Nuggets – The Witness of Creation

The Witness of Creation
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14)

This salutation in the last of the seven church epistles in Revelation contains the last of four occurrences of the distinctive phrase “the beginning of the creation.” The glorified Christ here assumes this as one of His divine names. Even God’s work of creation, long since completed (Genesis 2:1-3), had a beginning, and that beginning was Christ. “In the beginning was the Word . . . and . . . all things were made by him” (John 1:1-3).

The first two occurrences of this phrase also come from the lips of Christ. “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). This assertion by the Creator, Jesus Christ, quoting Genesis 1:27, makes it unambiguously certain that Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of creation, not after the earth had already existed for 4.6 billion years. God also wrote this plainly on the tables of the law (Exodus 20:8-11). Those evangelicals who accept the geological ages evidently reject this clear statement of the creation’s Creator!

Then Christ also referred to the end-times in the context of the beginning-times. “In those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be” (Mark 13:19).

The phrase is also used in Peter’s very important prophecy concerning the scoffers of the end-times, who will argue (in willful ignorance) that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4), thereby denying that there ever was a real creation or real Creator and thus rejecting Christ Himself. But He is also the “true witness” and the “Amen,” and such denials will only be “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). HMM

 From the  Institute for Creation Research

 

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Missions – FAQs – Software and Services

Software and Services

What tools can I use to track team members, budgets, donors, and details?

By ShortTermMissions.com community

There are technology tools that can help you with just about every aspect of a mission trip. Before you start looking at options, think about your requirements. These might include:

  • Promoting the trip and sharing information about how to apply
  • Managing documents like applications, requirements, budgets, and checklists
  • Tracking incoming donations and funds for each team member
  • Tracking expenses according to budget categories
  • Providing online training materials
  • Communicating rapidly with all team members
  • Communicating with donors, family members and churches before, during, and after the trip

1. Leverage what you already have.

You may already have the tools you need. Consider:

  • Many churches and ministries already have contact management systems which you can use to track some of this information. Ask the people you are working with.
  • Someone in your group who has good technical and administrative skills may be able to take care of all your needs using database tools like Microsoft Excel, document sharing services like Google Docs, and online networking sites like Facebook.

2. Check out these free and low-cost tools.

  • Thinking about setting up your own website? That may be a good idea. Before you go that route, check out some of the web services designed to help promote and raise funds for projects and causes. YouCaring and Great Commission Stories are good examples.
  • If tracking donations and communication with supporters is your primary objective, download TntMPD. It’s a free program popular with long-term missionaries. Newer alternatives include DonorElf and Karani.
  • New services designed for fundraising and communication are coming out all the time. Check out Razoo, Empowered, and YouCanSend.me.

3. Consider services especially designed for managing mission trips.

  • Missions Connex online fundraising software allows users to create custom fundraising pages to share with donors so they can give online; it provides reports on fundraising progress and helps keep track of donors.
  • Managed Missions is a more comprehensive software especially designed for mission trips. It allows you to create a budget, manage expenses, and keep track of team members and donations all in one place. It also provides tools for managing schedules and communications.
  • eFurther also provides additional project management tools, and can also be used to accept and approve mission trip applications and conduct training.
  • MissionMakr.com provides online communication and organizational tools to connect team members and those supporting and following the mission trip. It’s very useful for recruiting and managing team members, raising funds, organizing tasks, hosting documents and training materials online, and posting field updates, photos, and videos.

http://www.shorttermmissions.com/articles/software

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Bible Daily Devotional – Isaiah 49 – The true Israel

The true Israel: Isaiah 49

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Today’s reading: Isaiah 49-53.

Reading the Old Testament, we Christians see God’s continual interaction with his chosen people, the Jews. Despite their rebellion God forgives them and preserves a remnant. But as New Testament believers we now see the Jews cut off from the Messiah because of their unbelief. We must ask ourselves, as Paul did in Romans 9, how we reconcile this situation with God’s covenant promises to Israel. Part of the answer jumps out in today’s passage from Isaiah as the prophet introduces the Servant.

Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” Isaiah 49:1-3

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I’m Saved! In Church I Walked Down The Aisle and Said A Prayer…

SIH STSTA ICONAs a Pastor of 15 years, I used to ask the question, “Have you ever been saved from your sins?”.  I have received many different responses to this question.  Here are a few of them…

“Of course, I was baptized as a baby in (church name)”;

“Yes, I am saved, I am a member of (church name)”;

“Yes, I have kept all the sacraments of my church”;

“Yes, I was born into a Christian family, we’ve been Christians for at least four generations”;

“Why yes, thank you for asking, I walked down the aisle of (church name) and said the sinners prayer back in September of 2001”;

and many, many more.

It has broken my heart to hear responses like this coming from those for whom I care.  If you notice, in every case, the above responses imply that our salvation is based on something we have done.  The Bible makes it plain that our salvation does not lie in what we have done, but what the Lord has done in us.  (John 6:44-45, 6:63-66, Eph 2:8-10, Php 2:12-13, Col 1:25-29, Titus 3:4-5)

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Missions – FAQs – Research and Statistics

Research and Statistics

Where can I find data and statistics about short-term missions and their impact?

By ShortTermMissions.com community

Reliable data on mission trips and their effectiveness is hard to find. Here’s why that is the case, and here’s what we do know.

1. How many people go on mission trips?

The short-term-mission movement began in the 1960s and grew dramatically through the 1980s and 1990s. Today it draws upwards of 2 million participants each year from America alone.

We are aware of more than a thousand U.S. mission organizations and ministries which send people on short-term mission trips of one kind of another, in addition to the tens of thousands of churches and more than a thousand Christian colleges, seminaries, and high schools that sponsor trips. Similar things are happening in Europe, Latin America, Australia, and a number of Asian countries. This great diversity among sending organizations, participants, destinations, and models makes it difficult to produce accurate estimates about how many people go on mission trips. Who can know?

If you are looking for statistics about U.S. participation in short-term missions, the best study was conducted by Robert Wuthnow based on data from 2004. His findings, widely cited, estimate U.S. participant levels for that year at 2.4 million, including youth groups and those serving in the U.S. His research also states that approximately 1.6 million Americans went abroad on mission trips in 2005. Current figures would likely be similar.

The Domestic-trip Factor:

Our data from the 300 groups that send the most short-termers each year suggests that about 35% of America’s short-term mission participants are serving in the U.S., not overseas. Respondents to a 2008 study by the Barna Group (see below) reported that 33% of their trips were to U.S. locations. As the number of teams sent to Mexico has decreased, more teams are serving in the U.S.

Diversity of Sending Groups:

Although data on this question is scarce, our experience also suggests that about 60% of short-term missionaries are sent out directly to missionaries they know and through their local church (not a para-church or mission agency). In addition, many Christians participate in service projects, international and domestic, organized by secular groups. Which ones do we “count” as mission trips?

2. Are mission trips worth the time, trouble, and money?

The great variety of mission trip approaches makes it difficult to answer this question as well, and explains in part why we see such widely varying assessments of the movement. The divergent views may also result in part from different ideas about what a mission trip can and should accomplish. Are mission trips primarily about the experience of those who go, or about the difference they make on the field? Most mission trips shine more in one of those spheres than the other. Keep this divide in mind as you read the articles below. Consider the assumptions each writer brings to the conversation and the extent and source of their research.

While evaluations of the movement are mixed, we can be encouraged that those who support mission trips and those who criticize them often share similar ideals for what constitutes short-term mission done well. For a good description of best practices and benchmarks, see Seven Standards of Excellence in Short-term Mission.

3. Where can I find additional research?

To dig deeper, see the following books:

The Need for More Vigorous Research:

Academic research on this topic is limited. We find it frequently glosses over the great diversity of experiences which fall under the mission trip umbrella, and tends to use very limited data to support far-reaching conclusions about the state of short-term missions and how the industry should change. Clearly, short-term missions have widely varying goals as well as varying results, so generalizations about their value can be misleading. More vigorous research is needed. Please feel free to contact us to discuss these dynamics further.

http://www.shorttermmissions.com/articles/research

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Nuggets – Ascending Vapors

Ascending Vapors
“He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.” (Psalm 135:7)

This striking verse is practically identical with Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16, suggesting the possibility that the prophet Jeremiah may have written the otherwise anonymous Psalm 135. The two Jeremiah passages do preface this statement with the note that there is “a multitude of waters in the heavens” in connection with the processes described in the verse.

In any case, this thrice-mentioned mechanism beautifully summarized what we now call the hydrologic cycle, and it did so over 2,000 years before the cycle began to be understood by modern scientists. In order to provide rain to water the earth, there must be vapors ascending all over the earth (that is, evaporation from the world’s great oceans), winds then blowing from God’s unseen treasury (actually the global atmospheric circulation), and, finally, lightnings for (or “with”) the rain (electrical discharges associated with the condensation and coalescence of the particles of water vapor in the atmosphere). All of this repeatedly transports purified waters from the ocean back over the lands to fall as rain and snow, there finally to run off back to the oceans after performing their life-sustaining ministries on the lands. “Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Not only does this hydrologic cycle sustain physical life on Earth, but it also is a type of the spreading of God’s Word, giving spiritual life. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, . . . So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please” (Isaiah 55:10-11). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Bible Daily Devotional – Isaiah 45 – Stealth God

Stealth God: Isaiah 45

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Today’s reading: Isaiah 45-48.

People who doubt or deny God often argue, “if God is real, why doesn’t he show himself?” How striking, then, to see Isaiah’s declaration about the invisibility of the LORD.

Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel. Isaiah 45:15

In context, Isaiah has been discussing two facts about God:

  • His plan to use a foreign ruler named Cyrus, not to be born for another 100 years, to rebuild Jerusalem and return the  Jews to their homeland
  • The foolishness of those who doubt or question God, acting like clay pots which deny the potter who made them has any hands

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Manifestation of the Sons of God–Just Who Are These Immortal Ones?

Originally posted on Immortality Road:

Immortal ones? Walking around the earth? Interacting with regular human beings? Yes. This post apocalyptic scenario is vividly painted in the pages of the Holy Bible. When read with fresh eyes, the Bible speaks of Christ the King’s return to set up His government, His kingdom. This is the plan of God for this earth and its inhabitants.

The scene painted in the “Prologue” of this book is the aftermath of the destruction of man’s attempt to rule himself without God’s direction. It describes the end of this current age. It is the culmination of human history. It is the final curtain of a sad era of man ruling man and the beginning of the government that God will set up here on earth.

This new government is a kingdom, ruled by the King called Jesus in English speaking lands and called Yahshua in Hebrew. This kingdom ruled by its…

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Who has believed our report?

The title of this Blog is about the question Isaiah the Prophet asked the Jewish nation as he preached about a Suffering Saviour prophesied to come and save the world. This record was written 600 years before Christ actually came. Isaiah’s subject of the 53rd Chapter was the Suffering Saviour and how this Suffering Saviour would redeem the human soul and the human family from sin and sickness. The Spirit of the Lord put this witness upon Isaiah’s heart. Isaiah’s faith in God compelled him to give the report of the Messiahship of Christ. Only few believed. Only few obeyed.

It’s the same way today. Only few actually believe in Christ. Only few actually know every sin is forgiven. Only few actually obey the Gospel. Only few actually believe the report about Christ that is proclaimed by the Prophets. What is a Prophet? A Prophet is a preacher of Christ. A Prophet tells the world about who Christ is and what Christ does from the Throneroom. Who believes the report about Christ? Who actually finds the person of Christ that touches man’s lost soul with Grace enough to save, Grace enough to forgive, and Grace enough to keep the Holy Spirit present in our lives. I have been preaching Christ for 24 years and sometimes this preacher thinks to himself, “Lord who has believed our report?” As all of you know I preach the cross. I preach Christ and His power and presence. I preach holiness of heart and conduct yet I wonder, “Lord who hath believed our report”. I have witnessed few that accept Christ and I have witnessed many that reject His saving Grace. I continue preaching Christ and reaching out to people who God sends me to. I never give up on humanity because God doesn’t give up either. I carry the report and proclaim it. I don’t count souls I just pray they get saved. I write about Christ, I preach Christ, I fellowship in Christ, my marriage is in Christ, I work my job in Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I believed the report! I accepted Christ after I heard about Him. When I heard the report I trusted! Glory to God! When I trusted the report Christ took me over. The report was true. The scriptures have been confirmed. Get behind me Satan I am bought for a price. I am God’s property only. I have a job to do. I must share the report so others can believe. I must obey the Gospel to be a vessel of honor prepared for the masters use. I believed the report that Christ saves the sinner and sanctifies the saint! I believe and live for Christ. I tell others about what Christ did for this writer. He’s alive! Glory!

He’s alive! Have you believed the report about Christ! Are you trusting Christ for your personal forgiveness of sin? Is your heart clean? Are you right with God? Is that heart prepared enough to make the Rapture. If you died today would you go to Heaven automatically?

Why do I ask? If you believe the report, “God will make you the man or woman you ought to be”. Let’s get down to it. Today is the day of Salvation! Not because you believe..but “WHEN” you believe. Not what you believe but “WHO” you believe in and trust. Christ is the answer. He’s alive! He’s exalted. He saves the lost! He liberates the deceived from religion. He’s God. Glory! He’s God! Share the report! Give the report! Give people something to believe in. Christ is a person. Christ is Eternal. Christ suffered for you! Christ was a Prophet who raised from the grave. He’s glorified now! He is using CB for His glory! Have you believed the report? Let us know. God Bless.

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Remember When God Laughed?

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Remember that time God told you a joke?  Maybe you do and maybe you don’t.  Have you ever stopped to think on whether or not God even tells jokes?  How about his laughter?  Do you know what his laughter sounds like?

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