Celebrating Reformation 500

Today is the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, recalling the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Church door. Of course, other reformers came before him and many came after him. But this day in 1517 was certainly a watershed moment in history and the one we most remember.

In honor of that here is a series of messages I’ve been listening to on key theological tenets that the reformation recovered. These particular messages are from First Baptist Church of Manhattan, but there are many churches doing similar series to mark Reformation 500.

Soli Deo Gloria (only for God’s glory)

Sola Scriptura  (Scripture is our authority)

Solus Christus (Christ alone)

Sola Fide (Faith alone)

Sola Gratia (Grace alone)

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When It Is Not Well

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Well, honestly I’ve spent much of this year riding the roller coaster from discouragement, uncertainty, anger, and pain to hope, optimism and faith and back around again. The most recent instance has just been another circumstance which brought pain and worry.

A few days ago, I’d looked up Bible verses about worry and anxiety and was punched in the gut with Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I am always thankful for God’s grace when a verse like that lays me out flat. While I pray often, I also fail regularly to “not be anxious.”

The following day, I really didn’t want my worries and fears to consume all my thoughts as they had been doing. As I brought all of that to the Lord in prayer that morning, many things ran through my head. My need to repent and confess of my sins of worry, and control and fear was a large part of it, and it was in that time of prayer I finally realized all those were symptoms of having placed my faith in myself regarding the situation rather than placing it in God. Again, ouch.

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Reflecting on the rest of Romans 6

Any Christian who ever learned the “Romans Road” method of communicating the gospel can probably recite Romans 6:23, “23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is an essential and tremendous reminder. We, because we are sinners from the start, deserve the wrath of God. But he has given us eternal life instead.

But it struck me as I reread the entire chapter of Romans 6 repeatedly this week that there is so much more there. It is a stern warning to anyone who would abuse the grace of God to continue sinning. It is a call to obedience and holiness and an admonition to wrestle against our sinful desires, with the confidence that Jesus has already set us free from their power over us!

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Selah: I Got Saved

Another great song to encourage you this week:

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Jeremy Camp’s New Song: Word of Life

I’m really enjoying this new song from Jeremy Camp!

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Persecution updates from around the globe, especially India

World Digital has revamped its international content and my persecution stories are now part of a roundup called “World Tour.” Here are the past few which include my reporting on false charges against Indian Christians for kidnapping and forced conversion, a trend in attacks on pastors in India, and the Russian Supreme Court‘s decision to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses (and why that will hurt Christians), and how persecution is a part of the refugee crisis.

 

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A Message on Forgiveness from First Baptist Church (NY, NY)

StatueofLiberty (8 of 8)

The image only reflects the post in that the church this sermon is from is my favorite church in New York City. I discovered First Baptist Church in recent months and have been grateful to listen to Pastor Hoskinson’s preaching online as well.  Continue reading

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