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Articles to challenge us..

- Two Ropes

-  I AM !

- Revival in Alaska !

- DND

- How to get your husband to stop going to church!

- SAVE 10% - SHOP ONLINE!

- Do you have what it takes?

- You can't take it with you...but you can send it on ahead!

- Ten Qualities that are most useful in Missions.

The Task before Us.

Share and Share Alike.

- Ten Steps in decision making for missions.

- Get Away from the Trough

- The Whales Belly or a Plane

- We're just a Vapor

- Two Bags of Groceries

- Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home

- Sharper Than Any Two Edged Sword

- The Greatest Christmas Ever

- ADVENT

- Twelve Days of Christmas

- We Go Around in Circles

I Am Changing Jobs

I Hate When That Happens

-  DO GOOD

Bridge to Life

- The Wheel Illustration

- THE “M” ILLUSTRATION OF HOW HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 

- Systematic Theology (condensed)

 

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TWO ROPES

Scripture often seems to teach two sides of a doctrine and the sides don’t seem to meet.  Both are taught, but they seem to contradict each other. 

Here are some examples:

Grace                                      Law

Faith (Paul)                             Works  (James)

Sovereignty of God                Responsibility of Man

God’s Sovereignty                 Man’s Will

Being                                       Doing

Position in Christ                    Posture for Christ

Trust                                         Obey

Relationship to Christ             Responsibility to Christ

Calvinism                                 Arminianism

Covenant Theology                 Dispensational Theology

 

The list could go on and on and we with our finite minds disparately want to take one side or the other. 

In logic and epistemology the term is called:

an·tin·o·my  (n-tn-m)

n. pl. an·tin·o·mies

1. Contradiction or opposition, especially between two laws or rules.

2. A contradiction between principles or conclusions that seem equally necessary and reasonable; a paradox.

In Biblical Hermeneutics (the study of Scriptures) the same is true. There are certain principles we must adhere to or we will usually end up in error.   One of these principles is:   “If two things in the scriptures contradict each other, accept them both as truth because they work themselves out in a higher truth”.  In Isaiah 55:8-9 it states; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Here is an illustration that may help.   Suppose you were on the 70th floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago and you were looking out of the window at the skyline.   There were two ropes hanging outside the window, presumably attached about 5 feet apart on top of the building and they seemed to be running parallel as they passed your window.   So you would assume they were parallel at the bottom as well.   However, in reality because of the distance to the first floor they actually meet.   From our perspective the two ropes do not meet. 

That is how we often view teachings in the Bible.  We want to take sides with one doctrine or the other not realizing that both are true and that in God’s thoughts they actually meet, only we can’t see it because we are NOT infinite.  We as Christians often want to jump on one rope or the other instead of holding on to both.  Let’s consider that we hold on to both ropes and that God Almighty just might know what He is doing.

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I AM !

Who are you anyways?   Often I have people who will ask me, “Who are you?”.   My response is often things like, “ I am a businessman” or “I am a Christian” or “I am a member of……..”.   Thinking about this, I could come up with many things that “I AM”.

 But having said this, I was drawn to the gospel of John and the statements made by Jesus Christ of who He said He was.  Following are the “I AM” statements made by Christ.   I could elaborate on each of these, however, I think they speak for themselves and they tell us exactly who Jesus Christ is.

 I AM the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.  John 6:35, 47

 I AM the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  John 8:12

 Before Abraham was, I AM.   John 8:58

 I AM the door of the sheep.    John 10:7,9

 I AM the good shepherd.   John 10:11

 I AM the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.   John 11:25

 I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.     John 14:6

 I AM the true vine, and  my Father is the vinedresser.     John 15:1

 Need I say more?

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REVIVAL IN ALASKA ! 

There is bound to be a revival in Alaska this year!   Why?  Because all the dynamic Christian leaders are flocking there this summer on cruise ships.   Chuck Swindoll is going with an entourage including several singers and even a ventriloquist.  John MacArthur is going.    Dr. David Jeremiah is going, James Kennedy is going and even some major Christian schools like  Biola University are going.   Bill and Gloria Gaither will be there with lots of other singers and musicians.  All of them are taking lots of Christians with them.   Radio stations like KCIS out of Seattle are taking a group and so as not to neglect the children, even AWANA Clubs is sponsoring a cruise.    These are just a few of the ministries that are headed for Alaska and beyond.   Some I personally have never heard of like New Life Ministries.

Also, small revivals are bound to break out in other places like the Holy Land, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, etc.   Because Chuck Swindoll is going there as well and so are others like Zola Levitt, Moody Bible and many others, to be followed by KTIS out of Minneapolis a year later.   Brio (a ministry of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family) will be taking a group of girls to the Caribbean.     These are but a few of the ones I know about and I have only begun my research.   The way I figure it, if each of these takes a group of 50 or more, it could easily add up to millions of dollars to bring forth this revival.

If there is no revival then I think God will either have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah or condemn the practices of these great leaders.   You see, in Ezekiel 16: 49-50 the Lord God was comparing the house of Israel, his people, to Sodom and Gomorrah.   He said that they had “pride, surfeit of food (that means too much food), and prosperous ease (have you ever been on a cruise), but did not aid the poor and the needy.   They were haughty, and did abominable things before me…”    So often when I think of Sodom and Gomorrah, I think of the “abominable things”, but to God the other things mentioned before that were what made Israel worse in His sight than “her sister Sodom”.  

Don't get me wrong.   I love to listen to most of these godly men and women sing and preach, but maybe, just maybe we have gone overboard (pun intended) in our approach to revival.

My prayer is that there will be revival in Alaska or God may have to “remove them” when he sees them, because I know of many places around the world where even $10,000 is desperately needed and could produce tremendous results, perhaps even leading to revival.

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DND

My phone has a DND button on it.  When I don’t want to be disturbed, I just hit the button.  You probably figured it out that DND stands for DO NOT DISTURB!   My problem is that I all too often have a sign around my neck that indicates the same thing.  “Please don’t disturb me…I am too important for you.”  

To illustrate, let me tell you about Dave and Sally.   Dave and Sally live down the street from our office and everyday they walk to the bus stop outside our door, but before they sit down to wait for the bus they come into the office to say “Hi” or to use or restroom.  Often we wish they would not stop in because we are busy, important people and do not want to be disturbed.    You see, Dave and Sally are mentally handicapped, often difficult to understand and just not one of “beautiful people” of the world that we necessarily want to keep company with.    Sometimes (usually when it is bitterly cold outside) they will ring our doorbell and ask if my wife could drive them home, which is about two blocks down the street.   My wife, who seldom has here DND button on, will bundle up and get into the cold car to drive them home.  Not me!   When the doorbell rings, I look out the window and make sure it is someone important!   If not, I quickly close the curtains to make it looks like we are not at home.  Besides I was in the middle of something important.   I was watching the news, or listening to a Christian minister preach on our local Christian ministry station, or just doing something important like taking a nap after a hard days work.    

Could it be that the Dave’s and Sally’s of life are “angels unaware” and that the Lord is using them to make sure our DND button is on “off”.    So, unless you need my full attention right now, please excuse me while I go and read Isaiah 58:6-12 again.   Maybe even Matthew 25:34-40.   I need it!

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HOW TO GET YOUR HUSBAND TO STOP COMING TO CHURCH 

It’s so simple.   It doesn’t take a 10 step plan or even a 2 step plan.   It can easily be accomplished in one simple step.    Here is the secret.   Come in closely ladies and I will whisper it in your ear.   TAKE AWAY HIS LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES.   If you still don’t understand then listen closer.   Take away his responsibility to teach your children about the Lord in your home.   Start to teach the Sunday School class or the weekly Bible study.   Be the teacher of the New Testament class in your church or Christian school.   Be a deacon, an elder or better yet become the pastor of the church.

You see, we men are a lazy lot.   We always take the path of least resistance when it comes to the responsibilities God has given us.   We will relinquish them in a minute and will go and buy a boat and go fishing instead.   We will find reasons why we “can worship God in nature”.   So we go golfing, hunting, boating and do a hundred other things that “draw us closer to God” on Sunday morning.     To me, as a man, it is no wonder that God has always ordained that men are to be the leaders in the church.   Not because we are superior but because we are lazier.   “Here honey, you take the kids to church, as for me (but not my house)…I’m going fishing.   Have fun at your ladies aid club.

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SAVE 10% - SHOP ONLINE!  

Everything is ONLINE today!   Recently, a mission’s pastor, while giving a seminar on missions encouraged participants to use the internet to shop for great fares to their mission destinations.   In the audience was a young Christian lady who made her living as a travel agent.   Travel agents make their living on commissions.    When you book online for your travel needs, the airline, cruise company, or tour operator does not give you a discount by booking directly with them.  Instead they take the commission that would have been paid to the travel agent and keep it.  Greedy capitalists!  And here, all along, you thought they really cared about you.   In fact most of the time that nice young Christian lady can find you a better fare by going to a wholesaler of airline tickets or negotiate with the airlines group department and can actually save you money.

So what is my point?   Galatians 6:9-10 says that we are to “do good to all men and especially those of the household of faith”.   So when you buy something from the nice young Christian lady mentioned above, she actually can save you money, she makes a few dollars, and she in turn puts part of it back in the collection plate (or do they call it an offering plate) and she then blesses many more with it, including paying the pastors salary and paying for the heating bills of the church.   When is the last time Northwest Airlines or United Airlines donated something to your church or Christian organization?  When did they care about whether the pastor got paid or not?

 So the next time a minister, missions pastor, or leader in the Christian community encourages you to shop online, tell him that you plan on attending church “online” next Sunday and then you can save the 10% “commission” to pay for his salary!   Or do they still call it a “tithe” and if so are we to pay that to the cable company?

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DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

Or does what it takes have you!

There is nothing quite so disheartening as seeing a missionary not being able to go to the field or to return to the field due to lack of funds or to see a young missionary so discouraged because he can’t raise the funds in order to get there.

Francis Schaeffer, the modern day evangelical theologian, says that the thing that characterizes this generation is PERSONAL PEACE and AFFLUENCE.  

Personal peace because we just want to be left alone.  We don’t want anything to disturb our “hard  earned” comfortable lifestyle.  Affluence because we have so much yet share so little of what we have.

Regardless of what the economy is doing or how bad the recession is, we are still the most affluent nation on earth.

There is no reason on earth why every church in the United States could not support just one more missionary.  Why every Christian in the United States couldn’t give just a little more to support missions.  You know, God judged Sodom and Gommorah on the basis far different from what we think.  He didn’t judge them solely for their immorality.  In Ezekial 16:47-52 we read that he pronounced judgment on them because: 

1.        They had pride.            

2.        They had surfeit of food (or overabundance) of food, which they did not share.               

3.   They lived in prosperous ease. 

4.  They were haughty.

5.  They did not aid the poor and needy.  

Based on this, I am quite certain that if God doesn’t judge us for the same thing, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.  I say this not in jest, but in awesome respect for who He, the Almighty God, is.

I recently read a quote that went like this,  “If you are living the same life or better than those around you, you are probably not giving enough”.   As we look around, it becomes quite obvious that we have far more than we need.  Everything from the new vehicles we could probably do without to the deepfreeze that is so full that we have to get a second one.    Come on, are we really any different than Sodom and Gomorrah. 

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YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU...BUT YOU CAN SEND IT ON AHEAD !

Since we all know that we cant take our junk with us when we go, there are really only two alternatives: 

1.         We can send it on ahead.

2.         We can leave it behind where either the moth, rust or the thief will get it.  

Wologoho, Inc. is praying for and planning to hold a “flea market” once a month and an auction once a year in order to raise funds for missions.  This is in addition to the Missions Store which they hope will open shortly.

It is amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate over the years. Stuff we never will use but is to good to discard.  Rather than letting it lie around accumulating dust or rust, why not let us sell it at auction and give the proceeds to missions.   

So, bring your used stuff, which is presently collecting dust in the attic or is rusting in the garage, to our office and we will sell and give the proceeds to mission projects.

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TEN QUALITIES THAT ARE MOST USEFUL IN MISSIONS.

HAVE YOU GOT THEM?

1. A love for God

Is your number one goal in life to become more like Jesus by obeying His Word? Is He your first love?

2. A burden for lost people

Do you have a definite conviction of the lostness of people without Christ? Does it bother you that they are lost?

3. Willingness to give of yourself

Are you willing to do for others even if it will cost? Do you have a servant's heart?

4. A love for people

Do you like being with people and sharing ideas with them?

5. Adaptability

Can you try new foods? Change plans quickly without getting frustrated?

6. Sensitivity to others' needs

Can you put yourself in someone else's place and sense what they are feeling?

7. Team spirit

Are you a good sport? Can you work well with others even if it means give and take?

8. Creativity

Do you enjoy thinking up new ways of doing things or trying new things others suggest?

9. Sense of responsibility

Do you see tasks through to completion?

10. Sense of humor

Can you laugh at your own mistakes?

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 THE TASK BEFORE US.

Statistics are strange things.  They tell us a lot about things that are happening around us.   Often they can be abused.   As someone once said, "76.54 percent of statistics are made up on the spot".   However, even if we were to divide all of the statistics by half, they are startling.   Here are some we should consider.

WORLD STATISTICS

  • The world increases by

                        133  people every minute

                     8,000  people every hour

                 190,000 every day

            72,000,000 every year

  • 3/4 are not Christians

  • 1/2 have never heard about Jesus Christ

  • 1/4 are undernourished

  • 1 in 12 is dying of starvation

  • Due to starvation:    

                          19 die every minute

                     1,140 die every hour

                   28,000 die every day

            10,220,000 die every year

  • In comparison:

                     55,000 died in Viet Nam = 2 days

                  292,000 died in WWII  = 10 days

  • U.S. spends 17% of disposable income on food and India spends 67%.

  • U.S. annual income is $10,000 = $1,700.  India annual income is $240 = $134.

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SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE

God has always called some to go to do battle.   To be on the front lines.  To be the soldiers.  To be the “full time” worker.  To be the “GOER”.  But He has also called each of us to be the one who stays back in support.  To be the watchman.  To be the “full time” prayer person.   To be the “SENDER.  To some He says, “GO, but STAY there”.  To others He says, “STAY, but GO and send.”   Some of us are called to be GOER’s and others are called to be SENDER’s.

In Isaiah 52:7 we read, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,  that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation”.  But in verse 8 it says,  “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye”.  So both the MESSENGER and the WATCHMEN have an important part to play.

One of the greatest illustrations I have seen of this partnership of front line soldier (the messenger) and the supply soldier (the watchmen) working together is in I Samuel 30:21-25 where we are presented with the story of David going to battle against the Amalekites.  There were six hundred of them, but two hundred were tired and they stayed behind at the brook Besor and took care of the supplies.  When the four hundred won the battle and returned to the brook Besor, some of them didn’t want to share the spoil or bounty with the two hundred who stayed behind.  Then David said, “Ye shall not do so, my brethren...For who will hearken unto you in this matter? But as his part is that goeth down to battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike”. 

The problem is that the GOERS wanted to keep the “STUFF” and not share it with the “STAYERS”.  But in God’s economy it has always been that if you share in the RESPONSIBILITY with your RESOURCES, you also have the right to the “STUFF”.   How often the reverse of this is true as well.   So many time the STAYERS have so much “STUFF”, but we don’t want to share it with the GOERS.

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TEN STEPS TO HELP YOU MAKE AN INTELLIGENT DECISION REGARDING YOUR ROLE IN MISSIONS

1. Listen to missions speakers

Get as much input as you can from a variety of missionary speakers.

2. Talk to your pastor

Ask how you can get involved in missions in your local church. Ask if you can help with outreach.

3. Witness right now

In fact, get some evangelism training that will help you where you are right now.

4. Write to missions boards

Ask about opportunities for short-term service. Ask about requirements. Write ACTION! We'll help!

5. Write to missionaries

Start corresponding with several missionaries that you know. Ask questions!

6. Make friends with internationals

Find some foreign students or new immigrants and help them in their adjustment. You will learn a great deal.

7. Read missions books

Check your church library for mission biographies and current, thought-provoking missions literature.

8. Pray for people

Pray for non-Christian family/friends. Pray for specific missionaries. ACTION can provide a monthly prayer guide you would enjoy using.

9. Study God's Word

Learn the Scripture so you can share it.

10. Live a life of holiness

Don't wait till you become a missionary to live the Christian life. You will never make it if you don't start practicing obedience to God now.   

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GET AWAY FROM THE TROUGH  

We are a fat people...a people living off of the overflowing trough.   We need to be driven from the trough and into the pastures of the world.    In Matthew 9:37 Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”    The words to send out should more correctly be to drive out.    It is the same verb used in John 2:15 where Jesus used a whip to drive out the money changers in the temple.

If you have ever been on a farm and around pigs, you will soon understand that they love feeding time and love to come to the trough and literally “pig out”.     They don’t like going out to the fields where they have to forage for food.    What a great picture for us.   We love to go to “church” and listen to great worship music and hear a great “feel good” sermon.   But when it comes time to go to the uttermost parts of the world where the fields are ripe with harvest, oh how we resist.   My prayer is this.   I am praying that the Lord will once again use his whip to “drive” us out into his harvest.   If he can’t plead with us to “GO”, then maybe he can get us to go through adversity.   If you doubt that he uses adversity to get people to “GO”, then you don’t understand history.  Sometimes he uses Roman soldiers and sometimes a potato famine.   It’s our choice.

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 THE WHALES BELLY OR A PLANE

Jonah and I are so much alike.   No, we’re not related.  We may not have the same personality or the same skin color or even national background, but we certainly have the same attitude.    So often God has called me to do something and I balk at it and instead of going to Ninevah, I chose Tarshish.    Then God has to get my attention and put me through a time of trial and testing and finally I say, “Okay God, I’ll go!”     But even then, many times I get mad at God for dealing justly with those He sent me to.   He may choose to draw them to Himself, but I was hoping He would punish them, “because they deserved it”.  I have such a hard time with “God’s mercy and His grace.”

So I am beginning to learn at the age of 60 that when God calls me to a task, not to question it but to obey it.   I am learning that it is far better to be obedient to His call and to ride in the “belly of a airplane” to the place He wants me to go then to be tossed overboard and have to ride in the “belly of a whale”, because He will get me there one way or another.

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WE'RE JUST A VAPOR

We are getting older. The truth is that you and I are older than we have ever been and younger than we'll ever be again!

 

·   A 30-year old has only 2300 weeks left to live.

·   A 40-year-old has 1800 weeks left on earth.

·   A 50-year old is down to 1300 weeks.

·   A 60-year old has only 790 weeks.

 

Another way to look at time is: the average life lasts only 683,280 hours or 2.4 billion seconds. You and I are speeding toward death at the rate of 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute.

 

In a short time, we will be gone.    It makes us realize that the phrase, "Only one life will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last."

 

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TWO BAGS OF GROCERIES

 

What a difference two bags of groceries can make in a child's life.    Mom used to do miracles with a little bit of flour, salt, oil and a few eggs.   The canisters were usually closer to empty than full, but she could stretch it like few people I ever knew.   All of her recipes had the same ingredients, yet they all had different names.   Dumplings, knapfle, kuchle, spaetzle, and the recipe list goes on.   But there should have been an accompaniment with them.   Chicken, cheese, hamburger, a roast would have made the meal complete.   But seldom did she have the opportunity to add those to the basics, because we lived on the "wrong side of the tracks" and we had so little.  Those who lived on the other side of the tracks had so much, but would not share.  

So as a young lad I so vividly remember the day in the cold of winter, just before Christmas when we opened the door one morning and there at the door step were two bags of groceries.  Real groceries!  Two big bags of groceries!  Meat, cottage cheese, hard cheeses, vegetables, fruit...those two bags held so much promise for Christmas.  To this day we have no clue who left them.

Today, my family and I go out to eat, order in pizza, Oriental meals, take home anything we want from hamburgers and chicken from Hardees  to schwarmes from Abu Naders.  But there are so many who are still where I was when I was a child and it is so difficult for me to see dollars being spent and weight being gained when they may not even have flour, salt, oil and eggs like we had.     WOLOgoHO has started a fund called "The Harold and Olinda Auch - You Gave Me Food Fund."    Through this fund people in Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe are provided with farm animals that will provide food for Christians who have so little.   Go to www.wologoho.org and then to  "PROJECTS" to learn more.  Below is another organization that helps the hungry...but don't forget the people in Ukraine.

 

Feed the Hungry at www.feedthehungry.com  is another of many organizations that can take a $14 gift from us and turn it into 100 pounds of groceries which will end up on the door steps of some young child who will never forget.   Neither will the Lord.  If you doubt my words check out His and please read Matthew 25:35-40.

 

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JUST WAIT UNTIL FATHER GETS HOME

When I was a young lad, my two brothers and I would get into some situations which would demand corporal punishment.    It usually happened while dad was at work, so mom would have to do the disciplining.   But we were faster than she was and we would usually climb the nearest tree.   We may have been faster but she was wiser.   She would say, “Just wait until your father gets home”.   We knew that dad’s punishment was far more severe than hers, so we would climb down and take our well deserved punishment.

Someday, we will have to face our heavenly Father’s punishment against our sin.    I have come to realize that it would be far wiser to deal with the sin in my life now, here on Earth, than to stand before Him someday never having dealt with that sin.    

In Romans 14:10 we have the assurance that someday we will have to face the Father in Heaven, because it says, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.   For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God."  So then, each of us will be accountable to God.”

And again in II Corinthians 5:10 we read,   “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.  

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SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD

I’m tired of defending God!   I think He can defend Himself!  In fact His own words say in Hebrews 4:12, “ Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”   So why should I try to convince someone else about my beliefs, when the word of God is so clear on such subjects as murder, covetousness, stealing, lying, marriage, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.   I don’t need to defend His word….I only need to proclaim it!   So instead of defending the Ten Commandments, I only need to say,  “God’s words says…..”    This is true of the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount and the entire Scriptures.   

If I were to defend Darwin, I would say, “Darwin says…..”  Or if it were Plato, Socrates, Shakespeare, or whomever, I would quote them using their words.   So all I need to do is to say, “God says in His Word……”   It is now no longer “my opinion…but God’s”   It is up to you to chose whether to believe it or not.

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THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS EVER
 

“Some businessmen are saying that this could be the greatest Christmas ever. I always thought that the first one was.”
Materialism is the belief that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and give the highest meaning to life. What it really does is distracts us from the true meaning of life and the One who made it so, and leads us down the path of destruction.
What difference does it make if every Christmas is worse than the one before as long as the first one remains as God intended it?   See Luke 1:31 for the original Christmas.

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ADVENT

The Church Year for most churches begins with Advent.  The fourth Sunday before Christmas day is its beginning.

Most Advent celebrations are centered on an Advent wreath, which is a circular evergreen wreath with five candles, four around the wreath and one in the center which is explained below.    The wreath is symbolic and tells the story of Christmas.   There are various ways to approach this symbol, none of which is the absolute way of telling the story as there are many ways to approach the coming of the Christ child, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The evergreen wreath in a circle reminds us of God’s eternity, never ending and having no beginning.  The candles remind us of Jesus being the “light of the world” and the four candles remind us of the period of waiting for His coming, each showing a different character of Christ.

Also, the four Sundays of Advent can be expressed by the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.   Each one presents Christ in a different position.   Matthew presents Christ as Sovereign, Mark as a Servant, Luke as a Saint or Sanctifier and John as a Savior or Son of God.  In Matthew Jesus is presented to the Jews, in Mark to the Romans, in Luke to the Greeks and in John to the entire World.

There is no proper way to approach the lighting of the candles and their representation of Christ, however, traditionally the first candle that is lit on the first Sunday of Advent and is traditionally the candle of Expectation, Hope or Preparation.

The remaining three candles can be represented in many ways, usually with the emphasis on Peace, Joy, Love.   However, traditionally the third candle is of a different color, that of pink and almost always symbolizes Joy.

Then the center candle which is usually called the Christ Candle is white in color and is lighted on Christmas Ever or Christmas Day.

Another way of celebrating Advent is to have a advent calendar with something that represents Christ for each day from the beginning of advent until Christmas Day.

Below are some resources that we have found to be very helpful.  There are many more that we have used over the years but this is a great place to begin.

Knowing that HOPE is central in the season of Advent, Romans 15:4 should be an encouragement to us all.   “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by encouragement of the scriptures we might have HOPE.”

http://www.cresourcei.org/cyadvent.html or http://www.crivoice.org/cyadvent.html

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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

A bit of modern folklore claims that the song's lyrics were written as a catechism song to help young Christians learn their faith. There is no primary evidence supporting this claim, and no evidence that the claim is historical, or "anything but a fanciful modern day speculation."     The theory is of relatively recent origin. However, it sure has helped me and my family keep Biblical truths fresh and alive.   It was first suggested by Canadian English teacher and hymnologist Hugh D. McKellar in a short article, "How to Decode the Twelve Days of Christmas," published in 1979.

  1. The Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus Christ. 

For God so loved the world…..John 3:16                                                                 

There is no other name under heaven…Acts 4:12

For there is one mediator…I Tim 2:5.

I am the Way, the Truth and the Light, no one comes…John 14:6

  1. The The Two Turtle Doves represent the Old Testament and the New Testament. 
  2. The Three French Hens show the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Also, according to 1 Corinthians 13 there are three things which will always remain.  Faith, Hope and Love.   Also, the 3 Magi and the three gifts given.
  3. The Four Calling Birds represent the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  4. The Five Golden Rings represent the first five books of the Bible.  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.   They are also known as the Pentateuch or the Hebrew Torah (Law)
  5. The Six Geese a Laying represent the six days of creation.
  6. The Seven Swans a Swimming represent the seven gifts of the Spirit.   Also the 7th day that God rested after creation.   It also refers to the 7 churches in Revelations.
  7. The Eight Maids a Milking refer to the Beatitudes.
  8. The Nine Ladies Dancing are the nine Fruits of the Spirit, which are, Love, Joy Peace,
  9. The Tens Lords a Leaping represent the Ten Commandments
  10. The Eleven Pipers Piping represent the 11 disciples who did not forsake Jesus.
  11. The Twelve Drummers Drumming are the 12 points of the Apostles Creed.   It could also represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

 THE TRUE LOVE is God Himself - The ME is you and I

 There are 12 days between Christmas Day (Dec 25) and Epiphany (Jan 6).   Epiphany is the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the wise men (Magi) from the east who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.   It also represents the revelation of Christ as the “Light of the World”.

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WE GO AROUND IN CIRCLES - DON'T WE ?

Life is a cycle.  We go from birth to death.  We go around in circles.  Even nations don't last forever and history teaches us that a nation such as the United States has it's cycle.

Rise and Fall of a Nation 

Goes from a Period of ______ to a Period of______:

SPIRITUALITY - COURAGE

COURAGE - LIBERTY

LIBERTY - ABUNDANCE

ABUNDANCE - GREAT SELFISHNESS

GREAT SELFISHNESS - COMPLACENCY

COMPLACENCY - APATHY

APATHY - DEEP DEPENDENCY

DEEP DEPENDENCY - BONDAGE

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I AM CHANGING JOBS

 I decided to change jobs.   I am going back into the ministry.  Why?   Because all of the ministries I know of are going into my business, i.e. the travel business.   For example, there is a local radio station that now promotes tours and cruises at the expense of my contributions to that station.   They take my money, advertise a cruise or tour with it and I have just paid for the promotion of a cruise or tour whereby some executive gets to go free.   I know this is repeated throughout the United States by numerous Christian radio stations and Christian ministries.    They can do so because they ask you and me for money to support their ministry and then have free advertising to promote their tours and cruises.   In my business I have to pay for that.  It is an expense to me.  But it is not unique to them.   Dobson, Kennedy, Swindoll, Levitt, McDonald, MacArthur and on and on have the ability to use your dollars to promote their tours to the Holy Land and to cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska.   They go free….you pay their fare…they have free advertising….I have to pay for the advertising.

I went into the travel business so that I could travel around the world because travel is in my blood.   I am a born traveler because I have been called by the Lord to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.

So now I am going to go into the ministry….maybe then I can go on a tour or cruise for free and “spread the gospel” with the best of them…something that now even as a travel agency owner, I have to pay for.

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I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS !I

There are so many things that happen in life that just don’t make us happy.   For example, you put your house on the market for sale and the day before your first showing the roof leaks after a downpour.   I have always wanted to write a book on these types of events.  You know, things like when the toilet paper runs out just as you are about to use it and there is no reserve.     But, regardless, the Bible tells us in Habakkuk 3:17-19:

 “Though the fig tree do not blossom,

    nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

  and the fields yield no food,

the flocks be cut off from the fold

  and there be no herd in the stalls.

 

(Here fill in all of the other disappointments in life)

 

Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

    He makes my feet like hinds’ feet

    He makes me tread upon high places.

In our home and office we have this verse posted everywhere.   However, we have put a big space between the above so that we can add things like;   “though the roof leaks….. though there is not enough money to pay the bills…. though no one returns my phone calls……though the toilet paper runs out while in use…..or whatever, we can add those to the list.  

The main thing is that we can and should “rejoice in the Lord” and “joy in the God of our salvation.”   So, our hope is that we can keep things in perspective and no matter what happens in our life,  we will always keep the later part of the above verses in proper order.

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DO GOOD 

Galatians 6:9-10, says "And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

As Christians we are commended to do good to our brothers and sisters in Christ.   One of the ways we can do that is to patronize businesses that are operated by Christians.  On our website at www.wologoho.org, we have started a growing list of Christian businesses that use their financial resources to support Christian ministries under the DO GOOD column.   We would like to encourage you to patronize them.   For those that have a website, please click on their site for information.  For the rest, we have tried to provide at least a phone number where they can be reached.   Should you know of others that should or would like to be included, please contact us. 

As a Christian businessman I am always amazed at how many Christians avoid using the services of their brothers and sisters in Christ.    I see Jewish businesses and Hmong businesses using the services of their own people.   I have therefore begun a campaign to urge these businessmen and women to only support those ministries that in turn support them.   In other words, you patronize my business and I will be happy to support your ministry.    Otherwise we will also begin going to church “online” and save our tithes and gifts.      You may want to check out another article on our website under “Articles” called SAVE 10% - SHOP ONLINE!

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BRIDGE TO LIFE

http://www.navigators.org/us/resources/illustrations/items/The%20Bridge%20to%20Life

 

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THE WHEEL

http://www.navigators.org/us/resources/illustrations/items/The%20Wheel

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THE “M” ILLUSTRATION OF HOW HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 

THE “M” ILLUSTRATION OF HOW HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF  or the cycles of ministries.

Just like the Judges and Kings of the Old Testament God always is looking for a man or woman who will stand in the gap for HIM. Not a committee, church or organization, but a man or woman God can use.

 Ezekial 22:30, I Samuel 13:14, Jeremiah 5:1, II Chronicle 15:9

God is always looking for a man to “stand in the gap”.  If you start with a man, whether it is Martin Luther (Lutherans), John Wesley (Methodists), Dawson Troutman (the Navigators), Bill Bright, (Campus Crusade) or Billy Graham (BGEA), they will all sooner or later go through this cycle…it is almost inevitable.  This should be drawn in a circle to show its cycle but for now just follow its progression (or digression) because when you get to the bottom….God goes looking for another man to stand in the gap.

 

            MAN (God calls a man for a particular purpose)

            MISSION (God gives that man a mission to accomplish)

            MESSAGE (God also gives him a message to proclaim)

            MEN (That man gathers men of like heart around him)

            MENTORING (He begins to mentor or disciple them)

            MINISTRY (They develop a particular ministry)

METHODS (They develop certain methods of how to do the ministry)

MANUSRCIPT (They develop a Manual)

MANIFESTO  (They then develop  Policies, Rules and Regulations)

            MANIPULATE (Politics become involved and they manipulate)

            MOMENTUM (The organization gains even more momentum)

            MOVEMENT (It becomes a movement rather than a ministry)

            MACHINE (Hard to stop once it gets rolling)

            MONEY (Becomes an issue..always pleading for more)

            MONSTER (Unable to control)

            MONUMENT (God sets it aside as a monument even if it keeps on going)

            MEMORIAL (Eventually it becomes a memorial to what God did in history)

 

Then God goes looking for another man to “stand in the gap”.

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SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY – BIBLE STUDIES ON THEOLOGY

 

I have always maintained that we Christians are but babes when it comes to our understanding of theology.     I have therefore developed a Bible study method that will hopefully help in grounding us in that theology.   It is designed to be a lifelong study, not a one hour, one week, one month, or even a semester study.   It can be a basic study or an in-depth study, based on the amount of time you are willing to put into it.   The more time you invest into it, obviously the more you will profit from it.

When I was in the military I was assigned to be a Military Policeman.   One of the major things we were taught was that when we arrived on a crime scene or any investigation such as a traffic accident we were to ask WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW and then we were to come to a conclusion.

This is the same thing that any good journalist would ask and write or report about if they were to report on an incident.   If they didn’t ask and/or answer these questions, the report would be incomplete.  Nor would it be complete if every aspect of those questions would be answered.

So why should we not do the same thing when we do a Bible study which will help us come to the correct conclusions on our theology or what we believe based on Scripture. 

Here is an example or two to illustrate my point.    In my desk drawer I keep a junk tray.   I throw everything in it.    Once in a while I clean it out and begin to sort out the pencils from the pens, the tacks, the paper clips, the staples, the coins, screws, nuts and bolts even work their way into the tray.   Once I sort them into piles, I sort them even further.  For example the coins come in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.   This is how it is with Scripture and good Bible study leading to good theology.   God did not write a book with the first book dealing only with Christology, the second with Pneumatology, the third with Soteriology, etc. etc.   Instead there are bits and pieces of each in almost every book in the Bible and it is our responsibility to determine which one belongs where.   Another example to illustrate the point is a puzzle with thousands of pieces.   The best way to get the picture is to start with the obvious.    If it is a picture of a mountain scene with trees and a lake in front, you start by sorting through the various colors.   Blue for the sky, greenish blue for the lake, green for the trees and perhaps brown for the rocks of the mountain.   You also take all of the ones that have a straight surface and make the frame from those. 

Good Bible study leading us to Systematic Theology always should consist of the following:

1.   OBSERVATION -   This answers the question of “what does it say”?   Not what I think it says but what it really says.

2.   INTERPRETATION  -  This answers the question of “what does it mean”?

3       CORRELATION  -  This answers the question of “how does it relate to other verses in Scripture.”?

4       APPLICATION  -  This answers the question of “how does this apply to me and my life?” 

You see there are four steps to error:   They are ENLIGHTENMENT, then EMPHASIS, then EXTREME which leads to ERROR.    To avoid error we must apply good Bible study methods.    Otherwise, we may come across a verse that we feel enlightened by, the we begin to emphasis it and take it to the extreme, which almost always leads to an error in its meaning and teaching. 

Furthermore, good Bible study in order to come to correct theology one should abide by and adhere to good hermeneutics.   

 

PRINCIPLES OF HERMENEUTICS

 

HERMENEUTICS  -  is the study of the methodological principles of interpretation.

 

GENERAL HERMENEUTICS  -  are rules for all materials needing interpretation.   For example, the interpretation of the writings of Shakespeare.

 

BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS  -  are rules for Biblical interpretation.

 

A.              Literary Genre  -  what style was it written in:  Poetry, Proverbs, Parables, History, Sermons, etc.

 

B.              Word  Study   -  words can be studied and understood                                             Etymologically

Comparatively

                                    Historically

 

C.              Grammatical Exegesis -   by sentences and paragraphs

 

 

SPECIAL TO SCRIPTURE

 

D.              GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION

 

1.               Work from the assumption that the Bible is authoritative

 

2.               The Bible interprets itself:   Scripture best explains Scripture.

 

3.               Saving faith and the Holy Spirit are necessary for us to understand and properly interpret the Scriptures.

 

4.               Interpret personal experience in the light of the Scripture and not Scripture in the light of personal experience.

 

5.               Biblical examples are authoritative only when supported by a command.

 

6.               The primary purpose of the Bible is to change our lives, not to increase our knowledge.

 

7.               Each Christian has the right and responsibility to investigate and interpret the Word of God for himself.

 

8.               Church history is important but not decisive in the interpretation of Scripture.

 

9.               The promises of God throughout the Bible are available to the Holy Spirit for the believers of every generation.

 

E.               GRAMMATICAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION

    

10.            Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally.

 

11.            Interpret words in harmony with their meaning in the times of the author.

 

12.            Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context.

 

13.            Interpret a passage in harmony with its context.

 

14.            When an inanimate object is used to describe a living being, the statement may be considered figurative.   Ex: Jesus said, “I am the bread of life”  He was NOT a loaf of bread.

 

15.            When an expression is out of character with the thing described, the statement may be considered figurative.  Ex:  Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers”.   We know they were not literally snakes.

 

16.            The principal parts and figures of a parable represent certain realities.  Consider only these principal parts and figures when drawing conclusions.

 

17.            Interpret the words of the prophets in their usual, literal and historical sense, unless the context or manner in which they are fulfilled clearly indicates they have a symbolic meaning.   Their fulfillment may be in installments, each fulfillment being a pledge of that which is to follow.

 

F.               HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION

 

18.            Since Scripture originated in a historical  context, it can be understood only in light of biblical history.

 

19.            Though God’s revelation in the Scriptures is progressive, both Old and New Testaments are essential parts of this revelation and form a unit.

 

20.            Historical facts or events become symbols of spiritual truths only if the Scripture so designate them.

 

G.              THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION

 

21.            You must understand the Bible grammatically before you can understand it theologically.

 

22.            A doctrine cannot be considered biblical unless it sums up and includes all that the Scriptures say about it.

 

23.            When two doctrines taught in the Bible appear to be contradictory, accept both as scriptural in the confident belief that they resolve themselves into a higher unity.

 

24.            A teaching merely implied in Scripture may be considered biblical when a comparison of related passages supports it.    

 

Systematic Theology involves the following major doctrines. 

BIBLIOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of the Bible

THEOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of God

CHRISTIOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of Christ

PNEUMATOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of the Holy Spirit

COSMOLOGY – The study of things created.

ANTHROPOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of man

ANGELOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of angels

DEMONOLOGY – The study of Satan and demons

HARMARTIOLGY  -  The study/doctrine of sin

SOTERIOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of salvation

HAGIOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of holiness/sanctification

ECCLESIOLOGY  -  The study/doctrine of the church

ESCHATOLOGY – The study/doctrine of the last things

MISSIOLOGY -  The study/doctrine of missions 

Now in doing a study of each of these from Scripture and using the principles of hermeneutics you will begin to find certain categories.   For example in doing a study on Bibliology, you will notice things like NAMES OF:,  CHARACTERISTICS OF:,  IMPORTANCE OF:,  INSPIRATION OF:, etc.    

Attached to this explanation you will find a number of spreadsheets in MS Excel format.   There is one spreadsheet for each of the topics mentioned above.    On the left side you can add your own category, such as NAMES OF:, etc., then as you find a verse that you believe might fit into that category, put it in.    After that you have columns such as WHO, WHAT, WHOM, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW and then the CONCLUSION.    Ask yourself these questions as you study that verse. 

Another way of looking at it is to go back to your English Grammar classes when you needed to dissect a sentence.   You had a subject (WHO), a verb (WHAT), an object (WHOM) and the rest where adverbs, adjectives, prepositional phrases, conjunctions, etc.   They will usually find their way into one of the other columns.  You will notice that I have put a separate column for the descriptive words which are normally adjectives and adverbs.  Prepositional phrase will usually find there way into the columns of WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.

Example: If you were studying Theology (the study of God)  and you were to look at the very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1 ,you would have a topic of  “God as Creator”.   You would perhaps break down the verse as follows:

WHO               WHAT                        WHOM                       WHEN            WHERE              WHY              

God                 created                        heavens and earth       In the beginning

 

HOW               CONCLUSION

 

You will notice that there are no adjectives or adverbs.  It also does not answer the other questions.    However, if you continue to study the verses as a paragraph or chapter, some of those questions will be answered.

The main thing is not to get legalistic over the process.   Just try your best to break down the sentence and eventually the paragraph and then the chapter in such a way that you are doing an objective approach to Bible study.

The reason I believe this is so essential is because there are so many Bible study books available, but even though they ask the same questions, most of them will try to steer you to their view of Scripture.    For example if I were to ask you the following question.   “When did Jesus spend time in prayer according to Mark 1:35”?    The answer is obvious.   It was early in the morning.   So someone who is a “morning person” could draw the conclusion that we absolutely have to have our “Quiet Time” with the Lord in the morning.    However, in Mark 6:46 it says that in the evening he went up to the mountain to pray.    So you can see how easy it is to manipulate people into believing something just by the way the question is asked.  Again this is where  ELIGHTENMENT, EMPHASIS, EXTREME and  ERROR comes in without proper study of the Scriptures.


 

 

 

 


For More Information

WOLOgoHO,Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                    

2160 Day Rd

Maplewood, MN 55109
Tel: 651-644-8144

Internet: info@wologoho.org