Have you ever been curious as to what Muslims believe in relation to Christianity. This new, two-part Bible Study by Cory Wiggington gives an introductory look to Islam. In addition to enlightening the reader/listener to the basic beliefs of Islam, the ensuing discussions and scriptural references demonstrate where it differs from Christianity. If you are looking for a place to start, this is it.
I am a member of the Starfish Ministry at our church. If you are unfamiliar with the starfish story, you may read about it here. The basic concept of this ministry is that if we can help just one person come to Christ, then everything we do is worth it. As such, we will occasionally go out to a local park to both feed and witness to whomever we find there. Typically, we encounter many homeless individuals, but given the close proximity to Indiana University, we often meet wayward college students as well.
Last December was my first experience with the Starfish Ministry. That was a very special event for me as I had never “hit the streets” to witness before. We were in the park for over three hours in sub-freezing temperatures. We gave away hot soup all day from a variety of crockpots and pray for needs of many people. It is an amazing feeling of peace and humility that you receive when lifting up others in prayer to the Lord. I believe that it prepared me for what happened next.
I encounter many unbelievers and outright atheists in the course of my day. Sadly, it is sometimes difficult to find the opening and engage these individuals in a good theological discussion. As such, I am not as well practiced as I would like to be. I am eternally thankful to the Holy Spirit for guiding me as I encountered Max.
Max was an atheist. While he inquired about what I, and Christians in general, believe, I could tell that he had some prior knowledge. After I had described something to him, he began trying to find the weak points in my argument and exploiting them. It was at this time that I was thankful for David Ball’s “Defending the Faith” series (if you haven’t listened to it, do so…now). Every question from “How do you know there is a God”, to “What makes the Bible different from any other book”, and “Well, that’s a good truth for you, but doesn’t every religion claim to be the true and only path to heaven?” To date, I had never been challenged so hard on my beliefs by a person who had obviously constructed their own reasonable defenses.
I knew that Max was solid in his atheistic belief and nothing I said was going to change that. After struggling for a little bit after our conversation, trying to think of something I could have said that may have swayed his opinion, I remembered Matthew 10:19, where the Lord says, “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” I began to understand that everything that I said was what I should have said. Only the Lord offers salvation, and the only way Max is going to find it is if the Holy Spirit leads him to it. I now pray for Max that the Lord will lead him to Righteousness.
This past Sunday, August 26th, we again visited the park. This time, it was pizza and prayer, with much more acceptable weather conditions (85 degrees and sunny). We had more volunteers show up to help witness this time than any previous time we had gone out. I again had the opportunity to witness to people that may not otherwise hear the Good News. While I was not challenged to the extent that I was in December, I was still able to speak with at least one person who had some sincere questions and wanted a dialogue. I praise God for that blessing and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide Kenneth to salvation.
So, now the question is…What are YOU doing for Christ? We are all called to spread the Gospel using whatever means that we have. There is enough work that all of us can find something to do. An old preacher once said that even if you know very little about the Word, go out and find someone to share that knowledge with…they likely know less than you. The question is, if you are a Christian and you are not doing service for the Lord, what would you say you are doing? Just something to think about… 🙂
God is the Lord and Ruler of everything. Psalm 90:2 tells us that God is God from everlasting to everlasting. Before Creation He was God, and when heaven and earth pass away, He will still be God. As the Creator of all things, He has infinite authority over what was made.
Isaiah 45:6-7 – That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.
The Bible is full of instances where God interacted with His Creation in a supernatural way so that His will was accomplished. From the Flood (Genesis 7), to the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14), to the Resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28) the Bible consistently demonstrates that God is omnipotent and in complete control of everything and everyone.
Romans 9:21 – 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?
This verse from Romans clearly references back to Isaiah 64:8. Here, mankind is likened to clay that was molded by potter. The clay has no influence over what the potter makes, but rather the clay conforms to the potter’s will. This verse also opens up discussions on Predestination and the Doctrine of Election (Ephesians 1:4). Proverbs 16:4 tells us, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” It is clear from these verses that God has a plan for everything. Both the Righteous and the wicked abide by the will of God. The Lord did not simply create this existence and then turn His back. He is active in His Creation and uses each person to fulfill His sovereign plan; a plan that was established before the foundations of the earth was laid.
Psalm 8:1-4 – 1O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.2Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,4what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
When put into perspective, the fact that we exist at all seems pretty inconsequential in comparison with the rest of Creation. The Psalmist even asks why God cares for us given everything else that He made. Later in Psalm 113:6, it is described how God has to “stoop down” just to interact with us. We are created infinitely low compared to our infinitely supreme God. The mere idea that we somehow can mock His ways, deny His existence, and escape His Judgment is the pinnacle of human arrogance. “The Fool says in his heart that there is no God” – Psalm 14:1
God rules beyond contestation in His Creation. Everyone and everything is subject to His will. Colossians 1:15 describes Jesus as being the “firstborn of all creation”. This statement speaks of His singular authority over the Creation. Unbelievers may contend that “He is not my God”, but when the Day of Judgment comes, all of Creation will be held accountable to Jehovah God. There is no “opting out”. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to search the Scriptures so the truth of God will be revealed in your life. God Bless You!
Have you ever been interested in what Mormons believe, but didn’t know any good resources to reference? In this two-part series, Bible Teacher Cory Wiggington explains the core beliefs of Mormon theology. The audio recording of this study is accompanied by an easy to follow study guide. The written material contains documentation on the sources used, making it easy for the inquisitive listener to continue their studies. While this is not an exhaustive study, it is a good starting point for understanding how Mormonism differs from Christianity. I hope you will be encouraged.
Approximately seven weeks ago, our church started something new…a Men’s Ministry. When I began hearing the whispers about the recreation of this ministry, I was very excited. Evidently, the church tried to do this same thing back in 2006/2007 (before my wife and I began attending), but the interest was so minimal at the time that it slowly waned into non-existence. Thankfully, the church has grown both in size and commitment to service since then. We have had three meetings thus far, and at each meeting, we have averaged around twenty men. It is such a blessing to get good, Godly men together and hear ideas on how we can help further the Kingdom. This Sunday, the men of the church will be signing a covenant to show our commitment to our families, God, and to service. I was blessed to be part of the group of men that designed the wording for that document.
Our plan is to have each man that wishes to make this commitment sign an 8 1/2 x 11 document that they will be able to keep for themselves. This will be printed on quality paper and be suitable for framing and display. This will act as a reminder of their service and the guidelines that the Bible lays out for Christian men. Secondly, there will be another document that will be blown up to “Constitution” size. This document will have an additional sheet page (equally as large) that all the participating men will sign. This document will be on display in the church, acting as a public announcement that those men have committed themselves to service and can be called upon to lead, teach, or just help out as their abilities permit.
I believe that the men’s ministry has a great goal. The training and development of the men of the church is sometimes overlooked, but this new initiative aims to address that. Below I have included the text from the covenant that was created. Please read it and be encouraged!
Men’s Ministry Covenant
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God. I believe Him to be the Lord of all Creation and the only means of Salvation and Reconciliation with the Father. I am a sinner, but through Christ and His Grace I have been redeemed. I am a servant of the Most High God and will strive to do as He commands.
I affirm the Bible teaches that:
• I have been saved by grace through faith. This is a gift from God and not the result of any works that I perform. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
• True faith will produce good works. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:14-26)
• Jesus commanded His Disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 15:16). As His servant, this is my responsibility.
• A servant of God should live a blameless life and serve as an example to both nonbelievers and fellow believers. (1 Timothy 3:1-1)
• A man should act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)
As a member of the South Union Men’s Ministry:
• I will strive to have a personal relationship with God, loving Him with all my heart, soul, and mind.
• I will strive to love my neighbor as myself.
• I will strive to engage fully with and be supportive of my spouse, children, and church family.
• I will strive to lead, motivate, and teach the Word of God to my family, fellow believers, and non-believers.
• I will strive to confront evil, pursue justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
• I will strive to forgive those who have wronged me and make amends with those I have wronged.
• I will strive to be honest with my time, words, and actions.
• I will strive to stand accountable for my behavior before God, my family, fellow believers, and non-believers.
• I will strive to attain the standard for Christian living as described by the Word of God.
I pledge my service to the Lord. I pray that He would help me serve and witness to my family, fellow believers, and non-believers. In unity, the South Union Men’s Ministry will win and commit people to Jesus Christ, training them for service in His Kingdom. As a member of this ministry, I will commit my time and energy to further the Kingdom of God for His glory alone.
Name:___________ Date: ________________
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is the passage that begins our Holy Scripture. This single verse establishes the framework for every other concept and command in the Bible. Because God created all things, He is the ultimate authority over Creation. He established the laws by which believers and non-believers alike are to abide. Therefore it should be the upmost desire of mankind to learn as much about Him as possible so we can uphold His standard. Thankfully, the Bible describes to us, repeatedly, the nature of God’s unending goodness.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)
The Bible is very clear when it speaks on Creation. God was in the beginning and He made everything! At no point does the Bible describe an evolutionary process by which the universe came into existence ~20 billion years ago. The Bible speaks of and consistently reaffirms a 6 day process of Creation that occurred 6000 years ago.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.” (Isaiah 40: 12-15)
The Old and New Testament alike speak of God as the Creator. No one counseled the Lord in His task. He alone possesses the infinite knowledge and wisdom to bring everything into existence and sustain all things (Colossians 1:17). How can God, so awesome in power, be limited by anything? The Bible says that God has to humble Himself just to look down at things in the earth (Psalm 113:6). There is no way to contain God. If we disregard God’s role in the Creation, then we ignore His omnipotence which is proclaimed throughout Scripture.
Herbert Spencer was not a Christian man. In fact, he was a strong believer in evolution and was known for coining the phrase “survival of the fittest”. Yet this man put forth an interesting system of categorization. He said, “Everything fits into one of these categories, time, force, action, space, matter,” Bible teacher, John MacArthur, points out, “In the beginning,” that’s time, “God,” that’s force, “created,” that’s action, “the heavens,” that’s space, “the earth,” that’s matter. Everything that Herbert Spencer discovered in 1903, or before that, was in the first verse of Scripture”. It’s amazing that as much as mankind tries to ignore the existence of God, they only prove their own ignorance as God is clearly seen through His Creation (Romans 1:20).
If we are to know why or from what we need to be saved, we must first understand that the Creator has infinite authority over His Creation. In breaking His law, we have corrupted the perfection of His work. As such, we are not worthy to enter the presence of our Holy Creator. Thankfully, the Bible tells us that there is a mediator between God and men who was able to ransom Himself for all (1 Timothy 2:5). That mediator is Jesus Christ, our Messiah. Do you know Him today? God Bless you.