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

Sentinels of Speech

by Pastor John Kim

Thumper: He doesn’t walk very good, does he?
Mrs. Rabbit: Thumper!
Thumper: Yes, mama?
Mrs. Rabbit: What did your father tell you this morning?
Thumper: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there are many people around us that don’t say very nice things. For some people it is second nature to be sarcastic, biting, contradictory, joking, cutting, or just plain unhelpful. Some are quick to speak and take advantage of someone, whether it be when someone mispronounces a word, uses wrong grammar, or misuses a word. While it is easy to notice this in others, do we take a look at our own lives to consider what comes out of our own mouths?

I still remember a time when I was a youth pastor and held a staff meeting one weekend. We had what was called “brutal honesty” times and it was to give staff members the opportunity to share without fearing repercussions. One staff member shared how she felt that the majority of the staff, especially the guys, were constantly sarcastic and joking and upon reflection, it was true. The atmosphere at church tended to be comfortable with a joking attitude and while it might not have been malicious, there was definitely a sense where the sarcastic tone dominated the interactions. It was sobering to realize that there were those who were hurt by such words.

Now some will say, “Can’t people just take a joke?” Maybe some can but this kind of question might reveal something deeper. Is there consideration for how our words either edify or tear someone down? Does our speech reflect the kind of words and consideration that would honor Christ?

Ephesians 4:29 has long been a verse where it stands guard over my mouth. It presents some very simple and straightforward thoughts that have helped me from saying things that would not have been very helpful. I think it’s when we give thought even to the little things, the quips, the remarks, the retorts, the reactionary words that are often careless – it is when we care enough to glorify God with our speech in all things that we can see our words as a ministry.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

If we were to setup four guards at the point of our mouth and have them determine what is allowed to come out, these four sentinels would serve us well:

Guard #1: Nothing Unwholesome

The idea here is something that is bad, rotten, worthless, harmful. The verse starts off with a pretty comprehensive coverage – “let no unwholesome word.” In other words, every word that comes out cannot be allowed to pass by if characterized in this way. Sometimes we think that certain words or phrases are harmless if they are just said in a joking manner. But this does not take into account a deeper consideration. The question is whether what is being said wholesome or not. Will it contribute to the health of the one who hears it? Will it bring blessing and increase toward godliness? Someone might say, “But can’t we just kid around once in awhile?” What is revealed through questions like these is a blindness to one’s own selfishness and lack of consideration toward others. Is it okay to speak in whatever way I wish without regard for those who hear it? We should only be aware that the words are not only for the person they are directed toward but those around who will hear it as well. What kind of testimony do you bear witness to when you open your mouth around others?

Guard #2: Only Edifying

The principle of edification is one that needs to be taken seriously as we have the opportunity to either build up someone or tear them down. There really can’t be wasted words when it comes to how we communicate with each other. There are again many who want to insist on looking for exceptions to joke around or speak nonsense while at the same time lacking in being deliberate to edify others with their words. There are some that would even want to justify pointing out the faults of others by saying they have the right to say what needs to be said. But it is not always helpful.

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all
things edify. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

It is a challenge but if one gives careful biblical consideration to what is said, the heart of one who truly loves others will desire the edification of others by carefully thinking how one can build up another person’s life by the words you choose to use. Not only can words be edifying, but they can minister healing to someone’s soul!

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

Guard #3: Timely

“According to the need of the moment” means that there needs to be a sense of discernment that gives consideration to not only addressing a need but also seeking to be timely in the manner in which things are spoken. Timing is key for so many things and the words we speak can be a blessing or a curse in the timing of when they are spoken. Even if there is truth spoken, truth spoken in love gives consideration to the timing of how someone will receive it. Too many people insist on speaking what they want to share without Philippians 2:3-4 in mind:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one
another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4)

The timeliness of speaking the truth in love reflects the application of this truth, that you are willing to consider someone else’s interests before your own. How many conflicts could have been avoided or trouble averted if people just gave this particular sentinel to guard what came out of one’s mount? While we obviously cannot avoid all conflicts, there seems to be many times where people unnecessarily cause trouble by lacking this consideration.

He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent. Proverbs (17:27–28)

To exercise restraint and even keep silent show knowledge and wisdom. You can speak too soon and show how foolish you are.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)

Guard #4: Gracious

Our words should be like gifts. The presentation of the right words is like setting the table with just the right dish to serve. The fact that grace is the operating principle also keeps in mind that these words are not just being given because the person deserves such word but even when the person doesn’t deserve such gifts.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. (Proverbs 25:11)

James writes how the tongue is such a small part of the body and yet it boasts great things, capable of setting fire and stirring up a world of iniquity. It is no surprise that so many conflicts stem from how we talk to each other. But we also have the great opportunity to bring blessing through our words and we can minister the truth in love by setting a guard over our mouths so that what comes out truly honors God and communicates the love of Christ to His glory.

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.

Remove Far From Me Vanity And Lies

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Proverbs 30:8

‘O my God, be not far from me.’ Psalm 38:21. Here we have two great lessons-what to deprecate and what to supplicate. The happiest state of a Christian is the holiest state. As there is the most heat nearest to the sun, so there is the most happiness nearest to Christ. No Christian enjoys comfort when his eyes are fixed on vanity-he finds no satisfaction unless his soul is quickened in the ways of God. The world may win happiness elsewhere, but he cannot.

I do not blame ungodly men for rushing to their pleasures. Why should I? Let them have their fill. That is all they have to enjoy. A converted wife who despaired of her husband was always very kind to him, for she said, ‘I fear that this is the only world in which he will be happy, and therefore I have made up my mind to make him as happy as I can in it.’

Christians must seek their delights in a higher sphere than the insipid frivolities or sinful enjoyments of the world. Vain pursuits are dangerous to renewed souls. We have heard of a philosopher who, while he looked up to the stars, fell into a pit; but how deeply do they fall who look down. Their fall is fatal. No Christian is safe when his soul is slothful, and his God is far from him. Every Christian is always safe as to the great matter of his standing in Christ, but he is not safe as regards his experience in holiness, and communion with Jesus in this life. Satan does not often attack a Christian who is living near to God. It is when the Christian departs from his God, becomes spiritually starved, and endeavours to feed on vanities, that the devil discovers his vantage hour. He may sometimes stand foot to foot with the child of God who is active in his Master’s service, but the battle is generally short: he who slips as he goes down into the Valley of Humiliation, every time he takes a false step invites Apollyon to assail him. O for grace to walk humbly with our God!

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Weekly Links (6/2/2017)

by Stephen Rodgers

Happy Friday folks! Since it’s the first Friday of the month, that means that you get an article from me regarding free stuff! This is going to be a short list, but there’s some very good stuff.

  • The New Testament by God (free audio book) – The free resource from christianaudio.com this month is the KJV translation of the Bible (New Testament only). Apparently this was recorded specifically with listening in mind, so if you like to have a rotation of audio Bibles, this is worth checking out.
  • Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by John M. Frame (free logos resource) – This is John Frame’s prolegamena (introduction to systematic theology) and just like nearly everything Frame writes, is pretty great. I’ve got the dead tree version of this on my shelf, and it’s absolutely worth picking up.
  • The Beatitudes (July 2017 Tabletalk) – I’ve sung the praises of Tabletalk magazine before, and I’m not about to stop now. It’s a really fine resource, and if you haven’t become familiar with it yet, now would be a great time.

That’s it! Short and sweet…but as you can see, I wasn’t kidding about the quality. Enjoy!

Fireflies Nursery Update

By Sallie Yang

Lighthouse Bible Church, San Diego (LBCSD) has an ever- growing Fireflies ministry of children aged three and under. The Fireflies ministry is comprised of two groups, N1 and N2. In N1, we care for babies from birth until they can walk; and in N2, we care for those who can walk until they are three and potty-trained. As our church continues to grow, so does the number of children in our care and subsequently, our need for more nursery workers. We seek faithful women who are LBCSD members and have a heart to care for these children to join nursery. If you are interested, please contact Carol Lim, our lead nursery coordinator.

Truly, there is never a dull moment when serving in Fireflies. By the end of nursery, I often have to go home and take a nap! The babies and toddlers command our full attention with all of their energy, personalities, and cute and crazy baby–and toddler–ways. They are a handful, but a joy to take care of. Personally, I enjoy the time I get to interact with them one on one, even if it is just to console them as they are crying. It is a way that I get to display Christ to them and to practice kindness, patience, and love, which are fruits of the Spirit. It is my hope that the kids will have a positive view towards nursery and love being at church.

In nursery, we have the awesome opportunity to share the love of Christ with the children through our interactions with them and teaching time. In N2, we teach simple lessons about God and Jesus to build a foundation for what they will continue to learn as they move on from nursery into Sparklers and beyond. This month we are teaching the kids that God made everything based on Genesis 1. We start the lesson by sharing how in the beginning there were no trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. But, there was God. And, God is big and strong. God created the trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. God created everything! Our memory verse, Genesis 1:1, ties in beautifully with the lesson this month. It is put to a simple melody and sung with hand motions. The Fireflies memory verse songs can be found in the Resource section on the LBC Children’s page.

We teach the same lesson every Sunday for the whole month, adding a craft at the end of the month to reinforce the truths learned. The lesson becomes really familiar to them by the end of the month. I think it’s particularly encouraging when the kids are able to state the truth being taught even before we get there in the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the kids have the opportunity to color on the take home lesson sheet and memory verse paper. I often use this time to reiterate the truths to them. We encourage our staff to be intentional with the time we spend with the kids.

I love the chance to serve alongside the wonderful women in our Fireflies ministry. We have women from all affinity groups and walks of life. It has been great to meet and get to know ladies that I may not have had a chance otherwise to meet. I’ve been encouraged by their hearts to serve God and love people in caring for the youngest, most vulnerable of our church with such joy and sacrifice.

To God be the glory in all that we do!

Missions Monday #9 – CZ Multimedia

by Stephen Rodgers

Back when I studied creative writing, I remember being on the receiving end of the literary admonition to “show, don’t tell.” So, in the spirit of getting out of the way of the story of missions, here’s a rather wide-ranging variety of links that you might enjoy related to CZ missions!

TEXT

  • It casts a rather wide net, but we have a category of articles here on the Beacon devoted to the topic of missions.

AUDIO

PHOTO

WEBSITES

  • KSB and KSOP are the churches in the Czech Republic that we’ve worked with over the years.

Whosoever Will, Let Him Take The Water Of Life Freely

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Revelation 22:17

Jesus says, ‘take freely.’ He wants no payment or preparation. He seeks no recommendation from our virtuous emotions. If you have no good feelings, if you be but willing, you are invited; therefore come! You have no belief and no repentance,-come to Him, and He will give them to you. Come just as you are, and take ‘Freely,’ without money and without price. He gives Himself to needy ones.

The drinking fountains at the corners of our streets are valuable institutions; and we can hardly imagine any one so foolish as to feel for his purse, when he stands before one of them, and to cry, ‘I cannot drink because I have not five pounds in my pocket.’ However poor the man is, there is the fountain, and just as he is he may drink of it. Thirsty passengers, as they go by, whether they are dressed in fustian or in broadcloth, do not look for any warrant for drinking; its being there is their warrant for taking its water freely. The liberality of some good friends has put the refreshing crystal there and we take it, and ask no questions.

Perhaps the only persons who need go thirsty through the street where there is a drinking fountain, are the fine ladies and gentlemen who are in their carriages. They are very thirsty, but cannot think of being so vulgar as to get out to drink. It would demean them, they think, to drink at a common drinking fountain: so they ride by with parched lips. Oh, how many there are who are rich in their own good works and cannot therefore come to Christ! ‘I will not be saved,’ they say, ‘in the same way as the harlot or the swearer.’ What! go to heaven in the same way as a chimney sweep. Is there no pathway to glory but the path which led the thief there? I will not be saved that way. Such proud boasters must remain without the living water; but, ‘WHOSOEVER WILL, LET HIM TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY.’

6.13a

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