Tuesday, July 22, 2014

For His Name's Sake - Promised Scriptures

Last Sunday, I screamed a whole series of many Scriptural notions about the Glory of God and His Great Name's Sake.  Thanks to Ben Durbin for putting this together.  I thought you might like to see the Scriptures that support such notions.

God chose his people for his glory:
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace. (Ephesians 1:4-6, cf. vv. 12, 14, NASB)

God created us for his glory:
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isaiah 43:6-7)

God called Israel for his glory:
You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isaiah 49:3).
I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. (Jeremiah 13:11)

God rescued Israel from Egypt for his glory:
Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works . . . but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7-8)

God raised Pharaoh up to show his power and glorify his name:
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)

God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show his glory:
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord . . . And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:4, 18; cf. v. 17)

God spared Israel in the wilderness for the glory of his name:
I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. (Ezekiel 20:l4)

God gave Israel victory in Canaan for the glory of his name:
Who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? (2 Samuel 7:23)

God did not cast away his people for the glory of his name:
Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord . . . For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. (l Samuel 12:20, 22)

God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of his name:
For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. (2 Kings 19:34; cf. 20:6)

God restored Israel from exile for the glory of his name:
Thus says the Lord God, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name.. . . And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name. . . . And the nations will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:22-23; cf. v. 32)

Jesus sought the glory of his Father in all he did:
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:l8)

Jesus told us to do good works so that God gets glory:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16; cf. 1 Peter 2:12)

Jesus warned that not seeking God’s glory makes faith impossible:
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)

Jesus said that he answers prayer that God would be glorified:
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

Jesus endured his final hours of suffering for God’s glory:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ (John 12:27-28).
Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that the Son may glorify you. (John 17:1; cf. 13:31-32)

God gave his Son to vindicate the glory of his righteousness:
God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood . . . to show God’s righteousness . . . It was to show his righteousness at the present time. (Romans 3:25-26)

God forgives our sins for his own sake:
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
For your own name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)

Jesus receives us into his fellowship for the glory of God:
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son of God:
He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14)

God instructs us to do everything for his glory:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (l Corinthians 10:31; cf. 6:20).

God tells us to serve in a way that will glorify him:
Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (l Peter 4:11)

Jesus will fill us with fruits of righteousness for God’s glory:
It is my prayer that . . . [you be] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9, 11)

All are under judgment for dishonoring God’s glory:
They became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images. (Romans 1:22, 23)
For all havesinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Herod is struck dead because he did not give glory to God:
Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory. (Acts 12:23)

Jesus is coming again for the glory of God:
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

Jesus’ ultimate aim for us is that we see and enjoy his glory:
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

Even in wrath God’s aim is to make known the wealth of his glory:
Desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, [God] has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory. (Romans 9:22-23)

God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory:
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

Everything that happens will redound to God’s glory:
From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

In the New Jerusalem the glory of God replaces the sun:

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).

To Him be the Glory. May we live for His Great Name's Sake -- making disciples who make disciples.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Letter to the church @ Leadington

Many of you have asked for a transcript of the letter to the Leadington church that I read today.
Here you go:

Grace and peace to you in name of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  
It is by Him alone that we have hope, and it is for His great name’s sake that you pursue Him together and love each other well.  You are thriving!  Your elders are shepherding you well.  Ben is guiding you through the Word with skilled precision.  You have staff and cell leaders that deeply love Christ and you.  The focus is the Gospel.  And, MOST of you are on mission.  You showed last week that you are going to honor God and worshipfully give to make your house payment and plant churches that plant churches.  Stay with Jesus and Jesus alone.  Humbly stay there --- thrive there. LOVE GOD!  I leave you with two warnings and an encouragement: 1st, your heart is prone to wander. Look to the cross today for your identity and look there again tomorrow. Jesus will never let you go, but you will try and get away.  Sin crouches at the door, but Jesus has crushed it –
TURN TO HIM.  2nd warning, false teachers and hatred are present. Hard times will come, but Jesus has won the victory. Joy WILL come in the morning. Love each other and keep the wolves off of each other.  LOVE EACH OTHER.
Our hearts are prone to wander.
And the encouragement, God does not leave unfinished business.  
He promised that he will never leave nor forsake you AND he has said that HE will complete the work that HE has started in you.  Cling to Him and Him alone. Rest in His great promises.
Your humble servant,


Monday, December 30, 2013

90 Days or 90 Seconds of the Gospel?... Yes! And, 90 minutes! Part 2

Hypothetical: I jump into a cab and the trip is going to take a few minutes to cross town.  Is it worth my time to give a declaration of the Gospel to the cab driver?  We have trained this out at The Bridge and it is probably the most common way that the Holy Spirit saves people.  The Gospel is declared (maybe in the form of your 90 second testimony...I once was...then, Jesus...now I am), and the Holy Spirit saves people. So, the answer to the question is yes.  We will not negatively affect someone if we love them with Good News.  Remember, we do so with gentleness and respect.

But, what if you get on a plane and will sit next to someone for 3 hours?  This provides the opportunity for a 90 minute Gospel presentation. Let me give you an example.  I was on a flight to Salt Lake City one time and found myself with a young man who had just completed his Mormon mission in Detroit.  He was returning home to start college  I listened to his story to understand his perspective and knew that we had 90 minutes, so I asked him to give me the complete message of his mission. I listened carefully to his description of the 3 heavens and the other 2 or 3 post-death destinations and determined for certain that his teaching from the Book of Mormon was that good deeds from others could move people around in the afterlife.  I, then, asked him two questions. "Do you believe this book?" I had a Bible in my hand.  From his training, he told me that he did. And, "Did you know that a lot of what you just told me over the last hour (I just listened for an hour, more on that in a minute) is in contradiction to the Bible, our final authority as Christians?" He said that he was not aware of contradictions, and I believed him because I did not believe that he had ever read the Bible.  I showed him in Luke 16 where a chasm was fixed in the afterlife between Lazarus and the rich man and that no movement was ever allowed - once to die and then judgment.  Then, I told him that the reason that no movement was necessary was because of the sufficiency of Jesus' work on the cross and no good merit by any person was necessary to change our locale because of His magnificent work on our behalf.  In the last 5 minutes that we had, I prayed him through the Gospel and simply asked him to continue to pray that the Holy Spirit reveal the truths of the Bible to him about the true Gospel.  I did not rail against what he believed, but I did brag on the glory of the Jesus of the Bible.  He thanked me as we left, and although I will probably never see him again on this version of earth, I am looking forward to possibly seeing him in the one true heaven -- the one that does not require good works to attain.  I left him to deal with the Holy Spirit and the Gospel -- a good team when on mission.

That is a 90 minute Gospel mission.

Then, we should all be working on 90 day Gospel presentations where we are getting to know someone at work, at school, in the coffee shop we frequent (somebody has to do it), or in the foreign land we have been sent.  Relationships are important and filling needs in the relationship out of true love essential, but without Gospel proclamation, no mission has happened.  If it gets much beyond 90 days without finding what Tim Keller would call the "defeater beliefs" and work the Gospel -- the good news of Jesus -- into those defeater beliefs, we may just be walking in unbelief of the abilities of the Holy Spirit to win the day and in some kind of people approval idolatry sin.  Or, in other words, chicken.

Listen! Listen more than you talk.  In the 90 minute and 90 day efforts, we have time to answer the questions that this person has rather than the ones we want them to have.  To learn the questions we must listen.  And, PRAY! In prayer, the Holy Spirit will determine the day and the course to take to bring the Gospel to bear.  Also, we ask the Holy Spirit to save this person.  I had two running prayers that day on the plane.  Well, three.  After asking God to keep the plane in the air (I figured I could have more mission if actually alive), I asked him to provide me someone to share his great story with.  Then, I just bluntly asked Him to save the young Mormon.  I look forward to seeing one day if God's glory was revealed in salvation on some day that I never even knew about with a person that I cannot remember his name.

Remember, one of your identities as a child of God is as a missionary.  That means you are a lover of people and a presenter of the Gospel -- the good news that we are in a spiritual nightmare of our own doing and Jesus came, lived sinless, died sacrificially, rose again in victory, ascended, and is returning.  These 90 second, minute, and day proclamations are what you were reborn to do.  Jesus was a missionary and learning to do this and doing it makes you like Him which brings Him glory.

Year End Giving or Anytime Giving

I know that we teach giving our resources to the local church as a very worshipful reaction to the Gospel, and that is very true.  God gave His only son and Jesus willingly gave up His life, so that makes us great givers as the Gospel presses in.  However, that does not mean we have to park our brains as we worship.  If you have invested some of God's money in the stock market, this has been a very good year.  Most mutual funds and stocks have done very well, so I want to make you aware of a double tax break if you donate the stock and not cash to your local church.  You get to write the entire amount of your donation off AND you do not have to pay the 15% capital gains tax that is applied to the profits of the investment.  If this sounds attractive to you as you give so that God may be worshiped and His mission of Gospel declaration can go out, you have about 24 hours to call your broker to get it in on 2013.

But, if not, you know have knowledge for 2014.......

Glory to the King!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Conquering Addiction Goes Viral

While more than a year of prayer and preparation went into starting the GAP ministy, it was on November 4, 2008 that we launched our first Conquering Addiction (CA) course and that we started our relationship with the Community Supervision Center (CSC) residents. Five years ago! So many stories and relationships in those five years! And so many of YOU are a part of this history! It would be impossible to recount all of the GAP connections with all of those who have taken or taught CA, led a table, helped with childcare or hospitality, encouraged, mentored, welcomed or given counsel to someone, given rides, donated a coat or shoes, prayed, brought food, etc., etc., etc. etc. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN SOME WAY IN GAP'S FIRST FIVE YEARS! And thank you Village Church in Texas for allowing us to teach your amazing curriculum!
Here are a few details for those who are interested in reading more:
GAP was launched November 8, 2008 as one of The Bridge's five ministries. In January 2011 when The Bridge narrowed its ministry focus to three, GAP became the focus of a missional cell family, with LOTS of spill-over and partnering with other cell families and other churches. It was named Great Adventure Project (GAP) for the scripture Matthew 25:34-36.
GAP's Missional focus: Community Supervision Center residents and St. Francois County Jail (we build relationships, bring the Gospel message, mentor, teach CA, bring CSC residents to church and help out with a few needs), and we help with Conquering Addiction at The Bridge (see below).
God continues to bless this ministry, and we are very thankful that more than 2,300 people have been exposed to Conquering Addiction at the following locations:
The Bridge-Leadington
The Bridge-Arnold
The Journey Community Church in Herculaneum
Kaleo/Genesis Church in Fenton (new in 2013)
City Church in Cape Girardeau (new in 2013)
Farmington Correctional Center
Farmington Community Supervision Center
St. Francois County Jail
Aquinas Treatment Center
For more information, please visit www.greatadventureproject.com

--Meg Reiner

Monday, October 28, 2013

90 Days or 90 Seconds of the Gospel?... Yes!

As we studied Acts 22 yesterday, we saw Paul give his testimony to a few hundred Jews that God hushed (as they were trying to kill him just a few minutes before) so that he could speak.  He was bloodied and bruised, but had courage.  Now, I think that most effective evangelism is done in long-term relationships where we are constantly loving folks with the news of the Gospel, but does that mean that we are never to declare it unless we have been in relationship with folks for a long time?  While it may be effective, long term relational sharing is not really what we see in the book of Acts.  In there, you see somebody quiet long enough to listen; you see the Gospel proclaimed; you see people repent and believe.  They are cut to the heart and saved.  I believe that then as they were baptized, they were reminded what Jesus said about if we want to follow Him, we must take up our instrument of death (a cross), deny ourselves, and follow Him.  His dead, but breathing, followers then spent all day every day looking for opportunities to talk about their loving Savior.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit saved more and more and more.  I know that Lance has cracked out the 90 second testimony the last couple of week in Bangkok, so I thought I would remind you what it is.

I once was __________________.  
But, Jesus.....................    
Now I ________________________.  
But, I still struggle ...........................

You need to develop this ahead of time.  Practice it.  Shave it down to a conversation you could have with a grocery clerk or as you pay for gas. 90 seconds.  And, ask the Spirit to give you courage.  Between now and Christmas is a great time to share Christ.  We cannot claim to love people if we remain mute.

More good news.  We are not used car salesmen!  God does not say, "Go sell my Son!"  He says proclaim the Good News - the Gospel.  Our job is to observe with folks that we are mess and hopelessly in need of a Savior, that the Savior Jesus came and lived sinless, that He died sacrificially to repair the damage and dysfunction, to forgive the wrongs against a Holy God, and was raised again to conquer sin and death and show that we can trust that HE is God.  If we get a second or a third audience with folks because we have relationship with them, it is good to start with the fact that God created all things GOOD - perfect!  But, we messed it up, AND there is a day coming when ALL things will be restored to PERFECT - to GOOD!  Gives them the whole story - that things did not start with sin and death, and things will not end with sin and death.  The Holy Spirit goes to work and reveals that proclamation as truth and does the saving.  We are but a conduit. A messenger. A herald of Good News!

Stayed tuned because we are going to be discussing and asking the Holy Spirit to train us to be able to contextualize the Gospel to this Post-Christian culture that we live in.  You may have noticed that the conversations have changed out there.  It is time to start giving Gospel answers to the questions that people have today, not the questions we want to answer. Stay tuned, lots of discussion coming.

But for now, over 3 million believers have come to faith in China using the 90 second testimony in just the last few years.  Why not here?  Why not now?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lazarus Was Surely a Christian, Wasn't he?

I was speaking at the Plant Midwest Quarterly yesterday and all of a sudden I started talking about the difference between Gospel transformation and moralism.  It just seems that a church youth program with chastity as a goal and not DEEP Christ transformation or a Biblical 12-step with sobriety as a goal and not a DEEP Gospel resurrection feels like we would deem it possible that Christ said, "Lazarus, come out!" and a formerly dead cat walked out of the tomb, past Jesus, said thanks, and never thought of Him again.  Implausible as that sounds, we must so focus on the power of Christ to not only clean up some behavior but to save souls as four new Conquering Addiction courses take off so that someone leaving the 15 week "sober but going to hell" is just as implausible.  Please Father, don't just dust off some wandering sheep; cut them deeply to their soul and save them for Your Glory. May we present such a glorious Jesus that it may be so.

Sober, but going to hell, is not acceptable.