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Archive for August, 2010

least of these –

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Matthew 5:17-20 states: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mt 5:17-20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Think about the implications here. Are you teaching the Word of God accurately? Are you leading people astray or are you leading them to truly know Him (John 17:3)?

God is serious about His Word. God does not want to be misquoted. God certainly does not want to be misrepresented either.

Check yourself. Are you telling people your thoughts or God’s thoughts as found in the Bible?

-Mark (scary stuff to think about)

Read Colossians 2:8!

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Are we loving people with the TRUTH?

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

When you think about it, what do lost people really need?

If you are driving your car somewhere unfamiliar and you get lost, what do you really need? Do you need love if you are lost in your car somewhere in an unfamiliar place? Love is good but love by itself is not enough. You also need direction. You need a map. You need the truth or else you will remain lost though you will feel better about it since you are loved.

Lost yet loved. That describes many unbelievers today. They are still lost but boy, oh, boy are we loving them with free food, free stuff, and free ______ (fill in the blank). These people are lost and don’t have a map of God’s truth so they will remain lost.

Lost people need the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The truth is always loving though it may not be delivered in a loving way or loving tone of voice. We need to learn how to present His truth no matter what the response may be. We must leave the results up to Him.

So that’s why our ministry is called “Truth in Love” – the truth comes first but it must be wrapped, dipped, marinated, and saturated in the love of Christ. Otherwise, it’s a banging gong or a clanging cymbal.

I Corinthians 13:1 – “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

-Mark (John Perkins said it right: Love is the final fight and the Truth must be wrapped in Love for it to really be the truth!)

Did Jesus ever give anyone a Prozac?

August 27, 2010 1 comment

Why do we offer people anything less than Christ?

I love what Peter says in Acts 3:6 in the following historical account about a beggar crying out for alms (I liken it to crying out for a medication like Prozac) when what he really needed was Christ but he had no idea about his real needs:

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

Yes, you may call me radical but I simply think people need only to know Jesus Christ so that’s what I tell them. I don’t recommend Prozac (I’m not a doctor) nor do I recommend anything less than Christ.

What else is there to offer someone? Where else is there real hope for transformation?

-Mark (I love to read about the early fathers of the faith who pointed people only to God)

Why I am NOT an Integrationist

August 25, 2010 1 comment

The word “integration” means “to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole” (Websters, 1983).

Applied to biblical counseling, an “integrationist” is someone who is trying to unify the field of counseling by combining the Bible with secular psychological theories. For years, integrationists have been trying to produce a unified model of counseling yet the search for the perfect integrated model continues. Why?

Because oil and water do not mix. Neither do the Bible and psychological theories of sinful mankind that promote lies contrary to the Scriptures.

BOTH the Bible and psychological theories are tools used to “study the soul.” Psychology means “the study of the soul” and Christians everywhere would say, “what studies the soul better than the Bible? Nothing!” Yet for some reasons, Christian integrationists think that the Bible is NOT sufficient for SOUL CARE and that we need the psychological theories of Freud, Skinner, Maslow, Jung, and Adler to ADD to the Bible. These unbelieving men somehow help God out with their psychobabble theories.

What’s the Bible say in Col. 2:8? “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Think about that. We must be CAREFUL to listen to Christ and not listen to the ideas of the world though they might sound really good.

Do you hear Him? He wrote you a book. He calls it His Word. Hear what He has to say and read it by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can hear from Him today!

-Mark (listening to Him speak by His Spirit through His Word of truth, the Bible)

Statistics are misleading

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

We keep all like statistics. We like to know how many teens are on drugs, how many marriages end in divorce (over 50%), and stats like those.

But when the goal is wrong, the statistic will be wrong, too.

Someone we know and love recommended we keep stats on certain things in our ministry. We agreed and we do that. But our overall goal cannot be measured in a statistic though it is always measured. Always, by God, that is.

Our primary goal is not JUST to reconcile marriages, see people get off of drugs, or even lead people to Christ – though those are ALL good goals and ALL of them are our SECONDARY goals. We want God to move in our ministry and He does to achieve those secondary goals! Praise His Name!

But our PRIMARY goal is to please God and to glorify His Name. Therefore, we must accurately speak His TRUTH in the LOVE of the Holy Spirit to the glory of His Name. Sometimes, we do that and someone chooses to reject Christ or His answers to their problems. That happens.

In those cases where someone rejects Christ, our secondary goal statistics will be lowered; however, our primary goal of pleasing God is the same because all we can do is present His truth in His love. We lay the truth out there with CLARITY and then the person has a decision to make whether to reject it or accept it. When we do our part, we honor God and He is pleased.

Now, it is possible for us to lower our statistics on primary goal #1. This happens when we are not bold enough to speak the truth OR not loving enough. Either of those things happen when our FLESH gets in the way of the Holy Spirit so we must always be careful to allow Christ to do His work through us! This is a big responsibility because we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit.

So our statistics may be misleading to you, but it is possible for us to be 100% on our first goal to glorify God. That’s the only stat that counts because it’s eternal and it’s to please the Lord!

What a great way to live!

-Mark (thankful that my statistics don’t get me into heaven!)

Love in August? Valentine’s Day in August?

August 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Love. Isn’t it great? Don’t you love LOVE? I do. Even in August when it’s not Valentine’s Day, I love LOVE. Because God is love.

When do you love LOVE best? I really love love on Valentine’s Day when you get hugs, kisses, and chocolates. But that’s a selfish kind of love, isn’t it?

Is a hug the only way to express love? How does God express love to us, His dear children? Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us:

You have forgotten the encouraging words that call you his children: “My child, don’t think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing, and don’t stop trying when he corrects you. 6 The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child. So hold on through your sufferings, because they are like a father’s discipline. God is treating you as children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. 8 If you are never disciplined (and every child must be disciplined), you are not true children. 9 We have all had fathers here on earth who disciplined us, and we respected them. So it is even more important that we accept discipline from the Father of our spirits so we will have life. 10 Our fathers on earth disciplined us for a short time in the way they thought was best. But God disciplines us to help us, so we can become holy as he is. 11 We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way.”

The Holy Bible : New Century Version , containing the Old and New Testaments. 1991 (Heb 12:5). Dallas, TX: Word Bibles.

Wow, God loves me while He disciplines me. It hurts and doesn’t feel like love, but that’s why He defines love not me and not any man. Only the Lord knows what true love is. You and I are really clueless. We just simply need to trust Him and allow Him to transform us into the image of His Son. That’s true love.

-Mark (learning to embrace the real love of God as He disciplines me for my good and His glory)

TIL is not it!

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

I hear people say things like, “Truth in Love Ministries is IT!” but TILM is NOT it; the body of Christ is IT. The faith family is the real it.

The body of Christ. That’s what is needed. TIL is simply a unifying mechanism to get God’s children to unify around Christ and the Gospel to serve hurting souls which ultimately glorifies Him.

So God blesses TIL because it is seeking only to glorify Him!

-Mark (all about the body of Christ – Eph. 4:11-16)