A Note to My Readers: Compassion International


If you read the articles published on this website by coming to the actual site (instead of reading it in your RSS reader or some other way) you may have noticed two new items. On the right sidebar there is now a promotional item for Compassion International, and if clicked will take you to a page on the Compassion International website where you can learn more about giving clean water to those in need of it. This same type of promotional item is also located in the footer (the bottom) of each page and article. Seeing these may have raised a few questions for you, which I would like to answer below.  

What is Compassion International?

Compassion International‘s goal is to take a child who is living in poverty and help them from “economic, physical, social and spiritual poverty, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.” Compassion partners with a local church, where the child lives, and works with the church to develop programs that will help a child living in poverty receive the education and spiritual growth they will need to grow out of the poverty they are in. Compassion then partners with people like you and me to sponsor a child so that they can be a part of the programs developed by Compassion and the local church. Learn more about Compassion by reading through the Compassion FAQ page.  
 

Why is Compassion International on this website?

First, I (Aaron), gain absolutely nothing from what you decide to do with the information you receive about Compassion from me on this website. If you decide to sponsor a kid because of reading something here, there is nothing in it for me. I am writing about Compassion International and their efforts because they are a part of the wheel that is Evangelism. I do not receive any monetary support of any kind from Compassion and do not aim to. My aim with writing about Compassion is to introduce you to them, and some of their ministry partners, so that you are aware of needs around the world that you can help with. Questions? Ask them in the comments below 🙂 
 

What can I expect to read or see about Compassion International and their ministry activity?

I am a part of the Compassion Blogger team. I am one of approximately 1,100 other bloggers who have decided to help spread the word about Compassion and their mission through the use of my website and writing. Compassion sends us (bloggers) “assignments” that help to show a need or highlight a specific part of their ministry. You will see videos, read testimonials, and learn how you can become involved. Absolutly nothing pushy (see below).  
 

What do you believe about “pulling on heart strings?”

Great question. I don’t believe in pulling on heart strings. That is to say, I don’t believe in pulling on the heart strings of people to make them do something. A huge problem that I see in churches is that there is such an emphasis on emotional response that people do not really know anything substantial. They do not know why they bleieve what they believe. They believe it because that is what the pastor or their parents have told them.  
 
I sat in a church service once where the pastor used his pulpit, and the forty minutes he had to preach, to try and guilt me and the rest of his congregation into sponsoring a child. I walked out of that service very upset that he tried to use emotion and guilt to have me sponsor a child. I did not sponsor a child. I will not sponsor a child soley based on an emotional reaction, and will not encourage you to either. I do not want you to make an emotional decision when it comes to sponsoring a child. Hear me on this: I do not believe that true heart change (in this case, concern) will come through emotional response only. It must be grounded in God’s Word.  
 
All that I am going to do here is give you information and tell you what you can do. I then want you to continue studying God’s Word and praying. Allow what I tell you to prompt you to seek more from God and his Word. Allow his Word only to make the change in your life, not what I write here. Understood? Good 🙂 If not, fire away in the comments below. 
 
I am extrememly excited to begin writing about Compassion International (you can expect the first writing assignement to appear tomorrow) and look forward to telling you more about what they do and how you can get involved. 
 

Why the Gift of Tongues is Not an Active Ministry in Today’s Church


Why the Gift of Tongues is not an Active Ministry in Today's Church

A large part of putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. With this indwelling comes a spiritual gift to each believer to use for the building up of the church.

Spiritual gifts are gifts of God given to those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and who have received the gift of God’s grace. The Apostle Paul instructs the purpose of gifts quite clearly: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12, ESV). As members of His body He equips us with gifts (1 Cor. 12:6) which we are then empowered to use, by the Holy Spirit (12:11), so that we are able to “[build] up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

Something that may be confused with spiritual gifts are the fruit of the Spirit. While both

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areas are given by and empowered by the same source (1 Cor. 12:6, 11; Gal. 5:18) there is a distinct difference. Spiritual gifts are given on an individual basis: “But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (1 Cor. 7:7). The fruit of the Spirit is how those who have put their faith in Christ are able to live (Gal. 5:22-24), as opposed to those who have not (vv. 19-21).

With that being said, one’s spiritual maturity is not determined by having and using a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are for ministering and building up the body of Christ (Eph 4:12). But, as stated in Galatians 5:24, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Fruit of the Spirit is a continual walk, spiritual gifts are used at specific times for specific purposes.

There is one gift that seems to draw the most attention. The gift of tongues is, “Speak[ing] not to men but to God…utter[ing] mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2). The purpose of this gift is twofold. First, if the one in possession of such a gift is able to interpret what he says, he must use it as a witness to unbelievers (v. 21) or, in order to, minister to a body of believers (vv. 26-27). Second, one can use this gift to offer such tongues to the Lord as prayers and worship (vv. 14-17).

Baptism in the Holy Spirit can be associated with speaking in tongues. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of the Spirit, as promised by Christ (Acts 1:5), to all those who put their faith in Him (15:7-9).

Is speaking in tongues the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit? No. While there are instances recorded in scripture of after receiving the Holy Spirit individuals speak in tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:44-48), it is important to remember that tongues are a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:10) and are given as directed by God (vv. 4-7).

Another question is whether or not tongues are still valid today. The positive group, made up of Pentecostals and most charismatics, hold that tongues are for everyone as a result of baptism in the Spirit, and as such should be sought out. The negative group “[asserts] that the ‘perfect’ in 1 Corinthians 13:10 (KJV) meant the canon, and therefore at the close of the canon tongues ‘ceased in and of themselves.”[1]

This author sides with the negative camp but disagrees with their assertion that the “perfect” represents the close of the canon. In 1 Corinthians 13:8 Paul states that prophesies and knowledge will “pass away” and tongues will “cease.” The Greek verb used for prophesies and knowledge is “be abolished”, meaning that something will put an end to them.[2] For tongues, the Greek verb used means that they will cease by themselves, and since the “perfect,” which will put an end to prophesies and knowledge in verse ten, does not put an end to tongues, it should be understood that they are not present to be abolished by the “perfect.”[3]

Since we now have God’s Word delivered to us in it’s complete, inerrant, and inspired form (Rev. 22:18-19), there is no longer a need for the use of tongues. So then, what is the “perfect” spoken of? In light of 1 Corinthians 13:9 it must be when we are given full knowledge and understanding, which is not until we see our Lord face to face in eternity (v. 4).

Considering the final paragraphs examining the gift of tongues it is appropriate to conclude by restating the purpose of spiritual gifts: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

What is the point of ‘Points to Remember’ and Questions to Promote Discussion and Bible Study?’ 

Points to Remember

  • Spiritual gifts are given to each believer to use for the building up of the church.
  • Spiritual gifts and the fruit of the Spirit are given by and empowered by the same source (the Spirit) but are not the same (see question #1 below).
  • Since we now have God’s Word delivered to us in it’s complete, inerrant, and inspired form (Rev. 22:18-19), there is no longer a need for the use of tongues.

Questions to Promote Discussion and Bible Study

(feel free to share your answers (and questions!) in the comments below)

  1. What is the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and spiritual gifts? What verses support your view?
  2. What are the two original purposes of the gift of speaking in tongues?
  3. What is baptism in the Holy Spirit? Is speaking in tongues the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit?
  4. Do you believe that tongues are still in use today? Please explain why or why not with Scripture as your source.

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“Little Children” – I’m Humbled


all this, and he can do dishes

Image by dead_squid via Flickr

1 John 3:18 – “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.”

Wow.

When I read this I did a double take. First, “little children” did its job, I was humbled. Then, don’t just love by “word and talk” but instead, love by “deed and truth.”

I love a call to action.

But only when I am doing the call to action already…I am not doing this. But I need to. I needed to hear this.

“Aaron, what are you doing to show your wife that you love her? What are you doing to show the homeless in your city that they are loved? What are you doing to show my church that I love them?”

The answer ofcourse to all of these is a big fat NOTHING. I tell my wife I love her, and do things for her around the house, but what else can I do? I write checks to my church every month and I’m sure they use some of that money to help the homeless ministries in my city, but what else can I do more directly to help both? Teach a class at church and volunteer in a soup kitchen come to mind…

I am so caught up in my life and figuring out where I am to go and what I am to do that I forget that I need to demonstrate my love to those around me.

I am so thankful that I read this passage tonight.

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Moses, the Old Testament Jesus


Exodus 32:7-14 (New King James Version)

Calf 7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
11 Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”[a] 14 So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

The more I read about the Israelites, the more I see me and everyone else I know.  We have been blessed by God and we still turn our backs on him and worship other things; idols.  This is something that I drilled into the youth group kids last year: anything that distracts you from the presence of God is an idol.  It does not have to be a golden calf or a wooden man statue from a tribe in Africa, it can be another person, a class at school, a dream to do something, a movie, cd, an ipod (technology)…you get the point.  Even after God, the God of the universe, brought them out of Egypt, the Israelites couldn’t worship Him alone at all times!  They doubted Him so many times that they just got to the point where they needed something else to worship. 

God sees this and calls them what they are: “still-necked people” (v. 9).  God’s wrath is burning and seems to get to the boiling point until Moses intervenes on behalf of the Israelites.  He pleads with the Lord not to harm His people!  In this light, Moses is to the Israelites what Jesus (and His blood on the cross) is to us.  Moses continually had to plead for mercy on the Israelites as they continued to sin, just as Jesus’ blood does for us! His death and resurrection on our behalf protect us from what we deserve: the wrath of God.

Be thankful for what Jesus did. His crucifixion has been so watered down that I do not believe that it has the affect that it should.  Same goes for his resurrection!  He died, and three days later came back to life…and then he rose up into the sky and joined His father in Heaven.  Think about that and realize that it actually happened! 

Just as we deserve the wrath of God, He deserves our devotion and worship.  GIVE IT TO HIM! Spend time with Him on a daily basis and trust in Him always!