Archive for the ‘church’ Category

You can subscribe, assent or intellectually attach to a creed.  But a gospel is a message and it must be told.  We’ve been given a gospel, a message that is intended to be communicated to everyone.  That’s what Jesus said.  Yes we have creeds to govern the truth of that message but the essential thing is the message (truthfully held) and the continued proclamation of that message.  In the end our effectiveness as gospel bearers comes down to two main criteria: BELIEF and VALUE.  Let me explain.

It’s been raining a lot lately so let’s use rain as the analogy.  When it’s cloudy, the weather forecast says it’s going to rain and you start to feel the first few drops on your nose ( I think mine must stick out a way cause that’s where I usually feel it first) you believe it’s going to rain.  Your BELIEF is so strong that it causes you to act according to what you VALUE.  You value the dry clothes on the washing line so you bring them in off the line.  You value the upholstery in your car so you shut the windows.  If you’ve missed the rain for such a long time and it’s breaking the drought then you’ll probably go out in it and let it soak you to the skin (praise God for the rain).  You BELIEVE that it will rain, you BELIEVE that it is raining and you act on that BELIEF according to what you VALUE.

So back to the gospel.  The message that came to you.  God’s revelation of His purposes, His attitude and your only hope.  Let’s be more specific.  God told you that He is going to make it rain.  The storm is brewing.  The rain is judgement, fire and hell.  Devastating rain.  Jesus presents himself as the only fire proof umbrella, the only hope for you or anyone and you say you believe.  I say I believe.  But do I really believe?  Does it make you act on behalf of the things that you value?  Does it make you get out of your comfort zone and bring that message of  judgement and salvation to the sea of souls drowning all around you?  Does it make me pray about my neighbours, my family, my friends, my country, my leaders and ask for opportunities to tell them the message – to pass on the gospel?  Or do my actions prove what I really believe and value.  Does my obsession with what people think of me govern my words, the way I dress, who I hang out with?  Does my addiction to pleasure whether sinful or legitimate make me choose fun over edification and evangelism?  Does my insatiable appetite for comfort, security and ease drive me to spend every waking moment thinking how I might turn this conversation, or this activity or this person into another part of my ever expanding kingdom when really I should be thinking how I might turn all these opportunities to the service of my King Jesus.

What do you believe?   What do you value?

What are you going to do about it?

May we be humbled by God to see the weakness of our belief – the amazing grace of our saviour and the pressing needs of  everyone who has not heard the gospel.  It’s the most important message and if we believe it’s true, we need to tell it to those we value.

Westminster on the Sabbath

Posted: August 14, 2009 by Daniel in christian living, Christianity, church

Of late I have been challenged by a brother via email, who has a different view that me in regard to the day on which the sabbath should take place. Neither of us have moved from our initianl positions. I continue to hold the same position as the Westminster Confession, where it says:

As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: (Exodus 20 v8, 10, 11; Isaiah 56 v2, 4, 6, 7) which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, (Genesis 2 v2,3; 1 Corinthians 16 v1,2; Acts 20 v7) which in Scripture is called the Lord’s day, (Revelation 1 v10) and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.(Exodus 20 v8,10, with Matthew 5 v17,18)

This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employments and recreations;(Exodus 20 v8; 16 v23, 25, 26, 29, 30; 31 v15–17; Isaiah 58 v13; Nehemiah 13 v15–22) but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.(Isaiah 58 v13; Matthew 12 v1–13)

It has been good for me to sharpen my understanding of this commandment and the importance of glorifying God through our work and our rest. One last link that I would like to share that has a comprehensive handle on the subject is from Brian Schwertley at Reformed Online, The Christian Sabbath Examined, Proved, Applied

heart

I was listening to way of the master last week and was very taken by a section sent in by a listener to WOTMR, sent in this quote from “Hope Lutheran church – C F W Walter”

“There is a difference between the Law and the Gospel. All religions contain PART of the Law. Some of the heathen have advanced so far that they have even perceived the necessity to have a inner cleansing of the sole. Purification of thoughts and desires, but of the Gospel not a particle is found except in the Christian religion.
The Law is written in their hearts, Their consciences bearing witness to them, but not the Gospel, this is why we need to go to the ends of the world. Had the Law not been written in men’s hearts, no one would listen to the preaching of the law. Everyone would turn away and say “That is too cruel, no body can keep the commandments, such as these!”
But my friends do not hesitate to preach the Law, people may revile it but they only do so with there mouths, but what you say to them is the things that there conscience is preaching to them everyday! [Unless God has let them go, and that is a terrifying thought…] Nor could we convert any person by preaching to him unless we preach the law to him first. It would be imposable to convert any one if the Law had not been written in men’s hearts.”
(more…)

Crazy Philippino Skyper

Posted: October 29, 2007 by Daniel in apologetics, Christianity, church
Tags: , , ,

Just had a conversation with a guy from the Philippines on my skype. I jumped to the topic of his religious background and he quickly informed me that he didn’t think that Jesus was God – oops. Warning bells! (In addition to the warning bells that he was an unknown skyper!)

Well I had a bit of a discussion with him and he gave me permission to post our conversation on this blog. You might find this conversation fascinating or absolutely boring. If your response is the latter please excuse me from posting this and move on to something on our blog or the www – there are plenty more things out there more interesting. (Also – just a disclaimer; I have left all the dodgy spelling intact. The Philippino guy was all over the show so I thought that it was only fair to leave my rapid typying spelling mistakes intact.)

[7:20:50 PM] taumerald says: hello and good day
[7:22:27 PM] Daniel Chapman says: yesss……
[7:22:40 PM] taumerald says: hello
[7:23:01 PM] Daniel Chapman says: sorry, I don’t remember talking with you. Fill me in.
[7:23:24 PM] taumerald says: hi im xanthi of philippines
[7:23:40 PM] Daniel Chapman says: ok
[7:23:41 PM] taumerald says: yes its true we havent been in talk before
[7:23:57 PM] Daniel Chapman says: why do you want to talk with me?
[7:24:52 PM] taumerald says: ,,,I like to talk new people of different countries, all over and accross the oceans like what I am doing right now
[7:25:29 PM] Daniel Chapman says: ok. why?
[7:26:37 PM] taumerald says: just to make friends through skype
[7:27:01 PM] Daniel Chapman says: fair enough. SO tell me about yourself? (more…)

Angela and I are both very excited and chuffed about Reformation Day coming up this Wednesday. We never though such a thing would be celebrated till we saw a special notice in our Church bulletin informing us of a Reformation Day service this Wednesday night. It has really hit our funny bones – in a good way. If you have never heard of the reformation or reformation day, here is an extract from wikipedia that might help:

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg’s main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. When Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520, the Lutheran tradition was born.

I have recently come across the Westminster catechisms, it is the best orthodox Confession ever produced and is a “must read” for every Christian.However, today we are going to take a walk through the “Westminster shorter catechism” as it was written to be shared with lay people and young children, to give people a handle on huge parts of Christian theology, all while being spread over 107 small questions and answers.

The first 12 questions concern God as Creator.

Questions 13-20 deal with original sin and the fallen state of man’s nature.

Questions 21-38 concern Christ the Redeemer and the benefits that flow from redemption.

Questions, 39-84, discuss the ten commandments.

Questions 85-97 teach concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The final set of questions

98-107 teach and explain the Lord’s prayer.

So lets explore WSC for a clear, accurate, deep yet simple telling of the gospel spread over 22 of the questions

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. (more…)

Just sharing an article that could be of use for those who are new to personal evangelism or who read stories about evangelism encounters and think ‘I could never do that’. The article encourages Christians to ‘be a witness through their lives’ and to invite people to Church. It also encourages timid Christians to speak – or at the very least have tracts or gospel messages to give away:

“…We must speak. There must not be a shameful silence, but our words must speak of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now we have different gifts. Some of us believe that our gifts are very meagre. But the point is, we must use the gifts that we have. We must secure good pamphlets and tapes which speak of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must have a knowledge of the Bible. That does not mean that we simply take some statement of the gospel and memorize it as a little thing that we throw out. No. The gospel and the knowledge of the Bible must simply flow out of our lives.”

Rev. Carl Haak, Personal Evangelism: How?