Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock

© chnrdu under Creative Commons

Melbourne was struck by an earthquake on Tuesday night. The HBC Ministry Leadership Team were meeting at my home and we were deep in discussion, when suddenly the whole house started shaking. People out in the La Trobe Valley would have felt it even more than those of us in the suburbs. Earthquakes are a very rare event in Victoria, and this was the largest for over 100 years. God was gracious to Melbourne and basically no damage has been reported. Some people’s homes are Continue reading Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock

Some more thoughts on Predestination


In a previous blog I wrote about “Predestination and Free Will”.  I believe that Christians who don’t accept the Bible’s teaching on predestination are forfeiting the great assurance and comfort that this doctrine affords. On the one hand, I think they may misunderstand God’s sovereignty, and on the other hand, human free will.  If God is sovereign, surely salvation is 100% all of God.  If we are utterly sinful, surely we will not use our free will to turn to God.

In our current series on Revelation there is a fascinating verse that speaks to this topic.  speaks about non-Christians, those who worship the beast, as those “whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain”.

I hope you’ll excuse some technical discussion, but the verse has some complications in translation regarding the Greek.  A perusal of different English Continue reading Some more thoughts on Predestination

and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Evangelicals Twisting the Scripture

© MacX #21366411 Fotolia.com

The following blog piece comes from the article “Hospitality for Heretics” by Phillip Jensen on page 11 of The Briefing, issue 397, Jan-Feb 2012.  This excellent bimonthly periodical comes in a print version, but is also available on line.  An excerpt of this article is given below.  The rest of Phillip’s article can be viewed online here.

Philip speaks about the positive passages of Scripture regarding the Christian duty of hospitality.  He says that it “is therefore startling to read in John’s second Continue reading Evangelicals Twisting the Scripture

The Myth of Circumstantial Freedom

Originally Published at: Reformed Baptist Fellowship – All rights remain their property …reposted without modification.

MOST PEOPLE say that they believe in “free will.” Do you have any idea what that means? I believe that you will find a great deal of superstition on this subject. The will is saluted as the grand power of the human soul which is completely free to direct our lives. But from what is it free? And what is its power?

No one denies that man has a will — that is, a faculty of choosing what he wishes to say, do, and think. But have you ever reflected on the pitiful weakness of your will? Though you have the ability to make a decision, you do not have the power to carry out your purpose. Will may devise a course of action, but will has no power to execute its intention.

Joseph’s brothers hated him. They sold him to be a slave. But God used their actions to make him a ruler over themselves. They chose their course of action to harm Joseph. But God in His power directed events for Joseph’s good. He said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, …” ().

Continue reading The Myth of Circumstantial Freedom

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The God of New Beginnings

“We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.”

I am continually amazed at how loving and gracious God is. God is not distant, but desires to be close and intimate with us. How much it must hurt God when we choose to go our own way. God has sacrificed so much for us, highlighted by the death of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins, so that we can have an intimate, growing, fruitful Continue reading The God of New Beginnings

22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

Don’t let Worrying Hold you Down

Your heavenly Father already knows all you needs, and He will give you all you need from day to dat if you live for Him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Worry… surely one of the basic banes of humanity. How much time and energy do we spend worrying? Where does it get us? What good does it pose?

Continue reading Don’t let Worrying Hold you Down

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Who’s Church is This Anyway?

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I’m concerned.

It’s Sunday afternoon. Our worship service today was a real blessing.

Richard Coombs brought us a stirring and encouraging message from Psalms 63.

During the fellowship time following the service most people stayed to share with each other and greet the new people that attended.

Our new church has been meeting for less than a year now and its only ten weeks since we’ve been meeting in a hall. Our numbers are growing each week. The church leaders have been working very hard to make sure that we start right.

Things seem to be going well – so why my concern?

Well, all these things have to do with what we are doing.

Continue reading Who’s Church is This Anyway?

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

10 Reasons Why Believing in the Sovereignty of God Matters

What we mean by the sovereignty of God is captured in paragraph 3.2 of The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. The dozens of biblical passages used to support this paragraph are found in the online version.
3.2 We believe that God upholds and governs all things—from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons—all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.
Why does it matter whether we believe this? Ten reasons.
1. The good news of God’s substituting his Son for us on the cross depends on it.
“Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” ( -28)
2. The perseverance of the saints in the fear of God depends on it.
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” ()
3. Progress in holiness now, and the final perfecting of the saints in the end, depends on it.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” ()
“But you have come to Mount Zion . . . and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” ()
4. The assurance of God’s final triumph over all natural and supernatural evil depends on it.
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” ( -10)
5. The comfort that there is a wise and loving purpose in all our calamities and losses, and that God will work all things together for our good, depends on it.
“Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. . . . Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” ()
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ()
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” ()
6. The hope that God will give life to the spiritually dead depends on it.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” ()
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ()
7. Well-grounded expectation of answered prayer depends on it.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” ()
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. . . . For the promise is for . . . everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” ()
8. Boldness in the face of seeming hopeless defeat depends on it.
“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” ()
“Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.” ()
9. Seeing and savoring the revelation of the fullness of God’s glory depends on it.
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ . . . What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power . . . [acted] in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy?” ()
10. Praise that matches the fullness of God’s power, wisdom, and grace depends on it.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. . . . We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” ()
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” ()
The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is an anchor for the troubled soul, a hope for the praying heart, a stability for fragile faith, a confidence in pursuing the lost, a guarantee of Christ’s atonement, a high mystery to keep us humble, and a solid ground for all praise. And oh so much more. O Lord, turn this truth for the triumph of your saving and sanctifying grace.
Confident and comforted with you,
Pastor John

Used with permission: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

What we mean by the sovereignty of God is captured in paragraph 3.2 of The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. Bible2

“We believe that God upholds and governs all things—from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons—all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.”

Why does it matter whether we believe this? Ten reasons. Continue reading 10 Reasons Why Believing in the Sovereignty of God Matters

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,

32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve the children of men.

34 To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

38 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. 39 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.”

12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.

20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Psalm 115:18

18 But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.