Justification versus Self-justification by Ray Ortlund (Audio and pdf) Gospel Coalition 2011 Workshop

Audio file – Justification Versus Self-Justification- Gospel Coalition Workshop 2011 Ray Ortlund.
Self-justification is the deepest impulse in the fallen human heart. Only the extreme grace of the gospel can begin to free us from our compulsive self-justifications, with their social pathologies. Drawing upon Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Ray will contrast the dynamics of justification with those of self-justification.

Justification versus Self-justification
Ray Ortlund
Renewal Ministries
The Gospel Coalition National Conference
13 April 2011

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Hebrews 11:38…the world was not worthy of them (2) Nigeria Pastor, James Musa Rike, loses family in attack

Nigeria - 30% Evangelical primary language - English

In 2009 Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua  became ill and died after the brief illness. He was replaced with Christian Southerner Goodluck Jonathan in February of 2010, who was sworn in as head of state.

On April 13, suspected Islamic extremists abducted and killed Church of Christ in Nigeria pastor Ishaku Kadah and his wife, Selina, in a village in Bauchi state in northern Nigeria, according to Compass Direct News. They were forced from their church headquarters home and killed.

The remains of a church in Kafanchan, Kaduna state. (Compass Direct photo)

In early March, ethnic Fulani Muslims attacked three villages near Jos which resulted in the deaths of up to 500 Christians and the burning of about 75 homes. Eyewitnesses say the attackers used knives and cutlasses while shouting „Allah Akbar” (God is great) during their assaults which were carried out not only against men, but against many women and children. Christians contacted the military for assistance, but it took over two hours for the military to arrive.

Less than two weeks later, Fulani Muslims attacked two more villages in Plateau state, resulting in the deaths of 13 more Christians, including a pregnant woman and children.

The violence against Christians is increasing every day in Africa’s most populous country, including the murder of seven Christians (of whom two were journalists) by Muslim youth gangs April 24-25.

In recent weeks, post-election violence has cost the lives of 300 Nigerian believers.

When Christian candidate Goodluck Jonathan defeated his Muslim opponent Muhammudu Buhari for presidency, rioting broke out across the country. Many Muslim voters claimed that the elections had been fraught with fraud.

International onlookers disagreed. „By all reports, it was the cleanest election since 1999,” confirms Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors, USA.

Nonetheless, Muslim extremists stormed churches and Christian homes in what Christian Nigerians called premeditated attacks.

Pastor James Musa Rike lost his wife, Dune James Rike, and 13-year-old daughter, Sum James Rike (in back), in an Islamic attack in Kurum village, Bauchi state. (Photo: Compass Direct)

Compass Direct News (CDN) has described the moving scene that took place recently in the home of a Nigerian pastor whose wife lay dying after a savage attack on his family (and their village), in which their children were also killed.

A CDN reporter said that as she lay on the ground after being shot and then slashed with a machete, Dune James Rike looked into her husband’s tear-filled eyes and asked, „Is this the end between us, so we shall not be together again?”

Pastor James Musa Rike told Compass that he held the hands of his dying, 35-year-old wife and told her, „Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again.”

The story went on to say that Muslim extremists who attacked Kurum village–in the Bogoro local government area of Nigeria’s Bauchi state–had already killed two of their children in a rampage that began Wednesday (May 4, 2011) at midnight.

The reporter said that Rike, the pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria congregation in Kurum, next heard the cries of his 13-year-old daughter, Sum James Rike, who lay mortally wounded a few yards away.

„She told me that the Muslim militants told her they would kill her and ‘see how your Jesus will save you,'” he said. The girl told her father that she responded by telling them that Jesus had already saved her, and that by killing her they would only be making it possible for her to be with Him.

„Pastor Rike prayed for her as she died. Shooting and setting homes on fire, the Muslim extremists killed 12 other Christians in the attack. Bauchi police reported 16 dead – one man, three women and 12 children,” said CDN. „Pastor Rike and his son survived the attack, and his adopted daughter, Whulham James Rike, was injured and receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Bogoro, along with five others. The assailants set more than 20 houses ablaze before leaving the village, police said.”

Northern Nigeria climbed to 23rd place in 2010 from 27th in 2009 on Christian support organization Open Doors’ World Watch List of nations with the worst persecution.

Those killed were members of the three churches in the village – the COCIN church, St. John’s Catholic Church and an Evangelical Church of West Africa congregation,” said CDN and added that Pastor Rike said the incident has strengthened his faith in Jesus.

„Whatever is the situation, I will never forsake Christ,” he said. „All human beings are created by God, and our attackers must know that they need to abandon anything that will lead them to destroy creations of God.”

While persecution is creating a culture of fear, Moeller doesn’t expect it to affect church growth long-term. „First, over the course of time in a given country, as persecution increases, it really serves to spread the Gospel, as we saw in the New Testament. Secondly, in dozens of countries over the years where persecution has increased dramatically, the church has also grown dramatically.”

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to the Open Doors Web site at  www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

From Mission Network News (via) Let the Nations Be Glad Twitter

The world was not worthy of them, who is the God they serve? (1)… Graham Staines’ family, India

(via) Randy Alcorn from his Eternal Perspective Ministries.

On January 23rd of 1999, Graham and his two sons, Phillip (11 yrs.) and Timothy (6 yrs.) were murdered by a large mob of militant Hindus. They had gone to a Christian camp in the jungle, where Graham was ministering. At midnight the mob attacked, setting fire to the jeep in which Graham and his sons were sleeping. They were burned alive. When the fire finally cooled, they found the charred body of Graham Staines with his arms around the bodies of his sons.

Graham served the Lord in the jungles of Orissa for over 34 years. He was described as “a wonderful, gracious, self-effacing man of God, full of faith, confidence and humility; warm-hearted, and a wonderful father.” At his funeral, the streets were thronged with masses of people—Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They were there to show respect for Graham and his family and to show their solidarity against the actions of the killers. Despite the fact that persecution of Christians has increased in recent years, the president of India came forward and said, “that someone who spent years caring for patients of leprosy, instead of being thanked and appreciated as a role model should be done to death in this manner is… a crime that belongs to the world’s inventory of black deeds.”

The response of Gladys and Esther was on the front page of every newspaper in India (with one billion people, soon to pass China as the most populous nation on earth). Gladys said, “I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins…let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

Gladys and her daughter did not move back to Australia, but, instead stayed on to work at the Hospital leprosy center that her family had served before her husband and two sons were killed. Indeed, a moving example of faithful serving and dying for Christ. Read the entire article at Randy Alcorn’s site…


Cristian Barbosu – Ce vrea Dumnezeu sa stiu despre suferintele din viata mea (prima parte) Biserica Metanoia-Arad

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Un hot deosebit…poate il cunoasteti

Nici n-aş fi visat că el ar putea fi un hoţ! Ne împrietenisem de scurtă vreme. „Un comic a devenit comis voiajor”, au fost cuvintele cu care m-a întâmpinat zâmbind. M-am interesat în legătură cu originea sa. A spus că avusese legături cu diferite distilerii de rachiu. De asemenea, era în relaţii cu o firmă producătoare de ţigări. „În prezent sunt reprezentantul unei reviste”, continuă el.

Astfel că l-am lăsat să intre în sufragerie.

„În viaţa mea alcoolul şi tutunul nu au nici un loc”, i-am spus în mod expres. „Deoarece sunt credincios, trupul meu este templul Duhului Sfânt.” Convingerile mele l-au lăsat absolut rece. El voia să-şi păstreze părerile lui, iar eu puteam să le ţin pe ale mele.

Vă imaginaţi că m-am îndoit de autenticitatea unora dintre povestirile sale. Şi totuşi, trebuie să admit că am găsit captivante multe dintre experienţele sale. L-am invitat să vină din nou seara următoare. „Poate că voi reuşi să am o bună influenţă asupra lui”, mă gândeam.

Soţia mi-a amintit că noua sa vizită se suprapune timpului de rugăciune de miercuri seara. „Da, ar fi trebuit să merg acolo”, am admis eu, „însă nu pot retrage invitaţia pe care am făcut-o acestui prieten.” Soţia nu a fost încântată de această vizită. Ea a zis: „Pur şi simplu nu am încredere în el.” Ea a devenit tot mai îngrijorată, pe măsură ce el consuma tot mai mult timpul nostru.

Ziua îmi părea plictisitoare în comparaţie cu serile în care ne vizita acest ins. El a avea o fantezie captivantă. Stăteam acolo şi râdeam când îşi povestea aventurile. Conflictele lui cu legea erau de-a dreptul palpitante.

Povestirile sale aveau un farmec deosebit. De obicei ele aveau şi scene murdare şi de aceea trebuia să-l reduc mereu la tăcere.

După aceea a început să-i influenţeze pe fiul meu care e adolescent şi fiica mea care are nouă ani. Abia aşteptau să audă ultimele sale glume şi poveştile sale incitante. Ar fi fost gata să-l asculte ore în şir, dacă le-aş fi permis. Toate aceste diversiuni i-au împiedecat pe copii să înveţe şi i-au afectat şi din punct de vedere al sănătăţii. Până la urmă, am început să mă îngrijorez şi eu din cauza prezenţei acestui tip în căminul nostru.

Şi atunci s-a întâmplat ceva! A fost exact „picătura care a făcut să se reverse paharul”. Într-o zi am constatat că-mi lipseau mai multe cărţi. „Poate că tipul este un hoţ”, m-am gândit eu, „şi dacă este aşa, atunci cine ştie câte alte lucruri nu ne-a mai luat?”.

El arăta suspect. Eram atât de pornit, încât m-am hotărât să-i contactez şi pe vecinii mei. Am descoperit împreună că şi de acolo a sustras multe lucruri. M-am minunat de modul şiret în care a acţionat. În orice caz, s-a confirmat temerea pe care soţia mea a avut-o de la început.

Într-o altă familie s-a prezentat drept profesor de religie. Un alt vecin, om de afaceri, l-a considerat specialist în eficienţă. „El are ceea ce îi este necesar unui om de afaceri de succes.” Le-am propus acestor oameni să-şi controleze averea. Cei mai mulţi au descoperit că le lipsea ceva.

Am remarcat că dintr-o casă lipseau revistele creştine. În alta a dispărut Biblia. Am fost uimit să aud că ei au discutat acasă cu acest tip tocmai în timpul serviciului divin de duminică dimineaţa şi al orei de rugăciune de miercuri seara.

În cele din urmă, mi-am dat seama că vizitatorul meu era un hoţ împătimit. El a furat cărţile, revistele şi timpul meu. Însă cel mai mult mi-a părut rău de faptul că prietenia mea lăuntrică cu Isus Cristos a fost afectată ca şi serile în care aveam părtăşie cu familia şi cu prietenii mei.

Unii oameni au pierdut lucruri de valoare, nu doar mărunţişuri. Experienţele spirituale şi părtăşia familială au fost înlocuite cu o distracţie scurtă, superficială.

Acest ins nu mai vine în casa noastră. El ar fi de fapt inofensiv, dacă aş putea să-l ţin în frâu. Oamenii care fură nu sunt întotdeauna răi. Chiar şi acesta ar putea, uneori, să aducă veşti folositoare. În tot cazul, ar trebui să ţinem ochii deschişi, pentru că altfel ne va fura mereu câte ceva.

Din când în când îl mai văd pe la vecinii mei. El îi ţine în tensiune oră de oră. Am încercat să-mi aduc aminte de numele lui, ca să vă atenţionez şi pe dumneavoastră. Din nefericire l-am uitat. Însă iniţialele sale nu le voi uita niciodată. Ele sunt T.V.

Aş fi curios să ştiu ce ţi-a furat ţie TV. Timp? Timpul de părtăşie cu Dumnezeu? O lectură bună? Discuţii folositoare? Frecventa-rea serviciilor divine? Participarea la orele de religie din biserica ta? Controlează-ţi încă o dată lista! Vei fi probabil uimit de ceea ce vei constata că-ţi lipseşte.

Acest tip şiret îmi aduce aminte de un cal sălbatic. Trebuie să stai foarte bine pe el şi să ţii strâns de hăţuri, altfel o ia razna. Dacă nu-l stăpâneşti tu, atunci te stăpâneşte el pe tine.

Dacă vei învăţa să tratezi TV-ul – adică televizorul – aşa cum Pavel a tratat lumea, el va rămâne în limitele sale. Dar vei reuşi? Cu puterea ta, în mod sigur nu – însă întreabă-te dacă Domnul doreşte cu adevărat influenţa lui în casa ta! Ce faci dacă T.V-ul Îl pune pe Isus Cristos pe locul doi? Gândeşte-te la responsabilitatea pe care o ai faţă de familia ta!


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