Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 3)

Read the series so far.

2. God’s Love is Urgently Needed, 1:3-9

God’s people were living in prosperity and carnal ease, and God had to awaken them to the need of His love.

So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel [REJECTED], for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” (Hosea 1:3-9)

Hosea and Gomer’s Children

The blazing center of the power of Christ’s gospel is that it transforms us. God wanted to awaken Israel to their dire situation, so He essentially tells Gomer to name her children: Read more about Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 3)

2000 Sermons, 25 Years - Some Observations (Part 2)

Having reached, by the grace of God, the milestone of 25 years of pastoral ministry and 2000+ sermons, I am writing here a few things I have learned along the way. The first post was things I have learned about preaching.

My pastoral ministry has included serving in three different churches over a 25 year period. In the first I served as a youth pastor for 4 years. I served in the second as the senior pastor for 9 1/2 years and have been senior pastor at my current church for 11 1/2 years. Here are some things I have learned about ministry and churches. There are many observations that I could make. These are some that stand out to me, with minimal explanation. Each paragraph is a separate observation, in no particular order. Read more about 2000 Sermons, 25 Years - Some Observations (Part 2)

2000 Sermons, 25 Years - Some Observations (Part 1)

My filing system shows that I recently preached my 2000th sermon. This year I will complete 25 years of pastoral ministry. Praise God for His grace. I want to write down some of the things I have learned along the way. I think I’ll do it in 3-4 separate posts, including what I have learned about preaching, about ministry and churches, about people, and about God.

Here are some things I have learned about preaching, in no particular order.

Preparing and preaching a sermon is like having a baby. You labor over it for many hours, sometimes right up until the minute you start speaking, and then it is born. If you’ve prepared diligently, something good will come out. It isn’t always pretty, but it has potential. Read more about 2000 Sermons, 25 Years - Some Observations (Part 1)

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in Christ

While the Holy Spirit has an incredible ministry directly to believers, that is certainly not His only role. Before the Spirit’s present ministry in the church, He also interacted with Christ in several profound ways. As we understand the relationship of Christ and the Spirit, and their relationship to the Father, we can be encouraged and strengthened, knowing that we also have a relationship with all Three, and that they are doing amazing things so that we can have life (Eph 1:3-14), and walk with Him (Jn 17:3).

His Purpose in Christ

The Holy Spirit bore witness to the fact that Christ was sent from the Father, and by so doing provided a testimony to Israel that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Note the fourfold witness identified in John’s gospel: (1) John (Jn 5:33-35) was the forerunner prophesied by the Holy Spirit (Mal 3:1; Lk. 1:67-79), (2) Jesus’ works (Jn 5:36), many of which were accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit, (3) the Father (Jn 5:37-38)—through His word, which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), and finally, (4) the Scriptures (Jn 5:39-47), which are the words and testimony of the Spirit (Is 59:21; Zech 4:6; Acts 21:11; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:7; 9:8; 10:15; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). His words were provided by method of inspiration—or God breathing (2 Tim 3:16), as He moved men to speak His word (2 Pet 1:20-21). Read more about The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in Christ

Why the Arguments in Support of Planned Parenthood Fail

Used with permission from Theologically Driven.

Choosing Hats (an apologetics site) has a lengthy article pointing out the fallacies of four common arguments given in support of Planned Parenthood and some suggestions for how you can push back against these arguments. I thought I’d provide a brief summary of the responses given there (with a few additional thoughts sprinkled in) to give you a sense of what is being said, but would encourage you to take some time to familiarize yourself with the arguments and responses more fully as well.

It’s a Hoax

Calling it a “hoax” or “bogus” or “fraudulent” implies that the videos are forgeries. But not even Planned Parenthood has treated the videos as if they were not real people saying those things—as if it were the result of CGI. Rather, they have challenged the videos on the accusation that they were obtained illegally—which would be absurd if they were not real. They are not a “hoax.” But calling it a “hoax” is meant to intentionally mislead people into thinking the videos are not real, even when they know they are. Read more about Why the Arguments in Support of Planned Parenthood Fail

The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear (Part 3)

This post continues a lecture from C.H. Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students (read the series so far).

Avoid with your whole soul that spirit of suspicion which sours some men’s lives, and

to all things from which you might harshly draw an unkind inference turn a blind eye and a deaf ear.

Suspicion makes a man a torment to himself and a spy towards others. Once begin to suspect, and causes for distrust will multiply around you, and your very suspiciousness will create the major part of them. Many a friend has been transformed into an enemy by being suspected. Do not, therefore, look about you with the eyes of mistrust, nor listen as an eaves-dropper with the quick ear of fear. To go about the congregation ferreting out disaffection, like a gamekeeper after rabbits, is a mean employment, and is generally rewarded most sorrowfully. Read more about The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear (Part 3)

Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 2)

God’s Relentless Love

Early in my ministry I conducted a marriage vow renewal ceremony for nine elderly couples. Several of the couples were married more than sixty years. Some of the couples couldn’t hold hands any more. One of the couples, the man couldn’t say “I do,” but everyone in that room said it for him. In one case, the husband had had a stroke, and the wife was still very mobile and attractive, but she did not forsake him. What a joy to see that! It’s rare in our country.

Marriage is a picture of God’s love for His church. Christ will never leave His bride. God’s love is relentless. That’s what we are going to find out in the book of Hosea. Read more about Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 2)

Clarifying Terms in Catholic Evangelism (Part 2)

Adapted from VOICE, July/Aug 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

Born Again

If you asked a Roman Catholic per­son if he is “born again,” he might reply, “Yes of course.” But he may mean “I was born again when baptized as an infant.” Support for this as the official Roman Catholic view comes from The Catechism.

The seven sacraments of the Church Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist [The Mass], Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are “all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Paragraph 1114). “The ordained priest­hood [ordained by the Roman Catholic Church] guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church” (Paragraph 1120). The sacraments are necessary for salvation (Paragraph 1129). They act ex opere operato—literally, “by the very fact of the actions being performed” (Paragraph 1128). This means independent of any faith on the part of the recipient. And they are efficacious because in them Christ Himself is at work: it is He who baptizes (Paragraph 1128). Furthermore, Read more about Clarifying Terms in Catholic Evangelism (Part 2)