God alone is Sovereign

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

The Knowledge of the Holy

I am currently reading A.W. Tozer's book "The Knowledge of the Holy" and let me say, it's very good. I am almost finished with it and wanted to share a quote from chapter 17 "The Justice of God". Tozer ends this short chapter with this paragraph,

"But God's justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future."

Tozer wrote this book in 1961, but I think it is very relevant for today. I just heard there was a poll of Evangelicals Christians where 56 percent believed Jesus is not the only way to heaven or have eternal life. That is a scary number to say the least.

I think there is an argument that can be made that the Church has failed in helping people see God the way He is. I believe, as many others do, that this failure happened when the Church moved from preaching God's Law, mans transgressions against God's Law, repentance***(very important) and then giving the Good News. What did the Church move to? Feel good preaching. You better not point out that God hates sin and you better not point out that people are sinners, or the people will not come to Church. The Church only focuses on God’s grace, mercy and love. These are all very important attributes of God, but not a complete understanding of who He is.

The next Chapter talks about the mercy of God, but unfortunately God's mercy will go unused with many people, because they do not see the need for it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Auto Zone

The other day the car battery in my wives car died. Thank goodness a Good Samaritan in the form of the Publix store manager had some jumper cables. I hurried home, swapped cars with my wife and off I went to the local Auto Zone.

There I met Anthony. Anthony was a nice guy in his mid 20’s and after he had my brand new battery installed I swung the conversation quickly over to the things of God. Anthony had a very basic understanding of God and he had some experience with the Catholic Church, although he was not attending anywhere currently. He believed in heaven and hell, but had a hard time understanding how God could allow good people to be cast into hell. The truth of hell is one of the biggest issues with professing Christians today. How could a loving God allow someone good to go to hell? I would argue, how could a loving God allow an unrepentant sinner to go to heaven?

Well the first thing I did was take Anthony through God’s Law. Everyone who reads this blog should know by now, I think using the 10 Commandments is the quickest way to allow people to see the seriousness of their sin. We had a good conversation and I think Anthony had a good understanding of God’s Holiness, our sin (breaking God’s Law), why punishment is necessary and of course the best news in the whole world, the Gospel. I did get Anthony’s email address and have followed up with him, but as of today’s date have not received a response. The seed has been spread; please pray that God would grow it.

Two quick notes:

After I had taken Anthony through God’s Law and showed him how God viewed him and made sure he understand that since God is holy, He cannot allow sin into His presence, I asked if he knew what God did to waive our death sentence? Please note his answer, “No, I have no idea”. Please do not assume everyone knows about Christ. Anthony had heard about Christ, but did not have any real understanding why Jesus went up on the cross.

The second note is when will you start sharing your faith with others? People are dying everyday and are passing from life unto death. If we as believers, belief what the Word of God says, people who die in their sins will go to hell. Listen to this wake up call to the prophet Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 3:16-19

16 After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

How can we think God will not hold us responsible for keeping His Truths about sin and salvation to ourselves?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Will and Jason

Will and Jason are two young guys that have been renting a property that the owner has been foreclosed on. The bank that owns the property had me go by and make sure they were moving out, so we could secure the property and get it ready to be sold. I used the opportunity after speaking with them about vacating the property to witness to them and this is a summary of our conversation.

I started by telling Will and Jason I felt obligated in asking them if they believe in God. Now please note I had been speaking with them for about 20 minutes and have built a pretty comfortable rapport with them. The conversation went something like this:

“So do you guys believe in God?”
They both said, “Yeah.”
“So what do you think happens to people when they die?”
They both without hesitation said, “They either go to heaven or hell.”
“How do you think your both doing? I mean we could die anytime right? If you were to stand in front of God tonight, where would you go?”
They both said, although they were not as sure as their previous two answers, “Heaven.”
I asked, “Why would God allow you into Heaven?”
Will spoke first, “I just believe, and God is forgiving. I mean I think I will be ok.”
Jason said next, “I think I have done more good things than bad. My good will out way the bad I’ve done.”
I asked Will, “So anyone who just believes and thinks God is a forgiving will get into heaven. Even rapist, murders, and really bad people?”
Will said, “Well no not everyone will get in.”
I then asked Jason, “So you think that if you do enough goods deeds that out weigh your bad deeds God will let you in?”
Jason responded, “Yeah I guess so.”

I told them there was a way to tell if they were going to heaven or not. I asked them if they would like to know. Jason seemed interested, but Will quickly said, “We are very busy and need to get our stuff ready to move out.” I responded to Will that I was grateful for the time he had already given me to speak with them about God, but was there really anything more important than eternity? I promised the conversation would not last any longer than 10 more minutes and wouldn’t they like to find out if they were good enough to go heaven. They both responded, “Sure lets find out.”

Now, I am a big Law then Gospel type of person. I believe people lost in their sins are blinded by their own sin. Taking someone through the Law first to point out how much a sinner they are is a necessary thing. This can be done in a loving and respectful way. I humbly put both Will and Jason on the witness stand and started taking them through God’s 10 commandments. They both quickly within about 2 minutes admitted to being liars, thieves and adulterers. I then asked them again, “So now knowing that God sees you as a liar, thief and adulterer at heart, do you still think He would allow you into heaven?” I could tell they were both convicted when they mumbled out, “No He would not let us in.”

I was able to share the Good News with them before I left. I urged them to make sure to get right with God ASAP, due to not knowing when death might knock on their door. I urged them to repent and put their faith in Christ and Christ alone. They said they would and I gave them both a couple of Gospel tracts.

My Sunday school lesson this week is talking about Philip in Acts chapter 8 and how he consistently spread the Good News wherever he went. Remember we are to be the salt and light to this dying world, spreading God’s truth wherever we go.

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it”. Isaiah 55:11

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The other day Tina and I took little zb up to the Spartanburg Barnett water park. Now this water park is really just a flat concrete area, which has about 10 to 15 sprinklers that go off on a regular basis as can be seen in the photos.

Little zb really had fun playing in the water and showing off for mommy and daddy.

Mommy could barely hold litle zb back from getting splashed to pieces. In just a couple more years we might have to break out the lease (just kidding-heel boy)!

Daddy and little zb had fun playing in the water together. The temperature was about 100, so the water was refreshing.

There is a full time lifeguard that sits at the water park (fountain). Tina and I found this funny because the water is only about 2 inches deep. I’m serious; it really is only about 2 inches deep. I’m sure it's a liability issue with the city, but it seems a waste of the taxpayer’s money. They actually have a sign telling people not to dive in. It’s only 2 inches deep!!! Do we really need a sign telling us not to dive into the wet concrete?

Anyway, we had a great time and little zb had fun. I can tell he will be a great swimmer even if the water at Barnett Park is only a few inches deep!

God and Golf

I had lunch the other day with a really good friend and he informed me that a buddy of his that played golf with us last week did not want to go back out on the course with me. Now you might be thinking, “wow Brian must be a great golfer or wow Brian really stinks at golf” but the reason he does not want to play with me is because I was talking about God and what I understand scripture to say about God. He said his friend thought I was trying to correct him on what he believed.

See I like to try and find out what people believe, and often do this by just asking questions. Once we started on the back nine, I started asking questions. Now (lets call him Joe) Joe said he was Christian which I find as no big surprise. Most people claim to be Christians in America and especially in the Bible belt. I told Joe my story and how after reading through Matthew chapter 7, I came to realize that during my teen years and 20’s I might not have been truly converted (saved). (Read Matthew 7:13 to the end of the chapter). I explained to him that in early 2007 I fully submitted to God, making him Lord of my life. I talked about my new found understanding of God’s Holy Law and how I have come to a good understanding how much a criminal I am to God. I explained once I saw myself in the true Light of God’s standard, the cross stood out very clearly to me.

I did ask Joe what he felt about Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:13-27 which I’m assuming made him feel a little uncomfortable. Making Joe uncomfortable was not my intention and I feel bad that he thought that way.

It is funny how sometimes you think what you’re saying sounds ok, but to other people it might be offensive. I guess I need to work on my golf God talking technique.

You know one funny thought, it would seem professing Christians would love the idea of talking God, scripture and yes even a little golf while out on the course. I told my good buddy to tell his friend, “If he plays again with me I will not even mention God the whole round, but if he brings God up, well then its fair game”.

Some things are just more important than eagles, birdies and pars.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Teacher 2

Well today is my big day. I'm teaching this morning for the first time and so far feel ok. I am a little nervous, but for the most part think I'm prepared. Below is my short outline. Again the title of the lesson is "Empowered to Help" (the Holy Spirit works through Christians to meet people's physical and spiritual needs).

Acts 3 and 4 - Empowered to Help: Central Truth - The Holy Spirit works through Christians to meet peoples physical and spiritual needs

Short Introduction about myself and family
Brief Introduction of Luke and Acts
Start the Video

To busy to help people with their physical needs
Missed opportunities
What are some examples of some physical needs people might have?
(Shelter, Transportation, Health, Food, Baby sitting, Elderly people)

Meeting Physical Needs: Acts 3:1-11
Peter and John on their way to pray. (Jews prayed 3 times a day 9am, 12 and 3pm). Class Outline: If we are not Praying on a regular basis we will miss out on the Opportunities to help others
Peter and John made eye contact with him. Class Outline: We always need to make Eye Contact with the people we help.
They gave what they had with the right motives. Class Outline: Give or help with what we Have. When we give with right Motives on God can use it for big things.

Not what he wanted (money) but gave him what he needed (new life).
Illustration: Connectnect Man
Application: Picking up medicine for an Elderly person, helping someone with a broke down car (use caution always). Ask class for any other examples. (meals, crying baby in store)
Does everyone that gives or helps have the Holy Spirit living within them?
True believers who have the Holy Spirit living within them give with no Expectations of a return or gain.

Move to Spiritual needs. What are some examples of spiritual needs?
(SALVATION, understanding bible, death, meaning of life, purpose of life, sin, etc)

Presenting Salvation (Meeting Spiritual Needs): Acts 4:5-10, 12, 18-20
Taunt Peter and John. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (Mat.10:18-20) Peter and John showed them respect. Class Outline: When sharing God’s Truth we should rely on the Holy Spirit to help us stay strong. We should always be Respectful and Sensitive to peoples needs.
Peter under the power of the Holy Spirit went on the offensive. Quarterback analogy. Peter and John gave credit where credit was due (Jesus). Class Outline: Always give Credit where credit is due.
They gave a clear presentation of the Gospel. No other way to have salvation. Class Outline: We should always make sure and give a Clear account of Salvation. ear presentation of the Gospel.

The council was amazed at their boldness and noted they were just ordinary men. God can use anyone who is available. The council could do nothing to Peter and John because the beggar was healed and standing with them and the people where praising

After sending the apostles out they were brought back in the council and commanded never to speak in the name of Jesus again.
Peter and John still under the power of the Spirit could not speak of what they had seen or heard. Not even the thought of death could keep them silent. Notice how Peter and John did not need to talk amongst themselves about what to do.
Class Outline: Sometimes people will be closed minded to our witness of Christ. We should Boldly give our testimony anyway.

Application: As Trent said last week, with being true believers who have the Holy Spirit living within them, presenting Salvation will be impossible. Apply this to our circle of influence. Who do we know that has a physical or spiritual need? Just helping without making it evident of why we are helping does nothing for the Kingdom.

Remember just people might be asking for help does not mean they don’t need help.

When we help people with their physical needs it opens opportunities to help them with the biggest problem we all face (eternity) spiritual needs-presenting salvation. When we find ourselves in the situation to share the Gospel we need to nothing but rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our clear account of God’s Truth.


End Class with analogy about Cripple man being US! Give Gospel message and Pray.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


This coming Sunday will be my first time teaching a Bible study class. If any of my teachers of the past knew this, I’m sure their eyes would be rolling. “Brian teaching, we could hardly keep him awake in school!” Hopefully I will not cause the same issues I suffered from in school, narcolepsy. My goal is to bring God’s word to the class, allow Him to be Glorified and for the class to see His Truth. This is how my lesson is shaping up.

Empowered to Help - Acts 3 and 4

Giving evidence that the Holy Spirit lives within us, by helping others physical and spiritual needs.

Acts 3 starts shortly after Pentecost and records Peter and John going to the temple in the afternoon to pray. There was a cripple man at the temple gate called beautiful, who begged for money on a regular basis. This cripple man could not walk and has been lame since birth. He asks Peter and John for some money, which they reply “Silver and Gold we do not have, but what we have we will give you.” They took the man by his hands and in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth healed him. This healing lead Peter and John to be able to proclaim the Truth about Jesus to the crowd and many where converted that day.

Two quick points here, first Peter and John gave him what they had. We should never underestimate the power of God to use even the smallest things to work large and wonderful miracles. Also they did not give the cripple man what he wanted, but gave him what he needed (Healing). Giving the cripple man money would do nothing but put a band aid over his bigger problem (Being Crippled). This really is a picture of us in relationship to God. We are crippled and lame (sinners-transgressors of God’s law). What we need is not a band aid but a cure to biggest problem we face. The separation from a Holy God because we are unholy.

We can see how the healing of the cripple man lead to the presentation of the Gospel and Salvation. This would not have been accomplished had Peter and John just passed the cripple beggar up or said God loves you. They gave him something far more valuable, a new (LIFE).

The next blog will pick up in Acts 4:5 after Peter and John had been arrested by the leading priests, the captain of the temple guard and some of the Sadducees. We will see how helping this cripple man led to a bigger audience and how the Holy Spirit took over and used Peter and John to speak Truth.