Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Willowbank Declaration

The Willowbank Declaration


"The Gospel is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16)

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." (Romans 10:1)



Every Christian must acknowledge an immense debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus is the Christ, the long-promised Jewish Messiah, who by his life, death and resurrection saves from sin and all its consequences. Those who worship Jesus as their Divine Lord and Saviour have thus received God's most precious gift through the Jewish people. Therefore they have compelling reason to show love to that people in every possible way.
Concerned about humanity everywhere, we are resolved to uphold the right of Jewish people to a just and peaceful existence everywhere, both in the land of Israel and in their communities throughout the world. We repudiate past persecutions of Jews by those identified as Christians, and we pledge ourselves to resist every form of anti-Semitism. As the supreme way of demonstrating love, we seek to encourage the Jewish people, along with all other peoples, to receive God's gift of life through Jesus the Messiah, and accordingly the growing number of Jewish Christians brings us great joy.
In making this Declaration we stand in a long and revered Christian tradition, which in 1980 was highlighted by a landmark statement, "Christian Witness to the Jewish People," issued by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. Now, at this Willowbank Consultation on the Gospel and the Jewish People, sponsored by the World Evangelical Fellowship and supported by the Lausanne Committee, we reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish people and our desire to share the Gospel with them.
This Declaration is made in response to growing doubts and widespread confusion among Christians about the need for, and the propriety of, endeavours to share faith in Jesus Christ with Jewish people. Several factors unite to produce the un-certain state of mind that the Declaration seeks to resolve.
The holocaust, perpetrated as it was by leaders and citizens of a supposedly Christian nation, has led to a sense in some quarters that Christian credibility among Jews has been totally destroyed. Accordingly, some have shrunk back from addressing the Jewish people with the Gospel.
Some who see the creation of the state of Israel as a direct fulfillment of biblical prophecy have concluded that the Christian task at this time is to "comfort Israel" by supporting this new political entity, rather than to challenge Jews by direct evangelism.
Some church leaders have retreated from embracing the task of evangelising Jews as a responsibility of Christian mission. Rather, a new theology is being embraced which holds that God's covenant with Israel through Abraham establishes all Jews in God's favor for all times, and so makes faith in Jesus Christ for salvation needless so far as they are concerned.
On this basis, it is argued that dialogue with Jews in order to understand each other better, and cooperation in the quest for socio-economic shalom, is all that Christian mission requires in relation to the Jewish people. Continued attempts to do what the Church has done from the first, in seeking to win Jews to Jesus as Messiah, are widely opposed and decried, by Christian as well as Jewish leaders.
Attempts to bring Jews to faith in Jesus are frequently denounced as proselytizing. This term is often used to imply dishonest and coercive modes of inducement, appeal to unworthy motives, and disregard of the question of truth even though it is truth that is being disseminated.
In recent years, "messianic" Jewish believers in Jesus, who as Christians celebrate and maximize their Jewish identity, have emerged as active evangelists to the Jewish community. Jewish leaders often accused them of deception on the grounds that one cannot be both a Jew and a Christian. While these criticisms may reflect Judaism's current effort to define itself as a distinct religion in opposition to Christianity, they have led to much bewilderment and some misunderstanding and mistrust.
The Declaration responds to this complex situation and seeks to set directions for the future according to the Scriptures.


WE AFFIRM THAT the redeeming love of God has been fully and finally re-vealed in Jesus Christ.
WE DENY THAT those without faith in Christ know the full reality of God's love and of the gift that he gives.
WE AFFIRM THAT the God-given types, prophecies and visions of salvation and shalom in the Hebrew Scriptures find their present and future fulfillment in and through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who by incarnation became a Jew and was shown to be the Son of God and Messiah by his resurrection.
WE DENY THAT it is right to look for a Messiah who has not yet appeared in world history.
WE AFFIRM THAT Jesus Christ is the second person of the one God, who became a man, lived a perfect life, shed his blood on the cross as an aton-ing sacrifice for human sins, rose bodily from the dead, now reigns as Lord, and will return visibly to this earth, all to fulfill the purpose of bringing sinners to share eternally in his fellowship and glory.
WE DENY THAT those who think of Jesus Christ in lesser terms than these have faith in him in any adequate sense.
WE AFFIRM THAT all human beings are sinful by nature and practice, and stand condemned, helpless and hopeless, before God, until the grace of Christ touches their lives and brings them to God's pardon and peace.
WE DENY THAT any Jew or Gentile finds true peace with God through performing works of law.
ARTICLE I.5. WE AFFIRM THAT God's forgiveness of the penitent rests on the satisfac-tion rendered to his justice by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
WE DENY THAT any person can enjoy God's favor apart from the mediation of Jesus Christ, the sin-bearer.
WE AFFIRM THAT those who turn to Jesus Christ find him to be a sufficient Saviour and Deliverer from all the evil of sin: from its guilt, shame, power, and perversity; from blind defiance of God, debasement of moral character, and the dehumanising and destructive self-assertion that sin breeds.
WE DENY THAT the salvation found in Christ may be supplemented in any way.
WE AFFIRM THAT faith in Jesus Christ is humanity's only way to come to know the Creator as Father, according to Christ's own Word: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
WE DENY THAT any non-Christian faith, as such, will mediate eternal life with God.


WE AFFIRM THAT through the mediation of Jesus Christ, God has made a new covenant with Jewish and Gentile believers, pardoning their sins, writing his law on their hearts by his Spirit, so that they obey him, giving the Holy Spirit to indwell them, and bringing each one to know him by faith in a relationship of trustful gratitude for salvation. WE DENY THAT the blessings of the New Covenant belong to any except believers in Jesus Christ.
WE AFFIRM THAT the profession of continuing Jewish identity, for which Hebrew Christians have in the past suffered at the hands of both their fellow-Jews and Gentile church leaders, was consistent with the Christian Scriptures and with the nature of the church as one body in Jesus Christ in which Jews and non-Jews are united.
WE DENY THAT it is necessary for Jewish Christians to repudiate their Jewish heritage.
WE AFFIRM THAT Gentile believers, who at present constitute the great bulk of the Christian church, are included in the historically continuous community of believing people on earth which Paul pictures as God's olive tree (Romans 11:13-24).
WE DENY THAT Christian faith is necessarily non-Jewish, and that Gentiles who believe in Christ may ignore their solidarity with believing Jews, or for-mulate their new identity in Christ without reference to Jewishness, or decline to receive the Hebrew Scriptures as part of their own instruction from God, or refuse to see themselves as having their roots in Jewish history.
WE AFFIRM THAT Jewish people who come to faith in Messiah have liberty before God to observe or not observe traditional Jewish customs and cere-monies that are consistent with the Christian Scriptures and do not hinder fel-lowship with the rest of the Body of Christ.
WE DENY THAT any inconsistency or deception is involved by Jewish Christians representing themselves as "Messianic" or "completed" or "ful-filled" Jews.


WE AFFIRM THAT Jewish people have an ongoing part in God's plan.
WE DENY THAT indifference to the future of the Jewish people on the part of Christians can ever be justified.
WE AFFIRM THAT prior to the coming of Christ it was Israel's unique privilege to enjoy a corporate covenantal relationship with God, following upon the national redemption from slavery, and involving God's gift of the law and of a theocratic culture; God's promise of blessing to faithful obedience; and God's provision of atonement for transgression.
WE AFFIRM THAT within this covenant relationship, God's pardon and acceptance of the penitent which was linked to the offering of prescribed sacrifices rested upon the fore-ordained sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
WE DENY THAT covenantal privilege alone can ever bring salvation to impenitent unbelievers.
WE AFFIRM THAT much of Judaism, in its various forms, throughout contemporary Israel and today's Diaspora, is a development out of, rather than as an authentic embodiment of, the faith, Iove and hope, that the Hebrew Scriptures teach.
WE DENY THAT modern Judaism with its explicit negation of the divine person, work, and Messiah-ship of Jesus Christ contains within itself true knowledge of God's salvation.
WE AFFIRM THAT the biblical hope for Jewish people centers on their being restored through faith in Christ to their proper place as branches of God's olive tree from which they are at present broken off.
WE DENY THAT the historical status of the Jews as God's people brings salvation to any Jew who does not accept the claims of Jesus Christ.
WE AFFIRM THAT the Bible promises that large numbers of Jews will turn to Christ through God's sovereign grace.
WE DENY THAT this prospect renders needless the active proclamation of the gospel to Jewish people in this and every age.
WE AFFIRM THAT anti-Semitism on the part of professed Christians has al-ways been wicked and shameful and that the church has in the past been much to blame for tolerating and encouraging it and for condoning anti-Jewish actions on the part of individuals and governments.
WE DENY THAT these past failures, for which offending Gentile believers must ask forgiveness from both God and the Jewish community, rob Christians of the right or lessen their responsibility to share the Gospel with Jews today and for the future.
WE AFFIRM THAT it was the sins of the whole human race that sent Christ to the cross.
WE DENY THAT it is right to single out the Jewish people for putting Jesus to death.


WE AFFIRM THAT sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with lost humanity is a matter of prime obligation for Christian people, both because the Messiah commands the making of disciples and because love of neighbor re-quires effort to meet our neighbor's deepest need.
WE DENY THAT any other form of witness and service to others can excuse Christians from laboring to bring them to faith in Christ.
WE AFFIRM THAT the church's obligation to share saving knowledge of Christ with the whole human race includes the evangelising of Jewish people as a priority: "To the Jew first" (Romans 1:16).
WE DENY THAT dialogue with Jewish people that aims at nothing more than mutual understanding constitutes fulfillment of this obligation.
WE AFFIRM THAT the concern to point Jewish people to faith in Jesus Christ which the Christian church has historically felt and shown was right.
WE DENY THAT there is any truth in the widespread notion that evangelising Jews is need!ess because they are a!ready in covenant with God through Abraham and Moses and so are already saved despite their rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
WE AFFIRM THAT all endeavours to persuade others to become Christians should express love to them by respecting their dignity and integrity at every point, including parents' responsibility in the case of their children.
WE DENY THAT coercive or deceptive proselytising, which violates dignity and integrity on both sides, can ever be justified.
WE AFFIRM THAT it is unchristian, unloving, and discriminatory, to propose a moratorium on the evangelising of any part of the human race, and that failure to preach the gospel to the Jewish people would be a form of anti-Semitism, depriving this particular community of its right to hear the gospel.
WE DENY THAT we have sufficient warrant to assume or anticipate the salvation of anyone, who is not a believer in Jesus Christ.
WE AFFIRM THAT the existence of separate churchly organisations for evangelising Jews, as for evangelising any other particular human group, can be justified pragmatically, as an appropriate means of fulfilling the church's mandate to take the Gospel to the whole human race.
WE DENY THAT the depth of human spiritual need varies from group to group so that Jewish people may be thought to need Christ either more or less than others.


WE AFFIRM THAT dialogue with other faiths that seeks to transcend stereo-types of them based on ignorance, and to find common ground and to share common concerns, is an expression of Christian love that should be encouraged.
WE DENY THAT dialogue that explains the Christian faith without seeking to persuade the dialogue partners of its truth and claims is a sufficient expres-sion of Christian love.
WE AFFIRM THAT for Christians and non-Christian Jews to make common cause in social witness and action, contending together for freedom of speech and religion, the value of the individual, and the moral standards of God's law is right and good.
WE DENY THAT such limited cooperation involves any compromise of the distinctive views of either community or imposes any restraint upon Chris-tians in seeking to share the Gospel with the Jews with whom they cooperate.
WE AFFIRM THAT the Jewish quest for a homeland with secure borders and a just peace has our support.
WE DENY THAT any biblical link between the Jewish people and the land of Israel justifies actions that contradict biblical ethics and constitute oppression of people-groups or individuals.
1, Sophia Road #07-09
Peace Centre
WEF North American Headquarters
P. O. Box WEF
Wheaton, IL
This Declaration was developed and adopted on April 29, 1989 by all those present at the Consultation on the Gospel and the Jewish People after several days of lntense consultation, undergirded by prayer. Together the participants commend this document to the churches with a call to prayerfully consider and act upon these very serious matters as touching the Christian Gospel and the Jewish People.
Dr. Vernon Grounds (Chairman) U.S.A.; Dr.Tokunboh Adeyemo, KENYA; Dr. Henri Blocher, FRANCE; Dr. Tormod Engelsvlken, NORWAY; Dr. Arthur Glasser, U.S.A.; Dr. Robert Godfrey, U.S.A.; Mrs. Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, U.S.A.; Dr. Kenneth Kantzer, U.S.A.; Rev. Ole Chr. Kvarme, NORWAY; Dr. David Lim, PHILLIPINES; Rev. Murdo MacLeod, ENGLAND; Dr. J. I. Packer, CANADA; Dr. Bong Ro R.O.C.; Dr. Sunand Sumithra, INDIA; Dr. David Wells, U.S.A.; Tuvya Zaretsky, U.S.A.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Gospel and the Jewish People - An Evangelical Statement

Mar 28, 2008 http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=1732

As evangelical Christians, we want to express our genuine friendship and love for the Jewish people. We sadly acknowledge that church history has been marred with anti-Semitic words and deeds; and that at times when the Jewish people were in great peril, the church did far less than it should have.• We pledge our commitment to be loving friends and to stand against such injustice in our generation. At the same time, we want to be transparent in affirming that we believe the most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.• We believe that it is only through Jesus that all people can receive eternal life. If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, He cannot be the Savior of theWorld (Acts 4:12).• We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).• We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1). We want to make it clear that, as evangelical Christians, we do not wish to offend our Jewish friends by the above statements; but we are compelled by our faith and commitment to the Scriptures to stand by these principles. It is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and encourage others to do the same, for we believe that salvation is only found in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World.

Rev. Dr. Lon Allison—Director, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College
Dr. Mark Bailey—President, Dallas Theological Seminary
Joel Belz—Founder, World Magazine
Richard Bewes—OBE, former Rector, All Souls Church, Langham Place, London
Lyndon Bowring—Executive Chairman, CARE
Doug Birdsall—Executive Chair, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
Dr. D. A. Carson—Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Dr. Paul Cedar—Chairman, Mission America Coalition
Dr. Yonggi Cho—Senior Pastor, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea
Chuck Colson—Founder, Prison Fellowship
Dr. Jim Congdon—Senior Pastor, Topeka Bible Church
Dr. Hélène Dallaire–Associate Professor of Old Testament,
Denver Seminary, Denver
David Evans—Bishop, Church of England
Mark Greene—Executive Director, London Institute of Contemporary Christianity
Dr. Vernon C. Grounds–Chancellor, Denver Seminary, Denver
Stan Guthrie—Managing Editor, Special Projects, Christianity Today
Dr. David Harley—former General Director, OMF International
Dr. Harold Hoehner—Distinguished Professor of New
Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Dr. Jim Holm—President, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary
Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson—Senior Pastor, Antioch Bible Church
Canon J. John—Director, Philo Trust
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.—President Emeritus, Colman M.
Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament,
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Joe Kapolyo—Minister, Edmonton Baptist Church
Dr. R. T. Kendall—President, R. T. Kendall Ministries
Dr. Jerry B. Jenkins—Owner, Christian Writers Guild
Prof. A. N. S. Lane—London Bible College
Rev. Dr. John-Paul Lotz—Lecturer in Church History, London School of Theology
Steve Moore—President & CEO, The Mission Exchange (formerly EFMA)
Rev. Dr. Steve Motyer—Lecturer, London School of Theology
Dr. Marv Newell—Executive Director, Cross Global Link (formerly IFMA)
Luis Palau, Evangelist and Author
Hugh Palmer—Rector, All Souls Church, London
Janet Parshall–Nationally Syndicated Radio Host
The Honorable Tony Perkins–President, Family
Research Council
Dr. Raymond Pfister—Principal, Birmingham Christian
College, Birmingham, England
John Piper–Pastor for Preaching and Vision, BethlehemDr. Carson Pue, President, Arrow Leadership, Vancouver BC Dr. Phil Roberts—President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Haddon Robinson—President, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
John H. Rodgers, Th.D.—Bishop in the Anglican Mission in America
Russell Rook—Director, ALOVE, Salvation Army
John Seawright—Minister, Abbey Presbyterian Church, Monkstown, Ireland
Gordon Showell-Rogers—General Secretary, European Evangelical Alliance
Dr. Lon Solomon—Pastor, McLean Bible Church, McLean, VA
Dr. Joseph M. Stowell—President Cornerstone University
Stephen Strang—Publisher, Charisma Magazine
Matt Summerfield—Executive Director, Urban Saints
Dr. Vinson Synan—Dean Emeritus of Regent University
Dr. Geoff Tunnecliffe—International Director,World Evangelical Alliance
Clive Urquhart—Director, Kingdom Faith Ministries, Horsham, England
Phil S. Walker—Pastor, Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Madison, MS
Mike Wall—Executive Director All Nations Christian College, Ware, England
Mark Weeden—Pastor,Worthing Tabernacle
Chris Williams—Pastor, London Community Church

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Answers to Objections ____ Romans 3:1-8

· This very morning millions of Americans will wake up and run wrap their Sunday paper. Many will turn to the headlines while others will get the chuckles from the funnies. A hand full will diligently read the sports pages and a brave few will look at the real estate wondering about the current state of the housing market. Many whether they admit it or know will seek advice and wisdom in the dailies. Some will try their luck wit the Horoscopes. Others will be a little more grounded and look at the columns of Ann Landers or some kind of Dear Abby styled help column in search of guidance in dealing with and awkward situation.
· That is what we see when we look at the beginning of the third chapter of Romans. Paul has been written by a group of Christians he has never met, but they seek the Apostle’s wisdom and the Lord’s direction as they have some life situations that have manifested.
· Instead of asking how they should break up with their boyfriend, the best way to get a stain out of a favorite blouse or the proper etiquette for awkward situation they seek Paul for spiritual counsel about how to address the objects to Christianity that some raise.
· This must have been an uncomfortable situation for this young by fast growing metropolitan church. Yet we see that they must have put pride aside as they wrote openly to a man they had never met to discover how to reach those they had formed relationships with. Paul presents for use a very simple question and answer session that will help strengthen our faith and answer questions that we might be asked.

Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
· The questions at hand for Paul were “Why should I, a Gentile, here in Rome want to convert to Judaism to be a part of this new Jewish religion? What does following the weird custom of cutting my body do for me spiritually?”
· These were valid questions. Even if these objections were from people who really were going to be spiritually rebellious no matter what the answer, these questions were ones that were going to come up over and over and were going to have to be addressed.
· Paul’s response is not to tell them in some Nike slogan way to “Just do it!” Not at all. Instead he tells them that there is a laundry list of reasons why one would want to be part of a group who are faithful to God.
· Please notice though that he never endorses the Judaic faith as the way to go but instead only informs the reading audience that there are many great things about the chosen people of Israel. Paul tells us and the 55 A.D. readership that they are a special people because God has put them in charge of writing down and caring for God's revelation, the Holy Scriptures.

Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

· In this Q&A Paul is presented with a question that seems a bit disconnected from the last but if we realize that this is still dealing with the Jewish and Greek populations it will make sense.
· If a veteran solider with many years of combat experience and many campaign ribbons sudden went a.w.o.l, that is absent with out official leave, would this mean that his military employer would desert him too. If this solid solider sudden abandon his post does that mean the army and his nation would abandon him in the same fashion. Not at all. The solider would still be considered active, His branch of service would still search him out and bring him back, but e would have to deal with the consequences of disobedience and his failure to remain firm and steadfast a wartime.
· This is the same for us or any one of Judaism. If we fail to be faithful to God, it does not meant that God will in return refuse to be faithful to His person in the promises He made to us. Jehovah God will gloriously continue to faithful to us when we turn and run when there are difficult times.
· Our unbelief does not render God null and void. It only enhances the tender and devoted care of God more as we see that He is never fleeting even were the stare at His wonders and lie to ourselves and say he does not exist. That He is not real or that He does not care. That God is either a psychological crutch of a deeply disturbed person or nothing more than the absentee landlord of our hearts who does not get involved in the day to day triflings of our lives. While this is enough to make a lover flee and it is quite frightening to think what if God left us, we can find even greater comfort in the truth of Hebrews 6:19, that the anchor of our soul is sure and steadfast.
· The faltering faith of Israel does not change the immutable position of God that he has called and elected His people to salvation. In fact we will find later in the 11th chapter of Romans that God’s faithfulness to His chosen people will result thin those who believe being grafted back in to the Family Tree of Yahweh.
· Let us look another objection that was raised back in the city of Rome. The Question presented seems to be one presented by the Whitehouse press corp. as it is one question with two parts. Maybe it was just posed by a double talking politician.

Romans 3:5-8 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
· I think that Grigori Rasputin the Russian priest and mystic sent this one in. You see Rasputin had this idea that justified his sins and sent a huge wave of people in to a devious lifestyle of a variety of immoral or evil practices. The “Mad Monk”, as he was known to promote sin as away to add to God’s glory and mercy. The mystical healer taught that the more we sin the more the red rich coopery blood of Jesus is worth, so we owe it to God as good steward of salvation to live life to it’s fullest enjoying all that can he had - wine, women, wealth, what have you. Rape, Robber, rudeness, resentment, all recommended.
· This is the same concept that is being presented to the Apostle Paul. The question that has come up is that “if our wrong doing only underlines and confirms God's right doing, shouldn't we be commended for helping out? Since our bad words don't even make a dent in his good words, isn't it wrong of God to back us to the wall and hold us to our word?”
· Wow what Gaul to ask a man who humble claims the title of Chief of all Sinners this. Can you hear this on a radio call in show, “Hi, Paul, yeah, I am a first time caller but a long time listener. Oh and a Big fan. I have your first book and going to buy your second. Anyway, It seems to me that if I sin, more doesn’t God get more glory for being more gracious and more merciful. That only means that I should try harder to sin make God look better right? The way I see it, God can’t judge me or punish me if I do all of this for Him. Right? Can I say hi to my mom and give a shout out to my boys at the factory?”
· Can you imagine what would take place over the air waves? I think you could hear a great, deep, slow cleansing breath that would almost have an underling growl like a Doberman as Paul sets forth to defend the Gospel and unleash Truth of Christ.
· Paul would declare war and began to unload the artillery of the Gospel like the intelligent masterful five star general of the Lord’s army that he is. Don’t foe a minute think that Paul was have just been a Jesus bully, nothing more that a pugilist with a Holy Spirit Haymaker. No, Paul would have intently listened to statements like, “If my lies serve to show off God's truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I'm doing God a favor." And with the skill of Patton and McArthur, he would have planned his points of attack and arranged his conversation to keep from being flanked by miscellaneous information and useless arguments.
· While these objections can seem to be cage rattling at the very least, any of us felt this way the first time we drove a car. With sweaty palms we pushed in the clutch, check the mirrors, grindingly changed gears, looked back at the rear view mirror and now the speedometer and over at an anxiety ridden parent.
· We feel the same way when we first start to deal with questions from people. We get that same ball in the pit of our stomach and the beads of swear began to form on our brow. This why Paul is answering he hard questions directs young Timothy and us in 2nd Timothy 2:15 to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
· So what hard Questions are you dealing with and how will you over come them. How will you teach others? How will you cure your own doubts?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Free Sermon Organization

Many years ago when I entered in to ministry I found a really cool freeware or shareware program called Bible Key by Paul Apple. It was a great program for keeping filing sermons, keeping track of when and where preached, where you got sermon material from, and file away various illustrations. It did lots of other stuff to like help you file it with regard to topic, scripture, was it part of series as well as there were a couple of huge data bases full of other preachers sermons that could be used for your own inspiration, devotion or aid in your own sermon prep. Well, Bro. Apple who still pastors and is still out there is no longer keeping up this program and with each update or new version of windows, the code apparently becomes more antiquated and functions less with Ms Windows. The last time I tried to install it, well it was a no go if you know what I mean. I really like that program and never found another one that I liked (although I am open to suggestions). I looked for a while but nothing manifested that seemed to equal Bible Key or it is was way out of my price range at the time. Actually, even the high dollar ones seemed to do less than the freebie.

Well, for years I just wrote sermon notes or outlines on paper. Or Post-its. Or napkins. In Notebooks. Occasionally I typed on up and saved it, but I did not always have a working computer. Sometimes good ole PC would die and you are still left with nothing. I decided awhile back that if I was going to invest the time God gives me and use the resources He allows me to obtain or borrow for His sermons, then I needed to be a better steward of what He shows me and what He gives me. This was born my lo-fi, low-tech, low-budget sermon management system.

I created a new folder under My Documents and named it My Sermons.

Then I opened up My Sermons and created another new folder and named this one John as that was the book that I was preaching though. Simple but effective

All went fine as I typed up some sermon notes until I went to save the sermon by the sermon text instead of the title (I chose to use the text since the Bible never changes by the approach to a sermon or the title may). My problem stemmed from not being able to use a colon- “:” in that sermon text. Nope, John 3:16 could not be the name. Well instead of throwing out the system that I (under the power of God) devised, I decided to use the semi-colon- “;”. Not as accurate, but John 3;16 will save to the hard drive and so will Genesis 1;1 – Revelation 22;21. Problem solved and crisis adverted. At first I placed each chapter in its own folder. This might cause some people problems down the road as complete thoughts are sometimes cut into by chapter or verse division. So if you started in Roman 1:17 and ended with oh, Romans 2:7 then you might not see that you have addressed part of the text when you go back. This is part of the reason I just save all sermons by text name in the same Book folder and allow the natural sorting by name and number take effect and do the work for me. The other reason is I hated to even to a simple right click and make another folder because then I have to keep clicking into more folders. My Documents>My Sermons>Bible Book is enough for me. I have also used alphabetic letters at the end of a name when I was working a Scripture from two angles to keep from saving one on the other. Kind of like “John 3;16a” or “John 3;16b” or for notes on a text that are not the actually sermon I would do “John3:16 notes” Sub outline for notes and you get an outline and not a manuscript although I don’t ever do a word for word manuscript. Actually what I do in prep is more to work out the text and the thoughts. I have to do this to drag the out of my head so that I can formulate them to make sense for the public.

I also have some sermons in files for special occasion, by series, a few by topic, or ones that were part of a event (like from a Disciple Now weekend), Sunday evening teaching, prayers, sermon ideas, sermons from others. I also will on occasion store a bibliography of books used freo prep in the folder of a Bible book for future reference anf anything else that I think that I might need for the furutre. For me this keeps everything from jumbling all togather and gives me a simple way of keeping everything separate and neatly tucked away for further use or review. Oh, and the best part is that it is on the cheap.

I hope this helps you and believe that just about any operating system and word processer can do this.
If you care I have picked back up preaching in Romans so if you need some sermon fodder let me know an I'll send you what I have. And if you have any suggestion on how to make this better (or criticisim - but beware I am a pretty big guy - haha) let me know. Maybe you found the perfect program that iI need and it does better job

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Seder, Horseraddish, Candles

This week we are in VBS mode. We are going full speed with Group's Jerusalem Market Place. One of the things that we have expreienced was a Seder. From the photos you can see that I did not like the Horseraddish. During the Seder, my daughter whom I love, Remington was able to correct me and guide me. Yes, an eight yr. old was able to remind her pastor-father of things that he had fogotten about. She reminded me that I had forgotten in the beginning to have a woman light the candle. "Not only a woman," but she went on to tell everyone that she "was not to have had any children and needed to cover her head and she was to bring the light to the World like Mary brought Jesus, who is the light to the World." I was proud, but I must admit she did not learn that from me. No, she learned that from Amy Downey of Tzedakah Ministries. She must be soaking up everything that Amy teaches her, becuase I got the feeling my little girl thought there were some other points that I forgot. Oh you may may wnat ot ck out Amy's blog too -Mystery solved with Messiah Jesus

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Daughter

I love my daughter. I am glad that I have been able to share Christ with her. I praise God that He let me counsel with her after she made the decision to be a Christ follower. I can think of nothing cooler than when I baptized my daughter and was able to call her my Sister in Christ. I love that after she knew Christ as her Savior she wanted others to know Him to. I loved that one when I was witnessing to a family member, she asked what she could do because she “knew about this stuff” (having a relationship with Jesus). I love how she serves at Church and does not complain. She just sees Christian service as they way everyone is suppose to live. I love that she passes out the visitor cards because our adults can't seem to remember to do it. I really dig how she is patient when I run into someone who just has to talk to me. I love how she goes on visitation with me. I love how she smiles. I love how she prays. I love that she forgives and that she does not understand that all people at Church don’t act like Christ. I love that she ministers at eight years old and pray she still will at a hundred and eight. I love how she leads others. I love how she inspires me – to be a better father for her, a husband so she will know what a Godly one looks like and a Christian for her to model her walk after. I love that girl who thinks she has to have coffee like the grown ups do and who said I am Sister Chick now to her mom after becoming a believer. I love that she sings for the Lord and weeps when I ask her what she would do if they told her she could not love Jesus any more. I love that fact that she feels the Holy Spirit and she has great joy. I love the way she is so young and talks sermon notes. That she studies the Bible and seems to be able to remember every Bible lesson she has been taught. I love the fact the cares about her unsaved classmates and the unsaved Jews. I love that she likes me more when she is sick and she always wants to go to town with me. I love her to the core. I love her little snore when she gets overtired. I love that she traveled for over two years in a van across Texas allowing me to preach in a different pulpit every weekend, yet never complaining. I love how she looks great in a dress as well as in a t-shirt and shorts. I love that she smiles all the time. I love that she gets great grades and loves to sing. I love that she has suffered a lot for ministry and never said a word. I love that she cares about others and cares about Christ. I love that I don’t have to worry about her knowing Christ, because she already has established that relationship. I love that she is fine with just a little but knows how to act with a lot. I love how she wears a ring that I gave her that will not be taken off till a Godly man places a wedding band on that finger. I love the fact that she is a girly girl but she still loves God’s creation. I love my daughter, completely and totally. I pray for her often and amazed by her continually. I can’t wait to see what God will do with her, the lives she will help change the soul she will share Christ with, the man she will marry and the children she will raise.