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."

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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.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A “New Agnosticism” — Coming Soon?

By Albert Mohler

Given what is at stake, living on the basis of a mere assumption that we cannot know if God exists seems a bit flimsy.

No one seems quite sure what to do with agnostics. In a sense, they are the odd cousins at the theological family reunion. The atheists and the theists know where they stand, but the agnostics? Who knows?

Writing recently at, Ron Rosenbaum suggests that perhaps the time has come for a “new agnosticism” to match wits with the “New Atheists,” such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. It’s time for a “revivified agnosticism,” Rosenbaum argues. As he says, their T-shirts will read simply, “I just don’t know.”

Rosenbaum makes an interesting case for his proposed revival of agnosticism. As he cites, the word itself was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley, Charles Darwin’s aggressive sidekick. Huxley was known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for a good reason, for he was totally committed to evolutionary theory and he was nothing less than pugnacious in argument.

Huxley defined agnosticism in terms of his principle that no one should claim objective knowledge “unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.” In Huxley’s view, this principle of thought rules out any form of theism. At the same time, it supposedly renders atheism unnecessary. In the view of Huxley, atheism actually conceded too much to theism, for it seemed to allow that some adequate evidence for or against the existence of God might be brought forward.

Rosenbaum takes this argument a step forward. Atheists, he insists, actually “display a credulous and childlike faith, [and] worship a certainty as yet unsupported by evidence — the certainty that they can or will be able to explain how and why the universe came into existence.”

Thus, Rosenbaum wants “a distinct identity for agnosticism, to hold it apart from the certitudes of both theism and atheism.” This is not a small project.
“Let’s get one thing straight,” he insists: “Agnosticism is not some kind of weak-tea atheism. Agnosticism is not atheism or theism. It is radical skepticism, doubt in the possibility of certainty, opposition to the unwarranted certainties that atheism and theism offer.”

At this point Rosenbaum’s argument gets really interesting. He accuses the New Atheists of intolerance and their own form of heresy hunting, and ridicules them for their untenable faith that all the big questions can be answered with satisfaction by science. The New Atheists, he laments, “seemed to have stopped thinking since their early grade-school science fair triumphs.”

But Rosenbaum has no tolerance for theism, either. In fact, he basically accepts the atheistic rejection of any belief in a personal God. “Let me make clear that I accept most of the New Atheist’s criticism of religious bad behavior over the centuries, and of theology itself,” he asserts. “I just don’t accept turning science into a new religion until it can show it has all the answers, which it hasn’t, and probably never will.”

Well, if Rosenbaum generally accepts the atheist argument, where can his own argument go? It goes to the one “big question” that seems to vex him most — “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

Now, that is one of the perennial questions of philosophy and theology, but it is an arbitrary and somewhat eccentric question to establish at the center of his argument. The more central question is, of course, the existence or non-existence of God. But Rosenbaum’s point here seems to be that he lacks any confidence that science can supply an adequate or certain answer to the question of existence itself.

On these big questions, Rosenbaum proposes uncertainty. “Agnosticism doesn’t fear uncertainty.” he insists. “It doesn’t cling like a child in the dark to the dogmas of orthodox religion or atheism. Agnosticism respects and celebrates uncertainty and has been doing so since before quantum physics revealed the uncertainty that lies at the very groundwork of being.”

Rosenbaum clarifies that agnostics do not lack certainty on all questions of knowledge. They accept that some truths can be known, verified, and defended. But not the question of God’s existence or the primary existence of anything at all.

But, in a fascinating twist, Rosenbaum suggests, contrary to Huxley, that the existence of God is not, in principle, unknowable. “I can conceive of logically possible states of affairs in which a God is knowable, and I can conceive of cases in which it is certain that no God exists.”

Well, what might these “logically possible states of affairs” be? At this point in Rosenbaum’s essay, I feel cheated. How can he simply assert that he can conceive of some intellectual conditions for theism or atheism without naming them?

In the end, Rosenbaum’s argument for a “new agnosticism” seems more rooted in attitude than in logic. He accuses both the New Atheists and classical theists of intolerance and a lack of intellectual humility.

But, check out this rather striking sentence: “Agnosticism is not for the simple-minded and is not as congenial as atheism and theism are.” Ah, so by implication, theism and atheism might be for the simple-minded, but it takes a higher intellect to be agnostic. How humble.

He continues: “The courage to admit we don’t know and may never know what we don’t know is more difficult than saying, sure, we know.”

This is one of the central problems with agnosticism as a worldview. In claiming to take a humble approach, it actually ends up in a posture that is rather lacking in humility. The agnostic argues that we, as human creatures, are capable of deciding the intellectual terms when it comes to the big questions such as, first and foremost, the existence and possible knowledge of God.

A first principle of the Christian faith is the fact that special revelation is necessary in order to have any adequate certainty on these questions. Prior to this, the Christian worldview affirms that God has implanted the knowledge of himself in nature. In both forms of revelation, God sets the terms for his own knowability.

The intellectual state of affairs that makes theism possible is the knowledge given by God himself in revelation. Atheism rejects the possibility or actuality of such revelation. Fair enough; at least we know where we stand. Agnosticism requires what divine revelation does not offer — certainty on our own arbitrary terms.

The second major problem with agnosticism is more practical. It just doesn’t work as a middle position or alternative to theism and atheism. Why? Because the question of God’s existence or non-existence is simply too important and fundamental to human life. Every human being acts either upon the assumption that God exists, or that He does not exist. In the main, agnostics side with the atheists on this question, and operate on the assumption that God does not exist.

On this score, the atheists have it over the agnostics in terms of argument. There is little real difference in the two positions in terms of everyday life. Thus, agnostics are counted among the non-believers. But, to Ron Rosenbaum’s consternation, they actually seem less intellectually confident than the atheists.

Given what is at stake, living on the basis of a mere assumption that we cannot know if God exists seems a bit flimsy.

Ron Rosenbaum’s argument is worthy of consideration even as it shows where a “new agnosticism” might lead. But, I’m guessing that “I just don’t know” isn’t going to end up as a best-selling T-shirt.