Today’s Blog

Friday, 1/17/20 – Friday Tough Question

What’s a “Paradigm Shift?”

20200116_181731The film Planet of the Apes (1968) stars Charleton Heston as Taylor, an astronaut who awakens from deep space travel hibernation to find he has crashed on a planet unknown to him. He discovers the planet is ruled by apes who have learned to speak and possess technology. Taylor is captured by them but escapes and explores the planet more fully. Outside the ape city he discovers remnants of a previous but destroyed civilization. Eventually he stumbles upon something familiar. Oh no! Can it Be? Taylor had never left earth orbit at all! He had not travelled through space but through time–to the future. This planet was earth!

In an instant an entirely new world view is thrust upon Taylor. He has no choice but to accept it. I fear this is the fate soon to be thrust upon many who walk this earth today.

20200116_181656During the 18th century and beyond The Great Awakening, spurred by the Spirit empowered preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, transformed the hearts and minds of many. Eyes were opened to see the true spiritual realities of their existence. Heaven and hell, justification through Christ or eternal damnation, these were the issues of this brief thing we call a lifetime. Souls are eternal. Decisions must be made.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). Many today discount this. They say Christ was just a man, and they build their philosophy of life on other notions. But the Christian knows that a day is coming a day in which

“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11).

What Taylor experienced is a “paradigm shift.” What every soul upon coming to Christ experiences is also a “paradigm shift.” One discovers that their whole way of thinking about the world, the universe, life and death is inaccurate and must be abandoned. God is staring them in the face, they surrender and are transformed! This is what happened during the Great Awakening and this is what happens in the honest transformations that result from true spiritual Revival.

Open your heart to Christ today! Don’t be like the one who spends all of his life climbing higher and higher on some ladder of success only to discover that the ladder has all the while been leaning against the wrong wall!

Press on…

Got a question? Want to talk more about this? Use the Contact page.

Thursday, 1/16/20 – Discipleship – Evangelismq

Evangelism by Spirit, Abiding, Unity and Communion

man in black holding phone

Today I have something quite different for you, but your time with me may take a few minutes longer. They will be very worthwhile minutes however, about 22 to be exact, but stay with me.

Below you will find a link to a message by Francis Chan. Chan reminds us of Christ’s words on evangelism, and they may very well surprise you.

Jesus speaks of evangelism by our union and cooperation with God the Father and the Holy Spirit…

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothingno one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:63…64)

By our abiding in Jesus, the Vine…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5…8)

By our supernatural loving unity with other believers…

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20, 21)

And by our sharing together in the Lord’s Supper…

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

Take a few moments and check out Francis Chan on “Rethinking Outreach” (22 min.)

Press on…

photo of child reading holy bible

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

Wednesday, 1/15/20 – Pressing on…

Fruitcakes!

20200114_071300I like fruitcake … quite a bit actually. But I seldom buy any at the peak of its popularity – those days leading up to Christmas. I buy my fruitcake mid-January. In fact, I bought some just yesterday. One year I snatched up a half dozen selling at Wal-Mart for $1 each. A half-dozen fruitcake bought mid-January can leave you enough change to have breakfast at McDonald’s and still not surpass the price of a single fruitcake sold mid-December!

Of course many people hate fruitcake. Search “fruitcake jokes” online and you find things like the sketch of the loaf on a psychiatrist’s bench confessing “I feel like nobody likes me!” A thought bubble shows the psychiatrist thinking “He’s a fruitcake case!” Or the archaeologists discovering the world’s oldest fruitcake and exclaiming “Its still edible!”

But no matter; though some people think I’m a fruitcake for liking fruitcake I still like fruitcake. Frosted or not, this year’s or last, sliced or brick, it makes no matter. I’ll root for this underdog.

man sitting at the side of the road leaning back on road railing near cars during day

Some of my best friends are fruitcakes too. No, no, not like that! I mean some of them are society’s outcasts. People pawned off to others, “regifted” to “agencies” not for their perceived value but because the “gifter” doesn’t want them cluttering up their pantry, or taking up space in their fridge.

But “fruitcakes” are not “hot potatoes.” If we could look at this world as Jesus sees it we’d find we are all “fruitcakes” too! We might try to hide under a glaze or thick frosting but Jesus sees what lies below.

Isaiah caught a glimpse of it: “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” he wrote, “we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isa. 64:6).

We all “fall short of the glory of God,” penned Paul (Rom. 3:23). But God did not toss us aside, He did not “regift” us to the devil, or wash us away. Rather, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). He paid a price that far out-stripped our worth! So much does He love each one of us. He does not snatch us up at bargain prices, He sells the farm for us, gives His life for us! He intends to make of us something beautiful for all eternity. How thankful we are!

Jesus loves fruitcakes too!

Press on…

Want help connecting with this Jesus? Use the Contact page. To hear recent messages from Lincoln Baptist Church look under ‘Sermons Online’ here at the LBC website.

Tuesday, 1/14/20 – Pressing on…

“Where did it fall?”

It’s Tuesday and something just isn’t right. What is it? Something seems missing… distant…

There’s an easily overlooked little incident in the Bible that I quite like. Perhaps it’s because many years ago I heard a camp speaker tell the story in a way that gripped my soul. It wasn’t really a conviction at the time that latched on to me, rather a warning.

beige concrete buildings on high ground

The incident occurred during Elisha’s ministry. Elisha, as you may recall, was invited by the prophet Elijah to join him as he travelled about the land of Israel (1 Kings 19-21). Elijah likely sensed the need for an apprentice of sorts for he was soon to be taken away. We read of this happening in 2 Kings 2. Elisha was there when God swept away Elijah in a mighty “chariot of fire and horses of fire” (v.11) leaving Elisha with, as he had requested, a “double portion” of the spirit of Elijah.

Well, Elisha goes about doing miracles and counseling kings for about the next sixty years. His ministry and the miracles wrought by God through him had far out-stripped those of Elijah by the time of the incident I want to share with you.

wood red dry wall

A sort of school for aspiring prophets had emerged with Elisha at the head and had become so popular that the facilities needed expansion. So the students all pooled together and began to build. As one industrious young student was felling a tree his axhead flew off and into the Jordan river! “Oh, my Lord,” He cried out to Elisha, “it was borrowed!” (2 Kings 6:5).

Where did it fall?” Elisha asked (v.6). The student knew exactly, pointed it out, and the man of God caused the iron head to float! “Lift it out,” He told the student and all was well once again.

Where did it fall?” was the searing question. When something goes missing in our soul we need to return to the spot where it was lost. It does no good at all not admitting to what went flying, the exact spot must be identified. You know where it is.

This day, the missing bit may be that time alone with God, or in congregation with His people, the worship, the challenge, the uplifting. The “missing but” is most probably Jesus!

An ice storm can be a monkey wrench to plans and Christian fellowship, but not to personal prayer and worship… and God can make tools and turns behave in ways miraculous. “Where did it fall?” Put down your device and talk with Him about it now.

More tomorrow…

Note: Read the whole story in 2 Kings 6:1-7.

Monday, 1/13/20 – Pressing on…

Eat like a sheep!

white sheep on plant field

A sheep has four stomachs. Now, while that may sound great to a gourmand, what I’m about to explain next is much less appetizing.

The sheep’s first stomach is called the “rumen.” When a sheep ingests food it goes first to this “rumen” where bacteria, protozoa and microbes begin to digest it. But then the sheep “regurgitates” (causes to flow backwards) the food into its mouth again to re-chew it and swallow it several times! This is called “ruminating.” In this manner the food eaten by the sheep is broken down and its nutrients are absorbed.

20200112_070213We also use the word “ruminate” to mean to think deeply about a thing. Merriam-Webster suggests synonyms such as consider, contemplate, deliberate, meditate, mull (over), ponder, and wrestle (with).

man wearing a jacket sitting on brown wooden crate

We can take wisdom from this. Jesus likened believers to sheep, and His teaching and the scriptures to food for our souls. We are not properly “nourished” spiritually if we take in this food but do not “digest” it… cause it to take root in us and change us (see James 1:25). The Bible is filled with reminders of this fact:

Joshua, faced with the great task of filling Moses sandals, was warned multiple times what was expected of him:  “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it….” (Josh. 1:8)

David, himself a shepherd, must have learned well from the habits of his charge. He wrote of the righteous man: “…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Ps. 1:2). “I will meditate on your precepts.” (Ps. 119:78 ) he determined. “I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Ps. 77:12; see also 143:5).

Paul wrote the Galatians “…I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Gal. 4:19), and urged the Colossian believers to ”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly“ (Col. 3:16). He taught the Philippian Christians to train their minds to focus on that which will promote a Christ-like spirit within them: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8). And to Timothy, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Tim. 4:15)

person woman relaxation summer

Yesterday, here in New Brunswick, many church services were cancelled due to freezing rain and ice pellets. But just as a sheep has the ability to ruminate, to pull back from its resources the nourishment needed, so do we. Jesus once said, “…every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matt. 13:52). In Acts, Luke noted of the Berean believers, “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11). Likewise Paul urged Timothy “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Be a ruminator. Eat like a sheep!

More tomorrow…

Friday, 1/10/20 – Friday Tough Question

Star Wars and “The Force”

men s black and gray collared top

A soul running from God loves to console itself with imaginations that there really is no God in pursuit. It could be safe to slow down, to rest, to accept instead the latest or currently most popular imagination of the society of runners around it. The existence of God is relative to each individual one finally seems to convince oneself. Thus, if I believe, truly believe in some alternative it will suffice for me.

But these thoughts are fantasy.

There are at present many widely touted alternatives one may wish real: “Mother Nature,” evolution, personal truth, philosophical thought, reincarnation, mystical energies and Gnosticism to name a few. No doubt there will be others.

Here, C.S. Lewis comments on the imaginings of “Creative Evolution” and the “Life Force ”but his words have relevance to all of the above…

One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen? – C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

mountains nature arrow guide

How can we know the way?” Thomas asked. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus replied. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

Real truth is usually something quite simple. Gravity simply pulls everything down and we must respect it. No amount of alternate belief will cause you to float upwards. You must learn to live within its principles. Work with it and you may indeed find a way to fly. Run from it, trying to imagine it away, and you will most certainly perish.

“May the Truth be with you.”

Press on…

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

Thursday, 1/9/20 – Discipleship – Fellowship

Whats a “fellow”?

“Fellowship.” The suffix “ship” in this context refers to all the people in the group defined by the noun. So here, all the “fellows.” But what’s a “fellow”? Is a “fellow” the same as a “guy?” Is Christian “fellowship” only for men?

men s white button up dress shirt

“What is the female equivalent of fellow?” someone once asked. Though the term “fellow” is often used in reference to a male person, etymologically the word is not masculine. We kinda know this as most folk have no problem saying of a woman “She’s a fellow traveler,” or “She’s a fellow surgeon,” for example. And we know we mean both genders in phrases such as “My fellow Canadians…” or when singing at the office party “For she’s a jolly good fellow!” But in other contexts it seems strongly masculine, e.g.: “Who’s that fellow?”

Many English words have gender pairs: guy/gal; man/woman; boy/girl; lad/lass; brethren/sistren, etc. But Christ calls both genders into unity. Paul writes,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26-29)

angel art black and white clouds

It seems that in Heaven genders will be nonexistent. Jesus taught that “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). Angels are genderless beings, and scripture says we will be like them.

So, how does all this relate to our discipleship topic today, “Christian fellowship?”

Christian fellowship is rooted in something deeper than surface characteristics… something deeper than physical appearance, financial or professional influence, common interests or gender. Christian fellowship is a bond with the Spirit of God which resides in every believer. Paul wrote, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 7:16). Christians sense this when they come together. Something ‘clicks’ deep within them. They know they are coming into a unity, a family, a “fellowship of the saints.”

backlit dawn foggy friendship

When it comes to “Christian fellowship” one could say the noun is Christ! Christian fellowship is that common bond we have in Him. It includes all the people in the group defined by Christ. If you belong to Him, you are among that great fellowship of all believers, the body of Christ, the Church universal!

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

Press on…

20200108_072526Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how 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.