Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Prepared for Persecution in Ir#n

I do not know these women, but I met some very much like them in my travels to the Near East a while ago. Pray for them as the Lord leads you.

Prepare Your Children. And then tonight over dinner share their story. Prepare your children and/or grandchildren for a day when they may be faced with this sort of situation.

Maryam Rustampoor, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were arrested and sent to Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. The two women did not rob a bank, kill a man or beat up someone.

Their crime? Loving Jesus. And it is for this reason alone they are still imprisoned.

In August during a court hearing, the two were questioned repeatedly about their faith. They were told to return to Islam.
"We love Jesus," was their reply. Prosecutors asked the women, who had already spent five months in prison, if they regretted being Christians.

"We have no regrets," they said. "We will not deny our faith." The judge sent them back to Evin Prison - notorious for its brutality - to "think about" their decision.
"We have already done our thinking," they told him.

Maryam and Marzieh are among dozens of Iranian Christians arrested, detained or interrogated in Iran in recent months. The harassment is the radical Islamic government's response to an Iranian revival that has thousands of Iranians coming to Christ each month.

from Voice of the Martyrs

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Power for Gospel-Centered Ministry

Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry by K. Edward Copeland.Excellent sermon. Give a listen broken pastors and people who 'do' ministry. The Gospel is the Power. Ministers are the Reporters.

Great application in light of the high number of false teachers and itchy-eared religionists.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reformed Pastors Dialoguing with Secular News Reporters

Reasoned dialogue between Reformed Christians with news reporters about the distinctions between Reformed evangelical views and practices compared to broad evangelicalism. No Rush Limbaugh, no Glenn Beck, no James Dobson.

These are my tribe. I love it.
(Please pardon the sizing problem. I don't know how to correct it.)

from Desiring God one of my favorite resources on the web.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fined $10K for Anger

Has Serena been reading my journal? Taking lessons for the Jim Moon School of Anger Mismanagement?
"I used to have a real temper, and I've gotten a lot better," Williams said later. "So I know you don't believe me, but I used to be worse. Yes, yes, indeed."

Her profanity laden tirade cost her $10,000 at the U.S. Open. My outbursts cost at least that much. Mine are not captured and replayed on national TV, but my wife and kids feel just as threatened. And I pay consequences - door repairs, replacement shovels, rebuilding trust and public embarrassment. (Did you notice the guy's face in the middle of the picture? sort of funny. sort of)

But Someone has already paid my fines and taken all the punishment. Priceless.

Am I saying that Christ's death, burial and resurrection doesn't pay the penalty for my sin? No. He did pay for my guilt.

But sin still costs consequences (cue replay of King David's sin, forgiveness and consequences). And I'll gladly endure the LORD's kind discipline. He's making me better. Free to confess. Free to be free!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pray for My Persecuted Friends (Keep on Praying)

This time last year a friend of mine from I**n, the son of a martyr, was unjustly arrested and detained for some time. News has been slow reaching me, but R was released months ago.

This is good news for him to be reunited with his family and for the Kingdom of Christ to expand through his network of house churches.

But suffering continues outside the cell.

Imprisonment has left deep emotional (and perhaps physical) scars. He is withdrawn and will not talk to his family about what happened during the ordeal.

I can not imagine what he suffered at the hands of the Islamic terrorists - his own countrymen - who likely tortured him.

I can not imagine what he must keep secret. How he must feel cut off and isolated even outside the cell.

I can not imagine how this effects his marriage, his family, his church ministry or his own soul. But it makes me mad!

And I groan and ache for my friend.

Pray for R, his wife, his children, his mother and extended family. The churches under his care.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Am I Saying God Will Give Me All Things?

A friend asked me a really good question today on Facebook.

I had Tweeted this verse (yes, I joined the dark side this week - follow me @brokenpastor and yes the verse is my own translation):
The One who didn't spare his only son, but gave him up for us all - won't he also grace us with all things? Romans 8:32

So here was the good question: "So you are saying God will give you everything there is? Where's it say this?"

I love good questions. I think they deserve as good an answer as I can give. Here's my answer to my FB friend.

You asked two questions. Good ones. And Margie spoke well for me [another comment]. But my answer looked ridiculously long on my wall... I wasn't fishing to preach or hit anyone with my faith. You can delete this if you don't want to hear it. But its really cool to me and means a lot to me. That's why I posted the one verse.

To answer your question C___y, Yes, God will give me (and all believers) everything there is - but in the future. Not now. Not even here on earth. And certainly not by anything I've done to deserve it. I deserve damnation. (and evidently some bacon if that little girls poster is right) [FB reference to friends wall post]

Based on the context of that passage (see Romans chapter 8 verse 18 and following) 'all things' refers to the surpassing value of inheriting Christ's eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. I will share in Christ's inheritance - again not bc I earned it. He's giving me rights to it. Crazy I know.

Verse 18 says '...our present sufferings [now] are not worth comparing with glory that will be revealed in us.' Verses 19-31 then posit this: Both Christians and creation wait and groan in this life. It's bad and broken here and now. But God's powerful to work everything out for the ultimate good.

I'm getting all things in the future through Christ and not because I'm good or deserve it. I'm an ass. But for some crazy reason God is giving this to me (and anyone who will receive it). It's only by faith in what Jesus accomplished through his death, burial and being raised from the dead. Really worth reading.

Thanks for the good question. How's that for an answer?