Christian Counseling Seminar Series successfully finished

Thank you again to all participants in our 3 months lecture and workshop series for volunteer christian counselors, held in the St. Johns Baptist Church in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

(Pic to follow soon)

Haiti Help

The Vine Mission Network in Trinidad&Tobago and our church, the (Lutheran) Evangelical Protestant Church in SC, USA, help Haiti with collection of food items, first aid and clothing items, matched financial donations and prayer.

We work and cooperate with the Int’l Red Cross and major relief organisations. We firmly believe that helping Haiti is a moral, christian duty and we – not being professionals in disaster relief work – decided to channel all our help and efforts through the professional organisations already on the ground in Haiti.

May God bless and protect all earthquake victims in Haiti and all the many people around the world helping and sharing with them. Amen.

For all of us …….. not only on Thanksgiving

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29-30).

What makes a good preacher and teacher ?

Well, we are all still working on it and hope and pray we get to where we could be with God’s help sooner rather than later.

But that doesn’t mean we cannot try to come up with a few basic criteria which might help you also to decide about who is on the straight and narrow path.

 

Question 1 (Sola Scriptura): Does the preacher ground everything he says in the Bible? Does he, in other words, begin with the authority and sufficiency of Scripture? A reliable carrier of God’s truth seeks to revel in, wrestle with, and expound from, the Bible. He starts with the Bible. All of his comments flow from what a particular passage in the Bible says. He doesn’t simply use the Bible to support what he wants to say. That is, he submits to what the Bible says, he does not seek to submit the Bible to what he says. He cares about both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He refuses to take verses out of context. He recognizes the unity of the Bible. He acknowledges that both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell one story and point to one figure, namely that God saves sinners through the accomplished work of his son Jesus Christ.

Question 2 (Sola Gratia): Does the preacher freely emphasize that because of sin, a right relationship with God can only be established by God’s grace alone? Beware of any teaching that emphasizes man’s ability over God’s ability; man’s freedom over God’s freedom; man’s power over God’s power; man’s initiative over God’s initiative. Beware of any teaching which subtlety communicates that a right relationship with God depends ultimately on human response over Divine sovereignty.

Question 3 (Sola Fide): Does the preacher stress that salvation is not achieved by what we can do, rather salvation is received by faith in what Christ has already done? It has been rightly stated that there really are only two religions: the religion of human accomplishment and the religion of Divine accomplishment. Does the preacher emphasize the former or the latter? A reliable carrier of God’s truth always highlights the fact that God saves sinners; sinners don’t save themselves.

Question 4 (Sola Christus): Does the preacher underline that Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man? Does the explainer both affirm and proclaim that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that nobody comes to the Father but by Christ? Does he talk about sin and the necessity of Christ? Preachers must learn how to unveil and unpack the truth of the Gospel from every Biblical text they preach in such a way that it results in the exposure of both the idols of our culture and the idols of our hearts. The faithful exposition of our true Savior from every passage in the Bible painfully reveals all of the pseudo-saviors that we trust in culturally and personally. Every sermon ought to disclose the subtle ways in which we as individuals and we as a culture depend on lesser things than Jesus to provide the security, acceptance, protection, affection, meaning, and satisfaction that only Christ can supply. In this way, good preachers must constantly show just how relevant and necessary Jesus is; they must work hard to show that we are great sinners but Christ is a great Savior.

Question 5 (Sola Deo Gloria): Does the preacher exalt God above all? A reliable explainer will always lead you to marvel at God. A true carrier of God’s truth will always lead you to encounter the glory of God. A God-centered teacher is just that: God-centered. He will preach and teach in such a way that you find yourself hungering and thirsting for God. You will listen to sermon after sermon and walk away with grand impressions of Divine personality, not grand impressions of human personality.

 

How To Identify A Reliable Preacher  from Tullian Tchividjian

 

Thanks to Rick Warren for that ….

September 22, 2009

Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
by Rick Warren

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GN).

Long before psychology came around, God said your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. If you want to change your life, you’ve got to control the way you think.

Our minds are really an amazing creation. It would take a computer the size of a small city just to carry out the basic functions of your brain. Your brain contains over one hundred billion nerve cells. Each individual cell is connected with ten thousand other neurons. Continue reading

How to keep juveniles away from Crime

nm_gang_arrest_090130_mnHOW TO KEEP THEM FROM CRIME?

The journey into crime is like a resume: Places where young people live is critical for their experience, as are relationships with family, friends, ‘professionals’ and other “influencers”, life events and support or lack thereof and the subjective meaning for them; are all factors contributing to delinquency. Propensity for violence is the result of the accumulation of risk factors, no single one of which is either necessary or suf ficient for a person to behave aggressively toward others.

People will be violent by virtue of the presence or absence of different sets of risk factors. There is no single path in a person’s life that leads to an act of violence. The aggression necessary for most crimes is mostly a learned factor, and can be unlearned.  Continue reading

Crime and Sin

IE302-040More on the Root causes of Crime

What is the source of crime and violence? How did crime begin, and why is it perpetuated from generation to generation? Why, after centuries of trying, has mankind been unable to find a solution to the scourge of crime?

Modern experts have not given us the answers. For the solutions to crime and violence, we have to turn to God’s word, the bible specifically reveals the true causes.

Psychologists and sociologists have many rationalizations for why society is plagued with crime. Many place the blame on poverty, dysfunctional families, poor parenting, lack of education, etc.. All these factors contribute to the likelihood of criminal activity, they are not the fundamental cause. Continue reading