“Destroy a Church in 4 Simple Steps” – Tim Challies

How to Destroy a Church I’ve seen it done. I’ve witnessed the destruction of a church, and despite the picture you have in your head of the church being attacked by some external strong arm of the devil or the world . . . the reality is that a church cannot be destroyed from the outside.

“True church-death comes only from inside.”  Click To Tweet

Tim Challies does an amazing job summarizing Paul’s admonition to Timothy in II Timothy 4. Here Paul unveils the four simple steps that will lead to church-death. But before you read his article, I want to make one sobering observation.

A born-again believer cannot lose their salvation. The people Paul describes in II Timothy turned away from God to myths. These people – the people who inevitably attended church and worked in the nursery and sat under healthy preaching and undoubtedly taught Sunday School – these people were never saved. Their eventual rejection of truth proved it.

Our churches are often filled with more unbelievers than we realize. We must reach them as deliberately as the rebel who walks in for the first time. If the number of faking-unconverted starts to outnumber the converted, destruction is imminent and this article beautifully lays out for you how it will happen . . . step by horrible step.

Please read “Destroy a Church in 4 Simple Steps.”

For Your Consideration:

"Be Most Dead"

Like a king meeting his death
On the road he took to avoid it,
So the church will breathe its last breath

When it tries to dictate its own worship
By implementing plans God denies.
For this can only happen
When men and women do not rely
On the truth the Lord has given.

In three days the temple had glory
By God's own hand.
And unless Christ sustains the body
It will fall under the plans of man.

Decapitation brings decay to every living thing.
How do you suppose to continue living
When you've severed Christ, our head?
The church, though full, will be most dead.

-AMBrewster-
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#TBTB #TBT – What You NEED to Know

 

ThrowBack Thursday

Throwback Thursdays are fun.

Well, sometimes the pictures people post are mildly disturbing, but for the most part it’s enjoyable to be reminded about how far we’ve come.

The concept of reminders are significant to God as well. So many of the traditions He ordained in the Old Testament were designed to remind His people about His power, mercy, faithfulness, and love.

The New Testament continues this theme in almost every book! Jesus told His disciples to

“Remember the word that I said to you” (John 15:20).

The author of Hebrews says,

“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).

So, in honor of remembering and celebrating what God has done, we here at Taking Back the Bible (#TBTB) plan to celebrate Throwback Thursdays (#TBT) with you by sharing articles from the past. All you have to do is click on the title of the article and you’ll be immediately redirected.

Maybe you’ve read them, maybe you haven’t, but hopefully they will be a blessing to you either way.

Sincerely,
The Evermind Staff

What better way to start than by sharing the most important message you could ever hear?

Please enjoy “What You NEED to Know.”

What You Need to Know

Let Us Pray – Or Not?

Let Us Pray

No Doubt

I don’t question for a minute that someone will publish an article today that lists “397 Reasons No Christian Should Ever Participate in a National Day of Prayer.”

May I step out of character for a moment and respond like a 14-year-old girl?

“Whatever.”

America

Our government is not trying to hide the fact that they think people like us (who believe the Bible means what It says) are the idiots of the world village. They make no apology for supporting what we decry and razing what we adore. So, the fact that our country still practices a National Day of Prayer is encouraging.

Prayer

I guarantee that the people you enjoy talking to the most and the people you enjoying hearing talk the most are the people who care the most about. This is true in our human interactions because God created it that way. God created verbal communication in order to make Himself known to us and to give us a medium for deep relationship with Him.

In this dispensation, He talks to us through His Word and we talk back through our prayers.

And how great is it that the government has sanctioned a day perfectly fitted for carrying-on redemptive dialogue?!

Yeah, but . . . .

But all the wrong people will do it all the wrong ways!” someone is bound to whine.

How is that any different from every other day this month? Do we stop publicly participating in a vital facet of our relationship with God simply because other people will “mess it up”?

Whatever.”

Let Us Pray

I want to encourage you to place a special emphasis on prayer today.

  • Not because you don’t have to pray every other day out of the year.
  • Not because the government wants you to.
  • Not because you want to align with every group and stripe praying today.
  • Not because I told you to.

I want to encourage you to place a special emphasis on prayer today because our God is awesome, we must proclaim His truth, and today the United States government is actually giving us a very visible platform for proclaiming that truth.

And for those of you pathetic enough to ignore God today because of some ridiculous, anti-biblical reason.

Whatever.”

“Some Posting Motivation”

Some Posting Motivation

“Some Posting Motivation”

People type completely inane
And frivolous and biting and plain
Observations.
You would think that with the most
Amazing ways to communicate and post,
Some might favor reconciliation
To driving bitter wedges.
Others might lift us from the dredges
With timely edification.
Consider the benefit of quoting
A passage designed for removing
Trepidation!
If we simply decided in all things to glorify,
Perhaps our posts might start to amplify
Sanctification
In the hearts and minds of men and women
Whom God has given the redemptive mission
Of Christ-honoring inspiration.
-AMBrewster-

Written for “Can Facebook be Redemptive?”

 

Can Facebook be Redemptive?

facebook

My analytics tell me that if you’re reading this blog, you likely linked to it from Facebook. Thank you, by the way, for clicking!

Therefore, I’m going to begin with the a priori assumption that you have a Facebook account (or some other social media account). Therefore I can assume that you generally find value in the medium (minus the stupid videos “everyone else” posts). I’ve found that the degree to which people find value in Facebook is directly related to the quality of everyone else’s posts.

Still, you have one, and you probably don’t think it’s a tool of Satan. But have you considered whether or not it can (or should) be used for intentionally redemptive purposes?

What is Facebook?

Simply put, Facebook is a medium of communication.

Before social media, communication was limited to conversations, printed materials, letter writing, and smoke signals. But as technology has blossomed, we’ve created a hybrid form of communication that synthesizes real time talk with publishing.

What is Communication?

Merriam-Webster defines communication as,

“The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Thank you, Webster.

But for those of us interested in reclaiming biblical truth for everyday life, we must ask the next necessary question . . .

What is God’s Purpose for Communication?

All of the verses in the Bible that deal with our communication center around one glorious motive . . . to glorify God. But what brings Him glory in communication? I believe the answer is simpler than we realize.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

The greatest goal for any of our communication is to communicate God’s truth for the purpose of redemption. The unbeliever is “bought back” from sin and death in justification; the believer is “made better” through the power of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.

All of our communication needs to bring God glory, and though that doesn’t mean we always have to be quoting verses, it does mean we can’t glorify Him if we never acknowledge His truth in our communication. And I would argue that the more we reprove, rebuke, exhort, admonish, remind, encourage, bless, and edify using God’s truth . . . the more He will be glorified.

So, what about Facebook?

How Can my Facebook be Redemptive?

This linked article is a sad one indeed. A teacher chose to leave her substitute teaching job of 35 years because she refused to “unfriend” her students on Facebook. Being an educator, I’ve studied this trend a lot. As a counselor, I’m intimately aware of the pit-falls associated with “more-than-friending” students on Facebook. But what I want to point out in this article is what one of her former students said:

One of Thebarge’s former students told WMUR that if she didn’t have ‘Ms. T’ in her life, and as a friend on Facebook, she wouldn’t have graduated high school last year. ‘Facebook is a great way to communicate with people when you’re going through stuff at home.'”

I don’t know if Mrs. Thebarge is a Christian, but I know that she used Facebook in an encouraging way.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again with more than just my students. Facebook is digital meeting place where people interact in many of the same ways they would at the mall. And when Christians talk, redemption can happen. What’s interesting about social media is that some people actually feel freer to say and ask things online they wouldn’t normally say to your face. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s an insightful observation.

Our Facebook pages will become redemptive only when our daily communication becomes redemptive. We need to start there. When God’s glory becomes our chief goal, it will bleed over into every facet of our lives from physical to digital.

In the meantime, as we strive to become more like God in all we say and do, here’re some helpful tips for making Face-time, growth-time. We’ll be using the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and Paul David Tripp’s 10 communication questions from War of Words for guidance.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

  1. Your Facebook should lead to biblical problem solving. Stop complaining and offer solutions. When someone else complains, offer them solutions.
  2. Your posts should have a “stand together” instead of a “me against him/her/them” posture. The world is to know that we’re followers of Christ because of our love. During the high priestly prayer, Jesus prays that His followers would be united as Jesus and the Father were one! It’s completely acceptable to stand against sin, but too often we drive a wedge where God has commanded us to be linked.
  3. Your online demeanor should encourage others to be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings. Are you harsh and critical? Who would want to talk about their problems to someone like that?
  4. Your updates should show that you are approachable and teachable instead of defensive and self-protective. When your friend private messaged you and admonished you about that inappropriate movie quote or meme, how did you respond? Do you think they’re likely to keep you accountable in the future based off of the response you gave them?
  5. Your online relationships should all be as equally healthy: parents/children, husband/wife, extended family, siblings, employer/employee, friend/friend, body of Christ. Do you avoid posting things because you’re “friends” with your boss? Are your posts to peers nice, but your interactions with people younger than you are condescending?
  6. Your comments should encourage faith and personal spiritual growth. You don’t have to post a verse a day, but I cannot recount how many times a friend has shared a verse on Facebook, and God used it to meet a specific need in my life. God’s Word is the only Facebook post that carries the divine promise to never return void. Talk about a viral post!
  7. Your private messages should develop relationships, instead of only communicating with someone to cause or solve problems. So one of your students posted something inappropriate. Is this the first time you’re going to connect with them online? That just makes you come off like the Facebook police. But, if you build a relationship of love and understanding, they will accept your admonishment that much better.
  8. Your Facebook updates should be humble and honest. Stop exaggerating. Stop bragging. Period.
  9. Your posts should reflect a willingness to serve others, instead of demanding that everyone serve you. And all of a sudden the complaints about the weather, the government, and the news suddenly disappear!
  10. Your comments should show a recognition of the gospel in salvation and sanctification. Do you communicate biblical truth? You can use Facebook to disciple, encourage, evangelize, and rebuke just as easily as a phone call or a chat over hot chocolate.

Conclusion

You better believe Facebook (Twitter/Instagram/etc.) can be redemptive! But whether or not you “[Facebook] to the glory of God” is up to you.

Imagine a social network where just logging-in built up your relationship with God.

Start by sharing this post with your friends. Just click the Facebook icon below. The more of us who choose to use social media as a tool for good, the faster we’ll make an impact.

#EvermindRedemptivePosts

And while you’re browsing, check out these other Facebook-related articles by AMBrewster:

5 Reasons Christians Must Engage in Facebook Debates

What Your Friend’s Snarky Facebook Post Says About You


 

For Your Consideration:

“Some Posting Motivation”

People type completely inane
And frivolous and biting and plain
Observations.
You would think that with the most
Amazing ways to communicate and post,
Some might favor reconciliation
To driving bitter wedges.
Others might lift us from the dredges
With timely edification.
Consider the benefit of quoting
A passage designed for removing
Trepidation!
If we simply decided in all things to glorify,
Perhaps our posts might start to amplify
Sanctification
In the hearts and minds of men and women
Whom God has given the redemptive mission
Of Christ-honoring inspiration.
-AMBrewster-

 

Demons Among Us?

Demons Among Us

A naked man in Miami was shot and killed when he refused to stop eating the face of his victim. Sources say he continued his gnawing even after being shot the first time.

We acknowledge that our society is filled with the abnormal, the aberrant, and the anomalous, but the only answers society can point to are the elusive “mental illnesses” or chemical imbalances. Of course the “professionals” have a hard enough time defining the mind let alone an illness of it, and they have no tests to prove the chemical balancing act. But since the Bible provides all we need for life and godliness, let us turn to the Scriptures for an explanation of deviant behavior. We will find there prevalent answers on the subject. Some of which are direct explanations and others are vivid illustrations.

The answer to the question, “where does aberrant behavior come from” is always sin. Scripture tells us that we are born sinners because Adam first sinned. We are informed that sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s standard. Since God’s standard is pure perfection, sin is the cause of anything that deviates from God’s holiness. This is why it’s impossible for humanity to please God with sin in our lives. This is why we need a Savior (see What You Need to Know for more information about your sin). Further we are told in God’s Word that sin is not only inherent in all of us, it is also present in the world because of us, and propagated by Satan to destroy us.

The first and second sources are easy for most believers to understand, but the third root of sin (Satan and his demonic followers) gets a few more quizzical looks. One reason satanic/demonic activity strains our head muscles is that everything they do seems to dwell in that “unknowable” spiritual realm. Another reason is the lack of “Demons for Dummies” sections in the Scriptures.

If you couldn’t already tell, I believe the type of behavior experienced recently in Miami (and on every continent, in every country, and [I would argue] in every city of this world) probably finds it roots in demonic influence. I would like to “take back” two key ideas with this article: 1. What demons are, and 2. What they do. I believe Satan succeeds the most when affluent, “intellectuals” deny his existence and work in this world. If nothing else, I hope we will be able to see through Satan’s lies concerning his henchmen . . . demons.

Side Note: This is not the only occurrence of what they are calling cannibal/zombie behavior. More and more situations like this one are popping up in the media every day, and every time it’s discovered that a new drug called “cloud nine” is the culprit. These bath salts are being blamed for the deviant behavior of the perpetrators. But here is the point I would like to make before continuing our discussion on demon activity: drugs have always been used in conjunction with demonic rituals. I believe there is more than enough evidence to prove that even though these (and other) drugs can alter the abuser’s reality, their presence does not disprove demonic activity.

What Are Demons?

We must go all the way back to Genesis via Revelation to understand what demons are. Simply put, they are the fallen angels that were swept out of heaven when Satan was cast out (Revelation 12:4). We are told that a third of the heavenly host followed the Devil to his destruction. They are the same as angels with one major difference; instead of choosing to commit themselves to God, they chose to reject Him. Therefore, everything the Bible has to say about angels, their characteristics, and abilities can be applied to demons as well. The main point I would like to confirm here is that they did and do in fact exist. Christ Himself dealt with many demons. His acknowledgment of their existence should be good enough for anyone who is trying to take back the Bible. For this reason, I do not intend to branch off into a full-out discussion on Angelology. Beyond that, many amazing men have written volumes on the subject for our personal study. Charles C. Ryrie deals with angels and demons in detail in his work Basic Theology (I will be relying on some of his thoughts for our discussion here). To the same degree, any theology book will deal with the angelology/demonology. The real hot-point of this discussion is going to revolve around the second and third questions concerning the work of demons and whether or not they are doing anything today.

Still, so that we are all on the same page, let me say that there is no biblical evidence to support that demons are deceased individuals. In like manner, the ideas that demons are the disembodied spirits of som pre-Adamic race or that they are the offspring of Angels and men, is extremely tenuous and rely heavily on the wide extrapolation of certain biblical texts. So, it is safe to say for our discussion that Genesis’ account of the fallen angels are, in fact, the demons of today’s talk.

What Did Demons Do Back Then?

The Bible attributes various satanic duties and responsibilities of demons:

1. They afflict man. The Bible says they are able to inflict diseases (Matthew 17:15-18), cause deviant thinking (Mark 5:5), and they can bring death (Revelation 9:14-19). I must say, though, that not all physical illness can be attributed to demons (much like what Christian Scientists believe), because Christ often distinguishes between the two.

2. They bring perversion to man. They twist God’s perfect standard. They promote idolatry and false religion (Deuteronomy 32:17, I John 4:1-4, I Timothy 4:1-3).

3. They possess people. It is easy to tell from the ministry of Christ that demons possessed unbelieving individuals. They appear to have the power to completely take over the actions and words (and presumably the minds) of human beings. Many times the possessed person acted very strangely, but it is important to note that extreme behavior was not always a consequence of demon possession.

What Do Demons Do Now?

Here lies the crux of the issue. Do demons have the same duties and influences on the modern world that they had thousands of years ago. Some would quickly point to our nude friend in Miami and say, “If anyone was possessed, he was.” Third world tribes still dabble in demonology on a regular basis. Yet there are those who would say the whole thing is ridiculous, and yet a fourth group lives like it doesn’t matter. I believe my audience is probably in the first or last category.

The first truth we must grapple with is that nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that angels of any stripe have ceased their activities on this earth. In fact, we know that they have been working and will continue to work right up until the point where God throws the evil ones into eternal bondage in the Lake of Fire (with a brief 1,00 year hiatus right before that). Demonic influences on this earth are just as real and active as they were when one-third of the created angels fell like a lightning bolt from heaven. We cannot deny this point, and no amount of makeup will hide it.

What’s the Application?

As you can probably tell from my opening illustration, I do believe the example in Miami is indicative of demonic possession. Without being there and witnessing it first hand, I would still say it has all the earmarks: extremely deviant behavior (unnecessary nudity, beating a man, eating his face), and superhuman power (continuing his actions despite a bullet lodging in his body). But this is not the main focus of this discussion. Even though I hope your eyes might be opening to the fact that Satan uses his minions to pervert the world, extreme examples like the one above are probably in the minority. The real scary stuff hides behind the mundane.

Satan’s stupid (he dared defy God), but he’s not an idiot. He knows the best way to deceive men’s hearts. He knows that few people today actually believe in him, he knows that generally only primitive people still go for the whole possession-thing, but he also knows that he cannot stop his work of perversion and possession lest more people be won to the cause of Christ. So, he’s had to change his tactics a bit. But sin is still sin. Sin always destroys and it always produces behavior that falls short of God’s perfection. Sin always creates abnormal behavior . . . even today.

Let us see if we can think of some contemporary forms of aberrant actions. Hmmm. It doesn’t take long before we realize that our TV’s provides us with the answer. Shows like “Hoarders” and “Obsessed” show us that even unsaved people find certain behaviors awkward. Then there are the plethora of sitcoms and movies that make fun of certain “personality disorders” and “mental illnesses.” The Big Bang Theory and Monk are perfect examples. Of course, we cannot forget the media outlets that treat these disorders like something to be victimized by. Doctor shows, shrink shows, and talk shows cannot stop talking about ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, schizophrenia, phobias, and the eating disorders plaguing our society. But what do all of these shows have in common? Regardless of what the cure is, regardless of whether or not we think it’s funny or scary, the vast majority of people in America agree that these individuals are exhibiting aberrant, abnormal, and/or anomalous behavior.

Before I continue, let me say again that not every disease is a product of demon possession, so I must be careful being too dogmatic about every case. But being a counselor, I do know that the medical community has absolutely no empirical evidence to diagnose someone as having a “mental illness” beyond simply observing the patient’s behavior. There are no blood tests, brain scans, or urine samples that can help us detect a “mental illness.” But that is no excuse. To blithely label a behavior as the symptom of an otherwise improvable “disease” is foolish at best. At worst, it betrays the fact that unsaved men and women deny the existence of the spiritual. Therefore, even though they don’t understand it, they reason there must be some physiological reason behind the abnormal behavior. Unfortunately for them, just because you ignore the spiritual doesn’t make it disappear. Neither does medicating the physical.

Satan does exist. His demons still work in the lives of men today. Sin and Satan always produce destructive, aberrant behavior. Ladies and gentlemen, we are left with the profound conclusion that demon possession (and at least the effects of sin in general) are at the basis of every self-destructive and deviant behavior known to man.

So what do we do? We know that Satan is trying to tear us apart like a famished lion. We know that his henchmen are actively working in the lives of people all around us. In fact, demons may well be at work within the four walls of our own homes. If doctors can’t “cure” us, what do we do?

We take back the Bible! We choose to believe every line of God’s Word! We must accept that there are answers for all of life’s questions and trials within the pages of the holy Scriptures. We must take It back from those who would have us believe it’s not applicable and outdated. We must stand firmly on It’s promises and search it diligently for It’s answers.

This post and The New Me: Part 6 are the grand introduction for this site. My ministry this fall is going to make conversations like these a daily occurrence. By God’s grace I will be helping others wrestle with life-changing truths from God’s Word, and I want this site to be an off-shoot of that. I hope you will continue with me in this endeavor. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors when those counselors take God’s truth and apply it to our lives.

A Call to the Willing

Call to the Willing

Yahoo! news posted an article today (May 30th) about photographs taken of an “uncontacted” tribe in the Amazon. This photo shows three natives; the two painted bright red are preparing to fire arrows at the plane.

uncontacted%20tribes

The article quoted Survival International in saying that this tribe is one of “more than 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, more than half live in either Brazil or Peru.”

Imagine that!

More than a hundred villages that have never been contacted by the outside world. They’ve never seen a white man. They’ve never taken advantage of modern medical practices. They’ve never see a T.V. or listened to an iPod. They’ve never known anything or anyone outside their own thatched huts.

amazonian tribe

 

The article also interviewed Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International.  “The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct.” What is endangering these primitive peoples? Apparently deforestation and new diseases are so bad they threaten to wipe these tribes off the face of the map.

So, here we have hundreds of people, possibly on the brink of extinction . . . and they’ve never heard of Jesus.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

This is a call to the willing. A call to the Hudson Taylors and the Adoniram Judsons. A call to the David Livingstons and the William Careys. And possibly a call to the Nate Saints and Jim Elliots of the world. Which of us are willing to go and reach these people with the gospel? Which of us desire to fulfill the great commission by going into “the uttermost part of the earth“? (Acts 1:8- KJV)

I have a fantastic opportunity next week to minister to missionaries and their children. GFA Missions is having their annual Family Camp at The Wilds in NC, and I’ve been participating in this ministry since 1992. Every year I’m struck by the supreme privilege it is to work along side missionaries. They are the most wonderful people I know and I am honored to be a blessing to them.

But . . . “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)

This news story should be a wake-up call, a ministry call, a missionary call. Are you willing?