Christmas, Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ December 11, 2018

Here are a few of my favorite recent online Christmas finds…

Christmas might be the easiest time of the year to get a foot in the door to share the gospel with unsaved friends, loved ones and strangers. That’s why I love this article by Allen Nelson over at Things Above Us called A Christmas Gift for You. You can share it around on your social media pages to help others understand what Christ did to save us. And if you’d like to use it as a devotion at a Christmas party, tuck it into your Christmas cards, use it as a bulletin insert at church, or something like that, you can contact Allen for permission to reprint it.

 

If you love Handel’s Messiah, check out Messiah: The Podcast Series Advent Calendar. “It took George Frideric Handel 24 days to complete the musical score of Messiah – the most famous oratorio ever written. This podcast advent calendar tells all the stories about the people, the places, the music, the drama and the gossip that is connected to the maiden performance in Dublin 275 years ago.” (I think this is more of a history website than a Christian website.)

 

Wonder why some Christmas songs are so ear-catchingly popular? Music nerds can tell you, and here’s one to do just that. Vox gives us Adam Ragusea explaining The Secret Chord that Makes Christmas Music Sound So Christmasy. 

 

And speaking of Christmas music…need some to listen to? Amazon has several Christmas songs and albums you can download for free! (Listen discerningly.) And if you’re shopping at Amazon, be sure to check out Amazon Smile and donate part of your purchase to the Christian ministry, organization, or church of your choice!

 

When Christians think “Christmas” we usually think Luke 2, and maybe Matthew 1-2. But…John? My friend and fellow LSU alum, Nicholas Maricle, shares this lovely article on the Incarnation: John 1, the Word, and Jesus over at his blog Thinking Theologically. Do yourself a favor and give him a follow!

 

Josh Buice has another awesome quiz for us at his blog, Delivered by Grace. Test your knowledge with: Christmas Quiz: How much do you know?

 

And last of all, an early Christmas present for me (thanks to reader and contributor, Laura!). Phil Johnson and Todd Friel discussed part of my article Women and False Teachers: Why Men Don’t Get It, and Why It’s Imperative That They Do on the December 10 episode of the Too Wretched for Radio podcast (around the 15:42 mark). I’ve mentioned that Todd was the first to introduce me to the idea of biblical discernment when I “accidentally stumbled across” the Wretched TV show one night while flipping through the channels. And I listen to Phil often, love his preaching, and have a great deal of respect for him on a number of different levels. So while this brief mention on a podcast that the majority of the world has never heard of wouldn’t mean much to most people, it was a real honor for me.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Spanking, Women teaching men, Working a homosexual “wedding”…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Can you share some Scripture with us that supports the idea that spanking is not abuse? I am genuinely curious as I have a young toddler of my own and go back and forth between the idea of spanking or not spanking.

The first way we know that a loving, properly administered spanking by godly parents is not abuse is that God would not tell us to do it if it were. The God who does not even want us abusing animals (see passages like Proverbs 12:10, Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 25:4) would certainly never tell us to abuse our children.

To equate proper spanking with abuse or to pejoratively call spanking “hitting” is a worldly idea, not a biblical one. The world’s (Satan’s) agenda is to get people to believe that spanking is abuse so that they will stop doing it. Since spanking began falling out of favor several decades ago, the cumulative result has been a greater number of children sinning with impunity and not being brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, which is exactly what Satan wants. (Yes, I understand that is a general statement. There are always exceptions, but exceptions don’t negate the rule.) Christians parents might choose not to spank, but they may not biblically accuse others of abuse who choose to spank.

Beyond that, let me direct you to some resources that not only give you the Scriptures but give instruction in those Scriptures as well:

What the Bible Teaches About Spanking by Denny Burk (there are several additional resources linked in this article)

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Core Seminars: Parenthood Class 7- The Rod of Correction

Parenting in an Anti-Spanking Culture by John MacArthur

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say? at Got Questions


We occasionally have guest speakers at our Wednesday church services that worry me. Charlotte Gambill [co-lead “pastor” of LIFE “Church”] for instance. I am a firm believer that women should not be teachers of Scripture to men, but I guess my question is this, should I leave my church because this is allowed in these Wednesday evening gatherings?

Well…I mean, I don’t mean this to sound facetious or anything, but sin is sin no matter what time of day or day of the week it takes place on. While there are certain circumstances in which it might be biblically appropriate for a woman to address a mixed gathering of Believers, preaching and teaching Scripture during a worship service is not one of them. And certainly no church or other Christian organization should be affirming a female “pastor” in her sin by inviting her to be a guest speaker for any sort of event.

I would not just quietly slip out the door, though. Set up an appointment to discuss the matter with your pastor. (You might want to use the principles and suggestions in my article How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing? as a guide.) His response about the matter will probably tell you everything you need to know about whether or not you should begin looking for a new church.


Do you have a page on your website on how you verbally share the gospel with others?

I don’t recall ever having written an article on my approach in witnessing, but here’s what I would recommend.

1. Listen to Todd Friel’s Witness Wednesday every week on Wretched Radio. Todd is very good at opening up conversations with random strangers and quickly transitioning to a gospel presentation. (You might also want to order the resource Terrified.)

2. Watch the witnessing encounters in Ray Comfort’s Living Waters University YouTube videos. Ray has a standard (nearly the same, verbatim, every time) way of presenting the gospel and makes it look so easy!

These are the guys I attempt to emulate when witnessing as I trip all over my tongue and stammer around. You would do much better to follow their example than to follow mine.


If a Christian has a job as a banquet server doing weddings and one day there’s a gay wedding and the person is scheduled to work, would that be sinful to work and serve guests at the gay wedding? Would you say this is just like a Christian baking a cake for a gay wedding or is it different?

I think this is different. A business owner has the freedom to choose which jobs and clients he will accept and which he will not (at least, in America, he is supposed to have this freedom). An employee does not have any say so in which clients the business will and won’t serve. So, the employer is serving the client, but the employee is serving the employer.

If you feel uncomfortable working at homosexual “weddings,” try talking to your boss about it. Maybe you could volunteer to work a different shift, or in a different position in the business that would not require you to work at weddings. If your conscience bothers you a great deal about it, that’s totally understandable, and you might want to begin looking for a new job. Set up an appointment with your pastor for biblical counsel on this situation if it’s a decision that’s really weighing on you.

Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality

Should Christians Attend Homosexual “Weddings”?


I know women should not be pastors, but is it OK for women to teach men Scripture outside of church?

It depends on what you mean by “teach Scripture” and “church”. If you’re asking about sharing the gospel with someone, that’s not teaching Scripture to men in the church, it’s evangelizing those outside the church, and that’s fine. If you’re talking about teaching a Bible study to a mixed group in someone’s home, we need to remember that the church is not a building, it’s Believers, and that the churches in existence when 1 Timothy 2:12 was written were meeting in homes. So, that would be a “no.”

I think my article Rock Your Role FAQs might be helpful as you explore this more.


What do you think about _____ teacher, author, or ministry? Is he/she/it doctrinally sound?

I’m so sorry I don’t have the time to research all the teachers and ministries I’m asked about. If you’re trying to find out whether or not you should be following a certain person or organization, I encourage you to do the research and find out. Here are the steps I take when researching someone:

Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Evangelism, Parenting

Untethered: Reaching the Millennial Generation

The odds are stacked against you, Mom and Dad. Statistics claim that a whopping 60 to 80 percent of evangelical kids will “backslide.” Even in the Bible Belt.

What is going on? Why are Christian losses growing while Christian converts are decreasing?

Untethered dares to find the answer to these questions by going to the very source. Join Todd Friel as he visits Bible Belt universities and talks to students who claim to be Christians. Their responses will shock you.

But Untethered will not leave you hopeless. Untethered will help you know what you can do to ensure your child does not become another statistic.

There is nothing more horrifying for Christian parents than to read their child’s religious Facebook status as: NONE. You do not need to be one of those parents. Untethered will help you to that end.

Untethered is a must have resource for anyone who works with young people: parents, pastors, teachers, and student ministers. Order your copy today from Wretched Radio.

Evangelism

An Amazing Evangelism Testimony You’ve GOT to Hear!

OK, I know that title was kind of clickbait-y, but when I heard this on Wretched the other day, I just knew I had to share it with y’all. What an amazing story of how a quiet little man influenced so many people for Christ simply by handing out tracts. I’ve listened to it three times and cried every time. It might just be the best nine minutes of your day!

If you’d like to get some tracts to hand out like Mr. Genor did or to leave behind when you’re out and about, you can find some great ones at:

Bezeugen Tract Club– They’ll send you 30 free tracts per month.

One Million Tracts

Living Waters

The Biggest Project– Order copies of the gospel DVD, The Biggest Question, to hand out and/or financially support others who hand them out.

Let’s get out there and share the good news of the Christ who is mighty to save!

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

A Few Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers

a few good men 1Ladies, the Christian retailing machine isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to Bible study and theology.

First, they’ve created the impression that in order to study God’s word, we have to buy a book, workbook, or DVD by a Christian author. Next, they show us the materials we have to choose from by cordoning off part of the store or web site under the heading “Women’s Bible Study.” Finally, they fill the shelves in that department with materials penned almost exclusively by women, the majority of whom (even at supposedly trustworthy LifeWay) are false teachers.

Let’s think outside that box, shall we?

First, you do not have to use someone’s book to study the Bible. In fact, I recommend that you don’t. Just pick up your Bible and study it in a systematic way. Next, if you do decide to use a Bible study book or other resource, it does not have to be written by a woman (though there are some great female teachers I’ve recommended herehere, and here). If you limit yourself to women authors, you’re going to miss out on some wonderful teaching by the many doctrinally sound male teachers out there. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite pastors and male authors of Bible studies and other great Christian books and resources.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

download1. Charles Spurgeon– “The Prince of Preachers,” Spurgeon was “England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century…Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000.” Most of his works are still in print in both hardcover and e-book format, and many are available on line for free. You may wish to use his sermons as individual Bible study lessons, or try his commentaries as you study. The brief devotions in Spurgeons’ Morning and Evening  are a favorite of many, and you’re sure to be edified by his many other books as well.  Facebook  Twitter

2.  John MacArthur– “John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.” Dr. MacArthur has written approximately 400 books, including study guides, commenataries, Bible studies, and more. You might enjoy one of his free on line daily devotions, one of his study books, a sermon on the passage of Scripture you’re studying, or one of his books on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter

3. Steve Lawson – A pastor for 34 years, Dr. Lawson is now founder and president of OnePassion Ministries, “a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring zEWv7vOI_400x400about a new reformation in the church.” He serves on the board of Ligonier Ministries and The Master’s Seminary, where he is also Professor of Preaching. Dr. Lawson has written twenty books, from commentaries to preaching texts, to an interesting series of profiles of godly men of the past such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Tyndale, and others. Study the Bible with Dr. Lawson’s transcribed sermons and Bible study lessons, or listen to one of his many excellent messages.  Facebook  Twitter

4. Todd Friel– Todd is the host of Wretched Radio, a daily two hour program dealing with discernment, evangelism, the church, theological aspects of current events, and various other topics (Wretched TV is a daily 30 minute television version of the show). “Witness Wednesday” is a great way to get “boots on the ground” training in how to share the gospel. Todd has produced a myriad of materials for both churches and individuals on biblical topics such as marriage, church history, parenting, anxiety, pornography, and more. His most recent book, Judge Not, deals with the false doctrine dreck and seeker-driven shenanigans that are currently infiltrating the church.  Facebook  Twitter

paul_washer_profile5. Paul Washer– An echo of Paul the Apostle, Paul Washer served as a missionary in Peru for ten years where he also founded the HeartCry Missionary Society. HeartCry now supports church planters in Peru and indigenous missionaries world wide. Paul is a challenging author and a sought after speaker who boldly exhorts the church. You might enjoy working through one of his studies, The One True God or The Truth about Man, or being built up by one of his sermons.  Facebook  Twitter

6. Chris Rosebrough– Chris is the host of the daily discernment and Bible teaching radio program, Fighting for the Faith. He is also the pastor of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church in Oslo, Minnesota. If you want to learn discernment, how to rightly handle God’s word in context, and keep up with the latest false doctrine infiltrating the church, look no further. In addition to the daily broadcast, listen to Rosebrough’s Ramblings as Chris takes his Sunday School class through various books of the Bible, and explore the other recommended teaching resources on the web site.  Facebook  Twitter

7. R. C. Sproul– A former seminary professor, ”Dr. R.C. Sproul was co-pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and chancellor of Reformation Bible College. He was the author of more than ninety books,” headed up Ligonier Ministries, and recorded a daily radio broadcast, Renewing Your Mind. Find teaching materials on nearly any passage you’re studying, follow the daily devotional, or order biblical books, music, and other resources.  Facebook  Twitter

Update: Dr. Sproul went home to be with the Lord on December 14, 2017. He is greatly missed, but his materials are still phenomenally beneficial to the church and remain available at the links above.

img18. Phil Johnson–  “Phil is the Executive Director of Grace to You. He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of John’s major books…Phil was an editor at Moody Press before coming to Grace Community Church. He is an elder at Grace Community Church and pastors the GraceLife fellowship group.” Phil is an amazing lecturer and preacher with an incredible depth of knowledge of church and biblical history. You’ll enjoy the theological richness of Phil’s sermons (check out his “Bible Q & A” teachings) and be challenged by his blog articles at Pyromaniacs.  Facebook  Twitter

9. Alistair Begg– “Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975.” Formerly of Scotland, “in 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio.  He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.” Subscribe to the daily Truth for Life devotion or get the app, listen to a sermon on the passage of Scripture you’re studying, check in with the Truth for Life blog, or read one of Alistair’s fine books.  Facebook  Twitter

preaching-w-logo-copy10. Voddie Baucham– After serving as a pastor and seminary professor in Texas for several years, Voddie recently accepted a position as Dean of Seminary at African Christian University in Zambia. “Whether teaching on classical apologetic issues such as the validity and historicity of the Bible or the resurrection of Christ or teaching on cultural issues, such as gender roles, marriage, and family, he says his goal is to help people understand the significance of thinking and living biblically in every area of life.” Listen to one of Voddie’s many fine sermons, or check out his books on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter


Also check out:
A Few MORE Good Men: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers
A Few Good Men, Again!: 10 Doctrinally Sound Male Teachers