Wednesday, January 28, 2009


An article by Norman Geisler proved helpful as I explored the question: “Everything You Wanted to Know About Hell but Were Afraid to Ask.” Geisler identifies the core biblical teach¬ings on hell, highlighting seven statements which I summarize here.

a. Jesus taught the existence of hell. Jesus warned about “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28). He told a story of a rich man in hell (Lk 16:19-31), advised temporary sacrifices in this life in order to avoid the destination of “hell, where the fire never goes out” (Mk 9:43-44). and predicted that those who had not acted in mercy would be cursed and assigned to “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41).

b. The Bible teaches that there is a hell. To affirm the range of biblical teaching on hell and judgment, Geisler quotes from Hebrews, 2 Thessalonians and finally Revelation 20:13-15: “Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

c. God’s love demands a hell. Geisler’s article points out the fallacy of the argument that a loving God could not send a person to hell and explains rather that “a God of love cannot force people to love Him.” God does not coerce. Geisler concludes, “Those who do not wish to love God must be allowed not to love Him. Those who do not wish to be with Him must be allowed to be separated from Him. Hell is this eternal separation from God.” In a sense my eighty-year-old relative could make his choice because God loved him enough to give him freedom.

d. Human dignity demands a hell. Following on his love, God gives us free choice. God respects our dignity and refuses to force us into a relationship with him against our will.

e. God’s justice demands a hell. The psalmist observes that the wicked sometimes prosper in this life but God, in his justice, brings the wicked to condemnation: “Then I understood their final destiny” (Ps 73:17). Ultimate judgment comes because God’s holiness requires that sin be punished.

f. God’s sovereignty demands a hell. “Unless there is a hell, there is no final victory over evil,” Geisler argues. If God is sovereign, there must be a final triumph over evil. The condem¬nation of Satan and the wicked to hell is that ultimate conquest of sin.

g. The cross of Christ implies hell. Finally Geisler asks, “Why the Cross unless there is a hell? If there is no hell to shun, then the Cross is a sham. Christ’s death is robbed of its eternal significance unless there is an eternal separation from God from which people need to be delivered.” [Pages 69-70]

Six Dangerous Questions to Transform Your View of the World (Pages 69-70)
by Paul Borthwick

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Couples In Ministry Conference, Metro Manila, The Philippines, December 2008

Partners In Ministry Until He Comes
Two-day conference and retreat for couples in ministry
December 8-10, 2008, Metro Manila, Philippines
Speakers: Dr. Rod and Barbara Pence
Plenary Session: Rev. Clem Guillermo
On December 8-10, 52 couples (Filipino pastors, Christian workers and their wives) came from as far as Pampanga and Batangas to participate in a 2-day couples conference outside of Metro Manila.
The 52 couples represented different denominations and were a mix of ages, both young and old. All of them had the same desire – to take part in a special retreat for couples sponsored by ACTION/CGM, as well as to enjoy a brief respite from their personal ministries.
Throughout the conference, devotional messages were led by by Jeff Anderson (ACTION Philippine Director), Raffy Sison (ACTION Missionary), and Paul Ellis (ACTION Missionary). These messages not only challenged the attendees, but also complemented the main messages of Dr. Rod Pence.
ACTION missionaries Dr. Rod and Mrs. Barbara Pence (former missionaries in Korea with more than 50 years in ministry together and with experience in Biblical counseling) were the main guest speakers of this two-day conference/retreat for couples.
Dr. Pence spoke of the Lord Jesus as the creator of all things. He emphasized the attitude of love as exemplified by the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11). He urged and encouraged the delegates to practice this kind of love in their relationships with one another. He personally shared his experience as a husband and minister of the gospel. The delegates were challenged, not only by the messages, but by Dr. Pence’s personal testimony and example of having a good partnership in ministry.
Separate sessions were held for the husbands (led by Dr. Pence) and their wives (led by Mrs. Pence). Topics such as guilt, resentment, jealousy, doubt, failure, and anger were discussed. Scripture was used to remind everyone that God has the answers through His Word which equips us to deal with each of these specific areas.
Plenary speaker Rev. Clem Guillermo (Director of Back to the Bible Philippines) shared the warning signs of drifting away in marriage. After giving specific examples of a deteriorating marriage relationship, he gave specific steps, or “first-aid” on how to cure a sick marriage. Rev. Guillermo concluded by saying, “Marriage is like alkaline battery because it can be recharged.” He encouraged the couples to continue nurturing their relationships.
The last night was very memorable. The husbands served the evening meal to their wives. After dinner, they sang a beautiful Filipino love song to their wives entitled “Ikaw”. You are God’s gift to me, the answer to my prayer, so that in all time, in every moment, I will love you. After the song, the husbands gave their wives a rose and a kiss. The most beautiful part of the evening was the “Recommitment Vow” led by Pastor Mike.
At the end of the conference, the couples received their picture and a free CLAIM set of books which included Written in Stone by Philip Graham Ryken, Rediscovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship by Jerry Marcellino, Praying by the Spirit by Robert Rakestraw and Embraced by the Cross by LE Maxwell.
At the close of the conference, almost every couple wanted to attend another conference like this in the future as it was a wonderful opportunity to spend time together learning from God’s Word, reminisce, and “recharge” their marriages.
Written by Ernie Fornoles (attended conference with his wife, Rosely Fornoles, CGM Vice-President of Operations)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Are You a Sleeping or Sleepless Shepherd?

by Doug Nichols

Someone said recently that it seemed to him that many shepherds (pastors) were negligent in caring for the sheep of their church. They seemed to be sleeping or at best sleepy at the switch!

What about you as a pastor? To properly shepherd, you need to know your sheep, to visit them, to feed them, to care for them, to love them. A shepherd is sleepless, more concerned for his flock than a good night’s sleep.

An excellent verse for a pastor (an under shepherd of Christ) is 1 Peter 2:21, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…” (nasb)

If it is difficult for your people to reach you and you are not friendly, then you need to change. Your people need you.

A pastor of a large church wrote a book about being friendly and “crossing the room” to meet others, and yet he is known for not knowing his own staff. Yes, he is successful, but is he a shepherd? Are you?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"You are what you eat". It is a common refrain heard from many places on the earth. While I am not sure of the validity of that, I am sure of the truth that you are what you read! As Pastors, it is critical that we feed our soul. We who are called to feed the sheep of God, must be sure that we are feeding ourselves in the process. Otherwise we will starve our souls, which will not only do damage to us, but the flock we are called to lead and tend to. This is why I appreciate Doug's pushing of good books. He knows that it is critical for a man of God to be well read. And by well read, I mean good authors, who have good theology.

There is a place of importance for critical reading in ministry. It is essential to be aware of the heresy that is being embraced by our people and the local bookstores. But we need to have our primary extra biblical reading be good books that stir our souls to want more of God. We need to spend the precious time that we have for reading on meaningful books that make us more passionate for His glory. So brothers let me encourage you to read good books, by good authors that will inspire you to believe great things and attempt great things for the glory of God!

For His Glory!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Books Read in 2008

By Doug Nichols

* = Excellent!
√ = Good
- = Partially Read

- A Godward Life by John Piper*
√ A Godward Life (Book 2) by John Piper*
* April 1865 (The Month that Saved America) by Jay Winik
√ Beyond the Soiled Curtain (Project Rescue’s Fight for the Victims of the Sex-Slave Industry) by David & Beth Grant
* The Bible (English Standard Version)
* The Bible and Black Slavery by Dr. William L. Banks
√ The Bible Answer Book by Hank Hanegraaff
√ Biblical Charity by Robert Smith
* Bitesize Theology by Peter Jeffery
- Bound for Canaan (The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement) by Fergus Bordewich*
- Bury the Chains (Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves) by Adam Hochschilb*
* The Call of the Master Fisher by Dr. Roger Greenway
√ Character Counts by Os Guinness
* Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia McKissack and Frederick McKissack (Illustrated by John Thompson)
* A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner
* The Courage to Be Protestant by David Wells
√ Dressed to Kill by Rick Renner
√ Eric Liddell—Pure Gold (A New Biography of the Olympic Champion Who Inspired “Chariots of Fire”) by David M.C. Casland
* The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Dr. Steven J. Lawson
√ Fit Bodies Fat Minds by Os Guinness
- From Sea to Shining Sea (God’s Plan for America Unfolds) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel*
√ George Muller by Miller Basil*
- God is the Gospel by John Piper √
Gracism by David Anderson
√ Heaven by Randy Alcorn*
- The Hidden Smile of God by John Piper
√ Just Courage (God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian) by Gary A. Haugen
* The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke
√ The Leadership Dynamic by Harry Reeder
- The Light and the Glory (Did God Have a Plan for America?) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel
* Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
- The Minister as Shepherd by Charles Jefferson
- The Missionary Call by M. David Sills
- Never Beyond Hope by JI Packer
* On Being Black and Reformed (The New Perspective on the African American Christian Experience) by Anthony J. Carter
* Pathway to Freedom (How God’s Laws Guide Our Lives) by Alistair Begg
* The Prayer of Our Lord by Philip Ryken
√ The Skeptics Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis by Dale Hanson Bourke
* Slavery and Christianity (Paul’s Letter to Philemon) by James Robbins
- Sounding Forth the Trumpet (God’s Plan for America in Peril, 1837-1860) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel*
Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon by Marvin Olasky
- Standing for God: The Story of Elijah by Roger Ellsworth
* The Truth War by John MacArthur
√ Too Small to Ignore (Why Children are the Next Big Thing) by Wes Stafford
* Under His Wings (Protected by God in China – The Story of Walter and Helen Jespersen) by Agnes C. Lawless
* Voices Against Slavery (Ten Christians who spoke out for freedom) by Catherine House
* War of Words by Paul David Tripp
* What is the Christian Worldview: Basics of Reformed Faith by Philip Graham Ryken
√ Where Have all the Leaders Gone? By Lee Iacocca
* Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Friday, January 2, 2009


As we come upon another new year it is correct form for people to look back and take stock of their lives. Critique the last year and note the progress or lack thereof.
And of course it is the time to look ahead and make those resolutions. What it is that we resolve to do in the coming year? I want to challenge us at the end of 08 and the beginning of 09 to also make some resolutions, but in a new and different way.

Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest theological minds America has ever or ever will see. He was also a tremendous preacher of the Word of God. It is said that he would read his sermons in near monotone, word for word from a manuscript he had written out. Yet God moved mightily when he preached. He was neither the most charismatic of preachers nor the most entertaining in form and style, yet God moved when the man spoke.

The question is why? Why did God move so mightily when Edwards opened the Word? In looking for the answer we want to be careful to not seek some magic formula for growth or key to success. What we should want is to know what Edwards had that we can learn and take note of. Here it is; I believe what Edwards had was a list of resolutions. He made some seventy or more resolutions at a very young age. In his early twenties he resolved to do some things, and not to do some others. As we approach the New Year I thought it might be helpful if we took a look at a few of his resolutions, and maybe make them our own. Edwards resolved, and then did his best to live out what he had resolved to God. Here are a few to consider making your own, with passion as Jonathan Edwards did.
Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live
Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell
Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good
Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump
Resolved, never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions
Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking
Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be
May God bless you all this coming year!