Shower Fresh Clean For Men

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I review a citrus laundry sheet scent, good for running around and those out and about days in Texas heat.

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Eau De New York: Love and Luck, are you in there?

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I review Eau De New York from the infamous Bond house

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Fragance Idol: Take It Up The Nose! 2011

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Official Entry

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John Owen on the extent of the atonement

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This is a long quote, but well worth the read:

John-Owen“Arg. II. If the Lord intended that he should, and [he] by his death did, procure pardon of sin and reconciliation with God for all and every one, to be actually enjoyed upon condition that they do believe, then ought this good-will and intention of God, with this purchase in their behalf by Jesus Christ, to be made known to them by the word, that they might believe; “for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Rom. x. 17: for if these things be not made known and revealed to all and every one that is concerned in them, namely, to whom the Lord intends, and for whom he hath procured so great a good, then one of these things will follow; — either, first, That they may be saved without faith in, and the knowledge of, Christ (which they cannot have unless he be revealed to them), which is false, and proved so; or else, secondly, That this good-will of God, and this purchase made by Jesus Christ, is plainly in vain, and frustrate in respect of them, yea, a plain mocking of them, that will neither do them any good to help them out of misery, nor serve the justice of God to leave them inexcusable, for what blame can redound to them for not embracing and well using a benefit which they never heard of in their lives? Doth it become the wisdom of God to send Christ to die for men that they might be saved, and never cause these men to hear of any such thing; and yet to purpose and declare that unless they do hear of it and believe it, they shall never be saved? What wise man would pay a ransom for the delivery of those captives which he is sure shall never come to the knowledge of any such payment made, and so never be the better for it? Is it answerable to the goodness of God, to deal thus with his poor creatures? to hold out towards them all in pretence the most intense love imaginable, beyond all compare and illustration, — as his love in sending his Son is set forth to be, — and yet never let them know of any such thing, but in the end to damn them for not believing it? Is it answerable to the love and kindness of Christ to us, to assign unto him at his death such a resolution as this:— “I will now, by the oblation of myself, obtain for all and every one peace and reconciliation with God, redemption and everlasting salvation, eternal glory in the high heavens, even for all those poor, miserable, wretched worms, condemned caitiffs, that every hour ought to expect the sentence of condemnation; and all these shall truly and really be communicated to them if they will believe. But yet, withal, I will so order things that innumerable souls shall never hear one word of all this that I have done for them, never be persuaded to believe, nor have the object of faith that is to be believed proposed to them, whereby they might indeed possibly partake of these things?” Was this the mind and will, this the design and purpose, of our merciful high priest? God forbid. It is all one as if a prince should say and proclaim, that whereas there be a number of captives held in sore bondage in such a place, and he hath a full treasure, he is resolved to redeem them every one, so that every one of them shall come out of prison that will thank him for his good-will, and in the meantime never take care to let these poor captives know his mind and pleasure; and yet be fully assured that unless he effect it himself it will never be done. Would not this be conceived a vain and ostentatious flourish, without any good intent indeed towards the poor captives? Or as if a physician should say that he hath a medicine that will cure all diseases, and he intends to cure the diseases of all, but lets but very few know his mind, or any thing of his medicine; and yet is assured that without his relation and particular information it will be known to very few. And shall he be supposed to desire, intend, or aim at the recovery of all?”
– John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, U.K., 1959, Reprinted 2002, pp126-127

The Death of Death can also be downloaded free from CCEL.

To learn more about John Owen, visit Adrian Warnock’s pages and download John Piper’s book, Contending For Our All, for free, which examines the lives of Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen.

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How Great Thou Art by Carrie Underwood feat. Vince Gill

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Here is an amazing rendition of How Great Thou Art, sung by Carrie Underwood featuring Vince Gill on guitar. This is one of my favourite hymns. God is indeed great!

Close to the end you can see one or two people with tears in their eyes and then even before Carrie is finished singing she gets a standing ovation. At the end she also has tears in her eyes.

When we realize how great God is, we cannot but cry before His awesome might and power, and His immense love for His people!

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Beware of the False Gospel of Discipleship

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The Seriousness of a False Gospel

There is a huge mistake being made today in many pulpits, books and other forms of Bible teaching.

It is not trivial.

And it is not being “picky” to point it out.

It’s serious.

It’s serious because it’s a “different gospel” or “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6).

And the Apostle Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8)

What The True Gospel Is

Before looking at the false gospel in question, it should be noted what the true Gospel is. This is not a simple task, although the Gospel itself is simple enough for a child to understand.

The reason it’s not that simple to simply state the gospel is because it is somewhat expandable in it’s content.

In other words, when we say the Gospel involves believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can expand greatly such things as “what does ‘Lord’ mean?”, “who IS Jesus Christ?”, “what does it mean to ‘believe’?”, etc.

Still, for our purposes here we need to state it with a certain amount of simplicity in order to contrast it with the “false gospel of discipleship”, remembering that the Gospel is “Good News”.

So let’s plow ahead and arrive at a useful and simple definition.

Let’s look at two Scripture passages for some guidance:

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

This passage indicates the basic historical events of the gospel — the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This passage, along with several others, indicates the substitutionary nature of the Gospel — that we needed His righteousness, and He had to take our sins on Himself and pay for them on the cross.

Again, all of this is quite expandable, but we can capsulize the true “Good News” (Gospel) as follows:

The Gospel is the Good News that since we have all been born sinful and deserving of the wrath of God, but since God loves us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to Earth as a Man, and that this Jesus died on a cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead — and that whoever believes in Him as Lord and Savior will not perish, but have eternal life as a free gift.

There is a lot packed into that, yet it is very simple, and is based on faith so simple that a child can (as Scripture capsulizes it) “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Faith alone. Sola Fide, as the phrase was put in the Reformation. “Not of works, lest any man should boast”, as Paul put it to the Ephesians.

What The False Teaching Of Discipleship Is

The false gospel of discipleship typically takes a form like this:

“It’s not enough to just believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and believe that He died for your sins and rose again. The gospel also includes that you must DO what Jesus said in many places in the Gospels.

“Among other things, you must ‘deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him’, Matthew 16:24.

They in effect say that we must be WORTHY to be saved (a ridiculous thought) since Jesus said we’re not worthy of Him unless we take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 10:37,38), which they say is part of the gospel of salvation, and a requirement for salvation.

As one prominent Pastor put it (echoed in song by a prominent Christian musician, and repeated as though it were Scripture), “To give all that you are, for all that He is; this is the gospel according to Jesus.”

Of course that’s NOT the Gospel. That’s legalism.

We don’t need to become worthy before we become His, and we don’t buy or earn “all that He is” by our own “giving” of ANYTHING.

His eternal life and salvation that He gives us are FREE (Romans 6:23, “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”)

The Confusion Of This False Teaching

The problem with this false teaching is that it demands the question, “How much must I deny myself to be saved?” Or, “How much must I take up my cross?” “What cross?” “How long?” “Have I really given ALL that I am for all that He is?” “How can I tell?” “And what if I think I’ve given all that I am, but I really haven’t?” “Or what if I think I’ve given all that I am, but I take something back?”

And on and on goes the demonic whispers to undermine the simple faith of a true believer who is confused by what it was that brought him salvation.

And think of the confusion of a lost person hearing such a message! “What indeed must I DO to be saved?”, they are wondering!

And the teacher of this false “gospel of discipleship” cannot even answer this simple question, because they have grown up Kudzu-like vines of “works” that choke and confuse the truth of the gospel of faith alone.

The absurdity of this false gospel should be obvious just by comparing two verses on discipleship spoken by the Lord Himself (follow me closely here, please):

Matthew 16:24 reads, “…he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

If that was a requirement for INITIAL salvation, then how would one explain the parallel verse in Luke 9:23?: “…he must deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me.”

See my point? If one has to take up his cross DAILY in order to be saved, how many DAYS must he take it up? Will he be saved if he takes it up for three days? One hundred days?

Preposterous!

Besides, Romans 1:16 says that the Gospel is THE POWER OF GOD FOR SALVATION TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE! There’s no power in setting standards of behavior for the lost in order for them to attain salvation! That’s not Good News!

Yet these teachers continue imposing standards of DISCIPLESHIP upon the lost who are not even disciples yet! In order for them to believe the simple gospel!

Sidenote: they will almost always say something like, “Now this isn’t works salvation”. But denying it doesn’t make it so. They are blind to the fact that it really IS works salvation. Like the Roman Catholic teacher who imposes works and sacraments on the people and calls it “faith”.

And believers in congregations all over the place buy into that false teaching, after they themselves have already been saved by simply believing the Gospel!

No wonder Paul wrote the Galatians with a rare emotional rant of shock and anger because they had so soon allowed themselves to be entangled in “works plus faith” teachings.

And yet his words for the Sheep were not nearly as angry as his words for the Teachers themselves.

May these Teachers of the “false gospel of discipleship” repent, and begin preaching the true Gospel of faith apart from works.

A Word About Soteriology

Soteriology is the Doctrine of Salvation (Greek soter means savior). It’s the study of HOW we are saved. It’s an important and biblical and fascinating study.

But Soteriology is not the Gospel either.

The Gospel is basically a truth proclaimed, not a detailed explanation of the process of regeneration, believing the Gospel, justification, sanctification and glorification — each with voluminous words of clarification and controversy.

I feel compelled, however, to point out one thing from our study of biblical Soteriology.

Faith in Jesus Christ is itself a gift from God. It’s not something we manufacture. He must open our hearts and reveal Jesus Christ to us, or we will not believe.

Yet wonderfully, if He does open our hearts and reveal Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can’t NOT believe. This is what theologians call “Irresistible Grace”.

Not that God brings us kicking and screaming into His family, but that He opens our hearts and we see Him with new eyes and a new heart, and we believe in Him.

How does faith come? The Bible itself says that it comes from hearing the Word of God.

And so, if you don’t consider yourself a believer in Jesus Christ, I recommend that you read the Book of John.

It was written by John the Apostle under the inspiration of God Himself, to bring folks to faith in Jesus Christ.

It was written specifically “…so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

Interestingly, the Book of John says nothing about “denying yourself” or “taking up your cross”. Nothing about YOUR works, but only the work that Jesus Christ Himself already did for us on the cross.

In fact, in John 6:28,29, when they asked Jesus, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?, He answered, “”This is the WORK of God, that you BELIEVE in Him whom He has sent.”

The Beauty of Discipleship

Does that subtitle, “The Beauty of Discipleship”, surprise you after what I’ve just been saying?

It shouldn’t.

Although discipleship is not the Gospel — although discipleship is not the cause of our salvation — discipleship is a wonderful thing.

When one becomes a Christian, they become a disciple. A disciple is a “learner” and a “follower”. Learning of Jesus and following Him is the greatest of privileges.

And the “surrender” involved in following Him is one of the highest things that we are called to do as already-saved believers. To grow in the attitude “not my will but yours be done, Lord” is not only sublimely precious, but the source of great joy.

But to teach this growing, learning, surrendering lifestyle as “the Gospel” — to teach it as the requirement for being saved — is to put the cart before the horse.

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When translations use bad English: ESV vs Others

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I have been using the ESV for some years now, and I have to say that I find it accurate, and easy to read. However, there are times when it is more wooden than translations that are known for its so-called woodenness, such as the NASB (I never found that when I used it before the ESV).

Sometimes translations, whether formal equivalent ('literal') translations such as the ESV, NASB and KJV or dynamic equivalent ('thought-for-thought') translations such as the NIV, NET and GNB, just sound odd and don't make proper sense in English.

The ESV has this one phrase that doesn't make sense to me at all, in any context. It is "at table." Use your Bible software and search for that phrase, especially in the New Testament part of the ESV. The ESV uses this phrases when people come together to enjoy a meal, when they recline "at table." This is just bad English. No-one sits "at table." We sit or recline "at the table."

The ESV uses this many times, and here's a list of them in the New Testament:

(Mat 8:11, Mat 9:10, Mat 26:7, Mat 26:20, Mar 2:15, Mar 14:3, Mar 14:18, Mar 16:14, Luk 5:29, Luk 7:37, Luk 7:49, Luk 11:37, Luk 12:37, Luk 13:29, Luk 14:10, Luk 14:15, Luk 17:7, Luk 22:14, Luk 22:27, Luk 24:30, Joh 12:2, Joh 13:23, Joh 21:20)

Read more »

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Risen With Christ

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Praise the Lord for the resurrection of Christ!

Consider this also. When Jesus died on the Cross on that Good Friday, and took the wrath of God on Himself…in some mysterious way…we were in Him.

We were crucified with Him, and we died. By the grace of God, our old self died, in Christ.

Then we, in Christ, went to the tomb. We were “buried with Him through baptism”…the baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.

Then when He was raised from the dead, we too were raised from the dead. Made alive to God through Christ Jesus.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together…–Eph. 2:4-6

In raising us up with Him, He gave us a whole new identity.

Where we were Sinners by nature, He made us Saints.

He made us His children, friends of Christ, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, in union with Him, adopted by Him, complete in Christ, free from condemnation, the righteousness of God in Christ, a branch of the Vine, chosen and appointed to bear fruit, the temple of the Holy Spirit, seated with Him in the heavenlies, God’s workmanship, inseparable from the love of God, fully accepted in the Beloved.

We can assume no glory for it. All glory goes to the Lamb, who is worthy, who was slain from the foundation of the world.

We can know by faith that we are risen with Christ. And Easter, Resurrection Day, can have greater and greater meaning for us, when we see what God has accomplished in us.

Happy Resurrection Day!

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Raised With Christ

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Mp3 – http://www.graceforlife.com/2006_0411.mp3

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This week in Grace – April 25 – May 1, 2011

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Tuesday, April 26 – Connect Group – meeting at Murray and Cheryl’s 7:00 pm. – 9:00 pm.

A Sunday gathering is only one small piece of what it means to be the church. Our goal is for you to be formed into a disciple of Jesus, shaped by his gospel and committed to his mission… and that kind of spiritual formation doesn’t happen just by attending on a Sunday morning.  Our hope is to see you immerse yourself in missional community.  The starting place for this is our connect group where you can learn more about our church and our community groups or to get connected to one of our existing community groups.   Call Murray at 244-4372 for more information.

Saturday, April 30 – Porterbrook Network Leadership Training

Sunday, May 1st – New series begins this Sunday morning at the Galaxy Theatre: Galatians: The Gospel vs. Religion

This first message will introduce the series and lay a foundation for the rest of the book.

We will also follow our Sunday service with a picnic at nearby River Landing if the weather is nice.

 

“Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that what He started, He will finish!”

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