Archive for June, 2009

When your back is up against the wall!

Posted in faith, Stress management, Test with tags , , , on June 29, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

All of us face moments in our lives when we are backed into a corner and we feel like there is no way out. Whether it’s a difficult situation at work, an issue in a relationship, financial difficulty or sickness, life’s circumstances can sometimes be overwhelming. Where you turn to and what you do during these difficult times reveals a lot about your character and whom you are placing your trust in.

The apostle James had this to say in James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.”

I know this may be difficult for you to swallow but according to God we are to consider it a joy when we meet trials of various kinds because when our faith in God is tested, it actually produces steadfastness in our lives (This is a good thing). In a day and age where most people give up when life becomes difficult, the Christ follower is to remain steadfast because when steadfastness matures in our lives we actually become complete and whole in our faith walk.

Whatever you are faced with today, don’t check out and run away. Look at your circumstance squarely in the eye and declare, “This too shall pass.” Faith is your shield that blocks the opposition coming against you and gives you hope that God will make a way for you. Be steadfast!

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Who is supposed to LEAD a Church?

Posted in activate church, church, Ecclesiology, Leadership, Manhood, ministry, Theology with tags , , on June 28, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

This is an important question and I preach on this very issue in our Ekklesia Series (June 09). In summarising my answer the following things need to be kept in mind.

Firstly, Jesus Christ is the Senior Pastor of every Christian Church.

Every church is built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:20). Jesus is the head of the church and in all things Christ is to be preeminent (Eph 5:23; Col 1:17-18). Jesus is the Apostle who plants a church and builds a church and the Chief Shepherd who rules over the church (Heb 3:1; Mt 16:18; 1 Pt 5:4). Jesus is to be consulted as central to the church and not peripheral to what the church is doing (Col 3:16). Serving under Jesus authority are elders, deacons and members.

Elders are qualified Christians leading the church under Jesus authority.

Elders are not some special forces unit that is better than everyone else but they have been appointed by God to perform certain functions and carry out specific responsibilities on behalf of Christ and for the church. Elders are biblically qualified, theologically informed and spiritually mature Christians.  1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 inform us of the qualifications of an elder.

Biblically qualified elders are supposed to lead the church.

Read 1 Tim 3:1-7 for a thorough understanding of the elders qualifications and role. Some models of eldership promote the idea of a separate board of lay people leading the church but this isn’t a biblical model. The church is not to be staff led and elder protected by a separate board of people who meet once a month to hold the pastor accountable. The church is to be elder led, elder fed, elder protected, elder disciplining, elder vision setting, elder shepherding and elder example setting. 1 Peter 5:1-3 gives a detailed description of how the elders are to lead.

What about women as elders?

There are 3 basic positions on women as elders. They are egalitarian (liberal), complementarian (moderate) and hierarchical (conservative). We take a mild complementarian (moderate) view on eldership which says that all church ministries are open to qualified men and women, with the singular exception of lead elder-pastor, which is only open to qualified men. Women can be associate elders, deacons, teach, lead worship, serve communion, oversee ministries and be in full time paid ministry. Scriptural texts supporting our position are: Gen 1:27; 2:18; 3:16-17; 1 Cor 11:3, 8-9; 1 Tim 2:11-3:13; Rom 16:1-2; 1 Cor 12:11.

Eldership is not to be taken lightly and should maintain the centrality of Christ as the chief shepherd, engage a plurality of elders providing leadership for the church and the lead elder-pastor should be a male in alignment with 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Keeping in mind Hebrews 13:7 & 12 as a church member.

Lead the Change!

The Sovereignty of God!

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Theology with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

One of the most important doctrines in the Bible and realities of being a Christian is the sovereignty of God. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

This one verse, let alone many others, points us to the sovereignty of God in the salvation of an individual. It is not the will of man that chooses salvation for themselves and ‘lets Jesus into their heart’, it’s the sovereign call of God upon an individuals life that draws them into relationship with Christ. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” We did not, cannot and dare not save ourselves because only in Christ is salvation found and only in God’s election of us are we able to believe in Jesus and call upon his name for salvation.

The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is supposed to humble us and remind us that it is not by our works that man should boast but salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 9:16 says, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Apart from God’s mercy on any of us we would all spend eternity separated from Christ in hell. Romans 3:10-12 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” So many people in our world want to believe that we are inherently good but we are not. We are sinful and rebellious beings. Hence our desperate need of the one and only saviour Jesus Christ. It was our sin that pout Jesus on the cross, not our goodness.

Romans 8:29-30 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined, he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Some argue that God in his foreknowledge looked down the corridors of time and saw those who were going to choose him and thus predestined them to be saved and among his elect. This is otherwise known as the two handed position. But as we have seen in the above verses at the beginning, God doesn’t respond to us because we chose him. Salvation doesn’t depend on human will or exertion, but on God’s pure, one handed mercy. A person who is dead in sin cannot choose salvation for themselves. To quote Romans 3:10-12 again, “No one is righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” 

It is for these scriptural reasons and many others that I am in awe of God’s sovereignty and grace in my own life. I believe the Scripture teaches:

  • The total depravity of man showing us the depths of sin and depravity that accompanies sin.
  • The unconditional election of those whom God has predestined to be saved.
  • The limited yet unlimited atonement of Jesus work on our behalf on the cross. Jesus death is proficient for every man, woman, boy and girl but only efficient for those whom God has predestined to be saved.
  • The irresistible nature of God’s grace and how God’s grace cannot be refused by those whom he has called.
  • The preservation of the saints which shows us that no Christian can be lost from God’s hand once we have been saved. Jesus cannot lose one of his children. In John 17:12 Jesus says, “While I was with them, i kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

Let the sovereignty of God compel you to run towards God and worship him with thanksgiving for what he has accomplished for you on the cross through his son Jesus. Let God’s sovereignty humble you and cause you to live in awe of the one who created the universe by the words of his mouth (Heb 11:3).

Lead the Change!

Movie – ‘Doubt’

Posted in apologetics, faith, Theology with tags , , , on June 26, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

imp_doubt_ver2I recently saw the movie, ‘Doubt’ with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was nominated for 5 academy awards and overall I thought it was a dark, depressing, bleak and  yet clever film about the tension between faith and doubt. I won’t give away the story line but what the film does is ask questions about certainty and doubt.

Many people struggle with doubt about God, the Scriptures, the church, biblical creationism and the evidence of the supernatural power of God. It’s so easy to become skeptical when our expectations aren’t met and people let us down. If we were honest we all have reasons to become bitter and skeptical and allow doubt to cripple our faith in God because of the negative experiences of our lives. But this is where faith comes in.

Faith isn’t the absence of unanswered questions. There are some questions we have that will not be answered in this life but will become clear in the light of eternal life. If you can’t live with this tension then you are going to be a very miserable person. The Book of James 1:5-8 speaks to this issue of faith and doubt. It says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

You may feel very lost and confused about your life and what on is going on with you, the world and everything within it. Lots of people are, but there are some things you can be certain of that have become foundational in my life. In Matthew 7:24-27 we read of Jesus calling us to hear his words and obey them. If we do we will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock and when the rain fell and the storms came, his house did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. But the person who hears the words of Jesus and doesn’t obey them is like a man who built his house on the sand and when the winds and waves blew against the house, great was the fall and crash of the house.

This is a simple analogy to point out to us that if our lives aren’t founded on the truth of Jesus Christ than when the storms of life hit us we will crumble. You may think they will never hit you but the storms of life always hit, whether you are intelligent, famous, rich, poor, educated or inept. Wrestle with your questions and live with the tension of some of them being unanswered but don’t be stupid and ignore your most fundamental need – forgiveness of sins and faith in Jesus Christ. Get over yourself and take your doubts to Jesus. He alone is the one who knows what to do with them.

Lead the Change!

The offense of the GOSPEL!

Posted in activate church, gospel, Theology with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. and the life i now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Some Christian theology today promotes the idea that our joy is to be found in someone or something other than Jesus Christ. This poor theology is evidenced when we hear a gospel of fulfillment being preached that says Jesus Christ exists to give you success and glory and fame and power. The logic continues that if Jesus doesn’t do this then you either don’t have enough faith, something sinful is going on in your life or people walk away from faith because something is wrong with Jesus and Christianity doesn’t work (as if Christianity was another formula for success…)This is all based upon Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Self-actualization) more than the gospel found in the Bible. Some Christians are so miserable in their lives because their joy is rooted in their glory, power, fame, wealth and success rather than being rooted in their willingness to be like Jesus no matter what the circumstances look like and in what Jesus has done for them on the cross.

The gospel is offensive to many people because Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. It calls for a death to our flesh nature and a coming alive to the new creation, Christ-like nature through the work  of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and continual sanctification. God does not get most glory if your successful, wealthy and influential. Christ gets the most glory when everything in your circumstances doesn’t add up and you have every reason to complain and throw in the towel and yet you still live for Jesus and you still give glory to Jesus for who he is and what he has done for you on the cross. Christianity isn’t a gospel of fulfillment but a gospel of freedom from sin through Jesus Christ.

We exist to give God all the glory and honour at all times and all places regardless of how this looks to others. Everything else is vanity. You were made to reflect God to the earth not God to reflect you to the earth. The question isn’t how can I live a life that glorifies me but how can I live a life that mirrors and glorifies Christ? You died when you were crucified with Christ and now you have taken on the new creation nature (2 Cor 5:17) of Christ.

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Creation vs Evolution!

Posted in activate church, apologetics, Creation, global issues, Pop Culture, purpose, Theology with tags , , , on June 22, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

3274252858_1eb9c33bcb_mOur origins are important because it affects our destiny. There are many voices in the world that would attempt to squash the biblical perspective of creation and intelligent design for a more athiestic and secular evolutionary theory of the origins of the earth and mankind.

In 1859 Charles Darwin wrote his famed, “Origin of species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life”. The overall theory was that white humans had out evolved blacks and become superior to black humans, but you will never get told this side of Darwin from your college professor. There are 10 problems with secular evolutionary theory:

  1. How can nothing make everything?
  2. How can random chaos make an orderly universe?
  3. How can no ‘designer’ create something that was designed?
  4. How can impersonal matter create personal humanity?
  5. How can the unintelligent make the intelligent?
  6. How can a transition of species happen over a long period of time but no fossil record exist that such a transition actually happened?
  7. How come we’ve been unable to replicate evolution despite trying desperately to do so?
  8. How can some people say the earth is eternal when even evolutionary theorists hold to BIG bang cosmology which assumes there was a beginning?
  9. Why should anyone try to make a meaningful life for themselves if the secularists are right and all of life is full of hopelessness and despair? The end result is simply suicide.
  10. It’s biased and just bad science because spontaneous generation was proven wrong several hundred years ago.

The alternative to creation is simply paganism (a lie).We are all worshippers and so if we don’t worship God we will worship his creation (Rom 1:18-32). The ultimate result of worshipping creation rather than the creator is sexual perversion because the human body is the crowning achievement of God’s creation. 

Oneism is rife in our society and teaches us that all of reality exists in one circle and the goal is to eradicate distinctions (as found in Genesis 1-3) and bring everything into one. Oneism is postmodernism where there isn’t any good or evil and we should only have one religion, the worship of self! Oneism seeks to get Jesus Christ out of the way because Jesus claims to be the only way to truth and life (John 14:6).

The Dalai Lama reinforces oneism when he says, “We used to think that life was two but really it’s one.” The movie Golden Compass reinforces this when it puts all angels into the category of ‘one’ even if those angels are demons. This theme of oneism is seen in the movie ‘Star Wars’ where everything relates back to the force and even in the kids movie Lion King, Elton John made millions from his hit single, “Circle of life”. Oneism attempts to eradicate every distinction as found in Genesis 1-3 and to look to ourselves as the ultimate god of our reality.

But Trueism says that there are distinctions in our early origins (Gen 1-3) and that Jesus Christ was outside the proverbial circle of oneness and came into our reality to save us from our sin because we were lost, blind and dead in our sin (Rom 3:23). The bible is a theological history more than a scientific textbook. The bible exists not to tell us how the heavens go but how to go to heaven. It tells us about the ‘Who’ and the ‘What’, that God made the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1). We are worshippers. The question is whom do you worship? The creator or the creation?

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Living a Trinitarian Life – The SHACK!

Posted in apologetics, Bible Study, Creation, Theology with tags , , on June 20, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Your doctrine (theology or teaching) informs the quality of your life. One of the areas that we need to grow in is a Trinitarian life. The whole of the Christian Faith is built on the foundation of what God has revealed about himself in His Word. There is no more important question to answer than, “Who is my God?” 

The bible says (Gen 1:1; Deut 4:35; Gen 1:26; Eph 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:2) that God is one who eternally exists as three distinct persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who are each fully and properly God.

Books like the SHACK (which I’ve read) have apparently brought new light to the trinitarian nature of God but it has also distorted a lot about the trinitarian nature of God as well. We must remember it’s a fictional story about Mac hanging with God at the Shack… Why it distorts our understanding of the Godhead is because Father God (Papa) is portrayed as a woman and the Holy Spirit (named Serayu…I think) is portrayed as an Asian Woman. The book actually makes a graven image of God and starts to impose a worldview of Father God as a Goddess. Secondly, if God is a mother then we have real problems on our hands… It also describes God as and I quote: “I am truly human in Jesus.” That’s modalism where everything is represented by one person in the Godhead and not three. Thirdly, the idea of the trinity being without hierarchy and chain of command, as the book states is unbiblical. Jesus was in full submission to the Father and only ever did that which the Father showed him to do. The Holy Spirit is the executive agent in the Godhead executing the will of the Father as directed. Don’t react, just process it biblically! Other than that, it’s a good fictional read.

A Trinitarian life is:

  • Loving: God is completely love in all aspects of his nature.
  • Communal: God is in community. We were not meant to live in isolation.
  • Transparent: There are no secrets in the Godhead. We should be honest and transparent as well.
  • Humble: There is no jealousy in Godhead. Humility is the nature of God.
  • Submissive: There’s no rebellion in the Godhead. If you are wilfilly defiant, you are satanic.
  • Happy: There’s no conflict but pure joy and happiness.

Lead the Change!