Teens Talking

This was sent in by Claire in Half Moon Bay:

Hey, I’m Claire. I’m 17, and I teach kids Bible clubs with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). I came to Covolo to teach the Sunday school class for the Faith Tabernacle Church on one Sunday. Afterwards, I was sitting in Loretta’s car with my friend and fellow teacher Tamara when Israel, a 19 year old guy we had just met a short while ago, came over and asked what we were doing. I responded “Just baking in the car”, because it was a really hot day, and although we had the car doors open, it was still stuffy. He asked if he could join us, sat in the back seat with Tamara, and promptly asked us what kind of drugs we were doing. I didn’t realize until later that “Just baking in the car” could be taken as a drug reference, so it’s important to watch what I say. After it was straightened out that I don’t do drugs we talked about church and how to get to heaven.

His understanding was that you won’t get into heaven if you do bad things. Of course his standard of right and wrong were relative and came from himself, not God. The conversation led away from morality, to personal life and I got to know a little more about him, but I was praying for it to transition back to God so I could give him the gospel. It finally did, and since he thought morality led to salvation, I took him to the law.

I pulled out my Bible and went over the 10 Commandments, in order to prove that mankind cannot be made right with God on our own. From there I explained how Jesus fulfilled the law, and died to take the punishment on Himself that we deserved. I used the example of a courtroom, with God as the judge, Israel as the guilty, and Jesus stepping forward to fulfill this undeserving teenager’s sentence. Loretta also helped explain the atonement, and how God is merciful to us, yet just because sin must be punished. It was hard to keep the conversation centered on the gospel because he was clearly interested in Tamara and myself, so we ending up talking for more than a half hour. He had a lot of questions which I did my best to answer, but I had to leave before I could finish the message of the gospel. We gave him a New Testament and encouraged him to read the book of John. I haven’t heard from him since then, but I keep praying. God brought him right to us, and I know what I said made him think. It was such a blessing to give him the truth in a confident, straightforward way! God is so good!!

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the Throne of God Above
words by: Charitie L. Bancroft, 1863
tune by: Vikki Cook, 1997 (?)
listen to the tune here at Sovereign Grace Music

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

The Day of Atonement is Here!

“Rachel” is a woman I have known for at least 10 years. I first met her at the store when our children were little. Every few years I bump into her on shopping trips. Well currently our sons are on the same soccer team, and we see each other every week. The Lord is letting me know that it is past time to witness to her.

I struggle with witnessing to “peers”, friends or even those “acquaintance” friends I see only once in a while. It is fear of man, fear of being labeled and rejected. It is easier to witness to strangers than to those with whom you have a relationship. Even so, I seek out and desire relationships with these that the Lord puts on my heart. He gives me a love for them and a great desire for them to know, follow and worship Him. I feel this way about “Rachel”.

Today at the soccer game, we were talking about our children’s schooling, and then our conversation moved to the topic of her education in Israel and her memories of learning a little bit of Bible in school. Pretty soon we were discussing God’s revelation of Himself as recorded in the Tanakh, particularly the physical manifestations of God to Abraham and Jacob, and the words of the prophet Isaiah. I was very nervous (and felt quite inadequate as usual) as she said she has decided to go on without God, and make personal happiness and goodness her life philosophy. I listened to her talk about all the reasons she has decided to be basically a secular Humanist, including abuse from her ‘religious’ family, the death of a close relative in the 1967 war, the manmade religion of the ultra-Orthodox, (chickens?) and frustration with war and death between Jews and Muslims in her homeland. These things caused her much pain and confusion. She decided to make life about finding personal happiness.

Resisting the temptation to be too fearful to speak, I offered, with as much compassion as I could express to her, that though these experiences are painful, the issue is not one of temporary personal happiness, but one of righteousness before God. I asked her about the whole sacrificial system in the Tanakh: what was the purpose of it? What was God showing the people? Did it not have some very important meaning that God was communicating- over and over again? I brought up how it is almost Yom Kippur. We talked about that for a while; how the Bible teaches that sin makes us unrighteous before the holy God, how the sacrifice and the blood of the innocent lamb showed need for covering for sin. We talked about how it was presented by the High Priest to God at the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. She pondered these things.

She knows in Whom I believe. She may already know what I’m getting at, and yet, she may not. I hope this is the first of our conversations on this topic. As we were leaving she excused herself from all she heard: “Well, everyone chooses their own way to believe; whatever makes them happy.” But she knows these things we spoke of are in the scriptures. I pray she will come to believe on the One who fulfilled and accomplished God’s salvation plan.

God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished… Rom.3:2

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17



The Gospel is Everything- Pt.3

..even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forebearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Rom.3:22-26

That which is most important.

In his final talk on Saturday at Legacy (this 7 part video), Washer reviewed “that which is most important”: the heart of the true Gospel, which is Justification and the Atonement.

He stressed that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and went on to teach why the carnal methods and traditions of Decisionism, Easy-Believism, and manipulation are unbiblical and unnecessary. He deconstructed the modern methods of evangelism, even going through all the common verses (John1:12, Rom.10:9, Rev.3:20) used in tracts to get someone to “repeat this prayer after me”, teaching what the verses really mean.

Washer defined and gave examples of true conversion and exhorted the flock to PREACH like Ezekiel, delivering God’s Word to dead bones; understanding and trusting that only God can make them live. We must understand what conversion actually is.

He also mentioned how we must understand what The CHURCH really is. It is not the institution of “Evangelicalism”. It is not beautiful buildings full of people, many of whom are not converted. The church is the Bride of Christ; the sheep, who love and follow Jesus, and go on in sanctification in Him. He finished by encouraging us to go deep into the Gospel and to cultivate a close love relationship with our Lord and Savior.

The Gospel is Everything- Pt.2

He was crushed for our iniquities.. Is.53:4.. The LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief..Is.53:10 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Is.53:11

The LORD was pleased to crush Him.

Washer (in this 6 part Friday devotional video) discussed the imputation of our sin by God onto the sinless Christ who was crushed under the wrath of God, achieving our justification; our being declared righteous in Christ.

He spoke of how churches and ministers in the USA do not understand the Gospel; they are Gospel ignorant. He exhorts them to teach the knowledge of God and the Atonement, for “the Gospel is everything”.

Washer expounded on the event of the cross: the Atonement, with emphasis on the Love of God for men. He spoke of how this Atonement results in NO MORE guilt and condemnation for the justified, and that Jesus, in His great love, was willing, able and glad to take it for us.

This talk ended with a reminder of the beautiful meaning of Abraham and Isaac: how YHWH provided God’s only Son, the Lamb of God, as the sacrifice. “God, my God!, I know that You love me; You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me.”

Lovely Progression

Lovely Progression

by: Nathan Pitchford
Reformation Theology blog

Jesus, how sweet your virgin birth,
Deep, lovely mystery:
Out from the unsewn womb sprang forth
God of eternity!
I kneel before your bed so rough,
My Savior in a feeding trough,
Divine before the world began,
And now in time become a man.

Jesus, how sweet your life on earth,
Your public ministry,
Your miracles of saving worth
O’er sin and misery;
I hear in reverential awe
Your thund’rous utt’rance of the Law,
And offer in my own defense
Your life of pure obedience.

Jesus, how sweet your saving death,
The atoning sacrifice!
My plea rose up on your last breath
Like incense to the skies;
I weep before that blessed tree
Where priceless blood was spilled for me,
Where all the wrath of God was poured
On the Beloved of the Lord.

Jesus, how sweet your rising up
Victorious from the dead
To fill my upheld mercy cup,
To crush the Tempter’s head!
I come by grace before your throne
And there in trembling joy bow down,
Before my King who now must reign
Till he make all things new again.

Winter Booklist

Brrr, it was 30 degrees outside this morning. Winter has arrived in the Bay Area! Time to crank up the heater and make cocoa. I love giving books for gifts, maybe because I am also a bibliophile. In January we will (God willing) get cozy on the couch with Ellie the puppy and read The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul, Monks and Mystics (The Medieval Church) and Courage and Conviction (The Reformation Church) by the Withrow’s. We’ll also listen to The Story of the World, volume 2, The Middle Ages, by Susan Wise Bauer, on CD. The kids can also read Do Hard Things if they are done with their historical fiction novels.

I’m looking forward to reading Jesus the Evangelist, by Richard Phillips, that Michelle so graciously sent. On my “wish” list is Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, by Michael Horton. Although I am currently weary of apostacy and heresy, (Lord give me strength to keep contending and defending!) my husband says I should read The Shack in order to answer Evangelical friends who think it is a great Christian allegory.

The Atonement

My dream of graduating from college came to a sad end when I dropped out in my Junior year; I could not stomach the deeply occultic required reading for my major at SFSU. I was really at the wrong school. For years I wished I could have gone to Bible school or Christian college or something. But it was not to be. God was in loving control; He had another plan. He had something far better than college for me.

Years later, I was going to take a special class at church, but it was eliminated (due to lack of interest) right when I applied for it. After spending years starving to learn some systematic biblical doctrine and theology, God taught me Himself out of His Word. Later (three years ago) He led me to sermonaudio.com where I could feast on hearing these truths expounded. And now we’re in a church that preaches like this every Sunday. God is so good to provide for us in these last days, amen?

Anyways, I was thinking of someday getting Grudem’s Systematic Theology and reading it as a devotional, but now I don’t have to because I just listened to shai linne’s The Atonement.

The music is gritty, funky, rugged and “underground”. This album is good for evangelism as well as personal worship. The atonement is the center of the gospel, and the center of our redemption and our relationship with God in Christ. There is one song in which one man asks for definitions of theological terms, and the other man defines the terms, teaching basic bible theology. (Very thoroughly!) There’s also some really good sermon tracks mixed in. Check it out.

As I was implying, yes, there is more theology in this album than some saints will hear in a lifetime at many Neo-E churches. Learning, knowing and understanding theological Truth just makes us love and worship Jesus more. We love learning it. It is eternally attractive to us who are reconciled and redeemed, and whose sins are paid for by the blood of the Lamb.