Archive for April, 2006

Is Jesus the next killer app?

Friday, April 28th, 2006 at 7:45 am

I just read an online article, Is Jesus the next killer app? It talks about how churches are using more and more technology during their services. Following are some quotes from the article along with some Bible passages that came to mind as I was reading:

Article: It’s like going to a rock concert.

Bible: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

Article: It’s a fact: Media helps make it easier for people to pay attention.

Bible: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

Article: At Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., the technology budget is $1 million a year out of a total annual budget of $27 million, reported. This kind of spending attracts disciples (emphasis added).

Bible: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the preaching of God’s word has taken a back seat to the production of some kind of performance.

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by gahammerle

In essentials unity

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006 at 8:28 pm

I’ve often heard the following quoted by Christians when discussing things they are unsure about in the Bible:

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.

At first, it sounds like an excellent philosophy. But the more I think about it, it just sounds like an excuse to compromise or not to take a stand for anything. Who gets to decide what is essential and what isn’t essential? Who gets to decide what part of God’s word is essential? Didn’t God say we are to live by every word that proceeds out of his mouth? If God wants us to live by every word, then isn’t every word essential?

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by gahammerle

Calling on the name of the Lord

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 at 8:49 pm

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

Some will tell you that this verse tells us we are supposed to ask Jesus into our hearts and save us. Is that what this means? Is “asking Jesus into our hearts to save us” supported elsewhere in the Bible?

Before you think I am preaching another type of salvation, let me use an illustration to explain what calling upon the name of the Lord means. Suppose there was a man – let’s call him Chris Chen – that worked for a company for 20 years. This man has always done an excellent job – always going above and beyond what was asked of him. He always did his job correctly and quickly. He was held in high esteem by everyone at the company. Now suppose you would like a job at this company, but you don’t have any experience. However, you do know Chris Chen and you ask him to put in a good word for you. Because of Chris Chen’s reputation with the company – because of his good name, they listen to him and you are hired. In other words, you called upon Chris Chen’s good name to gain entrance to the company. In the same way, to enter Heaven, we must call upon Jesus Christ’s good name. Our own names – our own reputations – are filthy rags to God and he would never allow entrance into Heaven based upon our own name. We must gain entrance based upon the name – the reputation – of someone who is worthy to enter Heaven. Jesus Christ is the only one worthy to enter Heaven and so we must call upon his name so we can be saved and enter Heaven. We are turning from our own reputation (repenting) and trusting in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the only way of salvation: repent and trust.

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by gahammerle

Did Jesus suffocate on the cross?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 at 1:59 pm

Most descriptions of crucifixions explain that the cause of death is suffocation. This is due to the position in which the person was crucified. After a period of hanging on the cross, the person would be weakened to the point where he would be unable to pull himself up to breathe and would thus suffocate. Did Jesus actually suffocate to death on the cross?

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

Jesus said this after hanging for at least three hours on the cross. It was also after he had been beaten and scourged. Notice that it says he cried with a loud voice. Someone who was weakened to the point of suffocation would be unable to cry with a loud voice.

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. Matthew 27:50

Notice again, it says he cried with a loud voice and then gave up the ghost. It doesn’t say he cried with a loud voice and then gasped for air before dying. He still had strength enough to cry with a loud voice and then he deliberately gave up the ghost. He deliberately died. So what’s the point? Jesus has complete power over life and death. He willingly gave up his life. No one took it from him. If he does not have power over life and death, he would be unable to save you and me.

Praise God that death has no power over him!

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by gahammerle

In response to those who say God is dead

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 at 1:09 pm

My God is alive. I’m sorry to hear about yours.

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by gahammerle

Two worldviews

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 at 10:53 am

In simple form, everyone holds to either of two worldviews. Either you believe that nothing became something which blew up and became everything or you believe that something took nothing and created everything. You either believe eons ago, there was nothing and somehow, it became something which blew up in the Big Bang and became everything we see today or you believe that God out of nothing created everything.

Neither one can be proven by science. Science deals with observing, testing, and repeating. No one can go back in time and observe nothing becoming something and blowing up into everything. Since you can’t observe it, you can’t test it and you can’t repeat it. On the other hand, no one can go back in time and observe God creating everything out of nothing. To believe either one, you must believe it by faith. You cannot prove evolution is true. It requires faith to believe evolution. I cannot prove God exists. You must believe that God is by faith. By faith, we know that the worlds were formed by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3).

Some may contend that the fossil record proves evolution. That is not true. The fossil record only proves that there were millions of creatures that died and were buried. Evolutionists interpret the fossil record in such a way to support the theory of evolution. Bible-believers interpret the fossil record in such a way to support the history of the Bible. The facts – the evidence – is the same in both cases. The intepretation of the facts is what varies.

Since origins cannot be proven by science no matter what you believe – evolution, creation, intelligent design, panspermea, your belief is not an established fact – unless you have the testimony of an eyewitness. Bible-believers do have the testimony of an eyewitness. We have the word of God. The Bible has been tested by time, by history, by archaeology, by experience and in every case has been proven to be true. Since the Bible is true, what does the eyewitness testimony say about origins?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

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by gahammerle

Did Jesus suffer in Hell?

Thursday, April 13th, 2006 at 9:16 am

I recently heard a preacher state that Jesus died and then went to Hell for three days to suffer for our sins. This is absolutely wrong! Let’s look at a few scripture passages to see what really happened.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? Ephesians 4:8-9

Jesus did in fact descend into the lowest parts of the earth. Does that mean he did suffer in Hell? Or is there something else besides Hell that is located in the lowest parts of the earth?

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. Luke 16:19-30

The rich man died and went to Hell – a place of torments. Lazarus also died, but he neither went to Hell to be tormented nor went to Heaven to be with God. Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom where there was no suffering. Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. Where is Abraham’s bosom? In the scripture we see that it is next to Hell and the two are separated by a gulf. The rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus. In the lowest parts of the earth, there were two places: Hell and Abraham’s bosom. The lost went to Hell and the saved went to Abraham’s bosom.

Now we know that there are two places in the lowest parts of the earth. So how can we tell if Jesus went to Hell to suffer for three days or if he went to Abraham’s bosom?

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:39-43

According to the scriptures, when did Jesus tell the repentant thief he would be with him in paradise? Today! Not after three days. The day Jesus died, he went to paradise. Would you call a place of torments paradise? Doesn’t it sound more like a description of Abraham’s bosom where people are comforted?

So if Jesus did not go to Hell to suffer for our sins, when was God’s wrath poured out on him as the penalty for our sins?

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30

Right before Jesus died, he said “It is finished.” He must have suffered all of God’s wrath before he died. Do the scriptures support this?

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:45-46

For three hours, from the sixth to the ninth hour, God turned the lights out on the earth because he didn’t want anyone looking in when he poured out all of his wrath on his son – when he bruised the son for our iniquities. It was during these three hours that God the son had become sin for us and he could not call God, Father, as before. The son was forsaken by the Father. It was during these three hours that Jesus suffered in our place. Jesus did not have to go to Hell to suffer the torments of those flames.

Have you been born-again? The wrath that God poured out on Jesus for your sins was so horrible that God darkened the whole earth so no one could see how horrible it was. If you reject the price that Christ paid for you, God will repay you with the same wrath. Jesus was able to suffer the eternal wrath of God in three hours because Jesus is an eternal being. Since you are not an eternal being, you will have to suffer God’s wrath for all of eternity. You are a transgressor of God’s laws. You have lied. You have not honored your parents. You have not loved God with your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your might. You have murdered in your heart if you have ever hated another. You are an adulterer in heart if you have ever lusted. You are guilty. Justice demands punishment for your transgressions. Jesus has paid your penalty. To receive God’s mercy, confess and forsake your sins today. Trust in the finished work of Christ.

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by gahammerle

Ambassadors for Christ

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20

Ambassadors are representatives in a foreign land. That means ambassadors have to leave home. Christian, you represent Christ; you are an ambassador. That means you have to get out of your house and take the terms of peace to those who are strangers – who are foreigners. You have been commissioned. Now, get out and do your job.

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by gahammerle

It’s looking bad

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 at 11:05 am

Well, that depends on which way you are looking. If you are looking around, it looks bad. If you are looking back, it looks worse. But if you are looking up, it is looking pretty good.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13

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by gahammerle

The Da Vinci Code

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 at 9:44 am

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:4

A book has been written and a movie based on that book is about to be released. The book and movie are attacks on Christianity. They base their story not on the truth but on fables. Unfortunately, many people will believe the lies because they’ve read it in a book or seen it on the big screen.

How do we combat these lies? Paul gives us the answer in the preceeding verses:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 2 Timothy 4:2-3

Now is the time to study the word and preach it like never before.

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by gahammerle