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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Rainbow Promise Fundraiser (Gospel Tract)

Originally posted at The Speak:Truth Project

The Gospel tract for the upcoming Pride Charlotte Festival August 27, 2011 has been finalized!  Josh Earl did an outstanding job with the art design and I’m so thankful that God has enabled us to produce our first customized Gospel tract for such a large event.

If the recent Pride Festivals that followed New York’s passing of a same-sex marriage law in June is any indication of the turnout to be expected in Charlotte (the Chicago Pride Festival estimates 750,000 attendees), then this is going to be a major opportunity to share the Gospel with thousands of people.

And this is where you come in!  Beginning today, we are asking you to join us in raising money to purchase 20,000 tracts (4×6″ postcard-size) from Custom Tract Source before August 12, 2011.  You can help us in the following three ways (MUCH thanks to those who have already contributed!):

1. Contributing financially (every $1 counts!)
2. Sharing this post with your social networks
3. Praying for this fundraiser and for the August 27th event

The Speak:Truth Project will post details for the Project Pride Charlotte event in the next week or so, but we encourage you to begin considering donating to this cause for Christ that at least 20,000 patrons of this festival will receive the Gospel.  These tracts will be accompanied by love and compassion for the lost, as such were some of us who were once dead in our trespasses and sins but by Grace have now been washed, sanctified, and  justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:1-10).

Below are the front and back of the Gospel tract (click image for closer view or see text at bottom of post for convenience):

Won’t you prayerfully consider contributing to this mission set before us?  Paypal has made fundraising quite easy – you don’t even need a Paypal account to donate! Just click on the image below to pay with your Paypal account or by other means.  If you’d like to send a check instead, please Contact us for mailing information.  And, of course, whether you can contribute financially or not, we greatly value your prayers for this fundraiser and the event to take place on August 27th.  May our great God and King be glorified in this endeavor, and may the Glorious Lamb receive the reward of His suffering – thank you for your support!

The Rainbow Promise

The rainbow is one of the most beautiful phenomena we have the privilege of sighting in nature. Under the right conditions, the human eye can see the majestic display of the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. While rainbows naturally occur in the sky when sunlight shines through droplets of moisture in earth’s atmosphere, they have much greater significance than merely being a meteorological occurrence. Many thousands of years ago, God promised He would never again destroy all living things by a global flood. God Himself said, “I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth…And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

God destroyed the earth because man had become so wicked that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Though God promised to destroy all life on earth, He also promised to save Noah and his family – and God keeps His promises!

Yet another promise from God is that only the righteous will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Because God is fair, He has given us a way to know whether or not we are righteous – the 10 Commandments. Have you kept them? Let’s find out: Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something? Have you used God’s name in vain? Have you looked with lust? If you are honest with yourself and before God, you would have to admit you have broken at least 4 of God’s commandments. This would make you a lying thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. If you died a sinner today, God must give you what you deserve – eternal hell – because He is a good and just God. Does this concern you?

But God also promises He is rich in mercy! 2,000 years ago, God stepped off His throne in heaven to save His people from their sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man and fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law by living a sinless life. Because of His great love for sinners, He shed His precious blood on the cross to satisfy God’s wrath against mankind. God punished, crushed, and killed His own Son so that all who believe in Him would be saved through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. After lying 3 days in the grave, Jesus conquered death and was raised from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God waiting to return to cast wickedness into the lake of fire once and for all.

God commands all people everywhere to repent (turn from a lifestyle of sin) and turn to Him to love Him and obey Him. He promises to all who place their full trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross to heal them from their sickness of sin. Jesus says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from the bondage of sin, and He promises to give you eternal life and save you from God’s wrath to come. You can then walk in newness of life and you will be set free from the slavery of sin.

Just as the rainbow shines brightest against the backdrop of the darkest storm clouds, the Hope of Jesus Christ shines brightest in sinners most afflicted and destitute in the darkness of sin who have been saved by the glorious grace of God! Do you want to be set free and experience true love, peace, and hope in Jesus Christ?

For more information on how to receive the free offer of salvation and other resources, please visit

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jesus Christ Is Your Only Hope

By Justin Edwards

Cast yourself upon Christ and flee from the wrath to come - He is your only Hope!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Say No to Rick Perry's "The Response" Prayer Event

By Justin Edwards

The Christian right is once again being swept into the next spiritual revival bandwagon led by American politicians and religious leaders (remember Glenn Beck's rally?).  Texas Governor Rick Perry has called Americans to join him August 6th, 2011 for a time of prayer and fasting for the United States of America.  On the surface, this sounds like a noble and biblical idea to petition God to bring revival in America and turn this country from its moral depravity.  The Response website explains:

America is in the midst of a historic crisis. We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. The youth of America are in grave peril economically, socially, and, most of all, morally. There are threats emerging within our nation and beyond our borders beyond our power to solve.

Our nation is at a crossroads. More and more Americans are perceiving the critical juncture we find ourselves in – the future of our nation is determined by the courage of its people: first, in recognizing the magnitude of our common trouble; then, by uniting to seize the unique opportunity this moment offers us. Our response can, in part, determine our future and define for our children – and their children – what kind of nation they will govern, serve, and lead...

...Our hope is found in the One who might turn towards our nation in its time of great need – if we, as a nation would turn to Him in repentance, prayer, and fasting. The call of God to His people in times of great trouble is to gather together and call on Him with one voice, one heart, and a unified desire to see great blessing and great glory come to our nation again. The power of unified prayer from a humble gathering of the saints is found in the hope that He might answer us, and turn the tide of trouble and threats that stand against us. 

Rick Perry invites you:

However, as one peels back the layers and understands who is organizing this event, it should give all Christians great pause.  Heretics and heretical theologies are the pillars of this movement.  I therefore urge you to consider what Brannon Howse has recently revealed in his article, Why I Believe Christians Should Not Participate in Governor Perry's "The Response"  Why It is NOT Just A Prayer Event

The article is a must-read for every Christian or church who is considering participating in this event, as Brannon warns,

I do not believe this event will aide in reclaiming the country, restoring liberty, or prosperity, and it certainly will not prompt God to bless America. I believe such an event will actually hasten God's judgment on our nation...

...I do not believe those participating in The Response, and other such projects, are guilty by association but guilty by participation. I believe they are guilty of giving credibility to false teachers by choosing to unite with false teachers. Ephesians 5:11 says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." 2 Timothy 3:5 says "and from such people turn away."

...The mixing of evangelicals with false prophets for the sake of the culture war is really an offense to the Gospel. God is not dependent on us to violate Biblical principles in order to be successful at restoring righteousness. How can we restore righteousness through an unrighteous manner? How can we hope to restore Biblical principles within government when we have willingly violated Biblical principles within the church? The end does not justify the means.

God is watching and I contend that our efforts are being thwarted by God as Divine judgment for setting aside Scriptural warnings and uniting with false teachers in spiritual enterprises intertwined with our Christian activism.

When Christians compromise the gospel and unite with false teachers in spiritual and political enterprises, regardless of the political outcome, we will have lost because we gave credibility to false teachers and their false gospel. I believe this is Satan's strategy. Satan has moved his false teachers into our camp as a religious Trojan horse and Christian leaders have embraced the Trojan horse of false teachers...

...Entering into spiritual services or enterprises with false teachers is a clear violation of God's Word. Thus, how can God bless the church in America and our nation when Christians and Christian leaders are in direct disobedience to God's Word? How can Christians and Christian leaders repent of sin while participating in an event that in and of itself is something for which to repent? To repent means to turn from sin. I believe Christians and Christian leaders that participate in The Response, or have participated in other events with false teachers, need to repent for their unbiblical event that is ironically calling for repentance.

I believe that many American Christians will allow their commitment to reclaiming the country, reclaiming Congress, lowering taxes, and defeating the progressives trump their commitment to the Biblical mandate declared in 2 Corinthians 6:14. Christians are commanded in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, to expose every high and lofty thing lifted up against the principles of the Lord.

American Christians should not and cannot rate success on whether or not we "reclaim America." Our success or failure must be based on whether or not we have been faithful servants of the one and only true God and have earnestly contended for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Please do continue to the entire article as Brannon gives details and links exposing exactly who is organizing and endorsing the event (some may or may not surprise you, like Dr. James Dobson, John Hagee, C. Peter Wagoner, and Mike Bickle). Ultimately, "Prayer is important, prayer for a nation is important, political leaders who recognize this are vital to our national health. But a right thing done in a wrong way is wrong. The end never justifies the means!!" Indeed, which is why American Christians must refuse to participate and sound the alarm to those who might.

Friday, July 22, 2011


By Justin Edwards

Are you seeking the Savior, or stuff?  Are you seeking Life, or mere life enhancement?  Why exactly do you profess to know or follow Christ?

The Gospel Is for Christians

By Justin Edwards
My family traveled to Georgia last week and as we were driving through Atlanta, I got a chance to listen  to the Janet Medford Show.  I was tuning in late to an interview with Mitchell Chase, author of The Gospel Is for Christians.  I had never heard of him before, but this interview was excellent and I found myself "amening" throughout the conversation. 

Having listened to the entire show a couple days ago, there's a couple of things I'd like to highlight.

Mitchell succinctly defined the Gospel as a "work of Christ on behalf of sinners to satisfy the wrath of God."  I've also heard it recently said the Gospel is God saving us for Himself, by Himself, from Himself.  Think about that for a moment.  The plan of redemption, as Mitchell said, is not a Plan B for humanity.  There is no Plan B.  The plan of redemption is Plan A and always has been.  It is not a reaction to fallen humanity, it is merely the unfolding of history according to God's eternal plan to save a people for Himself to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. 

The cross, therefore, is the centerpiece of redemptive history. God's redemptive purposes for mankind are centered on the cross, a work that was foreordained in eternity past according to the counsel of God's own will.  Knowing this, how humbling is it then for His children to be the recipient's of the riches of His divine grace and mercy, to not only partake in the glories of the Kingdom in this life and the next, but to partake in the plan of redemption by being the vessels by which the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed to the ends of the earth.  

The primary mission for the church is to proclaim this message of Good News.  This is the responsibility of the hands and feet of the Body of Christ, namely you and I as individuals, to GO out and make disciples.  While the Gospel is surely proclaimed from faithful pulpits preaching the whole counsel of God, the primary purpose of the pulpit is not evangelism.  While it is acceptable to invite the lost to come to church with us (and we should), this is not a substitute for evangelism.  No, Jesus said to GO.  As we are shepherded, equipped, and prepared in the local church for evangelism (as we should be), our mandate is to take the message of Christ and Him crucified to the world.  Church is a time of Christian fellowship, teaching, correction, exhortation, conviction, sanctification, and being stirred unto good works.  But evangelism takes place outside of the church doors, where the darkness hides, the blind walk, and the wanderers navigate the wilderness of the world with no compass.  Our mandate is to take the message of Hope to the hopeless, not depending on the corporate church to bare that responsibility as that is not the corporate church's primary responsibility - it is yours and mine.

How then do we become compelled to be faithful to the Great Commission?  By truly understanding the Gospel in that it not only saves us from the bondage of sin and the wrath of God, but it gives us eternal life and changes us to be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are changed from being dead in our trespasses and sins into new creations walking in newness of life.  When we are born again, we are awakened from the spiritual dead and given Life, namely Jesus Himself.  Hopelessness is exchanged for an enduring Hope, condemnation is exchanged for Grace, wrath is exchanged for mercy, and love for the world is exchanged for love of the worthy and glorious Lamb of God.

That is what the world needs, and God has designed His plan of redemption in a manner to utilize His found sheep to call His lost sheep to repentance.  He has blessed us with the mandate to proclaim the mercies of God against the backdrop of the wrath to come.  Such sinners were we who have been showered with grace - how can we not be compelled to tell others the truth and glory of the Gospel of Christ that they would also be recipients of God's love, grace, and mercy?

I'm really looking forward to reading Mitchell Chase's book (you can purchase it here at Amazon and read reviews from Al Mohler, Tim Challies, and Tullian Tchividjian).  In the meantime, I hope you take the time to listen to Janet Medford's interview with Mitchell as they cover other topics including repentance, the attributes of God, and the current condition of the visible church.  The interview is covered in the first 20 minutes of the show's first segment:  Janet Mefferd-7/14/2011-Hour 1-Janet Mefferd Radio Show

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Should Christians Keep the Torah?

By Justin Edwards

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified [1] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. - Galatians 2:15-16

The law only brings sin and death - it cannot save us.  It does not bring salvation, nor does it sanctify us.  Our righteousness comes through the perfect keeping of the law by Jesus Christ imputed to us by repentant faith.  Alone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

To the Ends of the Earth

By Justin Edwards

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” - Acts 1:8

My friend and dear brother in Christ, Bobby McCreery of Athens, Georgia, shares his testimony as a street preacher with Marcus Pittman in the following video from Crown Rights Media.  Please take a moment to get to know Bobby and learn more about his ministry at To the Ends of the Earth.  The Lord is doing a great work in this family and I am honored to know Bobby personally and serve with him on the streets.
Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Could Lazarus Have Said 'No'?

By Justin Edwards

Dr. James White addresses this question in the following video.  The text in question is from John 11, where Jesus promises that He will raise Lazarus from the dead in verse 23:

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

In reference to the question posed then, could Lazarus have refused to come forth when Jesus commanded with a loud voice in John 11:43:

“Lazarus, come out.”?

Absolutely not, as this would necessarily imply that Jesus could have failed in His promise to raise Lazarus from the dead.

For a more detailed commentary on this issue as it relates to sinners who are dead in their sin being raised to spiritual life, please see the following article addressing John 5:25: The Dead Will Hear and Live

Now, from James White:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Sovereignty of God Bible Test

By Justin Edwards

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. - Ephesians 1:3-6

Thanks to John Samson for posting the following "Sovereignty Bible Test", which cleverly emphasizes the sovereignty of God in all things, most especially our salvation.  The origins of this quiz is unclear, but I'm thankful it is making its rounds across the internet.  Enjoy!

Eph 1:11 – “him (God) who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”

1. If God works all things after the counsel of His will, how much does He work to the will of you, me, Satan, etc.?

A. None.

B. 20%

C. 50%

D. 85%

Isaiah 14:24 The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”

2. How much of what He purposes to come to pass, doesn’t?

A. All of His purposes will come to pass

B. Some of His purposes will not come to pass

C. A few of His purposes will not come to pass

D. A lot of His purposes will not come to pass

Romans 8:29, 30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

3. How many do you think have been called, justified, or glorified that He did not first foreknow or predestinate?

A. Write in your answer: ___________________

John 10:14, 15 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

4. Where does this scripture say that Jesus laid down his life for the sheep and the goats

A. It doesn’t

B. It doesn’t, but I just know He meant the goats, too

John 6:65 “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

5. How many come to Jesus that were not first given to Him by the Father?

A. 0

B. 5,000

C. 5,000,000

D. 10,000,000

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me

6. How many that the Father gave Him will not come to Him?

A. Two

B. A couple of thousand

C. A couple of million

D. Trick question, it says they will all come to Him

John 10:28, 29 I (Jesus) give them (My true sheep) eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

7. How many sheep do you think have been snatched from either God’s or Jesus’ hands?

A. None

B. 50,000

C. 500,000

D. 1,000,000

Rev. 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Rev. 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

8. Considering this, and other related scripture, God having to blot out a name from the book of life would mean:

A. God makes mistakes.

B. Some have been snatched from Jesus’ hands?

C. God didn’t know that some of His sheep were really goats.

D. None of the above.

Matt 13: 10, 11 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

9. Jesus himself declared that one of the reasons why He spoke in parables was that the truth might be concealed from whom it was not intended. Is this fair?

A. No.

B. Yes.

C. Who are we to question God?

D. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that verse.

Romans 8:28 we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

10. How many things do not work for the good of those who love God?

A. 10% of all things

B. 40% of all things

C. 85% of all things

D. Trick question, the Bible says all things work for the good of those who love Him

Mark 14:30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you (Peter), this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

11. (A) Could Peter not have denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed twice?

Answer here: ____________________________

11. (B) Did Jesus coerce Peter to deny him, or did Peter do it of his own heart and will?

Answer here: ____________________________

Exodus 4:11 [God Himself asks the rhetorical question] “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”

12. Is this fair?

A. Yes.

B. No.

C. Who are we to question God?

D. I’m going to pretend this isn’t in the Bible

OK. the test is over, but in truth, the whole of life is something of a test as we learn just how Sovereign God is in all things and we learn to trust in His loving care.

Did the test make you think about just how Sovereign God truly is? Hope so.

“In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Speech Seasoned with Grace

By Justin Edwards

My wife, Jennifer, and I took our two children up to the neighborhood pool late yesterday afternoon to wear them out a bit before bedtime.  For some reason, Sundays are not conducive to nap times so a little time in the sun and water always does the trick.  After an hour so, I overheard two of the lifeguards mention God and Jesus, but couldn’t hear the specifics of the conversation.  I switched babies with Jen (the youngest is nine months old) and waded over to the lifeguard stand to see what the conversation was about.  When I arrived, I believe it was Morgan who said she was not about to have “that” conversation with Travis, so of course I cordially said with a smile, “well, I’d like to have that conversation, what are you talking about?”

Travis jumped in to say he thought Jesus was a conman and seemed to say He deceived people into believing the miracles He performed.  I asked Travis how he knew whether that was in fact true, and he told me he didn’t know for sure.  We ended up getting into a great conversation and I was able to share the Gospel with him.   At this point in Travis’ life, he admits to believing in God, but doesn’t really know who He is or what He has done, and most of all he says we can’t know for sure.  Essentially, Travis has broken the 2nd commandment to not form any graven images for he has created a god in his own mind to conform to himself.

Travis admitted to never reading the Bible and everything he thought he knew of Christianity was based on what he saw in professing Christians – hypocrites, corrupt preachers, and judgmental Pharisees.  I told Travis he could not base his understanding of Christianity on people but on the person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God.  I also told him to never take a preacher’s word for truth simply because it comes from the mouth of a so-called preacher, but he must search the Scriptures for himself to discover the truth.  At the end of our conversation, I pointed Travis to our website here and told him I would bring him a Bible next time we go to the pool.  If everything I told Travis was indeed true about the afterlife, and it is I urged him, then he must do everything in his power to come to an understanding of the truth and avoid the lake of fire.  I pray the Lord uses this conversation to cause Travis to seek the Truth that he would find it.

Something that really struck me during our conversation was Travis’ comment that I was the first professing Christian he’d spoken with who had not gotten mad – that I was not angry toward Travis or getting heated in an argument.  Of course, I have no idea how many of these types of conversations Travis has had with professing Christians, and his perception of how a conversation goes is a subjective interpretation, but it served as a reminder that we must be careful with how we engage the lost with our speech.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us,

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

With gentleness and respect – every single conversation we have when engaging the lost with the Gospel must be centered on the Hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone.  We must do this in a manner that is not condemning of the person, for as Christ said, they are “condemned already” (John 3:18).  There is no reason why we should ever be coarse in our speech toward sinners, and we must always take heed to respect the individual to whom we are speaking.
In Colossians 4:6 we are commanded,

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

It is pointless and vain to engage the lost in spiritual conversations for the sake of argument or trying to prove a point.  This is not to say that argument (reasoning) doesn’t have it’s place (it most certainly does), but what good is it to seemingly win an argument for mere bragging rights?  What good is it to be overzealous toward people to leave sour tastes in their mouths and the impression that we are angry, judgmental, condemning, or self-righteous (although truth spoken, no matter how gracious, is sometimes perceived as such by some people)?  No, our speech must be gracious.  It must be seasoned with grace and truth, pertinent to the questions that are asked.  Be forthright in your speech, but do not lack grace so to disgruntle the listener.  We must not give our hearers any reason to find fault in our speech, but rather,

having a good conscience…when [we] are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. – 1 Peter 3:16

We are not responsible for the religious hypocrites who, in the name of God, blast sinners with condemnation.  Whether they are the Westboro Baptist types, Pelagian heretics who preach on the street, or the run-of-the-mill pew warmer blind by the planks in their own eyes, God will deal with them.  However in light of these hypocrites, we must all the more be sure that

no corrupting talk come out of [our] mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

No matter the hearer, whether fellow Christian or non-believer, we must speak the truth in love.  After all, this is all part of our sanctification that we

…must rid [ourselves] of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from [our] lips. – Colossians 3:8

It was encouraging and a blessing to be told that my speech toward Travis was implied to be “seasoned with salt”.   I pray the Lord uses my testimony before Travis to draw Travis to Himself, and I pray this post might serve to remind and edify my brothers and sisters to be wise and mindful of your speech toward outsiders, holding fast to the following from 2 Timothy 2:24-26:

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

May the Lord continue to conform us to our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

This post was originally posted at The Speak:Truth Project

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Pearl of Great Price

By Justin Edwards

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. - Matthew 13:45-46

"I want this pearl. How much is it?" 

"Well," the seller says, "it's very expensive."

"But, how much?" we ask.

"Well, a very large amount."

"Do you think I could buy it?"

"Oh, of course, everyone can buy it."

"But, didn't you say it was very expensive?"


"Well, how much is it?"

"Everything you have," says the seller.

We make up our minds, "All right, I'll buy it," we say.

"Well, what do you have?" he wants to know. "Let's write it down."

"Well, I have ten thousand dollars in the bank."

"Good- -ten thousand dollars. What else?"

"That's all.. That's all I have." "Well, I have a few dollars here in my pocket."

"How much?"

We start digging. "Well, let's see--thirty, forty, sixty, eighty, a hundred, a hundred twenty dollars."

"That's fine. What else do you have?"

"Well, nothing. That's all."

"Where do you live?" He's still probing.

"In my house. Yes, I have a house."

"The house, too, then." He writes that down.

"You mean I have to live in my camper?"

"You have a camper? That, too. What else?"

"I'll have to sleep in my car!"

"You have a car?"

"Two of them."

"Both become mine, both cars. What else?"

"Well, you already have my money, my house, my camper, my cars. What more do you want?"

"Are you alone in this world?"

"No I have a wife and two children....."

"Oh, yes, your wife and children, too. What else?"

"I have nothing left! I am left alone now."

Suddenly the seller exclaims, "Oh, I almost forgot! You yourself, too! Everything becomes mine--wife, children, house, money, cars--and you too." Then he goes on. "Now listen--I will allow you to use all these things for the time being. But don't forget that they are mine, just as you are. And whenever I need any of them you must give them up, because now I am the owner."

(HT: Sermonindex)

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. - Luke 14:33

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stories of Change - Christ Redeems!

By Justin Edwards

The one who has been saved by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ experiences a real, tangible, inward change of the heart that leads to a life of sanctification.  Titus 2:12 tells us that grace

train[s] us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. 

We see in Galatians 5:22-23 that God manifests His character in us as we grow in grace:

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

In Colossians 3:5-17, we see a contrast between the old man who was dead in his sins and facing the wrath of God yet to come, with the new man who has become a new creation in Christ to be a slave of His righteousness.  As we are conformed to the likeness of Jesus, the works of the flesh will no longer be manifest in us (see Galatians 5:19-21), and we are in fact commanded to crucify these things in our flesh and walk in newness of life:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

If we are no longer slaves to our sin but slaves to God (Romans 6:22), let us walk in this reality as sons and daughters who want nothing more but to honor our King by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1-2).  Paul tells us in the third chapter of Colossians:

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Are these Scriptures a reality in your life?  Are you dwelling in the Word of God that it would dwell in you richly? Is grace teaching you to deny worldliness and ungodliness?  Are you learning to live a godly, self-controlled, righteous life in this present life?  Have the chains of sin been broken that you walk in newness of life, having crucified your flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24)?  

Jesus came to save His people from their sin.  He came to heal the sick.  Do you have yet to be saved, do you have yet to be healed from the disease of sin?  Do you wish to be made free?  The reality is that Jesus 

gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. - Titus 2:14  

Christ redeems and Christ purifies His people.  Do you want to be made pure?

The beauty of grace is not only that it saves us from God's wrath to come, but it saves us from the bondage of our sin.  The Hope of Christ is that we can be freed today, not just in the life to come.  God's grace not only saves us, but it changes us so that we experience the abundant life of Christ now

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. - John 8:34-36

The people in the following video know and remember a time when they were lost and hopeless.  Can you?  Can you identify with their stories?  All Christians can.  If you cannot, let's talk about it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Proclaiming the Truth to Hecklers & Encouraging Believers to Witness

By Justin Edwards

These two videos from Tony Miano are very instructive. In the first video, Tony completes the reading from 1 John, calling for people to examine themselves in light of the Word of God. If one does not believe in the God of the Bible as defined by the God of the Bible, then one has created a god in their own image. If one does not believe in Jesus as defined through Holy Scripture but instead cherry picks particular verses to form their religious dogma, then they have created a false jesus - one that does not exist. I call such people to consider what has been presented in the following series: Jesus: Holy and Righteous God of Love and Wrath

In the second video, Tony speaks with Oscar, a fellow believer who has struggled in openly sharing his faith with strangers.  Listen to Tony encourage Oscar, and if you find yourself in the same shoes as Oscar, pray that God would give you the courage and help you overcome your fears in witnessing to strangers.  You may find the resources at The Speak:Truth Project helpful.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Citylight Baptist Church - The Say Yes! Project

By Justin Edwards

My friend Brian Norris and his family are moving to Charlotte, NC to build a church that is Gospel-centered and Christ-focused, and he needs your help!  Beginning today, July 1st through July 3rd, Brian is launching a fundraiser for financial support to build the church that God has called him to pastor.  I'll let Brian tell you a bit more about the vision for Citylight Baptist Church:

I am so excited for what God has in store for Citylight.  As one who is on the streets of Charlotte weekly proclaiming the Gospel, I can tell you many people are open to hearing the truth of God's Word, and so often they ask about a local church to attend. Most of the people we speak with in Uptown Charlotte are poor or homeless and have no means of transportation other than the public transit system.  What Citylight will provide is a biblically grounded church, rooted and faithful to the essential truths of Scripture, located just outside the center city along major transit routes.

The Norris Family
As you learned in the short video above, Citylight will be a church whose primary purpose is building up the Body of Christ to go out and make disciples of all nations, whether they be found in one's own backyard or halfway around the world.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be faithfully proclaimed while practicing the life-changing implications of the Gospel through serving and ministering to the local community. Citylight will be a church that does not compromise its biblical convictions, and will shine brightly in the midst of darkness that has so corrupted many American churches today who aim to conform to the world instead of God's Word.

Brian has been commissioned by Eastside Baptist Church of Greeneville, Tennessee, where he served as youth pastor for seven years under the leadership of Pastor David Fox.  Citylight  is accountable to their sending church, Eastside, in addition to a board made up of three church pastors and their churches' leadership teams. These churches function in an advisory role and keep Citylight morally, financially, and doctrinally accountable.  Please see the following link to learn more about Citylight's statement of beliefs:  Beliefs.

The Say Yes! Project is asking you to prayerfully consider joining the Norris family in their pursuit to build a Christ-exalting, New Testament church in the heart of Charlotte, NC.  There are 6 ways you can partner with Citylight:

1. Consider giving monthly - no gift is too small.
2. If you are a blog-owner or social media user, write a post about the campaign.
3. Repost the following link on social media: .
4. Ask your friends to link to this post. (Please ask them to ask their friends to do the same.)
5. Make the “say YES!” image your facebook or twitter profile picture from July 1-3.
6. Share the vimeo video.

Citylight's goal is to partner with 200 donors giving $5, $10, $20, $30, or $40 a month for a period of three years.

Without further adieu, I'll let Brian tell you a bit more about the campaign July 1-3 in the video below.  If you are led to financially contribute to Citylight Baptist Church, the Say Yes! logo will be posted in the sidebar through July 3rd for you to click and donate.  I am honored with the privilege to share this new ministry with you and invite you to join my family as we support Citylight Baptist Church for the next 3 years.

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