Issue 5 September 2013
C Welcome to the September issue of our eZine. The buzzword for September seems to be ‘Back’ – back to school, back to work, back to ministry. The shops and supermarkets have been gearing up all summer. For some this is a new season in their lives, yup – The New-Schoolers. There are the first timers, the new-classers, new schools, new teachers, new buildings (Newpark, pardon the pun). New uniforms, new shoes (loved new shoes!), new books - All new. This is a huge change for many school goers. Strange new places, people and smells – yes smells! I can still remember the smell of my milk bottle in primary school. The smell of the lead in my pencil, the rubber. That distinct smell from the new books (probably the ink). Smell is a powerful trigger for the memory. Whenever I smell the Liffey (in Dublin!), it reminds me of my first week on the buses. The terminus was on Eden Quay and when the Liffey was at low tide it stank like a sewer! But I got used to it and now it brings back mostly fond memories. I wonder if heaven will have a smell – a scent perhaps.
Contents ‘Inheritance’ – Stories of Faith - Page 2
- Page 4
Prayer - Page 5
Syria & The middle-east
- Pages 6 & 7
News & Dates – Page 8
Ross Campbell – Page 9
Autumn brings its own smells and scents – conkers and burning wood. While nature takes its course and confronts us with the familiar things of autumn, God, however, is always doing new things in our lives. He is calling us into deeper waters – closer fellowship and greater works. Let us not begin this new season with a sense of the familiar or be influenced by memories of past experiences. Let’s not just go ‘back’ to school, college, ministry, but let us embrace this new season with a new expectation. Our God will always surprise us! “Look at the nations and watch— watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5
As for ‘smells’ or should I say fragrances, we do have that fragrance of Jesus:
“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 2Corinthians 2:15&16.
7 Counterfeits of Repentance - Pages 10 & 11 De Funnies - Page 12 Something Nice to Look At - Page 13
St or i e s of f ai t h
Story five: Trust
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to
situation and God gives her “a peace” when he reveals to her
figure out everything on your own, listen for God’s
his Will. This method of including her faith in every aspect of
voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s
her life has obviously taken considerable trust, patience and
the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that
perseverance to master. It has taken time to develop and
you know it all … honour God with everything you
illustrates the relationship that Trust has tapped into and
own” Proverbs 3 : 5, 6 (The Message).
refined over many years.
“… in quietness and trust is your strength” Isaiah 30 :
The origins of this faith-story are remarkable. Trust had
been brought up in a Christian home and believed as a young
Trust’s story is very moving and encouraging. She began
girl that she was thus automatically “a Christian”. However,
the interview by telling a story of how the Lord guided Trust
in tragic circumstances she lost a close friend, who had
and her husband to purchase the house they lived in during
himself became a Christian just before a fatal accident.
their married lives together. Some Christian friends from
Through this she realised that she needed to trust Jesus and
Northumberland Hall spotted a house which they thought
come into relationship with him for herself, and not just
would suit the couple, so they went to view it. Trust
through familial ties.
immediately knew that this was the right house and had a
When asked how Trust has maintained this relationship, she
tremendous sense of the Lord’s peace when she entered the
stated the need to spend time with the Lord. She has
building, but her husband wasn’t keen on the house, so they
cultivated her prayer life and in particular Scriptures that she
kept living in her family home.
learned as a child have stayed with her. She has many
That Autumn Trust’s husband had a fall in their orchard
favourite passages from the Bible, but one that she shared in
and hurt his arm. He was confined to bed and then Trust
particular that had meant so much when her husband was ill
began to suffer back pain whilst she nursed her husband back
to health. These events changed her husband’s mind and he decided that purchasing the house was a good idea, which
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her
incredibly was still on the market 12 months after they first
at break of day” Psalm 46 : 5.
viewed it. However, the purchase grew more complex when the owner
She sees prayer and Bible study as being central to
took the house off the market and it looked as if the house
maintaining a relationship with the Lord, but also thinks
was out of the reach, but eventually he was persuaded to
that fellowship with other Christians is vitally important.
accept the offer they had made (which herself and her
Being involved in church is important to Trust and she
husband had agreed before the Lord). The negotiating and
believes it’s an encouragement to ourselves and to others.
waiting period had taken considerable amounts of faith on
Trust has been involved in a ministry for many years in the
Trust’s part and it could have seemed as if the story would
church which provides a home-cooked meal monthly for
have a different ending, if Trust hadn’t continued to believe
members of the local community: in particular elderly,
in that feeling of peace she got when she entered the home.
vulnerable people. Once again the Lord’s timing seems to
As it was it became a cherished family home for many years
have been central to Trusts involvement in this ministry, as
and was such an excellent choice, as Trust’s husband
she was asked if she would like to be involved in it shortly
developed Parkinson’s disease seven years after they moved
after the death of her husband, whom she had nursed day
to the bungalow.
and night during his last illness. This ministry provided her
This story shows how Trust learned to discern the Will of
with a lifeline, as initially her life had felt “empty” after the
God in her own life. I was curious as to how this was
loss of her husband, and it has also become a very real
developed, and Trust’s reply was that she prays about a
expression of Christian charity. She has enjoyed both the
camaraderie in the kitchen with the other volunteers; and the
Trust later had a vision in a dream about this man three
friendships, relationships and contacts that have grown with
nights in a row, after she had been praying for him. She
the guests over the 22 years the ministry has been running.
believes firmly that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in this
Trust told a very moving story about one guest, who had
as she later found out that he was actually dying in hospital
alcohol issues and began to come along to the lunch with a
whilst this was happening.
friend. Trust felt drawn especially by the Holy Spirit to pray for this man and he had been coming along for several years.
Prayer and discernment have been central to Trust’s life and
One day the committee were praying about the speaker for
her faith is utterly personal, real and relational. She gave
the following month and they felt that Trust should speak
examples both of the huge difference that prayer has made in
during the Epilogue, but Trust never felt that this was one of
her life, but also the smaller ways that prayer has affected
her ministries and was reluctant to speak. She urged them to
her. An example of this was that during a particularly cold
ask someone else, but no-one else was available. That
and snowy winter, she prayed and asked the Lord if she
evening she was praying about the situation and remembers
would be safer to go out in the car, or on foot? She was in the
saying: “Lord, you know I’d be willing to speak, but I
middle of praying when the phone rang and it was one of the
wouldn’t have a clue what to say”. So, as clear as bell, he
Elders who said “We’re collecting you this morning. Don’t
said to her “Tell them about your Dad”.
even come out to the gate, I’ll come to the door”. I was interested in how Trust prays and conducts her
This amazing story began after her father lost his first wife,
devotional time. She told me she is an early riser and, after
leaving him a widower with five small children. He was
she wakes in the morning she will pray for close family and
extremely depressed about this situation and began drinking
friends. Then after breakfast she will have devotional time
and gambling to ease the pain of his loss. Eventually he was
and read the Bible and again pray, but usually in relation to
hospitalised and a hospital visitor (who was incidentally her
what she has read and to more formally bring to the Lord
future husband’s Aunt!) left a small tract beside his bed, as
he was asleep. When he awoke and saw this text beside his
Then throughout the day, as things come to mind, Trust will
bed it read:
“Come to me all you who are weary and
pray about them, perhaps certain situations people are going
burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11 : 28). He
through, whatever the Holy Spirit will bring to mind. Every
found this verse very comforting, but there was no-one there
evening Trust takes out her prayer-list. She has the names
to talk to about it, as the visitor had left.
of everyone in the church divided into seven days and every
Some time after he had left the hospital he was walking past
day prays for whoever is on her list, so that every member is
Merrion Hall (an Evangelical church based in the city
prayed for once a week. Sometimes people from the list come
centre) and heard singing coming from the building. He went
to her mind at different times of the day and she will then
up to the gallery to investigate what was going on and sat
pray for them, but having the list ensures that every person is
down and heard, amazingly, the preacher using the very
prayed for weekly and then if she wakes at night she will also
same text that had been left beside her father’s bed. At first
pray in whatever way the Spirit directs.
he thought that someone knew he was coming, but realised this couldn’t be the case. As a result of this her Dad came to
Trust can relate experience where the Holy Spirit directed
know the Lord Jesus and he produced a booklet about his
her to pray for people at specific times. An example of this
was when Jennifer and Des Lewis first began going to the
When Trust told this story during the Epilogue at the lunch
Romanian orphanage at Tuir in the early 1990s. They were
this man read the booklet and came up to her afterwards and
very much on her heart and she prayed at specific times,
thanked her so much, telling her about how alcoholism had
which she later found out from them were crucial to the
blighted his family. He said he was bringing home the
situations they were in, whether they were stuck at a border,
booklet and would treasure it and “keep it ‘til his dying day”.
or experiencing some other difficulty. She says that this kind
of prayer ministry is a responsibility, as well and a privilege.
Trust has served faithfully in the church for many years.
She believes that the heart of the church is prayer. She goes
She has an unswerving faith which has been honed by
to two weekly prayer meetings regularly in the church and
discipline, humility and trust. Who knows how she has
spoke about the way that this has been a blessing. Sometimes
shaped the lives of those in the church by praying regularly
she has gone to the meetings tired, but has come back
for them. Her devotion to DEC and the people in it should be
recognised. She is our national treasure!
Although Trust lives alone, she was very keen to point out
By sharon burrell
that she never feels lonely and this is, she believes, thanks to the Lord.
Well, it’s time to dust down your E100 manuals in preparation for the New Testament starting on the 22nd of September. House groups are set to restart on or before that week. The plan is to have the Sunday sermon cover the topic for the coming week. We start with ‘The Living Word’. What a subject to start with and what a Saviour we have! I am really looking looking forward to seeing the fulfilment of the promises God made starting from Abraham concerning the universal salvation He was going to bring into affect through His Messiah – Jesus. For example: when Jes Jesus says of Himself: ‘Before Abraham was, I Am’ in John’s Gospel chapter 8 verse 58, we will immediately remember that this is the unique name that God used when Moses asked him: him: “Then Moses said to God,
“Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”. you.’”. No wonder the Jews wanted to stone Jesus – he was claiming claiming to be God!
I would encourage you to read at least one of the four gospels before we start or if you’re feeling particularly excited, the 4 Gospels, the Acts and some of the Epistles. Considering the amount of material we have read in the Old Testament, Testament, it should be a breeze! Go on, go for it! If you want to join a home group please contact Dougie McCormack: Dougie@dec.ie or 0862805141.
Prayer Team Announcement We are having a prayer walk to pray for our community on Monday September 9th from 8.00 to 9.00pm starting here in DEC We are all very conscious of the importance of praying for our community, preparing the ground spiritually as a farmer would plough a field to pull out any boulders or obstacles before he sows the seed so in the same way we sometimes need to pray to tear down down strong holds and remove spiritual obstacles which would impede the spreading of the Gospel the Good Seed.
Those among us who are sick or grieving
Please continue to pray for Clodagh, Abbie and Finn. Raju Pedapongu Pedapongu who recently lost his Dad. Margaret Kearney who also lost her Dad.
Prayer Priority Alert An American attack on Syria seems to be imminent. An American attack on Syria seems to be imminent, and Arab leaders warn of terrible consequences to Israel, if Syria is attacked. Arab leaders spew bellicose threats Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is quoted as saying: "The intervention of America will be a disaster for the region. The region is like a gunpowder store, and the future cannot be predicted."1 Syrian Information Minister Omran alal-Zoubi warned that, “The basic repercussion repercussion would be a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East."1 In Israel Thousands of Jews and Arabs line up at gas mask distribution to get their gas masks in preparation for a possible counter attack attack from Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah). (Hezbollah). Patriot antianti-missile batteries in Haifa are put on alert, Netanyahu convenes security cabinet, and IDF announces major drill on Golan Heights (meaning the IDF is moving troops to the Golan if it is ordered to attack Syria, or if Syria launches a ground attack into the Golan. But don’t get rattled or excited in the flesh – it won’t help In 2006, at the beginning of the Lebanon War, as I began to pray earnestly for our security situation and the war (which was not going well at the time), the Lord Lord stopped me in the middle of my praying. He warned me, “Ofer do not pray your opinions to me, pray what I show you!” I took that to mean that I should not pray out of excitement, or be animated by my emotions or flesh, or even let my prayers be guided mostly by the newspaper headlines. So often, we are unaware that we are praying that way. Rather, He wanted to lead me by His Spirit, that I might pray what was strategic to Him. But Abraham stood yet before the LORD…Abraham drew near When the Lord came to Abraham and revealed to him that He was on His way to judge Sodom, Abraham’s response to the news, is instructive. “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down
now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near” near” Gen. 18:2018:20-22 I take this to mean that Abraham turned His heart to God; God; he drew near to God rather than allow himself to let his emotions and flesh run wild with speculation and anticipation. anticipation. Rather, he approached God with the full weight and impact of God’s Word and revelation of His nature and character. These were the only things guiding His intercession on behalf of Sodom! Who knows what prayers he would have prayed otherwise? So, I urge you to actually turn to God, get a hold of His Word and ask Him to lead you in your prayers and intercession on
behalf of Israel now. You should remind yourself that God is sovereign, especially in all that pertains to Israel’s restoration and protection. How beautifully it is expressed in Isaiah 54.
“And all thy children shall shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.14 In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather gather together, but not by me: me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. sake. 16 Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. destroy. 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise me,, against thee in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me says the LORD.” Is. 54:1354:13-17 This This is just one of hundreds of promises and declarations of God’s purpose in these days, to restore Israel to the Land and to Himself. If you let His Word fill your heart, you will find faith arise in your heart –His Word is the fuel of our faith. His Word will inspire, lead, and guide your praying, and you will be taken into a realm of prayer and intercession that, you have not experienced before. There, when you are in the Spirit, you will pray boldly and on subjects that you have not thought of, but that that He wants you to pray. And when you pray His Will, you have the confidence that He will answer. One example scripture that can inspire and guide your praying Zechariah 12: Vs. 1 - The Lord’s sovereignty as creator and giver of life to man – this is how this chapter opens – get a hold of it and it will keep you from panic praying. Vs. 22-3 A warning to all the nations who take Israel and Jerusalem as their problem to solve or resist. Vs 4, 9 God personally battles the nations who come against Israel (whether (whether diplomatically or militarily). Vs.5Israel.. Vs.5-6 What God does for the governors and leaders of Israel Vs. 77-8 What God does for and within the nation of Israel Vs. 10conflict!! 10-13:1 Spiritual restoration of Israel is part of all of this conflict If you take time with this chapter, praying through it, giving God glory for His sovereignty, worshipping Him as creator, you will be enabled to have faith for the rest of it, and that makes all the difference.
Blessings from Israel, Pastor Ofer Amitai
News & Dates Those interested in a brief survey of
We have upwards of 40 people working with children and young people in DEC. We want to continue to ensure the welfare and safety of all the children who take part in the many activities of the church. As you may know we have a Child Protection Policy in place which has been updated in accordance with recent legislative changes. Ross has organised a series of 3 training modules for those involved with children and youth. The first took place on Thursday night (5th Sept.) It was well attended and was of immense importance. Olive Good, who is the COI Child Protection Officer, took us through the main sections of the policy.
church history may be interested in Christopher Catherwood’s short book, Church History: A Crash Course
for the Curious. Longer church history textbooks (like the multi-volume set by Nicholas R. Needham, 2000 Years of
Christ’s Power) can also be excellent places to start. Steven Lawson’s Pillars
of Grace and Gregg Allison’s Historical Theology are also great resources that approach church history topically.
For those involved in DEC programmes or otherwise interested, the next 2 training modules – ‘Connecting with Youth’ & ‘Connecting with Children’- will be held on th th Thursdays the 12 & 19 September respectively, in DEC @ 8.00pm.
Alpha Ireland launches its first Alpha National Conference for Ireland on 21st September 2013. The day will include talks from visiting expert speakers, live worship and training on all aspects of running Alpha. Whether you are brand new to Alpha or a seasoned practitioner, the Conference has lots to offer you…
• Alpha Basics and Getting Started • Alpha Parenting & Marriage Courses • Prayer and Pastoral Care on Alpha • Alpha for Youth and Students • Running Small Groups • Using Social Media to Market Alpha • Models for Alpha Follow On (What to do post Alpha) There will be the opportunity to share and learn from other peoples’ experiences and hear testimonies from people who’s lives have been changed through Alpha. Conference Details th
Early Bird Cost: €35 pp – Cut off August 30 refreshments)
Student/Unemployed Cost: €12.50 pp (the cost is inclusive of a light lunch and
The day will start at 9:30am and run through till 5pm
Dr. Alan Petrie will be speaking at a day seminar we are hosting on Saturday 14th September from 9.45am to 5pm. For details see our website: http://www.dec.ie/church-events/dralistair-petrie-day-seminar
About seven months ago I was asked by the leadership of DEC to provide some information to parents, church members and anyone else who is interested on the ever changing landscape of youth culture. It was a great moment, as only that week my thoughts had been turning towards preparing something on this topic.
In October DEC will host three sessions focusing on the generation that is rising up. The First Session (Thurs 3rd Oct) will examine the landscape of youth culture, looking at what has changed over the years with adolescence, what are some of the sub cultures that our young people dive into but most importantly exploring the reasons why. The Second Session (Thurs 10th Oct) will change course somewhat. A huge number of older teens and young adults walk away from their faith. This session will look at reasons as to why this happens and also examine how parents and guardians can nurture a lasting faith with their children at home. The Focus of the Last Session (Thurs 17th Oct) will shift again. Globally, the church sees many walk away in their late teens and early twenties. This session will look at how we as congregations can nurture a lasting faith in our young people and develop the next generation who will lead the body of Christ in years to come.
Each evening will start at 7:45pm You are very welcome to these three evenings. If you and others intend on coming would you please let me know in good time so I can figure out logistics for the venue. email@example.com or 086 833 5970 I have the below flyers printed of on postcards, let me know if you would like me to send them out to you. In Jesus Ross Campbell
7 COUNTERFEITS OF REPENTANCE
Mark Driscoll » God Biblical Theology
From the recent sermon John the Baptizer, Part 2. Let me explain to you what repentance is and is not. For some of you, this will be completely new, you’ve never heard this. For others of you, this will be information that you’ve got bits and pieces of throughout the course of your life. For some of you, this will be revisiting things that I’ve taught you before, but maybe you still need to do. And for the rest of you, maybe you do know and practice repentance, and this will help clarify your ability to counsel others. I want you to pay attention, this is really important stuff. If you don’t know what to do with sin, you’ll ruin your life, and destroy anyone who is connected to you. It’s that big of a deal.
1. RELIGIOUS REPENTANCE So, true repentance is not religious repentance. Religious repentance is this: “I see your sin, not my own. I confess your sin, not my own. I’m really unhappy with your sin, but I’m not really troubled by my own.” It’s because religious people tend to think that they are self-righteous, and pious, and holy, and better than everyone else. The result is that they think they are good, and everyone else is bad. And religious people like to busybody, and gossip, and neatnik, and nitpick, and just be a perennial pain in the Levi’s. That’s what religious people do. And the way this works is they’re always glad to talk about all the things you’ve done wrong, but they never say things like, “It was my fault. I’m sorry. I was wrong.” Some of you are married to that person; I apologize. Jesus gives a story of two people going into the temple, the Old Testament equivalent of the church, and one prays with haughty eyes and head held high, full of pride. “God, thank you that I’m not like other men. Thank you that I’m better than they are. Thank you that I don’t do all these horrible things.” He’s confessing someone else’s sin. A second man in the story goes in, and he’s not filled with pride, he’s filled with grief. And he looks to the ground. He can’t even raise his eyes, and he simply declares, “God, have mercy on me. I’m a sinner.” He’s dealing with his own sin, not anyone else’s sin. He’s filled with humility and not pride. And Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, this man, and not the other, left justified, declared righteous in the sight of God.” Religious people are notorious for overlooking their own sin, and talking about everyone else’s, sometimes couching it in the form of a prayer request, so that it looks particularly holy when it’s not.
2. PAGAN REPENTANCE Real repentance is not pagan repentance, and I tell you these false forms because there are many counterfeits of repentance. One of the aspects that distinguishes paganism from Christianity is the Bible says that God is good, and we don’t need to make God be good. He just is. Paganism assumes that God isn’t good, and we have to manipulate God, as if we could, to make God be good. And so paganism and pagan repentance is, “So if I tell God I’m sorry, then he has to do something for me.” Examples would be, “I know I shouldn’t be dating this person, but if I tell God I’m sorry, then he’s obligated to save them, and make it all better. I know that I’ve done a bad thing, but if I tell God I’m sorry, then he’s obligated to cover for me, and not let my sin get caught and found out. If I tell God I’m sorry, then he has to heal me. If I tell God I’m sorry, then he has to bless me. If I tell God I’m sorry, then he has to prosper me.” God is sovereign, and free, and good. God cannot be manipulated, and God is not obligated to anyone.
3. WORLDLY SORROW Additionally, true repentance is not worldly sorrow. Paul tells this to the Corinthians. He says, “I perceive that you have worldly sorrow,” or some of your translations will say, “worldly grief,” and that is because non-Christians can feel bad. I talked to a guy not long ago. He said, “I feel bad. Why is that?” Answer: you’re bad. You feel bad because you’re bad. Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Don’t need to dig for some deep psychological investigation. You feel bad because you’re bad. God gave you a conscience. We’re his image bearers. It’s a moral rudder. We can grieve, quench, and resist the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit works through our conscience, as Jesus promised he would, to convict us of sin. We also know of our sin from the Bible, and Bible teaching, and godly friends. And what happens in worldly sorrow, or grief, is we feel bad, but we don’t change. You just feel bad. And what can even happen in culture is that we set up this false religion, with false prophets, and pastors, and priests, and priestesses, and what happens then is we present a false gospel. Not to pick on him, but to pick on him, I’ll give you an example from Tiger Woods. What happened in the Tiger Woods scenario is something that happens fairly frequently. First of all, someone doesn’t repent, and they get caught. The opposite of repenting is getting caught, and that is that you didn’t come forward and say, “I’ve said or done a bad thing, or failed to say or do a good thing, I got caught,” which means “I wasn’t gonna stop unless you made me.” You get caught. And then you have to present worldly sorrow. You have to say, “I am really sorry. I did a horrible thing. I feel really bad.” “Ideally,” your PR rep will tell you, “you should probably cry, because that will help. It shows that you’re really, really sad about what you’ve done.” And then we get basically a cultural equivalent of pagan Catholicism. Let me unpack all of this. I grew up as a Catholic boy, went to Catholic school, and was an altar boy for some years. And the way it would work in Catholicism is you would go into the confessional with the priest. You would say, “Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It’s been so long since my last confession.” And then you would tell the priest what you did, and then the priest would say, “I declare you forgiven. I forgive you. Go say this many ‘Hail Marys,’ or ‘Acts of Contrition,’ or ‘Our Fathers’, or go do these good deeds, and then you’ll make it up to God, and everything will be okay,” something like that. So what happens in culture is someone has worldly sorrow. They know they’ve done wrong, so they need to find someone who’s in the cultural position of a priest. And just so you know, I don’t believe in any of this. Jesus is my great high priest. A priest can’t forgive me. The psalmist says, “Against you only, Lord God, have I sinned.” So I don’t go to a priest, I go to the great high priest, Jesus. But what happens in our culture then, we’ve gotta find someone to play that morally superior role, so we get Barbara Walters, or Larry King, or Oprah, or Dr. Phil. We go get somebody to set up their stage for their show, their set, like a confessional. And the person who has sinned walks in looking very sad, and very scared, and says, “I’m really sorry for what I’ve done.” And then the person in the position of moral, spiritual authority, the priest of culture says, “Tell us about what you’ve done, and how you feel.” And then you cry, and you say the things that your PR rep told you to say. But your sins are not yet forgiven, because you need to go to purgatory and pay back, and so you go to rehab. Rehab is our cultural version of purgatory. Everybody has to go to rehab. If you’ve done something bad, you’ve gotta go to rehab, drug rehab, sex rehab, alcohol rehab, “My dad didn’t hug me” rehab, gambling rehab, whatever rehab it is. And you go to rehab for a while. It’s like purgatory, you go there and you pay your dues. And then later you get out, and you go back, and you meet with the high priest or priestess. You say, “You know what? I’m really, really sad, and I did a very
bad thing, but I feel like I paid it off, and I went to rehab. And now I’ve kind of been born-again. I’m a whole new person, and I’m going to give lots of money to women, children, or animals. Anything cute, I will give money to, to show that I have sorrow.” And then all of this is told to the population, the public, the culture, and they decide whether or not you’re forgiven. They’re in the position of God. “Oh, you said you were sorry, you went to rehab, you wrote a big check for people in need. We forgive you. You can golf again. Go and sin no more.” That’s worldly sorrow. The whole culture we live in is built on that, and people don’t change, not at the heart level. There’s no atonement, there’s no penalty paid for sin. There’s no Jesus, there’s no Savior. There’s no new life in Christ, there’s none of that, just a bunch of counterfeits—worldly sorrow. But I tell you that, not just to pick on a man, but to say that we’re all prone toward that, and our culture has this desire for something like a high priest, who forgives our sins and gives us new life. But without Jesus, we end up with a lot of impotent counterfeits.
4. MERE CONFESSION True repentance is also not mere confession. Mere confession is very confusing, particularly for Christians, because it is when someone sins, and you confront, or rebuke them, call them to repentance as John does. You say, “That was really wrong.” And they say, “You know what? You’re right, that was terrible.” You say, “Oh good, I’m glad you recognized that. Let me hug you, and we’re all better now.” And then they do it again. You say, “I thought you were sorry.” “Oh, I was. I’m sorry again, and I’ll be sorry next week, and the week after that. I’m sorry a lot. And every time I do it, at least I’m not a hypocrite, I’m authentic, I’m honest, I’m real, I’m true. And I’ll just tell you how bad I am, and I’m gonna keep being bad.” Some of you are dating that person. Run, run, run, run Forrest run, run for your life. And they confuse you, because you’ll say, “Hey, you shouldn’t have said or done that.” “You’re right, that was wrong,” and they keep doing it. Mere confession is an acknowledgment of sin, without a repentance of sin.
5. BLAME SHIFTING Additionally, real repentance is not blame-shifting, which is, “Yeah, something bad happened, but it’s their fault.” This goes all the way back to the garden. Adam sins, says, “God, you made a woman. She’s defective. The two of you need to sort this out.” Eve says, “Oh, don’t look at me, the devil made me do it.” She was charismatic. And the truth is that they both were morally responsible for their own transgression. We can do this. “Yes, I lost my temper, but they made me very angry.” Oh well, it’s obviously their fault. “Yes, I stole from my boss, but after all, they weren’t paying me enough.” “I did cheat on my spouse, but they weren’t meeting my needs.” Oh, you poor victim. Blame someone else.
6. MINIMIZING Real repentance is also not minimizing. What happens is you sin, someone calls you to repent, and the first thing you do is you find someone who’s done something worse. “At least I didn’t kill someone.” Oh, duckie for you, we’ll put a gold star on your “No Murder” chart, another whole day. You find someone worse than you. “You’re a terrible spouse.” “Well, at least you’re not married to so and so.” And if all else fails, hit the Hitler button, that’s what you do. Just hit the Hitler button, which is, “At least I’m not a Nazi.” Oh, that’s true. And you put yourself next to Hitler, and you’re like, “See, I look pretty good.” Yeah, compared to Hitler, everyone does. That’s not really moral high ground, but that’s what people do. It’s minimizing. “Oh, it’s not a big deal. You’re freaking out. You’re overreacting. Why do you have to get so emotional?” 7. EXCUSE MAKING Additionally, real repentance is not excuse making. “Yeah, I did it, but I had a rough upbringing. You know, I didn’t get a good education. My dad didn’t hug me. I’m genetically predisposed. My personality type is J-E-R-K. You know, there’s just— P-E-R-V, you know, my personality type is that way.” From the recent sermon John the Baptizer, Part 2. Published by kind permission of TheResurgence, a ministry of Mars Hill Church http://theresurgence.com/pages/about-us http://theresurgence.com/2010/07/05/7-counterfeits-of-repentance
Teaching Schedule for September Date 1 8 15 22 29
Speaker Dougie McCormack Alistair Petrie Mick Mooney Verna Langrell
Topic Baptism 'The challenge of the Times we are In’ E100 – The Living Word E100 – The Teachings of Jesus
Something nice to look at!