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Archive for December, 2013

Bible Reading Plan – Read the Bible in a Year.


Here’s How it Works

  • 1. Register or Login, so we can show you a customized Bible reading progress tracking chart.
  • 2. Choose a reading plan. Currently, we offer the following Bible reading plans:
    • 71 Days in Isaiah - Carefully work your way through Isaiah in 71 days to experience the full impact of the prophet’s words.
    • Book Order - Read from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in the order in which the books of the Bible are arranged.
    • Chronological - Read the Bible in the order that the events happened.
    • Chronological New Testament - In only 3 months you can read the New Testament in the order that the events happened.
    • Classic - Read 3 passages each day, starting with Genesis, Psalms, and Luke. From the original Bible Study Tools reading plan.
    • Daily Gospel - This plan focuses on the record of the life of Christ. You’ll read through all four gospels in 45 days.
    • Daily Psalm - Read one Psalm per day for a spiritual boost
    • Daily Wisdom - Find wisdom each day as you read straight through the Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon in 60 days.
    • New Testament - Read straight through the New Testament in 90 days.
    • Ninety-Day Challenge - Read the Bible all the way through in only 90 days. It’s a challenge well worth taking.
    • Old Testament and New Testament - Read one passage from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament each day.
    • One-Year Immersion Plan - With this immersive plan, you’ll read the Old Testament once and the New Testament three times each year.
    • Prof. Horner’s Reading System - A unique and challenging system where you read 10 chapters a day.
    • Stay-on-Track Plan - If you have trouble staying on track, this one-year plan will help. There are readings only on the weekdays, with weekends free to catch up or get ahead.
    • The Busy-Life Plan - If your life is busy, this plan will help you get through the Bible at a pace that works for you. You’ll read a short selection each day and complete the Bible in two years.
    • The Christmas Bible Reading Plan - Designed for personal or family reading times, these 25 New Testament readings highlight the birth of Jesus and the purpose for His coming. Related Old Testament passages are also featured daily.
    • Thematic - This Bible reading schedule is thematic or connective in nature. The goal is to make as many associations as possible between the different parts of Scripture while still reading individual books of the Bible from start to finish.
  • 3. Choose your Bible reading plan start date and preferred Bible translation.
  • 4. Start your daily Bible reading plan!
  • 5. Record your Bible reading progress. Complete your assigned Bible reading each day. Then click the “Finished Reading” button at the top or bottom of the Bible in a Year reading page to record your completion.

Small Changes with Big Results Next Year.


There is something about goal setting that gets me fired up and excited. Maybe it’s the prospect of doing something awesome in the upcoming year, like running a marathon, or reading through the entire Bible, or finally writing that book I’ve been thinking about. Or maybe it’s the prospect of finally kicking those bad habits I have, like getting up too late, or regularly eating things that will probably shorten my life in the long run. I like to set big goals that will challenge me.

But in the last couple of years I’ve started to notice something about myself: Small goals coupled with faithfulness produce the biggest results.

One example: I don’t think I’ll ever run a marathon. I would like to, but I’ve got a bad knee and I don’t have the time required to train for a marathon. But, with God’s help, I can discipline myself to run for 20-25 minutes a couple of times per week. Another example: I have a hard time reading through the entire Bible in a year. I’ve done it, but it doesn’t work particularly well for me and my personality. But I can read the Bible and pray for 35-45 minutes most days before my day gets going.

One last example: I don’t have hours and hours to spend working on a book or a song or any other creative project. But I can find 20-30 minutes a couple of times a week.

I’ve started to see that seeking to be faithful in these little areas has wonderful long term results. The more I run, the better I feel. The more consistently I read my Bible, the more I grow in my walk with God.

The more I work on writing, the better I become. I’ve got two small children with one on the way, and I’m a pastor at a church. I don’t have huge amounts of time to dedicate to things. But I can be faithful, and God honors faithfulness, even to little things.

In Luke 16:10 Jesus said:

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

In Proverbs 13:4 it says:

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Over and over scripture emphasizes the value of diligence. God rewards diligence and faithfulness and hard work. We probably won’t see the results immediately, but over time we will. It’s like building a house. When you lay the first bricks, it doesn’t look anything like a house. But as you slowly and methodically work toward your goal, things begin to take shape.

So let me give you a few steps to take:

  • Determine one or two small goals that, if you regularly did them, it would make a big difference. Maybe it’s as simple as reading your Bible and praying for fifteen minutes every day, or trying to memorize one scripture per month, or write one worship song in the next three months.
  • Commit those goals to the Lord. Pray about them and ask God to help you be faithful, and to do these things for God’s glory, not your own. Ask God for the grace to be diligent, even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Let someone else know about your goals. It’s helpful to have someone else supporting you and praying for you and maybe even pursuing the goals with you. If you’re married, let your spouse know. If you’re not married, let a close friend know.
  • Try to find a regular time for working on your goals. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, maybe it’s right before bed, maybe it’s on your lunch break. Have a set time and stick to it.
  • If you have a bad day or week or month, don’t beat yourself up. Delight in the gospel, delight in the free forgiveness we have in Christ, then get off your butt and get moving again.
  • Give thanks to God for the little successes.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What little goals will you pursue this year?.

Stephen Altrogge

The Most-Read Bible Study Articles of 2013 .


In 2013, we featured more Bible study articles, blog posts, and videos than ever before to help you dive into Scripture. So, what made the cut as the most-used resources? We’ll count them down:

Bible Study Articles

5. How God Uses Stress for Our Good and His Glory

Ever been to a football game at half time when the band forms words or pictures in the middle of the field? They look great from up in the stands. But have you thought about what they look like from the sidelines? Pointless, confusing, apparently meaningless. We see life from the sidelines. God sees it from the stands. As we gain perspective, we leave the sidelines and start working our way up.

4. What Is Heaven Like?

With that as background, I turn now to consider some of the most frequently-asked questions about heaven. But before I jump in, I should make one preliminary point. The only things we can know for certain about heaven are the things revealed in the Bible. Everything else is just speculation and hearsay. The Bible tells us everything we need to know and I believe it also tells us everything we can know for certain about heaven.

3. 10 Essential Truths about Christian Giving

Very often, people ask or wonder “what are the basic biblical principles for Christian giving?” As we seek God’s answer to that question and as we contemplate our own giving to the Lord’s church in response to the clear teaching of His Word, perhaps it would be wise and helpful to review those principles here.

2. Five Steps to Peace in a Really Bad Situation

We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from that. But how can we get peace if we’re headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Philippians 4:4.

1. Spiritual Warfare: Understanding the Battle

In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our spiritual battles are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But, we can educate ourselves on how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.

Blog Posts

5. Just Keep Sowing

What is the point of it all? Why should you keep investing yourself in a person when you are seeing zero fruit? Why should you keep working on a relationship that just doesn’t seem to be working?

4. Self-Deception

Have you ever noticed how many times and how many ways the Bible warns of being deceived? By clear admonition as well as by graphic example God repeatedly calls us to be on our guard against believing lies.

3. The Dangers of Prosperity

We often think of the unique challenges and opportunities that facing lack/need presents. In those situations we are faced with the choice of trusting God for provision, or grumbling as the Israelites in the wilderness did (cf. Exod 16–17). But less frequently recognized are the dangers that abundance/prosperity brings. There are at least four that come to mind…

2. Four Words That Change Every Situation

Have you ever had one of those, “Woah, wait a minute!” times when reading the Bible? You’re slowly meandering your way through a chapter, trying to clear your sleep-fogged head, when suddenly a verse jumps out and slaps you in the face. I had one of those moments this morning.

1. 5 Principles of Making Disciples and Enabling Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth of believers should be the goal of any church. We are to reach unbelievers and introduce them to Christ, but the end goal according to the command of Jesus is making disciples.

Videos

3. Why Does James 2:17 Tell Us that Faith Without Works Is Dead?

2. Jonah and the Whale: Real or Symbolic?

1. Who Was Melchizedek and What Is His Significance (Genesis 14:17-24; Hebrews 5:10, 7:1)?

We thank you again for making 2013 such a great year for studying God’s Word!

Inside BST

Looking for a Fresh New Start?.


Are you looking for change, a fresh new start? Isn’t it wonderful to know as you begin this New Year that you have God‘s Spirit with you, His Spirit carrying you, leading you, and guiding you? Do you realize that this New Year can be a year in which you can serve God with a fresh new excitement? As you’re walking with Him and being obedient to Him, you will feel the sense of His pleasure in your life.

Pleasure doesn’t come in the pursuit of happiness, but in the pursuit of holiness. Far too many miss God’s divine plan for their lives as they’re bent on pursuing all the things in this world, hoping to find some sense of joy.

As you set new goals, new priorities for the days ahead, check out where God is in your plans, in your decision-making. What’s on your calendar for today, this week, this month, this year that will make any difference for the Kingdom?

Oh, Beloved, wouldn’t you like to know that at the end of your life…not to mention the end of this day, the end of this year…you could declare, as the apostle Paul did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)?

Wouldn’t you like to be assured that you could experience all the difficult situations Paul faced and say in total sincerity and truth, without one drop of egotism, Follow me, be an imitator of me, even as I am of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17)? Can you imagine having such confidence?

How can you stand with such confidence as Paul did when you’re wrestling today with all the uncertainties of life, all the struggles, all the challenges that seem to keep coming your way? My friend, no matter what changes are occurring with your job, in your family, in our nation, there is only one stabilizing factor upon which you can rest: your God. He is the immovable Rock. You can hide in Him.

One thing will always remain: God. And because He is immutable-unchanging-He will always be the same, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He is always there with arms opened wide, your everlasting Father God. With this New Year, cling to the fact that He will never change.

Are you troubled, is fear lurking in the shadows of your consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything at all? Run to your protector, the One who stands waiting for you to come bury yourself in the security of all He is.

Remember, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). In this New Year, where will you run? Will it be to food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, another man? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn? Who is your refuge?

If you desire a fresh new start, determine He will be the One you will run to. Run to Him and bury yourself in the security of all He is.

The goal of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10). What goals do you have this year? Do you make New Year’s resolutions but never keep them? I pray the goal of your life will be as Paul’s that “you know Him.”

What’s going to keep you from knowing Christ? What’s keeping you from going deeper in His Word? There’s so much to learn in the Word of God, and yet we want all these frivolous other things around us, instead of paying the price to spend time studying the Bible.

What is it that keeps you from paying the price? Is it the love of things? Is it the demand of things? Start keeping a running log for the next few days and look at how much time you’re spending in the Word of God. I’m not talking about reading and having your three minutes a day. But I’m talking about getting to know the Word of God, studying it precept upon precept; Truth upon Truth.

Start today, keep a log and record your study time. Keep a pad beside your bed or keep it by a chair or wherever you’re going to study. Write down how much time you’ve spent each day for a week and then check yourself and add up that time. Then add up the number of hours in the day and subtract how many hours you need to sleep. And then look at the hours that you have left. What portion of your day do you give to the Lord?

What portion of your time does He have? How much television are you watching? How much time to sports are you devoting? What are you doing with your time? Stop and evaluate it, because someday, Beloved, you’re going to give an account to the One that said we are to redeem the time.

We’re not to let things control our life; rather we are to control the things in our life. We must redeem the time.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

O Beloved, get on your knees this week, start this New Year right. Ask God to show you what you need to change to spend more time with Him. He has given you a fresh new start!

Kay Arthur
Host, Precepts For Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International

A new year to be driven by love…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
-Ephesians 4:2

A while back, I was in Greece following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, and we finished the trip in Athens on a hill near the Areopagus where you can see the Parthenon and the Acropolis in the background, and all the white buildings. There, I preached a sermon called “Paul: The Apostle of Love.”

And that’s exactly who Paul was. Paul was an apostle of love. Many people read Paul’s writings and they think he was strict or stern because of some of the language he uses. But truly, when you read Paul’s letters and read Paul’s story, the message that comes across over and over again is the grace and love of God towards us and the grace and love of God we ought to show towards one another. It is the same message that Jesus had – the love of God and the love of your neighbor.

This was what Paul was driven by: He was driven by the love of God that was shown to him in the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul believed that if God gave Jesus for Paul, then God loves Paul as much as He loves Jesus. And if that’s true, it also means that God loves you as much as God loves Jesus.

In 2014, let’s put sharing God’s love with others at the top of our lists of “things to do.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for your unending love and for showing your love to me through your Son, Jesus Christ. Without your love, I would be lost. Help me to share that same love with everyone I meet. Amen.

Devotion: How do you show God’s love to others?

Turning the Page.


The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.
Psalm 19:7

Recommended Reading
Psalm 19:7-11 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2019:7-11&version=NKJV )

One day John Strait (father of singer George Strait) distributed Gideon Bibles in a prison in Dilley, Texas. A prisoner accepted one, but later when another worker, Jerry Horn of San Antonio, visited, the inmate needed another copy. The pages were all gone from the old one; only the covers remained. “What happened?” Jerry asked. The prisoner replied, “I used them to make cigarettes.”

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

Jerry brought him a new copy and witnessed to him. The prisoner received the Lord as Savior and signed his name in the book, indicating his decision. After getting out of prison, he went to school and became pastor of a Texas church. “He had a new Bible, a new life, and a new way of living,” said Jerry.

Tomorrow turns the page on a new year. The liberating message of God’s Word is ours every moment. The devil may attack us, but we have the Sword of the Spirit. The world may tempt us, but we can hide God’s Word in our hearts. Let’s turn the calendar with our Bibles in our hands and the joy of the Lord in our hearts.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.
Benjamin Franklin

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Revelation 20-22

By David Jeremiah.

Aaron Crumbey: Stop Doing God’s Job.


Youth ministry

Are you allowing God to do His job or are you trying to do it?

I don’t know about you, but when I think about ministry in the New Year, I think about setting goals. I want ministry moving forward and so I think about what that looks like.

I think about the problem areas of ministry and how I can make it better in the New Year. I think about the students who struggled last year in their faith and the ones who decided this God thing wasn’t for them. I think about what programs or resources we need to add to help these students.

And if I’m not careful, I can easily become the downfall of my efforts in the New Year. An important passage of scripture we must remember in ministry is 1 Corinthians 3:6-7:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”

If we are not careful in our thinking, we can quickly become the solution. Our programs and resources no longer point to salvation, but becomes salvation for people. And we have to remember that God uses what we do for His glory not our own. So that is why we must not get to caught up in what we can provide over who we are pointing students to.

  • Stop Doing God’s Job. I would keep 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 visible so you can stop trying to do work that’s way above your pay grade. Trying to do God’s job in the lives of students will discourage you quicker than anything else. If their life change depends on you, it will be short lived. Stay in your lane. So no matter what 2013 looked like for your ministry, the only question that is relevant is did you point students to Christ? I totally understand the fact that we have to do our do diligence and checklist of how we can do things better, save money and stuff like that, but at the end of the day if you can honestly say that your ministry pointed students to Christ you’ve done your part. We must remember that we are not responsible for life change, that’s God’s job and it’s more important then what we do.
  • Think Preparation. Our job is to be prepared for the life change God brings. I had to change my thinking on how I was going to get students to retain their faith, think different, evangelize, grow in their faith, love God, love others or grow a heart for serving. I’ve changed my thinking to how can we be prepared so when God does something in their heart towards these things we are ready to help them with what God has awakened in their spirits to do. Example: If a student hears a message on serving and God does something in their hearts to serve I want to be ready to help them carry it out. Example: Maybe a student hears a message on growing in their faith, well I need to think how can I help them grow whether it’s with a program or resource. This is how we should think and this is our job. We are not responsible for stirring/changing/increasing/convicting the hearts of students. We plant, help, encourage, act. God’s job is much more important. If we are honest, sometimes we can really feel like since what we are doing is for God it is just as important. And we may not say that with our words but we definitely say it with our actions. Here is one question to ask yourself to figure out if this is true for you or not. How much time to do you give to prayer for the ministry vs. meetings for and about the ministry? If God’s job is more important, then He needs to be highly communicated with because His involvement is crucial and more important then anything we do at any given time.
  • Beware Of Discouragement. I can tell you that it’s not easy because you can become discouraged when a student doesn’t get it, and falls prey to a scheme or trick of the enemy, and not follow what you’re teaching or trying to show them. I have to be reminded myself that it’s not my efforts but it’s the God I serve that changes lives in His timing and in the way He sees fit.
  • Be Encouraged. The God of the universe is on our side and is close to us. Be encouraged that you get to point students to a God that never fails, never sleeps and will never forsake them. Be encouraged that He allows you to be apart of the life changing process, but most importantly be encouraged because you can rely on Him even with the part He’s entrusted to you.

I pray it encourages you to think differently in 2014. What would you add to the list in light of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7?

Written by Aaron Crumbey

Aaron Crumbey oversees pastoral care for the high school ministry at Saddleback Church. He cares deeply about sharing Christ with students and seeing them reach their full potential in Christ. He’s married with three children, loves family time, sports, movies and all things musical among some other things. He also runs http://www.yoacblog.com.

For the original article, visit morethandodgeball.com.

4 Vital Parts to Reproducing Great Leaders.


Church leadership meeting

“It’s time to make time count.”

That’s the place we’re in as a church. I’m not getting any younger, and it seems we are losing Kingdom ground on a national and international level. The only answer to reversing that is building and growing Kingdom and mission minded leaders who will do the same.

I feel a great sense of urgency that we have to equip and empower an entire new army of leaders, younger leaders that have incredible passion for the mission of the church to multiply. In response to that, we have revamped our leadership development process.

At its core our new process has four parts:

1. A pre-process. It’s important that potential leaders know you are serious about multiplying leaders. That it’s not just another “program” they can sign up for. Make your leadership process by invitation only, and where some pretty high standards must be met prior to being allowed in.

2. A basic beginning. Start all at the same point. It’s important that all those with you know the vision, passion and direction of your church. Don’t make any assumptions! Remember what they used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all _________.”

It will be difficult to build on a foundation if you didn’t lay it from the beginning.

3. A measurable middle. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. You will never know where people are in their abilities if you don’t measure their progress.

Some will complete a portion of your process, and not have the gift set to continue to the next level. It’s better to know that in the middle, and release them to use what they have learned, than to frustrate them and waste unproductive resources and time.

We can’t nor should we expect that all those in our process will become level-five leaders. We have a tremendous deficit of level three leaders as well.

4. A clear call. Leaders that complete all parts of your leadership process should be equipped and have a clear call to go and multiply themselves into others. Your leadership culture must be one of calling leaders to multiply.

The end of all can’t be just completion, but one of a deep sense of call. Empower and equip your leaders to reproduce themselves. If this last step is neglected you will have only succeeded in producing a tribe of new Pharisees that will guard their territory rather than seeking to enlarge it.

It’s time to make time count.If you don’t have a leadership process, start one, a simple one. Change it as you go, but have a process! You have no right to complain about loyalty, the lack of volunteers, that no one is giving or no one is “stepping up” if aren’t imparting that to potential leaders.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis wears a lot of hats and leads a lot of people. He’s a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting, and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Greg Stier: Foyer Secrets Revealed.


Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colo.

What I’m about to tell you could put me on some ministry hit lists. I could get beaten with hymnals, immersed in the baptismal (for a little too long) or Bible-whipped across my jaw.

I’m about to share with you a few of the subtle “tricks” some pastors use in the foyer on their church members. These highly guarded ministry secrets could get me taken out by some rogue pastoral network. So if this is the last blog you see me post, you’ll know what happened.

How do I know some pastors use these tricks? Because, having gone to church for the last 40 years or so, I have personally been on the receiving end of some of them. And, sadly, having been a preaching pastor for a decade, I used some of them to ward off close-talking congregants or church members with the “best” idea yet.

So, without further adieu, here they are …

1. “Let me pray about that.”

2. The shoulder pause/play button. Okay, I’m super-guilty of this one. When I was a pastor I could work the foyer like nobody’s business. I would talk to anyone and everyone I could. I figured this was the one time a week I could literally rub shoulders with everyone at our church.

If I was talking to someone and saw somebody that I desperately needed to talk to I would put my hand on the shoulder of the person I was talking to and say, “excuse me for a moment.” I’d then tell the other person what I needed to tell them as quickly as possible and then take my hand off the shoulder of the person I was talking to and finish the conversation.

I forget where I heard it but someone once said that shoulder is like a pause/play button on a TV remote control. Put your hand on the shoulder and you’re pressing pause on the conversation. Take it off and and you’re pressing play.

Maybe this is bad but I still find myself using the pause/play button even though I’m no longer a pastor.

3. “How long have you been attending here?” When I was a pastor and saw someone I didn’t recognize walking up to the church building I would ask, “Is this your first time here at Grace?” It only took one, “No I’ve been going here for four years now” for me to stop asking that question.

“How long have you been attending here?” is a far less dangerous question because, whether it’s their first or 50th time attending, you’re pretty safe in not offending them.

BTW, if you ask them this question every week sooner or later they’ll be on to you.

4. “Well let’s pray right now!” Sometimes after preaching two or three times on a Sunday morning a preacher gets exhausted. Inevitably it’s that one person at the church who, if he/she got paid by the word would be filthy rich, approaches the pastor and begins a 30 minute diatribe about their situation.

“Well let’s pray right now” is a way some pastors bring a period to a comma in the conversation. It’s a pastors way of saying, “Dude, I’m tired. Let’s land the plane and quit circling the airport!” And, as long as the pastor genuinely prays, it’s an effective way to wrap up a potentially endless conversation.

5. Protect the quarterback. Okay I have a problem with prolonged huggers and close talkers. With these people I play the role of the offensive lineman. I put my hand on their non-pause/play shoulder and I protect the quarterback (aka “my personal space.”)

When someone gets past my guard and goes in for a hug I turn my body to the side, and my hand on their back then, after a second or two, I pat four times which is pastor-speak for Let my people go.”

6. “Walk with me to my car.” It’s interesting how much can be accomplished in 60 seconds.

7. The handoff. Like I said these secrets could get me taken out. Pastors could conspire against me for spilling their ministerial secrets.

By the way if you took this tongue-in-cheek blogpost too seriously and want to give me a suggestion I guarantee you one thing … I’ll pray about it.

Written by Greg Stier

Greg Stier is a husband, a father, a preacher, an author, a twitchy revolutionary and a fanatic for Jesus. He’s the President of Dare 2 Share Ministries which has led thousands of students to Jesus and equipped thousands more to reach their world with the gospel. He blogs at GregStier.org.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

2013: God, Clergy and Congress Poll Numbers Down, Darwin’s Up: Who’s to Blame?.


Dan Cummins
Dan Cummins

Just days after Pope Francis was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, recent polls reveal that Americans are losing trust in their clergy and that belief in the existence of God is on the decline. CBS/DC and the Associate Press reveal that researchers at Gallup found that 53 percent of Americans have lost trust in the clergy – the worst ratings in 40 years.

When a nation loses trust in clergy compromised through scandals, the people lose faith in God and government. The nation suffers spiritually, politically and economically when its clergy are compromised. The latest Harris poll confirms this.

Susan Jones of CNSNews.com, reporting on the Harris findings, writes, “A strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults say they believe in God, but that’s down from the 82 percent who expressed such a belief in earlier years. Belief in miracles, heaven and other religious teachings also declined in the latest poll, as follows:

  • 68 percent believe in heaven, down from 75 percent;
  • 68 percent believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God, down from 72 percent;
  • 65 percent believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, down from 70 percent.”
  • Gallup’s polling also revealed that Darwin’s theory of evolution had a resurgent of new converts – up 42 percent from 2005. When God is profaned by His priests, people turn to pseudoscience to find meaning to life. The societal fabric is not evolving but dissolving into an unfit culture in which no one can survive – fit or unfit.

Evolution is biological relativism – the antithesis to the absolute of divine creationism, which designed natural selection to be “after its kind” (Genesis 1:24). This is the expected natural outcome when society abandons the absolutes of God’s Word, both physical and spiritual, for moral relativism. This abandonment comes in the vacuum of sound reason created by a clergy who refuse to stand in their pulpits and the public square proclaiming the immutable Law of God.

As a result, God’s numbers are backsliding, the president’s numbers are in the tank – the lowest of any since Nixon (Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday) – while Congress is sharing the “bottom of the honesty and ethics ratings with lobbyists and car salespeople, the only three job professions to receive a single-digit rating.” Nicki Rossoll also reports that “Americans view members of Congress as some of the least honest and ethical professionals. But there’s a bit of good news for congressional lawmakers. One profession does rank lower: lobbyists.”

Any wonder the culture is in crisis, the economy collapsing and no one seems to have any solutions? America is being fundamentally changed, but who’s really to blame? No polling necessary here.

As the clergy goes, so goes the nation. It’s not the White House, Congress or Hollywood that’s responsible for America’s mess. The fault lies squarely at the foot of her pulpits. In the past 60 years, their voices have been silenced in the public square and their influence upon public policy absent – all in exchange for 30 pieces of tax-exempt silver proffered by the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment to the 1954 Senate tax overhaul bill.

America’s clergy have abdicated their roles as God’s “grand vindicators of the government of God.” They have perverted their prelacy to the role of executive administrator and CEO of their bi-coastal mega-churches, living in mega-mansion parsonages while feasting on the dainties of Babylon. Totally blind to the biblical worldview of their place and purpose for the nation, America’s clergy are no longer “sons of lightning and thunder,” but fair-weathered favorites on the talk-show circuit and friends to society’s darlings.

The Cross of Christ is the only hope for America. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently said, “The only hope for America is for her clergy to start preaching the Cross of Christ again.” He is right. If America is to be fundamentally transformed, it will be through the preaching of the hope found only through the Cross of Calvary. America’s next awakening will come at the foot of the Cross.

Rev. Charles Finney, the voice of the Great Awakening, challenged America’s clergy to proclaim the Cross some 140 years ago. His message is just as relevant today. “Has the offense of the Cross ceased, or is the Cross kept out of view? Has the holy law of God, with its stringent precept and its awful penalty become popular with unconverted men and women? Or is it ignored in the pulpit, and the preacher praised for that neglect of duty?”

Finney’s answer for America is not bipartisan cooperation on the debt-ceiling crisis, but rather that “we need more sons of thunder in the pulpit. We need men that will flash forth the law of God like livid lightning and arouse the consciences of men.”

Finney described the pulpiteers of the Great Awakening as “those old, stern, grand vindicators of the government of God (who) would have thundered and lightened till they had almost demolished their pulpits if any such immoralities had shown themselves under their instructions as are common in these days.”

Finney feared neither the press nor politicians’ reactions to his preaching. Political correctness, according to Finney, was biblical correctness. “Let us thunder forth the law and Gospel of God until our voices reach the capital of this nation, through our representatives in Congress. … Let us give the reporters of the press such work to do as will make their ears and the ears of their readers tingle.”

In response to today’s “seeker-friendly, hyper-grace gospel,” Finney’s thoughts: “Away with this milk-and-water preaching of a love of Christ that has no holiness or moral discrimination in it. … Christ crucified for the sins of the world is the Christ that the people need. Such a collapse of conscience in this land could never have existed if … our preaching had not in great measure fallen out.”

Finney summed up his message, “The Decay of Conscience,” in New York, Dec. 4, 1873, to America’s clergy: “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”

If America’s clergy neglect their godly role to government and society through complicity and compromise to such, we will have lost any hope for America’s next awakening. The only solution would be a new order of priests like that of Zadok and Abiathar who remained faithful to David (1 Chronicles 12:1, 28) while those at Shiloh remained politically correct but spiritually compromised to Saul. Zadok’s and Abiathar’s son’s (as opposed to Eli’s uncircumcised brood) reaped the reward of faithfulness to the anointing with their appointments to “minister unto the Lord” in the holy place (Ezekiel 44:15) of Solomon’s Temple. Those complicit, compromised and uncircumcised “ministers” were restricted to the outer court and needs of the people. They could not come near unto the Lord.

May America’s Zadoks and Abiathars come forth, recognize and take up the mantle of their ministry and lead us to the anointing of Zion and another great awakening.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

DAN CUMMINS

Dan Cummins is founding pastor of Bridlewood Church, Bullard, Texas, and originator of “Washington, A Man of Prayer,” an historical event to be held in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol on May 7, 2014, honoring the 225th inaugural anniversary of President George Washington. The website is http://www.WashingtonAManOfPrayer.com

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