Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Cross found on all donkeys' backs?

Some donkeys (often called Christian donkeys) have a narrow strip of dark hair that runs down their backs and each of their shoulders. These markings are in the shape of a cross. Like the color traits of other animals (such as zebras), we don’t know exactly why these donkeys have this cross. But, it does show the wonderful variety among God’s creatures.

There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).

Dear Prayer Partners

Please remember the following needs and requests in prayer:

1} President Obama and his advisors

2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families

3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back

4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son

5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it

6} Margo- recovering from a stroke

7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully

8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition

9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth

10} Dennis- having problems breathing

11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer

12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one

13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one

14} Eugene- is battling cancer

15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair

16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery

17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis

18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring

19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy

20} Marc- family problems

21} Tom- problems with weight control

22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down

23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back

24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever

25} Frank- fighting depression

26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work

27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery

28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year

29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have

30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel

31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives

"Hold Us Together" - Matt Maher

Opening Our Hearts to God

Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.

Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.

~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~

Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.

Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”

David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.

Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.

Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.

He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.

Why was God harsher in O.T.? - by John Piper

Thy Redeemer

By C.H. Spurgeon

"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).

JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.

Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.

He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."

Send us your prayer requests:

Send us your prayer requests:
(by clicking on the link above)

FREE Book: “Desiring God” by John Piper

Prison Ministry:

On Monday evenings, I have the unique priveledge of visiting the Greenville Detention Center. Scripture, bible lessons, tracts, bibles, Daily Breads, bible studies, testimonies, and prayers are shared. Please keep these men in your continued prayers as we continue studying Paul's letter to the Romans: Jonathan, Lenita, David Anderson, Luke Elmore, Eric Hall, Leslie Mashburn, Keith Rollins, Billy, Jared Rhines, Quinton Brown, Jeremiah Hendrix, Chris Osbourne, Jermain Cheech, Quincy Massey, and Leo Clarence.

Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!

In His vineyard,

We Shall Worship the Lord!

By John Piper

Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?

Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?

And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?

If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.

But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:

Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.

These objects are three:

1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...

The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.

This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.

Over 200 Free Resources for Church Leaders:

Friday, April 16, 2010

What Is Baptism and To Whom Is It To Be Administered?

WSC 94 What is baptism? A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's.

WSC 95 To whom is baptism to be administered? A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.

(Westminster Shorter Catechism 1:94-96 WCS)

Notice above that baptism is similar to an "engagement." In other words, it is a sign and seal of a vow we make to the Lord. A covenant is similar to the marriage covenant where there is a relationship and there are responsibilities and obligations on the part of both parties. The difference in the covenant of grace, however, is that the covenant of grace is made only with the elect who are truly born again by the Holy Spirit. For God's part He never breaks His promises to us as His children and God always keeps covenant with us, despite our failures and sins. He gives the elect His benefits unconditionally and will insure that we keep covenant with Him by putting into our hearts the desire to do what He commands us to do. The covenant of grace and membership in a visible congregation are not necessarily the same thing since the visible congregation might contain unregenerate members who eventually fall away into apostasy.

Regarding the administration of baptism we should be careful not to give a false security to unbelievers by baptizing their infants if they are not active members of a local and visible congregation where the Gospel is rightly preached and the two sacraments are rightly administered. It is a great temptation to try missionary baptisms and weddings to bring in new members or to gain financial income for a congregation. However, our focus should be on eternity and getting folks to understand that there is no salvation outside of Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:11-13) and that a true and lively faith requires a covenant commitment to the Lord through a true and lively local church as defined in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion:

Article XIX
Of the Church
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Posted by Charlie J. Ray


Believer said...

Am I understanding that it is OK for infants to be baptized? I've heard it said many times that baptism should be done when the person is capable of making their own decision.
Also, can a person be baptized more than once - say as an infant, where the church family helps to grow that child in an understanding of Jesus and when the child is old enough to make a decision about choosing to follow Christ?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Believer, in answer to your first question, "Should infants be baptized?" The answer is yes. Why? Well, first of all, baptism does not regenerate, save or justify anyone! I would include believers' baptism in that. Simply getting baptized does nothing except make you wet UNLESS you have first been born again. In the case of baptized infants the regeneration would happen at some point after baptism when the child owns the Christian faith for himself or herself.

So why do we baptize infants? Because it is a "sign" or "mark" that they are members of the covenant of grace (with the elect) just as circumcision was a mark of the covenant with Abraham. Remember that Abraham had faith prior to being circumcised. However, the "sign" without the reality of regeneration and true faith is merely an "empty sign." That would apply to both circumcision and baptism. The same can be said of believers who are baptized. If there is no true faith the sign is simply an "empty sign."

We do not believe that baptism is an empty sign for believers, though. The sign signifies the reality of Christ's sacrifice for us and our faith that Christ will indeed save us. And the promises are for our children (Acts 2:38-39) unless they prove otherwise by going into permanent unbelief and apostasy. If our children are called by the Lord they will indeed come to Him because they are His sheep and hear His voice.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (John 10:4-5 ESV)
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15 ESV)

In answer to your second question the answer is a resounding, "No!" Why not? Well, because it is faith that justifies, not baptism. There is no need to be baptized more than once. Faith is the sign of a true believer. Baptism is merely the outward mark that identifies us as Christians. When the infant is baptized he or she is marked as belonging to Christ before the entire congregation and there is a vocal commitment on the part of the parents and the church to raise this child in the Christian faith, to teach him or her the Bible, the shorter catechism and/or the 1662 Book of Common Prayer's catechism. I prefer both the WSC and the 1662 catechism to be taught.

Again, baptism does not regenerate or save. So the question for Baptists is why then should someone be baptized more than once???

I have been wrongly baptized three times. Twice as a Pentecostal and once as a Southern Baptist. The Baptists insisted that I be baptized again before joining their congregation. The implication is clearly somehow that baptism saves in some way. Either that or the Baptists are saying that I did not have genuine faith and conversion as a Pentecostal. The implications are clear.

No, all that is necessary to salvation is a true and lively faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism does not regenerate or save anyone. Is Baptism therefore optional? No. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ by going to the waters of baptism as a sign of our true repentance and faith. Christ did it to show us the way even though He Himself had no need for repentance or faith since He was sinless and the Savior of the whole world.

I hope this helps to clarify things.

May the peace of God be with you!


Charlie J. Ray said...

I might add that confirmation is not a sacrament. However, when a baptized infant is older and has been catechized then I think there is a place for having a formal service of confirmation into full membership of the church. After that point the child is given the Lord's supper, also an outward sign of true faith which is in the heart of the believer.


Charlie J. Ray said...

There is one problem with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. In the service for the baptism of infants it says, "EEING now, dearly beloved brethren, that this Child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's Church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits; and with one accord make our prayers unto him, that this Child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning." Publick Baptism of Infants

Notice that there is an emphasis on following through with praying "that this Child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning."

In other words, baptism without the leading of "the rest of his life according to this beginning" means that he or she is not actually regenerate without the followup evidence of the rest of his or her life.

Again, the emphasis here is on true repentance, true faith, and a life of faith in Christ and through the local church/congregation as the visible body of Christ on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,