The Answer to Growing Cold


It’s really funny. We read the injunction “do the things again which thou didst at the first.”

And we rack our brains about how to keep our love from growing cold, losing our first love.

The answer literally is right in front of you.

What did you do when you first got saved?

I read the Bible a lot. I read sermons a lot. I was restlessly searching for a Seminary I could afford.

Prayed.

Everything was about being a Christian.

So, I tried something recently. I starting reading the Bible a lot. Listened to a lot of sermons. Prayed.

And you know it’s not quite the absolute joy you have the first six months you’re saved – the Lord protected you then, to allow you to stand on your feet. Now He wants you to stand. And grow.

But it’s close.

Listening to sermons – the point of a sermon is to teach the Bible. And i think I shocked my readers by ranting lately by admitting I’d stopped listening to IFB sermons. The only ones I still listen to is Marc Monte, Dan Botterbrodt and Vincent Sawyer. Non-IFB it’s John MacArthur.

I know that MacArthur is a Calvinist. I understand that. I know he constantly goes on about “that verse was put in by a well meaning scribe.” And he’s wrong.

This is the problem I was talking about. I’m not getting fed doctrinally listening to sermons by many of the IFB pastors out there.

You have to get fed. I have to get fed.

Do again the things you did at the first.

That’s the key to not being lukewarm.

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Mental Illness in IFB Churches


No Understanding

I hesitate to bring this up – but it’s got to be addressed.

There is no shame in breaking. The enemy fights against us constantly. Sometimes things just get out of control. And sometimes people shatter under the trauma of life. An exceptionally horrific video from World War II shows an Okinawan toddler shaking from Shell Shock while a GI tries to give her water to drink. A toddler. A very young child, just past being a baby.

with shell shock.

I don’t know who she is, but that kind of trauma leaves emotional scars she’ll never recover from.

For some reason, there’s a number of mentally ill people who gravitate towards the IFB movement. I don’t know why.

I’ve attended a Ruckmanite church, and see the depression it causes among women. Hard to sit there and hear the constant lashing out from the pulpit about how they dress, but men are welcome to wear t-shirts and shorts to the church picnic.

There are people dealing with trauma, and it shows itself in anger and rage issues. It’s not uncommon to look at a congregation in an IFB church and see faces contorted with anger as people listen to the sermon. They’re not mad at the pastor, just at life.

And sometimes it’s just the symptom of emotional trauma so severe that they can’t cope.

Some people hold to the most bizarre beliefs in IFB churches, like the man who I heard teach that the 144,000 were virgin born.

Huh?

Mental illness can cause you to derive things in Scripture that absolutely are not there. Why? You’re broken. Your reasoning sometimes skips tracks.

There’s no shame in admitting it if you’re one. Nobody will blame you. I don’t blame you. Not your fault.

Sometimes people break. And the first step to wellness is admitting you broke.

Now you can begin to heal. Prayer helps. Bible study helps. Someone to let you know when you’re going wrong again helps.

If you’re suffering from depression, understand that’s not just something you can change by trying to be happy.

Prayer helps. Admitting you’ve got depression helps. And suicide is never the answer.

Persevere. Seek help if you have to, and feel no shame for it.

A long illness sometimes causes depression. It’s not emotional, it’s physical. Your brain begins re-uptaking the same seratonin instead of creating new seratonin to carry impulses in the brain.

That’s a physical thing. Trying to cheer up won’t fix it.

Get help if you need it.

Dropbox and Evernote


I wanted to give everyone some advice. it used to be that if your computer crashed. you lost a LOT. We used to make backups on floppy disks. Then diskettes. Then CD roms. Then backup drives.

Now there’s cloud services. Rememer the days you’d print an article to PDF so you could study it? Now you just use Evernote to clip it. And if things go wrong, with your computer, just refresh, install Evernote, and it will in a matter of minutes have all your research still.

Dropbox. I pay $80 a year for Dropbox. I can’t really afford it, but my last computer crash taught me I need one. Should I ever upgrade my computer (I usually get a laptop every 3-4 years, and it’s time – except my Dell is doing so good I hate to replace it!), I just have to download Evernote and Dropbox, and I’ve got everything.

Th olny thing that isn’t Cloud oriented on my computer is Thunderbird Email. I’m praying they adopt a cloud storage solution – perhaps within Dropbox – so that all my emails are still there.

Of course, I think 10% of them are Home Depot sales emails I keep meaning to go through and delete. But it’s funny how often I’ll email something to my wife and five years later I’m looking for that info – and it’s in an email.

Use a cloud based Bible program. Twice now I’ve tried to rely on Wordsearch’s cloud backups to restore – oh, no, it doesn’t work at ALL. Fortunately, I also make a backup to Dropbox. I’m phasing wordsearch out, but I’ve still got the first three years of research for this blog all in Wordsearch and no time to move it to Logos. To install Logos takes two minutes to install, then a full day of painfully slow computer as gigabytes of data download and then the long drawn out indexing of Logos. But then all my data is there! Yes!!!

So my reocmmendation is to get everything on your hard drive OFF your hard drive. Research goes into Evernote. Files go into Dropbox. Bible software should be cloud based.

Do this and you’ll never lose data again.

Seven Things to Know if You Just Got Saved


The biggest change a person can make in their life is to get saved.

The Bible describes if as “out of the kingdom of darkness” “into the kingdom of light.”

notice there’s a break there.

A great gulf fixed.

It has to be. Because saved Christians in Heaven would be so moved with pity for those in Hell we’d brave the fire to go drag people out.

All the time mourning those we didn’t witness to.

There’s a period of about 3 to 6 months when you first get saved where you’ve got the JOY of the Lord in you. That’s when you’re being protected and nourished.

That goes away. alas.

The Bible enjoins us to “Stir up that within us” and “return to our first love”.

So – what steps should we take after we first get saved?

  1. Get a good Bible. This is paramount. You’ll end up building a library, but be careful. Perhaps I’m completely paranoid, but many of the biggest names in Christianity today I find myself questioning whether they’re truly Christian, or they advocate beliefs so dangerous I recommend staying well away from. more on that later. For now, get a good King James Study Bible – it’s going to be a little expensive – and a bottle of whiteout. Any footnote that questions the Bible gets whiteout. Any footnote that says “this verse is not in the best manuscripts” or what have you – white out. Remember not to close that page until the white out is dry. White out tape may be best, but they always gum up badly.
  2. Get good Bible software. Sooner or later, you’re going to want to start studying stuff. E-Sword is the most popular free Bible program, and it’s… so-so. Essentially, it’s the very best of 1990’s computer technology. I recommend Logos Basic. Free and fantastic. You’ll be tempted to spend a lot of money on it – I recommend that.
  3. Associate with like minded believers. There’s a big move in Christianity for Christians to “turn a blind eye to doctrinal errors”, but this is actually the opposite of what the Bible says. We are told to keep our doctrine without spot. Don’t associate with someone who says they’re a Christian just because they say they’re a Christian. Many believers have been led astray by bad associations.
  4. Get into a good Bible Believing church. this one’s getting harder and harder to do. There literally is no good Bible believing churches in my town. David Cloud says you may have to compromise slightly, but I think this is dangerous. There is no perfect church – but a church that teaches error is a church that leads astray.
  5. Pray without ceasing. Instead of cursing at slow drivers and screaming at fast drivers, try praying. It benefits you. And keeps your blood pressure down.
  6. Read your Bible daily. Many Christians don’t read their Bibles at all. I can remember the jaw dropping moment when I told a Christian I knew someone with a sefer toldot, a Jewish geneology book that traces their geneology back to Adam. No kidding. Her response was, “The Bible says no Jew can trace their geneology and I’ll believe the Bible.” Uh… blink blink… what? What verse is that? Where’s that located? That one stumped me, because I read the Bible through four times that year and never saw that verse before. Nor since! Read your Bible and know it.
  7. Separate from the world. One of the biggest things a Christian can do to keep their way pure is to separate from the world. Selling your TV might be a good first step. The more you associate with the world, the more you’ll be drawn back into it!

These tips aren’t all there is to it – but certainly they’ll help a new Christian stay right and grow strong in the Lord!

Logos 8


Logos 8 is out, and of course they’re hyping it madly right now.

Certainly I think they should drop hints, and say things like, “Logos 8 coming out in two months” to stir excitement. I actually just had the money to upgrade and spent it on something else! So advance notice is always a good thing.

Logos needs to hire some new writers to explain their new features. I know that sometimes some of the features in Logos they hype I have honestly no idea what they do. Supposedly, they’ve now got work flows.

No clue what that is.

They’ve got Canvas.

Not sure what that is.

I think it’s something akin to the sentence diagramming feature. I didn’t know how to use that, so I use it in other ways to examine the verse. It may be that Canvas is something I wrote to WordSearch suggesting several times – an extra overlay you can make notes and highlights on as needed. If so, that’s really cool.

Logos is saying that these features are fantastic, and revolutionary. Anything logos calls revolutionary must be impressive, because their program is revolutionary as it is.

Should you upgrade? I’ll say, yes. I love the changes Logos instituted with 7, and the concept of “you buy the books and own them forever” is a really good idea. Certainly, the concept of “you only own the version you pay for during its lifespan” by Quickverse bankrupted that company. You can find rant after rant from other Logos owners who explained to the company that the money they paid was a one time thing, and they’ll never be able to do that again.

Logos listened, Quickverse didn’t.

So now I own all the books I bought in Logos 6 and Seven. Logos 8 will add to that.

You should get – if you get anything – the Logos Baptist upgrade. Logos now is committed to making sure you’ve got “Visions of St. Elise of Cyan” bundled in to the regular Logos. The Baptist one reallly has them confused – they’re mostly theologically liberal New Calvinists – so they’ve got titles in the Baptist Family that have titles of “sovereign Grace”, “Calvin’s Institutes” and “Modern Ariminianism”. You just can’t explain it to a New Calvinist that Baptists aren’t Arminian or Calvinist. At all. They don’t get it. In their minds, you’re either one or the other. The concept of a third doctrinal stance simply makes no sense to them.

The biggest feature of Logos – I swear they read this blog – is that you end up with a million note files after two years of regular Logos use. They’ve now got ways to organize your note files, so you now can find that fragment of a note file you started on Haggai.

It’s always a joy to me to upgrade Logos. I did enjoy buying Swordsearcher last year – that was a great moment for me. But often, adding something to Logos is amazing to me. I love it. You add a Greek lexicon or a primer, and suddenly you’re getting a LOT more responses when you search for things, or right click on a word.

Do you have Logos yet? Most people don’t. I’d get the Logos Basic 7 for now – Logos 8 Basic won’t come out until February or so.

you’re going to be amazed at how much information you get, very quickly when you use it.

Learning From Sermons


A crucial matter for preachers – especially IFB preachers – is to learn how to preach. I mention specifically, because I’ve almost despaired of finding any good IFB preachers who are worthy of the $12,000 a year they’re getting paid.

But a far more crucial attitude is among the flock, who sits in churches, nods at appropriate places in sermons, and leaves, forgetting what they’ve heard.

The only thing it requires to learn from sermons, is to take notes. If churches find the need to print weekly service programs (not a bad idea), then provide a fill in the blank section for the pastor’s sermon.

Sermon Title

Main idea_________________________________________________________________________________

Doctrine discussed: Theology Christology Pneumatology Eschatology Angelology Anthropology Soteriology Hamartiology

Bibliology Ekklesiology

Point one:________________________________________________________________________________

Related Verses _____________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Point two:_____________________________________________________________________

Related Verses _____________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Point Three:_____________________________________________________________________

Related Verses _____________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Really simple.

The congregation now just has to circle a word, write one simple phrase to explain what the sermon was about (Hint – the Pastor usually tells you immediately after the words “In conclusion”), write down what the three points are, and jot down any verses the Pastor uses.

This would be a HUGE benefit in your Christian life.

you’ll pay a lot of attention to sermons from here on out.