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So far Denny has created 1018 blog entries.

Don’t Preach To Me

2019-09-17T13:38:42-04:00 September 19th, 2019|

Most churches have regular preaching services. Most people avoid them with a passion. To attract people, many churches downplay preaching. But if you are not regularly listening to the preaching of the word of God, you are missing out on something special.

The apostle Paul tells Timothy, “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). This means preach the word of God, the Bible. It is by the word of God in the Bible that people like you and me can be “equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Unfortunately, much of today’s preaching is based upon worldly wisdom. Such preaching is devoid of real power to change lives. Real preaching, preaching worthy of the name, is the explanation and application of the Bible. That’s where the real power of God to change lives is to be found.

As that great preacher, the apostle Paul said, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Don’t avoid gathering with God’s people. Don’t avoid good Bible teaching and preaching. You will miss out on the primary means God uses to change your life. You will miss significant encounters with God that could have eternal consequences.

Click here and listen to, “Practical, Powerful, Preaching.”

Ultimate Freedom

2019-09-17T13:37:55-04:00 September 18th, 2019|

What does freedom mean to you? Are you your own lawmaker? Do you have the liberty and the ability to do anything you desire? Not really. We have freedom within certain boundaries. The freedom we enjoy in America is of this sort. We have freedom within a structure of laws and authorities. For example, we have the freedom to drive anywhere in the country as long as we have a vehicle and obey the rules of the road. These rules include laws and common courtesy. We don’t get far when we violate either.

Freedom involves security. Children covet the security of their parents. Workers desire job security. We all want neighborhood security. Government provides security for citizens and thus affords freedom of movement. There are also efforts by government to provide job security. Such security removes various fears.

One type of security evades the power of government and business. It is freedom from the fear of death. Ultimately, Jesus Christ removes this fear and provides freedom and security. “Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15). This is ultimate spiritual freedom.

To help you understand this freedom better, click here and listen to, “Christ Removes the Fear of Death.”

Proper Introspection

2019-09-16T09:21:51-04:00 September 17th, 2019|

Self-examination has its hazards. This is especially true if we do not have the proper standard of measure. Introspection can yield depression. Self-examination can destroy confidence. The Bible says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The test has to do with whether or not you are a Christian. The thing to determine is if Jesus Christ actually resides within us by the power of His Spirit. The question becomes, “How do we perform the test?” A Unitarian friend once said to me, “I’m not a Christian. I do not believe Jesus Christ was the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God.” This Unitarian was refreshingly honest. He was a theist; he believed in God. But he knew he did not meet the criterion for Christianity.

The objective standard is simple. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2). If you truly believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God come in human form, this is evidence the Spirit of God dwells in you. The test is not simply subjective. The test is based on an objective standard.

Click here and follow the directions to, “Give Yourself the Test,”

Gospel Arrows: Actions Speak Louder

2019-09-13T13:39:38-04:00 September 16th, 2019|

We take it for granted, “Actions speak louder than words.” This aphorism is true in public speaking too. That is, what we do while we are speaking is as important as the actual words we say, perhaps even more important . The force and impact of pointed gospel arrows greatly depend upon non-verbal communication as well as verbal. A message on the joy of the Lord will not be received well if read in a monotone with little eye contact and gloomy facial expression. You can picture it; the body language of the teacher or preacher undermines the content of the gospel message.

Another similar scene is often repeated. The teacher or preacher stands before the class or congregation and announces, “I have a very important and consequential teaching for you this morning.” While making the announcement, he assumes a nonchalant casual relaxed posture rocking back on his heels with both hands in his pant pockets. What the class or congregation sees immediately undercuts the content of the announcement. Actions speak louder than words. The non-verbal body language wins out.

There is a primary and simple lesson here. We need to learn to speak with our whole body. If you put yourself into a gospel message, it ought to show. It ought to show in the stance you take before a class or congregation. It ought to show in the tone and volume of your voice. It ought to show in your facial expression. It ought to show in the movement of your arms and the gestures of your hands. Each of these actions carries a language of its own.

For example, when inviting folks to come to Christ, you don’t point at them with an accusing index finger. Rather, you invite the people to come with outstretched arms and open hands, palms up, using a beckoning motion. Volume is important. There are times to raise volume. But take care. Volume alone can be interpreted by people as shouting at them. Issue the invitation with a soft voice. Again, speak using your whole body. Lean into the class or congregation. Reach for the people. In using your voice, breath deeply. Speak from the gut rather than from the throat or head. The more air you push, the greater your projection will be, even with a soft voice. At the same time, scan the class or congregation. Draw people in by briefly making eye contact with them. However, don’t make people uncomfortable by maintaining eye contact for too long.

All of the above presupposes a solid stance behind the podium. Take this stance with feet spread shoulder-width leaning forward slightly on your toes giving you the ability to easily move and use your body as you speak. Rather than leaning on or grasping the podium, stand back slightly to give yourself room to move.

In light of the above comments, listen to Isaiah 55:1. Isaiah has already presented redemption and its blessings in chapters 53-54. Now, on God’s behalf, he issues an invitation. “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.” E. J. Young, “The introductory particle (hoi) is mainly an attention-getting device” (The Book of Isaiah, 3:374). So much for not using such rhetorical devices in gospel preaching. Several metaphors signify gospel blessing, water, wine, and milk. Grace is emphasized in the words “without money, without cost.” Although there is a series of imperatives, this series amounts to a plea. The rhetorical question of verse 2 emphasizes this fact. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy?”

Now, listen to the prophet’s compassionate call to the people. Watch him make this call with heartfelt urgency. Three times he issues the invitation. “Come, come, come!” Then, throwing his hands in the air, with a questioning look and a shake of his head in quandary, he asks, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread?” Why? Words in context carry cognitive baggage and emotional weight. They have an evocative force. You cannot read Christ’s quotation of Psalm 22:1 and not realize this is the case, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So it is with Isaiah’s gospel invitation.

Body language and non-verbal communication play a natural role in effective gospel proclamation. The presentation of God’s truth derived from a Scripture text does not stand alone. It is adorned with body language and non-verbals, which either helps or hinders the message. Gospel arrows, sharpened to penetrate the heart, incorporate appropriate body-language and non-verbals. Sharpen your gospel arrows and employ this truth.

Denny Prutow

Love and Law

2019-09-11T07:48:20-04:00 September 16th, 2019|

Love is often defined in terms of feelings and emotions. For the Peanut’s characters, “Love is a warm puppy.” Infatuation carries that ephemeral palpitation of heart. When feelings flee, love also takes a hike.

Here is the biblical definition of love. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus Christ speaks of love in similar terms. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Love involves an inclination of heart displayed by following God’s Commandments.

We can put this together with the Great Commandment. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:39-40). Love and Law are tightly bound together. The Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments.

God’s objective is not to weigh us down. “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). He gives us this Law as a concrete way to display our love for God, our love for Jesus Christ, and our love for our earthly neighbors. Every Christian therefore readily should exclaim, “O how I love Your law!” (Psalm 119:97).

Click here and listen to, “Our First Love.”

He Saves Us

2019-09-11T07:47:02-04:00 September 15th, 2019|

“Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8). The text assumes several things. There is life after death, endless bliss in heaven or eternal judgment in hell. We dare not presume we merit happiness in heaven. Sin, violation of God’s requirements for living, exists. We participate in it. We need salvation from the reward due to us for our sins. One of those punishments is a nagging sense of guilt. Salvation is not in our hands. God authors and dispenses salvation.

God authors salvation by sending Christ into the world. “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ was absolutely perfect and just. He died in the place of unjust sinners like you and me. He takes sinners by the hand and leads them into the presence of God in heaven.

God dispenses salvation. He does so by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

If salvation belongs to the Lord and if God dispenses it on the basis of mercy, I have one position to assume. “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

Click here and listen to the message, “Why Christ Died.”

Time For Contemplation

2019-09-11T07:45:45-04:00 September 14th, 2019|

Benjamin Franklin said, “God helps those who help themselves.” What do you think? Compare Moses. He faced the Red Sea to his front, the armies of Pharaoh to his rear, and the incessant grumbling of God’s people with him. “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent’” (Exodus 14:13-14).

Sometimes it is appropriate to stand by quietly and watch God. Psalm 46:10 reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” We need to take time to contemplate the greatness and goodness of God.

Our culture is adverse to this. We crave adrenaline highs induced by athletics, entertainment, and the pressures of work. Can we be still? It is foreign to our dispositions. Do we contemplate eternal things? We have no time with work and precious little time for entertainment.

We would undoubtedly experience less anxiety and fear if we took time to contemplate the eternal. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Click here and listen to a message called, “Worship is Resting in God.”

The Threshold of Heaven

2019-09-11T07:44:36-04:00 September 13th, 2019|

The Old Testament saints of God went up to the temple to worship. They went to meet with God. For this reason many a psalm is called “A Song of Ascents.” The church is the New Testament temple. Christians, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Christians are being made “into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21), “a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

Christians are also citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). When they gather, they come “to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23). The church is the very threshold of heaven.

One way people can draw near to God is by joining in the worship of God with the people of God. No wonder the saints of old and modern saints exclaim, “A day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10).

Click here to listen to a lesson based on Psalm 84:10 also called, “The Threshold of Heaven.”

Ride on Victoriously

2019-09-11T07:43:40-04:00 September 12th, 2019|

Here is a grand picture. “I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2). Is this horseman Jesus Christ?

Psalm 45:4 exhorts, “In Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness.” This is definitely Messiah, the anointed One, Jesus of Nazareth. The parallel seems plain. Christ and His Good News are powerful forces.

We have seen riots in city streets, shootings in schools, an escalation of family violence, and much drug and alcohol abuse. Powerful forces must quell these evil threats to personal safety and eternal well-being.

The basic confession of Christianity is in line with this picture. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the risen Lord.

Christians follow this “Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8), this “King of kings” (Revelation 19:16), this One who sits on “the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). Revelation 19:11 also portrays “a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Ride on victoriously, Lord Jesus.

Click here to listen to the audio lesson, “Ride on Victoriously.”

God and Adversity

2019-09-09T21:16:53-04:00 September 11th, 2019|

Some 3500 years ago, a man named Job lived in Mesopotamia. He was blessed with a large family, seven sons and three daughters. Job was exceedingly wealthy. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, and 500 donkeys. Job also had many servants who cared for these flocks and herds.

Marauders destroyed a large portion of these herds and murdered Job’s servants. Lightning caused huge fires, burned the sheep, and killed additional servants. Hurricane force winds toppled the home of the oldest brother and killed all Job’s children who were gathered there for a party. All this took place in a single day. Job was devastated.

This was not the end of his hardship. Job suffered the calamity of ill health. Sore boils broke out all over Job’s body. He groaned under the pain. His only medication was to scrape his oozing flesh with a piece from a broken clay pot. When three friends came to visit Job, they were astonished at his appearance. They sat in silent amazement and grief.

Job’s response is amazing. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). He asks, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). How would you answer?

For further help on this subject, click here and listen to the audio message, “Rest in the Providence of God.”