Monday, October 31, 2011

Are You Reformed?

Below you will find a short article describing what really should be celebrated today! On October 31st as believers we should be saying: “Happy Reformation Day!” Yet, sadly most believers today have no educated idea who Martin Luther was or what he did that was so important. In fact, one of my journal entries some time ago, I copied a message that was referring to a sermon I preached where I quoted Martin Luther…the sad part is, this person was wanting to know what Dr. Martin Luther King had to do our doctrine! I can not make this stuff up! Anyway, I came across the blog below that gives a very short summary of Martin Luther. I hope it serves as a blessing to you.  

So, before reading let me help you out on the answer to the blog title’s question… if you are reading this blog…yes, you are either reformed or the alternative, Catholic (and probably just finding out about it).

What Is Reformation Day All About?
from Robert Rothwell Oct 31, 2010 Category: Articles
At the time, few would have suspected that the sound of a hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would soon be heard around the world and lead ultimately to the greatest transformation of Western society since the apostles first preached the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
An heir of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther is one of the most significant figures God has raised up since that time. This law student turned Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation, Luther’s study of Scripture soon led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous in the sight of God.
This last issue is probably Luther’s most significant contribution to Christian theology. Though preached clearly in the New Testament and found in the writings of many of the church fathers, the medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith, they are not added to it as the grounds for our right standing in the Lord’s eyes (Eph. 2:8–10). Justification, God’s declaration that we are not guilty, forgiven of sin, and righteous in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Martin Luther’s rediscovery of this truth led to a whole host of other church and societal reforms and much of what we take for granted in the West would have likely been impossible had he never graced the scene. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German put the Word of God in the hands of the people, and today Scripture is available in the vernacular language of many countries, enabling lay people to study it with profit. He reformed the Latin mass by putting the liturgy in the common tongue so that non-scholars could hear and understand the preached word of God and worship the Lord with clarity. Luther lifted the unbiblical ban on marriage for the clergy and by his own teaching and example radically transformed the institution itself. He recaptured the biblical view of the priesthood of all believers, showing all people that their work had purpose and dignity because in it they can serve their Creator.
Today, Luther’s legacy lives on in the creeds and confessions of Protestant bodies worldwide. As we consider his importance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be knowledgeable proclaimers and defenders of biblical truth. May we be eager to preach the Gospel of God to the world and thereby spark a new reformation of church and culture.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For Reformation Day!

On Monday, you will see a lot of information about Halloween and I have already written concerning this, so I will not go into again. But October 31st should really be celebrated because it is Reformation Day!  Monday, I will have a very easy, short synopsis of what Reformation Day really means. But, during the Protestant Reformation there were 5 Latin fundamental beliefs that serve as pillars of the life of a true believer. Below, you have them explained in a concise way. Use this to talk about these essential beliefs during your family worship.

The Five Solas of the Reformation

By Dr. James M. Boice (1938-2000)
Dr. Boice was a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) pastor and scholar who pastored Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.  He was especially noted for his systematic theology book “Foundations of the Christian Faith” and many commentaries.  He reminds us all of the essential truths handed down to us by the great protestant reformers such as: Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and Huldrych Zwingli. 
1. Scripture alone. When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bible’s authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God—such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.
2. Christ alone. The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christ’s work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any ‘gospel’ that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one.

3. Grace alone. The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Important Upcoming Dates!

All the information on this blog is aimed primarily at our Trinity family, but seldom do I aim it exclusively at our Trinity family:  I want this blog to be able to help believers in a variety of ways.  However, today’s blog is going to be information that I want our Trinity membership to take note of and put on your calendar.  We have had some exciting things happening recently at Trinity (like our Missions Conference this past weekend) and  I want to get ahead of the curve and make sure you have some very important dates down so you can make every effort to take part in them!  It is a busy time – but an exciting time:

October 30:  New Member Fellowship Chili Supper after evening services
November 11: Ladies Holiday Dinner
November 13: One Day Revival with David Miller
November 20: Choir Concert in the evening service
November 22: Twensday Service
December 11:  Kidz Praise Concert in evening service
December 18: Happy Birthday Jesus Service (6pm)
December 25: ONE Worship service at 10:30 am
December 28: No Wednesday Services
January 1: ONE Worship service at 10:30 am
January 8: David Brickner with “Jews for Jesus” in our morning service
January 19: Men’s Fraternity starts back

Please go ahead and mark these dates down and take advantage of being a part of what God is going to do at Trinity!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Discipleship Conference!

Two Conferences in ONE!
MEN’S Disciple-Making Conference  with Herb Hodges

Friday, Oct 21             6:30—8:30 pm

Saturday, Oct 22        8 am—12:30 pm

Missions Sunday, Oct 23
9:00 am   —Special Classes
10:30 am —Worship
Preaching:   Dr. Harold Peasley, South Africa
12:00 pm —Missions Luncheon
5:15 pm   —Snack and fellowship with Missions Organizations
6:00 pm   —Worship
Preaching:  Dr. Harold Peasley, South Africa

Making Disciples: Across the Street & Around the World!

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is not an option for us to make disciples or not, and it is not simply the responsibility of the church, or missionary. It is each and every believer’s responsibility.  In other words, you can say: “It is MY responsibility!”

So, how does this happen? How do I, as a disciple of Christ, turn around and make disciples of all nations?

On the weekend of Oct 21-23, you will have opportunity to gain a greater understanding, conviction, and know-how on how you can be personally involved in disciple-making starting across the street and reaching around the world!

Our Men’s Disciple-Making Conference on Oct 21-22 will kick off the weekend with Herb Hodges leading our men on a disciple-making strategy. This is not a “how to witness” training. Rather, Herb Hodges will be going to Scripture to show us what God’s plan is for making disciples. Men, you will not want to miss this weekend.
Cost is only $10.00

Missions Conference is Sunday October 23
Dr. Harold Peasley, the director of Multi Ministries in South Africa, will be preaching at both the 10:30 am and 6:00 pm worship services.

At the 9:00 am Bible Study hour, we will have special breakout sessions specifically dealing with disciple-making in different contexts.

We will also have 19 ministries represented on this day for you to gain information,  to see how they are making disciples, and possibly how you might be involved in one of these ministries. Or, to give you idea on how you can make-disciples where you are!!

Missions Organizations:
· Network of International Christian Schools                                                                  
· SafeHaven                                                                                                                                            
· YMOT                                                                                                                 
· Care Pregnancy Center                                                                                                       
· Memphis Union Mission
· Orphanos 
· Training Pastors International 
· Pastor from Paraguay 
· Pastor from Nicaragua  
· The Crossings in Vancouver  
· Multi Ministries of South Africa  
· Associational Missionary w/ X-tended Missions Network 
· Disaster Relief 
· Impact Ministries 
· The Sight Ministry 
· Campus Outreach 
· Palmer Home 
· Baby Love 
· Quilts for Su Refugio 
· Mission Trips
· Adopting an Unreached People Group

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank You AWANA Leaders!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was sent the following information:

Sparks: 77 sections completed
Adventure Girls: 24 sections completed
Adventure Boys: 14 sections completed
Challenge Girls: 9 sections completed
Challenge Boys: 40 sections completed

While I am thrilled at the number of children that we have hiding the Word of God in their hearts, I am so thrilled at the last line! The oldest boys in our AWANA ministry have completed greatest amount of sections! I believe this is a direct to the incredible number of men who have stepped up to lead in this ministry. I am just rejoicing over the way our men have committed to serve and lead in our church: this is not only a blessing and a benefit, this is biblical. Thank you AWANA leaders and parents for the faithfulness you show by doing all you can to help your children hide the truth of God's Word in their hearts!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is Going on this Halloween

Since I have been part of the church, I have watched a variety of reactions to Halloween. For that matter, I have taken a variety of stances on Halloween. It's that one time of year that so many believers struggle with, and on so many levels. I am intentionally writing this while Halloween is still several weeks away, and in my last blog I posted from Tim Challies on Halloween - I believe he discusses accurately and practically how we should stand. I know that much of this is a conviction issue, but I want to take a moment in this blog to simply share what we are doing at Trinity. Growing up in church, I experienced everything from going out knocking on doors for candy during Halloween, to staying at home and giving out candy, to “Fall Festivals” (which is the Christian way to celebrate it and still get lots of candy). In the past, we at Trinity have had a Fall Festival that has been widely attended, our parking lots filled up and a great time was had by all. But the question we have been asking as leadership is, does our Fall Festival really do anything as far reaching out to our community? I know it gives kids and families a safe place to go, but so do about 40 other churches in our area. I know it gives out safe candy, but in truth, I never met the kid who got the razor blade put in the apple and, for that matter, who in the world gives a kid an apple in the first place?! Hand them one of those wonderful miniature snickers bars! I digress…our desire is for us as a body of Christ not to just offer our community events, but we want to penetrate our community with the gospel of Christ. We feel like this will be best accomplished by having block parties in our neighborhoods. The budget we normally have to spend on everything dealing with our Fall Festival, will be divided for inflatables and other items for each block party. We will still be joining together as a church to bring candy to help each host family, and to train families as they are meeting and reaching people where they live. Why should we waste one of the only times of the year that people are out in their neighborhoods with their family, walking around meeting others. If we are not reaching the people we live around, we are hardly carrying out the Great Commission. So, in short, we are still taking up candy, we are still letting our children have fun, but we are multiplying our efforts to reach more people with gospel. Please be in prayer about this, and find out the closest “party” near you so you and your family can drop by. May God use this in a great way!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Great Blog to Think Through

I love Tim Challies's blog and I also have a high regard for Dr. John MacArthur, as Mr. Challies does. Below is an outstanding blog on Halloween that is, at the very least…food for thought:

Halloween Fast Approaches
Halloween is fast approaching, and I am beginning to see articles on this always-popular topic in the blogosphere. I wrote about this for the first time last year and thought I would follow that article with a similar one, but one that is hopefully a little more developed as I've had another year to think about this issue. This topic was been discussed last year on an email discussion list in which I participate. One member of the list posted a couple of responses to Halloween provided by John MacArthur in an informal question and answer setting. MacArthur was asked, “Is there anything wrong with children going out 'Trick or Treating', like Halloween, and if so, what specifically is bad in it, and what do the MacArthur kids do? And, should Grace get involved in any alternatives?” His response was as follows:

“I think, it's not a wise thing to have children go out trick or treating. I mean, I think it's kind of dumb for Christian kids to dress up like ghosts and witches and weird things, and devil suits, and trouble-makers, and all that. I think, for example, you know, the whole thing of All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve has connotations, first of all of Roman Catholic tradition. It has connotations of demons and spirits. Plus the fact that little kids are exposed to screwballs as well as to cars, and all kinds of other things…What we do in our family is we have an alternative. Like you said, we do an alternative thing. We do something fun for the whole family. It varies from year to year, and our church has always done that, too, for the kids. Have parties and socials and things.”
Of course I'm sure it has been a few years since the MacArthur children asked to dress up for Halloween. I post MacArthur's response because I feel it is quite typical of the Christian attitude towards Halloween. He feels the day holds too many negative connotations and that Christians should find a more sacred alternative.
I acknowledge this as a difficult issue and that it is, in many ways, an issue of conscience. I do not believe there is absolute right and wrong here. Each person much examine his conscience and decide what he believes. The Bible​ says nothing about Halloween, though certainly there are principles we can find that will help guide us. But ultimately I believe we have to trust our consciences and our sanctified reasoning to guide us. Let me share where this has led me.
My conviction is that it is a very poor witness to have the house of believers blacked out on Halloween. Halloween presents a unique opportunity to interact with neighbors, to meet their children and to prove that Christians are part of the community and not merely people who want only to interact with Christian friends or to only interact in our own way and on our own terms. At the same time I despise how evil Halloween is. Already our neighborhood has ghosts hanging from trees and evil plastic figurines stuck into lawns. One section of houses nearby always feels the need to go the extra step, playing recordings of scary music, dressing in occult costumes and generally glorying in evil. To this time we have allowed our children to go out trick-or-treating, provided they do not wear evil or occult costumes. It is a compromise, and admittedly not one I am entirely comfortable with. Over the past several years churches in our neighborhood have offered an alternative to Halloween with “harvest parties” or similar events. These tend to be parties in a nearby community center that allows children to dress up and get their fill of candy in a less-pagan environment. But there are other churches that encourage families to be present in their homes, to greet their neighbours and to look for opportunities to interact with them. A couple of the pastors in a nearby church are going so far as to hold neighbourhood barbecues before dark and inviting people to come and share a meal with them. I think this is a great idea.
Perhaps the greatest fallacy Christians believe about Halloween is that by refusing to participate in the day we are somehow taking a stand against Satan. And second to that, is that participation in the day is an endorsement of Satan and his evil holidays. The truth is that Halloween is not much different from any other day in this world where, at least for the time being, every day is Satan's day and a celebration of him and his power. A member of the discussion discussion list wrote the following last year around this time: “Yeah… I've heard all of the 'pagan' reasons Christians should avoid Halloween. The question is whether we are actually participating in Samhain when we participate in Halloween? Who or what makes the 'Witch's League of Public Awareness' the definers of what Halloween is, either now or historically? Such a connection between Samhain and my daughter as a ladybug or my son as a Bengals Boy is highly dubious.” And it is highly dubious at best.
I am guessing my neighbourhood is all-too-typical in that people typically arrive home from work and immediately drive their cars into the garage. More often than not they do not emerge again until the next morning when they leave for work once more. We are private, reclusive people who delight in our privacy. We rarely see our neighbors and rarely communicate with them. It would be a terrible breach of Canadian social etiquette for me to knock on a person's door and ask them for a small gift or even just to say “hello” to them. In the six years we have been living in this area, we have never once had a neighbor come to the door to ask for anything (except for this time). Yet on Halloween these barriers all come down. I have the opportunity to greet every person in the neighbourhood. I have the opportunity to introduce myself to the family who moved in just down the row a few weeks ago and to greet some other people I have not seen for weeks or months. At the same time, those people's children will come knocking on my door. We have two possible responses. We can turn the lights out and sit inside, seeking to shelter ourselves from the pagan influence of the little Harry Potters, Batmans and ballerinas, or we can greet them, gush over them, and make them feel welcome. We can prove ourselves to be the family who genuinely cares about our neighbours, or we can be the family who shows that we want to interact with them only on our terms. Most of our neighbors know of our faith and of our supposed concern for them. This is a chance to prove our love for them.
The same contributor to the email list concluded his defense of participating in Halloween with these words: “One night does not a neighbor make (and one night does not a pagan make), but Halloween is the one night of the year where the good neighborliness that flows from being in Christ is communicated and reinforced. We are citizens of another Kingdom where The Light is always on.”
The truth is that I have several convictions regarding Halloween. I despise the pagan aspects of it. I am convicted that my children should not dress as little devils or ghosts or monsters. But I am also convicted that there could be no worse witness to the neighbours than having a dark house, especially in a neighbourhood like ours which is small and where every person and every home is highly-visible. We know that, if we choose not to participate, the neighbors will notice and will smile knowingly, supposing that we feel too good to participate. We have nothing to fear from our neighbours or from their children. So my children will dress up (my son as a police officer and my daughter as a princess) and we will visit each of our neighbours, knocking on their doors and accepting their fistfuls of candy. Either my wife or I will remain at home, greeting people at our door with a smile and a handful of something tasty. If the kids are deemed too old to trick-or-treat, they'll be forced to sing a song to merit any handouts. Our door will be open and the light will be on. And we trust that the Light will shine brightly.
My encouragement to you today is to think and pray about this issue. I do not see Halloween as a great evangelistic occasion. I do not foresee it as a time when the people coming to your door are likely to be saved. But I do think it is a time that you can prove to your neighbors that you care about them, that you care about their children, and that you are glad to be in this world and this culture, even if you are not of this world or this culture. Halloween may serve as a bridge to the hearts of those who live around you who so desperately need a Savior.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Recipe We Want to Avoid!

I am an extremely blessed man! One of my blessings is that I have a wife who enjoys cooking - and I know God put us together because she is married to a man who allows her to use her talents because I enjoy eating! We are a perfect team. However, there is a recipe that I have watched come together in churches, and it never turns out good - not under any circumstance! I was reading a book and found this… so original, yet so true, so I wanted to put this in a blog for us to ponder over and guard against!

How to Make Sinfully Rich Choice Morsels
of Delicious Gossip!


1 Cup of pride----Prov. 21:24

¾ Cup of hearsay—Eph. 4:29

½ Cup of evil suspicions—1st Tim. 6:3-4

¼ Cup of grumbling—1st Corinth. 10:10

1 Tbl Spoon of bitterness—Eph. 4:29

¾ Tbl spoon slander---Lev. 19:16

2 Teaspoons yeast of exaggeration—1st Corinth. 5:8

3 Teaspoons of slurring the situation----Ps. 15:3

Pinch of flattery—Jude 16

Just a dash of unfaithfulness to Christ----Jn. 6:66


1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl of betrayal: Prov. 16:28, Matt. 26:23

2. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil constantly stirring: Prov. 6:14

3. Prepare in a dark kitchen: Jn. 3:20

4. Turn on low and simmer overnight: Eph. 4:26-27

5. Sprinkle with a little truth (optional)—Rm. 1:25

6. Serve hot to itching ears, warm to those not minding their own business and cold to those fearful; Acts 14:2; 1st Thess. 4:11; 2nd Tim. 4:3.

Use this “recipe” to walk through these passages today and it will cause us all to guard our words more carefully.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Questions for Your Marriage

I came across this blog and I felt the questions were extremely helpful for married couples.

5 Questions for Married Couples Who Want to Become More Biblically Compatible

1. What do you focus on more frequently, what’s wrong with your marriage or what’s right with it? If you're a Christian, there’s a lot right about you because Jesus has saved you from God’s wrath and now owns you. You have every resource in Christ available to you (2 Peter 1:3). As a redeemed child of God, forgiveness and grace can flow freely from your heart allowing you to minister to your spouse’s weaknesses. But do you live that way?

2. When is the last time you did something intentional for your spouse? Kindness and thoughtfulness strengthen marriage. Yet many couples feel entitled to speak harshly, be contemptuous, or withhold forgiveness. “For better or for worse” is not permission to sin. It takes faith and humility to respond graciously when you are angry, hurting, or misunderstood.

3. Do you believe God knew what he was doing when he had you marry your spouse? When marriage is difficult it can be tempting to think you made a mistake, forgetting marriage sharpens us, often in painful ways. Step back and remind each other what you appreciate and admire about one another. Chances are, those qualities are still there, but you have allowed sin and selfishness to creep in and cloud your view.

4. Do you need to repent of discontentedness and complaining in your marriage? It takes a supernatural intervention by the Holy Spirit to make us thankful. Our tendency is to compare and complain. Thanksgiving is a lifestyle command in Scripture (Col. 3:15-17), not just a suggestion or holiday in November. What are you thankful about? What would it take for you to enjoy your spouse?

5. Do you and your spouse pray together? Do you pray for each other? It’s difficult to grow hard-hearted and embittered toward someone you are praying for frequently. God will do his best work in your marriage when you are in prayer. Prayer acknowledges our need for God and worships him.