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Faith Works By Love

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  • For years the faith movement has been telling people that “faith works by love”. It’s true, that’s how faith works, but they misunderstood “by love”, telling us that faith only works when we love.

    If we don’t love people, forgive people, help people, serve people, show compassion on people, help people, live for people then our faith won’t work, we will stay sick, stay poor, stay in defeat and that’s that.

    So we responded. We made our love confessions, we strained to feel good feelings for people who annoyed us, we made ourselves human doormats, we became our pastor’s armour bearers serving them to the detriment of our own families. In the name of love, we strained to the point we became unbearable to live with. Then we stayed poor, stayed sick, stayed in defeat and rather than receiving God’s grace and healing and prosperity and victory we wailed our lack of love, we condemned our unforgiveness, we beat ourselves up for not loving enough, not feeling enough love and not doing enough – no matter how much we did do and how much we sacrificed.

    The truth (which will set you free as you read this): the love that empowers our faith is not our feeble, human, limited, pathetic, self-obsessed, impure, roller coaster feeling of love; not that which we squeeze out of our hearts and then kick the dog the next moment because our heart now hurts so bad. It’s not even our love at all: it’s HIS LOVE.

    Faith doesn’t work because you have earned enough brownie points loving people. It works when you realize that no matter what you have done, no matter what you have felt, no matter what you have felt, no matter how half-hearted you have been, no matter how much you hurt inside: GOD STILL LOVES YOU.

    His love is unending, unconditional, undeserved. It is not a still, logical, passive love: GOD IS LOVE. He is alive with love for you, He is buzzing, sparking, zapping with love for you. He made you because He needed a vessel to love with all the love inside Him. He redeemed you through Christ and His death and resurrection just so He could pour that love inside you and love you from the inside out.

    God is eternal, and every moment of that eternity is crammed with His love for you. God is infinite – and every iota of that space is exploding with the heat of a million suns with love for you. It’s not love based on your goodness, your strength, your joy, your ability to do. It’s love that comes straight from His nature, His heart, His being. The core of God is love for you.

    God is all-powerful and every ounce of His infinite strength is for you not against you. God can think a million thoughts at once, and all of them are thoughts on how to prosper you, how to get you through, how to make your life heaven on earth. His whole nature is love.

    When you realize the depths of His love for you, and when you grasp that He will never let you go, never let you down, never do or think anything that is not for your highest. When you realize that Christianity is not your utmost for His highest, but His utmost for your Highest; when you find out that you are not a sinner in the hand of an angry God, but a child of a loving Father. When you find out that the faith-life isn’t about your love for Him, but His love for you: then FAITH WORKS.

    Why wouldn’t He heal me when He adores me? Why wouldn’t I get the promotion at work? HE ADORES ME. HE LOVES ME. He wants me to have good things to enjoy. He wants to supply my needs according to His riches in glory. He is awesome to me. He can’t stop thinking about me.

    Of course I am going to walk in victory because He loves me. Passionately. Always. Not based on what I do, but based on what He has done.

    That’s why faith works by love: it’s easy to believe good things are going to happen to me the more I realize and grasp and meditate on His love for me.

Seven thoughts about what happened in Woolwich

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The family of Lee Rigby thought he was safe.   He wasn’t on the front line, but home on leave in England’s capital.  It turns out that his killers were raised in Romford and Harold Hill, both places I know well.

But how should Christians respond to such a vicious attack, how should Londoners act today and tomorrow, and what is Christ’s response to this.

I don’t have all the answers, and even in a blog post I don’t have the space to even share all my thoughts, but I want to give a framework that might help people respond in a Christian way.

Firstly, it is not wrong to feel strong  emotions.  Clearly the true grief in this situation is with the family of the bereaved, but as people who recognise the streets and the scenery of the attack it is ok to feel anguish,  angry, fear and grief.  God is compassion and compassion expresses itself in emotions.  Someone might feel they hope the murderers are hacked to pieces, that’s a form of compassion for the bereaved.  Calling those who are angry and emotional unChristian is not helpful.   Let the emotions surface and deal with them as they arise.  That doesn’t mean getting  emotional in any situation  is acceptable or that any action can be justified by emotion, but that emotions are just part of any human response and they need to be acknowledged, admitted and allowed. 

Secondly, this should not be seen as a racial event.  London is a melting pot of ethnicity and has been for years.  The EDF and other groups will seek to use this issue to stereotype and blame “aliens” and immigrants.  The two young men were British born, with a Nigerian heritage.   They went to primary school and secondary school in Havering.  This transcends their culture.  This is not an ethnically charged incident.   It wasn’t done in the name of race.  We should at this time be doing everything in our power to strengthen community links and build a truly international church in the capital where every tribe and tongue meets together. 

Thirdly, the answer to the question was it terrorism.  After a lot of consideration, I have to conclude that it was terrorist behaviour.  Knife crime among people in that age bracket is horrendous and evil, but this something else.   Not just due to the viciousness and premeditated nature of the act, but that it was filmed and designed for people to see it.   It was planned to cause terror which is why I consider it was a terrorist act.   It seems likely that we will find out that these young  men were not linked to any terrorist groups, but acting independently.  That is truly chilling.   No one turned them, they just became offended at western culture and society to the point they decided to not just threaten it but desecrate it.   This was a terror attack and the best way to be the head and not the tail is to not give in to terror.   I have bought a Help for heroes tshirt because I want to honour the people who gave their life or health for this nation and to show I am not scared of anyone.  For a Christian, we need to remember God is with us always.

Fourthly, don’t respond in anger.  Feeling  anger is one thing, responding in anger is another thing.  Calm down.   Consider.   Pray.  The best response to a vicious foe is to refuse to be distracted.   Keep being a disciple.  Keep healing  the sick,  keeping living the faith, keep walking in love and freedom and miracles.

Fifthly, let’s not abandon our armed forces.  Some people may have other views on the legitimacy of war in the middle east, but it is a fact that soldiers are out there.  Pray for them.  Believe God for their best.  Speak Psalm 91 over them.   If soldiers are attacked in peacetime on our shores, we need to remember who we are and speak life and peace to them.   We need to be faith filled not feat filled. 

Sixthly, the young men who did this are not unique.   They grew up in our schools, they hung around with our children, they went to our parties, we watched them grow up.  There are other people, other young men – although they may be black,  Asian or white –  it is more than probable they will be men.  Keep your eyes peeled for people who are disaffected, disassociated and disillusioned.   Offer them company, encouragement, help.   Ask and consider what your church is doing for young people and see if you can’t get involved.   If you have noticed someone and they concern you, God allowed you to notice…  Reach out to them! Show them love, show them grace.

Finally, the solution to every problem I our nation, in our city is not prayer and fasting, is not politics, is not any of that.   Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1.16).   The power of God to save London is only found in the gospel.  We need not to change the structures so much as change people’s hearts one person at a time by telling them the good news.  Islam and Christian religion look very similar.  Serve God, do this to get into heaven.  We need to distance ourselves from religious Christianity and come back to the good news of a God who became sin with our sin so we could enjoy righteousness, peace and joy.  His righteousness. His peace.  HIS JOY.  Because of what He has done, not because what we have done.  That is the message that changes and melts hard hearts.   That is the message th at turned the Jewish terrorist Saul into the proclaimer of God’s grace, Paul.  That is the message that will change the hearts of the disaffected, the angry and the frustrated today.

10 Things They Never Tell You About Church Planting!

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10. Your house will be full of stuff you cannot store in the venue you are hiring for your services. You won’t be able to get a glass of milk without tripping over speakers, cables, leaflets, music stands, offering envelopes and boxes of Sunday School toys.

9. The first people to come to a new church are often Christians that have weak or no social ties at their existing church(es). There is a reason why that is the case – they are often people who struggle to form social ties and build relationships for a whole host of reasons.

8. The most precious resource you have – and the scarcest – is not going to be money, though money will probably be scarce at first – but volunteers. Be prepared to do everything yourself at first, from setting up the PA, to setting up the chairs, to cleaning the toilets, to opening the service, doing the notices, preaching and Sunday school. Celebrate and honour good volunteers!

7. People will come for a week or two and disappear, and you will never see them again. Don’t take it personally!

6. The other pastors in town are not going to welcome you with open arms. People who ten years ago did exactly what you are doing now for the same reasons and the love for God are going to distrust your motives and your love for God!

5. Because you are small, some people are going to come to your church because it amplifies their voice and vote. Whereas they have zero say in a church of 400, in a church of 14 they can make themselves heard. Be careful who you give your platform too, and never hand it over (again, if you missed it) to someone who attacks your vision, or wants to moan about any of the other churches they used to go to. Don’t be afraid if someone leaves just because you won’t give them a platform, let them go!

4. Your numbers will fluctuate wildly at first. Until you reach 60+ people you will not have a core group really, and the people being away will not balance out. Sometimes you may have to preach to 1. Preach like there is 100. Preach your heart out every time – people will talk, and people will hear about it.

3. You have no idea – and no amount of thinking you do will help – how much you influence and impact the entire culture of the church. People will pray the way you pray, talk the way you talk, love how you love, minister how you minister. It’s scary, eerie, but you are the leader, so keep leading. If you think people are drawn to you not Christ, keep preaching Christ, they will eventually get plugged in to Him – and eventually realize you are not all that!

2. There are hundreds of ways to advertise and promote your church. But true growth comes when you grow the people who come and get out into your town and meet people. It is hard work growing a church.

1. It is worth it. It is worth every late night, early morning, every tear you shed over someone who leaves, every fear you have it will have to be closed down, every pain you go through. When you stand up to preach one day and look over the church and see people whose marriage would be over without the church, who would still be sick, still be lost, still be hopeless, your heart soars, and it is the greatest feeling on earth.

Woe To Dad (Marilyn Jordan)

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Woe to Dad

                                                      by Marilyn Jordan

 

 

If you were wondering who was winning the worldview battle between the feminists and Christians, wonder no longer.

 

A new survey just out from Babytalk magazine found that as far as women are concerned, dads are getting more irrelevant all the time.  It seems that many married moms would rather go it alone when it comes to parenting.  According to the survey, 76% of married women liked the idea of not fighting with a partner about the best way to raise a child.  Not having to work at maintaining a healthy marriage was another crowd pleaser at 69%, while 30% of the respondents thought they’d be happier if they didn’t have to deal with in-laws.

 

As if all this weren’t bad enough, single moms in the survey agreed.  Almost two thirds of the unmarried moms felt it would be harder to be a parent with a man in the house.  Another 55% expressed relief at not having to worry about working on a marriage as well as child rearing.  More than a third (38%) said they were freer to follow their dreams.

 

Obviously Father Doesn’t Know Best and never did.

 

The reporter who covered the story, a single mom herself, added that she liked the fact that no one complains when she leaves her sweaty workout clothes on the floor overnight, insisting that we all work better without someone looking over our shoulder.  How far have we sunk as a culture when the deep, lifelong love and commitment of a married couple as ordained by God can be reduced to the petty selfishness of this kind of thinking. 

 

The feminist agenda has worked hard to make men as irrelevant as possible in the general scheme of a ‘liberated’ woman’s life — except when it comes to paying child support.  The idea of the man as head of the household is seen as sexist.  Under the relentless and critical onslaught of the feminist worldview, men themselves have abdicated their leadership role in the family either by becoming doormats or turning into controlling tyrants often to the point of abuse.

 

The Bible says we will become lovers of self in the end times.  Feminists have convinced too many women that their own pleasure, their own agenda comes first.  This is a big part of the reason why we now have thousands of women every day, along with their boyfriends/significant others, refusing to be held responsible for their sexual choices.  How convenient that the abortion industry is ready and waiting to get rid of any ‘inconvenient’ babies that result from our sex-on-demand culture.  As President Obama so helpfully pointed out, he certainly wouldn’t want either of his daughters ‘punished’ with a baby if they ‘make a mistake’.

 

Everywhere you turn, America is riding roughshod over the biblical worldview.  Everywhere you turn, people are suffering the consequences, most especially the children.  Women may think they’re better off without a husband or father for their child, but the statistics show that kids raised by single moms are at a disadvantage across the boards and that they all too often end up as unwed teen parents, school dropouts, juvenile delinquents, and worse. 

 

The Creator’s plan for the family includes a loving father and mother, not a single mom and certainly not two moms or two dads.  Is it any wonder the ranks of the lost and unfulfilled continue to grow? 
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Hell is being on your own forever, says Archbishop

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Hell is being on your own
forever, says Archbishop

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury says Genesis is not literally true, he has no idea whether anyone goes to hell and the Church of England’s debate over women bishops is embarrassing.

Dr Rowan Williams was asked on a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast at the weekend how he knew God existed.

He answered: “I think I’d prefer to talk about being confident that God exists, or trusting that God exists.

“It’s not knowing as you know a state of affairs in the world, it’s much more of a sense that you’re in the presence of something greater than you can conceive.”

When asked if hell exists and what it is like, Dr Williams said: “My concept of hell, I suppose, is being stuck with myself for ever and with no way out.

“Whether anybody ever gets to that point I have no idea. But that it’s possible to be stuck with my selfish little ego for all eternity, that’s what I would regard as hell.”

“All we really know about the after-life is that God has promised to be there”, he said.

When it was pointed out that his concept of hell differed from the biblical portrayal, Dr Williams said being alone for ever “is torment enough if you think about it”.

He added that it is not necessary “to regard every verse of Genesis as recording history in the sense we now understand it”.

When asked about the issue of women bishops, Dr Williams said he was embarrassed by the Church of England’s slowness to catch up with the rest of society.

The Archbishop hit the headlines earlier this year when he revealed a preference for the novels of campaigning atheist, Philip Pullman.

Mr Pullman has said in the past that his books, predominantly aimed at children, aim to “undermine the basis of Christian belief” and are about “killing God”.

But the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, said he liked Mr Pullman’s work because he took the church “seriously” at a time when it appeared to be “drifting out” of mainstream intellectual debate.

In 2008 he sparked a storm with the suggestion that Britain should consider accommodating parts of Muslim Sharia law into the legal system.

How Do You Know God Exists? will be shown on Channel 4 at 7pm this Sunday.

Michael Jackson is dead.

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An event so momental that people were texting me in the early hours of the morning to let me know.  I thought there was some sort of emergency as the phone beeped, but it was texts telling me about the death of one man.

I turned on the radio news this morning and it was every story.  I clicked on the online Telegraph newspaper to scan the news as I do every morning and it is all 5 of the top 5 stories of the day.  Apparently Facebook (which I am not on) and Twitter (which I am on infrequently) are jammed with the news.  9 out of 10 searches on google this morning are about Michael Jackson.

Remarkable.  Someone who was clearly a talented and gifted individual has died – and yes they have died before their time, and the world comes to a stand still.  However, there are people dying every day. 

150000 people die every day on average.  People who most of whom have never known Christ, have never responded to the gospel, believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and had their sins forgiven and their nature transformed.

Think about that – why is our priority as a planet an entertainer?  Why is that the top news story is the death of one man when a more important issue is perhaps the number of children aborted on our planet today (115000 on average)?

I know Michael Jackson is a father, and my heart goes out to his three children.  But many fathers will be dying today and it won’t be the news story of the year.

Why does something like this hit people hard?  Why does it get the sort of coverage it does?  It is because the human race has not yet dealt with the one undeniable fact: all people die.  Everyone dies.  No matter how talented, how famous, no matter how renowned – everyone dies.

Death is not normal: humanity was not created to die.  It was created to live forever in paradise with God.  Adam and Eve would have done that if they had not sinned against God and rebelled against His provision and goodness and broke the one command He gave them. 

The good news is that there  is an antidote to death: Jesus Christ died our death so we can enjoy His eternal life.  Jesus Christ paid the price for your sin and my sin, so that if we believe in His redemptive work on the cross, then we can receive eternal life now on earth, and enjoy the joy of knowing Him not just now but forever.

If you want to know if you need a Saviour, or if you think you are a good person: click here.

‘How to deal with religious employees’, by gay lobby

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The Government’s equality watchdog has funded a top gay lobby group to advise employers on dealing with the ‘clash’ between sexual orientation and religious liberty rights.
Stonewall’s 38-page guide, Sexual Orientation and Religion: How to manage relations in the workplace, was produced with funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The lobby group’s Chief Executive, Ben Summerskill, is an EHRC Commissioner.

Stonewall backs Islington Council’s attempt to force Christian employee, Lillian Ladele, to act against her religious beliefs on marriage. Her legal case is ongoing.

The group is also supporting a legal action by a gay couple who are suing the Christian owners of a guest house because they have a ‘married couples only’ policy for double rooms.

Stonewall is also pushing to remove a free speech protection passed by Parliament last year which makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct isn’t, in itself, a crime.

The EHRC has previously given £35,000 to an atheist group, part of which funded another set of guidelines for employers in which it claimed that Christians who evangelise at work could be breaking the law.

The guidance, from the British Humanist Association (BHA), claims that attempts by religious believers to proselytise “are highly likely to amount to harassment of their colleagues”.

The head of the EHRC recently appeared to regret appointing an evangelical Christian to the Commission because it upset gay and atheist campaigners.

Trevor Phillips said if he had anticipated the reaction to the appointment of Joel Edwards, formerly the head of the Evangelical Alliance (EA), there might have been a different outcome.

In September 2008 it was revealed that a senior official at the Equality and Human Rights Commission told a fringe meeting of trade unionists that the Commission would act to root out ‘homophobia’ in religion.

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090618/how-to-deal-with-religious-employees-by-gay-lobby/

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