NARpostles Beth Moore, Craig Groeschel & John Gray speak at Hillsong Conference 2017.

Source: NARpostles Beth Moore, Craig Groeschel & John Gray speak at Hillsong Conference 2017.


Furtick Keeps Demonstrating He is Unqualified.

Dumbest thing that I have heard since noon today.

We welcome another new contributor, Edward Benitez, as he biblically critiques a sermon given by Steven Furtick…

“In a recent sermon given by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church around Christmas 2016, Furtick continues to demonstrate that John Macarthur is right in his assessment that Furtick is indeed ‘unqualified to be a pastor by not properly handling God’s word’ (2 Timothy 2:15).

In a sermon titled “By Invitation Only,”  Furtick focuses on John 2:1-11, which relates the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Furtick gave this sermon to talk on (to quote Furtick) “What to do when your joy is running low” and to show that “God has something special in store for you, but it’s by invitation only.”

This interpretation, it appears, comes from Furtick’s understanding that wine represents joy in the Bible as well as the word ‘invitation’, found in John 2:2.

“On the third day a wedding…

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About a year ago my husband and I were looking for a church in our area, so I dragged him to the First Baptist Church about 12 miles from our home.  Everything was going pretty well until the end of the sermon; que sappy music, Just As I Am.  I am not exaggerating.  The pastor kept telling the worship team to sing it again, and they literally sang the song at least 15 times.  FINALLY, a couple went to the front to join the church.  I was thinking, “They went down so the worship team would STOP singing.”  OH MY WORD!  We left the minute after the pastor prayed the benediction, and needless to say we never returned.

I was practically born at the Assemblies of God church.  During my lifetime I made so many decisions for Christ because I was never sure of my salvation.  I sinned all during the week, in one way or another, and every time there was an altar call I went down.

“An altar call is a tradition in some evangelical Christian churches in which those who wish to make a new spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are invited to come forward publicly. It is so named because the supplicants gather at the altar located at the front of the church building. In the Old Testament, an altar was where sacrifices were made. So, the name “altar call” refers to a believer “offering” themselves on an altar to God, as in Romans 12:1:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.[1]

Congregations often sing a hymn, usually with a theme of invitation or decision, during the altar call.”

The more moving the music is, the more likely it is that people will have their emotions moved to come to the altar. When I helped with the music I would choose the altar call hymns or choruses with the most beautiful melody and the most persuasive words to encourage people to make a decision for Christ.

Now for the truth.  WE DO NOT MAKE DECISIONS TO FOLLOW CHRIST.  The truth is found in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” And again in Romans 10:14, ESV “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

THE ALTAR CALL is NOT in the Bible, anywhere.  The Apostles preached the Gospel, and then the hearers asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

Acts 16:14-15 says, “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  And after she was baptized, and her household as well.”

The jailer, after the earthquake in Acts 16, said to Paul and Silas in verse 30, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.” Acts 31-33.

In Acts 2:37-39, on that awesome day of Pentecost, we learn that after listening to Peter’s sermon the people “were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  

Peter had the perfect opportunity to answer the “What shall we do?” question by inviting everyone forward for an “altar call.”  Instead, he invited them to BE BAPTIZED!  The Apostles said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

Confessional Lutherans believe that whoever has faith in Jesus Christ ALONE for the forgiveness of their sins WILL receive salvation as a FREE GIFT from God.  If someone were to receive the gift of Faith when they went down to the altar it would be BECAUSE they heard the Word rightly preached by their Pastor while sitting in the pews, NOT because they walked the aisle and kneeled down.

Romans 10:13-16 says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

I have had a friend for 36 years.  I met her in Guam in 1980, and she is 17 years younger than me.  Recently she told me that she has never seen me so sure of my salvation and so at peace with God.  I told her that it is a marvelous thing to know that I can receive the gift of salvation through the body and blood of Jesus, through baptism, and through the Word.  I am overwhelmed each time I go to the Lord’s table to receive the bread and wine, knowing that I can have the certainty of my salvation is the greatest gift ever.


Love Your Enemies

[ Love Your Enemies ] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
We say, “But what about my rights?”  Jesus tells us, do not resist. This in no way means that you do not protect you or your family from someone trying to do harm. Give love that Christ give to us.
And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat (cloak) as well.
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat (cloak), do not withhold your shirt from them.
In Biblical times a cloak was the one garment a person didn’t go without.  When a person was traveling, they might sleep out in the elements and they would use it to cover themselves.
A young man entered our church last week at the LMWL meeting.  He was unkempt, so angry that he was shaking and the ladies asked him if they could help him.  He said that he had just been released from prison and he was walking by our church and saw the lights on.  The ladies offered him a brownie and something to drink.  They asked if they could pray with him and he said, “Yes, but do not touch me because I just got out of prison and if you touch me I might react and hit you.”  (There was not a man in the building.)  After they prayed with him the ladies asked if he would like to talk to an elder of the church and he said, “Yes.”  They called one of the elders and he came and talked with the young man for about 30 minutes.
Sunday morning he got to church before Sunday School and Pastor saw him sitting in his car and invited him in.  The young man said that he had to go home and take a shower.  He did not come back to church; but, we are praying that he does return to hear the Gospel
This was taken from Pastor Barry Schwiesow’s sermon at Saint John Lutheran Church, Pryor, Oklahoma, February 19, 2017


As I am reading through the Bible again for about the 30th time, the word immediately jumps out at me.  I am marking the word in my Bible.  After I finished reading today in Luke, I decided to find out how many times this word appears in the English Standard Version (ESV) from Matthew through Acts.  It appears 76 times.

The point is:  When Jesus said to the men, “follow me”, they followed Christ immediately.

Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
When Jesus healed the sick, it was immediate, except for the time the man was blind and Jesus spit on the blind man’s eyes.
And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
In the book of ACTS, immediately appears 13 times.
I have been healed many times through prayer and with the help of good doctors, eating properly, taking medicine.  I have had cancer twice and both times the Lord kept me during surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
I do know, first-hand, of an immediate healing.  When I was about 10 years old a lady was brought to our Assembly of God church on a stretcher, in Kermit, Texas.  She was dying with cancer.  The pastor and laymen surrounded her and prayed for her and she was healed immediately.  NOW, she did not get up and jump and shout but she regained her strength quickly.  She was such a beautiful lady and worked at a nice retail store for many years after that.
Grace and Peace