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Showing posts from May, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life

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On Wednesday nights, 6:30 p.m., beginning June 9, we will be going through Pastor John Piper’s “ Don’t Waste Your Life .”   This book and study material offers an incredible challenge for us to realign our lives not to the American dream, but to the Biblical Dream of a life lived with purpose and meaning.   For most people the goal of life is to reach a station of relaxation and ease.   Such a life is a total waste.   The strategy of our life should be to exemplify the glory of God in all that we do.   Here is an excerpt from the back cover of Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life:” John Piper writes, “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader’s Digest: A couple ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells. . . .’ Picture them before C

Thou Shalt Not Gamble (Part 2)

I want to continue to refute the argument that the Bible has nothing to say about gambling.   Many people in support of gambling point out that the Bible does not specifically address the issue of gambling, in fact, they point out that the Bible fails to even use any form of the word “gambling”.   My contention is that even though the Bible may not use the something like the phrase, “thou shalt not gamble” it plainly addresses the issue and forbids gambling.   It is not silent on the issue.   Every expression of gambling whether it be slots, card games for money, betting on sports, bingo, lotteries, or raffles goes against everything the Bible plainly says about honesty, love of neighbor, material stewardship, the way one should trust God for provision, and the proper work ethic. 3.        We should manage our material resources responsibly.   Christians are to recognize the Biblical principle that we are stewards of the material world.   Everythi

Q and A with Jesus (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Mark 2 leads us directly into a Q&A session with the Son of God. As the short stories continue, Jesus is confronted by both skeptics and believers with questions about faith, forgiveness, and even worship. In this message, we realize that ultimately people still have the same questions at heart as they did during the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. *Does Jesus really forgive or do Christians just say the He does? (Mk 2:1-12) *Why do people go to church? (Mk 2:13-17) *Why do some people go to church but never really change? (Mk 2:18-22) *What should I do with my Sundays? (Mk 2:23-3:6 *What is God’s opinion of me? (Romans 5:8) Listen to Audio

Thou Shalt Not Gamble (Part 1)

If you do a quick internet search on what the Bible says about gambling, inevitably the first line of the article will read something to the effect of, “The Bible does not specifically forbid gambling.”  The logical conclusion is that since the Bible doesn’t expressly forbid it, it must not be wrong.  To this strain of logic I would like to point out that the Bible does not forbid you from sticking your face to a hot stove eye.  Others would contend that the Bible not only fails to forbid gambling, it fails even to mention it.  To them I would say that the Bible also fails to mention car bombs, internet pornography, and walruses.  Just because the Bible does not mention something by name does not mean it is ignorant of the subject, that it is by default right, or that the God has nothing to say to the issue in question. Though the Bible does not use the word “gambling” to speak of a game of chance like a lottery, a slot machine, or a poker night, does not mean it has nothing to say abo

Piper Teaches on Suffering

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The final chapter of John Piper’s Desiring God deals with a most critical question that threatens delight.   What about suffering?   Is there joy in suffering?   Piper encounters the question from an even more challenging angle, why would anyone choose to suffer?   He bolsters his argument by noting that Jesus chose to suffer (253), Paul chose to suffer (255), and throughout the chapter he cites several followers of Christ who chose to suffer.   If people choose to suffer for Christ, surely there is some sort of satisfying hope and joy within it.   This chapter really resonated with me in that Piper shares the stories of Romanian pastors who suffered under the communist persecution of the Christian church.   He mentions Oradea and Timisoara, both cities I spent time in last summer.   I heard these same testimonies shared firsthand and can testify they are true.   As I met various pastors and leaders who experienced suffering during the communist regime I asked them a curious question,

In the Way (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

We begin our study this week in the Gospel of Mark. This book is a compilation of short stories about, as stated in its introduction, Jesus, the Son of God. Mark is the shortest of the four gospels, and thus very purposeful and direct in its teachings. The first chapter begins with John the Baptist “preparing the way.” In our own lives we are capable of possessing straight, clean paths for Christ to do his work. However, all too often life gets “in the way” and obstacles make the Christian walk seem difficult. Some of these obstacles include a lack of faith, suffering from sin, temptation, even problems at home. Jesus came and gave us the remedy to all of these which is repentance and faith. He leads us away from the curse of sin and into his wonderful salvation. Will you follow Him? Listen to Audio

Faceless

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6) Worship demands an object. Faith must have a focus. Prayer needs an address. Worship what? Faith in what? Pray to whom? You’ve got to have something. We are sensory creatures. We are uncomfortable with invisible. We use images and idols to ease our discontent with intangible. We try to package what we can’t understand. Shapes and colors not only make things tangible, but controllable, and explainable. And it is here that things can go horribly wrong. Fabricated gods are limited to the creator’s design and int

The "Books You Should Read" Page

Since the inception of the feelmyfaith blog I have tried to review and recommend some books along the way.   To help you find those books I have created a new page associated with the blog that is virtually a Brian Branam bookstore.   It is labeled “Books You Should Read” under the “Pages” box.   Amazon now offers a feature that allows bloggers to easily post links to books they would recommend for purchase.   A byproduct of the page is that it will hopefully provide me with some change in my book fund.   It is going to take some time to get all the books I have recommended linked on the page, but I intend to eventually get them all posted there.   The books are not arranged in any sort of recommended order.  

Happy Being Miserable

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The later we get into John Piper’s Desiring God , it seems the book becomes easier to read and all the more convicting.   It may be easier for me to read at this point simply because I have become so frustrated by the pairing of the words “Christian” and “Hedonism” that my mind is now able to ignore them.   For me, this pairing is as awful as when people connect the words “holy” and “crap.”   I have been guilty of saying these words without thought, but the more I hear them and think about what each of them mean apart, I am ashamed that I have ever used them together.   I am not sure the word “crap” can ever be cleansed.   I would say the same for “hedonism.” The good thing about this chapter is that Piper doesn’t really get into that whole confusing argument of why seeking joy in missions is not self seeking, but that seeking joy in the self is really what we should be doing because the only joy we will ever be satisfied with is joy that is found in God.   At least I think that is wha

National Day of Prayer

Ridgecrest Baptist Church will be holding a prayer meeting this Thursday, 7:00 a.m. in observance of The National Day of Prayer.  We will meet here on campus at the flagpole.  Ridgecrest is located at 7773 Gadsden Hwy. Trussville, AL 35173.  Everyone is invited to attend.

Who is First?

If you do not believe that human life is special, then explain why so many things compete for our attention.   Nothing competes for the affection of slugs.   Slugs are slugs.   Nothing desires to be the sovereign of the slug soul, but so many things desire to be sovereign over us.   The gods manifest themselves with icons and acts.   They are money and sex without commitment or consequence.   They are addiction and gluttony.   They are the exaltation of self, pride and hubris.   They rape and pillage and leave the soul unsatisfied, lonely and dark.   Alla and wica, buddha or a star, nature or nothing, all of them exist, whether in mind or matter, it makes no difference.   We think of them, they compete for us, therefore they are.   They are gods. It is interesting to note that the first commandment does not declare there are no other gods, but rather that none of them should be before the God who has delivered Israel from Egypt (Exodus 20:2). [i]   Because He is savior He has the right