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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Deliver Us From Schadenfreude (Steve Cornell)

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Deliver us from Schadenfreude

By Steve Cornell
http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the depth of human depravity. I am not referring to murder and other widely recognized evils. What I am thinking about is a deeper evil that appears in every culture and class of people. In fact, often it is more prevalent among the refined and so-called enlightened people. Even more disturbingly is how much it can be found in ostensibly religious people. My concern is captured well by the German term Schadenfreude.

Schadenfreude: (shäd’n-froi’də) a compound German word (lit. “damage-joy) that refers to malicious joy in the misfortunes of others. From “schaden”– damage, harm, injury + “freude”– joy.

Shadenfreude is marketable. What kind of news sells most? Bad news, right? And when bad things happen to people (or when they suffer the consequences of the bad things they do), there are plenty of others willing to gloat over them. When your life is public and you enjoy some measure of success or accolade, sadly there will always be people who want to see bad things happen to you. Sometimes they even slander you or spread rumors and lies to feed this desire to enjoy your downfall. Shadenfreude is everywhere and every heart must resist it.

Why are we tempted to find satisfaction in the misfortune of others? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? Does it redirect the light from our own sins?
This is one of the deepest evidences of how evil our hearts can be and it is more universal than most admit. It is found in the delight one takes in hearing bad news about another person. The pleasure one finds in hearing about the downfall of another is often subtle and sometimes covered with a hypocritical veneer of concern. If outright gloating over another is bad; it is far worse to appear publically sympathetic while privately gloating.

Some speak about the failures of others with sneering smugness; others act publically concerned while privately feeding a sense of moral superiority or even delight. Both responses come from deeply depraved hearts-no matter how much they feign religious or spiritual concern. Have you ever shared a misfortune with another person and felt like he took a little humor or pleasure from your circumstances?

This is what the Germans call schadenfreude (i. e. enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others). A close cousin to this is envy. People who find pleasure in the misfortune of others also tend to be inwardly displeased at the good fortune of others. Here we find two evils that feed off each other: Envy and Schadenfreude.

One writer suggested that these behaviors reflect, “human antagonism in one of its basest and most unheroic forms.”  “Wherever we find envy,” he wrote, “we find the wreckage of human and Christian community. Envious people backbite. They deliver congratulations with a smile that, in another light, might be taken for a sneer” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be).

“The envier gossips. He saves up bad news about others and passes it around like an appetizer at happy hour. The envier grumbles. He murmurs. He complains that all the wrong people are getting ahead. Spite, bitterness, discord which undoes all friendships, accusation, malignity-all these things flow from envy and together turn friendship and good fellowship into a rancorous shambles” (Ibid., Plantinga).
Whatever the motive for gloating, we are told to resist it. “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice” (Proverbs 24:17). Remember that, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). Alternatively, true love, “…does not delight in evil” (I Corinthians 13:5-6).

Perhaps the person easiest to gloat over is an enemy. When those who hurt us suffer, it’s tempting to enjoy their pain. But Jesus taught his followers to, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

Is this easy to practice? No. But remember that God loved us when we were his enemies. “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:8,10). Ask God to fill your heart with His love so that it will not be poisoned with schadenfreude and envy.

Steve Cornell
Senior Pastor
Millersville Bible Church
58 West Frederick Street
Millersville, PA. 17551
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By Steve Cornell

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Romans 1.16

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

This is one of my favourite verses ever. Everyone should memorize this verse in my opinion, it is so powerful. It is life changing truth.

Paul starts by saying “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”.

The Greek word for ashamed is the word epaischynomai which means guilty, disgraced and embarassed. How do we feel about the good news of Jesus Christ? Are we disgraced by it? Does it embarass us?

I think it often does embarass us. I am not talking about not sharing the gospel and being afraid to share the gospel – you should never be afraid to tell people the good news. I think that the gospel embarasses us as Christians because it is a message of entire grace and no merit.

The gospel (Gk. euaggelion) is the good news of Christ. It is the truth that we don’t have to be spiritually dead, we don’t have to be sick, we don’t have to be poor, we don’t have to be rejected because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross.

I think Christians are embarassed of the gospel because it is so unbelievable – as Andrew Wommack calls it, it is the “too good to be true news”. So what we do is add a little to the gospel to make it more acceptable and less embarassing: you have to go to church for it to work, you have to be a good person, you have to change, you have to pray for this long. None of this is the gospel – the gospel is that we are redeemed, we are righteous, we are healthy, we are wealthy because of Jesus Christ and because of His goodness and His brilliance.

Stop being embarassed of the gospel. Tell people the truth: Jesus Christ has done it all. Jesus has paid the price for every sin you have ever committed, ever will commit, and you are free in Him if you believe in Him. You are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

This gospel – this news that it is all Jesus and not our works, not our righteousness, not our attitudes, but His redemptive work on the cross – this gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.

This is the most important truth you can ever, ever receive: the power of God is in the good news that Jesus has completely paid the price for us.

The power of God is not in fasting. The power of God is not in prayer. The power of God is certainly not in binding demons and screaming in tongues for hours. The power of God is not in our holiness. The power of God is not in special people – charismatic superstars.

The power of God is in the gospel – the good news that Jesus paid the price.

If you know someone who needs healing, you don’t need to pray and fast. You don’t need to bind the devil, you don’t need to drag them to a crusade.

You need to tell them the good news. You need to tell them the truth that Jesus Christ has completely paid the price for their healing. The power of God is in the good news.

Don’t be embarassed about the good news. Tell people they can be healed – not because of their merit, but because of Jesus. Tell people they can be wealthy because of Jesus – not because of their background or any other reason. Tell people that they can be righteous because of Jesus – not due to their actions, their prayer life, their anything! It is all Jesus.

The power is only in what Jesus has done. It is not anywhere else. If we don’t tell people boldly that Jesus has done it all, then we will not see the power of God.

This is why the church at large does not see the power of God. Galatians 3 says that we see miracles because of grace and faith, not works of the law. We have made miracles subject to our holiness, to our goodness. We have told people that they need to clean up their lives to see the goodness of God, to see healings, to see wealth, to see salvation, to be righteous.

It is all untrue – in fact, Paul calls it witchcraft in Galatians 3. It is witchcraft to say that you need to do something to be saved other than believe in Christ and His redemptive work.

Get out of witchcraft, and get into the gospel. Stop being embarassed about the gospel and tell people boldly that Jesus has done it all. Then you will see the power of God – you will see people born again, people healed, people released from poverty, from shame, from rejection. You will see people who used to hold their heads down low lift them high, their entire faces will change as the gospel renews their mind.

Stop trying to find the power of God where it is not. Stop being embarassed that Jesus has done it all and you have done nothing, are nothing and deserve nothing without Him! Admit it – you are nothing without Christ. You can do nothing without Christ. You deserve nothing without Christ.

Christ has done it all – paid the total price so we, and the world, can be righteous, can be saved, can be accepted, can be loved, can be redeemed, can be joyous, can be healed, can be happy, can work miracles, can enjoy life in abundance. It is all HIM!

All we have to do to enjoy salvation (which in the Greek means healing, peace and prosperity) is believe. That is the greatest truth in the Bible. It is the most wonderful truth in the universe. That is the most important truth you can ever realize.

Two Powerful Messages On the Holy Spirit

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http://treeoflifelondon.weebly.com/holy-spirit-month-september-2009.html

I have just uploaded a message called The Vocal Gifts, which is really about the heartbeat of being a prophetic church and part of my passion for building a prophetic church in the heart of London and Essex.

I have in addition uploaded today’s message called The Holy Spirit On Our Side, which is a powerful key in how to hear God more clearly, silence the devil and minister in the prophetic in a more accurate and powerful manner.

Enjoy!

Nothing But a Corpse (Ray Comfort)

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Nothing But a Corpse –Ray Comfort

“A recent discovery showed that self replicating RNA strands could come from elements found during the conditions of early Earth. Besides isn’t the belief of creationists, such as yourself, that God created man (life) out of dust (non-life)? Doesn’t this also mean that life was created from non-life?” BeamStalk

Man had no life until God breathed it into him. He was nothing but a corpse until the life of God entered his inanimate body: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). All living things have their source in God, Who is the eternal fountain of life.

The Gospel of John says that Jesus Christ (called “the Word”) was “in the beginning with God” when life on earth began, and that “all things were made by Him” (see John 1:1-4). Then it says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (see John 1:14). If you look at the opening verses of Genesis you will see “And God said…” (Genesis 1:1-3). It was the spoken word that brought creation into being.

Then this “Word” that created all thing became flesh, and the Bible says “in Him was life” (John 1:4). This is why Jesus said strange things about His words. He said, “My words are spirit, they are life (see John 6:63, italics added). He claimed to be the very source of life itself:

“I am the way the truth and THE life” (John 14:6).
“I am the resurrection and THE life” (John 11:25).
“I have come that they might have life…” (John 10:10).
“I am the bread of Life…” (John 6:35).

The Apostle Paul said, “Christ who is our life…” (see Colossians 3:4).

Look at what the Bible says of who (or what) Jesus of Nazareth was:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested us;)” (1 John 1:1-2). See also John 5:26.

So when someone “receives Christ,” they aren’t receiving some dead religion or some sort of a intellectual belief. They are actually receiving the very source of life itself. That’s why Scripture says, “He that has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12). Do you have the life of Christ within you (see Colossians 1;27), or are you still “dead in your trespasses and sins”?

“Indisputable” Evidence for Evolution

If you’re looking for real proof of evolution, go to http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php/ Let’s see you refute THAT…I highly doubt that this will be featured as a blog entry, because I know that you will once again be unable to stand up against the indisputable evidence for evolution, and will choose to ignore this post. If you do, however, choose to feature this as a blog post, I would like to congratulate you on your courage, and happily invite you to your demise.” L Hazzal

This is an in context quote from the above site giving indisputable evidence for evolution:

“One of the most important experiments in evolution is going on right now in a laboratory in Michigan State University. A dozen flasks full of E. coli are sloshing around on a gently rocking table. The bacteria in those flasks has been evolving since 1988–for over 44,000 generations. And because they’ve been so carefully observed all that time, they’ve revealed some important lessons about how evolution works. The experiment was launched by MSU biologist Richard Lenski….Based on what scientists already knew about evolution, Lenski expected that the bacteria would experience natural selection in their new environment. In each generation, some of the microbes would mutate. Most of the mutations would be harmful, killing the bacteria or making them grow more slowly. Others would be beneficial allowing them to breed faster in their new environment. They would gradually dominate the population, only to be replaced when a new mutation arose to produce an even fitter sort of microbe.”

These are still bacteria. Nothing has changed. There has been no “evolution” at all. This experiment has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution. If you are a believer in this stuff, please rethink where you are placing your faith. It is a tragedy beyond words when any human being rejects the gospel because he believes that evolution has irrefutable evidence. It doesn’t have any at all. All the “evidence” is as flimsy as this bacteria. Don’t take anything at face value. Question it. Probe it. And make sure you probe your own presuppositions that have been shaped by a godless worldview.
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By Ray Comfort

Email: email@livingwaters.com

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Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.

Religion is a Convenient Scapegoat for the Atheist (Chuck Missler)

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Religion is often blamed for the miseries of the world. An “Imagine No Religion” billboard has just gone up in St. Louis, and most people get the point even if they disagree with it. If it were not for religion, after all, there would have been no Spanish Inquisition, no Taliban, no World Trade Center bombing, no human sacrifices to various and sundry gods. Religious wars would be conspicuously absent from world history and nobody would follow cult leaders in sipping down toxic Kool-Aid. Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion spends the first page of the Preface going through the evils that have been done in the name of religion. Yet, while atheists love to blame zealous believers for the world’s sufferings, they have missed the true problem. Yes, much earthly evil has been done in the name of one deity or another, but religion isn’t the real problem. The real problem is …. human nature.

Religion is a convenient scapegoat for the atheist, who wants to justify himself in a world of believers. The atheist has a serious problem in blaming the evils of the world on religion, though. For every complaint against religious people, there are plenty of complaints to be made against the faithless.

Have people been slaughtered in the name of religion? Certainly. Yet, the Crusades are a drop in the bucket compared to the massive death toll caused by atheistic regimes. The leaders of the French Revolution shoved God out of their social justice crusade, and the result was a blood bath. Stalin is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million of his own people, and Mao Zedong’s death toll runs upwards of 40-70 million. From Pol Pot in Cambodia to the Kims in North Korea, governments freed of “religion” – those utopias of atheistic communism – have murdered millions upon millions of people. People of various religions continue to fight all around the world, but, anti-God governments streamline human death. Any time people get starry-eyed about imagining “no religion too” they need a little history lesson.

The problem isn’t religion or even lack thereof. The problem is humanity. Human beings have this propensity for violence and greed, for self aggrandizement and selfish laziness. We struggle – and sometimes succeed – to overcome these things, but they are there inside us. As Paul writes in Romans 7:21-24:

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

We all have that destructive sin nature inside us by birth. It’s there, and we spend our lives fighting it. If we were naturally good, it would be easy to be good and kind, generous and patient. If we were naturally good, it would be a heavy effort to be rotten. But, we find that we are just the opposite, always struggling to do what is right and constantly falling into that corruption that most people want so desperately to avoid.

Even the atheist wants to avoid the corruption, as far as his own conscience dictates. Atheists have consciences too, after all. Paul writes:

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (Rom 2:14-15).

Atheists and humanists are quite capable of morality and moral decision making. Yet, in rejecting the True God, atheists and humanists make themselves their own gods, and because they have no greater yardstick to measure by, it often happens that they reject one evil only to turn around and embrace something far worse. The poor in France had good reason for anger against the spoiled aristocracy and opulent church in the late 18th century. But, having only man’s reasoning to depend on, and hearts full of vengeance, thousands of innocent people were murdered. The atheist has nobody but himself and the local legal system to help him do the good he wants to do, and that can lead easily into gross error. Humankind has excellent thinking ability, but we can easily use that brainpower to justify doing the evil we want to do rather than the good we should.

Yet, the atheist is not too far off when he looks at the religions of the world and feels massively unimpressed. Religion is not the salvation of the world. Religion can be useful in that it provides a framework in which to live, and gives people rules of right and wrong outside themselves. Yet, religion itself cannot change the human heart or free humans of their natural destructive tendencies. In fact, some religious sects actually promote violence and destruction.

Paul didn’t find the answer to his dilemma in religion. He found the answer in the person of Jesus Christ. He found his answer in the Spirit of God, working in human lives to cleanse and free and make new. And the Spirit of God is real, and He is powerful, and He continues to change millions of lives today. If more atheists were truly aware of the reality of God’s Spirit to heal and to transform, Richard Dawkins would sell fewer books.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16,22-25).

Life on this planet is hard, and Jesus never promised us anything different. He said we would have many troubles in this world, but he also said he had overcome the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. If we are filled with the Spirit, walking hand-in-hand with our King and Savior, His light is going to shine out of us to the lost and the dying. And if, in the midst of our own struggles and suffering, the reality of Christ is alive and well in us, anybody who is watching will see the difference between the truth and the false religions that have caused so much grief through the years. If people can see Christ in us, they won’t want to imagine a world without him.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:6-10).

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By Chuck Missler

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Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.

Romans 1.15

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So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

I want to show you this verse in a couple of other translations before I dig into it:

So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. (NLT)

So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. (AMP)

Paul was eager to go to Rome to preach the wonderful, happy, good news. He was also ready to go.

If you read the KJV it says Paul was “ready”, if you read the NLT you find Paul was “eager”. The Amplified does what it does best and amplifies the word to “willing and eagerly ready”.

The word used here is the same word used by Jesus when He says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. In fact, I think in Mark’s gospel it is translated “the spirit is ready” in the KJV.

Paul was willing and ready to preach the gospel. Are you?

I believe that Paul was willing because he was ready. Being ready makes you willing. No one is willing to do something they are not prepared to do.

I believe that because Paul knew the gospel so well, knew its wonderful power and wonderful benefits and knew he could preach and present it powerfully with signs and wonders following – that is why Paul was so eager and willing to preach. What you are prepared to do, you are enthusiastic to do.

If you start praying for boldness, start praying for open doors to preach the gospel, start studying the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews (the three books Paul wrote explaining and defending and outlining the gospel) and start realizing what the wonderful news of our redemption actually is.

I guarantee that as you start getting ready to preach the gospel, you will start being willing. You will start getting excited to preach the gospel, start getting passionate about going and telling people in the street, in your work – even in your church (because not everyone in church knows!) – the good news.

Many people try and pray for willingness. “Oh God, give us a passion for souls.” “Oh God, make me love the lost…”

That is not a prayer God can or will ever answer. God is not going to give you emotional pain to motivate you to do something! That is not the nature of our Father. We are willing to do what we are ready to do.

If you want a passion for evangelism, get ready to evangelise! Study the gospel, study common objections and find Scriptures to counter those objections.

If you want a passion for worship, don’t beg God to force you to worship Him – God is not a forcer, rather get your Bible out and study the concept of worship. You will soon be singing praises to God.

If you want to be willing to give millions into the gospel, get ready. Find out what the Bible says about giving and receiving. Understand what the tithe is and how it functions. Soon enough you will be giving what you have and shouting with joy. You will start a life of financial fruitfulness that will change the world.

If you want a passion for the Word, study it, get into it, get ready to understand it.

What you are ready to do, you will be eager and willing to do.
What you are not ready to do, you will not be eager and willing to do.

So – don’t beg God to make you willing, but get ready, get ready, get ready!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Lawyer: clarify needed from clarity regulator (from http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090908/lawyer-clarity-needed-from-charity-regulator/)

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Lawyer: clarity needed
from charity regulator

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The body responsible for regulating charities is claiming more authority than the law allows, says a legal expert.

Recent guidance from the Charity Commission has prompted concerns about the way various groups, including Christian organisations, will have their charitable status assessed.

But the 2006 Charities Act did not change the definition of a charity or the need to demonstrate public benefit, says Nicola Evans, Senior Associate at Bircham Dyson Bell.

Instead of making this clear, she argues, the Commission’s new guidance has created confusion about what groups will have to do to be recognised as charities.

Writing in Third Sector Magazine she says the Commission is also claiming too much authority for assessing charities on their benefit to the public.

“The Commission states that its assessment decisions are final and not subject to appeal”, Nicola Evans points out.

“The assessment reports require action by trustees, but fail to identify the authority for this requirement.”

She says: “Trustees are left in confusion, unsure whether they should spend charity funds trying to pass the regulator’s test and unclear what would be sufficient to do so.”

When the Commission issued a draft version of its new guidance for religious charities, there were fears that groups engaged in evangelism and other Christian activities could face problems in claiming charitable status.

Many of the most worrying points were removed from the final version of the guidance, but some concerns remain.

Last month the Commission said the Church Mission Society had passed its charitable status test, confirming that evangelistic activity conveys public benefit.

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