Saturday, July 21, 2012

What happens under Spirit-anointed preaching

George Whitefield preaching
Tuesday, November 27, 1739 – …I preached from a balcony to above six thousand people. God strengthened me to speak nearly two hours, with such demonstration of the Spirit, that great numbers continued weeping for a considerable time.

Tuesday, April 30, 1740 – Towards the conclusion of my discourse, God’s Spirit came upon the preacher and people, so that they were melted down exceedingly.

May 14, 1749 – I believe there were near twelve thousand. I had not spoken long before I perceived numbers melting. As I proceeded, the influence increased, till, at last, thousands cried out, so that they almost drowned my voice…What tears were shed and poured forth after the Lord Jesus…After the last discourse, I was so pierced, as it were, and overpowered with the sense of God’s love, that some thought…I was about to give up the ghost. How sweetly did I lie at the feet of Jesus. With what power did a sense of His all-constraining, free, and everlasting love flow in upon my soul! It almost took away my life.

From George Whitefield’s Journal

O God, grant such preaching – and such moving of the Spirit today!  May those who need the Savior be pierced and overpowered by your love!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Need Inspiration?

The subtitles are in Dutch, but I think you can appreciate this, no matter what language you speak.



When you are down, God can raise you up!
 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

That Subversive Book

Mel Lawrenz writes on The Brook Network:
Jiang Yuchun was a boy the first time he attended a Christian gathering in a home in Anhui Province, China. He and his father walked fifteen miles under cover of darkness because any kind of Christian gathering during the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976 was an act of subversion according to government policy. Thousands of believers were martyred during those dark days; every Christian leader exposed was imprisoned or killed; the Bible was practically extinct.

Yuchun watched the leader teaching the group, holding a tattered copy of the Bible tightly in his hand. The pages were torn and dirty, the corners worn to a rounded shape...

Read the rest of the story, and be sure to click on through to read Jiang Yuchun's testimony about "The First Bible I Saw in China".
 

Friday, December 9, 2011

John Wesley’s Church Planting Movement::Discipleship That Transformed a Nation and Changed the World

John Wesley’s Church Planting Movement: Discipleship That Transformed a Nation and Changed the World
When John Wesley was born in 1703, four million out of Britain’s five million people lived in absolute poverty—unless they found enough food for that day, they would begin to starve to death.

When John Wesley launched a Church Planting Movement in this context, he not only changed the eternal destinies of an estimated one million people who came to Christ through his ministry, he changed their economic status as well. Not only did the Methodists he led get saved, they got out of poverty and became a powerful influence in discipling their nation. Wilberforce and other “spiritual sons” of Wesley honored him as the “greatest man of his time.”

The Methodists made such an impact on their nation that in 1962 historian Élie Halévy theorized that the Wesleyan revival created England’s middle class and saved England from the kind of bloody revolution that crippled France. Other historians, building on his work, go further to suggest that God used Methodism to show all the oppressed peoples of the world that feeding their souls on the heavenly bread of the lordship of Christ is the path to providing the daily bread their bodies also need.

Read it all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Young Americans Can’t Think Morally

I reprinted this entire article instead of excerpting it because I felt I ought to. ;-)
Why Young Americans Can’t Think Morally

(Moral standards have been replaced by feelings)

by Dennis Prager (from National Review Online)

Last week, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote a column on an academic study concerning the nearly complete lack of a moral vocabulary among most American young people. Here are excerpts from Brooks’s summary of the study of Americans aged 18 to 23. It was led by “the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith”:

● “Smith and company asked about the young people’s moral lives, and the results are depressing.”

● “When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldn’t answer the question or described problems that are not moral at all.”

● “Moral thinking didn’t enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner.”

● “The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste.”

● “As one put it, ‘I mean, I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it. But different people feel different ways, so I couldn’t speak on behalf of anyone else as to what’s right and wrong.’”

● “Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now it’s thought of as something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart.”

Ever since I attended college I have been convinced that “studies” either confirm what common sense suggests or they are mistaken. I realized this when I was presented study after study showing that boys and girls were not inherently different from one another, and they acted differently only because of sexist upbringings.

This latest study cited by David Brooks confirms what conservatives have known for a generation: Moral standards have been replaced by feelings. Of course, those on the left only believe this when an “eminent sociologist” is cited by a writer at a major liberal newspaper.

What is disconcerting about Brooks’s piece is that nowhere in what is an important column does he mention the reason for this disturbing trend: namely, secularism.

The intellectual class and the Left still believe that secularism is an unalloyed blessing. They are wrong. Secularism is good for government. But it is terrible for society (though still preferable to bad religion) and for the individual.

One key reason is what secularism does to moral standards. If moral standards are not rooted in God, they do not objectively exist. Good and evil are no more real than “yummy” and “yucky.” They are simply a matter of personal preference. One of the foremost liberal philosophers, Richard Rorty, an atheist, acknowledged that for the secular liberal, “There is no answer to the question, ‘Why not be cruel?’”

With the death of Judeo-Christian God-based standards, people have simply substituted feelings for those standards. Millions of American young people have been raised by parents and schools with “How do you feel about it?” as the only guide to what they ought to do. The heart has replaced God and the Bible as a moral guide. And now, as Brooks points out, we see the results. A vast number of American young people do not even ask whether an action is right or wrong. The question would strike them as foreign. Why? Because the question suggests that there is a right and wrong outside of themselves. And just as there is no God higher than them, there is no morality higher than them, either.

Forty years ago, I began writing and lecturing about this problem. It was then that I began asking students if they would save their dog or a stranger first if both were drowning. The majority always voted against the stranger — because, they explained, they loved their dog and they didn’t love the stranger.

They followed their feelings.

Without God and Judeo-Christian religions, what else is there?

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.

Please visit the original site and read it all.
 

Monday, August 22, 2011

How God's Word Changed a Life


A encouraging story testimony from BiblicaDirect.com:
“I was a drunk and adulterer for forty years. I was constantly lying and cheating on my wife. Finally after all the kids were gone, and after twenty-three years of marriage my wife kicked me out of the house. I had tried everything to break my alcohol addiction – meetings and programs and endless cycles of retreating back to the same things. Then, in 1992 I had a powerful encounter with the Lord and was radically transformed. I also felt the Lord tell me to start giving away Bibles and devotionals. So, I put NKJV’s and scripture portions out all over at nursing homes, restaurants, new stands, churches and even prisons. Over the next two years the Lord restored my job, my home, and miraculously – my wife. Even my desire for adultery dried up. After seventeen years of being divorced, we were remarried in 1994. I tell people she was my first wife and she is my last wife. I deserved hell, but Jesus loves me and He is the Restorer.” - anonymous

God's Word — Read it. Believe it. Share it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why It's Time to Speak about God Again

From Jay Haug, writing in The American Thinker:

America is living under an illusion: the idea that we can expunge God (broadly understood) from our national and public belief system and still operate a moral and accountable government.

C.S. Lewis summed up the problem in The Abolition of Man. "We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful." John Adams asserted, "Our Constitution was made for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Our founding fathers laid down a system that demanded conscientious, self-restrained implementation -- a government dependent on the character of the people. Ben Franklin, perhaps the most deistic of the founding fathers, famously assured one curious bystander that the Constitutional Conventions had engendered "a Republic, if you can keep it." How many people today truly understand that America's health depends on the moral character of its citizens, of their personal "keeping" of our nation?

Many people in power have discovered that what Ivan Karamazov said is true: "If God is dead, all is permitted." They recognize only too well that God has been removed from public life -- and with Him, the attendant moral order. In their minds, there is no responsibility because there is no God. Morality, though not always agreed upon, has become a matter of opinion, easily dismissed.

How quaint the phrases of JFK appear to modern ears in his inaugural address: "the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God." Unlike most of American history, religious utterances today are considered sectarian, even offensive. For the publicly disgraced, however, take a few years in jail or probation and a good lawyer, and they are home free. Americans forgive, and well they should, but who is left to pick up the pieces and contemplate the risk/reward of bad behavior?

When was the last time an American president prayed aloud in public? It was FDR at the moment of the D-Day invasion. According to preacher Andy Stanley, Americans stopped in traffic and got out of their cars, and major companies sent home their employees to pray for the invasion. Children stopped in school, all to pray. The truth is that for most of our history, Americans have believed that our nation is accountable to God for our behavior and prayed publicly for His guidance and forgiveness. Even when Abraham Lincoln asserted in his Second Inaugural that "[t]he Almighty has His own purposes," intimating that they are not easily discerned, very few Americans doubted, as Lincoln asserted, that they are "true and righteous altogether."

Only since prayer was banished from public schools in 1962 and a vocal minority began to consider it their right never to be present in a public place within earshot of a prayer was it that America decided to hang up on the voice of God in the public sphere. But this has not protected us from what Julia Ward Howe called "His terrible swift sword" -- i.e., the consequences for our behavior. We are reaping the whirlwind even as we speak.

Many believe that religion should be confined to the private sphere. They want religion, in Francis Schaeffers's words, "privately important, but publicly irrelevant." But the truth is that public people living out public lives have always been subject to public oaths and understandings that invoke the name and sanction of God. According to historian David McCullough, George Washington added "so help me God" to the presidential oath, and it has stuck ever since. In the face of communism in the 1950s, Congress added "under God" to the pledge of allegiance and made "One Nation Under God" our national motto. Those who preceded us knew the wisdom of inculcating an understanding of God and the roots of conscience in all Americans -- even in public schools. The "lowest common denominator" result of the 1962 school prayer decision was not only foolish constitutionally, but self-destructive nationally. Our public schools have never been the same since.

American history shows that two "Great Awakenings" presaged the two greatest crises in American history. John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield preached through the entire thirteen colonies in the 1740s, preparing the next generation for the challenges and inculcating the self-control needed for revolutionary times. Charles Phinney, Lyman Beecher, and others led the 2nd Great Awakening that formed the backdrop for the Civil War, empowering in the aftermath a greater healing and reconciliation of the nation than might normally have occurred. When the Civil Rights movement reached its critical stage, Martin Luther King, Jr., a clergyman, appeared on government property and invoked both the Bible (the book of Amos) and our founding documents to declare racial prejudice wrong, telling Americans that racism fell short of both God's laws and America's founding vision. He knew where freedom came from, proclaiming, "Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last" as he strode from the Lincoln Memorial. Must God be turned to publicly only when America is shaken to the core, or when our values are seriously compromised? Are we not in that position right now?

America is in crisis. Unfortunately, since the 1960s, we have expunged the one Presence from our public life who can truly help us as He has in the past. In his book Who Are We?, Samuel Huntington tells us that America is different from every other nation in the following regard: throughout the world, the more impoverished a nation is, the more time its people spend in religious observance and activities. The only exception -- the only one -- is America. We are wealthy and we also spend much time in religious observance.

Huntington warns us that we have about fifteen years to preserve what he calls "our Protestant heritage." Let's expand that here to include the public presence of God, which can help to enliven the private consciences of all Americans.

What we must face is a simple fact. A morality unhinged from God is not only inadequate for the times, but it will also doom us to a permanent slide into oblivion. Many believe that America will turn publicly to God...eventually. But will it be too late when the time finally comes?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy

Signs we need revival: Grumbling and the lack of thankfulness in our society--beautifully illustrated by the humor of Louis C.K. and Conan O'Brien [warning: contains some crude language]:


In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."
(Exodus 16:2-3)

Studying Colossians recently I was struck by the Apostle Paul's exhortation to the opposite attitude of complaining, which is an attitude of continual thanksgiving.

Colossians 1:3 records Paul's thankfulness for the believers in Colossae and reminds them in verse 12 to be thankful that they have an inheritance with all the saints as well as a new citizenship:
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

In Col. 2:6-7, Paul suggests thankfulness for our inheritance in Christ as a protection against false teaching and a support to a growing faith:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Chapter 3:15 connects thankfulness to conflict resolution leading to unity among believers: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Chapter 4:2 describes the attitude we should always possess: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."

The pressing need of our day is for God's people not to become a part of the bitterness, grumbling, and dissension that characterizes our age, but to be thankful— and, in so doing, to be a witness that we are plugged into something better—the joy of knowing Jesus.

Psalm 105:1, "Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Be a lighthouse!



Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:15-16)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

UGANDA: CAPA Bishops Conference - the future of Anglicanism?

David Virtue reports from Uganda regarding the Conference of Anglican Primates in Africa (CAPA) Bishops Conference which has been going on for the past few days. The conference has been notable for the many African voices asserting a vigorous biblical orthodoxy in the face of western challenges. I agree with David's assessment: If there is any hope for Anglicanism, this is it.

UGANDA: CAPA Bishops Conference: From My Ear to Yours

By David W. Virtue in Entebbe
www.virtueonline.org
August 28, 2010

If I had to choose between the revivalism of African Anglicanism versus the liberalism of Western Anglicanism, the answer is a no brainer. Even assuming for the moment that a lot of African Christianity is superficial (false), that it is an inch deep (also untrue), moralistic (also untrue) - one must make a distinction between moralism and true biblical morality. Then the evidence is clear - Anglican churches in Africa are daily being born and growing at a remarkable rate while Western churches are emptying at a rate that will guarantee their extinction possibly within my life time.

The charismatic assistant bishop of Kampala, the Rt. Rev. Zac Niringiye of the Province of Uganda, conducts daily Bible Studies here for the 400 bishops. He is a superb teacher. If he is the future of Anglican Christianity on this continent, and he might well be, then Africa has little to worry about. Problems abound, and the amazing thing is that despite the enormous political corruption, stupidity and laziness of government officials, peoples' lives are being changed by the gospel.

Read it all.