Category Archives: Uncategorized

You are the Problem

You are the problem. You make excuses. You delight in destructive tendencies. You don’t want to hear the truth.

Though the truth hurts, it is going to be more painful. If you continue in bad decision making, even worse results will follow. You are not able to do better, because your inward being is insatiably driving you forward.

You are likely trying to justify your behavior along the lines of, “why do you get to judge me,” “I’m not that bad,” or “I don’t have to listen to you.” You listen because you know what I wrote is true, you know you are actually worse than many think, and the reason I get to say these things flows from common experience (i.e. I, too, am the problem).

Our much needed solution is not in our power or ability, but in the One who created us and provided a solution. That solution was taking our place in paying the price of the penalty. However, His design is that when you receive the gift He freely offers, you would utilize and enjoy this new found freedom. Continued actions similar to those prior to the reception of His gift will result in discouragement, dissatisfaction, and disassociation, which is far the desired results.

So, quit being the problem by delighting in the Solution, in the end, He will use you to help those you love to also break the cycle and enjoy Him and the life He gives. Not sure how to begin? Start here, and if you already have done that, check this out.

Who am I to follow?

16487168_10155890756369012_4648992587089498487_oJerry Coyne in his book Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible, argues that that worldview that is based on knowledge gleaned through observation, testing, and skepticism is incompatible with faith in any deity that interacts with the world. In line with other “new” atheists (Dawkins, Harris, etc.), he attacks faith in general (and sometimes things done in the name of faith are right to attack, like the inquisition, bombings, willingly letting children die of operable tumors in the name of faith, etc.).

The premise is in line with his presumptions. A non-believer who writes a book espousing non-belief admits they cannot use the very tests he demands as a basis of truth on the subject of origins. He writes, “Are there times when it’s alright to hold strong beliefs that are supported by little or no evidence?” What he really means, “there is little to no evidence I and others who are pushing the atheist worldview accept, so why not let our worldview be your authority?” I encourage you to not let him and his worldview be your authority.

It may be surprising that I agree with his premise that that religion and science, as Coyne defines and articulates, are not compatible. I am not for dropping anything but Coyne’s worldview and retaining belief in the Bible. “Little to no evidence,” Coyne wrote, means there is some (and I dare say more than he would admit) for a biblical worldview. The numbers of those who believe in something among practicing scientists (22%) in America, quoted in his book, points to the majority of unbelievers in scientific community, but also to the hope that there are still those who believe. I suspect the work of those who believe the Bible is going to be under greater scrutiny, especially if pointing to Young Earth and Creation models. Thankfully, they are not absent, and their evidence may not be as readily accepted.

Writing an article telling you to not follow Coyne and the athiests, and instead follow religion “that is pure and undefiled” and to have faith in Christ, who did die on a cross and was raised from the dead is not surprising. To believe the Bible (including the specific and special creation, the worldwide flood of the earth, the exiting of the slaves from Egypt, the building of the nation of Israel, and the life of Christ as declared in the Gospels) and to go to a church that declares God’s Word as truth is in line with my role. The evidence may be slight and at times imperceptible, but it is not the first time the Bible has been put to the test and found reliable. In the face of Coyne’s premise that science alone gives knowledge, Proverbs 2:6 declares, ”For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” This is not a call to abandon science, discovery, and study. This is a call to study both the Bible and our universe, and in doing so, follow God.

Renew Your Mind

In stark contrast to the warning against being conformed to this world, Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

This is for all those who are believers. We are all to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As Paul addressed plural believers with the word “brothers,” so, here, the pronouns are plural. We are not to be conformed to the world, instead we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

To the put the rubber to the road: Where is your mind? What do you dwell upon? What do you find yourself thinking about, desiring, wanting? If one ponders the Bible throughout the day, even the most mundane aspects of life can be accomplished with a renewed mind.

If you are one who consistently and constantly complains, stop (for that is not the will of God, according to Philippians 2:14), and be transformed by the renewal of your mind. If you are one who is constantly dwelling upon inappropriate fantasies, stop, and dwell upon those things that are true, and lovely, and pure, and of good report (as Philippians 4:8 commands). If you are one given to lies, stop (Colossians 3:9), and be transformed in the renewal of your mind by only dwelling on truth.

Frustrated?

The world we live in is not always the world we want. When our desires and expectations continue unmet, we grow frustrated, anxious, and even angry. How we react to the situations we find ourselves in, tells a lot about our trust in God.

Psalm 105:4 reads “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Consider the contrast of seeking your own desires versus seeking the Lord. Consider the unlimited reserve of power, versus your limited power. Adam and Eve fled the presence of the Lord, as did Cain and Jonah. However, Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord and Peter preached in Acts 3:20 of the refreshment in the presence of the Lord.

If you are frustrated, seek the Lord. Practice what we have been hearing in Colossians 3 about putting to death sin and fleeing the entrapments of sin. Let the presence of the Lord be your goal.

Why should you join a Traveling Bible Institute Class?

tbi-1Perhaps you have wondered why you should join our Traveling Bible Institute (TBI) class?

First, TBI is an opportunity for further biblical instruction. Sunday morning provides and opportunity to preach a specific set of verses, provide the context of whatever book we are studying, and exhort believers and unbelievers to respond to the truth of God’s Word. TBI, is concentrated on the topic at hand to instruct attendees to articulate topics importance, practicality, instruct others, and grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.

Second, TBI is an opportunity for further fellowship. These classes are intended to be small and personal to ask questions and aid each other in the Word of God. Whether the exegetical study of Revelation (starting Sunday at 6 pm), the upcoming Hermenteutics (methodology of interpretation), or the various systematic theology, we learn in a community setting. This enables us to build further relationships and better “bear one another’s burdens.”

Lastly, TBI is an opportunity for further faith. It is no secret that understanding the Word of God strengthens our walk with God. Romans 10:17 reads, “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” We see this further reiterated in the promises of Revelation:

Revelation 1:3

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

Revelation 22:7  “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Please join us this Sunday. We will explain the class, overview the book, and present the various views of interpretation and why we take the one we do. The syllabus states the purpose as such:

The student will, from this study of Revelation have a good understanding of God’s plan for the ages, starting with this present age when Christ is building His church.  The student will hopefully become better equipped and more highly motivated to endure trials of life and to do the work of ministry no matter the cost, knowing God will bring all things to culmination for His glory and the good of the believer.

If joining us, let us know via email: cornerstoneofutah@gmail.com.

When Life Isn’t Peaches and Cream

We have all been at the place where living life hurts. When getting out of bed is a difficult chore, and hiding under the covers (literally) is a desire.

Whether you know someone going through such a time, or you are in the midst of a life battle, look at Paul’s words written to the Thessalonians:

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

The gospel (Jesus’ death on our behalf) tells us that we are His, so that we might live for Him! This message is to encourage and build us up. Share it. Email it. Text it. Pint it. Proclaim it. Facebook “like” it. Retweet it. Remind yourself of it. Remind others of it. And make obeying God’s command to “encourage one another and build one another up” your task.

Just A Little Church

You attend one of those little churches? Only one full-time pastor (perhaps paid, perhaps not), he is never going to be well known or write a bestselling book, but he is faithful to the text of God’s Word. The teens are led by volunteers (when they have enough for activities), the music is good, but occasionally there are hiccups (like that time the slide said “Holly Holly Holly” instead of “Holy Holy Holy”). The bathroom is occasionally out of toilet paper, and the smudge on the mirror is still there.

country_church_giPerhaps you have thought, “I wish we were bigger,” “If only people would stay who want more programs, we would have the people to have the programs,” or “we like our church, but we cannot do much in our community because we are small.”

I have great news for you! God regularly uses what some consider insignificant. Some of my favorite accounts in the Bible are what God did with only one person or just a few people to bring about His Will. For example, have you read 2 Samuel 23? There the record of David’s soldiers and those who fought for him even when in exile, are recorded. Verse 9 reads, “Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three.” Notice the numbers of this account are not a fairy tale, tall tale, or just some story, it is the account of a mighty warrior.

Have you not read how Paul saved the passengers of a ship and no one was lost, even when there was opposition from a stubborn captain? Or how about the well-known parable of the loaves and fishes? Or the few lepers who could have eaten the food left behind by the destroyed army that had besieged Jerusalem, but went and proclaimed good news to their suffering city? All of these are accounts of the insignificant being used in powerful ways.

If your small church has believers in Christ, those saved through faith in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, sealed for the Day of Redemption, and doing good to all, especially those of the household of faith, you have mighty warriors gird with the Armor of God and commanded to “make disciples of all nations.” You are not besieged and doomed band of survivors hoping to make it out unscathed. Look at 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” You are the children of God (John 1:12) and those whom God has called to be used to “let your light shine before men.” An insignificant tea light illuminates a dark room, how much more those who reflect the Light of the World into the darkness?

So, if you find yourself lamenting the lack of people who attended the services of the church you attend, if you are disappointed more people did not turn out for the event you hoped would have a big impact, if you are concerned whether God can use such a minuscule band of Christ followers, pray God uses your gathering. Pray God would reach the lost, weary, heavy laden, and discouraged to be born again to a living hope. Let Colossians 3:16 be your practice: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Disclaimer: If the church you attend is not teaching God’s Word as the text declares, if sin is not dealt with biblically, and if the practice of the church is not in accordance with biblical truth, there might come a need to separate. Meet with the pastor or leadership, present infringements of biblical truth, and if biblical changes are not made, find a biblically-based gathering of those following God.

Revolution Against Sin

Brooklyn, New York -- August 27, 1776 Colonel Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, a hero of the Revolutionary War and father of Robert E. Lee, once commented that during the war "the state of Delaware furnished one regiment only; and certainly no regiment in the army surpassed it in soldiership." At the Battle of Long Island, the actions of the Delaware Regiment kept the American defeat from becoming a disaster. Fighting alongside the 1st Maryland Regiment, the soldiers from Delaware may well have prevented the capture of the majority of Washington's army - an event that might have ended the colonial rebellion. Organized in January 1776 by Colonel John Haslet, the Delaware Regiment was noted as the best uniformed and equipped regiment of the Continental Army. Delaware's blue jackets with red facings and white waistcoats and breeches would later become the uniform for all the Continental troops. During the Battle of Long Island, the Delaware and Maryland troops were positioned on the right of Washington's line. They defended the most direct route from the British landing site in south Brooklyn to the American fortifications in Brooklyn Heights. Though the troops faced the fiercest fighting of the day, they held their ground long enough to allow the remainder of Washington's army to safely retreat to the fortifications. However, the Delaware regiment was outflanked and forced to retreat, taking 23 prisoners with them, through marshland and across the Gowanus creek. Two nights later, Washington entrusted his Delaware and Maryland soldiers to be the rear guard as he secretly withdrew his army from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Today, the 175th Infantry Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard, preserves the legacy of the 1st Maryland Regiment. The 198th Signal Battalion, Delaware Army National Guard, perpetuates the proud lineage of the Delaware Regiment.

The First low purple rays of dawn cut through the morning mist on January  17, 1781. “The enemy came in full view. The sight… seemed somewhat imposing; they halted for a short time. We looked at each other for a considerable amount of time,” remembered one participant.

With temperatures in the low twenties and a sprinkling of frost coating the ground, the Patriots clapped their hands together to keep them warm and prepare for the British onslaught.

Three hundred yards in front of them, the Redcoats began dropping excess equipment and forming into lines as they readied themselves for battle. To size up the force facing them Banastre Tarleton commanded his legion’s dragoons to charge the American riflemen. The Patriot officers ordered their men not to deliver fire until the enemy was within fifty yards.

Excerpt from Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment who Changed the Course of the Revolution by Patrick O’Donnell.

The fight for American freedom was real. Men stood their ground, as the force which sought to impose a foreign rule pressed down on them. The outcome was victory through standing strong and the aid of the French.

Believers, we are in a very real battle as well. Freedom has been given through salvation “by grace through faith.” The one who has received this salvation from God is a “new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  Once saved, what do we do with sin? We are forgiven, we are set free from the power of sin, and, yet, there are countless stories of believers who have embraced sin, sin they were supposed to flee.

Believers are supposed to resist sin. Hebrews 12:3, 4 states, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Which of us has seen blood flow to resist sin?

Peter wrote believers scattered around the Middle East and Europe, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1, 2). Which of us is living for the will of God, and ceasing from sin?

Romans 7:4 states “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Are we living as if we belonged to our Holy God?

There is a propensity for believers to embrace sin as we did before salvation. Ephesians 5:7, 8 warns, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Sin in the life of a believer ought to be as abhorrent as the unjust foreign rule of the British over the Americans in 1776. Living free from sin is a possibility. Believers must stand firm, commit to resisting foreign rule of sin, and struggle against the temptation to sin.

When we sin, we must confess, repent, and ask God for the grace to stand against the next onslaught of temptation. Stand your ground and allow God’s Word to lead you in victory.

Use God’s Word (Part 2)

Knowing what passages of the Bible are helpful in various situations can be daunting. After all, the 66 books that make up the Bible have a total of 1,189 chapters. They cover marriage issues, single issues, mental health issues, child raising, finances, education, wisdom, direction, examples of good and bad behavior, ecclesiastical conduct, the foretelling of future events, and a host of other topics. All of this is God’s revealed word that is “profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.” Last time, we looked at making use of God’s Word, let’s explore how we might be prepared to do so.

God used multiple styles to convey His message to us. Consider for a moment the topic of selfishness. A simple word search in a concordance or Bible program will bring up plenty of verses dealing with selfishness, and we will look briefly at three.

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

In Psalm 119:36, the author asks for a change of heart. In Philippians we see a command from Paul, an Apostle chosen by God, to the believers in Philippi (and believers today) to not be selfish. In James there is a warning to believers about selfishness that it would parade around disorder and every vile practice. These three verses show us the diversity of God’s Word regarding His desire to lead us to be selfless rather than selfish. One could illustrate this with the life of Sampson or David, who were given incredible opportunity by God, but botched it up to live selfishly.

The more you are familiar with the Bible as a whole, the better equipped to recall applicable passages. Memorize God’s Word in order to know it well, and be able to recall and share when needed. Have a program on your phone or computer to allow you to access God’s Word. Carry a Bible around (don’t worry; people are so selfish nobody cares what you are doing, so you have no need to be self-conscious). This will help you to make use of God’s Word. 

If you are not sure where to begin, read Luke. We are studying it currently on Sundays. You can listen to some of the sermons we have preached, and we welcome you to ask questions, should you have any.

Use God’s Word

Psalm 119-11Change is possible, but you must make use of the sufficiency of God’s Word.” The use of God’s Word is more than theory. Let’s look at an example of how to use God’s Word.

Someone comes to you and says, “I believe in Jesus. I have been attending a Bible teaching church, involved in Bible studies, and I struggle with porn. I don’t want to look at it, but I keep sneaking glances, seeking out websites I know it is going to be present, watching movies that I know contain it. How do I break this cycle of sin?”

This person is dealing with sin biblically. Though they have been living in the sin of lust and adultery, they are confessing their sin and are seeking to flee from sin (at least verbally). The opportunity to help them is present, they have come to you, but how do you use God’s Word?

First, you should know at least one verse that deals with the issue. Here a familiarity with the Bible and a Bible program or concordance comes in handy. You don’t have to be Bible scholar, but you do need to be a student of the Bible.

Now, to answer the question “how do I break this cycle of sin?” Perhaps you remember the account of Joseph, when Potiphar’s wife sought to make him do things that were sinful, he fled. Or perhaps you remember David, when the time was when kings went to war, stayed in Jerusalem and watched a bathing woman. Or perhaps you remember Sampson, who hung out with Delilah, got drunk, got a haircut (all breaking the Nazarite vow he was bound to), and ended up with his eyes put out as a slave to the enemies of the Children of Israel. These stories all have in common men who were in compromising situations, one who fled from sin, and two who embraced sin.

You friend is not fleeing sin. It is not enough to say you don’t desire to sin, believers must flee sin. A simple word search will give you two verses directly applicable to memorize that call for fleeing sin (even sin dealing with sexual sin).

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Commit to commit these verses to memory together. Commit to practice fleeing from sin and instead pursuing “righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.”

Practically, identify when your friend was most tempted to lust. Keep them accountable to think about how they could pursue righteousness rather than lust during these times. For example, let’s say it is around 9 pm, when they typically want to watch something before going to bed, and while searching your friend willingly looks for something that it inappropriate to watch. Work together to make a large list of appropriate material to watch so the choice is limited and the temptation removed. That way your friend doesn’t have to feel guilty about relaxing, but the temptation is mitigated. Practically, in doing so, you “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” together.

 

An additional resource for those struggling with lust and pornography on the internet is Covenant Eyes.