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Life is in the Blood

A small seed was planted in a field. This seed took in nutrients through the soil and slowly began to grow. As it grew bigger a tiny green vine accompanied with tiny leaves pierced through the dark soil. Light was converted to food through photosynthesis and water was absorbed through the roots. Slowly this plant continued to grow. Bigger and bigger it got until finally fruit began to show. This fruit started out as tiny green spheres but continued to mature. The fruit became dark purple as the plant developed.

Finally a day came when the fruit was ready. The grapes were plucked from the life giving plant. Their ultimate purpose was to be crushed, and crushed they were. Millions of grapes squished and squashed to unleash the juice within. This juice embarked on a pasteurization journey until it ended up in a tiny plastic cup within a church sanctuary on a Friday in April.

Solemn faces each grasp a tiny cup. Some individuals read in Isaiah to see the foreshadow of the cross in thankfulness. Others close their eyes in prayer and thank the God of the universe for sending His Son to be murdered on account of a people deserving His wrath. Whatever the actions at communion on this Good Friday we should all realize the sacrifice given. A holy God sent His perfect Son to a dark world for redemption.

Unblemished blood was the only payment acceptable. A payment no mere human could afford but everyone owed. Great grandpa Adam ate the fruit that ushered in sin, and now crushed fruit illustrates the sacrifice Christ gave on the cross at Calvary. The grape juice is used as a reminder. A reminder that there is power in the blood of Christ. Christ gave His very life in death to save a human race destined for hell. The pouring out of Jesus’ blood from a beaten and torn body with His arms stretched out on two wooden beams pierced into the deep darkness and cut history in half.

There is life in the blood!Red blood cells contain hemoglobin which chemically bond to oxygen molecules. RBC’s travel throughout the body bringing this oxygen everywhere it is needed. Without blood humans would die from lack of oxygen. Life is in the blood. That is, physical life on earth is in the blood flowing through your veins. But what about eternal life?

The end of the Easter story is not Friday. Sunday is coming. The end is not with a dead bloody body decaying in a tomb. The knock out bell rung, and sin was in the losing corner shattered in defeat. Death lost the fight! Death was swallowed up in a victorious proclamation when Christ said His work had been finished. Go look in the tomb and see that it is empty. JESUS ROSE! Jesus destroyed death’s grip on human destiny. His sacrifice gave each of us the opportunity to enter heaven’s throne and fall on our faces before a righteous God because His wrath on sin has been satisfied.That, my friend, is the Easter story. A story of a triumphant Redeemer sacrificing His very life to accept us as His children.

For you see, life truly is in the blood!

The Promise

Understanding the truth about science and how the entity itself actually points toward a Creator is important. This is the foundation of creation. Genesis is just as true as the Gospels. One book isn’t fact while the other is interwoven fairy tales. The Bible is God breathed and all truth. Our faith is not dependent on science, but it is backed up by science. You, being part of this creation account back in Genesis, have the life breath of a holy God pulsating in your chest. God formed you from the beginning and gave you the gift of life. However, what happens at the end? When the years ahead dwindle leaving a trail of memories. What happens when life itself cripples and ultimately breaks apart?

Movie stars watch as on screen performances of the past echo to a time of youth and stardom. Time ticks by bringing new faces while burying other ‘American idols’ beneath the sands. Plastic surgeries abound today as individuals attempt to grasp for a couple more seconds of what used to be. Masking the outward appearance in hopes of turning the inner clocks back. But on they press. Time continues bringing new generations in and escorting others out.

One day your life will end. The argument over Intelligent design will also end, as agnostics fall to their face in the presence of their Creator. Day by day the trek of life draws closer to its finale. With every passing hour another step toward the finish line has been taken. The inevitable will happen, what will your legacy be?

Many dream of financial security for future generations while others have hopes of fame. When all the lights dim and the crowds fade what will be left of your life? The applause will drain and ultimately will echo into silence. This letter will fade along with the words you read. However smooth this article flows or how good the sentence structure is or isn’t, wont matter. The truth of life being short is not new, just ask King Solomon. I may not know your name or your situation but let me conclude by this.

Life as we know it will end one day.

Then what? In a mere 100 years we will all be gone. 10 short decades will wipe our generation off the globe. The new sports cars lining the showroom floors will rust away, legacies will fade and empires will crumble. Where will you be when it’s all said and done?

There stands a cross just over the horizon. It stands as a beacon amidst worry and despair. The foundation is secure and the gift is free at the foot of the cross. Grab a patch of grass and fall face first into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Economies shatter when turbulence enters. Invest in what really matters.

Find something to live for at the foot of the cross.

Lessons from the Animal Kingdom

(a light hearted look at traits we can apply to
our spiritual lives learned from wildlife)

Driving out to school I see them everyday. Scampering up trees or across lawns they always seem to be determined and actively pursuing their goal. Brown or black flashes whiz by sometimes holding an acorn within the grasp of their front teeth. Whether they’re climbing tiny twigs at the very top of trees or tight rope walking across telephone wires these mammals are true acrobats. The individual being described is, of course, the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Members of the Rodent family and incredibly skilled climbers, these creatures roam suburbia as if it were a playground. A couple semesters ago I was greeted every class period on my way into Geology. A pudgy little squirrel sat on a ledge by the door waiting for scraps of food to fall his way. We’d get a break half way through the class so my friends and I would sometimes buy a soda and a cookie at the cafe. On the way back up to class we would usually leave a piece for our furry friend, he loved it especially because it was winter at the time. From this story and countless others we realize the interactions we have with squirrels every single day; however, a closer look reveals a lesson these creatures can teach each of us.

First off, let’s review simple rodent anatomy. Rodents have incisors that never stop growing. Therefore they must continually gnaw to keep their teeth worn down. If they are unable to maintain this wearing down process the incisors will actually grow straight up into their brain cavity causing serious problems usually resulting in death. Hence, incredibly grave dangers await a squirrel that doesn’t continually gnaw.

So, I ask the question what spiritual benefit can we gain from these facts? I would suggest reading in Scripture where God commands us to continually think and in effect ‘chew’ on His truth daily. We as Christians need to daily equip ourselves with the truth so that when problems and lies from the enemy come we will stand strong and ready to gain victory through Jesus. But, what is the fate of the Christian that doesn’t continually grow in their spiritual walk by equipping themselves. More times then not they will fall to the temptation or believe the lie. If truly saved they will go to heaven, but it’s very important to bear good fruit while here on earth.

So, the next time you see a squirrel storing up food for the winter or dashing up a tree, I’d encourage you to remember the importance of continually equipping through Scripture reading and prayer. For those of us in college I think it’s very important because everyday, especially in the sciences, we deal with people trying to sway us away from the truth of God’s Holy Word.

Biology Basics

Biology is very organized. Electrons, protons and neutrons are simple charges that, when together, form an atom. Atoms bond to one another when valence electrons are attracted to other atoms. Three basic bonds occur at this level including ionic, covalent, and hydrogen. Hydrogen bonds are very weak. Covalent bonding is an electron sharing in the outer shell. Ionic bonding is the strongest bond in which a transfer of electrons occurs. Bonding atoms form molecules such as water, which is vital for life to exist.

When looking at the theory of evolution we need to realize that the presence of molecules needed for life to exist by no means creates life. When evolution theorists describe the Big Bang a point of singularity is usually described. A point in which all the molecules of the universe were constrained to a dot thought of to be the size of the head of a pin. This presents a multitude of problems in itself. Another time we can delve into these fundamental problems. We have looked at the order involved from subatomic particles to molecules crucial for life to exist. However, it’s important to note that these elements in themselves are not alive. Atoms are basic charges that come together to form matter. Matter itself is arranged molecules. Molecules of a gas are much more dispersed than that of a solid, nonetheless both of these forms of matter are composed of atoms. We see God’s awesome design in the way He used simple charges to author the mysterious and wondrous creation of life. Molecules are constructed in such a way to form cells. Cells being the smallest unit that exhibit characteristics of life.

The biology of cells is an incredible study. Humans, animals, and plants are composed of trillions of eukaryote cells. Eukaryote cells are the building blocks for multiple celled organisms. These cells have a very distinctly organized nuclei which contains the double helix DNA twisted ladder that seems to be the very finger prints of our God. It is here that genetic coding is constructed. Eukaryote cells are also composed of quite a few double membrane organelles. A single cell is constructed and operates similar to that of New York City at rush hour. From energy input to waste management, the cell is indeed a city unto itself. But where do cells come from?

For example, where do the trillions of skin cells originate from on a person’s arm? This is where the process of Mitosis comes into play. Human cells form from pre-existing cells. A cell cannot rise out of nothingness. This goes hand in hand with the First Law of Thermodynamics we looked at last issue.

Therefore, a cell must split to form two new cells. But where did the original cells originate? Evolution suggests random nonliving molecules began to split and somewhere along the way life was created. This process has never been recreated in the lab, amino acids are not life, yet is taken as a likely origin.

Personally, I’d rather accept what the facts show and realize there has to be another explanation. I believe this explanation can be found in the book of Genesis from the Bible.

God says He created the original cells out of nothingness. Just arrangement at the molecular level reveals the need for a Designer. Random energy does not have the capability to create a masterpiece such that the cell warrants. This observable evidence is clearly seen. This evidence includes my fingers used to type this article!

This topic cannot end at the mere existence of a God, but the God who created everything wants to know you personally. He loved you so much that He sent His only Son down to this lithified rock ball to die for your and my sins. This is the focus around this time of Christmas. Confession of sins and an acceptance of this Salvation allows each one of us access to the Creator of everything! I’d encourage anyone reading this newsletter to examine their own life and accept this free gift if you have not yet. It is truly the best gift ever.

College Creationists for Christ

(and the war waging on campus)

According to Darwinian evolutionary belief the existence of time, using the vast emptiness of space, ultimately constructed the inevitable properties of life and thus through random natural mutations created the first living cells which emerged out of a plasma like soup eons ago. One may point to the existence of a tooth fairy as being more plausible than this theory of origins, yet millions flock to it as the foundation backbone of modern science. Mainstream science has departed, in some areas, from the fact based journey of new findings and has adopted an approach desperately engulfed with attempting to prove the quite ridiculous theory of evolution. In many ways the scientific dream of discovery is crumbling beneath the pressure. True science is under attack. True science is being destroyed day after day, leaving behind nothing more than cheap ideological views that attempt to fit incredibly designed creation into a test tube labeled accident. Once life loses its specific design it is thought to be nothing more than a freak alteration of genetic coding.

Being a college student pursuing the dream of becoming a science educator I find these trends in the scientific community very disturbing. The obsession with evolution within the public University realm is nothing short of scary. Professors flock in droves only to proclaim their devotion to a theory with more holes than the Swiss cheese sitting in the local grocery store. Evolution has truly become its own religious entity within the realm of individuals claiming to derive opinions upon the basis of testable evidence strictly within the natural domain. They have willingly become blind accepting a conjecture whose own functions defy physical laws time after time. A perfect example that absolutely shatters the theory of Abiogenesis are the Laws of Thermodynamics. Many claim the earth exists within an open system yet, as many creationists have stated, energy from the sun is not specifically concentrated to perpetuate the needed energy to fuel an open system. Therefore, if nature governed the earth to create its own life this process would have still have had to have invoked some concentrated outside energy more than what the sun can provide. Returning to the issue of evolution’s overthrow of scientific laws one can see obvious problems just with the first law.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Decades ago Einstein developed the law of relativity which is E=mc2. C (speed of light) is the variable, leaving E and M as the constants. E is always equal to M. Simply put, Energy is Matter! If energy, in this case matter, cannot be created or destroyed using natural means, the only logical conclusion is that Someone operated outside of the natural and in the supernatural. This ultimately lands you directly in the lap of our Awesome Lord. This is just one example within scientific laws, a concentrated study will reveal hundreds.

In conclusion, I want to encourage fellow students in Academia to stand together with a strong voice rooted and grounded in scientific fact against the lies spreading like wild fire throughout American campuses. Studies show that as evolution grows atheism spreads uncontrollably. It is time we united for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Standing up for the truth now pales in comparison to someday being in His presence giving an account of time spent on earth. I believe we should all strive to do our very best while here on earth because one day when I stand before Him I want to hear “Well done”.

Mask

“The church is full of hypocrites” is the cry of many who have been disappointed by the church, never wanting to return. It is also a statement made by critics of Christianity who throw unwarranted jabs at the church. Before we come to a decision about whether the pews are overflowing with insincere people who are two-faced, let us first define hypocrisy.

What Is Hypocrisy?

The word hypocrisy originated in the Greek language as a theatrical term. One actor often played multiple rolls in the same play by disguising himself with a series of masks. The actor was called a “hypocrite” because he had two or more faces. The idea of a person being “two-faced” evolved, describing someone who said one thing and did another.

Hypocrisy is a front – it is a person who pretends to be more righteous than he is. A hypocrite lives a lie; he tries to make the outside appear better than the inside. It involves deception, dishonesty, and trickery by a person that is a fraud or a con. Why does the hypocrite live his life as a charade? He seeks praise and approval from others or has a desire to be well-liked.

Is Hypocrisy Serious?

Yes! When the deception of a hypocrite is exposed, many people are hurt, disappointed, and disheartened. There are a large number of people in the world who want nothing to do with God, Jesus, or the church because they have been deceived or misled by Christians. A hypocrite not only can cause the loss of his own trustworthiness but the integrity of others he associates himself with is at stake (i.e. church).

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” (Mohandas Gandhi) Gandhi rejected Christianity partly because he suffered at the hands of ruthless people calling themselves Christians. Hypocrisy can cause painful damage and the effects of it can last a long time.

Jesus took a stern position with regards to the sin of hypocrisy (Matthew 23. The teachers of the law and Pharisees appeared holy, religious, devout, and beautiful on the outside, but inside there was the greatest measure of corruption. Those who would have others believe that they are passionate for the commands of God are those whom Jesus refers to as being full of hypocrisy.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:27-28)

Are All Preachers Hypocrites?

Like any other sin, there are preachers who fall into the sin of hypocrisy. Pastors are often singled out as being the most hypocritical of all people, “practice what you preach”. Undoubtedly there is no preacher who practices perfectly what he preaches. We must keep in mind that a pastor has been called by God to preach the truth from the Word of God. If he could only preach on the subjects he has mastered, he would have very little to preach about. When a pastor is delivering a sermon, he is proclaiming the Word of God, and it is directed to not only the congregation, but to himself as well.

Is The Church Full of Hypocrites?

“It’s nice to know that God has rounded up all the hypocrites and put them in church buildings — at least on Sunday mornings — so that all the people in the world who have pristine motives and clear consciences don’t have to put up with them.” (John Roberts)

What are the reasons behind the accusation?

The words “sinner” and “hypocrite” are frequently confused. A person will observe a Christian sinning, and then label him a hypocrite. The assumption is that a person who claims to be a Christian never sins, “Christians aren’t supposed to sin; don’t they claim to be perfect?” In reality, the church is full of sinners. In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

For a Christian to be a Christian, he/she must first be a sinner, recognize sin, publicly acknowledge sin, and trust in Christ alone for the redemption of sin (Romans 3:23; Proverbs 20:9; Romans 6:23; Acts 20:21; Acts 3:19; Romans 5:8; John 3:16; John 14:6).

The Christian church is one of the few organizations in the world that requires a public acknowledgment of sin as a condition for membership. In one sense the church has fewer hypocrites than any institution because by definition the church is a haven for sinners. If the church claimed to be an organization of perfect people then her claim would be hypocritical. But no such claim is made by the church. There is no slander in the charge that the church is full of sinners. Such a statement would only compliment the church for fulfilling her divinely appointed task. (R.C. Sproul, Reason to Believe, p. 78-79)

Most Bible believing Christians who truly understand the Gospel will say with the apostle Paul, “I am the worst of sinners.” They are sinful; they recognize their sin, confess their sin to God and actively seek to become more Christ-like. To call a Christian who is struggling with sin a hypocrite is unfair and a wrong assumption.

Is The Church Empty of Hypocrites?

The second reason the church is accused of being full of hypocrites is because there are, indeed, hypocrites in the church. The church may not be full of hypocrites, but there are some Christians who are guilty of the sin of hypocrisy. Christians are guilty of all kinds of sin and are not above pretending to be more righteous than they are.

However, not everyone who attends church is a Christian. In the same way, not everyone who professes to be a Christian is a true believer. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus predicted that the church will always have a mixture of true believers and false. Hypocrisy of faith in the church happens when a person makes an insincere profession of faith and joins the church under false pretensions. They may go to church to maintain a certain social status or because their family and friends attend. Word of mouth is a great marketing tool and some people may attend church to build customer contacts with the goal of increasing sales or promoting their business.

Some “unbelievers” are church members not because they willfully and deceitfully give a pretense of faith but because the church neither requires nor makes clear a decisive confession of faith. In their zeal to gain membership or be all-inclusive in spirit, some churches ignore their own standards for membership. In this case it is not the individual “unbeliever” who is being hypocritical but the church itself who misleads or misinforms the applicant for membership. (R.C. Sproul, Reason to Believe, p. 79-80)

Jesus Christ Was Not a Hypocrite

If we are honest with ourselves, we are all hypocrites to some degree – any time we present ourselves as better than we are, it is a form of hypocrisy. We must remember that the purpose of the church is not to bring praise or glory to its members; the church exists to praise, honor, worship, and obey Jesus Christ.

The ultimate question of hypocrisy must be focused on Christ. Don’t judge Christianity or the church by what Christians do, but by what Christ did. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man (living without sin) to secure the salvation of mankind.

If you have been let down by a Christian, pastor or church member, perhaps it is time to find another church, but your faith should not rest in man. When considering the eternal destination of your soul, don’t let the actions of sinful man determine your commitment or distract you from the Gospel message. Jesus Christ was not a hypocrite, in Him there is no deception, no dishonesty; in Him there is only truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)

Excerpts taken from “The Church Is Full of Hypocrites”

In my last post, I briefly discussed the importance of supporting our missionaries around the globe in response to the fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message. This past Sunday, Frank Mills challenged us in the same way and gave us a list of practical ways we can get involved in the lives of our missionaries. Frank, and his wife Karen, served the Lord for eight years in Kenya, and now God has called them to France, where they will be developing youth worker training for local churches. I was challenged by Frank’s message, and my hope is we will all respond with prayer and support for God’s servants.

SSupport the missionaries from your church family – get involved in their ministry and invest in their lives. Most churches, like Cornerstone, support several missionaries – Frank suggested that you select one or possibly two, so you can focus on developing your relationship with them.

U - Try to understand everything you can about the missionary you have selected – on a personal level and the ministry they are involved with.

PP - Passionately pray for your missionary. Frank said our prayers should not be something like this, “God, I pray for the missionaries, bless their ministry, amen.” When we grow in our relationship with our missionaries, and understand everything we can about their lives and ministry – we will be able to go to the Lord with specific prayer requests concerning them. We also need to pray for their safety; an American abroad in our world today is at a higher risk with the increasing amount of terrorist activity around the globe.

O – Take ownership of the ministry in the life of your missionary. With the same passion, fire, and commitment we dedicate ourselves in our local ministry that God has called us to (teaching, choir, usher, etc.), we need to apply to the ministry of our missionaries. We can share in their blessings and in their challenges. Send care packages, birthday and anniversary cards, emails, letters, and have them over for dinner when they are home. Subscribe to email newsletters if they have one available.

RT – Give your missionary all the recovery time needed once he or she returns home from the field. Our missionaries are in a battle – for souls, Frank quoted Ephesians 6:12-13, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Matthew 10:16 – “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” When they return home, we need to give them time to rest, instead of immediately trying to schedule them for speaking engagements or simply having them over for dinner. Frank said, “Let them tell you when they are ready.” Frank mentioned that he was at a missions conference in Colorado and he was surprised at how many missionaries admitted being on anti-depressants or burnt out. You can read about some of the things the apostle Paul went through on his missionary journeys in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

Our missionaries are in a battle, they have been called by God to do God’s work. We need to S-U-PP-O-RT them in every way that we can – financial aid, specific prayer, taking ownership of the ministry they are involved in, consistent and meaningful communication – so we can get to know them and encourage them in their ministry. As we get involved in their lives, we will be encouraged in our walk with the Lord by hearing stories of how God is changing the hearts of people around the world through His people – our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Frank and Karen Mills – Serving the Lord in France

Daily Prayer Topics:

  • The Lord’s care over their sons, Stephen and Christopher, and other family members.
  • That their family would grow stronger and more dedicated in their walks with God.
  • Personal spiritual growth and daily time with God.
  • Physical, spiritual, emotional and mental wellness.
  • Spiritual awakening in France and Western Europe (Frank noted that out of 60 million people in France – there are only 600,000 Evangelical Christians).
  • Development of youth worker training in France and Western Europe.
  • Language acquisition for Frank in his study of French.
  • Guidance for Karen in the development of her ministry in the local church as the Lord leads.
  • That God would in all ways receive glory for all that is accomplished in His Name.

Psalm 34:3 – “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together.”

Recommended reading to increase your knowledge and awareness of missions:

The Book of Acts
Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper
Evangelical Missions Quarterly

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