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IS THERE HOPE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF EVANGELICALS?
Russell Moore recounts a conversation with the evangelical theologian Carl Henry. As Moore and some of his friends were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, they asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals. Dr. Henry replied: "Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans. Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles? Who knew that God would raise up a C. S. Lewis or a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith."
Russell Moore added: "The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profane hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now."
(From a sermon by David Ward, Gospel Without Walls, 8/15/2012)
Recently a Baptist Pastor in Illinois received a visit from the FBI. They came in response to an anonymous caller who took issue with something the Pastor said in his sermon. According to the Baptist Press news service, “Nov. 23, 2004, started out like any other normal morning for Randy Steele, senior pastor at Southwest Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Ill., a town about 80 miles southeast of St. Louis… [until]… the phone rang. It was the FBI. Steele said they wanted to meet with him personally…. When two FBI agents arrived at the church, Steele said they traded small talk for a few minutes before the suspense got to him and he asked about the nature of their visit. Their answer stunned him. “One guy opened a file,” Steele said. And he said, “’This is pertaining to a sermon that you preached on Memorial Day.’” On Memorial Day 2004, Steele was in the middle of preaching a sermon series he called Life Issues dealing with controversial cultural issues from a biblical perspective. One such sermon was about abortion and Steele chose Memorial Day to preach about it. “I shared the number of people who have died in wars versus the number who had died through legal abortion since 1973, Steele said. “I stated that we are in a different type of war that is being fought under the ’presupposition of freedom.” Steele said that he went on to name an abortion clinic in Granite City, Ill., a city just outside St. Louis, and pointed out that they perform as many as 45 abortions per week. Somebody in the church that day apparently misunderstood Steele’s different type of war comment to mean that he was actually calling his congregation to a physical war against abortion clinics, so he or she placed an anonymous phone call to the FBI. (Now, don’t any of you get any ideas) This informant allegedly told the FBI that in addition to Steele calling for a war against abortion clinics, he also said he was willing to go to jail over such a cause. Steele said that he had spoken about his willingness to go to jail, but that he made those remarks in a different sermon that dealt with homosexuality from the same sermon series. “I had mentioned a pastor in Canada who had been arrested for speaking about homosexuality in his church,” Steele said. “The pastor said he went on to tell his congregation that if speaking the truth means that we go to jail, then by golly, that’s where I’m going to be and I’m going to save you a seat next to me.” “That was the major gist of why [the FBI] felt like they could come here and look through my sermons,” Pastor Steele reported. ….Steele said that after the two FBI agents examined his two sermons in question, they realized he was not a physical threat to abortion clinics and apparently dropped their investigation. …Pastor Steele said he was initially a little irritated that the FBI would ask to see his sermons, especially since he had to take time away from the grieving family in his congregation to answer questions, but he said he has no plans to stop preaching messages that are culturally relevant. “As a pastor I believe that as Christians we are called to speak the truth no matter what,” Steele said. “And we have to continue to speak that truth in love to all people and to share the message of Christ because it’s the only message that’s going to change the lives of people.” Like this Pastor, the message of Jesus was controversial in his day. If Jesus were around today I am certain the FBI would question him about some of the things he said.
A teacher gave the following situation to a class of students. How would you advise a mother who was pregnant with her fifth child based on the following facts. Her husband had syphilis. She had tuberculosis. Their first child was born blind. Their second child died. Their third child was born deaf. Their fourth child had tuberculosis. The mother is considering an abortion. Would you advise her to have one? In view of these facts, most of the students agreed that she should have an abortion. The teacher then announced, If you said ‘yes’ you would have just killed the great composer Ludwig Von Beethoven!
A DRASTIC CHANGE
Dr. Bernard Nathanson was the leading abortion doctor in the United States in the 1970’s. He had campaigned vigorously for the legalization of abortion and he himself had performed 60,000 abortions. He even believed his intentions were good and that he was doing a righteous thing by providing a service that guaranteed a woman’s right to control her body.
But something changed Dr. Nathanson’s point view. It was a medical breakthrough called the ultrasound, introduced in 1976. This device literally opened a window on fetal development. The first time Nathanson saw an ultrasound in action, he was with a group of residents gathered around a pregnant patient in a darkened examining room watching a demonstration by a technician. The technician applied a conductive gel to the woman’s abdomen and then began working a handheld sensor over her stomach. As the screen clarified, Nathason was amazed. He could see a throbbing heart. When the technician focused closely on the image, Nathanson could see all four chambers of the heart pumping blood.
And during the scan Nathanson became convicted. He said that his mind had dropped the word fetus in favor of the word baby. Suddenly, everything he had been learning about the child in the womb since his entry into the medi...
While the National Right to Life study says, “In the U.S, over 32 million unborn babies have been killed in the twenty-one years since abortion was legalized, and more than 1.5 million are killed each year.”
WHAT DOES "ALL" MEAN?
I know people who are carrying around a load of guilt over the past and they're loaded down with this extra weight God doesn't want them to have.
I remember a lady in my church in Wiesbaden I'll call Jill. Jill had rebelled against her parents, had been on drugs, had had three abortions, had cheated on her previous husband resulting in their divorce, and before they had gotten saved had cheated on the husband she was now married to then. She was carrying a lot of guilt, and though she was now saved, she felt she had to atone for her past somehow by works and deeds for God. We all should work for God, but our motive should be to serve Him out of love, not out of guilt.
One day her husband asked me over to talk to her and him because they were having a lot of marital strife. I did and she told me about this awful load of guilt for past sins she was carrying around which had produced a lot of tension in her life that spread to her family.
We looked at scripture after scripture about God's forgiveness of our sins. But she just couldn't seem to feel forgiveness for her abortions. It wasn't until I quoted over and over to her 1 John 1:7, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from ALL sin." I said, "Jill, what does the word 'ALL' mean?" Suddenly the light of God's Word broke through and the tears of joy flowed, and her life was forever transformed. She learned how to serve out of joy and love, not out of guilt and shame.
If you're carrying a load of guilt, claim 1 John 1:9 and ask forgiveness of the Lord and if you've offended any person, go and make it right. Then you can experience the joy of forgiveness and peace and drop your burden! But never take up the burden of yesterday again, for it will just weigh you down from doing your duties today.
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There were 3 preachers in a Barnie’s Coffee shop were discussing the time when life began. They each gave their opinion of when life begins.
One preacher said "Life begins when the child takes his/her first breath."
The other said "NO," then he finished, "It begins when the child is conceived."
But the last preacher said "You both have the wrong answer! Life begins when the last child leaves home and the dog dies!"
WHEN DOES LIFE REALLY BEGIN?
I am glad to say that life begins when you give your sins to Jesus. And when you come to an altar of repentance and you say... I NEED THEE O LORD! I NEED THEE!
How many children are aborted? Worldwide, 55 million unborn children are killed every year. Around the world, every day 150,685 children are killed by abortion; every hour, 6278; and every minute, 105. Those are the reported cases.
If you are an American citizen, no doubt your greatest interest is in your own nation, as is mine. Let me break the abortions down to a national statistic: 1,600,000 babies are aborted in these United States every year. Per day, that’s 4,383; per hour, that’s 183; per ...
Ridgecrest is a large Baptist-run assembly ground, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. All summer long, every year, thousands of Christians come to Ridgecrest for training, inspiration, Bible study, and challenge.
A few years ago, during a conference, people began to notice a man hanging around the grounds. He did not look like he had just stepped out of your typical Sunday School class. His clothes were tattered and torn; they looked like something even the Salvation Army would throw away. His face had not been visited by a razor for a long time. His shoes could best be described by the title of Hymn No. 2 in the book – “Holy, Holy, Holy”! And worst of all, there was the BO. You know about BO? Let’s just say that when you got close, you did not get a whiff of Chanel No. 5. This young man was clearly “not one of us”, not the kind of person you normally see at Christian campgrounds.
What did he do? Not much, really. He did not approach anyone. He did not harass anybody. He did not ask for money. He mostly just hung around. When chapel services were held, he would walk across the front and sit down. When classes were under way, he would lie down on the grassy slopes nearby. And when meals were being served, he would stand on the dining hall porch, not far from the long lines of people clutching their meal tickets. No begging, no demands, just standing around.
At the end of the week they announced that there would be a special speaker for the closing service, and that he would speak on the theme, “Inasmuch as you have not done it unto one of the least of these, you have not done it unto me.” They promised that the audience would truly remember this message. The hymns were sung, the prayers were prayed, the choir sang, and the special speaker approached the podium. Who do you think was that special speaker? Who brought that memorable message?
That scruffy young man! That hangaround bum with the worn-out clothing, the messy beard, and the offensive BO! It turns out that he was a young pastor who had been asked to play a part by the organizers of the conference. And his message stung as he said to the crowd, “No one tried to include me in anything. No one asked me if I needed help. No one invited me to the dining hall. No one sat down to listen to my story. A few put religious tracts into my hand. One or two pulled out a dollar bill and gave it to me. But most of you turned your eyes and pretended not to see me. My appearance offended you, and you left me out.”
Appearances are deceiving. He looked like a beggar and a bum, but he was a pastor. (Please don’t anyone say that’s all the same thing!).
At Ohio State University, Ravi Zaccharias did an open forum on a radio talk show. The host was an atheist. From the start, the callers were antagonistic. "I could feel the tension as soon as the lines lit up. One angry woman caller said, “All you people have is an agenda you’re trying to promote.” Referring to abortion, she said, “You want to take away our rights and invade our private lives.”
Abortion had not even been brought up.
“Just a minute,” I replied, “we didn’t even raise the subject.”
“Ok,” she said, “what is your position on abortion then?”
I said, “Can I ask you a question? On every university campus I visit, somebody stands up and says that God is an evil God to allow all this evil into our world. This person typically says, ‘A plane crashes: 30 people die, and 20 people live. What kind of God would arbitrarily choose some to live and some to die?’”
I continued, “But when we play God and determine whether a child within a mother’s womb should live, we argue for that as a moral right. So when human beings are given the privilege of playing God, it’s called a moral right. When God plays God, we call it an immoral act. Can you justify this for me?”
That was the end of the conversation.