Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Don't You Listen/ Hear What You're Missin'

"So while you're outside looking in,
Describing what you see,
Remember what you're staring at is me."

In evangelism and in personal relationships, unfortunately, we've fallen into the trap of seeing people as cases. I am guilty of this more than any other person on the planet. Being at a Bible Institute my head is spinning with all of the information that's being thrown my way, and that's what comes to mind whenever I hear someone talk about anything. Instead of listening I'm going over my notes in my head from class so I can quote them word for word. It's a pride thing most definitely. I was talking to someone the other night about the confession that we're supposed to make and they said that it's not confessing Jesus as Lord over our lives, and instead it is we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. They were turning through their Bibles looking for a supporting verse and they turned to Romans 10:9-10 where we see that the confession is confessing Jesus as Lord with our mouths. All I saw was that they were in Romans 10, and I didn't realize what they were looking at, so I asked, "What does Romans 10 say?" They got really offended and called me condescending. Honestly, I had no idea what they were looking at until I read the passage they were in. The point is, whether or not we're right, wrong, meaning to be condescending or not, we need to be patient in waiting for others to speak, instead of forcing people to be on the defense or to be totally offended. I pray that you all will be praying for me in this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Preaching to the Choir

-I know this is a long blog (too long even) but I got really upset at some comments left on a Christian Chronicle Article-
Read the comments and you will understand. I've previously posted this on my Facebook, but some have not read it.

Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Do we care about the welfare of the Church? At the rate that preachers are being turned out in the next fifty years there will be one preacher for every four churches. For every man that goes into the lifestyle of being a godly man accurately handling the word of God, there are two preachers leaving, whether they die or turn to denominationalism. Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? At a recent retreat, Denny Petrillo, the Director at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, asked a question to fifty preachers, elders and deacons. He asked, “How many of you have encouraged a young man to be a preacher?” No one raised their hand. How sad it is that we can see the need for preachers in the brotherhood, but we refuse to do anything about it. Are we afraid? What is there to fear? Do we care? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Romans 10:14-15)! How awesome it is to call on Jesus, but how will someone call on Jesus whom hasn’t heard of him? How great it is to know the word, but what is the profit to God or anyone else if it is not proclaimed? How will it be proclaimed if no one is sent? We have a responsibility to teach our children that Jesus is worth their lives. We have to, and I stress have to, teach our children that people’s eternal souls are at risk and we have to be concerned for them. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). We must encourage our young men to preach to the world, but we must first be an example.Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Outside of the Church there is a school of thought that says that we should make something out of our lives that will make us rich. If you’re not rich or doing better than your neighbor then you had better go back to school so that you can know more than them. We’d all like to be successful, but is our success measured in quantity of dollars or amount of education? May it never be. Our success is measured by our work for the Lord. We must bear fruit. We must lay up for ourselves treasures, not on earth where rust corrupts and thieves steal, but where rust does not corrupt and thieves do not steal: in Heaven. If one knows everything about biology and they’ve purchased everything their hopes and dreams have ever desired, it is still all for naught. 2 Peter 3:10-11 tells us that everything on earth is going to burn up, so we need to be godly having holy conduct. There’s nothing shameful about being a man preaching the word of God, for his treasures are laid up in Heaven and God will justly reward. Let’s try something every man and woman in Christ, let’s be rich. Let’s be rich in love for the word and rich with our treasures laid up in Heaven. In comparison there is no more valid occupation than that of preaching the word of God. Our success, as Christians, is measured by God, not by society peering in our wallets. We must work the school of thought that is on the inside of the Church, to the outside where the world can be conformed to Christ, but we can’t do this without a preacher.Do we care about the welfare of the Church? “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus says that he is going to build His church upon a rock. What is that rock? In verse 16 Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter told the truth. Peter didn’t need it to be revealed to him by flesh and blood. Peter discerned this by himself from the evidences that he’d seen. Do we care about the welfare of the Church? The Church is built upon a rock of truth, the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In a way the question becomes; do we care about the truth? The brotherhood universities, schools, and institutes are being infiltrated by those who do not care about the truth. When I was attending Freed-Hardeman University I was not a Christian and did not understand the importance of testing the faculty as to their understanding of truth. It now means the world to me and the brotherhood is eternally indebted to such practices. These past couple of years the Tulsa Workshop has not been what it once was. There have been denominational guests that have been invited, not for debate, but to lecture and teach. When asked about this, the coordinators said that they do this because the so-called conservative brethren will not come. The conservative brethren were attacked by the liberal brethren, and now the liberal brethren will only listen to the denominational ‘pastors’. The conservative brethren gave it up. They didn’t want to be attacked, so they just stopped accepting the invitation. It’s sad. The cause was not lost. There was a lack of care for the Church and for the truth. We need to care. It is everything. What is our passion? What is it that drives us? What makes us servants? There is an answer to each of these questions, but the answer only lies in our actions. The Church will be defined by the same. I feel so blessed to be a part of the Church, and to be a student studying to be an effective preacher at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Teenage men, to younger men, to middle aged men and older gentlemen, there is a calling. We are called in one hope of our calling to do the work, and there is work to be done. The Director of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver instituted, as it were, a new award at the Homecoming Banquet this year. He called it a ‘NUAC’. ‘NUAC’ stands for Not Under Any Circumstances. At first hearing this word ‘Newac’ it little to no sense. Even the explanation meant nothing to me. Denny went on to say, “This award goes to man whom not under any circumstances sacrificed the validity and the accuracy of the word of God.” This is now the only thing that I went written on my tombstone. It really means something to rightly divide the word of God, and the fact there is now an award for it tells us that this is few and far between. Not under any circumstances can we let this go on.With twice as many preachers leaving as are coming in we have a lot of work to do, but it must be done, and it can be done. With help, hard work, perseverance, and encouragement we can make the Church one that the gates of Hades will not over power. Christ said the gates wouldn’t and it is our job as the gate watchers to make sure of Christ’s promise. In order to do this we have to have men preaching the gospel. There are schools like Sunset, Bear Valley and Brown Trail School of Preaching that are turning out men as fast as they can, but there is something that we all need to be doing apart from the schools. We need to be encouraging young men to want to be preachers. We need to understand that there are souls that are lost, and that God desires to have the world reconciled to Him. That’s why He sent His son to die for the world, not just you and me. It can be comforting knowing that we’re saved, but it ought to put a fire under us knowing that there is a greater fire waiting for those who know not our God. We have to believe that preaching is a valid occupation. Really, it is more than that. Preaching is a lifestyle, a calling, and a privilege. Lastly, we have to care about the welfare of the Church. The line between truth, opinion, and acceptability is being skewed as we breathe every breath. When we understand that it is not only the Bible that is being challenged, but it is our Lord and God that is being questioned and put on the backburner by society we will understand why we need more preachers handling the word carefully and accurately. We must encourage our young men to preach. We must believe that preaching is the most important occupation and lifestyle in the world. It is dire that we care about the welfare of the Church. Do you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handling God's Word With Love

Eric Ramseur wroteat 6:59pm on December 6th, 2008
quick question... I don't know much about the Community Church, but are the baptisms that are done for the forgiveness of sins?

(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:04pm on December 7th, 2008
No, my friend, it is an outward expression of obedience and acknowledgment that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives and symbolizes the death, the burial, and the resurrection. I hope that clarifies things, they've all received the Lord's forgiveness prior to baptism, at least as far as I understand.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:51pm yesterday
Where's that verse that says that you receive forgiveness prior to baptism?
(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:40pm yesterday
Champ, for those who believe... 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace Psalm 103:12 It is possible for the Lord to look at us without seeing our sins because when he forgave us, he removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. It is by faith that we receive our forgiveness faith that Jesus has paid the ultimate price, that he has torn the veil that separates man from God,James 2:20 without deeds is useless... Once more baptism, is an outward expression of our faith, in which we openly proclaim that we believe Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we can do to be saved and truly it's only by our faith in Christ that we are redeemed. The important thing is this, It's an outward expression of our faith.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 10:00pm yesterday
I'm not saying that baptism isn't an expression of faith. I'm just saying that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). 1 Peter 3:18-21 is the entire context where we see that baptism now saves through the resurrection of Christ. Jesus says that His blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins and Acts 2:38 uses the same language when it says that they should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. I totally agree that we are saved by our faith, but our faith compels us to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins when we die to sin (Romans 6:3-4) in the like-manner of Christ's death which is baptism where we clothe ourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). Acts 16:30-34 tells of a man who asked what he must do to be saved. They told him to believe. And within the hour he and his household were baptized... only after that does it say that they believed.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 10:06pm yesterday
The book of Psalms has no bearing on NT Christianity as far as the plan for salvation. They had a different plan to be saved. I keep hearing it is by faith alone that we receive our forgiveness, well why does it say that baptism saves and that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins along with repentance?
(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:08am
Champ, Romans 4:1-7 , To say that I've been baptized and therefore am saved is to say that I've obtained my salvation by my own act, which clearly cannot be done, for as with Abraham, our father of faith who believed God and it was accredited to him as righteousness, it is through our belief, our faith and not just by baptism alone, that we are saved, baptism alone does not save, But saving faith in-which there takes place an earnest repentance from sin. Why did he get baptized, why did the ethopian want to be baptized was it that he was baptized and then believed or was it that he believed and then received? None the less you're right and I believe now we're just splitting hairs. I Corinthians 3:6-7

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:24pm
Baptism is not something that you do. It is something that is done to you. Be baptized/immersed is passive and it is imperative. So we can see that it is something that had to be done and it was something that was done to them in Acts 2. Of course you have to believe first or else baptism means absolutely nothing, whether you believe it's an outward sign or you think it's for salvation. That's why Jesus says he who has believed and has been baptized will be saved, but he who disbelieves shall be condemned. He doesn't have to say anything about baptism in that last clause, because if you don't believe then you wont be baptized. We can't make NT application with an OT subject when it comes to salvation. Abraham made animal sacrifices... we don't, because Christ is our sacrifice. I'm not saying that it is baptism alone that saves, nor is it our faith alone. Of course the ethopian believed, but he was preached Jesus and from that he knew that he had to be baptized by someone else.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:25pm
I'm not saying this to be facetious at all, but when you said I was right and now we're splitting hairs... what was I right about?

(Austin Peay) wroteat 4:55pm
1 Peter 3:18-21 if it is said in the word than I'll agree with you on that, look to be honest i'm not in the mood right now, I concede, you are a great theologian and know what and how to be saved I hope that you apply it and ultimately advance the kingdom of God :)

Eric Ramseur wroteat 5:26pm
I'm really sorry if I've come off haughty or arrogant or anything nonconducive to a Christian walk. That was not my intention at all. I am just extremely concerned about baptisms and the reasons behind them. So, if I've offended you in any kind of way or put you in a bad mood I apologize sincerely.


I have a lot to learn.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Get the Lead Out- Part 2

In the first blog of this three part series I talked about one of the three areas that needed to be fulfilled in order to be a leader. The first area was having the will to lead. Today I want to discuss leaders making things happen.
While the leader needs to make things happen, he cannot do this alone. The leader needs to stimulate others to reach their fullest potential by finding their strong suits and encouraging them to be the best they can be. The leader must also be ready when others make mistakes to pick them up, rinse, and repeat. Things will happen when people are reinforced with positivity and a smile. The most important thing a true leader can do is let someone know that they have potential and someone believes in them. Everybody is suited for something. Outstanding results cannot be forced out of people. They occur only when individuals collaborate under a leader's stimulation and inspiration in striving toward a worthy common goal. Helping others realize their fullest potential to contribute meaningfully will force things to happen. You cannot do this alone. If others are being stimulated to love and good works under the direction of a leader things will happen.

The Leader Teaser

Yesterday I went to the bank to deposit a check and I noticed the mind bender for the day. (It was quite perfect actually) For those of you who don't know what a mind bender is, it is something to keep people busy while waiting in line for a slow teller. Seriously, it's a riddle of sorts. Anywho, it said and I quote, "Studies show that people who buy 3 of these things a year are better suited to be leaders." I stood and wondered, "How very well thought out God. You're trying to keep my mind on leadership aren't you?" So, I think over it for a while and the only thing that comes to mind is a _________. So I get to the teller and tell her about the class that I'm taking and I ask her if she can just give me the answer. So she looks at me for about 10 seconds with a sinister smile and finally she says, "A pair of running shoes." I thought to myself, "Can you form that answer in the form of a sentence?" Mike Hite would have an aneurism and conniption fit. But I decided not to go grammar nazi on her and actually think about the answer. It was stupid and I felt like I had wasted 10 brain cells on the answer. But I thought Bob would think it was cute because he teaches the Leadership class and he buys 3 pairs of running shoes a year. I guess he's better suited to be a leader.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get the Lead Out- Part 1

One of the toughest things to do is to change. If someone has done drugs all of their life, then it will be hard for them to quit. If someone has used profanity all of their life and it is all that they have heard, then it will be hard for them to stop using that kind of language. If being a follower is all that a person knows to be, then being a leader is perceived as an unattainable concept for them.

Unfortunately, I still struggle with the idea of being a leader, in being a husband and a spiritual leader in the church and my family. Growing up I was never encouraged to take the lead because that's what parents were for. Looking back on that I realize that I was done a great disservice in that I was not taught or encouraged to lead. Now that leadership is involved in every decision that I make I can see the changes that I need to make in order to become the leader that I need to be.

In order to be a leader there are three areas that need to be fulfilled. The first area has to do with having the will to lead. If a leader has no drive then he/she will never get anyone anywhere. When was the last time you heard about a follower accidentally stumbling upon victory? It does not happen. There must be the will along with the intent to lead and accomplish. What we need to realize is what Moses had to realize eventually- God will give us the strength and the knowledge. Only by trusting in him will we then receive the victory. So let's get the lead out and get out in the lead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sounding and Grounding New Hampshire

Hello all! My name is Eric Ramseur and I am very interested in your region of the United States. I'm sure I sound like an alien or maybe just a foreigner who has been so bored that New Hampshire sounds appealing, but I am truly interested in your area of the United States. I am planning on planting or rebuilding a church in your state. I am a preacher who preaches for the church of Christ. We are not a denomination, nor are we nondenominational (all inclusive). Rather, we are New Testament Christians who believe that there are to be no divisions among the body of Christ and the Bible is our only authority because it is from God. There are nine total churches of Christ in New Hampshire that are still surviving. Per capita, this is not enough. That is why I am so interested in your area of the United States. In Acts 1:8 Christ said that the apostles were going to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the remotest parts of the earth. Well, there are still some remote parts of the world that are left. The apostles covered those parts in their day, and now it is our turn. While, there are congregations in New Hampshire that call themselves Christians, there are certain aspects of Christianity that these sincere people have to attain to. The truth of the gospel of Christ needs to be spread into all of the world. It is my belief that the spreading needs to start in your own back yard. When Paul and Barnabas set out to preach to the world, they went to Cyprus first, which is where Barnabas was from.
While I am idealistic, I am also reasonable and pragmatic. I understand that this work is not going to be easy in the least. That is why I am training to preach, teach and lead at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. I am also planning on having other competent men with my family in New Hampshire along with their families. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. It is more than imperative. It is our spiritual obligation of love to do this work. This work is not about numbers. It is not about filling seats and it certainly is not about our wallets or fame. This is about saving souls. I must decrease so that Christ may increase. This will be a labor of love and while this mission is about unity it is also about division. It is about dividing sound doctrine and sound people from the world and denominational teaching. 1 Timothy 2:13-14 says "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." So there is something to be retained- that is the standard of sound words- and there is something to be guarded- that is the treasure which has been entrusted. The treasure is the standard of sound words or the testimony of Christ which Paul over and over tells Timothy that he need not be ashamed because he is not (2 Timothy 1:8; 12, 16; 2:15). We must not be ashamed of sound teaching because Paul, through inspiration, says that it is to be retained and guarded. Christ has guarded (2 Timothy 1:12) and so shall we.
I am excited to meet you all. If you would please respond and let me know what you all think, what your beliefs are, and your willingness to study (yourself and the population as a whole). The truth is very important. Jesus says that He is the way, the life, and the truth. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). So, it is important to have sound teaching and be grounded in the word of God. I love you all and I love your love for the truth. So, if you would get back to me so that we can talk about the future of New Hampshire it would be greatly appreciated.

"Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:3-4