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23 posts tagged Bible

A Short, Free eBook on Abortion - by John Piper

Exposing Darkness of Abortion

We are children of the light. Abortion is a work of darkness. The apostle Paul said, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).

Our aim, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, through the authority of his word, is to glorify God by making much of his image in the unborn, and his mercy in forgiving sinners.

We would like to give you a free eBook based on three sermons I preached on abortion. We hope it helps you speak out. Please feel free to download it, print it, copy it, and share it with as many people as you like.

Here’s a sample sentence:

God is calling passive, inactive Christians today to engage our minds and hearts and hands in exposing the barren works of darkness. To be the conscience of our culture. To be the light of the world. To live in the great reality of being loved by God and adopted by God and forgiven by Christ (yes—for all the abortions that dozens of you have had), and be made children of the light. I call you to walk as children of light.

Thanks for caring,

John Piper

From Desiring God Ministries:

We produced the video above to give you a picture of the lack of theological resources available to leaders in much of the world and to highlight the impact of people joining together with us, as God calls them, to help financially underwrite those efforts.

We are very grateful for so many of you praying with us about the One Percent Campaign. God has been very gracious to provide more than 2,500 people, as ongoing or one-time donors, through this effort!

Would you be part of this one percent? Even just one percent of you giving small monthly gifts, or a one-time gift, will make a significant impact on our domestic and international outreach initiatives.

This clip is taken from the sermon “Jesus, the Son of God,” preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church’s Ballard location in Seattle, Washington, on October 23, 2011. It is the 95th sermon in our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke.

To watch the full sermon, visit http://marshill.com/media/luke/jesus-the-son-of-god


Pentecost

It was around 5 PM when Pastor Christophe asked if I could preach during the English service at the Cathedral at 7:30 AM. That hasn’t given me much time to prepare, and since the Anglican church follows the liturgical calendar I am obligated to preach on the story of Pentecost found in Acts 2. It’s an incredible story known by anyone who’s ever heard of the New Testament. Can you imagine being a grandchild of someone who was at Pentecost & growing up hearing wild stories about what happened that day? In my own mind, I can’t stop thinking about how good God is for establishing covenants with his people, remaining faithful to those covenants, & always fulfilling what he has said he will do. Ultimately, God established a new covenant with all people through His son Jesus, & we can know with certainty that he’s coming back one day to establish the complete & eternal rule of His Kingdom, & to bring restoration & renewal to every broken part of creation. That gets me excited & I want to share some thoughts from tonight as I soaked in the meaning of Pentecost.

 Several blue-collar Jewish fishermen & a devout Jewish Pharisee who once killed Christians became Spirit-filled apostles & leaders of the early Christian church. They changed everything about the known world within their lifetime, & 2000 years later we're still talking about how we want to "make a difference for Jesus in this world." Of course, some of the miraculous events recorded in the New Testament were unique to their situation and don't need to be repeated. Yet, we are filled with the same Holy Spirit & empowered by the same God of the universe so that we can GO tell every single group of people on earth about Christ's crucifixion, resurrection, & coming return. That's it, that's our only job description. Jesus said don't worry about when the end will come or when God's Kingdom will be fully established. In a way I can hear Jesus saying, "Just receive the Holy Spirit, continue watching the big plan unfold, & bring the Kingdom to earth by living a Spirit-empowered life & preaching my name.... But know that the eternal establishment of God's Kingdom WILL be fulfilled."

 Jesus clearly told people what will happen at the end of time, he offered them a message of hope, & he called them to a life of repentance & discipleship. To those who follow him, Jesus said all we need to know is that the Spirit will come upon us & that we will receive the power of God to be who He created us to be & to carry out His perfect plans on Earth, right now in the present. Right now, go preach the gospel to all people. Right now, repent & turn to God. When Jesus came to earth, God came to earth in the flesh. Now the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, has come to earth & filled with power every single follower of Jesus. God is present all over the earth through His people who have been filled with His Spirit. Our only concern should be with how the power of God through the Spirit is working in our lives to accomplish what Jesus said it would be used to accomplish. Are we living witnesses to ALL people - with our words & with our deeds - of who Christ is & what he's done? Only the Holy Spirit has the power we need to live that way, & if we aren't living that way & receiving power from the Spirit, then who's our power coming from? Paul tells us in Ephesians 1 that the Spirit of God seals or hearts & guarantees our inheritance of eternal life with God & his big adopted family. That's for real, this isnt pretend. It's a perfect plan in action, not just a set of doctrinal beliefs about the Trinity or salvation. We get to actually see our God working to restore His creation, drawing people to salvation in Jesus through radical love, & fulfilling promises to his people. It's an amazing story & plan that has been unfolding since time began. My only desire is to do the will of God as I live by the power of His Spirit in me.

Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

"For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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. http://bible.us/Rom8.31.ESV

"HE IS NOT HERE - FOR HE IS RISEN!"

I’ve been trying to get this blog post to go through since last Saturday night, but the internet connection at our house is out and the two hotels I’ve been to haven’t had a good connection either. Nonetheless, I persevere.

I wanted to share these pictures I took in Jerusalem (2008) so you might get a visual of the path our Lord Jesus took to the cross and where he *might* have been buried. Most all of the sites in Israel are “traditionally” where Christians believed certain events took place, but no one can know for sure and there are a few places where it’s obvious that wasn’t the biblical location. In addition to my pictures I have posted "The ‘Who,’ ‘What,’ and ‘Where’ of Holy Week: A Visualization" that appeared last week on Justin Taylor’s blog, Between Two Worlds.

For the past few days I’ve been itching to share my Easter thoughts, so here they are:

We who are in Christ Jesus have also died to sin and resurrected to new life. This means that we become just like Jesus in every way as we share in his sufferings and the crucifixion of our old selves. We are being made into his likeness every single day, and the sinless nature of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is the exact nature we take on. Can anyone be perfect, can anyone not sin? Well, that’s what the Bible says. Paul makes this clear on more than one occasion, but some of my favorite passages are in Romans 6-8. Without typing a 20 page exegetical paper, I want us to see that the entirety of Paul’s claims about what it even means to be a Christian - his basis for helping us understand our position in Christ -  is that we are united with Christ in his DEATH and RESURRECTION. This means we are dead to sin, alive to Christ, and therefore “BY NO MEANS/NEVER/NO WAY/MAY IT NEVER BE SO” that we should continue sinning. Easter is glorious because Jesus rose from the dead, he is alive, and he reigns above all…and I know you haven’t forgotten that Jesus died for your sins - that’s the whole point! But I pray that more Christians (including myself) would live out biblical truth that we do not have to live this life now on earth and sin! We have been freed from sin (past tense)! How liberating it is to see and understand that God planned it all to work that way, and that those with faith in the work of Jesus have literally become united as ONE body with Christ who is the head. Don’t make excuses for your sin, and don’t say, “Well, no one is perfect…thank God for grace!” YES, hallelujah praise Jesus that he rose and thank God for grace!…..but Paul uses the very fact that God does have grace and that Christ did die and resurrect to say to believers, 

"How can you who have died to sin (past tense) continue living in it(present tense)? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4) 

In other words, “Do you even know what it means to be a Christian? It means you don’t go on sinning…how can you???”

Lastly, I need to say that it’s not about “trying not to sin.” What Paul is talking about is a supernatural change that has taken place — a reworking of the human heart and sin-nature that can only be done by God. We don’t stop sinning because we choose to. We stop sinning because we are united with Christ, have the presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit within us, and it is impossible to live in sin if all of that has laid its claim on your life. Be encouraged by the fact that you can’t be good by trying to be good…..but you can be perfect through Jesus. Amen? Yes, Amen.

(Click through to see a larger high-resolution image. Then right click and click “Save As” to download.  Or download in PDF format.

Holy Week Timeline from Bible Gateway

(via Between Two Worlds) Readers may also want to check out a Google Map of Jerusalem, constructed by Crossway, pinpointing (to the best of our knowledge) the location of the major events of Holy Week with chronology. (Click through for more info.)

Google Maps | Life of Christ events and places

The Gospel Coalition | TGC 2011 - Free Audio Downloads

The Gospel Coalition

I guess it was a few years ago, The Gospel Coalition started an annual conference and have always had some of the sharpest Christian minds and most gifted communicators come speak. The website itself contains daily blogs from some guys you may or may not have heard of, but I’ll let you check that out if you want. It’s one of my favorite sites and I wanted to share a couple of links where you can download audio from all the messages given at the conference this past weekend. These guys are always putting out great material on the Bible, theology, church, ministry, etc… and it’s always from some of the top Christian scholars/church leaders. At least bookmark the website so you’ll have a good resource from now on.

Like The Gospel Coalition on Facebook
Follow @TGC on Twitter
The Gospel Coalition | TGC 2011 - Audio Links
  • Most of the links to download audio are up on the home page. Right-click and save.

Desiring God Ministries | TGC 2011 - Audio Links
  • All of the audio links are on one page to download.

I Owe You

On Tuesday [March 29] I went with Bishop Mbanda and a few other pastors to a small village in the surrounding mountains. I can’t remember the name of the village because I couldn’t pronounce it, but we visited one location of the 300 Shyira Diocese churches as well as one of the 52 Shyira schools. They had a confirmation ceremony for about 30 new Christians, and as a lifelong member of a Baptist church that was a new experience for me. Additionally, the entire ceremony was in the native language, Kinyarwanda, which means that I understood nothing about what was happening at any point in the 4-5 hours that we were there. However, I was a guest of honor and was allowed to sit down front in the shade since the ceremony was outside. (Imana Ishimwe = Praise be to God)

Inside Local church

Inside the local church.

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I’ve never seen anything like what I watched in this video. An entire people group, known as the Kimyal Tribe of Papua, Indonesia, received the New Testament in their native Kimyal language. I love to hear the prayer of the pastor who rightly acknowledged God’s sovereignty over the time and place that the full message of the gospel came to these people. He praised God for being faithful to make himself known to a people who were hungry to know more of the Scriptures and to follow Jesus obediently.

Kinyarwanda is spoken by 9,307,000 people:

  • 8,436,000 in Rwanda
  • 533,000 in Uganda
  • 250,000 in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 88,000 in Tanzania

Part of the Bible was published in Kinyarwanda for the first time in 1914. The New Testament was first published in 1931, and the complete Bible translated into Kinyarwanda was first published in 1954. I praise God that the people who speak Kinyarwanda have had the entire Bible printed in their own language for over 50 years. I have seen how some of the pastors here in Rwanda cling to their Bibles — their Kinyarwanda Bibles. It is everything to them, yet there is much about the Bible that they don’t understand.

Just as God once provided the Bible in Kinyarwanda, he is now faithful to provide biblical and theological resources in Kinyarwanda as well. There is a language barrier between myself and those who only speak Kinyarwanda, but I am committed to learning as much of the language as possible and also to helping many people learn English. Just as the people of the Kimyal Tribe hungered for the Word of God and were eager to read and understand, so too are the Rwandan pastors I have met. They are so excited to get their hands on as many resources as possible and to learn how to properly read and interpret the Bible. It’s not as if they’ve chosen to neglect biblical education; rather, they’ve never been given an opportunity. Well, now is the time that God has sovereignly appointed to provide solid biblical teaching for hundreds of leaders in Rwanda. I couldn’t help but think of these pastors as I watched the Kimyal Tribe rejoice over the precious Word of God. I desire to see rejoicing like that in Rwanda over people who truly begin to grasp the depths of the Bible and the “mystery of the gospel” which God has made known to us through Jesus. The gospel of Jesus is good news for all people of all nations, and followers of Christ must have but one focus in life, to…

"go and make disciples of all nations…..teaching them everything I have commanded you." - Jesus

That’s the point.

"We Are Birthing Something"

Shyira Diocese Cathedrale

Last week, after arriving in Kigali on March 12 and spending a few days there, I moved to my home in Musanze. Bishop Mbanda and I met last Thursday to talk about the vision for the Shyira Diocese as we move forward, and I was informed that 15 new pastors were being trained for ordination. All 15 have graduated from high school, a couple have spent a year in college, and all of them speak English well. This is a huge blessing because previously only 1 out of 300 existing pastors had graduated high school and hardly any of them speak English well enough for me to communicate with.

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Walking With [A] Christian

Yesterday morning I visited the Kigali Memorial Centre, a genocide memorial founded in 2004 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. I already knew most of the facts and circumstances surrounding the genocide, but to stand in a place where over 250,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu bodies are buried was in some ways a sickening and in every way humbling experience. I will have all of the photos with plenty of information posted to Flickr and Facebook soon.

Today was a great day. I got to hang out with one of Bridge2Rwanda’s interns - a 19-year-old Rwandan guy named Christian. I thought I was going to ride with a couple of people to see a few areas of Kigali that I haven’t had the chance to see yet, but they got tied up in meetings while Christian and I wound up sitting around the house for a few hours. During that time we got to know one another and found many similarities between us. He speaks English well and can understand everything I’m saying, but he works with Americans every day so that’s not surprising. I let him listen to Lecrae and he flipped out like it was the greatest thing he’d ever heard….and you know I was excited about that. We each shared how Christ has changed us and the new purposes he has given our lives. Before I left Arkansas, my Rwandan friend, Anita, who is enrolled at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, gave me a few things to bring back to her brother. We met him at a nearby hotel around 4 PM, and after that Christian and I took off walking down the streets of Kigali. What I love the most about Rwandans is how much they value community and relationships. No one is ever too busy to listen or talk to you. They want to hear about your life, and if they know you care then they’re eager to open up and share with you as well. Today I had the opportunity to share my heart and vision for Rwanda with Christian, and I think it was really encouraging for him to hear. I told him that I want to help change the perspective that many Rwandans have of mzungu’s (white person/person of foreign descent) in Rwanda. Many mzungu’s come into Rwanda for humanitarian purposes, and of course they’re on the ground amongst the common people. But many mzungu’s come into Rwanda and are distant from the common people. Sure, they may have a good reason to be there, but they aren’t really getting to know the people. Or maybe they just stick to their business with certain people and don’t reach out any further. So far, when I’ve walked down any street and passed a Rwandan they just stare at me. They don’t smile or wave or speak…they just stare. BUT, if I smile and say hello or stick out my hand to introduce myself then they light up and become the friendliest people. I’ve only been here a few days, but I’ve noticed that this happens everywhere I go. I don’t expect everyone in the world to always smile and say hello or stop to talk, but in Rwanda the vibe is different. It’s not as if they’re just going about their business and passing me by. No, they definitely notice me. So why don’t they nod or say hello, but when I say hello they light up??? In part, it’s because they’re “astonished to see a mzungu,” as Christian put it. Many will automatically look at white people like we’ve made it in the world and we’re something special. Mzungu’s have money and the key to success and happiness in life. And they don’t really expect a mzungu to reach out and try to connect with them. Sure, there are plenty of faith-driven and good-hearted mzungu’s who invest their time and energy into serving and loving as many people as possible on a daily basis. But there are 10,000,000 Rwandans and few white people in comparison. Even fewer actually try to connect with the people who are walking the streets. So most Rwandans are not expecting me to say hello or stop to speak. They just stare.

I want to change that perception of Americans…or at least the perception ofsome Americans - namely, Christians. I want these people to know that I came to live.with.them. I came to live with them, to know them, to share my life and my heart with them, to help them understand that the Kingdom of God is the ultimate goal - not the goal of creating a society that imitates “The American Dream.” Ultimately I want to help them fall more in love with God’s Word and with Jesus. I just want to be open in saying, “I’m American, you’re Rwandan, and let’s just be honest about our differences…..but, let’s find that common ground where every human being longs for an authentic relationship and a hope that brings purpose and meaning to this life. Yes, I am a rich mzungu (because I am very very rich). Yes, you’re environment and standard of living has been nothing like mine, and you didn’t go to the school I went to or take the vacation I took or get the present I got or drive the car I drove…..or have a car, period. You don’t know as much and haven’t seen as much of the world as I have, but that’s okay!

Most of the stuff that we esteem…oops, I meant most of the stuff that I esteem is so insignificant. You can nod your head in agreement or say that you know and realize that, but please come talk to someone in Africa who’s never even heard of the NFL and doesn’t have a concept of what American football is. Then you will realize how dumb it sounds to get all excited about stuff that has zero importance. That’s how I’ve felt a couple of times. Maybe you wouldn’t, but then maybe you just don’t care.

Do you know what people have heard about in Rwanda? Do you know what the most common bond I have with these people is?

Jesus.

They love God, and they love Jesus. Their hunger for more truth from God’s Word is evident, and that really excites me. Also, this is what I’ve realized… If I esteem insignificant things as an American, then they will esteem insignificant things as Rwandans - or whoever it is in the world that looks to America as a picture of God’s great blessing. That’s just how it is. They look up to me, watch what I do and want to find out what my interests are solely because I’m from the United States. They want to build huge buildings and houses over here because that’s what they see in America. Being poor and unable to provide for your family is definitely not a good thing, and I’m all for improving your living standards and economy. We should most definitely educate people, send them to college, and help them use their gifts to serve their communities. However, skyscrapers and big houses are not a picture of God’s blessing.

This is a call to the church in America to understand your incredible influence and, yes, to set the bar. God has blessed America. We are so free to teach and preach the name of Jesus, to plant churches, to create and expand and have conferences and all the things that come along with “American Christianity.” Christians have a vital presence in the United States, and I’m not talking about anything that has to do with politics. America is not a “Christian nation,” but Christian influence is stronger in America than anywhere else on the planet. We must accept that and be responsible for setting an example. I’m in Rwanda, so I speak for what I’ve seen here….. People are watching. They are learning. They are modeling after…..and what is it that they want to be???  What do they see as the greatest thing about the USA? It’s not about one country over another, but just like certain people have the power to influence and lead, so do Christians in America have the power to influence and lead other believers throughout the world. We have no choice except to make sure that people in every nation on earth receive blessing from what God has given us, and that they see the Kingdom of God manifested above anything else.