Author Archives: Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Weekly Links (10/13/2017)

“Every Christian is called into full-time ministry. Once we step over the line and begin to follow Jesus, everything we do is supposed to be done in his name, representing him, with the goal of advancing his kingdom.” (J.D. Greear, Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Another week has come and gone, but the Lord is still in control, and He is good! I pray these links will be a further reminder of His goodness.

  • How can we resolve most of our relational conflicts, when everything in us doesn’t want to do it? Jon Bloom at Desiring God offers some honest words of wisdom that will give you a better perspective on conflict that you may currently have.
  • How is missionary outreach done in closed countries? TMAI provides some background information, and possible ways of continuing the advance of the Great Commission to those who need to hear the gospel. This is very good food for thought, and also worth praying for more laborers to be sent into the harvest.
  • Are pastors called to preach Christ in every text of the Bible? Such is the mindset of some, who call for a Christocentric hermeneutic, as opposed to a grammatical-historical one. TMU Professor Abner Chou explains why this hermeneutic, though well-intentioned, has some issues that doesn’t square well with Scripture. This is some fascinating reading.
  • Al Mohler continues his series of apologetics through the SBTS chapel messages every week. This week, he covers the statement, “Jesus is the only way to heaven.
  • Mohler also has made available a new e-book he has compiled, called The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty and the Right to Be Christian. You can get a free download by signing up here.
  • Former transgender Walt Heyer exposes the fact that there are people in the transgender movement who are seeking to leave because they have changed their minds. Many in the movement, whether transgender or not, are not very friendly towards those who leave, but the power of the gospel has been the means to draw out some and draw them towards Christ. May God be glorified to bring many to Himself again and again.
  • What can be said to a married couple who is currently infertile? Maybe not a lot, but God is never without hope and encouragement, as highlighted in this article that lays out four truths they (and we) need to hear.
  • Desiring God is still providing profiles of Reformers in their Here I Stand podcast. This week: Thomas Becon, William Tyndale, Martin Bucer, Marie Dentière, and Johannes Oecolampadius.

That’s all for this week! Please pray for our youth and collegians, as they will be meeting at church tonight! See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (10/6/2017)

“Churches that want to penetrate their world with the gospel think less about the Sunday morning bang and more about equipping their members to blast a hole in the mountain of lostness.” (J.D. Greear, Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! There’s a general theme with these posts (with one rare exception), so I hope you love learning more about what God has done in history, ad how He continues to grow His people. Here’s to celebrating God’s faithfulness in the church throughout its history.

That’s all for this week! Short, and sweet! Tonight, please pray for the youth and collegians, as they meet tonight at church. See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (9/29/2017)

“Just as genuine saving faith assumes that a person has repented from sin, so genuine repentance assumes that someone is turning to Christ in faith. Repentance from sin and faith in Christ are two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same decision of the heart…Nevertheless, it still seems to me that a deliberate omission of the need to call people to repent of their sins constitutes a significant departure from New Testament patterns, and such a departure cannot be taught and practiced without significant harmful consequences to the church and to many of the people who hear such a gospel.” (Wayne Grudem, “Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! The week is coming to a close, but it can’t be complete without some links to keep you occupied. So here they are!

  • Do Christians suffer a case of circular reasoning by saying that we believe in the Bible to be God’s Word because it says so? Dan DeWitt explains why this isn’t as bad as you may think, and that everyone actually has to deal with the same issue.
  • Will there ever be common ground between those who are pro-life and pro-choice on the matter of abortion? Baylor University Classics professor Julia Hejduk believes so, arguing for gift-motherhood, and providing some potential incentives and answering possible objections from both sides. There is much here to ponder, of which I am personally thankful to have read through.
  • Joe Rigney recently spoke in a chapel address at Bethlehem College on the relationship between Scripture, natural law, and sexual ethics. There is much to commend in this lecture, and I learned a lot from it. I hope you do, too.
  • Al Mohler has begun a series of messages on apologetics for chapel at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and it’s been quite timely. He takes an essential belief and asks the question, “Do you believe what you believe you believe?” This week, he focuses on the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. Your mind will expand as you listen.
  • With all the talk about sexual identity and the culture’s trend away from biblical authority, different issues keep coming up for discussion and compromise in the church. CBMW highlights a Christian response to polyamory, or “open marriages.” May God bring about repentance for anyone who espouses this view.
  • 9Marks came out with a new journal for the Fall on the reformation and your church. Great material to read on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Desiring God is also starting Here We Stand, a 31-day podcast that will highlight biographies of many of the heroes of the Reformation, both known and unknown. Stephen Nichols writes a brief article chronicling the life and influence of John Wycliffe.
  • What does John Piper see as the great marriage killer? His most recent podcast deals with that topic, and more.

That’s all for this week! Please keep the youth and collegians in prayer, as they meet tonight in their respective Bible studies. Don’t forget, we have now moved to two services, at 8:30am and 10:45am. See you all then!

Soli Deo Gloria

Weekly Links (9/22/2017)

“Young Theologs, if your main activity is discussing theology but it does not result in a deep love and concern for people, you are no heir of the Reformation, regardless of your theological positions. Pastors and those who desire to be pastors, if your idea of pastoral ministry is limited to the pulpit, then you are no heir of the Reformation regardless of the length or theological weight of your sermons. The Reformers, mirroring Christ and the apostles, were deeply involved in the lives of their people, aware that they would be called to account for the oversight of their souls (Heb 13:17). A passion for souls requires the knowledge of specific souls and involvement in the messiness of their everyday lives.” (Ray Van Neste, “The Care of Souls: The Heart of the Reformation,” Themelios 39.1)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Here are this week’s links! Enjoy!

  • If you haven’t heard already, former Muslim and now Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi died this past Saturday after battling stomach cancer for about a year. Ravi Zacharias posted a tribute to him and spoke at his memorial service. Please be in prayer for his wife Michelle and daughter Ayah, as he was a faithful spokesman for the cause of the gospel to Muslims and all who would hear him tell others about our Savior.
  • Biblical counselor Stuart Scott continues his study of the Reformers and their relationship to the care of souls in their private ministry of the Word. We cannot divorce their profound theological impact from their profound care for the flock of God entrusted to them. May we all, not just our pastors, grow in our love for those who are in need of counsel.
  • Church historian Stephen Nichols gives a four-minute recounting of the life and ministry of John Calvin. Fascinating, especially if hearing about his life for the first time.
  • Are there bad reasons to leave a church? You bet, and Brett McCracken gives seven of them.
  • How can you remind yourself of the gospel? Paul Tautges gives you four ways to do so. We need to remember the gospel in our daily lives. May this lead to that end.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for the upcoming two services beginning this Sunday! See you all then!

Soli Deo Gloria

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!