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Is There Just Sevenfold Grace by Spirit?

A Protestant Reformer explains why there is not just 7-fold, while looking at a prophecy of Jesus' birth/coming from Isaiah chapter eleven:

The Prophet does not here enumerate all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as some have thought. Out of this passage the Papists have foolishly and ignorantly drawn their sevenfold grace, and some of the ancients fell into a similar blunder. He enumerates only six kinds; but they have added a seventh out of their own head. But as one error commonly follows another, they have chosen to limit the gifts of the Spirit to the number seven, although in other parts of Scripture (John 14:172 Timothy 1:7) he receives numerous and lofty commendations drawn from the variety of the effects which he produces. Besides, it is very evident that it is through the kindness of Christ (Galatians 5:22, 23) that we are partakers of other blessings than those which are here enumerated, of meekness, chastity, sobriety, truth, and holiness; for these proceed from none els…

Five Things for Good Church Signage

While it is often said that the website is the front door of a church today, there is also the real possibility your church's sign can draw in or repel guests.

While there is nothing that makes a church better off spiritually about a sign along the street or on a building, it can repel passerby's and make them resent a church.  Over several years this can bring about less first time guests and then create negative talk about your church in the community.

What do you need to look for putting together a great church sign?

1.  Make the logo small.  You might think your logo is really great, but most people do not care.  The real purpose of a sign is to convey to someone who doesn't know all about your logo what is really there.  It should say "so and so church."

2.  Do not try to put every detail on a sign.  The more words, the smaller they all must be, and then the less you can make the main point, which is to identify what church it is.  The classic example of thi…

How to Tell If an Area Is Receptive to the Gospel

Oftentimes as Christ followers we try to over-spiritualize if an area or a people or neighborhood or a family is receptive to the gospel of Jesus.  Thankfully, Jesus and his appointed representatives were especially clear on how we can know if we are investing wisely or wasting our time on a neighborhood or such.  The gospel is God's promise to us that if we believe in Jesus as our Savior and confess He is Lord, God will forgive us our sins.  A few things should caution against over-thinking the whole thing.

1.) Jesus' command to the disciples.  When Jesus sent out the disciples to preach the good news and to help people, he commanded them to stay in a place or home that was receptive.  If a place or home was not receptive, they were to wipe the dust off their feet as a sign of that problem and to be free of that place.  They then were to move on. (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5; Mark 6:10-11 stay vs go; Acts 13:51 wipe dust off)

2.) Jesus' example.  When Jesus went to a place, h…

Look to Jesus First

Dr. Paul D. Tripp, a Christian author counselor and teacher, shares a reminder we all need regularly:

"No human being is capable of carrying your hope; this side of heaven, we're all weak and flawed. No circumstance can carry your hope; every situation you're in is touched by the brokenness of the fall and isn't under your control. Amassing physical pleasures and possessions won't give you lasting hope; for all of their momentary enjoyment, they fill the senses but don't satisfy the heart."

As you ponder this, try to focus on placing your hope in Jesus, practically, in what you consider a blessing or success each day.  It is the calling of God on Israel when they are returning to the Promised Land after Exile to place their first priority of hope and comfort in the LORD, not themselves or their houses or properties, Haggai chapter one.  Where is your hope?

Olympic Athletes Professing Faith in Jesus

No Max Lucado, That Isn't Even Logical...

Christianpost.com reports that Christian pastor and author Max Lucado believes he had a dream where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reach a 'truce' of some kind and do some kind of joint press conference in agreement.
You can read about it here.

A couple things about this.  First off, we should hold Max Lucado to it.  If he wants to make predictions about the future in US politics, and it does not come to pass, then he needs to be called on it.  Scripture takes a view that people who make false predictions are false believers (1st John 4, etc, etc, etc) and false prophets.  They are to be considered not worth listening to, 1st John 4:5-9.

Secondly, putting aside who is your favorite candidate for president of the US, their positions are far apart.  So much so that in each case, that they share little common ground.  In some areas, maybe we don't know what is God's will, in others it is very clear.  They do not see eye to eye on key issues.  So either one or both wou…

Dwight L Moody - The Overcoming Life

Dwight L. Moody in his book, The Overcoming Life, states:

"Notice that everything human in this world fails.  Every man, the moment he takes his eye off God, has failed.  Every man has been a failure at some period of his life.  Abraham failed. Moses failed.  Elijah failed....
I suppose it was because they were not on the watch.  Abraham was noted for his faith, and he failed right there--he denied his wife.  Moses was noted for his meekness and humility, and he failed right there--he got angry. ...  Elijah was noted for his power in prayer and for his courage, yet he became a coward.  He was the boldest man of his day and stood before Ahab and the royal court....  Peter was noted for his boldness, and a little maid scared him nearly out of his wits."

So it is with what John teaches in 1st John that we see whatever is of God is a victor.  We all must get our eyes back on Jesus.  We must say "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives i…

Bible verses on prayer in Old Testament

As Christ followers we ultimately do not follow the Law of Moses as though we were national Israelites, however, we do still see principles clearly of God's will displayed throughout the Old Testament.  This is so even of the Torah portion of the Old Testament, the first five books.

In the heart of those books, you find much mention of prayer in Leviticus.  In fact, Leviticus is essentially a guide to prayer in the appointed place of worship in the nation of Israel, the Tabernacle Tent of Meeting and later the Temple.  For them, this was a place prescribed for worship, instead of building one's own altar, as people had done previously.  Prayers still could be done elsewhere, but the Tabernacle/Temple became the main and required place for Israelites to properly approach the Lord at certain festivals and high holy days of Israel.

So in Leviticus, perhaps we can echo godly believers then, Leviticus chapter sixteen was the high holy day in the Israelite calendar.  It was a prayer…

Three Stumbling Blocks to Church Plant (or Possible Estab. Church) Growth

There are times when doctrine plays a role in attracting or repelling potential new church start goers.  Consider a few examples.  You might imagine whether a church is charismatic or not influences decisions.  In our area, a large glut of charismatic church starts has sucked up all of the potential charismatics.  The ones that have been around the longest have a lions share of that doctrinal view.  Perhaps this is less an issue in a very large city, though it is clearly an issue in a small or medium sized one.

Doctrine could be desirable or undesirable in still another way.  The Lord created men and women a certain way, with certain attributes innately, Genesis 1-2.  Men who are leaders out of a desire to honor the Lord are not making just a praxis decision, but are also modeling in some capacity God's call on men in the family.  A man likewise who makes a strong effort to provide for his future family is going to be more desirable to most ladies.  This is simply true in churches…

Habits of Grace by David Mathis

The Christian book, Habits of Grace, by David Mathis provides a great reminder and set of new challenges for a Christian seeking to sharpen their spiritual disciplines.

There is the reminder to preach to yourself the gospel, page 41.  This helps us find responses to life in our fallen world Mathis states.  We must pause and take in the truth of the gospel, great advice, even as long time Christ followers.

Beyond merely 'inductive Bible study' he recommends asking an old saint how they read the Bible.  This often includes less "formal instruction" and more learning the craft and art of what gets us deeply in God's word.  There is no quick fix program, even though popular programs abound.  A great word in itself there.

Meditation on God's Word.  Believers are to reflect deeply on the truth of Scripture.  This is how we apply it.  Merely speed reading or memorizing Scripture is not enough.  We read for depth, but ponder over a section or few verses to dig in.  L…

Tornado Relief Efforts North Texas

In Christian Ethics, when something bad happens (especially such as a storm damage situation) there is an opportunity to do good as God's people.  Since this world is fallen, we have that opportunity.  If there had been no fall, and storms and people only did good, we would not be able to do greater good in return.

This opportunity is being seized on in the East Dallas area.  The tornado system that hit Garland and Rowlett in particular has created a large group of people caring for those hurt by the storm.  So often we hear about the need for American churches to do more good.  There actually is an amazing amount of work always going on through church ministries.  But this storm illustrates how greater good is able to be done to help those whose homes and livelihoods were affected.  The number of churches including ours serving in various ways is truly a blessing to see in action.

What a great testimony to the stepping up to do good, even when great troubles have come.

This is th…

Knowing vs. Knowing

To illustrate the difference between knowing something is true and just believing it 'knowing', take this example:

Jesus tells us we will not know the day or hour of his return, Matthew 24:36.

Yet it seems fair to assume someone always thinks today or tomorrow or this week Jesus may return.

But just because they believe it, even when it does happen, does not mean they "knew" it would happen in another sense.

God bless!