Ten Reasons to Love God with All

In Mark 12:30, Christ Jesus communicated that the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God with your heart, mind, soul and strength.  In so much as most people on the planet do not love God, let me give you ten reasons why you should love God.

1. Every person on the planet, with a pulse, should love God because God made them and He sustains their very life (Genesis 1).

2. Love God with all of your being because He the Sovereign of the Universe, your creator, has commanded that you love Him (Mark 12:30; Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

3. Love God with a passion to ensure you receive mercy from Him at the final judgment (Exodus 20:1-6).

4. Love God to keep from serving the wrong master which has potentially devastating results (Matthew 6.24).

5. Love God because of God’s amazing promise that all things will work to the good to them that love God and this applies only to those who love God (Romans 8.28).

6. A deeper understanding of the things of God is available only to those who love God (1 Corinthians 2:9).

7. Only those who love God receive the crown of life (James 1:12).

8. Love God to ensure He loves you and knows you in an intimate loving familiar sense. “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3).

9. Love God because he first loved you (1 John 4:19). God demonstrated his love toward you while you were a rebel.

10. Love God because he gave His Only begotten Son to die for you. Christ tasted death for every man (Hebrew 2:9).

Why take the time to articulate ten reasons to love God. The answer is simple.

If you don’t love God, there is a strong probability that you are NOT saved. Those who have experienced the radical life changing power of the gospel love the One who died for them. People who don’t love God go hell and they are eternally separated from the love of God without any chance of post-mortem conversion or reconciliation with God.

When was the last time you told God you love Him? But you say, “He knows I love Him.” Does He? Why would you assume that? You—a person made in the image of God—enjoy hearing the sincere words from another of “I love you” where do you think that desire came from?

Have you experienced the joy that comes from expressing love to another person? God has made it possible for you to experience that same joy and inner peace and pleasure from expressing love to Him.

Won’t you start today?

Is the God of Calvinism a Moral Monster?

There is a new documentary coming out about Hell in Sept. See http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/.

Part of the documentary included interviewing Evangelical leaders about hell and as an off shoot of the documentary was this discussion concerning is everyone going to be saved?

Or is God a Moral Monster if He doesn't rescue everyone?

Pastor David, Bill and I listened to Justin Taylor's answer and then discussed the strengths of the answer and provided more commentary.

Ridiculous and Clever Propaganda from Obama

I received this image on my twitter feed from the President. Is this really what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to do? Do they really want to take the Nation back to the policies of the 1950s? Are there really that many woman in the Nation that want to be able to abort a baby in their womb? Is there enough to make this kind of marketing campaign productive? Who are these woman? Are these the soccer moms who already have children and see what a blessing they are?  Are these woman who have yet to have children but know in the deepest recesses of their mind, body and soul that they too want to be a mom? Are these woman who are afraid that they will die from the pregnancy because of 1950s abortion policies? I just don't get it. Yesterday, John Piper tweeted that 99.5% of all abortions do not occur because of legitimate health care choices; yet, this is precisely the manner in which this entire issue is being presented. 

How is aborting a baby a "health care choice?"

This is excellent propaganda. 

Who are these woman to whom this appeals? Are they godly woman who love Jesus? Are they god fearing woman who know that being able to carry a child in their womb and bring new life into the world is an incredible gift from God? Are these woman Sunday school teachers and even deacons in some churches? 
Are these woman faithful members of Bible studies? Do these woman worship God? 

Certainly they all believe in God; I mean seriously what percentage of females in America are agnostic or atheist less than  5%? less than 1 %?  Certainly it must be a very tiny percentage.

Does anyone really think that either Romney or Ryan want to take away a medical doctor's choice to save a mother's life during extreme high risk pregnancies? Romney and Ryan are both married men who love their wives. Faced with the hard choice of a baby in the womb and a wife dying on the operating table each would chose their wife.  Do you see how ridiculous this propaganda is?     

NOT How to Win a War

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/18/world/asia/two-americans-killed-by-afghan-recruit-in-green-on-blue-assault.html

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two American Special Forces members were shot to death on Friday by a new Afghan local police recruit they were training at a small outpost in western Afghanistan.

11 Are Killed as U.S. Copter Goes Down in Afghanistan (August 17, 2012)

In a second “green-on-blue” attack on Friday, in the south, an Afghan security force member turned his weapon on other international service personnel, wounding two American soldiers, NATO and Afghan officials said.

The two American service members who died were part of a Special Operations team working with the local police in Farah Province in the west of Afghanistan, according to a NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the attack.

The Americans belonged to United States Forces-Afghanistan, a command separate from the main NATO force.

Special Operations forces are working closely with Afghan forces on the Afghan Local Police initiative, a group trained and financed by the United States and viewed as an important stopgap to secure remote corners of Afghanistan as international troops withdraw. Another American Special Forces service member was wounded and an Afghan police recruit was killed in the shooting, said Aqa Noor Kentoz, the police chief of Farah Province.

Mr. Kentoz identified the attacker. “When the training finished, the ALP soldier Mohammad Ismail turned his weapon toward our allies and killed two of them,” Mr. Kentoz said.

My Thoughts: Are you as sick of hearing about these incidents as I am? Although the details are missing about these soldiers and their identities are not released we can reasonably assume they were married and at least one of them had children. So here again we have just created two widows and another son or daughter who will grow up without a father--and for what cause?

All I can say is it is a good things we did not attempt to defeat Japan after VE-day in Europe in the same way we are fighting the war in Afghanistan.

Yes the man who turned on the US was killed but to what extent is that sufficient to create the deterrent we need to prevent another incident.

The article goes on to say that this is NOT an isolated case. 

With the two episodes on Friday morning, there have now been at least 31 such attacks in Afghanistan so far this year, including 21 that have resulted in fatalities.

All told, the deaths of at least 39 NATO service members during the first eight months of 2012 have been attributed to these shootings. Those numbers for deaths and attacks already surpass the figures for green-on-blue attacks for all of 2011.

Notice the numbers are greater in 2012 than 2011. That is NOT a good thing. We are going in the wrong direction. It is time to 1) get out, or 2) use a bigger stick in our diplomacy.  Well you may think I am writing as a madman this is hardly the case. I am writing as a Pastor that doesn't want to have to bury another church member to a premature death on foreign soil for what cause.

Our President has failed to clearly articulate what vital national interests are present in Afghanistan that warrant the continued risk we are taking as we sustain combat operations in country. As a US citizen that strives to take current on this administration's policy and direction I don't have a clue why we are still in Afghanistan. I thought we deployed to Afghanistan to kill the mastermind of the 9-11-01 assault--Mr. Osama bin Laden.  But it has been 15 months since US Navy Seals ended bin Laden's life--now what? 

Yes that is precisely the question I want the President and the potential next President of the US States to answer. 'Now what' when it comes to Afghanistan. Where Mr. President are you taking us in our foreign policy with Afghanistan.

When can the boys come home? What does success look like? How is it defined? How do I know if I am winning? 

Because presently it does feel anything like winning when the person we train and equip uses the weapon and ammunition we gave him to kill his trainer. 

And if our only retaliation is to kill that man who killed out man--those stakes are too costly.

SSM v. Divorce and Remarriage is it Hypocrisy

I think two things that have contributed to the perception that divorce is ‘ok’ in the Christian Church, whereas gay (same sex marriage)  is not ‘ok’:  the degree to which “no fault” divorce has become increasingly easier to obtain in the US and the truth that the Bible contains an exception clause for one and not for the other.

In America, one spouse can divorce the other without legitimate cause, and the other spouse is powerless to force the other to stay in the marriage. In these cases, the innocent spouse normally remains in the church and is in need of help to overcome the emotional pain and suffering from the personal rejection a divorcée experiences (thus divorce care ministries). The church must work exceptionally hard at creating a culture where traditional marriage is held in the highest esteem as a picture of Christ and the church (Eph 5:32), while at the same time, ensuring that grace flows abundantly to those left in need from the trauma of divorce. This is quite a difficult task. When one is abandoned by their spouse, he or she needs the church much like a widow needs the church, and although Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry (1 Tim 5:14), the church needs to examine each situation on a case by case basis. Every effort must be made toward reconciliation according to the Gospel and grace each believer has received through faith in Christ. The church must determine if and when the divorcée is free to remarry based on the exception clauses granted by Christ (Matt 19:9) and Paul (1 Cor 7:15). This is why there seems to be a culture where the church bashes one (gay) and accepts another (remarriage).  In most cases, this is a misperception.

A few less “Amens!” when the preacher is preaching against SSM and a few more “Amens!” when the preacher is preaching for the holiness of traditional marriage could go a long way toward eliminating this misperception.

Traditional Sunday School @ Berean

Have you ever considered how important Sunday school is to the life of Berean or other similar churches? 

Sunday school is a weekly meeting of church members to pray, fellowship, and study the Bible. For Berean, it is a foundational component to our discipleship ministry. I have said it before and I will say it again. If on any given morning you have to choose between Sunday school and the preaching service, choose Sunday school. In Sunday school a medium size church becomes a small church. In Sunday school everyone knows my name. In Sundays school activities are planned and relationships grow closer. In Sunday school qualified teachers, dedicated to the discipleship of themselves and everyone in the class, deliver solid messages from the Word of God and quality curriculum designed to supplement and resource the instruction. In Sunday school prayer requests are gathered and members pray for each other’s needs throughout the week. Sunday school class members take care of each other. They visit each other in the hospital and make meals; they attend each other’s baby showers and barbeque together.  

How is your class measuring up?

Now having described all this, I just can’t figure out why 3 (or 4) out of 10 do not attend a Sunday school class. Can you figure it out? What else could be going on in the life of a church member on Sunday morning that would keep them from rising an hour earlier or staying an hour after 8.30a preaching service? I just can’t figure it out. I feel like I have a bowl of Life cereal on the kitchen table and I am trying to get you to try it. I know that you will, like Mikey, like it, but I just have to get you to try it.

First Class is Berean’s pre-membership class. We could teach this class on Wednesday nights or Sunday evenings or any other time but instead we do it on Sundays during the Sunday school hour. The goal is to get the future church member in the habit of staying for Sunday school or arriving early for Sunday school. We want every member of Berean that is able to be present for Sunday school to attend one of the numerous classes that meet throughout the building. For us it is not optional. Those who don’t know anyone in the church and are disconnected are disconnected because they have not made the effort to connect on Sundays at 9.30a. 

Traditional Sunday school still works. It is not flashy like “Life Groups” or “cell pods” or other affinity organizations. Instead, it takes advantage of the fact that people are already coming to church on Sunday—it is the Lord’s day—and seeks to make our time in the house of the Lord even more effective.  

If you haven’t attended First Class now is the time to come. If you have finished First Class, what Sunday school class do you attend? 

The back of the weekly prayer sheet has a list of choices—choose one.