Monday, July 31, 2006

I Go to Golgotha

As I slept I dreamed a dream
A nightly vision; a heavenly gleam

For in this dream I thus began

To walk to the length of Israel's span

I had a dream. In this dream I found myself in the land of modern day Israel, alone, and in search of the dearest site to all mankind: the place called Calvary. I walked through deserts, through plains, through valleys. I walked through cities and villages. I walked past rivers and mountains. I walked past soldiers, tanks and guns; through defenses and military checkpoints.

Searching, was I, a place to find
A certain site dear to mankind

I sought to see the place of death

Where Jesus Christ drew His last breath

After some time I finally came to a city of many lights: flashing signs, neon attractions, casinos, cabarets... everything and anything to seduce the consumer. People were bustling here and there, too busy to stop and give me any aid in finding my destination. The noise was loud and constant and I wanted to leave. At last I found a friend who offered to be a guide, agreeing to take me to the two disputed sites of where the Son of God died.

The masses were engrossed but at last there was found
A friend for a guide to show me the ground
He led me outside of the city with haste
Away from the noise of that frenzied estate

And so we promptly left, my friend briskling leading the way. It was not long until we were away from the noise of the crowds and the great city. But then all of a sudden everything became very quiet as we began down a small dip in the terrain, through some overhanging trees into a ground obviously seldom disturbed. Only our footsteps could be heard apart from the soft breeze blowing through the trees. It was very peaceful, but I was suddenly gripped with anticipation. Then almost prematurely (I expecting a more climactic introduction) there appeared before us three religiously designed ornaments, the likeness of them crosses, with three ivory figures hanging upon them: a pathetic man-made souvenir of God's greatest sacrifice. My guide continued past, explaining the disputations of this being the location of Calvary; but I knew in my spirit this was the place where my Lord Jesus had died. I said to him, but probably without being heard: "This is the place." Then I wept.

He onward continued but there I stood still
I knew in my spirit here all was fulfilled
And though all of these things took place as I slept
I stood there at Calvary; I stood there and wept

Walking ahead I found we were on the top of a cliff; various cars were parked below. As I looked down the face of the cliff I could see the indentations that gave the appearance of a skull, called in the Bible, Golgotha, or "Place of the Skull." Here Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the world, yet it seemed sadly neglected. The affections of men were so consumed upon the things of this world that the cross of Christ was left almost entirely forgotten. Even the Church appeared to give little attention to the cross but to more flashy and entertaining techniques. I could faintly hear the laugh of the crowd rise from the nearby city. Walking back to the three crosses I found myself weeping; it seemed this place alone could move me to tears. Oh, how a love for Jesus rose in my heart as I considered His sacrifice of blood, pain and love!

Oh wood of wood which held my Lord
Stained with blood, thou blessed board
Held Him there by vicious cord
'Til He won His great reward

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." - Galatians 6:14

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
- 1 Corinthians 1:18

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
- Philippians 2:5-8

Friday, July 28, 2006



Always Ready - Greg Bahnsen
Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, 4 Volumes - Michael Brown
Can Man Live Without God? - Ravi Zacharias
He is There and He is Not Silent - Francis Schaeffer
How Should We Then Live? - Francis Schaeffer
Escape from Reason - Francis Schaeffer
Eternity in Their Hearts - Don Richardson
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 2 Volumes - Josh McDowell
Some Call It Science: The Religion of Evolution - Henry M. Morris
The Authority of the Bible - John Stott
The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus - Gary Habermas
The Divine Unity of Scriptures - Adolph Saphir
The Existence and Attributes of God - Stephen Charnock
The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible - Benjamin B. Warfield
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? - F.F. Bruce
The Resurrection Factor - Josh McDowell
The Stones Cry Out - Randall Price
Who Moved the Stone? - Frank Morison

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards - George Marsden
Autobiography of George Muller - George Muller
Chasing the Dragon - Jackie Pullinger
George Whitefield, 2 Volumes - Arnold Dallimore
Goforth of China - Rosalind Goforth
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners - John Bunyan
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret - Howard Taylor
Memoirs and Remains of Robert Murray M'Cheyne - Andrew Bonar
Praying Hyde - E.G. Carre
Rees Howells: Intercessor - Norman Grubb
Run Baby Run - Nicky Cruz
Samuel Morris - Lindley Baldwin
Smith Wigglesworth: The Secret of His Power - Albert Hibbert
Spurgeon - Arnold Dallimore
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd - Jonathan Edwards
Tortured for Christ - Richard Wurmbrand

A Gospel Primer for Christians - Milton Vincent
Agape Leadership - Alexander Strauch & Robert Peterson
Boyhood and Beyond - Bob Schultz
Classic Christianity - Bob George
Continuous Revival - Norman Grubb
Discipleship By Grace - Derek Levendusky
Growing in Grace - Bob George
How to Be Free from Bitterness - Jim Wilson
Humility - Andrew Murray
Love or Die - Alexander Strauch
Navigating the Deeper Life - Brent Trockman
Revolutionary Love - Festo Kivengere
Royal Insignia - Edwin and Lillian Harvey
Sit, Walk, Stand - Watchman Nee
The Calvary Road - Roy Hession
The Greatest Thing in the World - Henry Drummond
The Hospitality Commands - Alexander Strauch
The Normal Christian Life - Watchman Nee
The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
The Spirit of Truth - Art Katz
TrueFaced - Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch

Daily Light on the Daily Path - Samuel Bagster
Each New Day - Corrie Ten Boom
He Won them for Christ - Eric Hayden
Morning and Evening - C.H. Spurgeon
The Treasury of David - C.H. Spurgeon
The Valley of Vision - Arthur Bennett

The Blessed Hope - George E. Ladd
The Hope of Christ's Second Coming - Samuel P. Tregelles
The Thousand Year Reign of Christ - Nathaniel West

Hell's Best Kept Secret - Ray Comfort
One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven - Mark Cahill
Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless - C. John Miller
Principles of War - Jim Wilson
Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons - Mark Cares
The Cross and the Switchblade - David Wilkerson
The Soulwinner - C.H. Spurgeon
Words to Winners of Souls - Horatius Bonar

Future Israel - Barry E. Horner
Israel in the Plan of God - David Baron
Our Hands our Stained with Blood - Michael Brown
The Holocaust: Where was God? - Art Katz
The Jerusalem Sinner Saved - John Bunyan
Zechariah: On His Visions and Prophecies - David Baron

Prayer - John Bunyan

Spiritual Warfare - Derek Prince
The Christian in Complete Armor - William Gurnall
The War for Mansoul - John Bunyan
Victory Over the Darkness - Neil Anderson

Ever Increasing Faith - Smith Wigglesworth
Joy Unspeakable - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A Word for the World - Paul Hartog
All of Grace - C.H. Spurgeon
Christ Crucified - Adolph Saphir
Christianity and Liberalism - J. Gresham Machen
Commentary on Galatians - Martin Luther
God's Integrity and the Cross - Richard S. Taylor
God's Way of Peace - Horatius Bonar
Repentance and the 21st Century Man - C. John Miller
Sermons on the Death and Resurrection of Jesus - C.H. Spurgeon
The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross - Leon Morris
The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation - James Denney
The Church Before the Watching World - Francis Schaeffer
The Cross: The Vindication of God - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Death of Christ - James Denney
The Death of Christ - Norman Douty
The Everlasting Righteousness - Horatius Bonar
The Justification of God - John Piper
The Marrow of True Justification - Benjamin Keach
The Nature of the Atonement - J. Macloed Campbell

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Speaker's Corner Toronto

"So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there." - Acts 17:17

The above picture is of Speaker's Corner in downtown Toronto where I was able to deliver a message during my trip to one of Canada's most extensive cities of size and diversity. As noted in the itinerary, from June 24-25 I travelled to Toronto upon invitation from brother Greg Gordon and spent a blessed weekend preaching the gospel and attending a powerful service where I was so privileged to here a giant of the faith, brother Richard Owen Roberts, share his heart on the subject of revival. The following is an account of the trip, faithfully reporting the noteable occurances during my course:

First of all, meeting brother Greg and brother Ricky Earle in person was an absolutely tremendous honor which I continue to recognize and do miss them sorely. Both are dear Christians who love the Lord fervently and seek to serve Him wholeheartedly. I cannot more highly recommend both of their ministries as faithful and effective articles in the hands of the Lord and encourage you to visit their websites found at: (Greg Gordon) (Ricky Earle)

Greg's ministry reaches untold millions around the world by preserving and promoting classic preachers and their invaluable legacies of faithful service. I do not believe even Greg realizes the colossal impact his labor of love has affected in the lives of so many countless people. We give glory to God for the work He has accomplished in this brother. Brother Ricky's open air ministry reaches out to high school students in that pivotal period of their lives when they must choose between the Lord or the world. I have no doubt that vast numbers of young people have heard the gospel through the hours of service afforded by our dear brother, who preaches and distributes thousands of Christian materials all at his own expense. May the Lord bless them both for their part in the struggle for the hearts and souls of men.

The first day Greg showed me around downtown Toronto, taking me to the different sites of the colorful city. One particular place was a grand old stone building converted into a theology/philosophy bookstore with many aged books and authors. I enjoyed that very much. How I wish we had something like that in Fredericton, but alas! After having supper we met up with Ricky and spent the remainder of the night preaching on the famous or infamous Yonge Street, handing out tracts and talking one on one with people. We also had the opportunity to pray for some right on the street. Toronto is definitely a wicked place.

In the morning Greg and I studied the Scriptures together before once again meeting up with Ricky and heading out of the city to attend what we thought would be a service with guest speaker Richard Owen Roberts at the Faith Mission retreat center. Well, it was a service with brother Richard Owen Roberts, but to our delight it happened to be an old fashioned tent meeting on the Faith Mission grounds. Brother Roberts spend his usual lengthy time preaching on revival and the true meaning of revival. The presence of God was powerfully present in the meeting, especially when the dear white haired saint prayed a deeply heart felt prayer for God to send our nation a spiritual awakening: "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)

After the meeting we drove back to Toronto to continue the mission of preaching the gospel to the lost downtown. We went to Chinatown and handed out Chinese gospel of Johns which were so eagerly received that we soon ran out of books in a short amount of time. Greg commented how wonderful it would be to have someone preach in that area with an interpreter. The harvest is truly plentiful and ready to be harvested. It was then after this we headed to Speaker's Corner where the message featured on this post was preached. Speaker's Corner is a designated free speech zone for public use right in the middle of the downtown Toronto. This audio features only a segment of the electrifying time we spent there, but still captures some of the more dramatic moments that took place, such as the man who vehemently opposed the preaching, the opening prayer, and lots of engagment with the audience.

The man who was opposing was so aggressive that I could barely get a word in edge wise, so I had to ask God what to do. I felt almost immediately to just step back, be quiet, and let him rant. At this point he was in the middle of the circle firing off many claims such as "There is no God" and "Is anyone afraid of being struck by lightning" and it was obvious he had nothing to say and could not back up anything he was presenting. He eventually gave up and stormed out of the circle while a few people clapped in approval.

Some quotes from Speaker's Corner:

Man: If I get struck by lightning you're going down with me.

Eli: Evolution is not science. No one has ever seen a banana turn into a man.
Man: You've never seen a banana turn into a man?
Eli: No, but I've seen men go bananas!

I was also able to talk with a group of Spanish Catholics about being born again, a Hindu man about the Bible, as well as a group of young girls who fell under some conviction of sin. A few weeks later Ricky was preaching at the same spot and saw those girls and was able to talk with them. One of them said they were really affected the last time and had been thinking about what was said to her ever since. Ricky was able to continue to water that precious seed! Praise be to God!

The next morning it was time to fly home and I can truly say I was very sad to leave and still do miss both the saints there and the city itself. Toronto is an enormously immoral city, and if I am to minister anywhere I would want it to be in the most needy and godless places. I pray that the Lord would allow me to return to Toronto some day. Glory to God in all things, for His steadfast love, faithfulness and wisdom in guiding our lives according to His purposes.

And so finally, you can download the file below. Be advised, however, this clip contains course language and swearing. May God bless you:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lessons from the Life of Samson: The Lion and the Honey

"Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him." - Judges 14:5

At this point in our narrative, Samson travels south to find for himself a wife among the Philistines, but as we have already read: "His father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines." (Judges 14:4) The Lord was bringing this young man into his future as a judge of Israel; and as it eventually turned out, Samson would lead the Israelites for twenty years.

But on the road to Timnah the devil attempts to kill him before it has a chance to happen (for the enemy of God was much pleased with the occupation and bondage of the apple of God's eye, and didn't want Samson to spoil it). We read in verse 5, "...a young lion roared against him." Satan is the master of preemptive striking, and typically endeavors to eliminate opposition in advance of any real trouble. That is how it is in our own lives. The devil tries to suppress the individual with his basic arsenal of pleasure, worries and wealth, killing whatever possible maturation exists. Jesus likened it to seed among thorns: "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain." (Mark 4:7) God desires for you to bear much fruit for the Kingdom, but are you being "roared against"?

"And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done."
(Judges 14:6)

There are two things about this passage I would like to point out:

First, that Samson defeated the lion with nothing in his hand; that his weapons were purely of a spiritual nature. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) Without the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him we can be sure that Samson would have been torn to mincemeat in seconds before that ferocious foe. How many Christians are overpowered and trampled upon day after day by the world, the flesh and the devil because they fail to be filled with the promised Holy Spirit? They choose to take up a weapon in their hand, a carnal security, and lean not upon the power of God to win the day. Martin Luther wrote it well in this famous hymn when describing our enemy:

For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal

But although our adversaries are indeed mighty, the weapons of our warfare are indeed mightier, and well able to tear down every stronghold, silence every roaring lion, and rend every opponent of Christ asunder as if simply rending a 'kid'.

Secondly, and I notice this with great interest, that Samson does not tell his father or mother what he has done. After just ripping a lion apart with his bare hands, you would think he would be anxious to boast of such an amazing feat to anyone and everyone! Christians today love to boast; we want to have the prominent place at the head of the table. We love telling about our secret times of prayer, our donations, our Bible readings... Have we so failed to understand Jesus' warning in the first verse of the sixth chapter of Matthew? "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven." When I get to heaven I want the magnitude of my good deeds to be those which no one else has ever seen but God. Sadly, most people do not think eternally but temporarily. The act of killing a lion in such a way is far more extraordinary than the things most of us have to boast for, and yet Samson remains silent. This reveals a tremendous quality of character in the man that we may so often overlook.

"And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion. And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion."
(Judges 14:8-9)

Some time later Samson returns and discovers a bees nest creating honey inside the carcass of the fallen beast, whereby he treats himself and his parents to a sweet dessert. This was certainly a pleasant surprise as honey was one of the few natural saccharines in Israel, commonly associated with the sweetness of the Word of God (see Psalm 119:103). What makes this even more special is that Samson knew God had promised Israel a land "flowing with milk and honey", and this might have been God's way of encouraging Samson and giving him hope by allowing him a small taste, or foreshadow, of the days to come.

God used the attack for good, turning the devil's scheme into an opportunity to bless Samson. "Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20) Is there a raging lion in your own life? Do not despair or run away in fear, for if you stand strong throughout the night God will certainly reward you with His delectable honey when morning gilds the skies! And you will be able to bless others, for the greatest blessings come from the greatest battles; and when they taste the sweet anointing welling up from within they will wonder, like his parents, where you acquired such wisdom and virtue.

Having now discovered his strength, Samson was prepared for the coming encounter with the deceitful Philistines at the feast in Timnah which would ignite a long and bloody war between him and Israel's oppressors. It was all part of the unfolding plan of God...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lessons from the Life of Samson: Are You Moved?

"And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol." - Judges 13:24-25

At the time little Samson was born, Israel was under the subjugation of the pagan nation Philistia, who had prevailed against them for a long and hard forty years, and would continue to do so even after the massacre at the temple of Dagon. The prophecy given by the angel to the parents regarding the boy was that "he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:5) The wicked Philistines would remain a thorn in Israel's side even into the days of King David. Israel had sinned in the eyes of the Lord, choosing the carnal world over the holy and righteous God, bringing upon themselves this depressing scenario of national judgment. The Philistines were cruel masters who hated the Israelites and treated them with contempt.

And so Samson was born and raised in this environment of abnormality, not in the standard which the God of Israel had planned for His beloved people. The Lord had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, peace and safety, victory against their enemies... but most important and inestimable of all: the Lord had promised His divine presence to be with them; the glory of the Lord in the midst of His people. Now all these things appeared to be lost. Where was God? For forty years He remained silent; memories of Moses seemed so faint, the miracle at the Red Sea felt so far away. It is in this context that we find an intriguing and thought-provoking Scripture from Judges 13:25:

"And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol."

Here is Samson, probably around 30 years old, seeing the condition of his home and family while knowing the Scriptures and covenant of God, and the Spirit of the Lord begins to move him: moves his spirit for sorrow of failure, moves his soul for longing after God, moves his anger hot against the uncircumcised Philistines, moves his eyes to tears over the desolation of his people... Here was a young man upon whom the Spirit was working. Oh, is the Spirit working upon you today? Do you feel the moving of the Lord upon your hard and fallow heart? Do we not live in a country of spiritual enslavement with masters more ferocious than earthly kings and princes? Oh Christian, is the Lord moving on your heart to grief? Pray God to stir us!

Notice now that Samson does not take any action at this point. This was not the time for brash prosecution. This was the time of God dealing with the man in preparation for His application. When God moves His people we can expect God is about to move. And so it is we find out next in chapter 14 God initiates the beginning of the fall of Philistia. Samson goes to find a wife to the south "but his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines." (Judges 14:4) This episode would end in the slaughter of 30 Philistines, the start of a devastating mini-war between God's man and the captors of Israel. It was also on the road to Timnah that Samson first realized his tremendous strength.

There are many of us who are not concerned about the crisis around us. This is either because of ignorance or indifference towards God and His Word. They care not that the people of the world are captive and that the people of the Church are crippled. Rather, they are enjoying their comfortable easement, having both a little bit of God and a little bit of godlessness. Unmoved and unaware, they will soon find out that this status is not acceptable.

But then there are those of us who long for the presence of God in our lives, who groan in hope for the manifestation of His glory, who see the world around us and are grieved by the absence of the standard of His purposes. These are those who are moved by the Spirit between Zorah and Eshtaol. Holy anger or sorrowful weeping... the yoke of bondage and the absence of the Lord is too much to bear in light of the glorious liberating cross.

Take courage, good Christian! Lift up your head for your redemption draweth nigh! These are but the signs of awakening; the heralds of deliverance to the ones in captivity. God is in the business of setting loose the oppressed: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The Lord will always answer those who yearn for His deliverance. The question is: Are you moved?