Could You Be Wrong about Your Religion?

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Saul was wrong about Christianity. Peter was wrong about the Gentiles. James and John were wrong about discipleship. Thomas was wrong about faith. We could go on and on but the point is that even sincerely religious people are going to be wrong about what they believe and practice sometimes. This is why we have the Bible. This is why it is the supreme authority on all religious matters.
Some people believe in the wrong God. There is only one God, Jehovah (Deut. 6:4). Yet we have Allah, Buddha, the gods of Hinduism, or the other various false gods created by man. People believe in these gods and stake their eternal souls on their very existence.
Some people disciple the wrong master. Jesus is our only teacher and Lord (Matt. 23:10). Yet people follow men such as Luther, Calvin, Smith, Wesley, Graham, Osteen, and women such as Eddy and White. Literally hundreds more could be listed. Just google famous religious leaders and understand how many doctrines and practices have originated from people other than Christ.
Some people are wrong about salvation. What constitutes a person being saved or lost? Is it grace? Is it faith? Is it a prayer or a confession? Is it some mode of entry like sprinkling or baptism? The fact that people have various thoughts about how a person comes into a saved relationship with God is the perfect example of how many people have to be wrong about their religion! It makes no sense that everyone can disagree and be right at the same time.
Some people are wrong about worship. Jesus once talked to a Samaritan woman about worship (John 4). She asked Him a sincere question about the difference between Jewish and Samaritan worship. She recognized that these two peoples worshiped differently and she wanted to know from Jesus who was right. There has never been an example anywhere and Scripture that has supported the idea that God has to accept whatever worship we choose to offer Him. Yet many people treat worship this way.
Some people are wrong about the church. They don’t organize it scripturally. They don’t name it Biblically. They don’t carry out the daily practices of the church according to the doctrine of the New Testament. They make their own creed. They attempt to make the church a denomination when the only true church is the Lord’s.
We could continue for hours to discuss all of the things that are done in the name of religion that in a purely biblical sense are just incorrect. But only one observation concerning this truth needs to be made:
When a person examines their religion in the light of all of the teachings of the Bible, they are going to find out they are wrong about some things.
The question is, will we, like Saul, be willing to leave our old religion for the correct one? Will we, like Peter, repent of our sometimes hypocritical practices? Will we, like James and John, stop making it about us and start making it about Jesus? Will we, like Thomas, learn how to believe in things we cannot see?
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105
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A Lump in a Shoe : An Illustration of Love

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Years ago, a good brother shared a story with me that I would like to share with you. I hope that it will have the same impact on you that it did (and does) on me.

He told me about a mother who asked her young son to shine her slippers. He worked very carefully. He did a wonderful job. She was so impressed that she gave her son a quarter. (Remember, this was years ago.)

The next time she wore those shoes, she felt a lump in one of them. She pulled the shoe off and found a quarter with a piece of paper wrapped around it. On the paper, in her son’s boyhood scrawl, were these words:

“I done it for love.”

What a tremendous and touching illustration of the proper motivation for Christians! We can act without loving, but we cannot love without acting.

Hopefully, all who wear the name of Christ will approach our relationship with our Father and with others just like the little boy did with his mother. Hopefully, we will simply do what we’ve been asked to do and what we are able to do with a powerful motivation.

Hopefully, we can honestly say that we “done it for love.”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3, ESV).


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Episode 55: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, Part 1 [Podcast]

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What do you want your children to know? I mean, what do you most want them to know, especially before they are grown and gone?

In this episode of the podcast, Adam begins a four-part series of the 20 things he has on his list for his children. This list is meant to help spur your thinking, as you seek to instill certain principles in their lives. We hope you enjoy this program, and will tune in next week for part 2 of the list.

LOFpodcast

The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program Are…

  1. I want my children to know God (and not just about God).
  2. I want them to know that I love their mother more than anyone else in this world, even them!
  3. I want them to know a servant’s heart.
  4. I want them to know the beauty of a Christian marriage.
  5. I want them to know that the Great Commission is for all Christians.

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Preachers’ Wives’ Retreat

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This may sound like an odd topic for a Legacy of Faith post. You may also think it is only for a very limited audience, but I hope you’ll take the time to read this post.

While doing a lesson for preachers’ wives at Polishing the Pulpit several years ago I made some comments about this role that touched the hearts of several people. One lady in particular, Carrie Voss, came up to me and said, “We need to have a retreat for preachers’ wives and you need to speak at it.” I agreed that it would be helpful for ladies in the same role to gather in one place, and I agreed to be the speaker (in the back of my mind thinking it would never happen). I underestimated Carrie!

A few weeks later she contacted me to say she had found a place to have the retreat and gave me the date. I don’t remember what each lady paid to attend the retreat, but it was minimal and, working with that limited budget, Carrie made it all happen. Twenty-seven preachers’ wives of all ages gathered together for a weekend of sharing, laughing, crying, singing, praying, and enjoying the company of those who understood the role of a preachers’ wife.

This year (2016) we had our fifth retreat and I was again privileged to speak to a group of eighty-six ladies from all over the United States. The retreat has not only grown in number, but also in helpfulness for those attending. Classes on many different topics are held and break-out sessions on how to handle certain situations are beneficial to all in attendance (especially those who are new to this role of preacher’s wife). 

I want to share with you just a short list of blessings I take away from the retreat:

  • Love. I come away from the retreat feeling more love for God and His word as well as more love and respect for my husband as he does this important work. I also come away from the retreat with love for the women I meet who tirelessly work, supporting their husbands in this great task.
  • Encouragement. It is so helpful to realize that Christians are never alone. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of this, especially if you are a preacher’s family living some distance away from parents and other extended family.
  • Understanding. As we interact with each other at the retreat I gain understanding about how to deal with certain situations. 
  • Forgiveness. This is sometimes very difficult when feelings are involved, but the retreat helps me understand that I need forgiveness on a daily basis, so I must learn to forgive others also.
  • Strength. It is important to be spiritually strong. Just as we gain strength when we worship with our church family, as a preacher’s wife, I gain great strength by gathering with other preachers’ wives.
  • Joy. When I hear beautiful voices blending together as we sing, laughter as stories are told, conversations as meals are shared, prayers led from sincere pure hearts…I cry tears of joy.
  • Thankfulness. I come away feeling thankful for so many things…God and His word, my husband, my children and grandchildren, my role in life, my brothers and sisters in Christ, these fellow preachers’ wives, and the list could go on and on. 

If you are reading this post and you are a preacher, try to encourage your wife to attend next year’s retreat. If you are not a preacher, why not give this information to your preacher or his wife, or maybe one of the elders who may encourage your preacher’s wife to attend next year’s retreat? 

If you are a preacher’s wife, take steps toward attending next year’s retreat. You’ll be so glad you did!!! I sure would love to see you there!!!

The 2017 Preachers’ Wives’ Retreat will be held in Bowling Green, Kentucky on April 28-30, 2017. Registration cost for the retreat is $50.  Contact information: www.preacherswiferetreat.com or carrie@aspoonfulofmagictravel.com

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”   Psalm 16:11


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Your Day Has Not Been Wasted

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…if you have reached out to someone with the Gospel of Jesus, the only message that can save their soul.

…if you have encouraged someone who is downtrodden.

…if you have been faithful to your spouse and shown that you would marry him or her all over again.

…if you have told your children you love them and spent time pouring into their lives.

…if you have drunk deeply from the Word of God and drawn ever closer to Him.

Then, no matter what else you might not have gotten done, or what you feel a failure for, your day has not been wasted.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

You Say You Want to Go to Heaven, but You Really Don’t…

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Take a poll of any cross section of people and ask them if they want to go to heaven. Most would reply with a resounding, “Yes!” Now take another poll asking the same question to only Christians. Your positive answer to heaven should be near 100%.
But it is time for a Christian reality check. Because while your words say you want to go to heaven your actions clearly state that you don’t.
1. If you really wanted to go to heaven, you would talk about it more! Now that summer is approaching everybody is talking about their plans. They boast of vacations to the beach and treks all over the country. Facebook posts and Instagram pictures and all other forms of social media are replete with nothing but the excitement and documentation of these journeys. But rarely do I hear such excitement from Christians about going to heaven. I don’t see stories of how they were able to secure tickets or how much they anticipate the experience. And I don’t see them inviting their friends and family to come with them. Why not? I must conclude that people are investing more of their heart in these temporary trips.
2. If you really wanted to go to heaven, then you would be getting ready! Every trip involves preparation. We buy new things for trips. We get our clothes washed and packed. We arrange for all business to be taken care of. We make sure even those for whom we are responsible are provided for. So many Christians must not really want to go to heaven because they have not started packing. If anything I see them getting more and more things that they don’t need for the journey. Their spiritual clothes are dirty but they have just been piling them in the hamper. And they are not taking care of the spiritual business of forgiving others, repenting of sin, and preaching the gospel. I must conclude that not getting ready means not really wanting to go.
3. If you really wanted to go to heaven, then you would want to go right now! Who wants to go to the beach? Who wants to go to Disneyworld? Usually, everyone says, “I do and I want to go today! I can’t wait!” But ask most Christian people about heaven and they say they want to go later. They have things they still want to do and see here on earth. They might say they want to watch their children and grandchildren grow up and that they want to live a full life here on earth first. I don’t recall 1st century Christians ever feeling that way. 21st century Christians don’t get it. How sad! Obviously, they don’t understand heaven. They have missed the whole point. Once you have been raised with Christ you are supposed to, “Set your affections on things above; not on things of the earth. For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2-3). I must conclude that people who want to go to Florida today and heaven later must really, really love Florida more than they should. Or maybe they just don’t realize how superior heaven is to the beach and God is to music stars and Mickey Mouse.
You see, if you really wanted to go to heaven, it would be in your heart and mind with such anticipation, that you could hardly stand another minute of this old world. You would talk about it, prepare for it, and desire it all day, every day. It is hard to long for heaven and earth at the same time. Our hearts and our citizenship can only reside in one place.
Maybe we should take that poll again…Do you really want to go to heaven? Help me to believe you…
“Earth holds no treasures but perish with using, however precious they be. Yet there’s a country to which I am going. Heaven holds all to me” – Tillit S. Teddlie
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Motivated by What?

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Recently, I was preaching in another community. During my time there I saw something that I thought was worthy of some consideration.

What I saw was a church sign. That’s not really all that remarkable. I have seen more church signs than I can remember. We even have one where I preach!

Most church signs inform those who pass by about the identity of the group that meets inside that particular building. Other information that is deemed pertinent is usually included on those signs (schedule and times of classes and services, phone number for the office, etc.).

Sometimes some of those signs have other messages. The message may change from time to time. One of my tasks at a congregation where I used to preach was to regularly put something on our sign that was scriptural, informative, helpful, thought-provoking, and/or challenging. 

Sometimes those signs have a permanent message. Often that message seems to be intended to serve as a “slogan” for that particular group. At other times, the permanent message is something that the people hope will further identify them and/or provide helpful information.

If the message on the sign I saw recently is intended as their “slogan,” they may want to do some rethinking. Here is that message:

MOTIVATED BY PRIDE

I wondered what these people are proud of? Is it their history? Is it the service they offer to the community? Is it their “standing” in the community? Is it their name (which is not found in the Bible)? Is it their doctrine (some of which also lacks a biblical foundation)?

I do not know what they are proud of, but I am afraid that I know one thing. I’m afraid they’ve missed a very important emphasis in the New Testament. 

The highest (and really only) motivation for a Christian or a group of Christians is not pride. It is not even what might be considered the opposite of pride; humility.

What Paul wrote may never appear on anybody’s church sign. It does appear in God’s Word, however.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3, ESV, emphasis added).

Whether the discussion is about my (our) service to God, our relationship with one another, or our attempts to “…seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), it is absolutely imperative that we must be…

MOTIVATED BY LOVE


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Soren Keirkegaard on Why We Treat the Bible As Difficult [Quote]

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The End is Near!

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“The end is near!”

How do those words make you feel? Well, if you are like most people, it probably depends on the context. Right now, those words sound glorious to me because I thought of them in reference to the fact that school ends for the year in just 2 days.

Summertime, here we come!!!

As I thought about what those words mean to me right now, it made me consider how they make me feel in a spiritual context. How do I (or you) feel when I think “the end is near” in reference to my earthly life as a whole? James 4:14 tells us that our lives are like a mist or vapor that “appears for a little time and then vanishes.” So, to borrow a phrase, while the days seem long, the years are short.

Does this make me uncomfortable? Or do I have the same attitude as Paul in Philippians 1:21 where he wrote, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Do I look forward to the coming of Christ with expectation and hope? Can I end my prayers the way John ends the book of Revelation: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus”?

It is my prayer that I can hear the words “the end is near” in reference to my life and be filled with “the peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) because “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12).

I hope you can, too.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”–Romans 8:38-39


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About Video Games in Worship

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I see it virtually everywhere I preach, both at 9th Avenue as well as in various guest speaking opportunities. It is a trend that is disheartening to me, not just as a preacher of the Gospel, but also just one who loves the hearts of children and who wants to see them grow to love God and His Word.

It is kids playing video games during worship.

They bring their iPad, tablet, or phone and while many of us are singing “I Surrender All,” they are striving for a high score. While we are praying to God, they are playing baseball. While we are mining the depths of God’s Word, they are on Minecraft.

Parents, may I just ask: what are we teaching our children about worship?

It’s boring.

It’s only for adults.

It can’t compete with electronics.

It’s something you do if you can’t find something more interesting.

Those lessons, spoken or unspoken, are what your children are picking up when you allow them to play games during worship.

And I know that there are plenty of Bible apps and websites that are also being used by some. That said, I have randomly asked children at places I have spoken about what they were doing on their iPad (or other device) during worship. Never–not a single time–has it had something to do with the sermon. It has always–every single time–been about playing a game or watching videos. (Yes, I’ve seen kids with headphones hooked up to their tablet during worship. Not a good way to show that they are paying attention to the worship service!)

Is this what we want for our children? As we are gathering around God’s throne to praise His holy name, do we want our kids to be off in virtual gameland? If I may say so, I want my children right in God’s throneroom with me as I praise Him!

Excuses, More Excuses

“They can’t sit still through a whole sermon.” “They pick up quite a bit as it is.” “They don’t understand what’s going on.” “It helps me worship because they are still and quiet, at least.”

I’ve heard all the excuses. They just don’t fly. Worship is something that children must be trained in, and it starts when they are very little. What’s more, if they are trained how to act during worship when they are younger, children will most likely come to enjoy worship as they grow up.

Of course, children will be restless during worship (especially the sermon). That’s part of it, and it is understandable. But putting Temple Run in front of their face is not the answer. All that teaches our kids is that they can act up in worship, and they are rewarded for it!

What Can I Do?

I am not saying that children–especially smaller children–need to sit perfectly still during a worship service with just a King James Bible open to the text for the sermon.

But there are far better things to do, or even to give your children, than a video game (or social media access, for the older ones).

When they are really small, give them Bible pictures, Bible story “board-books,” or even small stuffed animals (and whisper in their ear, “God made the dog on day 6,” or “God made the birdie on day 5”). That way, though they have something in their hands, or that they are looking at, it is teaching them to focus on their wonderful Lord during these few minutes.

As they grow a little older, Bible story books are a good idea. Also, make sure they are at least trying to sing and that they are still during the prayers. They can do this much!

Another idea is to have little worship worksheets that they can draw and write on. (Note: We offer these for free in our “Training for Worship” pdf that’s in our store. Again, it’s free!) These sheets let them write the names of the songs or something we prayed about. Have your children draw a picture of something the preacher talked about on the sheets, or write down the verses he used in his sermon.

It’s Not Easy, but It’s Worth It

I know that all this means that you may struggle to worship at times. During those younger years, those children are forming such valuable thoughts in their little minds. Wouldn’t you rather struggle a little bit and have them grow up loving to worship and understanding what is going on?

Then please, not for the sake of the preacher, but for the sake of the souls of your children, nix the video games.

Replace Mindcraft with Matthew.

Replace Temple Run with Titus.

Replace sports games with singing with grace.

God is worthy of your effort. It will be a fight for awhile, but the eternal destiny of your child is in the balance. It’s worth every effort.

Resources

“Training for Worship” [Arrows in Our Hand podcast. Contains other helpful links, especially for parents of smaller children.]

“Training Your Children for Worship” [A Legacy of Faith podcast]


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn