Tuesday, November 15, 2016
First, the joy of learning about new life entering the world is truly amazing. To know that God has blessed me with another child is both wonderful and humbling. I am humbled that God has placed a child into my care to teach and train up in the ways of the Lord. I am amazed that God chooses to use me to carry truth to new people each and every day, including my children. Children truly are a gift from God, bringing both joy and training to a parent. My children are full of such joy and cause my heart to soar with their laughter and giggles. They also cause me to see just how far I have to go in becoming more like Christ when I lose my patience or fail them in any way.
My second book is out, and I am very excited about it. It has been a long time in the making and I am very happy to see all of my hard work come to fruition. I pray that the Lord would use it to bless many people and open the eyes of many others. It was released on October 31st because I wanted to follow along with the theme of that day among protestants. Many do not know or remember the significance of that day, but the Protestant Reformation still is causing ripples today and should be remembered for the truth that the men and women who were a part of it stood for.
My third knee surgery went well. I am already walking around. God was very good to me and allowed the surgery to go smoothly and be the least intrusive that it could be. His mercies are new each and every day.
Lastly, the home that we are in the process of getting is such a blessing. We have been blessed beyond measure to be able to stay with my family while we looked for a home that we could afford. God, in His abundant wisdom, caused this to take longer than we would have liked. Yet, He has provided us with a home that we should be able to stay in as long as we would like, which is truly a blessing with our growing family.
I can't wait to see what the next few months hold and hope to post again soon. If I don't get one out for a few months, may the Lord bless you during these holiday seasons and bring the light of truth to shine through you as we come to celebrate His blessings and the birth of His Son!
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016
Recently I have seen and heard many posts and comments from people stating that they believe that it is possible to be neither a Calvinist nor an Arminianist in their doctrinal beliefs about salvation and justification. My first response is disbelief, quickly followed by sadness. Disbelief that someone that is trying to claim to believe in the God of the Bible is so easily persuaded that a doctrinal stance is not necessary. Sad that this proclamation, or lack thereof, is so readily accepted by the masses and hailed as wise and deeply thought out. It is neither wise, nor deeply thought out. It is foolish to think that you do not believe in one or the other of these two doctrinal stances. Frankly, you have to believe in one or the other if you call yourself a Christian. One is born out of a small view of God and the other out of a great, or large, view of God.
Monday, July 11, 2016
During my time in Russia, I spent many a Saturday out with my friends sharing the Gospel and handing out Bibles. It would seem that these times are now at an end for believers in Russia that do not share the view that the Orthodox Church is the only church. My heart aches knowing that many of those that I lived among could be arrested for simply sharing the Gospel with their neighbors and co-workers. This is an attempt by those who hate God to limit His reach among the people of Russia.
While this places new and harsh restraints on Christians in Russia, it also shows just how much their country has forsaken God in every way and what we as a nation (America) have to look forward to if the Church continues to remain silent on issues of justice and truth. The people of Russia are hungry for real truth to be brought to them, many having clung to what they remembered before communism and fearing that they would never worship the God of the Universe in public again. That ban was lifted for a time, but it would appear that time is coming to a close.
This should serve as a warning to all of those "Christians" who wish to stand by ignoring God's word while millions of children are killed and the very institution of marriage, designed by God, is destroyed. Our brothers and sisters in Russia are being persecuted and oppressed. This same persecution will soon be coming to America because in general the American church has failed to stand upon truth and justice. It has been tossed by the wind, floating whichever way the majority of public opinion desires.
Let us pray for those in Russia that God will give them a boldness that resembles that of Peter in the book of Acts. May we never be afraid of what man can do to our earthly bodies. Let us pray that the people of Russia will be blessed with the hearing of God's Word proclaimed among those believers who choose to defy the decrees of men and may we weep and mourn with and for those who will undoubtedly pay for their defiance with much sorrow and distress. There will be those who lose their jobs, money, homes, and even lives for their defiance of this new decree and sadly most of the world will never hear about their sacrifice for the Gospel.
May God be merciful to us and bless those who give freely the only hope and life that has the power to save, Jesus.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
My desire for 5 Solas Publishing was to provide a space for authors desiring to publish books. There are a couple new books that are in the works from two different authors. I wanted to give space to those who wanted to share their story with others. Stories that include pain and suffering and the many ways that God heals and mends while at the same time growing and stretching His children. I wanted to provide a place that people could turn to in order to find resources that would help them in their walk with Christ. But most of all, I wanted to create something that would bring glory to God alone.
I am not sure how God will use 5 Solas Publishing, and I may never know the extent of the reach that it has. If it reaches even one person for Jesus and gives them the tools that they need to grow as a Christian, then it will have accomplished its purpose. I am so excited to see what God has planned, both for 5 Solas and for myself, moving forward.
I am eagerly anticipating the release of several articles written by a variety of people from all sorts of different backgrounds about God's mercy, abundant grace, sustaining love, and powerful salvation. I hope that these stories will touch many lives and resonate with many issues and situations that other Christians find themselves in. I look forward to the feedback they will receive and can't wait to see what other stories of hope and joy arise from these stories being shared with others.
Please stay tuned for more information to come. And check out the new website for 5 Solas Publishing, updates will be ongoing!!
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Last weekend there was an extremely large shooting in Orlando that was horrible and has caused much grief for many families. I have been debating with myself in how I wanted to respond to the situation and to those who have already spoken out about it, in one form or another. The longer that I considered the situation and the responses that I have seen to it, the more that I have come to believe that most Christians do not respond properly to situations like this one.
We, Christians, claim that we believe in the Bible and that our God is in control. Yet, many of the responses that I have seen completely deny these very things. I have seen people stating that those in Orlando "had their lives cut short" or "they were taken before their time". When I hear these statements I am filled with sorrow for the one who makes it. If we cannot believe what the Bible tells us that God knows and has planned every day of our lives so that we live exactly the right amount of time, then how can we tell those who are hurting and grieving about the God who died for sinners, sinners just like them. We cannot tell people that God is a refuge for those who repent of their sins and run to Him if we cannot even stand upon His Word that He does all things for those who love Him and are called to His purpose.
God is sovereign over all things, even death. Our response to those who are unrepentant sinners shouldn't be a love that makes them feel better and agrees with their sin. Rather, we are called to love others while explaining to them why their sin is horrible and disgusting in the eyes of God. This is the gospel; that Christ came to earth, lived a perfect righteous life, died upon the cross for the sins of those whom He has chosen for Himself, and then rose from the grave to show His sovereignty even over death and the grave.
If we are to be told that we cannot show people love by preaching the gospel to them, then why do we even claim to be Christians? I John proclaims that God is love. The absence of God, would be no love. So to tell people that we know grief hurts, but there is hope for those who repent isn't hateful, but rather the most loving thing that we can do. We are not to hate others, we are to love them. However, many people want to tell us that in order to love someone you must approve of their sin. This is not the definition of love.
My mind continually wanders to the life of Job whenever I think about situations such as the one in Orlando, FL. Job was a righteous man and God still allowed Satan to torture his earthly body to pains beyond what many people could even imagine. This wasn't something that was done apart from God's sovereignty or without His permission. It was done by God giving permission to Satan to test Job. This test included the death of all of Job's children and even caused his wife to desire to curse God so that she may die as well. The book of Job is of greatest importance when we are examining suffering. If God removes His hand of protection/restraint even the slightest, human depravity explodes all around us.
The gunman in Orlando was a prime example of this. God restrained his sin and desire to sin against both God and his fellow man until the time decreed by God for his sin to become manifest. This man was no sicker or more sinful than any other, God just allowed him to express his sin at that specific moment in time and space in such a way that it showed the horror and ugliness of sin. Yet, many people refuse to see it as sin, just like they refuse to see how an individual lives their life can also be sin. They think that this gunman was way different and had something wrong with him that no other person, except for the terrorists, has wrong with them. This simple was an expression of the sin that lies within every single human being alive. If God wasn't holding us back all the time, we would all of have committed acts just like this at some point in our lives.
All those who were killed in Orlando were judged by God, both in this life and now in the next. God chose this past weekend as the time wherein He would no longer permit those individuals to sin against Him. And unless they cried out to Him in repentance and true humility, they have been sent to their eternal punishment in hell.
Many people would think that I have gone too far with my last statement. I however hope that you will give me the respect to continue to read this statement in its entirety. Every person dies because of sin. Some people die because sin is in the world and their bodies decay. Some people die because of other people's sin and are martyred for their faith in Christ. Others die because their sin has reached the limit for what God will allow of them and He removes them from this world. But the fact remains that everyone dies because of sin. For the wages of sin is death, and therefore Christians and unrepentant sinners will all die in the end because of their sin.
As I previously mentioned, those who were in that club in Orlando most likely died because God saw fit to remove them from this world because of their sins committed. This does not mean that those who remain, namely family and friends, are not grieved at the loss of their loved ones and do not hurt deeply because of the pain caused by their loss. This does not mean that the gunman acted rightly in gunning down all of those people, he was acting in sin and hatred that was bred from sin and was also struck down by God's decree for his actions.
This means that instead of embracing those in Orlando with false pretenses of feigned love for something that we cannot love because it goes directly against the decrees of an Almighty and Holy God, we need to bring them the Gospel in love and humility. We are no better individuals then anyone else. We merely have been blessed by God to see His mercy and grace. We must share that mercy and grace with those in need of it. Both in Orlando and throughout the world. Sin exists throughout every corner of the world, and yet Christians continue to allow it to hold a place at the table in the name of love.
Jesus lived amongst sinners and dined with them. However, never once did He approve of their sinful actions or allow them to feel at ease with those actions. Two of the best examples of this are found with the woman at the well in Samaria and Mary Magdalene. In the case of the woman at the well, Jesus drank water with her, which was never done between Jews and Samaritans, but then He followed it up with a confrontation about the many men that she had married and slept with out of wedlock. It wasn't just that He did one or the other, but rather the combination of the two that makes it so powerful. In the case of the Mary Magdalene, He permits her to come into the place where He was dining, not because of who she was for she was a harlot, but rather because He knew that salvation is available to all who repent and come to Him.
This is the manner by which we, Christians, should approach situations like this. We must love, God commands it, but He also commands us to make disciples throughout all the earth and we must also do so. We must share the Gospel, even when it is not wanted. We must love, even when we receive no love in return. But most importantly, we must follow God no matter the cost or sacrifice.
Let us pray for those who are grieving, weep with those who are weeping, mourn with those mourning, but then let us offer to them the sweetest of sweets and explain to them the love of a Savior who is greater than anything they could even imagine. There will be those who proclaim hatred or callousness are found within our actions because we hold to Christ and Christ alone, but that is to be expected since Jesus Himself told us that the world will hate and despise us for His sake. Let this not deter us from ministering to those who so desperately need it.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
I think that A.W. Tozer lays out an amazing argument as to why doctrine matters. He says:
"It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.
The word doctrine means simply religious beliefs held and taught. It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers of religious beliefs, to be certain that these beliefs correspond exactly to truth. A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine. We cannot afford to have less.
The apostles not only taught truth but contended for its purity against any who would corrupt it. The Pauline epistles resist every effort of false teachers to introduce doctrinal vagaries. John’s epistles are sharp with condemnation of those teachers who harassed the young church by denying the incarnation and throwing doubts upon the doctrine of the Trinity; and Jude in his brief but powerful epistle rises to heights of burning eloquence as he pours scorn upon evil teachers who would mislead the saints.
Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain. The human heart is heretical by nature and runs to error as naturally as a garden to weeds. All a man, a church or a denomination needs to guarantee deterioration of doctrine is to take everything for granted and do nothing. The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness; the church or denomination that grows careless on the highway of truth will before long find itself astray, bogged down in some mud flat from which there is no escape.
In every field of human thought and activity accuracy is considered a virtue. To err ever so slightly is to invite serious loss, if not death itself. Only in religious thought is faithfulness to truth looked upon as a fault. When men deal with things earthly and temporal they demand truth; when they come to the consideration of things heavenly and eternal they hedge and hesitate as if truth either could not be discovered or didn’t matter anyway.
Montaigne said that a liar is one who is brave toward God and a coward toward men; for a liar faces God and shrinks from men. Is this not simply a proof of unbelief? Is it not to say that the liar believes in men but is not convinced of the existence of God, and is willing to risk the displeasure of a God who may not exist rather than that of man who obviously does?
I think also that deep, basic unbelief is back of human carelessness in religion. The scientist, the physician, the navigator deals with matters he knows are real; and because these things are real the world demands that both teacher and practitioner be skilled in the knowledge of them. The teacher of spiritual things only is required to be unsure in his beliefs, ambiguous in his remarks and tolerant of every religious opinion expressed by anyone, even by the man least qualified to hold an opinion.
Haziness of doctrine has always been the mark of the liberal. When the Holy Scriptures are rejected as the final authority on religious belief something must be found to take their place. Historically that something has been either reason or sentiment: if sentiment, it has been humanism. Sometimes there has been an admixture of the two, as may be seen in liberal churches today. These will not quite give up the Bible, neither will they quite believe it; the result is an unclear body of beliefs more like a fog than a mountain, where anything may be true but nothing may be trusted as being certainly true.
We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in modernistic churches and expect nothing better, but it is a cause for real alarm that the fog has begun of late to creep into many evangelical churches. From some previously unimpeachable sources are now coming vague statements consisting of a milky admixture of Scripture, science and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out.
Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be laboring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers because they are rethinking evolution and reevaluating various Bible doctrines or even divine inspiration itself; but so far are they from being advanced thinkers that they are merely timid followers of modernism-fifty years behind the parade.
Little by little evangelical Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition.
Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever."
from: Man: The Dwelling Place of God, A.W. Tozer.
Oh how true these words are today. It would seem as if he had written them about today's Christian church, and these words were written over fifty years ago. May our hearts ache for those who disregard the very foundation that they claim to stand on and forsake the sacrifices that those saints who have gone before us paid with their blood to preserve many works that contain deep and beautiful doctrines that cause the Christian to taste sweet honey from our Father's hand.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
There are so many people that think that the gospel was meant to form social clubs, religious practices, and many other such things. However, none of them are true. The gospel is not for these worldly and foolish trivialities. The gospel frees our souls from the grip of sin. We are born in sin, and as David says we were conceived in it. So many times people have expressed their desire to form their own gospel, or to create their own version of the real gospel. They twist and turn it until it has no semblance of the truth that it originated from.
Our church bodies and congregations are in place to help us grow in our faith and to hear the gospel preached. They aren't supposed to provide the community with a free coffee cafe or donut shop. They aren't supposed to create a worldly rock concert to draw people in. The church is the place where the gospel is to be shared and heard.
Many people would ask, "what exactly is the gospel?" The answer to that question is very simple, the gospel is the message of salvation for those whom Jesus Christ redeemed on the cross who will believe in His death and resurrection for the redemption of their souls from death and destruction. This is the gospel, that a man would lay down His life for the salvation of all who believe.
Jesus did not establish the church to have earthly rituals that resemble everything that the world does in worshipping idols, we are to stand out amongst those who claim to worship something. Our message has life and hope, Jesus is not in the grave. He has risen and will return for His bride.
The gospel is the tool that God uses to quicken a person's heart as the Holy Spirit begins to open their eyes tho the truth of God. May we share it boldly and with confidence.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Over the past two months, so much has happened in my life. My daughter was born at the end of January, easily one of the greatest days of my life. She is so precious and sweet. My son has begun to learn what it means to be a big brother and to care for his sister, which he does with great vigor and joy. To see his face light up when asked to help care for her is one of greatest joys that a parent can experience. I released my first book, which I published on my own. It was a fun experience and I hope that it is a blessing for those who read it. (If you would like more information on it, please go to the 5 Solas tab at the top of this page.) I was offered and accepted a new job in Boston, and therefore will be moving from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts in the next couple of weeks. This is all while we are in the midst of figuring out how to sell our house and what to do with all of our stuff in the mean time.
God continually keeps reminding me that He is in control and as long as we rely on Him and trust Him, that He will care for all of our needs, just as He has promised. I hear so many people that are scared and worried about taking a leap of faith to go in a new direction for their life. They are worried about money and worldly concerns. However, Jesus told us that our Heavenly Father cares for us more than the birds of the air. Therefore, we should trust Him to provide for us and not worry about what is going to happen and how all of the details are going to work out. Now, I am not saying that we shouldn't do our parts to plan what we can, but there are times when we must rest in His grace and mercy in order to glorify Him.
Does it scare me a little bit that I am leaving my house and job here in PA for an unknown experience in Boston? Sure it does, and I think that is natural. However, it is how I react to this situation that will determine how I experience it. If I were to freak out and stress about everything that could go wrong or that I do not know about, then how would that glorify my Father? It wouldn't. Therefore, I am resigned that no matter what comes my way, I am going to remain open to what the Lord has planned for me and my family. He will provide for our needs, just as He has done my entire life. He will care for us in ways that many people will never understand. He has provided an opportunity to live near our family, which if you have read my blog for any amount of time I am sure you would understand is extremely important to me. For, I believe that through the dynamics of the family we are shown the most glorious and wonderful examples of God's love for His children.
I would ask for prayer. Prayer that I would remain strong in my resolve to glorify God through all things. To trust Him no matter the circumstances. To worship Him in every situation that I may face. To understand that I am alive by the power and will of God, and therefore the things that I need to live will be provided for me until the day He calls me home.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Friday, January 15, 2016
My wife and I are expecting our second child any day now and cannot wait to meet her! Our son is very ready to meet his little sister. Each and every day he holds discussions with us about "baby". I cannot wait to see his reaction to the little bundle of joy that we are expecting. It amazes me with how many intricacies there are in children. They seem to proclaim truths about God without even opening their mouths. God surely creates us wonderfully!
I have also been working on a book that I am hoping to release as an e-book in March and later in print. Pre-order for the e-book is available here. I have always enjoyed writing, as shown by the numerous and sometimes lengthy blog posts here. So sometime last year I thought to myself, why not try a book? So I began writing about an issue that has been deeply important to me and I believe should be to all Christians. I have entitled my work God's Design for Men and Women. It is an attempt to work through some of the issues surrounding gender and our roles as Christians within those confines. It has been a lot of work, but I hope that it will be used by God to bless those who choose to read it. If so, then every minute put into working on it will have been thoroughly worth it.
I look forward to hearing feedback and engaging in discussions with those who do happen to read it. I pray that God would take away any man centered sections of my book and cause only His truth to shine forth for those who read it. The other day I was driving home from work and there was the most beautiful coloring in the sky. It was reflecting off of the still waters of the river that I was driving next to and caused my heart to soar with delight at the beautiful creation that God has given us. It made me want to proclaim His truths to anyone who would listen even more than usual. So, I hope that is what this book does. I hope that it shines forth God and His majesty alone. I want only to reflect God towards those who are seeking His face.
Stay tuned for more!!