Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
If you are looking for someone to shoot your wedding photography, or someone to shoot your senior pictures, or your fun family moments, check out the website and get in touch with her. Or if you'd like to purchase some classic New England art, check out the website as well.
I do hope you will have a look and get in touch with her (contact information is on the website).
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I have shared this “Covenant Health Assessment” the last month or so with various audiences: two Camp Meetings and two of my churches. Please take a few minutes to go over it, keeping in mind that this is a “work in progress” and not scientific. If you have any disagreements over the answers, or on how I can word some of the questions more clearly, please let me know. Also, if you’d like to know why I have chosen the answer to be what it is, you can listen to my Northern New England Camp Meeting presentation that addresses this subject. Click here.
1. When it comes to salvation, justification is God’s part and sanctification is:
a. My part
b. God’s part
2. I feel it is important to return tithes and offerings because:
a. I want God to continue to bless me with temporal blessings
b. I am appreciative to God for what He has done for me
3. I want to go to heaven for:
a. My sake
b. Christ’s sake
4. When I am sick and in the hospital, I feel:
a. That unless my pastor visits me, I have not really received spiritual care
b. Happy just to have anyone from my church visit me
5. When I get into a fight/disagreement with someone else, I usually:
a. Wait for the other person to apologize/attempt to reconcile first
b. Try to initiate reconciliation, regardless of who is really in the wrong
6. When I miss my morning devotions with the Lord, I feel:
7. When my pastor misses a Board Meeting, I feel:
a. As though there are plenty of others in the church who are able to fill the void
b. He is not doing his job
8. When I am in a room with people and I see someone I know, I usually:
a. Try to initiate a conversation with him/her
b. Wait for him/her to initiate a conversation
9. When a fellow church member is living in open sin, I:
a. Feel like we have a responsibility to redemptively appeal to the person to bring his/her life into harmony with God and, if necessary, use church discipline
b. Recognize that we are all sinners and thus do not feel like it is our place to judge him/her
c. Encourage others to simply pray for him/her
10. When I recognize there is a sin or bad habit in my life that God has convicted me of, I:
a. Believe that Christ has already won the victory over that sin at the cross and claim His victory as my victory
b. Try my hardest to overcome my defects of character
11. I believe:
a. No one can completely overcome sinning this side of heaven
b. God’s grace can keep us from ever stumbling again
12. When it comes to doctrine, I believe:
a. It is not so much important as to what one believes, but how he/she lives
b. What one believes invariably informs how he/she lives
13. A young man really wants to get baptized but he has a smoking addiction. He has overcome many other bad habits but no matter what he does, he cannot stop smoking. You would:
a. Baptize him anyway because smoking is a hard addiction to kick, and to delay his baptism may discourage him
b. Explain to Him that Christ has already gained victory for Him, and baptism is a reflection of the fact that He has experientially received that victory
c. Tell him that he cannot be baptized until he stops smoking
14. God expects me to:
a. Make promises to Him
b. Believe His promises to me
15. A person says that obedience does not have to be a part of the Christian’s experience. That person is living under:
a. The New Covenant
b. The Old Covenant
Answers: For numbers 1-5, if you answered B, you get 2 points. If you answered A or C you get 0 points
For numbers 6-10, if you answered A you get 2 points. If you answered B or C you get 0 points
For numbers 11-15, if you answered B you get 2 points. If you answered A or C you get 0 points
Add all the points up: Highest possible is 30. Lowest possible is 0.
Here’s the bad news: this is a pass/fail test.
Either you got 30 points and passed.
Or you got anything less than 30 points and failed.
And I would imagine that very few get a perfect 30. If you did, you are ready for translation!
But this is the goal of God’s everlasting covenant-commitment: He is trying to completely expunge us of any and all old covenant thinking and behavior.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you shall all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions [Grk. schisms] among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me among you my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or '" am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).
How does this relate to baptism? Does it lend support to the idea that a Christian pastor - no matter what denomination he or she belongs to - should just baptize people into the "general" Christian body of Christ and not worry about what specific denominational label is slapped on the person? Quite the opposite, in fact! This denominationalism that Paul contended with was over specific personalities, not doctrine. It was over "Paul," and "Apollos," "Cephas," and even "Christ." But, again, what he urged was for each believer to, as the marginal reading of the NKJV says, "have a uniform testimony" (v. 10) - a testimony, of course, that aligns with scripture.
So, if I am a Baptist pastor or a Pentecostal pastor or a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, I am baptizing that person into the body of Christ, yes, but into the clearest expression of what Christ teaches. According to scripture, I cannot, in good conscience, baptize someone and then encourage them to find any shoe that "fits" their preferences or find a church where the pastor has a personality that suits their fancy. I am admonished to baptize them into the body of Christ - and the clearest revelation of the body of Christ.
Look, let me just be honest with you: according to my understanding of scripture, the Bible is pretty clear that there is something called the "remnant." If you disagree with me on this then there are other issues that we need to clear up before we can even have this discussion. If you are pretty clear on this concept, then we can proceed. But, according to this remnant concept, this body of believers are those who are the "remaining" ones, leftover from the true expression of the faith as set forth in the New Testament church. As a starting point, at the very least, this remnant people needs to "keep the commandments of God," which is precisely what the New Testament church did (see Revelation 12:17, 14:12). To put it plainly, simply because a denomination labels itself "Christian" does not make it thus! To be a Christian means to "follow Christ," and when a denomination (this does not speak to the individuals inside that denomination) refuses to continue to follow Christ into His truth, they cease from truly being a "Christian" church. (Again, this does not mean that individuals inside that particular denomination are not Christians. As noted above, Christ has many sheep in other "folds," but He is seeking to bring them all into "one flock.")