Wednesday, 1/20/21 – Pressing on… Unusual Instruments…

Unusual Instruments…

Six-valve, seven bell Sax trombone

Adolphe Sax is best known as the inventor of the saxophone. Among his creations are the saxhorn (1845), the saxtromba (also 1845), the saxtuba closely followed, and in 1852 a prototype trombone. This was a trombone with six independent valves. Each valve was depressed one at a time rather than in slide fashion.

In 1874, Richard Wagner completed the four-opera, 15 hour epic opera “Ring Cycle.” For it, and to create a unique Nordic sound, Wagner invented the Wagner tuba. The devices arrived as rehearsals were underway, they were used as intended but then never used again.

Wagner tuba

Then there’s this cumbersome looking mechanism, the Fluba, an offspring of a flugelhorn and a tuba. But I’ve barely scratched the surface of wind instrument oddities.

Yet all of these very diverse instruments have something in common. When wind passes through them they each make a unique and beautiful sound. When they harmonize and all play together, an amazing symphony is possible.

Scripture teaches us each believer is s sort of “wind instrument” of God. We are “instruments of righteousness” to God (Rom. 6:13). Hear what Paul says to the discordant Christians in Corinth…

Fluba

“…When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. …For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”

Paul is saying each believer has something special to bring to our times of worship together… all sorts of different things: maybe a song, some instruction, a truth that God has made clear to them, a special spiritual gift in an unknown language perhaps, or the gift to explain what such utterances mean. We bring these gifts and use them in an orderly way and to build up our brothers and sisters, God’s Church.

When God looks down and sees His people all serving harmoniously it does not matter to Him what odd or unusual instruments we may be, but that we allow the “wind” of the Holy Spirit to move freely through us creating a beautiful song of praise to God.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 1/19/21 – Pressing on… Unusual, usually…

Unusual, usually…

Many Christians find the Holy Spirit a most puzzling personage of the Holy Trinity. But understanding the Holy Spirit can be a breeze! – or a whirlwind… or a whisper.

When Nicodemus came by night to secretly question Jesus, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). The “insufflation” refers to Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to His disciples when “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22). [See also Ezek. 37:9-14]. And when the Holy Spirit fell in His fullness upon the disciples we read, “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).

Wind, it seems, has much to teach us about the activity of the Holy Spirit: invisible, gentle & refreshing, forceful & abrasive, powerful or entreating, silent or howling. Wind can empower sailboats, generate electricity, soar a kite or sound delicate chimes. But the one thing no one can determine about it is “where it comes from or where it is going,” and Jesus said the Holy Spirit is like that.

If we want to experience the wind — want to see what it’s up to today — we will need to get outside and expose ourselves to what is has to offer, not just gaze at it’s effects through glazed glass windows.

If we want to experience the Holy Spirit, we must do the same… we must expose ourselves to what He is doing today, not just gaze at His effects through glazed-over hearts and eyes.

How do we do that? Our service this past Sunday offered some clues… leave off our own agendas, ask… seek… knock… and wait for the wind to answer.

Unusual? Not really. Wind is like that. Wind is usually unusual.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/18/21 – Pressing on… Travel Advisory!

Travel Advisory!

There have been all kinds of Travel Advisories these days: COVID-19 has made necessary certain protocols or restrictions related to air travel, land travel, border crossings, and trade. Weather systems at times have also prompted numerous Travel Advisories, warning of dangerous road conditions, ocean storms, air turbulence, even warnings for walkers such as humidity, windchill, or lightning storms.

This past Sunday the Elders of Lincoln Baptist Church considered whether we should issue a Travel Advisory to our church family, or even cancel our Sunday service, as freezing rain hovered in the forecast. Thankfully, this weather system did not develop.

But there is one Travel Advisory we seldom see, yet one which is most urgent

Travel Advisory!

A few things you should know before booking your trip to Hell.

    • Hell is a very popular travel destination; you will meet many enthusiastic travelers during your trip.
    • However, once you arrive, no further communications with these individuals will be possible.
    • Every attempt will be made to make your journey to Hell as pleasant as possible.
    • One way travel only: There are no departures or returns after arrival.
    • No refunds will be given.
    • You may not bring anything with you into Hell.
    • Upon arrival, no outside communications are permitted.
    • All persons arriving in Hell are subject to a mandatory self-isolation period of eternity. (Please note that while in isolation guests will still receive the full Hell experience, all that Hell has to offer.)
    • If you are unhappy in any way with your accommodations in Hell, we apologize, but alternate arrangements will not be provided.
    • It is very hot in Hell – very hot!
    • No food or drink is provided, or permitted at any time.
    • There is no courier messenger service in Hell.
    • Hell oddity: Despite the constant lapping flames, it remains extremely dark in Hell
    • Fun fact: Worms thrive in hell and never die!
    • Tickets to Hell are free and travel is obligatory unless alternate arrangements are made.

IMPORTANT NOTE: An alternate travel destination is currently available, but this offer may end at any time. Call on J-E-S-U-S for redemption.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 1/15/21 – Friday Tough Question: What are “the ends of the earth?”

What are “the ends of the earth?”

The son of a controversial political figure said recently in support of his near term end father, “You have a man who would get followed to the ends of the earth… his opportunities are endless.” As I read that statement the idea of the many following the one “to the ends of the earth” stuck out to me. I kept reading, but the thought lingered. Just what were “the ends of the earth” anyway? – and why would anyone want to get there?

Turns out the phrase actually derives from the Bible! Speaking of the coming great King of Zion Zechariah proclaims,

He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River [i.e., the Euphrates] to the ends of the earth.” (Zech. 9:10).

William Caxton, the first to utilize a printing press in England, appears also to be the earliest to use the phrase since the prophet. In his 1483 translation of J. de Voragine’s Golden Legende he writes, in the vernacular of his day, “And all the endes of the erthe shal worshipe the Nacions shal come to the fro ferre and bryngyng yeftes shal worshype in the our lord.” But it was not until the 19th century that the phrase became more widely used.

The phrase means “to extend to the furthest reach of man’s dominion, as opposed to the heavens.” In current usage it means “To follow one anywhere, including the most remote or inaccessible places.”

Well, I have no desire to follow any man there. I have a nobler goal in mind, a higher call… and so do you, if you are a believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ… if you have repented, turned, committed your very soul into His keeping and seek daily to deepen your walk with Him.

Some years after Caxton (c1521) Martin Luther penned the words to an enduring hymn, the closing lines of which declare

…Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.” (A Mighty Fortress, Martin Luther, c.1521).

His kingdom, God’s kingdom, extends far, far beyond “the ends of the earth.” His kingdom is forever! — I, for one, will follow Him.

Press on…

Thursday, 1/14/21 – Discipleship – Pray first, then pray…

Pray first, then pray…

The context around Pastor Andrew’s reference to God’s assessment of Daniel as a man “highly esteemed” in his message last Sunday is a three-week period Daniel spent in focussed prayer. Cyrus was now King in Persia and the first wave of exiles had returned to Jerusalem under Ezra. Daniel, now 84, was not among them and possibly felt he could be more helpful where he was, utilizing his now high position in government.

For whatever reason Daniel was in mourning, perhaps because so few had returned with Ezra, or the opposition Ezra experienced, or possibly Daniel was overwhelmed by all the preceding events and revelations. For three weeks now Daniel had disciplined himself. “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over,” he records (10:3). He did this to humble himself, to bow himself low before the Almighty God to Whom he wept and prayed.

And then…

“A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, ‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.’ And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.” (Dan. 10:10-11).

God broke in! Have you ever had “a hand touch you” like that?  One that “sets you trembling,” and drops you to hands and knees, overcome by the magnitude of such a jolting encounter with forces that perhaps until now were only theological? These moments can come when we lower ourselves before God and seek Him with all our heart.

But what I want you to notice today is the divine messenger’s response:

“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Dan. 10:12-13).

We cannot imagine what goes on in heaven when we pray, what battles are being fought. Pray… keep on praying… then pray some more. God will be victorious!

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 1/13/21 – Pressing on… Loving the Invisible

Loving the Invisible

So how does one love Someone they cannot see? Is God unfair in letting the first Christians walk with, eat with, see and smell and touch Jesus, but leaving all others to hope forward to a Messiah or believe backward to a Saviour? Didn’t John, “the beloved disciple,” proclaim that Christ was the One of Whom “…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched”?

Jesus recognized we might experience this struggle. He said to Thomas, and with you and I in mind, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

Personally, I don’t think a Jesus we could hear, see, touch, and with Whom we daily “broke bread” would have been all that easier to believe on as God incarnate! Imagine your small town plumber (Jesus was a carpenter) one day left the shop, got baptized, then disappeared for over a month only to return and wander about talking in parables, hinting at being divine. “Why,” you might say, “only three months ago he was declogging my toilet, but now – now look at him!”

No, I don’t think belief would have been much easier at all. And what was it they mused later, those two days after His entombment, “…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Had hoped, but no longer… musta been all charisma… “we had hoped…” ???

No… God is fair. He expects faith in all instances: forward-looking hope, face-to-face faith, or backward-looking belief, it is consistently true: “The just [the righteous] shall live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38].

Faith convinces one of obedience and, as Jesus explained, obedience and love are closely connected.

If you love me, keep my commands,” said Jesus to His own. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15, 21).

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

And to the church of Ephesus that had forsaken the love they had at first Jesus’ remedy was “Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Rev. 2:5).

Loving without seeing is entirely possible, whether we love some dear departed one, grow an online romance, are blind, or love Christ Whom we “have not seen and yet have believed.” And one proof of such love is our obedience.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 1/12/21 – Pressing on… How to be Beloved

How to be Beloved

Daniel was “a man greatly beloved” — or as other translation have it, a man “highly esteemed,” “highly regarded,” “treasured,” “respected,” a “man of quality.”

These words were spoken to Daniel by a messenger he saw in a vision. Who was this messenger? Was it Christ? An angel? Some say it was Christ, but though similar to John’s description of Christ (Rev. 1:12-16) there are also many differences. Also, the statement that for 21 days this personage was resisted in coming to Daniel, and that the assistance of the powerful angel Michael was required to defeat this foe, makes Christ seems less likely to be the man’s identity. Daniel had been previously visited by the angel Gabriel (9:21), so, had this visitor been Gabriel one would think Daniel would have recognized him.

But whomever this being was, he was clearly bringing Daniel a message from God, and part of that message was this statement of God’s favour.

Yesterday I listed ten references to God’s great love and acceptance of those who have placed their hope in Christ. Yet, Scripture speaks of various strong or weak entries into His kingdom: Peter speaks of receiving an “abundant entrance,” or “rich welcome” into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11), while Jude writes of saving some “with fear,” of “snatching” them from the fires of hell (Jude 23). And Jesus tells the parable of the faithful servant who receives the commendation “Well done,” from his master (Matt. 25:21, 23). Clearly, our goal ought be to mature as Jesus is described, “…in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).

Be perfect,” Christ urges, “as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37). These imperatives are important. We have only this lifetime to overcome and demonstrate victorious virtues. In eternity there will be no such opportunity.

Get rid of all secondary “loves,” embrace godliness, press into heaven with all your heart.

Do you want to be a man, a woman, “greatly beloved?” If so, love God greatly!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/11/21 – Pressing on… Love and Acceptance

Love and Acceptance

Do you feel like everyone else is a better Christian than you are? Do you discount yourself among the heroes of faith, the bold men and women used mightily by God, men like David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, the Apostles, the Revivalists, the martyrs, the prayer warriors, the men and women of great faith, exploits, power with men and favor with God?

This past Sunday morning I shared with you 10 statements of truth about your standing before God… statements of His total acceptance of you. He does love you, and more than you can possibly imagine. Here are the statements, and the references which support them. Look each one up. See if they aren’t true. If you call upon Christ as Saviour and Lord you are loved and accepted!

  1. You are God’s child. – John 1:12
  2. You are a friend of Jesus. – John 15:15
  3. You have been declared righteous before God. – Romans 5:1
  4. You are one with Christ in spirit. 1 Cor. 6:17
  5. You have been bought with a price by God and you belong to Him. – 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  6. You are a member of Christ’s Body. – 1 Cor. 12:27
  7. You are chosen by God and adopted by Him. – Eph. 1:3-8
  8. You have been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins. – Col.1:13-14
  9. You are complete in Christ. – Col. 2:9-10
  10. You have direct access to the throne of grace through Christ. – Heb. 4:14-16

We all know these words of Jesus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). It is interesting to note that if you look up the same reference in the first epistle of John you find these words, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16).

It is no wonder that Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees was: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38).

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

Great men and women of God are those who love Him greatly.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 1/8/21 – Friday Tough Question: Should A Christian Practice Yoga?

Should A Christian Practice Yoga?

What is especially intriguing about this question and others like it is that it can be taken in one of two ways. It can mean “Will Yoga enhance my connection with God? Hence, Is it something I should (i.e. ought to) do?” Or, it can mean “Is Yoga permissible? Is it something I can get away with doing and still call myself a Christian?”

As always, our Lord is primarily concerned with the believers heart. So it is important that before considering the surface question one examines the underlying motives of one’s heart. Is it seeking tools which might enhance one’s spiritual growth… Or is it testing how far one might stroll from the flock yet still be fed and protected by the Shepherd?

Twice in his letter to the Corinthians Paul addresses ‘disputable’ activities. He writes,

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12).

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.” (1 Cor. 10:23).

Though you may, or though you may think you may, have the right, the freedom, the permission to do a thing, Paul says, is not the only consideration. One must also ask what effect might the activity might have over time. Will it pull them in deeper, tempt them to deeper levels, subtly lead them to a more blatant backsliding? And what testimony does it make to other believers… believers who may be unaware of the boundaries you have set regarding it?

The danger of yoga is in its metaphysical roots. The name ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. It seeks a harmony of mind and body to the point of self-enlightenment and union with a ‘Universal Consciousness.’ In short, yoga is a Hindu philosophy of personal salvation. It is in fact “another gospel” the messengers of which Paul strongly condemned saying “let them be under God’s curse!” (see Gal. 1:6-9).

“But,” you say, “I just want to do the exercise part. What’s wrong with that?” Well, that may or may not be a boundary you will keep, or that others, following your example, may set. So, if I were to advise you then clearly the safest advice would be to avoid it. Get a good book of neutral stretching exercises and leave it at that. Examine your heart, and remember the wisdom of scripture that

 “…physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8).

 Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 1/7/20 – Discipleship – The Bible: The Word made Print

The Bible: The Word made Print

I remember those lovely, long sessions of prayer and devotion in the basement Prayer Room of the Bible College I attended many years ago. It was cold down there, thinly carpeted, with stone block walls. The only “furnishings” were the wood slat locker-room style benches permanently fixed along two adjacent walls. A slight dank potato smell lingered in the room from the huge vegetable storage bins in a room nearby. Uninviting at first, but soon soothed by the warmth of my body and Presence of the Holy Spirit of God.

Typically, after moments of settling and centering my soul upon Him, I would begin with a prayer…. the words of the psalmist David as he approached and extolled the Word of God: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Ps. 119:18). And He always did. So much so that I fully expected to hear Him each day during my morning tryst.

Sometimes He would speak reassuringly, sometimes granting His boldness, sometimes His forgiveness, and yes, sometimes His rebuke and discipline. But I always left that room knowing His love, His peace, or that lovely sweetness of soul that echoes “It is well.”

Sometimes He would give me a word, one which I was eager to discover more fully, applying the investigator’s interrogatives who, what, when, where, why, how? – exploring concordances, cross-references and commentaries until the results became repetitive.

On other days God was silent, His Word seemed dead to me, my time in it was nothing but effort, but I spent those days plodding on in it anyway. Fuel for the day ahead is needed regardless of one’s loss of taste or appetite. Not every day are days of harvest. He has promised “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11). This truth never fails.

The prayerful study of the Word of God, is as precious today as it was then. It is Living. You may read it but it also reads you… convicts you, comforts and encourages you. The Word eternal become perhaps not person, but print: inspired, unchanging, transformative. What an honour!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.