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Dose of Truth

    by Brent Barnett

A rather strange but powerfully important story is recorded in 1 Kings 13. A prophet, simply revealed as a "man of God" was told by God to approach wicked King Jeroboam about his idol worship. He did just that, crying out against Jeroboam’s altar a judgment of God, and the altar was miraculously split in two before the sight of the king. Jeroboam stood up to rebuke him and bring judgment upon him, and God dried up his hand in the very act of pointing to the man of God. Jeroboam obviously was moved by this event and asked the man of God to heal his hand, which he mercifully did.…  ( Click for more )

It is no mystery that many of us have suffered hurt or rejection in some way during our lives. For some, the hurt has come from those who should have loved us the most and best. Thus, their rejection cuts even deeper, leaving wounds that need to be healed by the unconditional acceptance and love of Christ. Until a person finds his identity and worth solely in who he is in Christ because of His love for him, he will continue to seek his worth elsewhere, typically chasing the approval of others.

It indeed is the natural way of man to constantly seek the approval of others. Teenagers,…  ( Click for more )

October 18, 2006

In the beginning, God created man imago Dei, in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). We were created with attributes similar to God in that man, unlike the rest of creation, had the capacity to reason, to communicate, to praise, to worship, to appreciate beauty, and to obey or to rebel. Man had an eternal spirit within him that would live forever. He was created to showcase and reflect the glory and image of God. When he sinned, he still possessed attributes that distinguished him from the rest of creation, but some of the image of God was lost. His disobedience and new sinful nature was…  ( Click for more )

There most certainly are things in Scripture which defy our comprehension such as eternity, the Trinity, the co-existence of free will and predestination, the omniscience and sovereignty of God, and others. Some of these types of things go over our heads, and it doesn’t bother us. In fact, like in the case of eternity, we think it is wonderful and we praise God that we can’t wrap our minds around it. Yet others, like the Trinity or predestination and free will, frustrate us because there seems to be a contradiction. Yet the contradiction is a mere paradox. There actually…  ( Click for more )

October 4, 2006

There are multitudes of books written on leadership how-to’s from both secular and Christian authors. Only a few, it seems, rightly understand that Biblical leadership fundamentally is spiritual, and thus it requires the power of God, direction from God, and the enabling of God. Others try to tell us that leadership is fundamentally based upon inner strength, vision, and willpower. If only we can marshal enough resources, talent, and influence, then we can be leaders, they say. They tell us to dream it and seize it. Thus, such people put a great emphasis upon positions of influence…  ( Click for more )

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eagerness, zeal, a burden for righteousness, and a passion for advancing the kingdom of God. Christ Himself was consumed by zeal for the house of God (John 2:17). In Revelation 3:19, the church at Laodicea is told to "be zealous and repent." Their sin was at least in part a lack of passion. Jesus said that we are blessed if we hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). It is time that we hunger for truth and righteousness as much as we do our next breath. It is time that we are so broken over the state of those outside of Christ that we…  ( Click for more )

September 20, 2006

The doctrine of hell has come under siege. Some teach that hell doesn’t exist and that all men will live forever. Others, called annihilationists, believe that some are not saved, but they do not go to hell. They teach that unbelieving man simply ceases to exist. What is the reasoning behind this kind of thinking? Three categories pretty well sum up the arguments against the wrath of God on unbelieving man. One, it doesn’t seem fair. Two, God is love and wouldn’t send anybody to hell. Three, justification doesn’t really mean what we think it means.

By…  ( Click for more )

I know from personal experience as do you that we all suffer at one time or another and in various ways. Not only do we suffer personally, but we suffer as we watch those whom we love endure pain. Sometimes God intervenes and removes suffering miraculously and supernaturally. Yet many times, He does not. Of course, God has purposes in suffering, using it to build up our character, develop in us perseverance, and purify our hearts and motives as we learn that He is all that we ever needed and that He can be trusted even during the storm, whether He calms it or not. Christ suffered deeply.…  ( Click for more )

There is much debate about the nature of truth. Postmodern philosophers tell us that truth is relative and subjective. In fact, they openly admit that truth is something that the elite establishes. In other words, what is true is whatever celebrities, politicians, Ph.D’s and CEO’s, for example, say is true. To go against them, they argue, would be wrong. Yet do they have a write to say that somebody else is wrong to not share their view on truth and morality if there is no absolute truth to begin with? Does it even make sense for them to say that absolute truth doesn’t…  ( Click for more )

August 30, 2006

Not long ago, I came upon a church which held a "doubt night." Now this is not just any church, but a church that is bursting at the seams, meeting what this up and coming postmodern generation needs, or so it is said. Their entire service was a message which was a sort of coming out celebration for those who had hidden doubts about God, the Bible, Jesus, and salvation. Each attendee was to write on a card what his or her specific area of doubt was. Then at the end, the cards were collected, and a pronouncement was made that everyone was alright because they had admitted and acknowledged…  ( Click for more )

There is a famous quote that floats around Christian circles and has untold influence upon church philosophy and practice. I dare say that many times we give this quote more credibility than the Bible in terms of shaping our approach to ministry and the proclamation of the Word. Let me explain. The quote reads, "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, diversity; in all things, charity." Though the original meaning is somewhat unclear, the quote has almost universally been taken to mean a partitioning of the Scripture into two distinct categories, "essentials" and "nonessentials."…  ( Click for more )

August 16, 2006

Often times, Christians balk at the thought of becoming great. When we hear things like "be all you can be," "pursue greatness," and "live up to your full potential," we often condemn such thinking as self-centered and worldly. Granted, when the world says things like this, they usually do mean it in such a way. They are telling us to draw our strength from ourselves rather than Christ, they are telling us that life is about us making our mark on the world, and they are assuming that greatness is fame, popularity, wealth, and other false ways of identifying success. We know that the…  ( Click for more )

August 9, 2006

There are lots of ideas floating around out there as to how a person can truly be happy, yet the answer is right within us, if we are Christians.

Christ lists nine ways in Matthew 5:1-12 that we can be happy. These ways include being pure in heart, being humble, being gentle, being peacemakers, hungering for righteousness, being merciful, and having an eternal perspective about life. And let us not forget that we are to have joy when we are persecuted and suffer for righteousness’ sake and for Jesus’ sake. Christ’s message to us is that joy is possible at all…  ( Click for more )

If you tune into enough Christian television nowadays, you might be prone to think that we can buy our way to health, wealth, happiness, and success. Listening to the many TV preachers, it would appear that Jesus is the key to being set free from all that is difficult and hard about life. Jesus did say in Matthew 11:30, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." But did He mean that life itself would be easy, or was He referring to something else?

We as humans have a knack for making things harder than they have to be. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time had rule after legalistic…  ( Click for more )

I don’t know about you, but there seems to be a spirit of apathy, complacency, and a bad kind of spiritual contentment almost omnipresent in the church. Granted, there are places where the environment is saturated with the work and filling of the Spirit, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule, especially in the western world where we are not experiencing much persecution.

But my reason for writing is not to argue that nominalism is a problem (though it is), but rather to ask the question, "How do we avoid being pulled into nominalism ourselves?" Before…  ( Click for more )

The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 presents a powerful truth about the sufficiency of God’s Word. We already know from Romans 1:16 that the "gospel is the power of God unto salvation." We know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." Romans 10:16 adds that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them in the word; your word is truth." Man…  ( Click for more )

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