“God, Why Am I Still in Debt?”

Nate PickowiczChristianity, Series: Portraits of FaithLeave a Comment

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The Ryle family had gone from riches to rags almost overnight. They had been a strong, vibrant Victorian family during the mid-1800s, but poor management of the family bank by the father, John Ryle, would plummet them into ruin. By June 1841, the business and the family were bankrupt. Ryle was left only with his wife and children, and two horses. The loss would be devastating for the whole family, but the humiliation would weigh especially heavy on their oldest son, John Charles.

John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) had enjoyed the best of life. He had gone to the best schools, attended the finest gatherings, and partook in the luxuries of the elite. He fit the Victorian English model well. He was tall (6’3″), handsome and charismatic, which left him fending off women for most of his young life. John was raised in a religious family, and attended church regularly. But it would be a fateful stint at Oxford that would change his life, and the whole world, for that matter.

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Why Exodus is the Best Book in the Bible

Nate PickowiczChristianity, Series: Best Book in the BibleLeave a Comment

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Series: Best Book In the Bible
Every Christian knows the importance of reading their Bible, but many are overwhelmed with the task of devouring such a monstrous book! Often times, when Christians lose steam in their yearly reading plans, they can become frustrated and feel defeated. It is for this reason that individual book studies can be a lifesaver. In the Best Book in the Bible series, we will provide entry points into faithful study through “selling” you on why you should fall in love with the various books of the Bible.

Sadly, many believers suffer from biblical illiteracy. While they manifest a genuine love for God, there are aspects of that love that are either misinformed or underdeveloped. There are those who are altogether ignorant of the law of God, while others have simply never been exposed to the rich back story of the New Testament. And no book is richer,  and dripping with salvific imagery, than Exodus.

Main themes: deliverance, the Law of God

Favorite verses:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”‘” (Exodus 3:14)

“‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'” (Exodus 19:5-6)

“Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.'” (Exodus 34:6-7)

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The Daily Discovery (August 31, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily Discovery1 Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men – “Over the weekend I could see that Aileen had something on her mind. We spoke and she told me about reading the news, about seeing more Christian men fall into scandal, and, in the face of it all, her confusion, her despair, the crumbling of her hope. I asked if she would write about it. Here is what she said…”

The Place and Purpose of Parachurch Ministries – “The world of campus ministry is a world filled with parachurch ministries. Names like Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), InterVarsity, and Navigators are household names for most evangelicals. Their founders are some of the past century’s heroes of the faith. These ministries are the gold standard of evangelicalism for good reason.”

How Could Noah Build Something So Large? – “Imagine that you had never studied ancient monuments and had never heard of Stonehenge in England. How would you respond to someone who told you that long before the advent of modern machinery, ancient people moved 30-foot-tall, 25-ton stones a distance of 20 miles and arranged them in precise alignment with the sun on the summer solstice?”

Honor authorities, but fear God – “First Peter 2:13 starts with six words most of us probably really, really hate: ‘Be subject to every human institution.’  Admit it: you just bristled, didn’t you?  None of us particularly like authority. That is, in large part, because we are sinners prone to wanting to be our own authorities. But some of us also have a habit of being so concerned about our human authorities that we forget that they are also under God’s authority.  Yes, respect and obey the earthly authorities—whether parents, pastors, police or presidents—but don’t forget: they’re not the primary authority. God is.”

The Biblical Basis for Missions – “What is mission, and what is the principal foundation for the mission of the church? The word mission itself comes from the Latin verb missio, which means ‘to send.’ So, literally, missions has to do with sending. In the Scriptures, we see the verb to send being used over and over, in a multitude of ways. But there’s a sense in which the whole life of the church and the whole experience of the Christian are rooted ultimately in some kind of sending that is founded in the authority and the action of God Himself.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 29-30, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily Discovery3 Comments

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Eight Reasons Why We Need the Puritans – “For many years before surrendering to vocational ministry, I was a conservative evangelical Christian whom God had called to work in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my ultra-liberal colleagues was teasing me about being a conservative ‘boy’ from a small town in the sticks of North Georgia. She said, ‘You know what you are? You’re a Puritan!’ At the time, I didn’t really know what to make of it. Today, I see it as a high compliment. Perhaps someday.”

Truth in the Age of Cynicism – “During World War II, martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer had harsher things to say about cynicism. Writing from a Nazi prison he described the cynic as one who claims to tell the truth in all places, and at all times, and to every person, but in reality he is just a consistent liar. The cynic wears a halo as ‘a zealot for truth’ but he ends up destroying reality. He ‘desecrates the mystery, breaks trust, betrays the community in which he lives, and smiles arrogantly over the havoc he has wrought and over the human weakness that ‘can’t bear the truth.'”

Carnal Peace – “The message of the false prophets of Israel was one of peace. But their peace was an illusion. They preached peace when there was no peace, or what Luther called a carnal peace. Luther said that when the gospel is preached with passion and with accuracy, it does not bring peace. In fact, our Lord Himself said, ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10:34). That does not mean that we are called to use weapons of military combat to further the extension of the kingdom. We are to be peacemakers. We are to be tolerant, kind, and patient people. But if you look at the record of history, the true prophets of Israel contended for the truth, and every time they did, controversy emerged.”

Justification and Double Imputation – “Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 are two places in Scripture that teach the twin truths of justification and double imputation: ‘For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.’ ‘…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ (NASB). After discussing these passages in some detail, John Fesko writes this in summary…”

My Trip to Planned Murderhood and at College Campus on August 27, 2015 – “Before I start, I would like to first thank these beloved brothers: David Beal and Steve Pivovaroff for their encouragement to me today. They both reached out to me and impelled me to keep ministering at these aborturaries. The warfare can be intense from time to time, but it is a joy to serve my King. Here is what transpired today concerning our evangelism excursion there and elsewhere…”

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The Daily Discovery (August 28, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily Discovery4 Comments

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Strange Firony… – “I honestly, sincerely wish I could move on from the topic of the Charismatic Movement, but it just keeps on coming up.  It’s been almost two years since the Strange Fire conference, and it seemed like all the parties involved got their shots in.  The Cessationists made their reasonable appeals, made a lot of unreasonable rants, published their stuff, wrote their responses, etc.  The Continuationists basically cried about division and broad brushes.  The Pentecostals basically cried about division and broad brushes.  The Charismatics basically cried about division and broad brushes.  Charisma Magazine kept on doing everything possibly in their power toprovide an endless tsunami of amazing examples as to why the Strange FireConference was necessary (and possibly understated things: every single word in that statement links to a separate mind-numbing article, just for a few dozen examples).”

Life Is Short. Love Your Spouse. – “As the Ashley Madison leak continues playing out in the media, we’re reminded again and again about the lies of sin. The Ashley Madison Company, a cheating site that is (sadly) very successful, has the following motto: ‘Life is short. Have an affair.’ The lies don’t come much more blatantly than this.”

Controversial New Movie on Homosexuality to be Advertised in the Skies over San Francisco – “San Francisco residents may look up to see a rainbow in the sky next week, but it won’t indicate the typical support for gay rights. A new movie that over 1,000 LGBT supporters have warned the public not to watch will be advertised on a banner for two days over San Francisco.  While pro-LGBT viewers have slammed the film on online review sites, the film’s producer is not deterred. Ray Comfort, whose movies have been seen by millions, said, ‘Despite the calls for censorship and displays of intolerance, we’re hoping people will be open-minded enough to watch the film and come to their own conclusion.'”

Law-Keeping Cannot Save You – “People by nature want to boast in their own abilities, efforts, and achievements. Therefore, the cross of Christ is an offense to everyone. In this lab, John Piper looks at why we resist the message of the cross, as well as what the good news of the gospel says to our self-righteousness.”

Five Lessons for Serial Daters – “Every fall, young men and women descend on college campuses across the country freshly free from parental accountability and looking for love. It’s a unique time of life that likely won’t repeat itself. Never again will you have instant access to so many people of the opposite sex.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 27, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily DiscoveryLeave a Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

Has America Abandoned God? – “As a culture we are at a strange place, we seem to be headed toward a precipice at breakneck speed. From the recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, to the recent release of the undercover videos showing the management of Planned Parenthood haggling over the price of the its tiny murder victims, and the mindless defense of PP on the part of many and the complete ignoring of the story by the mainstream media (while there was widespread outrage over and wall to wall media coverage of the legal killing of a lion in Zimbabwe) I have heard many believers asking has America abandoned God?”

Congregationalism Doesn’t Stop at 8 p.m. – “Congregationalists argue that local congregations are ultimately responsible for their membership, discipline, and doctrine. But what does that mean? Are congregations responsible for a slice the church’s life while the elders handle the rest? As long as we cast biblically informed votes in a members meeting, are we fulfilling our congregational duty? Or does ‘membership, discipline, and doctrine’ require something more than merely saying ‘aye’ and ‘nay’?”

Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ – “Rosaria Butterfield knits. Balls of yarn at her feet become fingerless mohair mittens for her family of six. But that’s not the only kind of knitting she does. She also wields her needles of theology and experience against the tangled mess of modern sexuality. The result is order where chaos tends to rule.  This order is timely. When it comes to same-sex anything, the church can appear awkward and clumsy. As the pressure mounts, we Christians fumble around with our Bibles, unsure of how to connect the truths in God’s Word to cultural discourse or personal struggles.”

Ken Ham Releases Eye-Opening Ready to Return – “For Ready to Return: Bringing Back the Church’s Lost Generation, thousands of young adults in our churches, as well as thousands more adults in their 40s, were interviewed by ARG with questions about their church participation when growing up, their current levels of church participation, and their beliefs about Bible doctrines, Creation, and Noah’s Ark. The first book in this series, Already Gone, presented the results of a survey dealing with why those who attended church regularly while young are no longer sitting in our pews. This follow-up book shows that many of the 20s generation who still attend church regularly support gay ‘marriage,’ say they are not born again, and 65% believe that if a person is good they will go to heaven. Jeff Kinley assisted Ham in writing this new book.”

Heidelberg 117: Who Defines True Prayer? – “One of the themes that we have been exploring through the exposition of the catechism, which is really an exposition of the Scriptures and the Christian faith as understood and confessed by the Reformed Churches, is the relationship between the objective, that which apart from us, and the subjective, our personal experience. In our age the subjective tends to dominate. People identify themselves in ways contrary to their biology and demand that others accept this self-identification. This is nothing but radical subjectivism. It rests on the belief that all norms are really nothing more than contrivances, conventions, constructions that may be deconstructed at will.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 26, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily DiscoveryLeave a Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

15 Ways to Fight Lust With the Sword of the Spirit – “It is almost impossible in the Western world to escape sensuality. Sex is on the television, in the movies and in our music, on the side of buses, during halftime shows, in our books and in glossy close-ups at supermarket check-out. Sex is all around us in the mall, dripping off every beer commercial, and two stories high on our billboards. Sexual sin is walking around our high schools, flaunted across our universities, and hiding in our churches.”

Idolatry is dumb. Jesus is not – “Though the word is more-or-less out of style, unless you’re counting reality TV shows that are also increasingly going out of style, the practice of idolatry is still going strong. In saying this, of course, I don’t simply mean putting little statues of wood and metal up in our homes and praying to them (though I do—and we have a store in our local mall that sells tons of them!). Human has this unique ability to worship… well, pretty much anything. And everything. Because we do.”

Not In Part But the Whole – “Sometimes it is the unexpected things that get you. Sometimes it is the words you have heard or said or sung a hundred times over that suddenly leap off the page—words like ‘My sin, not in part but the whole.’ The words come, of course, from the much-loved hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul,’ a song that joyfully celebrates the freedom that is found in salvation.”

Ministering to the Suffering – “One of my mentors used to wisely say, ‘We are either in a trial, about to enter a trial, or coming out of a trial.’ Such is life under the weight of the Curse.  Since God’s people are called to be skilled relationally, this means that relating to people in suffering is going to comprise much of our relationships.”

Hillsong and the issue of association – “If you’re a church music minister, there’s a lot out there to choose from. It’s overwhelming, in fact. Strike out the songs with weak theology or inaccessible music, and it’s still overwhelming. Since the Reformation, the church has seen such a wealth of songs as to be nearly uncountable (Charles Wesley himself wrote more than 6,000). Even if your church is guilty of chronological snobbery and sings only songs written in the past few decades, you could still make weekly song selection into a full-time job. Part of the reason for such a recent glut of music is that what once was the purview of pastors and trained theologians (that is, writing song texts) has been taken up by musicians, often with little thought for the magnitude of the responsibility they’re assuming. Right or wrong, the songs we sing shape our understanding of who God is and what He does. And there’s plenty of material, both old and new, that’s weak or even heretical. But happily there’s much that is excellent and rich, especially in the past fifteen years.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 25, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily Discovery2 Comments

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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The Truth About Margaret Sanger – “Over the past couple of months, Planned Parenthood has been exposed as a ghastly business profiteering from the sale of aborted babies. Undercover videos have taken us into secret meetings where deals are struck and even into labs where aborted children are dismantled and prepared for shipping. Some of Planned Parenthood’s high-ranking employees have been exposed as profit-driven and uncaring, concerned more for the well-being of their personal finances than the health of the women who visit their clinics.”

The Human Body Did Not Evolve! – “We’re excited to announce a brand-new science curriculum from AiG’s speaker/writer Dr. Tommy Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell is a great friend (and cribbage opponent!) of mine, and his humorous and entertaining talks on creation and biblical authority are always popular for teens and adults. Well, junior high school students will love learning about how their bodies work as they get introduced to anatomy and physiology by Dr. Mitchell, a medical doctor (he specializes in internal medicine). Students ages 12 and up will learn about their bones and muscles and the building blocks that make up our bones and muscles—cells! This book, Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology, is the first volume of a six volume set to come, and it is loaded with amazing photos and illustrations.”

Christ Will Not Paint on a Proud Canvas – “The answer to that prayer came for me in the form of what I call ‘poetic effort’ — the effort to say this truth another way — forcing the river of emotion to flow between the narrow vertical cliffs of rhyme and meter, making the river run deep between the walls of form — ‘Christ will not paint on a proud canvas.’ Whatever others may feel, the poem is for me — to help me feel and live this holy, hard, and happy truth: ‘Christ will not paint on a proud canvas.’ I hope it can be useful to awaken in others what Jason so earnestly and effectively preached — to me.”

Islam’s View of Sin and Salvation – “In reaction to the many terrorist attacks worldwide, including 9/11, many Westerners consider Muslims to be their enemies. Many hate Muslims and fear any kind of contact with them. But Jesus commands us to react in a different way. The Muslim, like everyone else, is precious to God and needs to be reconciled with Him through Christ. We Christians are commanded to lovingly share the gospel with everyone, regardless of his or her religion.”

The Shrug That Scares Me to Death – “One of my favorite films is Roberto Benigni’s 1997 tragicomedy, La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful). It tells the story of a Jewish father, Guido, who invents creative ways to keep his son out of danger while they endure life in a concentration camp.  There is a scene in that film that continues to haunt me. Guido is a waiter serving German officials and their wives as they gather for an evening of fine dining. While the Nazis are eating and drinking in luxury, the horror of the concentration camp lies just beyond the walls.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 20, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily DiscoveryLeave a Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Dear Mother – “I love and care for you. I do not write this letter out of hate for you. I write this with compassion. There is too much at stake concerning this matter than to just stand on the fringes and not take any action. I want to protect you from the emotional, physical, and spiritual scarring that many woman have experienced. I write this letter with words not drawn from the well of human subjectivity or rationalism, but it comes from the profundity of God’s Word. They are the words of God that reveals who we are before our Holy Maker. We do not deserve to live, but in His grace, He has preserved our heartbeat. His truth has the power to provide peace and tranquility. But the words of the world that are anchored in lies brings a melancholy spirit that causes the soul to cleave to the dust. The lies of the world destroys lives because it comes from the father of lies, who is Satan. At this moment, he is one of the agents who provides the weapons of death to the medical killers.”

How the apostate church defends abortion – “In this piece Lee Duigon, contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, addresses the left’s fabrication that abortion mill Planned Parenthood is ‘doing God’s work.’ Duigon isn’t buying it, He says scornfully: ‘As if God’s work were to kill babies in the womb and auction their organs. Can you say blasphemy’?”

A Public Service Announcement Regarding Goshen and EMU – “So, at the ‘convenient’ time when the US legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states, two Mennonite Church USA schools were prepped and ready to flee biblical fidelity.  The US supreme court ruled in favor of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015.  Eastern Mennonite University released there newly revised ‘Non-Discrimination Statement‘ on July 16, 2015, and Goshen College released theirs two days later.”

Christians Evangelizing For Secularism – “There’s a growing list of contexts in which many people think we should say little or nothing about God. Think of the radical redefining of separation of church and state and religious liberty in recent decades and the reaction to the intelligent design movement, for example. It’s often considered too divisive, embarrassing, or whatever to bring up religious matters in school, in the workplace, in the media, or at family gatherings. The more that mindset is adopted in some settings, the more it tends to grow in others.”

Easy Pickings for Satan? – “By every measurable standard it is clear that Biblical Christianity in America is on the decline and in a growing state of crisis. Youth, being heavily influenced by a public education system increasingly hostile toward God, are leaving the faith in record numbers. And many professing Christians do not understand, or disagree with, basic tenets of Biblical Christianity.”

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The Daily Discovery (August 19, 2015)

Landon ChapmanThe Daily DiscoveryLeave a Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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There Is No Better Life – “The old catechism says it well: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. You and I exist for God’s glory. In fact, all things exist for God’s glory. We get that. But how? How do we glorify God? I want to list 4 simple ways that you can glorify God today and every day.”

Ten Things to Remember as the Presidential Campaign Season Gets Into Full Swing – “I’m not telling you whom to vote for. I’m not predicting who will win their party’s nomination. I’m not giving you a primer on which issues to consider as you vote in a caucus or primary (several months from now) or as you vote (over a year from now) in the presidential election. Before you think through any of that, keep these ten things in mind.”

Trigger Warning! The Bible May Disturb Your Emotional Health – “Before you read this article, be warned! You may come across something you disagree with, or an idea that makes you uncomfortable, or a statement that causes offense. Please shut off your mobile device or close your browser, and back away slowly from your computer.  I’m kidding, of course. But only a little.”

8 Reasons Why We Should Want to Change – “Am I wrong to want more than justification? Am I wrong to want more than forgiveness of sins? Am I wrong to want more than deliverance from hell and the guarantee of heaven? Am I wrong to want more than adoption?  Because I do.”

5 Prerequisites for Success in College – “One of the hardest things about working with college students is growing in friendship with them over a summer only to watch them leave for school come August.  After unsuccessfully trying to convince them to stick around and attend the local college, the only thing left to do is to do my best to equip them to be able to thrive while they are away. So here are five prerequisites to have success in college.”

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