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Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)

Sorry... No Notes Tonight...

Friday, April 28, 2006
sicky-wicky...

I apologize, dear readers, there will be no Friday Night Notes tonight due to illness.

I'm suffering through a nasty throat ache along with other nasty symptoms of a cold. I ask my brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray for a quick recovery, as I am scheduled to preach the evening service at church on the Lord's Day.

Have a blessed week-end,


Rand
11:12 PM
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    The Great and Wicked Deception

    Thursday, April 27, 2006
    called ecumenism...

    This article appeared in the 1960s, it was written by the late Pastor David Nettleton, and how I wish believers had been/would be obedient to it's teaching:


    A LIMITED MESSAGE OR A LIMITED FELLOWSHIP


    "I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Acts 20:27


    This message, like many, is born out of an experience. It may be some others are going through similar experiences. Therefore, let me recount the one which brought this message to light.

    I was brought up as a Presbyterian. I was saved at a college which was interdenominational in student body, but was managed by the Church of the Brethren. From there I went to a seminary which was not a denominational school, and from there to another seminary which was United Presbyterian. I entered the Baptist pastorate with no Baptist training except that which came from reading of the Scriptures.

    A few years later I was drawn into an interdenominational youth movement and was given the leadership of a local Saturday night rally. I cooperated with any who were evangelical, regardless of their associations. I was advised by top leaders in the movement to seek the names of outstanding modernists for my advisory committee. I didn't do that. But I did follow advice which led me to send to all converts back to the churches of their choice, churches I knew to be liberal in some cases. This greatly troubled my conscience and I prayed and thought about it.

    Another problem connected with this work was the failure on my part to instruct any converts on the matter of Christian baptism, which in the Scriptures is the first test of obedience. I felt that I should do this inasmuch as Peter and Paul did it. But how could it be done when on the committee of the work there were close friends who did not believe it? By such an association I had definitely stripped my message and my ministry of important Bible truths which many called "nonessentials."

    In the follow-up work it was not convenient to speak of eternal security in the presence of Christian workers who hated the name of the doctrine. Thus the ministry was pared down to the gospel, just as if there was nothing in the Great Commission about baptizing converts and indoctrinating them. I had found the least common denominator and I was staying by it. But my conscience had no rest. Then it was that Acts 20:27 came to mean something to me.

    The great apostle had never allowed himself to be drawn into anything which would limit his message. He could say with a clean conscience, "I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Why cannot many say that today? In my case, and in many other cases, it was due to a desire to teach a larger audience and to work with a larger group of Christians. Many have been carried away from full obedience by a noble-sounding motto which has been applied to Christian work. "In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, and in all things charity." Some things are not essential to salvation but they are essential to full obedience, and the Christian has no liberty under God to sort out the Scriptures into essentials and nonessentials! It is our duty to declare the whole counsel of God, and to do it wherever we are.

    Paul had a wonderfully balanced ministry. In his preaching he would never please men, for he knew he could not be pleasing to God if he tried to please men. Yet in his living he testified, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" (1 Cor. 10:33). What a happy balance this is in the ministry! It is true, humble, and wholesome.

    Today we are choosing between two alternatives. A LIMITED MESSAGE OR A LIMITED FELLOWSHIP. If we preach all of the Bible truths, there are many places where we will never be invited. If we join hands with the crowds, there will be limiting of the message of the Bible. Bear this in mind-it is the Baptist who lays aside the most! It is the fundamental Baptist who makes the concessions! Think this through and you will find it to be true. We believe in believer's baptism. We believe in separation. We preach eternal security. We believe in the imminent coming of Christ. We consider it an act of obedience to reprove unbelief in religious circles. The Sadduccee and the Pharisee are to be labeled. But according to a present philosophy we must lay these things aside for the sake of a larger sphere of service.

    Which is more important, full obedience or a larger sphere of service? And yet I do not fully believe these are the only two alternatives. It is our first duty to be fully obedient to God in all things, and then to wait upon Him for the places of service. It may be that we will be limited, and it may be that we will not. Charles Haddon Spurgeon did not travel as widely as some men of his day, but his sermons have traveled as far as the sermons of most men.

    I have recently read a religious article by a great evangelist. He deplores the moral conditions in America. He deplores the conditions in our schools. He speaks against the liquor traffic and against juvenile delinquency. But nothing is said against America's greatest enemy--THE MODERN BELIEF WHICH GOES FORTH FROM SUPPOSEDLY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES. The strength of the nation lies in her love of God. That love has grown cold in many churches, and Jesus Christ our Lord is called an illegitimate child, a confused young man and a dead teacher. That kind of thing needs to be rebuked at the cost of reputation and even at the cost of life, if need be. But as soon as it is rebuked, the man who rebukes it will lose the majority of his following, if he is gaining that following through cooperation with modernistic churches.

    It is my belief that some of our great evangelists today are thorough Bible-believing Christians. They accept nearly every truth in the Book. It seems they refrain from preaching all the counsel of God for one reason. To them, it is important to reach farther even if we reach with a smaller message. The breach within so-called Protestantism today is as great as the breach between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. We need to make this fact known. But every time we promote the inclusive type of ministry we are covering up a fact that needs to be known.

    God has given us a great message to preach. It contains the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it is not limited to that gospel. He has commissioned us to preach the gospel, baptize our converts and indoctrinate them (Matt. 28:19,20). He has given us the very best system of follow-up work, which is the building of Bible-believing churches and joining converts to them. He is calling us to loyalty and obedience.

    We need no new message. We need no new method. We need only the spirit of obedience found in Paul when he testified, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."



    I have put in bold some of the arguments I find most interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that the most deceitful and lethal poison infiltrating Bible churches today is the false doctrine of ecumenism. When a church neglects to preach and stand for the "whole Counsel of God", false teachers with their evil doctrines have a footing.

    A few disturbing observations (that I have witnessed) on ecumenism:

    -it almost always leads people to Romanism (completely or partially).

    -as people get older, they tend to "soften up" and become more ecumenical. Most of the time this "softening up" is caused by the slow acceptance of more and more "small" errors and compromises.

    -most ecumenicals belittle Bible verses that plainly teach separation from false teachers and their wicked teachings (Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:2).

    -most ecumenicals think that, despite the teachings of Scripture, they can "reach more souls for Christ" through ecumenism, then by holiness (which consequently, literally means "separation unto God").

    -most ecumenicals cannot fathom how holiness (separation) can be an effective witness.



    Let us pray that the Lord will revive His church again, and save us from Balaam's doctrine.


    "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:15-16)



    Rand


    'Tis the Season

    Monday, April 24, 2006
    Here is a note to all you married people out there. In case you're interested in having a Christmas or New Year's baby, now is the time to start thinking about that.

    We have two of these lovely creatures: our daughter born December 24, 2002 and our youngest son born December 27, 2004.


    Friday Night Notes

    Friday, April 21, 2006
    sadly, again... tough crowd... tough crowd...

    Back to the streets tonight, after a week off. My pastor and I were out at our customary place for our usual 3 hours of street preaching... actually, it was more like 2 hours of street preaching. You see, my pastor had a bit of a rough night.

    First, it was the drunk, homeless Native. This is the exact same drunk guy who has given us quite a bit of grief over the last year, the same guy who assaulted me last summer, the same guy that just spent a few months in jail for assaulting another person. Well tonight, he was much calmer... tonight, he wanted to talk. So he talked with my pastor... and talked... and talked... and talked. My pastor lost a good hour with this guy, barely able to slide in one word; and the time truly was lost, since my pastor said: "he is just so messed up psychologically, probably from all the drugs and booze, he wasn't even making any sense."

    Then, there were the sodomites.

    I was distributing Bible tracts when a sodomite grabbed one of my tracts, ripped it in two and threw the pieces in my face. I just shrugged, picked up the pieces and went about my business. I may have said something along the lines of: "wow, what a great show of respect!" To which I got the middle finger as a response.

    Five minutes later, a police officer comes by and talks with my pastor. He told my pastor that he was causing an "uproar" and that he had to stop preaching.

    -"What?" my pastor reacted, "I've been doing this for 15 years! I've never caused an "uproar" or any kind of trouble."

    -"Well, I don't care about that," the officer continued, "you do what I say now!"

    -"You're not being reasonable or rational here, officer..." my pastor responded.

    My pastor barely had time to finish that last phrase that the officer had walked away, probably realizing that he really didn't have the authority to remove us from the street, and my pastor just wasn't going to be intimidated. I was really surprised by all this, since, for the most part, the police have always been favorable to us.

    And then it all became clear.

    Remember those two sodomites? Well, where did the police officer go after he walked away from my pastor? Right across the street where the two sodomites were waiting. The three men had a brief conversation, in which, I believe, the officer explained that he couldn't get rid of us, and all three eventually walked away. So the scenario probably went something like this: the sodomites hated our message, they made up this "uproar" nonsense and the police officer bought it, and the rest is history.

    Anyway, the Lord protected us from all these, and for that, I am thankful. The only thing we suffered from tonight, was a little wasted time; and I'll take that over a beating or an arrest!

    On the good side, I did have a good exchange with a Romanist named Scott. He told me he read his Bible multiple times, so I asked him if he was born-again. He said he was unfamiliar with that term. I quoted John 3:3:

    "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

    -"Pretty important term, wouldn't you say?" I continued. "If you are not born-again, you're not going to Heaven."

    I then went on to explain regeneration and the gift of faith, that is to say, salvation by faith. He took it all very well. He took a Bible tract and thanked me for answering his questions. Let's hope the Lord has/will start a work in Scott's life; to take him out of the wickedness of Romanism, and bring him into the kingdom of God's Dear Son.

    And that's the notes for tonight, dear readers. I'm beat... it's time for bed. Please pray for me brothers and sisters in the Lord, I'm going through a tough time of late... I'll elaborate some other time. Suffice it to say that I am weary and mentally fatigued; this is probably wicked principalities and powers doing what they do best: trying to knock down God's people. Your prayers are much appreciated.

    Have a great weekend,


    Rand


    Time Travel - Expedition # 4

    Thursday, April 20, 2006
    immature... and oh! so fun!!!

    (if you don't know what this is... check out the other Time Travel Expeditions in the menu bar)


    '91

    The signal was going to be a Janet Jackson song (for the life of me, I can't remember which one it was). That's when I was going to spring out of the hatchback of Nick's car and give the girls the scare of their lives!

    As I layed down, very still in the hatchback trunk area of the moving car, I tried to remember exactly how I was talked into doing this prank. I also asked myself why in the world we were driving these three hot cuties to a dance club we most certainly weren't going to enter (bars and dance clubs just wasn't our thing). I figured that part of it was probably due to our utter inability to get a dating life; we probably resorted to these kinds of favours just to have the company of good looking women for a short time. "We may be nerds," I thought to myself, "but we have hormones!"

    And that's when the song came on. That was my cue! I very slowly rose up, gently placed my head on the seat, within centimeters of the back of their heads, and for a few seconds, I just listened to their chatter:

    -"Can you believe she said that?" one of them said emphatically.

    -"No, no... that's shocking!" the two others responded.

    And that's when, with a cool, calm voice I said:

    -"Yeah! I can't believe it either!"

    It took the girls a good 4 seconds to realize that the voice was indeed coming from behind, not the front where Nick and Pat were seated (I said they were pretty, not bright... lol!). After this short delay they, all three of them, turned their heads very slowly towards me. When they saw the form of a man sitting right behind them, in the hatchback... well... first came the startled shrieks and then, when they realized it was me... punches ensued.

    I got a good roughing and a few "you jerk!" tossed my way, but I laughed to the point of tears throughout the whole thing. We dropped the girls off to the dance club, and we, of course, drove back home... laughing hysterically. I remember thinking to myself that night, that undoubtedly, we had had more fun in our immaturity and our "nerdy" way of life than those girls with their lewdness, drunkenness and the foolishness that is created in these "meat markets" (aka... bars).

    "Hmph..." I thought to myself, "here's to immaturity!"

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    The Bread Issue

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006
    think fundamentally...

    (this post is in responce to the previous post... just click here!)

    High-five to Pete for answering the first question correctly. Indeed, leaven, in Scripture is a picture of corruption and sin:

    "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees... Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6&12)

    "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)

    Sadly though, I find myself at odds with Pete, Doug, Jungle Pop and especially Scott on their positions for question #2.

    First, let's set a bit of ground work. Without a doubt, the bread the Lord Jesus Christ used at the Last Supper was unleavened. I can say this with 100% certainty because the Last Supper was a Passover meal (see Exodus 12). More precisely, check out:

    "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land." (Exodus 12:18-19)

    As Doug mentioned in his comment, the Passover is all about Christ. The sacrifice of a lamb for the atonement of the Israelites, the unleavened bread, every aspect of the Passover was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He would do on the Cross of Calvary. That is why the bread was unleavened. Leaven being a type of sin, could not be added to bread which symbolized the body of Christ, since His body was uncorrupted by sin. And how so many of you can claim that this held importance in the O.T., but not in the N.T. is beyond me. I mean, maybe that's what you think, but what part of Scripture do you base this position on?

    Now I'll be honest, when I first saw the loaf of bread at the Brethren church, I thought to myself: "okay, that's weird, they're using leavened bread... I know that isn't the best and most faithful representation, but I'm sure it's okay... and if I'm mistaken, the Lord will be gracious."

    AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I ACTUALLY THOUGHT THAT!!!!!

    If you're still not getting the ridiculousness of that thinking, consider this analogy:

    It's your wedding anniversary. On this occasion, you offer to cook a wonderful meal for your spouse. You decide to buy a couple of fresh lobsters for your romantic dinner. At the checkout counter you remember a past conversation you had had with your spouse in which he/she mentioned his/her dislike for seafood. You think to yourself: "surely, he/she will like my dinner anyway... I mean... I'm sure it'll be alright... if he/she doesn't like it, I'm sure he/she will forgive me."

    HOW SICK IS THAT???

    Despite your assurances, gentlemen, I find no place in Scripture in which I could derive your level of certainty that the Lord no longer requires the bread at the Lord's Table to be unleavened. In his comment, Scott said: "While the Lord's supper is based on the Passover, it is not the Passover." To this I say: Yep, granted. However, he goes on to say: "The symbolism hasn't been transferred over into the practice." And this is where I stop and say: "Chapter and verse please?"

    At best, one could say that in the N.T., we are not specifically commanded to use unleavened bread, so who knows if we are obliged to regard it or not. But to categorically claim that, for sure, it doesn't matter??? I think that's somewhat presumptuous. Actually, I think that's SERIOUSLY presumptuous!!! Anyone who has spent any time at all in studying the Passover and the Lord's Table comes to the understanding that the bread is unleavened. Why not stick with it? It is the safest course of action. None of you can, from strict Scripture, prove that the Lord is pleased with leavened bread being used at the Lord's Table; none of you can, from strict Scripture, prove that the Lord is displeased with using unleavened bread at the Lord's Table. Why risk it?

    On a final note, I'm afraid I have to straighten out my friend Scott again (sorry buddy). In his comment, Scott points out that since most evangelical churches have "substituted wine for grape juice" in the Lord's Table, he suggests that using leavened bread is a non-issue. The problem with Scott's premise is that I don't believe for one second that there was ever a substitution. I do not believe that wine was used at the Lord's Table, I believe it was grape juice.

    Scott objects to this view affirming that no such juice could be preserved until the Passover season, therefore it had to be wine. Problem is, grape juice could and was preserved in N.T. times, and that, for several months. This site, and this one, along with the book "Bible Wines", clearly make the case. And just thinking about it logically, the use of grape juice at the Last Supper would be far more fitting than wine; in Exodus 12, the Israelites were commanded to not even keep leaven in their houses during the Passover... how much sense would it make for Jesus to then drink fermented drink with his zero-leaven meal?

    The conclusion of the matter? I didn't partake of the Lord's Table at the Brethren church. It is a decision I do not regret, and as it stands now, I would not partake of the Lord's Table if either the bread leavened, or if the grape juice were fermented.

    In doubt friends, abstain.


    Rand


    Yes... I'm still alive

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006
    you all miss me???

    I apologize for the lack of blogging, dear readers. I have been away this past Easter weekend, visiting my wife's parents, so I have an excuse (hee hee)! It was a pretty good trip. The kids got to play with their grandparents and my wife got to catch up with some of her relatives.

    We visited a Brethren Gospel Hall on the Lord's Day and we enjoyed the sermon. There was however, a weird moment, at the Lord's Table. The problem was with one of the elements. It was the bread. They distributed a loaf of bread; a loaf of leavened bread that you would find at any bakery.

    So, here's my questions:

    1- What is the problem with the bread?

    2- Should a Christian partake of this bread for the Lord's Table?


    I await your answers in the comment box. I'll let you know what I did later.


    Rand


    "Allah Is The Greatest!"

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006
    oh yeah... right...

    That's what the 9/11 hijackers repeated over and over again as they crashed United Flight 93 into a Pennsylvania field.

    Interesting.

    Not that the actual event was interesting... the event was terrible, sick and abominable. The very thought of those courageous men and women, who attempted to regain control of the aircraft, spiraling to their death horrified and still horrifies me. It is this final chant that I find interesting.

    What exactly made, and by extention, makes Allah... great? On September 11th 2001, Allah's boys murdered roughly 3,000 souls in a spectacularly violent display of terrorism. Does this make him great? I mean, it's not like they took out the president of "the great satan" (aka the United States of America), or some military grand pubba, or still yet, some notable Allah-blaspheming western pig-dog! Rather, they eliminated 3,000 nobodies (and please, take this statement in the spirit it is said, the souls murdered were not world players as far as I know, they were just common Joes and Janes).

    So if that didn't make Allah great, then what were those terrorists babbling about? Was it the aftermath that made Allah king? Well, let's see now: 5 years later, the Taliban (some serious Allah-boys) have been decimated, Iraq has been taken over by western pig-dogs (hee hee), Israel is still on the map... I mean, if anything, the events of September 11th just made things tougher for serious Allah followers. Allah took 3,000 victims of little importance to his cause, while "the great satan" has taken a whole lot more (in victims and in assets) from Allah's people themselves. If that's greatness, well, greatness is highly overrated.

    So what WERE the terrorists babbling about?

    I knew a woman who suffered from an incurable disease. This ailment plagued her and caused her great anguish. In her desperateness, she made her way to all sorts of "faith healers" (like the Benny Hinn type). Everytime she came back from these extortioners, the story was the same: "I'm healed now! I just have to believe!" A few weeks would go by and the poor woman would have to come to grips with the fact that, no matter how much she wanted to believe the extortioners, she was still quite sick.

    What am I babbling about now? How does this sad little story fit with my post on Allah? Simple: the statements "Allah is the greatest" and "I'm healed now! I just have to believe!" are both one. They are the words of the desperately deceived. Neither phrase have any place in the realm of reality, but some still choose to believe it and cling to it without question. Those terrorists accomplished nothing as far as advancing the cause of Islam is concerned. Nothing. Just as the woman in my example remained gravely ill despite the reassurances of the "Hinn-ites", Allah remains a false god, a wicked and vain imagination, despite the assurances of mullahs throughout the Muslim world.

    History shows the impotence of Allah, and the desperate plight of those who call on his name. And when we look at the exact same history, and look to God's people, those who are in Christ Jesus, we find the exact opposite. We see a Sovereign God who brought Israel out of Egypt, we see a Saviour laying down His life for His friends, we see true Christians thoughout the church age standing uprightly and righteously before both man and God.

    "Jesus is the Greatest! Allah is a fraud."

    "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:31-33)


    Rand


    That Unloving, Ungracious Rand

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006
    very, very bad man...

    Well, it's been a few days now, and I'm still getting some comments and e-mails on my post which dealt with Puritan Belief. All seem to agree that PB is way off on his "oneness theology", but then I am told that I am also off in the way I have dealt with him. The point of contention, it would seem, is the following phrase:

    "PB is not a Christian, and needs to come to the knowledge of the Truth; which, of course, includes the Doctrine of the Trinity (Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:26)."

    The above quote made me an unloving, ungracious man. I am told, repeatedly, that I don't know PB well enough to make that kind of decision. I am told that while PB is incorrect in his view of God, he really is a Christian because "he is honestly seeking the Truth." I have been warned that my post would only further push PB away from the Truth, and that "I needed only to love PB and encourage him as a brother."

    I am finding all of this very aggravating.

    In my most recent post, I mentioned a couple of ladies who questioned my love for the lost because we preached in the open air about their need for repentance and faith in Christ Jesus for eternal life. You see the ladies in question didn't want to hear that message; they wanted to hear that everyone were "just fine in the sight of God", and "God was going to be loving and gracious to all." While I agree such a message would be quite a "sweetheart" message, there is a problem with it:

    IT'S A LIE!

    I could lie to make the Truth of the Gospel more appealing, but it would then be quite hypocritical of me to call what I am preaching, the Gospel. I am sure most of the people who have written to me over the last few days would completely agree with me in this, but where they jump off the band wagon is when it applies to someone they know, someone they love. Now, I see this all the time: Christians who can't bare the thought of a loved one being outside the Truth that is in Christ Jesus, that they convince themselves that their loved one is only "mistaken", and that this loved one's "honesty in seeking Truth" will somehow get him/her favour with God. They would never think this way for a stranger who behaved the exact same way, but their loved one? "No way, he has to be saved!"

    This kind of hypocrisy really irks me. It irks me because what this produces is a deceived sinner (in this case, a man who rejects the Triunity of God is made to believe that this is no big deal, since he is still a Christian). And what about those who faithfully stand by the standard of Scripture? They are made to look like cold, unloving souls. And make no mistake, my standard is the standard of Scripture. Consider:

    "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." (Acts 8:1-23)

    Oh dear! Oh dear! how unloving! Did Peter not consider that perhaps Simon was just making an understandable error? I mean just days before the apostles' showed up, Simon was a sorcerer that wrought works for money. How many of you will say to me that Peter was in error in dealing so sternly with Simon in the above Bible passage?

    "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:16-18)

    ***Rand faints!

    How ungracious!!! I mean Hymenaeus and Philetus only erred in the timing of the Lord's return! Surely these men were still Christians, they only erred in their view of eschatology. Right?

    Wrong. We even read in 1 Timothy that Paul had delivered Hymenaeus to Satan. How many of you would charge the apostle Paul with "being ungracious?" How many of you would charge him with "pushing Hymenaeus away from the Truth?" It would seem we have a double standard here.

    Some may interject here: "these aren't good examples, because these men weren't honestly seeking Truth." My question here would be: "how do you know that?" How many false teachers do you know who actually believe they are preaching falsehood? How many false teachers do you think there are in the world that actually think to themselves: "I want to deceive as many souls as possible, so they could all wind up in Hell!" I don't think I've ever met such a false teacher.

    The fact of the matter is false teachers are, for the most part, honestly deceived by their own false teachings; and that, whether the false teaching came from their heads, or whether it came from someone else's. The Bible even testifies to that fact:

    "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)


    Applying all this to the PB situation which started all this:


    "I don't really know PB?" Granted. I really don't know him that well, but that is completely irrelevant. If anything, my lack of knowledge of PB on a personal level helps me to be objective in my "judging his fruit" (Matthew 7:17). PB rejects the Truth of the Gospel by rejecting the Trinity. This is fact.

    "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17)

    Jesus, the Spirit of God and the Heavenly Father. The three Persons of the One God.

    "... let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Romans 3:4a)


    Rand


    Friday Night Notes

    Saturday, April 08, 2006
    the cold cooled things down...

    Just got back from our customary Friday night of street evangelism. It was a c-c-c-cold one! The winter jacket and the boots were back on for this night of preaching (it dipped down to -7 Celsius), but all and all, I don't mind the colder weather. Frigid nights have a tendency of calming the marketplace down. Not so many people are inclined to "bar-hop" when the weather is cold, which makes our night of preaching far calmer and easy going.

    We preached the Gospel, passed out Bible tracts and carried our Gospel signs around from 8 to 11 pm; the reception was, like the weather, kind of cold. We did distribute a good number of tracts, but we had very few one-on-one conversations tonight. The only one I recall at the moment involved two young ladies who wore too much make-up, had dyed their hair once too many and one of them had piercings all over her face. Considering their physical appearance, their charge against our preaching was kind of hilarious:

    "We don't think what you are doing is right," they said. "Jesus didn't yell at people, He just loved people. We don't think you are being very loving. Do you think you are being loving?"

    My pastor had ZERO time for their nonsense, so he just walked away. I couldn't let their foolishness go unanswered:

    "I could be on a warm couch at home right now, instead of bringing the Gospel to you," I sternly responded.

    I then went right back to my preaching. To indulge their nonsense any longer would have been a waste of time, and an aggravation.

    "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." (1 Peter 3:15-16)

    Other than that, we got the old "we love Satan", "Jesus is dead", "you're stupid"... etc... etc... the usual insults that drunken or drugged fools come up with when exposed to the Truth. I was also branded "a nobody" by a man who, I take it, didn't like our ministry one bit. All this being said, the Lord blessed me and kept me from discouragement tonight for, despite some pretty harsh words and reactions, I stayed on message and didn't let anyone get to me.

    Thank you Lord.

    With that, dear readers, I'm turning in for the night. It's been a long week, and these last few hours finished off whatever energy I had left. Have a great weekend, and especially, a blessed Lord's Day.


    Rand


    My Mistake

    Thursday, April 06, 2006
    I should have known better...

    I'm afraid I have made a little... okay... a big, boo-boo. I actually linked a site under "Christian blogs" that wasn't Christian at all. Don't bother looking for it, I've taken it down already.

    The blog was none other than "Puritan Belief". If you are shocked, believe me, so am I. I have had several communications with PB via e-mail and had visited his blog frequently, and my impression was always the same: "here's a classic Puritan." Problem is, PB isn't a Puritan, nor is he a believer in the God of the Puritans.


    What is God?


    God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24), infinite (Job 11:7), eternal (Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17), and unchangeable (Jas. 1:17) in his being (Exod. 3:14), wisdom, power (Ps. 147:5), holiness (Rev. 4:8), justice, goodness and truth (Exod. 34:6-7).


    Are there more Gods than one?


    There is but one only (Deut. 6:4), the living and true God (Jer. 10:10).


    How many persons are there in the Godhead?


    There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory (1 Jn. 5:7; Matt. 28:19).

    A Puritan Catechism (compiled by C.H. Spurgeon)


    Believe it or not, it is the last answer of the above excerpt that PB rejects. Yes, PB is a unitarian, he rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. I have been so busy that last few days, I hadn't taken any time to look closely at his last post, and more precisely, the comment box of his last post, in which PB's unscriptural view on the Godhead was revealed.

    Now, while PB could have been far more forthcoming about his unorthodox "puritanism", the fault in linking him was all my own. I was quite hasty in my decision to link his site (if memory serves, I linked him after but one or two weeks), and that turned out to be a serious mistake. I apologize to all my readers. For the record, I have turned down far more "link requests" than I have granted, and those who were linked, were usually scrutinized over several weeks (as in more than two or three).

    So, to summarize:

    -Rand eats a slice of humble pie, and admits, on the record, that he was stupid.

    -PB is not a Christian, and needs to come to the knowledge of the Truth; which, of course, includes the Doctrine of the Trinity (Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:26).

    -If you request a link on this blog, be sure you are conformed to this blogger's faith, and be aware that I will be taking my time in determining whether we are one in faith or not.


    Rand


    Family Finances Part 4

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006
    Give off the top... live off the rest.


    Christians ought to be marked by their giving. Generosity needs to be part of who we are. (See 2Cor. 9:6-7) As a general principle, it is proper to give 10% of your income to your church. This is called tithing. I have known some Christians who would not do this because they were not fully in agreement with the church's teachings or practices. They would be willing to attend the church, send their children to Sunday School there and sit under the preaching themselves, but not give their money. They would use all the programs and resources the church offered, all of which cost a great deal of money, but would not give a dime to help with those costs. I disagree with that line of reasoning. If you, as a believer, go to a church, you should tithe there. If you disagree with them in some areas, seek to find a church where you belong, but don't stop tithing at the church you go to until you start to go elsewhere.

    Some Christians object to tithing, saying it is an Old Testament commandment, not relevant to the church today. My pastor's response to that is: "Yes, we are only told to give, rather than to tithe - so why not give more than the 10%?!" Of course, the attitude in giving is more important than the amount. It must not be done "grudgingly or of necessity." So, if the amount is not important, why do I still insist on talking about 10%? Because the principle I want to impart is that of giving first. We give a set amount off the top of our income. Then, with what remains, we determine the lifestyle we can afford to live; how much money we will have for a home and food and clothing and all the other things.

    Ten per cent is a lot of money. Financial advisors will tell people to put away the first 10% of their income for themselves as a means to save for retirement. How can a person put away 10% for himself and give another 10% to his church? Well, many people can't. For Christians, giving to the church should be the priority. Then, the budget. Then, savings with what is left over if there is anything. Christians don't HAVE to save. It is not wrong to save, but the widow who gave her last coin was praised by the Lord for her act of faith.

    We have noticed that most people we know tithe to something. That is, while we as Christians, give a tenth of our income to our church, our neighbours and co-workers spend the equivalent on various vices. Some will smoke and drink away that much money. Others will spend it on expensive hobbies and entertainment. Rand and I will look at each other in bewilderment and wonder how certain people finance their lifestyles. Then one of us will remember, Ah yes... that's their tithe! If we weren't giving to our church, we could do that too! In the same way that we find our whole essence of being from Christ and the church, others will reveal where their essence lies by where they give their tithe. Christians who are struggling to tithe both to their church AND various habits will be miserable, not just because of the drain on their resources, but because of the underlying problem of not giving themselves fully to Christ.

    Although we have been faithful to tithe in our home, it often bothered me that we were not marked by generosity. I can think of a number of family members who are not Christians, but are more generous than I. They give gifts for no reason and are quick to share their money with those who need it. I wanted to be more giving but it just seemed like with one income to support 5 people, there was no way we could give our money to others.

    Since we have started budgeting more stringently (see Family Finances Parts 1, 2 and 3), we have been able to budget for this type of giving. In our envelope system of budgeting, there is an envelope with some money designated for giving "unplanned gifts." It is not a large amount, but it ensures that we consistently have something to be generous with, not just when we come into some unplanned money ourselves. At least once every 3 months (which is how often we fill our envelopes), we can give money or spontaneous gifts to people we care for. It is something that was lacking in the past in our home. We were takers, always looking out for freebies from family and friends, but never giving back - well, of course we sometimes had freebies to give back, but rarely any portion of our finances got allocated to those who help us in so many different ways every day. And there usually wasn't money left over for anyone who fell outside of our family and friends. Let me stress, this can be a very small amount of money if necessary. Inexpensive gifts can be loving gifts. Then again, it can be a large amount if your budget will allow that. Of all the things I spend on, the ones I later regret are not likely to be the gifts I give.


    Friday Night Notes

    Saturday, April 01, 2006
    another mission... accomplished.

    Another Friday night, another night of going into the devil's territory to bring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to God's sheep who are still lost. For three hours my pastor and I did some street preaching, some Bible tract distribution and a few one-on-one conversations with souls who showed an interest in our message.

    The marketplace was absolutely packed tonight. The temperature soared today to a balmy 20 degrees Celsius, which brought scores and scores of people to the market. They all came to enjoy the nightlife; in other words, to do wickedly and stand proud of it. The numbers were truly overwhelming. There was plenty of shouts against us, plenty of mockery, quite a number of insults, but there were also some interesting moments.


    The Good:

    -I spoke with a man named Dennis tonight. He asked me how he could be right with God, because try as he may to do good with his life, he confessed he still felt a measure of guilt about his sin.

    "I am careful to not hurt anyone," he said, "I try to do good things in my life to earn some favour with God, and I have to believe that in the end, God will give me a pass on my sin because I just can't seem to get some areas in my life to be what they should be."

    "Good works to cover the bad in your life... and you hope God will save you for this? Am I reading you right Dennis?" I inquired.

    "Yeah, that's it!" he answered.

    "You're a 'catholic', right?" I asked.

    "Yes, I grew up a 'catholic'... how did you know that?" he asked.

    "I knew that because you are trying to earn your salvation," I began, "and that's what 'catholicism' is all about. Go to confession, pray a few 'hail marys', go to mass, give to charity... etc... and God will let your sin slide and you will, one day, go to Heaven."

    "Yeah," he responded.

    "Problem is," I continued, "that philosophy is contrary to the Bible. God saves people through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works, the apostle Paul made that clear as day in his epistle to the Ephesians. Dennis, you will go through your whole life with the guilt of your sin because no matter how much money you give, how many 'hail marys' you pray, how many times you go to confession, your sin remains!"

    I then explained to him that what he needed was to know the Lord Jesus Christ by reading the Bible and then putting his faith in Him. "That," I said, "is the way to favour with God." He took it all well, and he accepted a card with our church address and contact information. Let us hope and pray that Dennis will go home tonight, open his Bible and find the free gift of God: eternal life in Christ Jesus.


    The Bad that became The Good:

    When we were first making our way to the spot where we preach, a group of Muslim ladies enquired about my Gospel sign. They weren't trying to learn something about the Gospel, they were trying to make the Trinity sound crazy and illogical (a favorite and terribly unoriginal tactic used by many in Islam). I explained that while Jesus is a complete Person, He is still God and ONE with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

    "I don't understand that," she answered.

    "You don't understand," I answered, "because you've never diligently sought the Truth of the Bible."

    She admitted she had never read the Bible. I then suggested that before she challenged any faith with foolish pre-made arguments, she should seek to learn what the faith in question actually teaches. I then walked away and made it to our street corner where I started distributing some Gospel literature.

    Twenty minutes later, a young man walked by me, took one of the Bible tracts I was distributing and mockingly threw it in my face. This was nothing too shocking for me, it happens all the time. But guess who was walking just behind the young man? Yep, the Muslim girls. They were all shocked at how I had been treated.

    They all took a Gospel tract and wished me well.


    The Bad (no mistaking it):

    One man and two women were sitting in a car right across the way from where I was preaching. They listened to every minute of my preaching, occasionally nodding in agreement. I even overheard an "amen!" from one of the young ladies. After a few minutes, the man and one of the women came out of the car.

    "Great preaching, man!" they said. "God bless you for what you are doing! We're Christians too! We go to "such-and-such" Pentecostal church."

    Now some of you may be thinking, why is this under the "bad" header. Well, here it is: I could see the woman's breasts.

    All three in that car looked 100% like all the other souls in the market that night. They were dressed like they were going out to the clubs to have a "good time". On several occasions, I noticed the woman trying to "adjust" her top to conceal that which, surely, she intended to expose to all, except the preacher that just happened to be there. Now how seriously should I take their claim that they are Christians; the can't even look like their Christians.

    Sadly, this has been my experience with Pentecostals. Many of them are so far out doctrinally, what they believe in doesn't even look like the Gospel anymore, and others still are so worldly, one has to wonder what they were saved from.

    How pathetic.


    Rand