Monday, December 15, 2008

Every Commercial Flight in 72 seconds - Video

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Dan 12:4

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Lone Commandment: Are Christians Inconsistent in not Obeying the Sabbath?

- Jake Magee

The Charge of Inconsistency

It has been argued that since the commandment to keep the Sabbath is placed in the middle of nine other commandments which are manifestly universal and perpetually binding, it is simply inconsistent for people to obey nine of the commandments and to ignore this one. To be consistent, it is asserted, we would do better to regard the Sabbath as we do the others - as being equally binding to all people.

I contend that this argument, considered apart from both New Testament declarations about the Sabbath, as well as the clear testimony of the early church, is unconvincing.

An Argument From Analogy

It appears that this argument is an argument from analogy. An argument from analogy states that if object x has properties A, B, C, and D, and object y has properties A, B, and C, then chances are that y also has property D. For example, let’s say that water has the properties of wetness, phase-changeability, drink ability, and is a molecule of two hydrogen atoms to one oxygen atom. Imagine that we landed on some obscure planet and observed something that looks like water. It is wet, undergoes changes into gas at the same temperature as water, and is drinkable. Given that this liquid is similar to water in these three properties, then chances are that this stuff on this planet also has a two hydrogen to one oxygen atom ratio.

As it applies to the discussion on the 10 commandments, those who argue for the perpetuity of the 4 th commandment seem to be saying something like this. Since the nine other commandments are
(1) divinely authoritative

(2) related to one another (i.e., part of the same family of commands)

(3) absolutely binding (i.e., perpetual, not reducible to spiritualization or culture)
(4) it is most probable that the 4 th commandment, which is divinely authoritative and related to the other nine, is also absolute and perpetual.
Now the strength of any argument from analogy is rooted in the genuine commonality of properties in two objects compared. So, if we find out that the liquid on this supposed planet doesn’t freeze at the temperature that water does (though it does change into gas at the same temperature as water), is drinkable but doesn’t hydrate our bodies, then we have good reason to be suspect as to whether it is a molecule of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.

As this applies to the 4 th commandment, to be really secure that Sabbath-observing is trans cultural or absolute, it would require that the other commandments are truly very similar to one another and all equally absolute. I contend that there’s plenty of dissimilarity with the nine other commandments that makes it perfectly allowable for the forth commandment to be revised in the way it has by most Christian churches.

Commandments That Are Situation-Specific

We observe in Scripture that there are some commandments that do not apply to all people at all times.

Take the commandment which says that we should not bear false witness. Now, is this commandment binding to all people in all circumstances? The scriptural answer is no. For instance, Rahab is praised for an action at the core of which was a violation of the 9 th commandment (Josh 2:1-7; James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31). A modern day case in which the 9 th commandment isn’t absolute was dramatically played out over and over again in places like Poland in World War 2. People were forced to either lie to Nazi soldiers or disclose that they had families of Jews hiding in their homes. It seems clear that the prohibition of bearing false witness gave way to a greater good of preserving peoples lives.

Take also the prohibition of murdering. Does Moses mean that it is always wrong in all occasions to take someone’s life? I think the answer is clear when the Lord commands Israel to slaughter various people groups throughout the Old Testament. God seems to command people to do in one circumstance something that he doesn’t in another. Now, we often make the distinction between murder and killing. Although I think this distinction is true, it’s not one given clearly in the actual commandment. Elsewhere in Scripture, the word is used for both justified and unjustifiable murder.

NAU Numbers 35:27 and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood

Here we have an instance where the same Hebrew word is used of both justifiable and unjustifiable murder. This passage refers to a city (cities) of refuge where a person who inadvertently killed someone could flee and find protection from avengers. In other words, if Bob desired to kill Larry for killing his brother, Bob wouldn’t be justified in killing Larry when Larry is within the borders of this city. However, if Larry ventures outside of the city limits and Bob slays him, Bob has committed justified homicide. To sum up, there are some circumstances that permit murder. As such, its not absolute and perpetually binding.

Commandments That Are Absolute

We also observe in Scripture that there are other commands that are binding to all people in all circumstances. For instance,

Exodus 20:3 3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.

This first commandment is clearly an edict that should never be violated. It doesn’t matter if lives are at stake, there is no circumstance in which idolatry is permissible.

The tenth commandment is also one that seems difficult to justifiably disobey. For example, we can’t even imagine a circumstance in which it would be permissible for a person to covet another person’s spouse. That is, it is always wrong to covet another’s spouse.

Commandments That Allow For Changing Details

There are certain commandments that were designed specifically for the promotion of people’s well-being such that if there was ever a circumstance when these commandments obstructed human good or didn’t conform to a person’s calling (vocation), the details of these commandments were subject to alteration. As an example, let’s take the activities of the Sabbath without considering the specific day it is to be observed. Jesus states in Mark 2:27,

"The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

This statement was made after Jesus gave Old Testament examples of circumstances in which it was permissible to deviate from the normal activities that were commanded in the Law. The first example Jesus gives in this passage is David who takes the bread that was to be eaten only by the priests and feeds both himself and his men. This certainly was a violation of prescribed activities. However, the adherence to these specific activities was not superior to preserving the lives of David and his men. As such, this deviation was permissible. The second example Jesus gives is of the temple workers who were exempt from the Mosaic prescription of relative inactivity. Not only was this exemption permitted, but it was commanded. That is to say, they were considered disobedient to God if they weren’t disobedient to the Law.

Now notice that we can’t make the same kind of declaration that Jesus made concerning the Sabbath about worshipping God. We can’t say,

“Worshipping Jehovah was made for man, and man was not made for worshipping Jehovah.”

It is manifest that all creatures are obligated, from the moment they come into being, to worship the true God. The activity of Jehovah-worship should never be suspended or deviated from.

Some Conclusions

We’ve observed that the proposition that Saturday worship should be observed because it is found in the midst of nine other commandments that are absolute and perpetually binding is an argument from analogy. But I have argued that this analogy is bad because there are different kinds of commandments. There are
(1) commandments that one must always obey no matter what.

(2) commandments that one shouldn’t obey given certain circumstances.

(3) commandments that are specifically designed to promote human well-being such that the observances of these commandments are flexible.
As such, it may be the case that
(1) the Sabbath is a commandment that one doesn’t have to obey.

(2) the Sabbath has been altered to fit new historical circumstances (I.e. resurrection).

(3) just as certain Sabbath-day activities commanded by the law proved to be flexible, it may be the case that the day these activities were to be performed on is also flexible, such that Sunday worship is now appropriate.

-Jake Magee

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Season's Greetings

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sharing God's Love/Hate Relationship With People

jake magee
Christians harbor a fear of speaking about God's wrath towards sinful humanity. We shy away from the stark declarations of Scripture like Psalm 7:11-13,

"11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. 13 He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts. 14 Behold, he travails with wickedness"
The thought of God preparing weapons to afflict the impenitent is a bit unsettling to us, how much more the non-believer. Some fear that to thunder these kinds of verses will invariably eclipse the love of God and scare off our neighbors. God's wrath repels, God's love attracts.

Little do they know that God's love is amplified given God's righteous anger. Consider these words from Mark Dever:

"The Preacher who talks only of the love of God talk about it less and less with each sermon they preach, because there is less and less in their own mind that God loves us in spite of. There's less and less of a problem that has been dealt with; less and less weight that Christ has carrieed; less and less extent to which he has gone in his love for us."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Let Him Alone"

"Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone" (Hosea 4:17)

Thomas Brooks draws out the horrible state of someone forsaken by God.

"Woe, Woe to that soul that God will not spend a rod upon. This is the saddest stroke of all, when God refuses to strike at all"

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Tribute to Billy Graham at 90.

by John Piper


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Corvettes, Geos, and Church Models


There has been tension within evangelical ranks as to the model of church that is most faithful to Scripture: Attractional or Incarnational. A new breed of churchmen appear to have a fatal allergy to anything “attractional” or “corporate,” by which they mean most large gatherings on Sunday mornings that are somewhat programmed; gatherings which include skilled musicians leading people in singing, as well as a skilled man teaching people from the Bible. In other words, these churchmen have an allergy to what we have assumed to be church. This allergy is due in large part to a conviction that such a model has perpetuated passivity and spectatorship. This is either because the model is intrinsically flawed or unnecessary for capturing the New Testament church ethos.

I suspect that many of these churchmen are responding to an abuse of the “attractional” model. Certainly, many pastors have reduced “church” to the two hours on a Sunday morning. This is a shame. Whatever the rationale may be, I think it’s in unwarranted rejection. The solution of abandoning traditional church is an exaggerated prescription, like amputating your arms because of arthritis in your hands. Unknowingly, they’ve limited their missional velocity.

The mistake they’ve made is kind of like a person driving a Chevy Corvette taking mountain corners no faster than 30 mph, because every time he’s seen Chevy Geo Metros taking corners faster than 30 they flip and the driver dies. He concludes that all Chevy’s flip at 35mph and faster. He’s responded to the limitations of a bad Chevy (Geos) by concluding that all Chevys are bad (including Corvettes); he’s limited the potential of his good Chevy because of the limitations of a bad Chevy.

Like wise, many have responded to the limitations of bad corporate gatherings by concluding that all “corporate” gatherings are bad –thereby limiting the potential of good gatherings for their movement.

Great Resource for Apologetics

Check out Apologetics 315

Another Failed End-Times Prediction

"Members of the Lord Our Righteousness Church near Des Moines believed they would escape their earthly bondage and ascend to heaven Friday night. Their once-active Web site came down, and a church representative sent the Journal an e-mail saying he didn't anticipate having anymore contact with the media.

But as a small crowd of people and a TV news crew looked on from the gate to the wind-swept compound, midnight came. And then midnight went." MORE

Friday, October 31, 2008

The New Jerusalem???

Destiny Church plans to create a ‘holy city’ his followers never have to leave

Destiny Church is planning to create a holy city for its followers in the heart of South Auckland. He is urging church members to sell up their homes around the country and move to his promised land - a suggestion that is not being welcomed by everyone. The church’s leader, Bishop Brian Tamaki has told supporters the plans are well advanced, and that donations for the project have topped $2.4 million.

Destiny Church exhibits many signs of being a cult-like church. Four years ago, Tamaki expected Destiny Church to rule New Zealand by now. At least one newspaper believes Tamaki’s destiny is irrelevance... MORE

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sobering Words about Preaching

"For myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so, the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men’s salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood.
Me thinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possibly we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Couple beaten to death in a stop-smoking "ritual"

Couple beaten to death in stop-smoking ‘cleansing ritual’

from Religion News Blog by Anton Hein

A couple who went to a relative's house to celebrate the end of Ramadan and agreed to an 'alternative treatment' to rid them of their problems, ended up dead after being battered with helmets and broomsticks during the cleansing ritual.

Five others who also participated in the ritual, including the couple's children and relatives, suffered head injuries and were being treated at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God - 2008 Desiring God Conference

I'm presently listening through this helpful conference. Worth the listen. Here's the Link to the Audio and Video - The Power of Words

Here's the Line Up:

Sinclair Ferguson - "The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing"
Driscoll, Ferguson, Piper - Friday Panel Discussion
Bob Kauflin - "Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?"
Mark Driscoll - "How Sharp the Edge: Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words"
Daniel Taylor - "The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God's and Ours"
Kauflin, Piper, Taylor, Tripp - Saturday Panel Discussion
Paul Tripp - "War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God's Sake"
John Piper - "Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Christianity's Greatest Enemy: Religion - Mark 2:1-12

Christianity's Greatest Enemy: Religion
September, 21 2008
Click Here the Audio

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jesus in the Dresser Drawer - Mark 1:21-39

Jesus In the Dresser Drawer
September, 14 2008
Click Here the Audio

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fighting the Unseen: An Intro in Spiritual Warfare - Mark 1:12 & 13

Fighting the Unseen: An Intro in Spiritual Warfare
August 31, 2008
Click Here the Audio

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The "Lost" Years of Jesus - Mark 1:14-20

Series Title: The Real Jesus
Message Title: The “Lost” Years of Jesus
August 17, 2008
Mark 1:14-20

CLICK HERE to listen

Monday, July 21, 2008

Faith By Jealousy - Romans 11 pt.2

Romans 11: 11-15
July 20, 2008
Jake Magee


Israel: A Lesson in the Unexpected - Romans 11 pt.1

Romans 11:1-10
Jake Magee


Saturday, July 19, 2008

oasis north valley - new location August 3rd

Starting August 3rd
We're Meeting at Victoria Community Church

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Divorce and Remarriage pt. 1 - Is Divorce Justified in Cases of Neglect? Probably in the Old Testament.

by Jake Magee
Exodus 21:7-11
7 "If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8 "If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. 9 "If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 "If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 "If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money."
This passage is believed to provide for us “neglect” as a legitimate cause for divorce. I would like to look some of the strengths and weakness of this position and offer some reasons for my tentative agreement of this position. In offering a tentative agreement, this isn’t necessarily an affirmation that neglect is a legitimate cause for divorce. We have yet to weigh the words of Jesus on his handling of Mosaic regulations on marriage.

In verse 7, we have the conditions of a father selling his daughter into slavery. Moses says that she is not to go free after the allotted time as the male slaves to. Why the permanency of the slavery? The answer seems connected with what position she’s appointed to: “If he designates her for himself (vs.8),” or “if he designates* her for his son” (vs.9). The appointment seems to have been for engagement or marriage, not to ordinary servitude.

It’s vital to know the precise nature of this “designation,” for in verses 10 & 11, the “designation” may be legally dissolved in the case of neglect. If the appointment is to engagement, then this verse would be irrelevant to the topic of divorce. All Moses would be saying is, “If a woman is engaged and her fiancĂ©e betroths someone else, she is free to exit her term of servitude.” If it refers to marriage, than we must address other issues related the particular relevancy of this passage for new covenant living.

So, does this designation refer to marriage or betrothal? The answer could be determined by what is meant by “conjugal rights.” The NIV, RSV, NKJV translates it “marital rights” or “marriage rights”. The KJV has “the duty of marriage”. The NAU has “conjugal rights.” The Hebrew word under girding these translations can mean “cohabitation.” The Septuagint has apostereo which Paul renders sexual intercourse in 1 Corinthians 7:5.**

“Stop depriving (apostero) one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Cultural conditions would be consistent with taking this as being sexual in nature.

“Many times female slaves were concubines or secondary wives ( cf. Gen. 16:3 ; 22:24 ; 30:3 , 9 ; 36:12 ; Jud. 8:31 ; 9:18 ). Some Hebrew fathers thought it more advantageous for their daughters to become concubines of well-to-do neighbors than to become the wives of men in their own social class (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. 1983-c1985. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures . Victor Books: Wheaton, IL ).
However, this is not without problems. If marriage is in view, then Moses seems to allow for polygamous marriages. To paraphrase, “if a man who is married to a former slave decides to marry another women, and if that man neglects the former wife for the latter, than she has the permission to leave the husband.” There’s no censure of the man marrying another women. And the former wife is bound in that relationship so long as the husband provides for her. Someone might argue that since Moses certainly would have addressed this perversion of the family unit, then it is best to interpret this passage as referring to engagement so as to avoid Moses’ tacit support of polygamy. Put differently, you can only have divorce in this passage if you embrace polygamy. Since no one wants to embrace polygamy, let’s interpret this passage as referring to engagement.

This objection is unconvincing when we look related passages like Deuteronomy 22:10-16. First, the passage refers to a clear case of divorce that neatly parallels Exodus 21. Secondly, this passage addresses polygamous relationships without explicit censure of such a relationship. Both of these factors diffuse the above argumentation that Moses couldn’t have meant espousal due to the resultant polygamy. Let’s look at the passage.

Deuteronomy 21:10-17

10 "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 "She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 "It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her. 15 "If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16 then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17 "But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.”
This passage makes explicit what I said was implicit in Exodus 21:7-11. Here we have a woman of captivity taken into slavery and married by her captor. Due to the marriage bond and the subsequent divorce, she may chose not remain as a slave. She is a freed woman. Sounds a lot like Exodus 21.

Note the commonalities: (1) Both speak of women slaves: one sold in to slavery by a father, the other a slave in virtue of conquest. (2) If Exodus 21 is referring to taking the slave as a wife, then they both would refer to espousal, not engagement. (3) Both would refer to the condition of her freedom as the termination of marriage.

Exodus 21:11 11 "If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.”
Deuteronomy 21:14 14 "It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.
In Deuteronomy, it’s the husband that is displeased. In Exodus 21, it is the putative wife that is displeased. Taking these two passages together, it is likely that Exodus 21 refers to espousal, and not engagement.

Surprisingly enough, the espousal view of Exodus. 21 is supported by the discussion of polygamy in Duet. 21. The passage transitions to a case in which a man has two wives (vss.15-17). How did he get the second wife? It’s reasonable to think that he obtained the second wife from the conquest of Canaan that is referred to in vss. 10-14. With the new espousal, the first wife becomes unloved, as well as her son. Moses provides parameters to protect the status of the first born.

Notice how the two parallel nicely.

Exodus 21:10 - 11

10 "If he takes to himself another woman (as a wife), he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights (reduce his love for her). 11 "If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.
Deuteronomy 21:15-17

15 "If a man has two wives (a new one taken from the captivity), the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16 then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 17 "But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn
Exodus 21:11 leaves it to the women as whether she stay or go should she be neglected. In the case in Duet 21, it appears that the wife chooses to stay. Moses establishes some parameters to protect her child should this woman choose to stay.

This interpretation raises many questions. For example, “why are Scriptural writers silent on the issue of polygamy?” “Is this silence a tacit support for such a lifestyle?” For that matter, “why is slavery condoned?” “Why is chauvinism so pronounced?” “How come Moses doesn’t resist slavery, polygamy, and chauvinism?” In reality, these are topics outside the scope of my immediate topic of interest, and each person who has a stake the discussion on divorce are left to explain these same areas regardless of which side of the debate they fall.

My conclusion is that Exodus 21:10-11 did allow for divorce in the case of neglect.

*d[y verb qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular , suffix 3rd person feminine singular B4034 d[;y" vb. appoint -- Qal appoint, a time; place; a rod; assign or designate as concubine. Niph. 1. reflexive, meet at an appointed place, with l., of Yahweh meeting Moses at the Tent of `Meeting'; at the throne of the Kapporeth. 2. meet by appointment; with B. of place; la, of place. 3. gather, assemble by appointment, kings for a campaign (abs.); with la,, unto Moses; to the door of the tent of meeting; with l[;, unto Solomon; against Yahweh. Po`el sq. pers. + la, of place. Hiph. make meet, i.e. summon or arraign. Hoph. be set, placed before. (pg 416)

**The root meaning is defrauding or depriving someone from something. The context determines what is being deprived: house, justice, sex, etc…

Divorce and Remarriage - Introduction

by Jake Magee

The topic of divorce is ripe and relevant within evangelical churches. The garden variety evangelical appears to be neck and neck with his culture in the rate at which he divorces. This is likely due to the typical evangelical affirming the culture’s position on divorce, as well as manhood, womanhood, and family. We divorce too easily, because we marry too easily. We marry too easily, because we don’t have a clue on what commitment is. We also marry wrongly. We marry with fuzzy and sometimes reversed roles in the family. When the design for family has been ignored, it’s not surprising to see toxic environments that makes divorce a welcomed life-preserve in the midst of a storm-tossed relationship.

In the backdrop of multiple illegitimate divorces, this begs the question of what Biblically counts as a "legitimate" divorce. I think most people would agree that the scope for what counts as “justified” divorce has been made so broad so as to allow for the dissolving of the union due to matters as trivial as “burning dinner.” So what biblical condition or conditions give license for a person to divorce?

As a pastor, there is always a tremendous burden to have the “word of the Lord” when dealing with people so as to ensure that I’ve done my due diligence in communicating God’s word on topics that determine lives and eternity. This post, and all subsequent related posts, will chronicle my mental journey in seeking a more informed position on the parameters of divorce and remarriage. This means that most of these posts may appear disjointed, reflecting a disjunctive mind which will pursue suggestions that may arise randomly as I interact with the biblical text. Conclusions may be reached and discarded as further investigate discloses vulnerabilities. It will be in the homestretch that each respective area will begin to find their place and position as my position. With that, I sign off.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God Is Not Dead Yet

God Is Not Dead Yet

William Lane Craig

"You might think from the recent spate of atheist best-sellers that belief in God has become intellectually indefensible for thinking people today. But a look at these books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, among others, quickly reveals that the so-called New Atheism lacks intellectual muscle. It is blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in Anglo-American philosophy. It reflects the scientism of a bygone generation rather than the contemporary intellectual scene..."

For more: HERE

Monday, June 30, 2008

ONV - New Location

oasis north valley - new location come august 3rd. Here's a video tour...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mother’s Milk


Infants eat voraciously. The slightest hunger pangs are broadcast with ear-piercing tongues of discontent. We know that as soon as they’re born they intuitively seek out mother’s milk. Though their eyesight is unclear and motor functions underdeveloped, they just seem to know where and how to find mother’s milk. They’ll eat until they burp up or until they’re exhausted. They’re not merely eating to live, they live to eat.

Peter says to those born from above,

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:1-3)
The apostle says that those who have tasted of the Lord will have an infant-like appetite for the word of God. Do you?

Do you eat God’s word to live? Or do you live to eat God’s word? One is a duty – driven out of law and obligation. The other compelled by the experience of pleasure and delight.
Is the word of God a duty or a delight?
Do you have an insatiable appetite for God’s word? Do you eat it until you’re exhausted and burp up? Or, are you satisfied with a sampler: a quick devotion here or an out of context verse there?

Do you treasure God’s word or handle it trivially?
If your approach to Scripture is trivial and duty driven, perhaps your appetite has been suppressed. Perhaps you need to put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. I know of no greater things to suppress one’s appetite for God’s word than to consume and digest maligning and evil words. That’s easily done watching TV, surfing the web, or reading magazines. How many hours do we spend ingesting and digesting these sorts of things? How little time do we ingest and digest the word of God?

In the same way, I know of no greater thing which suppresses an infant’s appetite than gas. It takes the space that mom’s milk would take up. Here’s a novel ideal: Turn off the TV for once. Put down the magazine. Close the lap-top. It’s gaseous. It will fill you up with nothing. And it usually stinks.

Infants are marked with one focus – mother’s milk. Everything else is irrelevant. Let’s begin to long for God’s word like new born babes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


by Jake Magee

According to a new survey, 70 percent of Americans affirm that there are many religious traditions that may lead a person to God. 57 percent of evangelical church attenders agree.

“57 percent of evangelical church attenders agree.”
Do they attend our churches? You might be surprised.

What’s the attraction to this growing belief called “Pluralism”?

Rev. Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, voices the conviction: “Hey, we don’t have a hammer-lock on God or salvation, and God’s bigger than us and we should respect that and respect other people.”

Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance chimes in, “It indicates a level of humility about religion that would be of great benefit to everyone.”

Also, among the buzz words was “tolerance.”

So allegedly the draw is respect, tolerance, and humility in one’s religious faith. A person is respectful, tolerant, and humble when she affirms many paths to God. Doesn’t that sound noble?

So I guess the question is this: does pluralism really promote respect, tolerance, and humility?

What about respect?

Is a person being respectful when they dismiss out of hand a critical component of a number of religious traditions? Exclusivity is critical to Christianity, as well as to other traditions. Is a person being respectful when they casually treat doctrines counted as sacred and essential?

It seems to me that for many of those who affirm “many paths” to God, either they have not and do not want to take the time to understand the historical faiths of which they are referring and are merely assuming their compatibility with pluralism. Or, they have taken the time to investigate the traditions, and because they dismiss their absolute truth claims, they assert to the world their compatibility with pluralism. The former is ignorance, the latter is dishonesty. In either case, I don’t detect respect.

What about tolerance?

Tolerance implies opposition and disagreement. We don’t tolerate the things we like and agree with, we tolerate those things we dislike and disagree with. I tolerate my wife’s taste for Dancing with the Stars, I don’t agree with her taste. My wife tolerates my taste for sci-fi, she doesn’t agree with my taste. Laurie would be intolerant in attempting to convince me that Dancing with the Stars is really Sci-Fi, and so I must enjoy it if I’m consistent. She’s trying to “redefine” Sci-Fi so that she can smuggle in her Chick-Show.

Pluralism argues that there are essentially no eternally significant differences between faith traditions. Worse yet, it ignores or redefines the differences, because at bottom Pluralism doesn’t tolerate differences. Pluralism is Intolerant.

What about humility? Humility is a “modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank.” Humility is a property of humans, not of other things like facts and world views. I’m humble about my worth, not the value and majesty of mountains, math, justice, and God. If by “humility”, Welton Gaddy means that a religious adherent has a “modest opinion or estimate of one’s own faith tradition,” then that’s just Hubris masked in Humility. To undervalue one’s faith tradition to the point that you’ll redefine what it has always taught, doctrines for which people suffered, is the height of hubris.

Respect, tolerance, and humility? I think not.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fool's Gold

By Jake Magee

“6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

You’ve heard it before: “If you have big faith, then you’ll get gold.” Okay, people aren’t usually that brazen, at least not any more. The pitch has been purged of the conspicuous avarice and repackaged into more acceptable wrappings: “If you have enough faith, you’ll get golden circumstances, golden opportunities, golden dreams…”

It’s all fool’s gold.

Peter knows no such formula. He writes to a people whose gold was perishing: property confiscated, families divided, stability disrupted, peace vanquished, and for many lives were taken. The Roman dream disappeared in a column of smoke - literally. Caesar Nero set fire to the city of Rome and subsequently accused Christians for the deed. The persecution that ensued would take both Peter and Paul’s lives. The gates of hell advanced, but didn’t prevail.

Peter says to the faithful facing heightening persecution, “you’re losing your gold, but you’re getting something infinitely better: greater faith.”

“…faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable”

He directly links the loss of prosperity with the achievement of rich faith. It is the exchange of earthly commodities for heavenly currency that moves the battered remnant to “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” “In this you greatly rejoice…”

Contrary to the modern formation: “get faith, and you’ll get gold.” Peter says, “Lose the gold, and you’ll get faith.”

Beware of Fool’s Gold.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Heart All Aglow, A Life All Ablaze

by Jake Magee

In the establishment of ONV, I’ve been enthralled as of late on the vital connection between a person’s love for lost people and their effectiveness in reaching them. Expanding this to a church, what is the connection between a communities’ passion for reaching her community and her effectiveness in fulfilling that desire? Needless to say, the relationship is massive. I’ll be pleading with our two churches in the ensuring weeks the following position: If we have all the components of a healthy church in place, and yet as a group we have something less than a full-blown passion for lost people, we are fools to believe that we can still be successful. Without arguing that position here, I’d rather offer a positive example of a heart all aglow for the lost: George Whitefield.

George Whitefield, known as the “apostle of the English Empire” was one of the fire brands of the Great Awakening in the 18th century transatlantic revival. Born in Gloucester England in 1714, he died in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1770. At the age of twenty-one, he converted to Christ and commenced one of the most remarkable evangelistic ministries of the English speaking world.

“Over the 34 years between his conversion and death in 1770 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, it is calculated that he preached around 18,000 sermons…if one included all of the talks that he gave, he probably spoke about a thousand times a year during his ministry…his sermons were delivered to massive congregations that numbered 10,000 to 20,000 or so.”
During these thirty-four years, Whitefield preached all throughout England, visited Ireland twice and journeyed to Scotland fourteen times. He crossed the Atlantic thirteen times, as well as spending eleven weeks in Bermuda. He preached in virtually every major town on the eastern seaboard of America (all when traveling 20 miles from home was a serious challenge). He’d preach “in fields and foundries, in ships, cemeteries, and pubs, atop horses and even a hangman’s scaffold, from stone walls and balconies, stair cases and windmills.”

He seized every opportunity to share Christ.
“God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.”
Millions heard the gospel through his itinerant ministry.

What was the great source of his missional prowess and productivity? What can Whitefield teach us? Though he is dead, what would is he speaking to us?

Robert Philips, mid-nineteenth century biography of Whitefield, answers:

“the grand secret of Whitefield’s power was…his devotional spirit.”
Sarah Edwards similarly observed,

“He speaks from a heart all aglow with love.”
Looking back on his earlier years, Whitefield himself speaks of the source of his power:

“My food and drink was praising God and a fire was kindled in my soul and I was clothed with power…and could have spoken to the King.”
On his third preaching tour, he prayed

“Oh that I was a flame of pure and Holy Fire, and had a thousand lives to spend in the dear redeemer’s service.”
What was the great source of his missional prowess and productivity? His life was ablaze because his heart was aglow. What can Whitefield teach us? Though he is dead, what would he speak to us? Do everything to cultivate rich and radical affections for God and our neighbors, and watch your life blaze for his glory.

“14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh” ( 2 Corinthians 5:14-16).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Books I'm currently reading

The Fogotten Ways - Alan Hirsch

Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon - Bryan Chapell

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals - John Piper

The Rise of Evangelicalism - Mark A. Noll

Biblical Eldership - Alexander Strauch

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oasis North Valley

Rediscovering Church. Begins May 18th, Sundays @ 6pm, 7341 Foxglove Place, Fontana. Join us as Oasis North Valley hosts a message series entitled: Myths and Urban Legends about Church. ONV is the second site of Oasis Church in Redlands. We’re all about Jesus and his mission. We seek to love God and others by being disciples of Jesus and making disciples for Jesus. We strive to be thoroughly biblical and relevant in our 21st century culture. May 18th marks the establishment of our core group. Join us in the greatest movement ever known. Join us in redisovering church. Contact: Childcare is Provided.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Babies and Bathwater: Unwarranted Critiques of Modern Churches

by JM
There has been a growing trend in evangelical circles which charges the “institutional church” with the demise of Christianity in American Culture. Certainly, this is not without merit. There is irrefutable evidence that the typical church has failed to impact her culture. The question then becomes, “what is it about the typical evangelical church that renders it ineffective in infecting her communities with the transformative power of the gospel?” In the attempt to purify the church, unfortuantely some have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Among the elements of Western church that are labeled as deliterious to the church, there are these:

1. Sermons - Monological talks (i.e. sermons) that last longer than 30 minuites: "They" say that the Word of God should be shared in a discussional format. One person laboring over a passage promotes passivity, disengagement, and at the worst, is an expression of dominance.

2. The Suppression of Music/ Arts: "They" say that music and emotional expression should constitute the bulk of our time, not one man talking about the bible. To the extent that a church fashions their worship around the exposition of God's word, that church isn't worshipping.

3. Large gatherings: A church should be no bigger than who you can relationally connect to. The house church movement is the most appropriate form of church.

4. Sunday Morning Gatherings. Some say that Sunday mornings have become esteemed higher than they should. They proceed to argue that these day-specific gatherings actually have pagan roots.

5. Litergy - most "formalized" expression of worship (that aren't monastic or eastern orthodox) is a suppression of the Spirit's movement.
In light of this criticism, listen to the description of the early church in 140 AD by Justin Martyr.

‘On the day called the day of the Sun a gathering takes place of all who live in the towns or in the country in one place. The Memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. Then the reader stops, and the leader by word of mouth impresses and urges to the imitation of these good things. Then we all stand together and send forth prayers’ (Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon).”
Notice, we read that they

1. Met on Sundays
2. Met corporately in large gatherings
3. Spent most of their time having one guy talk at them
4. No Worship Band.
5. Proto-litergy.
It's facinating to note that the church grew from 25,000 in 100 A.D. to 20,000,000 by 300 A.D. Apparently, these components did not impede the progress of the early church

May I counsel our well-intended brothers: emerge gently, thoughtfully, and graciously.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Moses on Drugs???

Oh, what passes as "research."

"High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.
Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

"The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon," he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to "see music."

He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil's Amazon forest in 1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible."


Friday, February 22, 2008

Confusing Charisma with the Charismata

As a minister of God’s word within the charismatic stream of Christendom, I’ve persistently seen these three errors:

• Some confuse fully-empowered preaching with a preaching style: Some think that if a person is loud or emotional (esp. both), then the minister and message is “anointed.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard preachers bellow and blow (sweat pouring down the face…) and what little is said!!! And yet some walk away saying, “that was anointed.” They have mistaken charismatic individuals with the charismatic. People cry when Obama speak for the same reason. Some of the greatest preachers were poor orators.

• Some believe that fully-anointed preaching will most likely be Event-Oriented: unless the worship service ends with an altar call in which people have power encounters, the service failed at its potential. This can be dangerous if it becomes the norm. Although we can have significant moments of breakthrough during times like this, most long-lasting spiritual growth occurs incrementally through the daily discipline of our lives for godliness. It’s not one Bible Study that makes a person more Christ-like (or one prayer), it’s the long term exposure of the word of God through its preaching and proclamation, a life of ever-increasing prayer, and godly relationships of accountability which transform us. In an event-oriented environment, we devalue the very thing that will provide long-lasting growth: a good old-fashion daily fight against sin. I find that this venue has been abused by some who want a quick –fix to what God wants to work out through daily faith.

• Some believe that fully-empowered preaching cannot be Intellectual: if the preaching is structured, scripted, content driven, then it is probably less empowered than something that is less structured, unscripted, and on the fly. Here are two problems with this sentiment: (1) Scripture ranges from expressions of ecstatic rapture to precise definitive logic. Yet, All Scripture is inspired. Psalms is poetic, Romans is highly structured and logical. Both are inspired. Both should be appreciated and preached in such a way as to preserve those styles. (2) Personally, I put extraordinary prayer and devotion in what I say. I’m begging God from Monday to the time I’m finished my message on Sunday that I’m speaking the words of God for our congregation (I’m haunted the whole week with it). After a week of prayer and interaction with Scripture, I feel that what I have on paper is “Thus saith the Lord.” To deviate from that which was birth out of a week long process of prayer and devotion to Christ in his word seems presumptuous and contrary to the leading of the Spirit. It like Noah spending all those years building the Ark, and then at the last minute jumping into a dingy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Timothy Outline

Here's an informal outline I've put together on 1st Timothy.

Timothy Outline

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New Site for The Timothy Project

I've established a site to host all things related to Oasis' Site-Planting Training and Ministry.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cletus Take the Reel


Monday, January 21, 2008

Defining Success

by JM

Here are two working definitions of success related to ministry, one unique to me, the other I've adapted from a wise-guy.

1. Success: Whatever happens after we've prayerfully, thoughtfully, and passionately applied God-appointed tools in a relevant way to any mission.

This formulation moves us to ask a few questions:

Are results what ultimately and primarily drive us?
For some, either in theory or practice, the goal throughly defines method and practice. We must resist this view. Though results and methods are vital, they are subordinate to God's word and will. That leads to the next question.
Are the tools that we use in our ministry...
God appointed/allowed?
Appropriately applied given the mission and circumstances?
Are ministry plans...
Prayerfully Birthed?
Throughtfully Crafted?
Passionately Executed?
2. Success: the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiam to try again.

Friday, January 18, 2008

TULIP Blooming | Christianity Today

"TULIP Blooming Southern Baptist seminaries re-introduce Calvinism to a wary denomination. Ken Walker | posted 1/17/2008 09:09AM"

Monday, January 14, 2008

William Carey

Biography of William Carey

Download Here

Friday, January 4, 2008

Relentless Soul Winning

by Steve McCoy

"If I never won souls, I would sigh till I did. I would break my heart over them if I could not break their hearts. Though I can understand the possibility of an earnest sower never reaping, I cannot understand the possibility of an earnest sower being content not to reap. I cannot comprehend any one of you Christian people trying to win souls and not having results, and being satisfied without results."

Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Don Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p113)