Gospel Points – Terra’s Popcorn, Snack With A Mission

View More: http://bekahwriedt.pass.us/community-strong

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) – This is the verse that you can find on every container of Terra’s Popcorn. They call it snack with a mission. Listen in this week as Brad Williams joins us to talk about his desire to reach the people of Chile. Yet, unlike the typical missionary presentation using slideshows or PowerPoint, you’ll find this presentation much more delicious. Brad is using his popcorn business not only to find his missionary trips but to actually engage and support the people he is trying to reach.

For a limited time only, Brad is offering a special discount for Gospel Points listeners! Log on to www.terraspopcorn.com, choose your favorite flavor and then enter the code GOSPELPOINTS at check out and get $5 off your order! Now, this is only good for the first 20 people so order now! You won’t want to miss out on this first because it goes to support a great cause, but second because it is great popcorn! It comes with my seal of approval. My favorite flavor is bacon cheddar (second is white cheddar) while my wife’s is salt and vinegar. You will defiantly want to check out Brad’s newest product – Apple Cinnamon Churricos. Don’t miss out on this deal!

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Overcome Hatred in Orlando

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

My heart is broken.  This past Sunday 49 people were mercilessly executed in Orlando, Florida.  Over 50 others suffered injuries and countless numbers of friends and family members will forever feel the pain of loss.  The total amount of damage done can never be calculated.

This tragedy hits home for me.  No, I didn’t know anyone who has harmed that day.  I sit in stunned silence as I see the response of men who claimed to Christian spew despicable hatred where love and compassion mark the only acceptable Christian response to this tragedy.  These are men who claim to love the same Jesus I love.  These are men who claim to be part of my family, the family of God.  These are men who claim to be like me, and I want nothing to do with them whatsoever.

I’m speaking of men like Steven Anderson, Roger Jimenez, and, of course, the Westboro Baptist Church.  I will not be guilty of spreading their hate by quoting their responses here on my blog.  I just want to state for the record, I hate their hate.  I denounce their hate-filled, venomous tirades against victims of a horrible tragedy.

They were gay, I get it.  As a Christian I completely affirm the definition of marriage given by Jesus Himself.  I completely affirm God’s design for sexuality between men and women.  Yet, I weep over the deaths of these victims and I weep together with the LGBT community as the Bible tells me to do (Romans 12:15).   I weep over the loss of those who bore the image of God just as I do.  According to Jesus, these were the neighbors I have been commanded to love as myself.

Was God judging their sin?  I do not know, and neither do you.  Here’s what I do know, God is a gracious God.  I experience his grace each and every moment I draw breath.  I am a guilty sinner.  I have transgressed his law and rebelled against his will.  If I condemn the homosexual with my out-pointed index finger, I recognized I have three fingers pointing right back at me exposing the heinous sins I have committed.  If God were bent on judging sin, I would wonder why he did not first begin with me.  I bask in his love and mercy, that same love and mercy I would think we would want to show a broken community at this very moment.  I’m not asking you to deny any part of God’s Holy Word.  I am asking that you examine your own lives and remember how God has been gracious to you, despite your sins.

These people were targets.  They were targets of hate because of their sexuality.  My fear is that the LGBT community will continue to be targets – not of radical Islam but of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Many seem to have an “us vs. them” mentality.  They are the enemy.  These are the folks who are advancing the wicked gay agenda and must be stopped by every political means available.  My brothers and sisters, the LGBT community is not the enemy.  No person on this planet is our enemy.  We do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).  Instead, we are told love and pray for our enemy (Matthew 5:44) and preach the life-saving gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).

Yes, preach repentance.  Yes, preach against sin.  Please, we need it!  But, without love, what good is any of that (I Cor 13:1-2)?  You are not merely told to preach the truth, you are commanded to preach it in love (Eph 4:15).  Where is your love?  How does your response to this horrific tragedy show your love for others?  This world needs the gospel as never before.  Your neighbor needs to know of Jesus.  The LGBT community needs to know of the gospel.  The radical Jhadists that would rather kill us than hear us, need to know of their sin and the wonderful grace of God.  Let’s not ruin our witness with hate.  Instead, let us hold fast to the Word of Truth.  Let us love as Jesus loved.  Let us preach as Jesus preached.  Let us serve those who Jesus served.

Not many people read this blog.  I don’t know if this little post will mean anything to anyone.  It will probably be lost in the echo chamber of the internet as others have said what I am saying yet with more clarity and attention.  But, with whatever little voice I may have, I will use it to renounce hatred and proclaim the love of Christ.

Gospel Points – Biblical Authority, Part 2

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Welcome back to the Gospel Point Podcast!  After over a month’s hiatus we are finally back in action.  We begin picking up right where we left off with part two of our interview with Caleb Kolstad of the First Baptist Church of Freeport, IL.  In this final segment we talk about how the Bible can be authoritative if the text of Scripture is subject to so many different interpretations.  We then conclude with a discussion of what Biblical authority looks like practically within our local churches.  You can read Pastor Kolstad’s blog here – Post Tenebras Lux.

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

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Book Review – Journey to Heal

Title: Journey to Heal:  Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual41mqlxo6ucl-_sx322_bo1204203200_ Abuse
Author: Crystal M. Sutherland
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publishing Year: 2016
Pages: 171
My Rating: 3 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

Over the past four years, it has been my unfortunate experience to come across many people who have suffered through the trauma of an early childhood sexual assault.  What is even more unfortunate is that most of these people came from a church background.  What surprised me even more was that many of these people came from what appeared to be good, healthy families.  The one common denominator in all these cases is that the initial assault was covered up.  It would take years to unravel all the pieces if indeed all the pieces could even be unraveled.  I am more than certain there are many others ought there whose stories have yet to be told.  The avalanche is coming, church.  Are you ready for it?

It was with all of this in mind that I accepted the opportunity to review Journey to Heal:  Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse here on this blog.  The church needs to be prepared to uncover and expose sexual assault within its own walls and then be able to love and minister to those victims.  So far, it seems as though we have done a terrible job in the area.

The major strength of this book is its tone.  This is written by a survivor for other survivors.  The author’s tone is one of comfort and sympathy.  She not only shares her story but the story of several others.  She does this in a way as to let the listener know, you are not alone.  What happened to you has happened to others.  They survived, and so can you.  From my limited experience, this is a crucial barrier that must be first broken down for any healing to begin.

Another great strength of the book is the notion that his will not be fixed in a few short sessions or with some neat coping tricks.  Neither is this healing obtained by memorizing a few Bible passages and throwing up a few prayers to heaven.  This is a journey not a moment.  This will take time.  I know many victims who feel the intense pressure to simply get over all this and simply move on through the power of Christ.  I wish it were that simple.  By way, placing such pressure on a person only adds to the guilt and shame that comes with such abuse.  We expect people to be champions but fail to give them the support they need which can only lead to defeat and failure.

Practicality is the other strength that is worth noting.  Throughout these pages you will find practical advice that will help those who are struggling.  A heavy emphasis is placed on journaling which I believe could be extremely helpful.  I especially appreciate Sutherland’s admonition to share your stories with others.  You were never meant to bar this burden by yourself.  You can’t handle it.  You need others in the body of Christ to lift you up and support you.  This also opens the door for others victims to come forward and get the help they need.

Finally, one of the most helpful aspects of this book is constant theme of hope.  There is hope for those who can’t see through their shame, guilt and embarrassment.  For those struggling with feelings they feel can never be resolved, Christ provides hope for a normal life.

However, what I found lacking in this book was any serious engagement with the Word of God.  There are verses sprinkled throughout, but they are only accompanied by a shallow, brief application.  My personal pet peeve is the constant use of Jeremiah 29:11, one of the most misunderstood and misapplied verses in the Bible.  Yet, the gospel is highlighted and there are some helpful passages referenced from time to time.

I was also disappointed not to see the church referenced until the very end of the book.  The Church ought to play a crucial role in the life of any Christian.  She never mentions to seek counsel from one’s pastor.  I would think for a Christian, this is where we would begin.  Yet, I do realize that for some it may be difficult to even get to this stage of the journey.  But, it should be a step somewhere along the way.  The pastor is a gift to the church and ought to be utilized in the way our Lord intended.

With all this being said, I believe this book would be quite useful in helping those who struggle with past sexual assault.  I would use this book to get the ball rolling and to begin a journey down the road to healing.

You can purchase the book here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

Free E-Book Alert – What’s Your Worldview?

9781433538926mHow Do You View the World?

It’s a big question. And how a person answers has the power to shape literally everything about his or her life.

In What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions, James Anderson, associate professor of theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, leads readers on an interactive journey of discovery aimed at helping them understand and evaluate the options when it comes to identifying their worldview.

Cast in the mold of a classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, this unique book guides readers toward intellectually satisfying answers to life’s biggest questions—equipping them to think carefully about not only what they believe but why they believe it and how it should impact the rest of their lives.

To download this free book, first fill out this survey from the fine folks at Crossway.

Free Audio Book Alert – Delighting in God by Tozer

Delighting in God is the message Tozer intended to be the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. He demonstrates how the attributes of God–those things God has revealed about himself–are a way to understand the Christian life of worship and service. We are here to serve and adore him, but we can only fulfill that role by acknowledging who he is, which is the essence of the Christian life and the source of all our fulfillment, joy, and comfort.

Download the book here.

Book Review – Why Bother with the Church by Sam Allberry

Title: Why Bother with Church? 
Author: Sam Allberry
Publisher: The Good Book Company
Publishing Year: 2016
Pages: 95
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

If there is one conviction of mine that has grown over the years it is the necessity of the church in the life of the Christian.  I hold this conviction in spite of the fact that it seems as though more and more Christians feel like the church is not necessary for their spiritual walk.  Some claim the church is simply irrelevant to their lives while some would even go so far as to say the institutional church is actually a deterrent to their relationship with Christ.  Still others don’t see the need for a weekly hour long service when they already participate in small groups and Bible studies with like-minded believers.

Why Bother with Church by Sam Allberry is a great tool to share with friends who may hold to these errant views.  It’s a short, easy read that won’t intimidate the reader or confuse anyone with theological jargon.  It’s a straightforward look at what the church really is and one by one knocks down common objections against the necessity of church involvement.

God does not have a person, but a people.  We often speak of our personal relationship with Christ or our personal time with the Lord, but what Allberry makes clear in this book is that the Christian life was never intended to be solitary.  God does not merely have lots and lots of individual people scattered throughout the world trying to make it their own. Often times this just leads to people worshipping a God of their own creation.  No, Allberry instead asserts, “God’s purpose is not to have persons relating to him individually, but people that, together, are his.” (page 38)

The book basically serves as a primer to those who may not be familiar with church or those who are unsatisfied with broken churches and are interested to see God’s original design for this institution of his own creation.  This would make a great discipleship tool for new believers or new visitors to your church.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“If you want understand how committed Jesus is to the church, here’s your answer.  He doesn’t just create it and let it be.  He marries it.  He is not just our almighty King; he is also our perfect Husband.  That’s how much concern he has for every member of his church.  That’s how much he cares about local church.  That’s how committed he is to us, for ever.” – page 22

“The point of preaching and worship is that they are corporate activities.  And therein lies the heart of what a church-skipping believer misses out on:  God’s people.” – page 32

“For all its faults and idiosyncrasies, your church is still a community that God has gathered together and in which he is present by his Spirit.  If the idea of that is boring, then the problem might be with us and not with the church.  Perhaps we’re just interested in the wrong things.” – page 75

“After all, your church is a miracle.  Next Sunday, look at those sitting around you.  It’s amazing that they’re there.  It’s amazing that they’re still trusting Jesus this Sunday – another week of God’s grace to them.  It’s amazing that you’re there, trusting Jesus this Sunday – another week of God’s grace to you.  And it’s amazing that you, with your differences and sometimes disagreements, are sitting in the same room, serving the same God and encouraging one each other – a wonderful visual aid of God’s grace to his people.  Your church is imperfect.  And that makes your church all the more miraculous.  Its imperfections are in themselves exciting, because they show just how powerful and loving the God who has brought you together must be.” – page 83

You can purchase the book here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.