Author Archives: Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Weekly Links (9/15/2017)

“Real repentance is a new worship. It looks like a changed life, but that changed behavior results from a change of worship, not the other way around. Repentance is being convicted by the Holy Spirit of the sinfulness of our sin— not the badness of our deeds but the treachery of our hearts toward   God. Repentance means hating what we formerly loved and served— our idols— and turning away from   them. Repentance means turning to love God, whom we formerly hated, and serving him instead. It’s a new deepest loyalty of the heart.” (Michael Lawrence, Conversion: How God Creates a People)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Another week has come and gone, and yet the links are new and fresh! Here we go!

  • Professor David Murray posted a one-stop shop for various resources dealing with the issue of depression, placed under the ‘Know-Love-Speak-Do’ rubric of Paul Tripp. This will be one to bookmark for future reference.
  • RTS President Michael Kruger deals with a recent Pew study claiming Protestants are closer to being Catholic than Martin Luther. He deals with the issue of sola fide, and how true, saving faith is expressed in contrast to Roman Catholicism.
  • Pastor of Counseling Brad Hambrick at The Summit Church continues posting on his marriage seminar, this time on intimacy. If you want to watch the videos, go here.
  • Biblical counselor Stuart Scott writes on the pastoral side of the Reformers, noting the lack of emphasis, by many, on their private ministry in counseling their flock. There’s much to glean from, and it’s only part one!
  • Tim Challies writes on the duty of every Christian to be devoted to God, using Princeton theologian B.B. Warfield as a great example of devotion to his wife and, primarily, to God. May your life grow in deeper devotion to Christ and the gospel.
  • Speaking of Challies, he also began a new podcast, called ‘The Art of Godliness’ with Paul Martin, an elder at his church. The first episode focuses on dealing with conflict in the church. This looks very promising.
  • David Mathis considers the question, “Must elders be skilled in teaching?” Reading this will make you more thankful for our elders. Praise God for raising up leaders who teach the Word!
  • Denny Burk, one of the writers of the Nashville Statement, recently clarified the purpose of including the concept of ‘design’ in expressing God’s will for our lives as male and female. Randy Alcorn gives his reasons for signing the statement, and highlights others who have done the same.
  • Fred Butler posted his six-part (thus far) review of Hugh Ross’ book Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey through Genesis 1-11. Butler is a young-earth creationist, while Ross is a leading old-earth creationist speaker/writer. This can be a great conversation-starter with those in either camp.

That’s all for this week! Again, please be in prayer, as Youth and College Life will be back in their respective Bible studies tonight. Pray for the Spirit of God to open the eyes of those who do not know Christ, and that those who do will be renewed in their love for Him.

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (9/8/2017)

“As children of light, Christians do not reach those trapped in darkness by shrouding their light and acting like darkness; rather, they reach the world by shining brighter and brighter in holiness (Matthew 5: 14-16). The Bible is clear: The church has its greatest impact on the world not when it becomes like the world, but when it stands in counter-distinction to it.” (Nathan Busenitz, Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray: Finding Our Way Back to Biblical Truth)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! May these links help bring you closer to our God and Savior!

  • Erik Raymond starts us off with a great reminder of how God can work in your life through the reading of His Word. Don’t neglect time spent reading what God says to you now…in Scripture.
  • As we come closer to celebrate the day Martin Luther posted his 95 theses (do you know what day that is?), biblical counselor and ACBC Executive Director Heath Lambert decided to follow suit and post his 95 theses, digitally, for an authentically Christian commitment to counseling. Speaking of Luther, Bob Kellemen created a resource page for his new book Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life. Included are a number of Luther quotes related to the issue of counseling, and how he related the gospel to sin, suffering, and sanctification. This is a hidden treasure of a post!
  • Continuing from last week, Pastor of Counseling Brad Hambrick continues to highlight his “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” seminars by posting the one on decision-making. Included are overview sheets of some of the lessons they went over. If you prefer video, go here.
  • Tim Lane discusses the emotional intelligence of husbands and in what way Scripture touches on this subject. Tim Challies takes up the challenge of writing on how the wife ought to respect her husband, and what that really means.
  • Paul Tripp writes on the 14 gospel principles from Scripture for parents on how to raise their kids, and why strategies never work. If you don’t have his new book on parenting, this is a very concise summary. Over at the True Woman blog, Tessa Thompson offers some tips on how moms can have joy particularly on Sunday morning. This was a great reminder for me to pray for all the moms at our church. I hope this will be of help to you, moms.
  • In light of the upcoming Sunday School class on peacemaking, I thought I’d include this post on how to forgive a friend who hurt you. This is a great way to begin the conversation with those you may need to talk to, or a way to guide a younger brother or sister in the way of maturity.
  • What does it mean for God to be self-existent, and does it matter? Dr. William Barrick of TMS gives a brief answer. What a great God we serve and worship!

That’s all for this week! Please pray for the youth and collegians as their Bible studies begin tonight! See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (8/25/2017)

“Calling and discipling all the peoples saved by the Lamb is the primary mission of missions. Whatever other good things a church may choose to do, that great vision must be our most fundamental objective and the joy toward which we labor. Would anything less be worthy of the one who “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)? Evangelism and establishing Christ’s church is our first priority in missions.” (Andy Johnson, Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! I pray your week has gone well, in honoring the Lord in all you do. I pray your weekend will be all the more glorifying to the Lord, so here are links to help you through it.

  • Josh Brahm at the Equal Rights Institute tells a story about having a conversation with his shuttle driver about abortion that tells a lesson for us all: don’t treat every hypothetical scenario as if it is. Philosophy professor David Hershenov deals with 10 (bad, but popular) arguments for abortion. This can definitely help you engage in the issue of abortion with confidence.
  • Tim Challies highlights, from Jim Newheiser’s new book, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage, 10 common but illegitimate reasons many, including Christians, give to divorce one another. Challies also wrote a post on how to treasure your marriage, which I found to be very energizing to meditate on. Brad Hambrick recently re-posted his seminar on gospel-centered communication in marriage in audio (videos available here). I thought it would be a good refresher for the marrieds to go over.
  • David Powlison wrote a letter for those who feel debilitated over their sexual sin, and speaks to what the ultimate goal of sexual renewal ought to be. Both are nuanced, compassionate answers to questions strugglers in this area may find help from.
  • Have you ever wanted to seek out a mentor to help you grow as a Christian? Here are five simple ways to go about pursuing an older, godly man/woman.
  • New Testament textual critic Dan Wallace has regularly presented the vast number of manuscripts we currently possess (over 5,000), and yet has been criticized in his ‘rejection’ of the vast majority of them in helping to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament by way of textual criticism. Wallace has offered a response to this claim of inconsistency. It’s more interesting than it sounds (make sure to read the post that led to his response).
  • John Piper was asked if people don’t like us, does that mean we have ruined our Christian witness? Not only does he point out what Scripture says, but he also provides his method for answering some thorny questions as a model. May we be the same in our dependence upon the Word of God to be our source of counsel.
  • Professor David Murray highlights a new study that argues the mere presence of your smartphone may drain your ability to pay attention to whatever task you face without it. Murray draws some implications from this, which, if you’re reading this from your smartphone, you may need to give your whole attention to.
  • Professional sports have unanimously expressed support for the LGBT movement, placing believers who play in a dilemma: should they cave in or take a stand against the organization and fans who help pay for their salaries? I don’t think I’ve seen much written about this issue, and would even ask Christians what it will take to give up consuming sports if this continues to be the trend.
  • Living Waters, the evangelistic organization Ray Comfort founded, have produced a new film called EXIT that deals with the issue of suicide, and where one can find hope. You can watch the entire film here. Watch, pray, and share.

That’s all for this week! See you all on Sunday, both at church and at FITS!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (8/18/2017)

“No one should treat people as merely rational beings in need of instruction, nor as merely emotional beings in need of healing, nor as merely decision-makers who need the right motivation. The truth is broader than each of these…Human experience is three-dimensional. The human heart responds cognitively, through rational processes based on knowledge and beliefs. It also responds affectively, through a framework of desires and emotions. It also responds volitionally, through a series of choices reflecting the willful commitments of the heart. These three aspects of the heart’s response are all a part of how people were designed to worship God.” (Jeremy Pierre, The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Another week has flown by, and another set of links ready to be read. So here they are!

  • Glenn Stanton points out the lack of consistency among the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest gay lobby in the world, in praising Target and Walmart as 100% gay friendly. Target degendered their bathrooms last year, while Walmart has the same bathroom policy as North Carolina, which was excoriated by HRC for their “discriminatory” policy. A tad ironic, no?
  • What are four money principles millenials need to hear? Ron Blue explains.
  • Student, why should you join a local church? Caroline Lee gives you four reasons. Erin Davis over at True Woman writes about having a stick-with-it mentality in the church, and not a startup mentality. You need to click the link to understand what she means.
  • Over at the Life Training Institute blog, Clinton Wilcox highlights a report of scientists editing human embryo DNA with severe genetic defects. The implications are worth paying attention to. Also, Iceland is becoming the country with the least number of births of children with Down Syndrome. Joe Carter explains, however, the way they went about it. In both situations, Gattaca easily comes to mind.
  • How do you stay Christian in college? John Piper was recently asked this question. His thoughts are very helpful.
  • Jordan Standridge gives some thoughts on the five crowds of Charlottesville, VA. Jesse Johnson points to the utterly sinful nature of racism.
  • What should you know about the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to faithfully witness to them of the true God of Scripture? Justin Taylor highlights a very informative article from the ESV Study Bible.
  • How can we be faithful witnesses of Christ here at home, especially in light of the many cultures and ethnicities currently in the US? Pastor Andy Johnson gives six practical ideas that you can start with, even today!

That’s all for this week! Please pray for tonight as we will be having our all-church Bible study tonight, as well as those who will be getting baptized Sunday evening. See you all tonight!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (8/11/2017)

“The easiest way you can love the church is simply by showing up. It sounds easy, but most of us have no idea what just being there means to those around us. Your church family is genuinely encouraged by your presence.” (Jaquelle Crowe, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Well, we come back to providing a number of links that, we hope, will be a blessing to you all, and we promise not to hold anything back! So here are this week’s links!

  • The Gospel Coalition has come out with their new issue of the Themelios journal, and it looks like quite a resource! I’m personally excited to dig into Wingard’s article on being a Reformed compatibilist philosopher (is there any other kind?), McDonald’s article on the incompatibility of natural selection and an epistemology of evil, along with the many, many book reviews! You do not want to miss this!
  • As the school year begins, how do students, especially freshmen, stay strong in the Lord upon moving away for college? Pastor Jon Payne provides five ways.
  • Melissa Cain Travis deals with the dismissal by skeptics that scientists during the time of the Scientific Revolution were devout Christians because of their scientific knowledge. She focuses on Johannes Kepler, but it looks like a series of posts is forthcoming.
  • Professor David Murray is updating his resources page on various topics, and gave a facelift to his page on addictions. There’s a lot to sift through, so make time for this one.
  • Kevin DeYoung apparently stirred up a hornet’s nest in writing a post concerning Christians watching the show ‘Game of Thrones.’ Nicholas Batzig provides some further reflections on the issue. I pray this leads to greater discernment and holiness among God’s people.
  • Biblical counselor David Powlison answers the question, “Is sexual renewal a simple or complex process?” He always points us to wisdom gleaned from Scripture and also provides a story that may speak parallel to where you currently may be.
  • In an excerpt from a sermon, John Piper expresses eight thoughts on the deadliest weapon every believer has against the devil. May we as a church take heed to what is spoken.
  • Mark Johnston provides a theology of vacation from a simple observation of one of Christ’s statements to His disciples while here on earth. Even if summer is coming to an end, may we take our rest the way Christ models for us.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for tonight as we have Bible study for the church, and reports from both the Argentina and Czech Republic teams on Sunday. See you then!

Soli Deo Gloria

Missions Monday #12 – AR Testimonies

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz (and other contributors)

Over the years, many people from our church have been a part of the Argentina missions trips, and have been very appreciative of their time there. I personally have benefitted greatly from the multiple conversations I’ve had with Pastor Jorge Ahualle, Eduaro Buldain, and many of the leaders and members of IBM Tucuman. They have been a joy and a model of how to do ministry, wherever you are. Here are some other members from previous trips who have some experiences to share with you. We hope you enjoy them!

Hwa and Suzie Park (LBCSD)

I think Suzie and I were recently married when we went together to Tucuman to share the Gospel to the beautiful people of Argentina. Looking back it was an amazing experience we both shared that set the foundation for our marriage of what it means to make disciples of Christ. Going door to door, sharing matte with complete strangers all while avoiding wild dogs were both exciting and adventurous. We still talk about Tucuman  from time to time and would love the opportunity to go back one day for sweet fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters in Tucuman.

Ryan McAdams (LBCSD)

The Argentina Missions Trips have a very special place in the story of our family. My wife and I essentially met preparing for the 2007 trip, and after both also going on the 2008 trip, we returned on the 2011 trip for the first time as a married couple! We also took our baby daughter with us when we returned on the 2013 trip. Though we haven’t been able to return since then, the trips have still helped to shape the very core of our family, inside our home and out.

Every trip emphasizes the M of Lighthouse’s MVP statement, the fact that the Lord Jesus has called us to make disciples of all nations. Every trip demonstrates the difference between coercing an individual to answer Yes (or , as the case may be) to a series of questions and the implantation and germination of the seed of God’s word into a person’s very being, that making of a disciple that results in a true follower of Jesus Christ. While these truths drive our planning and execution of the mission trip, they also affect our family’s home life, even in the shepherding and development of our children. Rather than force an insincere confession of faith from them before they understand the truth, we want to trust God with the regeneration of their hearts, and will work to provide an environment that will present the truth of God to them in its fullness and majesty.

The trips have also reinforced the idea that missions doesn’t just take place overseas. Perhaps, by definition, missions happen somewhere else, but then the work of missions should not differ much, if at all, from the work of our own church. This idea has anchored our family as well, as we have sought to avoid compartmentalizing the church, and including it as a vital part of our family life instead. During our time in Tucumán, the church would have almost every meal together, and while they certainly meet together more often during our visitation, the principle of community as a platform for ministry drives our family’s willingness to spend time together with the rest of our church body. Even this serves the goal of disciple-making, since those among the family of God minister internally by helping each other grow further in obedience to all of God’s commands.

Even though we miss dearly our brothers and sisters in Tucumán because of our absence from them, God has used our times there to draw us closer to him individually and as a family even to the present.

Josue Ahualle (son of Pastor Jorge Ahualle, Iglesia Biblica Misionera)

Hello! I am pleased to be able to share with you some of my experience with the LBC visits to our church in Argentina.

The first time we visited I particularly was very small but I will never forget the joy and the unity that was produced in our congregation. It was beautiful to see how we struggled to communicate, the funny signs and gestures that harmonized an atmosphere of happiness and love between brothers and sisters. Each year we were able to make new friends and even though we do not share a lot of time together, each one of these brothers who came won a place in our hearts.

Today I can understand what it means to be part of a missions trip… Sacrifice, time, preparation… that’s why I give thanks to God for each and every one of you! Without a doubt God used you all greatly in our lives. It’s been a great encouragement and help each year you have visited us, many brothers and sisters who are attending today, are the result of the evangelistic campaigns that we have done together. There are many experiences that God has allowed us to enjoy together and I hope there are many more.

Once again I want you to know that I am very happy to have known you and I very much admire the love you have toward God and his work.

God bless you!

Weekly Links (6/23/2017)

“Worry begins when a person is trying to love equally both the Creator and something in creation (or when they are not trying to love the Creator at all, having replaced him with something in his creation). That something may be ourselves, of course. And to love Creator and created equally is impossible.” (Timothy Lane, Living without Worry: How to replace anxiety with peace)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Praise God for those who have been blessed with a summer off! Hopefully, that translates to more undistracted devotion to Christ! Here are this week’s links to get you all started!

  • Paul Tautges examines Scripture’s call to the older and younger men in the church. May we never get tired of hearing what God calls us, both young and old, to be.
  • Not to leave the ladies behind, over at the True Woman blog, Laura Elliot provides some great encouragement to anyone who may not see themselves as teachers to see their calling within the church to bless those who are younger. Please take this to heart, ladies!
  • What in the world is a worldview, and what does it consist of? RTS professor James N. Anderson gives a concise overview of the topic, while mentioning some of the predominant contenders in opposition to Christianity. If this is your first foray into the subject, Anderson is a great guide.
  • After the showing of the documentary Is Genesis History? some of the people behind it have created a conference for students, ministers and educators going into more detail about the many topics covered in the film. A schedule with names of all presentations can be found on their website, while the videos of all presentations are currently on their Facebook page. This will definitely be an in-depth introduction to young-earth creationism, if you are looking for a good place to start studying the topic.
  • Tim and Michael Keller have been doing a series of posts on evangelism at the university that should be a source of interest of anyone who knows college students. It’s been a great read thus far. Here are the posts: “The Uniqueness of University Evangelism,” “The Challenge of University Evangelism,” “4 Promising Opportunities in University Evangelism,” and “5 Principles for University Evangelism.”

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for youth group, as they have their Grad Night/Lock-In today and tomorrow. See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (6/9/2017)

“The only way we are going to know Christ as our supreme treasure is if we diminish the value of competing treasure. Anything— even good things— must go if they hinder Christ’s lordship in our lives and hearts. If we cherish and cling to competing treasures, our affection for God will grow sluggish and our loneliness will only increase.” (Lydia Brownback, Finding God in My Loneliness)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! It’s time for reading, and listening(!), to what has been happening this week. So let’s get to it!

  • Biblical counselors Alasdair Groves and Mike Emlet, who is also a physician, talks about what OCD is from a biblical perspective. This is part one of a two-part series.
  • Recently, a Christian nominated to office was grilled by two U.S. Senators on his views of Islam. Many have called foul on the religious litmus test that has been decried by the political climate whenever a Christian seems to administer it to those who aren’t believers, yet will not do the same when applied to Christians. Joe Carter gives an analysis of what happened, as well as why it matters.
  • Should you give up on the church? Well, obviously, our answer would be, “No,” but how would you counsel someone who is tempted to think this way? Hayley Mullins gives us eight reasons not to abandon Christ’s bride. It’s a great read, and would be wise to heed, too.
  • How can you share Christ with ease and impact? Greg Koukl answers in this month’s mentoring letter.
  • Mathematician Granville Sewell presents his two main concerns with current evolutionary theory, and that without giving specifics of the theory itself. Though it may seem counterintuitive for him to do so, Sewell presents his case, giving us non-scientists hope that we can still bring our disagreements to the table and gain a hearing.
  • Well, summer is coming, which requires the seasonal talk about purity and modesty. Biblical counselor Heath Lambert covers purity at the pool, while Martha Peace covers modesty for girls at the pool, both on the Truth in Love podcast.
  • When we encounter gossip that is being spoken of us or of others, how should we respond or advise those who are being gossiped? Paul Tautges gives two suggestions that will be sure to distinguish believers from the world. May we all grow in Christlike love towards those who choose to speak ill of us behind our backs.
  • Do kids who grow up in the church really understand the gospel? Sean McDowell suggests that, without a real distinction between subjective and objective truth, there is no need for the gospel. When we live in a culture that seeks to blur the lines, we need to teach our children and youth that the gospel is objectively true. Their lives truly do depend on it being so.
  • From this month’s issue of Tabletalk, Covenant College president Derek Halvorson writes to collegians and post-collegians to invest in each others’ lives for the sake of maturity, and as part of entering adulthood.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for the youth and collegians, as they will be finishing with their respective ministry Bible study tonight. See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Missions Monday #10 – AR Multimedia

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

You may be unaware of this, but there are a good number of resources related to our Argentina trips over the past 12 years. If you have ever wanted to become familiar with our missions trips to Argentina, especially what we do and what we’ve learned, then you’ve come to the right place! Please peruse what we have collected over the years. We hope it will be a blessing!

TEXT

  • Our articles related to Argentina missions give many details from various trips over the years, from many different team members, past and present. I even have a number of entries from 2012 on my personal blog, if anyone is interested.

AUDIO

PHOTO

  • Check out all our photos from previous trips: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (days 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, final), 2012, and 2016.
  • Pastor Jorge, his wife Norma, and son Josue came to visit us in 2010, in lieu of a missions trip that year. We had a very special night welcoming them to our church family, and a potluck before their departure.

Weekly Links (5/26/2017)

“Put simply, works are not the means of salvation; they are the fruit of salvation…Good works do not make a person good, but a good person will do good works.” (Erwin Lutzer, Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Not as many links this week, but I hope this will keep you busy over the three-day weekend! Plenty of time to catch up on previous weeks as well!

  • Pastor Mark Dever recently gave a few talks on some of the nine marks he has written and spoken about for years. If you’re looking for a good introduction to these issues, you would do well to start here.
  • How do you forgive someone who refuses to say sorry? Pastor Jeremy Pierre gives a succinct answer to that question. Don’t miss out on Pastor Chris Brauns’ links to other articles on the issue of forgiveness, and even the quiz on forgiveness to get you thinking about this topic. Also, if you are in need of some instruction in how to handle personal conflict, Pastor Steven Cole has been preaching a series of messages on the church, with his most recent on how to resolve personal conflict in the church.
  • Tim Challies notes a musician’s observations that technology seems to have the (un)intended consequence of removing human interaction altogether. After reading this, you may want to talk to someone about it. In person.
  • Is regeneration monergistic or synergistic? If you aren’t sure of the answer, or even what any of those words mean, Steve Lawson may be of some help here.
  • What is the role of the believer in the local church? Well, according to Scripture, every Christian is to be involved in ministry. Pastor Eric Davis, in what I would deem the article of the week (and month, for that matter), lays out the biblical case and importance of being equipped by your church for the sake of ministering to others.
  • Fred Butler, a self-identified young-earth creationist, has been reviewing old-earth creationist Hugh Ross’ book Navigating Genesis, and pointing out some of the issues that arise from his reading of the book. This week’s post is part 5, so you’re going to want to catch up, which he provides links to.
  • Pastor David Prince gives some good reasons not to trust what you normally hear in graduation speeches, specifically in reference to following your passions outside of God’s glory and His church. So don’t be too quick in heeding Will Ferrell’s advice, even if his speech is trending!
  • Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of seven babies and third-degree murder of a woman, had written a justification for his practice with five Bible verses, since he claims to be a Christian. Pastor Jesse Johnson reviews Gosnell’s “inspired” list of Bible verses and responds to each of them.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for flocks as they meet this week. See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria