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My Workshop “Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events” (for “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference) Part 1

Friends:  I will be presenting three workshops at the upcoming conference at Emmaus Bible College.  Registration for the conference can be found here.

Workshop #1: “Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events”

How is the believer to respond to the evil in our world, such as occurred in Parkland, Florida, Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas? What can we Christian leaders say with conviction to God’s people without fear of contradiction that will help them in our broken, violent, destructive world?

Let’s talk about certainty #1 this morning. The first certainty is this: Man is fallen and capable of great evil. This is an obvious point to believers, but many in our world have been duped into thinking that man is basically good (the myth of secular humanism).

The Bible clearly teaches man’s depravity (see Titus 3:3-8 and Isaiah 59:7). Every aspect of who man is has been tainted by sin. We, all of us, are capable of enormous evil.

Not at all what the devil looks like!

The Bible also teaches the reality of a supernatural enemy, the devil. We read in John 10 that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (v. 10). Jesus also teaches us in John 8 that “the devil . . . was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Please pray for me as I prepare for these three workshops!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2018 in evil

 

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Come Attend “Iron Sharpens Iron” at Emmaus Bible College! May 24-27

I will be presenting three workshops with the following titles: “Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events”; “Courageous Preaching:  The Spirit of God and Today’s Preacher” and “Unlike Jesus:  The Lost Art of Being a Friend of Sinners.”  Here is the conference’s website for registration!

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #2 (con’t)

The theme this year of the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College is ‘Training for Godliness” and the plenary sessions will be focusing on I Timothy 4-6.  My two workshop topics are:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s conclude our thinking about the second workshop this morning: “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
We read the following in I Timothy 4:

These false teaches are into forbidding — They forbid people to marry (which the Creator blessed in Genesis and the Lord Jesus in the gospels) and they restrict what people can eat!  These negative values actually express several ungodly attitudes:

(1) unthankfulness:  Both marriage and culinary variety were created by God to be enjoyed!

(2) a denial of the goodness of creation:  Everything God created is good.  Nothing (that is not sinful) is to be rejected IF it is received with thanksgiving!

But the material world (marriage and food) needs to be consecrated!  How does this happen?  By “the word of God and prayer.”  As we are into God’s Word (allowing Him to speak to us) and prayer (giving us the opportunity to speak to Him), these two disciplines cause us to receive His good gifts with thanksgiving.

In his article “The Problem of Pleasure,” Phillip Yancey quotes G.K. Chesterton as saying, “I felt in my bones, first that this world does not explain itself. . . . Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to. mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art. . . . Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons. Fourth, that the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them. . . . And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as [Robinson] Crusoe saved his goods: he had saved them from a wreck. All this I felt and the age gave me no encouragement to feel it. And all this time I had not even thought of Christian theology.”

We know the God who gave us marriage and food and everything else!  Thank Him for His good gifts today!

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in thankfulness

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #2 (con’t)

I’m in the preparation stages for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College.  I’ve been asked to give two workshops.  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and the plenary sessions will be focusing on I Timothy 4-6.  My two topics are:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s continue to think about the second workshop this morning: “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
We read the following in I Timothy 4:

These false teachers, these faith-abandoners, will be inspired by demons to teach their heresies.  Personally, they are characterized as being “hypocritical liars” with seared consciences!

In terms of their teaching, two categories of error are specified by Paul: (1) they will forbid God’s gift of marriage, and (2) they will order their followers to follow certain dietary restrictions.

Specifically, their commands about diet focus on abstention, not thanksgiving.  “Don’t eat that!” is their command.  Not, “Wow!  Isn’t God good to give us such delicacies!”  Refusing God’s good gifts is as bad a sin as gluttony.  It expresses a lack of thankfulness for what “God created to be received.” Finding a balance between restriction and liberty is a challenge at times, isn’t it?  We can fall into the trap of being gift-denyers and think that we have somehow become more spiritual.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in I Timothy 4

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #1

I’m preparing for Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference.  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and I will be presenting two workshops:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s think about the first one for the next few posts: “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)”

Has it dawned on you that what we Christians don’t believe is almost as important as what we do believe?  For example, we don’t believe in reincarnation.  We don’t believe in a plurality of gods (as our Mormon friends do).  We don’t believe that Jesus was really Michael the archangel (as our Jehovah’s Witness friends do).  We don’t believe that every person without exception will be saved (as our Unitarian Universalist friends do).  Denials are as important as affirmations, aren’t they?

Let’s think about our main text in I Timothy 6.  Notice the verbs used in these two verses:

(1) GUARD  (2) TURN AWAY FROM

What is involved in GUARDING?  We guard what is valuable to us.  We protect it; we shield it; we put our own lives at risk for that object or person.  When I was working my way through graduate school, I worked at night (11 pm to 7 am) as a night watchman or security guard.  I had to make rounds both inside and outside the factory I was guarding.  I was the only one there.  I remember one wintry night (this was in NJ) making my outside round and having to go up several steps to punch my time clock to show I had actually walked around the perimeter of the building.  Coming down those ice-covered steps — I don’t remember what happened then.  I found myself in a pile on the concrete sidewalk.  I put my life in jeopardy for a soap factory!

I also got caught a time or two asleep at my post.  That did not go over well with management.  Sleeping on the job — a night watchman’s job — was not cool.

We need to be vigilant in guarding what has been “entrusted” to our care.  Prepared to be vigilant today? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in I Timothy 4

 

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What do you love doing? (re-post)

KeynoteScreenSnapz069What do you love doing?  My list is pretty long — but there are a lot of things that I love doing. Here are a few: 1.  I love spending time with my grandkids!

They are an absolute delight — and I get to send them home when their visiting time is over!

2.  I love to play competitive table tennis with a group of mostly Korean professionals who are very, very good!  At the advanced age of 64, my game is probably at its peak, even though my legs give out after about ten games!

3.  I love engaging in contemporary theological debates and issues!  After teaching the doctrines of the Christian faith for twenty, twenty-five years, I feel it is important to be aware of the newest challenges to the Christian faith.  And so, I read books that I describe as those that “will boil your blood before you get past the preface.” In fact, this coming May I have the privilege of being a plenary speaker at Emmaus Bible College’s conference entitled “Iron Sharpens Iron.”

You can find conference details here.  It would be great if you could join us.  The theme this year is “REVOLUTIONARY ORTHODOXY: Living a Biblical Worldview.”FirefoxScreenSnapz361 The topics I will present are “Orthodoxy Under Fire: Who’s Shooting and Why?” and “A Life of Living Biblically.” I also get to present several workshops/seminars entitled: KeynoteScreenSnapz070These are all critical issues.  Would you pray for my preparation of these messages, as well as the working of the Lord in my heart and in the hearts of those who will attend “Iron Sharpens Iron.” If you will covenant to pray for me, I will send you a free copy of my short novel, Abandon All Hope.  Just email me of your commitment and provide your mailing address.  You can email me at: theoprof@bellsouth.net.  Thanks for praying!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in speaking

 

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