Visit www.carm.org and be counted. Just a reminder to go to the CARM homepage when you're visiting the site so you can be counted. A lot of people just cruise around the site without ever visiting the home page. When they do that, they aren't counted on the counter.
Soon CARM will have a prayer ministry. We have a volunteer named Mary who has agreed to be the prayer ministry coordinator on CARM. To facilitate this new ministry, I am polishing up the installation of a new email newsletter program that can handle multiple mailing lists. We will have four main categories of prayer: CARM Ministry Prayer Chain, URGENT Requests Group, Burden Bearers Group, and Illness Support Group. If you are led to prayer work, then you can sign up for any groups you like.
Also, I will continue to provide this newsletter...with a couple of changes. First, I plan to be able to provide HTML newsletters. This means that it will look better than the text messages that go out. You'll have the option of receiving this newsletter in html or plain text. Second, I plan to make this a paid subscription newsletter. You see, everything on CARM is free. I work very hard to produce a lot of information. In an effort to go full time, I need to raise the funds and I am very seriously considering charging $10 a year for this newsletter. If I do this, it will go out every two weeks, have the regular updates and devotional, but I plan to include some brief articles by some of the volunteers on CARM who have various areas of expertise.
Please remember that CARM is a serious effort to equip the body of Christ on doctrine, cults, apologetics, and much more. It is very demanding, especially when I have a family and a full time job. As it stands, I am about 25% of the way to going full time financially. CARM is steadily growing and, Lord willing, the goal is to get a staff, and produce videos and tapes for distribution as well as write more books and get on radio again. So, if you would be so kind as to email me and let me know what you think of the subscription idea, please email to email@example.com. I am very interested in your opinion on this.
MORMON TEMPLE OPENING
On Sunday August 24th, I preached to about 500 people on Mormonism. In Redlands, CA., a new Mormon temple is opening. A friend of mine, Tim Spykstra, is the pastor of The River CRC church in Redlands. He asked me to speak on Mormonism. The church was very responsive to the message. In fact, they even advertised in two newspapers that there would be a speaker on Mormonism. Pastor Tim told me that there were a lot of people there he'd never seen before. Praise God. We can hope and pray that the message of truth reached those who need to hear it.
POSSIBLE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CARM CONFERENCE
The plans are in motion for a possible Southern California CARM conference. If you're interested in attending something like that, you'll have your chance. More details to come.
Luke 17:5-10 is an interesting set of verses: "And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and be planted in the sea"; and it would obey you. 7 "But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come immediately and sit down to eat? 8 "But will he not say to him, "Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink? 9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done."
The context is that Jesus had just instructed the disciples to forgive seventy times seven if necessary. The disciples then ask to have their faith increased. This makes perfect sense since the level of forgiveness that Jesus is asking of us is far beyond our normal range of tolerance. In order to be so very forgiving we need the grace of God working in us mightily. This level of forgiveness is an obligation of Christians. Why? Because we have been forgiven of far greater sins by the Lord. As we have been forgiven, so ought we to forgive.
But then, Jesus gives an interesting story about the servant doing his standard job of serving the master. Why did Jesus mention this here? The answer is quite simple. This too is an issue of obligation for Christians -- to do that which is what we are supposed to do. In the context, we are to have faith. The disciples asked for more faith and Jesus says, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and be planted in the sea; and it would obey you." The fact is that they did have faith -- and so do you. Whether or not your faith is great or weak, it is faith. With that faith, trust God. Therefore, we are to be completely trusting of God, "faithing" our way through life, leaning on Him, trusting Him for all things.
As the disciples should not get extra praise for doing what they are supposed to do, i.e., love their neighbors, have faith in God, be honest, etc. Likewise we Christians have certain obligations before the Lord that we should not be patting ourselves on the back for accomplishing: going to church, praying, tithing, worship, "faithing," etc. The whole attitude of Christians should be one of humility, not one of "I deserve" and "I should be rewarded for my faithfulness," etc.
Now, lest we fall into legalism here, our obligations before God are not legalistic impositions that make us or break us as Christians. On the contrary, our relationship with God is based on the work of Christ, not upon our faithfulness or lack thereof. Jesus did it all and we are saved from the righteous wrath of God through Him.
Nevertheless, are you doing what you are supposed to be doing as a Christian? Are you praying regularly, having devotions, forgiving, loving, being patient, etc.? These are important questions and we need to answer them periodically and make adjustments accordingly.
But one thing is for sure. The Lord is kind and merciful and He loves us no matter who well or poorly we do. I thank God that my relationship with Him is not based on me, but on Him. To Jesus be the glory.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more," (NASB).