.
Well then, how does one really grow in biblical discernment?
Believe the gospel.
Pray for wisdom and learn the Bible.

"How is such discernment to be obtained? We receive it as did Christ Himself—by the anointing of the Spirit, through our understanding of God’s Word, by our experience of God’s grace, and by the progressive unfolding to us of the true condition of our own hearts."- R.C Sproul

Feb 21, 2018

This needs to stop..

If this is what happens in your church, your church is NOT a Biblical church.
This is attributing the work of the devil to the Holy Spirit of God.
This is blasphemy.
Stop it.

Feb 3, 2018

Just once around the cornfield..

One of my first memorable experiences at LifeGate church was the ‘Prayer for 100’.  According to the senior pastor, God told him that He wanted 100 people to gather together one Saturday a month to pray for whatever specific thing the senior pastor decided on for that Saturday.  
The particular prayer subject of that day was a piece of property that the church owned and was trying to sell.  After we sang a couple songs, the pastor explained that we were all going to get in our cars and drive to the property (it was a big cornfield at the time) walk around the perimeter like the Israelites walked around the walls of Jericho, and pray for the property to sell.
Yes, really.

I'll remind you that I live in Nebraska.  There are no small cornfields in Nebraska.
**I would like to interject for a moment here to say that at that time I had no idea how incredibly ridiculous this was, nor how badly this pastor had taken the biblical account of Jericho so out of context. I’m also going to confess that I am slightly extremely embarrassed to admit that not only did I participate (Clay did too so he can be embarrassed right along with me) but I actually fell for it.  Hook, line, and sinker.**

Anyway, there we were all standing in this cornfield listening to the pastor recount the story of Jericho when to my left I heard a shuffle and then someone exclaim “Oh!”.  When I looked I saw a woman lying on the ground.  I thought she had fainted at first, but the pastor glanced down at her and said “oh she’s alright” and kept on with what he was saying.  
This was my first experience with seeing someone slain in the Spirit.  *If you don’t know what that is, click here. By the way, this practice is not biblical and is not from God.  Neither is that gibberish they are chanting.  I’ll get into all that at a later date*   
So, he finished recounting the story of Jericho and then told us that someone was going to blow a Shofar and like the Israelites, we were all going to shout really loud.  Then the guy was going to blow the Shofar a second time and we were going to shout again, and then a third time.  Then we were all going to walk around the cornfield praying that God would tear down the walls of whatever it was that was keeping that cornfield from selling.
And that’s what we did.  
*insert facepalm here*

You know, more than once I asked a few of the pastors at LifeGate why they didn’t teach more of the Bible and why they never really went very deep when giving their sermons motivational speeches.  They said it was because there were so many “baby Christians” there that they didn’t want to overwhelm them, that baby Christians need milk and love and tenderness, so it’s not good to weigh them down with too much “heavy stuff”.

But that’s not really why.  Or at the very least, it’s not the only reason why.  The biggest reason is pretty simple; if you start teaching Biblical truth, people might not be so willing to stand in a cornfield blowing Shofars and shouting for the invisible walls of a slow real-estate market to come crashing down so your cornfield will sell for a good price.  And why not?  Because that’s just stupid.  
Oh, and it has NOTHING to do with the biblical account of the Israelites and Jericho.  Absolutely nothing.  It’s just another example of false teachers twisting scripture to fit their own agenda.

“and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:15-18

Feb 2, 2018

A Word from God

Every year at LifeGate church they have what they call a Presbytery.  
They invite three presbyters people who claim to speak for God from other churches to spend a week or so "prophesying' over church staff members and then over people throughout the congregation.  At each event after the six or so staff members are brought on stage and prophesied over  told stuff about themselves that they already knew, the presbyters people who claim to speak for God spend about an hour or so selecting people in the audience to stand and receive their own special word from God.

*Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I honestly think that most of these presbyters do believe that whatever thoughts that come to mind at that moment really do come from God.  But I also think that some of them know darn well that they don’t.*

This is an event that attendees of this church don’t want to miss.  Come on, the chance for someone to pick you out of the crowd to receive a word from God directly? In front of everyone? No way is anyone going to miss that if at all possible!  People pray for weeks before the actual event, begging God to speak to them during the Presbytery.  They skip work to attend this event.  Every day they would go to the event hopeful, just sure that God was going to speak to them and every day all but maybe ten people would go home disappointed.
Clay and I were never disappointed though.  We attended each of these Presbytery events while we were members of this church and even though there were a few hundred people at each one, my husband was selected to receive a word.
Every time.
We were all told at each event that these presbyters would only be choosing people out of the crowd at God’s prompting. That it would have nothing to do with who you were, who you knew, where you were sitting, or what you looked like.   Clay is a pretty big guy with piercings, tattoos, and a four-inch mohawk. He’s just not the type of guy who is ever overlooked in a crowded room. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with him being chosen to receive a word from a presbyter every single year.  Right??
I really don’t remember much of what he was told the second and third year but I remember the very first “word from God” that he received pretty well. I remember it because it was so absolutely wonderful. It was the kind of word everyone prays to hear.
After pointing to him and asking us to stand he stared at us for about 20 seconds and then said:

"You are a man of faith.  God has given you this gift.  You are a man of faith.  He wants you to declare it. Blessings will come to you if declare it.  Green pastures, financial blessing, cup runneth over.  He wants to bless you.  He wants you to rule! He wants you to reign! You are a man of faith!  Say it!  Declare it!  God says “If you do this, I’m going to give you everything!”

That’s probably the best word from God ever right?  Financial blessing!  Cup runneth over! Rule! Reign! Everything!  
Who wouldn’t grab on to that with both hands and hang on to it for dear life?  And we did.  Oh boy did we!  Never mind that he was laid-off just 2 weeks later, and then laid off twice more in the next 18 months.  That was pretty frustrating, but we held on to the promise.  God said He’s going to give us everything!
 Now, throughout these last couple years since leaving that church, I have had a few facepalm moments.  Every time I learned that I had believed something that wasn’t true about Jesus or the Bible.  Every time I had to unlearn something and learn it the right way.  Every time it occurred to me that I had taught someone else something that was nothing but new age apostasy.  
Even still, when I think I know something about the Bible I have to ask myself if it’s something I know because I learned it through prayer and study of Scripture or is it something I think I know because a church leader at LifeGate told it to me?  But let me tell you, the facepalm I gave myself when I realized the real truth behind that ‘word from God’ might have even left a bruise.

The words of that prophesy big fat lie from the devil played through my head..

He wants you to declare it.~ Declare what?  
The gospel? Scripture? That he is a sinner who if not for the death of the Son of the Almighty God upon a cross to pay for his sin that he would be destined to suffer the wrath of the Holy Father in the lake of fire for all eternity?  That Jesus is the Son of God who was raised from the dead?  That it is only through Jesus that anyone can repent of their sins, receive forgiveness and go to the Father?
Nope.  None of that. Just declare that he is a man of faith.

Blessings will come to you if declare it.  Green pastures, financial blessing, cup runneth over.- He wants you to rule! He wants you to reign!~ Money, power, blessings, everything you could possibly want! Focus on this!  It’s all about you! 
But rule what?  Reign over what?  Himself?  Others?  Or perhaps he will reign in victory over all the debt we would incur while he was laid-off three times..?

These presbyters deceived, puffed up, liars claim that the words that they give come directly from God through the Holy Spirit.  But what is the primary work of the Holy Spirit? To bear witness of Jesus!

 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” ~ John 15:26.  

There was no mention of the Son of God.  No mention of the Gospel.  No mention of who He is, what He’s done.  Nope, it was all about Clay.

“If you do this, I’m going to give you everything!”

“And the devil said to Him, I will give You all this domain and it’s glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”~ Luke 4:6-7

That is what they do.  These presbyters tell you good things about you.  In fact, before they get started giving these messages from God they will tell you that a true word from God will only build you up.  A word from God will never make you feel bad, guilty, ashamed or bring you down in any way.  
*If you want to continue believe that don’t ever read anything from the Old Testament prophets, or anything from the book of Revelation*

After Clay and I learned who God really is, after we realized that this church was not teaching Scripture and after we understood the meaning of Sola Scriptura; we knew that these prophetic words weren’t really from God.  But up until that moment, we believed that word we were given.  We believed it completely.  
For four years!

So why does everyone love the presbytery?  Why do we sit there hoping and praying that a presbyter will call on us and give us our very own personal message from God? Because it will be happy and exciting and full of great stuff all about us!  And if any of it makes us feel bad or convicted, we can just toss that aside because that’s what we want to hear.
Just eat the fish and leave the bones right?

People have told me that they know that these prophetic words are really from God because they were told things that no one but God would know or because what they were told actually came to pass.
Please..  Television psychics do the same thing.
And I ask you, just because someone was able to tell you something that you don't think anyone else would know, why do you just assume that it's from God?  
Because the devil would only tell you bad stuff?
He didn't tell Jesus bad stuff, why should you be any different?

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.~ 1 Corinthians 11:14-15

It's not just the leaders of LifeGate who do this.  It's everywhere..
Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Gateway Church, Elevation Church, Bethel.
Tons of people do this. It's not just church leaders anymore either.  Anyone can approach you and say they have a word from God.
Most of the people who attend churches like this believe that God has given them special messages for others at least once in their lives.

"Words from God" given in churches like Lifegate all do the same damage.  They minimize the importance of Scripture throughout the church.  
The Bible becomes something that just sits on our nightstands or something to carry to church in pretty bible cases, but rarely opened.
It becomes insufficient.  
Why spend time in prayer or study Scripture when we can just go to someone and ask them what God has to say to us?
Or better yet, we can just decide on what we want to hear, ask God, and then accept the first happy thought that pops into our heads.

Just read your Bible.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires. ~ 2 Timothy 4:3

“If you want to hear from God, read the Bible.  If you want to hear from God audibly, read it out loud.” – Justin Peters
*please don't bother commenting on this telling me that you know that the word you received really was from God because you could back it up with Scripture. I'll delete it. Anything in the Bible can be twisted to suit your needs.  It happens ALL THE TIME.*   

Feb 1, 2018

In the beginning..

On January of 2015 LifeGate church put on their first “Greater Glory” conference.  
Clay and I were still members of the church at this time.  In fact Clay was providing security for David Perkins, the speaker at the conference. 
The last day of the conference was the last day we attended LifeGate Church.  
The next day I went in, sat down at the computer and removed as much of our information as I could from their database, emailed the pastors to tell them that we would not be back, I put my set of keys on the desk, and we left.  This wasn’t planned.  We hadn’t set a date to leave LifeGate, we hadn’t discussed it with anyone, we hadn’t found a new church.  
We just left.
I had wanted to leave for almost a year prior to that but Clay wasn't ready.  But something happened at the conference that sealed it for him and at that moment he was ready to go.
Maybe I'll explain what happened in another blog post..

For the first four years that we attended LifeGate we were happy.  
Really happy.  
It was our first experience belonging to a church and we were devoted members. 
We made friends with leadership quickly and volunteered constantly- helping our friends prepare meals for everyone on Wednesday nights, setting up luncheons for funerals and I made two thousand phone calls reminding people to give money to the church (not even kidding).  
Clay took care of repairs that their maintenance people didn’t know how to do themselves and he helped form the security team.  
For the last year I volunteered in the office four or five days a week making phone calls and doing data entry.  
Clay and I would stand in the senior pastor's office and pray over him before he would go out and give his “talks” on Saturday nights. For 5 years we practically lived at LifeGate church.  
We were popular, and we liked it.

But we were naive about the whole church thing.  Aside from the boring church services we were forced to attend as children (that we never paid attention to) this was what we thought church was supposed to be. 
Colored lights, fog machines, loud music, people dancing and singing to feel-good songs played in upbeat tones to get us all hyped-up and ready to listen to a feel-good sermon all about us.  
The pastors were funny, they threw candy from the stage, and handed out free copies of Jesus Calling, Heaven is for real, The Circle Maker, The Shack and any other self-centered heretical book they were promoting at the moment.  They even used props and drew pictures to keep us all engaged.  It was fun.  We were “doing life together”.

From the beginning there were things that didn’t sit right with me and at first I chalked it up to being a new Christian.  After all, I was still learning “church”.  Even as I read more of the Bible and began to see that what I was reading wasn’t lining up with what I was seeing or hearing at LifeGate, it didn’t sway me.  These were my friends!  They were like my family.  In fact, I liked a lot of them more than certain members of my real family.
So what if something they preached from the pulpit didn’t exactly line up with what I read in the Bible?  There are so many different ways to interpret the Bible right?  Was it really a big deal that they used verses completely out of context as long as they loved Jesus?  That’s what’s important isn't?  That we love Jesus? 
 Everything else is religion and legalism.  It’s the relationship that counts!  
Besides, just because I thought that particular verses meant something else didn't that just prove that the Bible means different things to different people?
The Bible was alive.  We were told that all the time.  
And things that have life change all the time.
Yeah, for real..  I actually believed that..
At the time I had no idea what a Confession was or why they were so important.  Plus if anyone had told me about them at that time I would have ignored them or said something like "how do we know that the people who wrote the confession were right?" which is exactly what the people who still attend that church (and others like it) say when I mention a Confession now..

At the time I truly believed that how you feel was what was important.
Besides, they were pastors!  Obviously they knew much more about the Bible than I did.  So I disregarded what I read and how I understood it and went with whatever they said while pushing aside the “but that’s not what the Bible says” thoughts whenever they came into my head.

But then my husband’s cousin sent me a Bible class in the mail.  The Levitical Sacrificial System.  Wow!  This was the “meat” that I read about in the Bible! I completed the class and then took it again.  I learned and wanted to learn more.  
This was when I started asking questions about what I was reading in the Bible.  
Simple questions like:
Are the 10 Commandments given in the order they are given for a particular reason?  
Every single person I asked (six pastors including the senior pastor and one person who was actually employed at a bible college at the time) couldn't give me an answer except to say “I’m not really sure” or “I’ve never wondered about that, let me know what you find out”.  

How do we know that certain books of the Bible are actual historic events and not just parables to teach a moral lesson?  
I mentioned three books of the Bible specifically when asking this question- Job, Esther, and Ruth.  
I asked three of the pastors. 
The first one said “I know they are real historical events, but I will have to check some of the books I kept from college to explain why and I’ll get back to you.”  
He didn't.
The second one answered with a couple questions of his own- 
“why do you need to know? Why can’t you just have faith that they really happened?”
 He never actually answered any of my questions.
Now that I think about it, he never answered any of my questions that pertained to the Bible specifically.   
The third pastor said “I'm not sure, I'll look into it and let you know”.  
He did come back later with an answer and then admitted to me that while he was online looking for the answer he also learned that Luke was not one of the twelve apostles. 
He actually said “I didn’t know that”.  
He had been a pastor for 20 years and he didn’t know that. 

If you didn’t pick up on it, one of the books I asked about was the book of Ruth.  
Ruth!  The wife of Boaz and the mother of Obed.  Obed was the father of Jesse.  Jesse was the father of David.  How can it be that not just one pastor, but THREE pastors did not know that Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David?  
The Bible clearly says so.
I'm not talking about new Christians here, I'm talking about pastors.  It’s literally their job to know this stuff!

I realized that if I wanted to know more about the Bible that I wasn’t going to learn it from the leaders of the church (ironic eh?) so I enrolled in theology school.  By this time I knew that LifeGate was seriously selling people short as far as educating them in Scripture, but I still stayed. 
 I still wanted to stay.  
Sure I grumbled occasionally because I wasn’t learning anything that I didn’t already know, but all in all LifeGate Church was a great place to be.  
By this time my husband and I were even more popular, we were part of the in-crowd. Everyone knew us, and some of the pastors were telling visitors about me and my “amazing testimony”.
I really did have an amazing testimony. Something that can only be described as a “God thing” really did happen, and it lead me to the pastor’s office where I repeated the prayer that saved me got me started on a journey toward my salvation four years later.  The problem though, for those first four years I really did think I was saved.
I wasn’t and neither was Clay.

I’m not going to go into everything that happened leading up to the moment that I sat in that pastor’s office repeating a prayer that would save me give me a false sense of security for the next four years but suffice to say that all at once I was aware that everything I had believed about God and myself up until that moment was a total lie and that I needed to know the truth.
So, I sat in the pastor’s office and told him what had happened.  
Then for the next hour or so he told me about himself and how he used to be a selfish guy who wasn’t interested in who Jesus was, but one day while he was visiting this little red church he ran down to the front, fell on his knees and cried and then confessed that he was a sinner and needed Jesus and then he was saved.  There was quite a bit more detail than that but that’s the gist of it..  So I repeated the prayer, admitted that I was a sinner, asked Jesus to please come into my heart, and I was saved!
I wasn’t though.  
I thought I was.  
I really did.  
I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing.  Serving, attending every event, leading a table at Hearts, giving money so people could go on mission trips, joining prayer groups, volunteering at the homeless shelter, handing out money to anyone and everyone, and was part of a small group full of other popular people.  
I read my Jesus Calling book every day, read the bible for two hours every morning, and then studied it for another two hours at night. If there was something a Christian should be doing, believe me I was doing it.
But I wasn’t saved.  
I was simply a person who went to church a lot and did a lot of stuff there while handing out a lot of money. 

And then one day I watched a video on Youtube by David Platt talking about how it doesn’t matter what any particular scripture means to any particular person; what mattered was what the bible said it meant. 
I actually jumped off my couch and yelled "YES!"
Over the next few weeks I searched for more videos.  
That David Platt video led me to a video of Todd Friel and that led me to videos from the Strange Fire Conference put on by John MacArthur and that led me to a video seminar by Justin Peters, and that led me to a video called 10 indictments against the modern church by Paul Washer, and that is what led me to God.  
That is when I really heard the Gospel and understood what salvation was, who Jesus really was, who and what I really was, what it was that Jesus was saving me from and why I so desperately needed Him. 

People please, seriously..  
Saying a prayer inviting Jesus into your heart is not going to save you.  
Nothing you do is going to save you.  
Not a choice or a decision that you make.
No one is saved without hearing the gospel and no one hears and understands the Gospel without God giving them the grace to do so.
You don’t have to believe me.
Read the bible and find out for yourself.  

Jan 31, 2018

Have you read these?

Usually when I'm discussing a Confession or a Catechism in a group or on social media, someone always says “I don’t adhere to a particular confession or Catechism, they don’t matter anyway.”
When I hear that, my first initial reaction is to say “That tells me that you have never actually read any, you don’t know what they say and you probably don’t really know what they are.”
I don’t say that though.
But I want to.
I’ll admit it.  It bothers me when people say that.  
It’s like saying “I’m not a Calvinist or an Arminian or a Molonist, I’m just a Christian”.  Which is ridiculous because if you are a Christian, you either believe the doctrine of Calvinism or you believe the doctrine of Arminianism or you believe the doctrine of Molonism (by the way, Molonism is just stupid and if you believe it you should repent). 
Like it or not, you are either a Calvinist, an Arminian or a Molonist, regardless of what you call yourself.
Don’t believe me?  Look them up.

Anyway. The confessions.  
Before you announce to the world that you refuse to adhere to a confession (or just argue about them on Facebook) read them and then decide.

This is the confession my church adheres to.
Did you know that when looking for a new church that one of the things you should ask is "what confession does your church adhere to?"
If they say they don't adhere to one at all or that they have their own (red flag!) you should be asking a lot more questions..
Or just move on to the next one..

This is very similar to the London Baptist Confession except the part about baptism.  It's Presbyterian so they believe in baptizing infants (they don't believe it's a saving baptism though)..

Almost every Christian pastor on the planet has talked about Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church.  But how many of you have taken the time read it or really have any idea of what it actually says?
The pastor (and I use the term loosely) of my ex-church was always bringing it up, usually when he was introducing the next weird thing that a church really shouldn't be doing.  He would remind us that at one time Martin Luther defied the “legalistic and religious” church in order to bring them down and expose them.
He always described that moment as Martin Luther challenging the church as if he were standing on the steps of the church, his hammer ringing out, boldly confronting them with the real truth and daring them to deal with it!
Well guess what?  
That's not really why he nailed his thesis to the door.  In fact, he probably didn't even use nails and a hammer, but glue.  He wasn't defying or challenging the church, and he wasn't trying to start a reformation.
He loved his church.
He didn't even expect what he put on the door to cause such a scandal.
The door of the church had always been used as a community bulletin board.  Lots of people glued stuff to it.  It was where the people would go to read the latest announcements.
Luther’s thesis was just one of many announcements glued to that door.
Martin Luther was unhappy about the selling of merits and felt that the practice was unbiblical, so he posted his reasons (the 95 thesis) on the door and requested that they would hold a debate to sort it all out.
That was it.
It was the younger people in the town who saw the thesis, had it copied and sent it out to the surrounding towns.
It was after that, that Martin Luther began to learn more and speak out more and eventually became the great reformer that he is known as today; and even then, he still clung to a few heretical ideas that no one who brags about that moment wants to talk about now.

A personal confession of faith written in 1563.
It's absolutely wonderful.  
I'm in the process of writing down a portion of it every day along with a Resolution (see below).

Written by a synod of Reformed theologians in Dordtrecht, Netherlands, in 1618-19.
It's main purpose was to set the record strait about the conflict between Calvinism and Arminianism.
I read through it every couple of months.
I'm going to start copying a portion of it daily when I finish going through the Resolutions and the Catechism. 

If you have never read anything by (or about) Jonathan Edwards, please do!
He was a Puritan pastor and theologian, thought by many to be the greatest theological mind that this country has ever produced. His preaching, which helped spark the  First Great Awakening, emphasized man’s sin, God’s judgment, God’s sovereignty, the necessity of personal conversion, and justification by faith.

He wrote these resolutions when he was 17 and 19 and read them out loud to himself once a week until his death.