Eat this Book: Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints by John Piper and Justin Taylor

15 05 2010

This is the by far the best in the Desiring God Conference turned into print form. Best because 3 of the leading Christian authors (my favorites) John Piper, Jerry Bridges and John MacArthur Jr. are here. It’s like the best of three worlds in one great book. Rarely would you find such book. You will get some teasers on what their ministry offers here also. And oh don’t forget Randy Alcorn and Helen Roseveare. You may think these two not so famous speakers won’t make such great contribution on this book. But in fact their part is important.

As the title suggest it’s about enduring and standing firm to what God calls every Christian. As the world tells us to embrace change and go for greener pastures, God tells us to hold on and stand firm no matter what. The authors are perfectly picked to be included to this book. Not only does it give biblical response to endurance but also personal experience from the authors. So the interview part in the last part is exciting. At first an interview part is odd for me but it adds more personal and up close profile on the lives of these men (and a woman) of God. Each one is gave different talk about godly endurance but when blend together its one power pack book.

The book opens with Jerry Bridges (author of Pursuit of Holiness) with his usual bible teaching combined with his enduring to the end journey titled “Four Essentials for Finishing Well”. He is good in discipleship teachings and I think you’ll appreciate this. Then John Piper (author of Don’t Waste Your Life and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ) exhorts “Getting Old for the Glory of God” on which he discusses and tell us to make Christ our treasure till the end of our lives. You can sense some Don’t Waste Your Life sprinkled over his piece. John MacArthur (Grace to You, author of Ashamed of the Gospel) relates his 40 years as a pastor of Grace Community Church. Randy Alcorn (author of Heaven and Treasure Principle) wave his Christian flag for the fight of the unborn. Lastly Helen Roseveare with her experience in a war torn mission field. Truly this is a book you won’t ignore.

The best part for me is the one from Helen Roseveare. She gave something that no other contributors can give: the woman side of godly endurance. Her talk was filled with fascinating stories about her mission in Africa. Teenage and young adult girls read her piece first specially the latter part. You will be inspired and be blessed for sure.

Recommended to mature Christians and leaders this book not only inspires but makes you think and evaluate your life in Christ if it counts. Go beyond fascination with the lives of the contributors. Make your Christian call count. Stand firm to the end and finish it well.

You can buy this book at PCBS for P195 only or you can download the entire book on PDF format from the Desiring God website FREE by clicking here. R.O.C.K. Ministry also gives hard copies of it for FREE to all supporters, leaders and committee members of the student organization.

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Eye Candies: An Interview with Justin Jackson of Central Films

5 05 2010

You may have catch it on Youtube, someone might have posted it at Facebook or featured on our Soul Fuel gatherings. No matter how you have seen it, you were blown away. Videos like The Truth, God’s Pie and Good-O-Meter connected and sticks lessons about God in your life. We recently got a hold of Justin Jackson, Creative Director of Central Christian Church and talked about these videos and more.

ROCK Ministry: How did you start making these short films? Where did you get the idea?

Justin Jackson: I work for a church in Las Vegas. We are committed to using story and creativity to help communicate the life-saving truths of the Bible. Film/video is not only a powerful way to do so, but also a very reproducible way to do so. In other words, live stage elements such as drama and interactive speaker elements are powerful, but only at the time they are done and only for the people who are in the room. Video has a life of it’s own after the live event is over.

ROCK Ministry: How do you plan in making these videos? Do you consult the church first for the need or do you have those light bulb moments that needs to be laid into film?

Justin Jackson: My church gives me an incredible luxury: they plan in advance. Sometimes 6 months in advance. This gives me the opportunity to think and soak on the topics that we will be addressing. We accumulate ideas over time, pitch them and get approval. Then we go to work writing and producing the videos.

ROCK Ministry: Who are the actors in those video presentations? Do you pick them or did they volunteer? Does their real life character sometimes reflect on the roles they play? I think what they are in real life makes them play their role better.

Justin Jackson: They are all volunteers who were hand chosen. And yes, if a character calls for a certain look or personality, we’ll often ‘play to the strengths’ of the actors / volunteers that I have access to.

ROCK Ministry: In producing a video what materials and equipment you usually use? How about the technical stuff, who are the people behind it? Justin Jackson: Most people think that the camera is the most important piece of equipment, but I find audiences are much more demanding of good audio than good images. Good audio means you have clear, echo-free dialog, engaging, fitting music and convincing sound effects.

That said, two of the videos you referenced don’t have dialog or footage, but rather are graphical videos. These are created using Adobe After Effects. This is in invaluable tool. Lately we have invested in DSLR technology. These are amazing little cameras that produce incredible imagery. They are opening up whole new worlds or possibilities for us. We currenlt have a Canon 7D and a Canon T2i. We also have 3 Panasonic hpx 170s.

Currently our team consists of myself (Writer, Director, Producer, Shooter, Sound Designer and Editor) and David Tate (Shooter, Editor, Effect Supervisor, Colorist, After Effects Artist and Sound Mixer).

ROCK Ministry: Among those you produced which is your favorite and why? Justin Jackson: Right now my personal favorite is a graphical video we did called Hijacked. I got to voice it and do all the sound design. David had a lot of fun animating it. You can watch it here.

http://www.youtube.com/thatjustinguy#p/u/5/H_Q9Ar4-Fe8

ROCK Ministry: Tell me how can we present a slick, humorous and cool video while it really connects to the viewers and most of all, maintaining it biblical? Justin Jackson: Well, I think it all comes down to honesty. The reason God’s Pie connects with so many people is because it’s how we feel… or at least, it’s how I feel. Many times, I felt exactly like that guy who just wants there to be a little left over for him… and then realizes he has left nothing for God.

Once we had the visual analogy, the direction was very easy. Good ideas are always simple, too. Not simplistic… but simple. If it takes you 2 minutes to explain a 2 minute video, it’s too complex. If you can explain your idea in a sentence or two (and have people like it) then you are on to something. And at the core of every story, whether it be a 2 hour movie or a 2 minute video, is truth.

The more universal and ‘felt’ the truth is, the more it connects with an audience. Fortunately for us, the Bible is full of truths. The trick is conveying those truths in a way that is understandable and emotional. I’m afraid there is no formula for this. It’s just something you shoot for.

ROCK Minstry: We have shown your videos in our monthly gatherings called Soul Fuel; we got a lot of reactions on your videos. We would like to list some of it here and can you give us insights or interesting facts on these videos.

1. God’s Pie

Justin Jackson: This has been downloaded and shown by 2,000 churches. The volunteer actor who played God is frequently recognized on the street even when travels to other cities. He’s lost track of how many times strangers have offered to buy him a piece of pie.

2. The Truth

Justin Jackson: This was based on an Argentinean political ad. Granger Community Church was the first to spin the technique of this ad (the reversing lines) into a church video. We made our own version – with the music arranged and performed by one of our worship leaders.

3. Good-O-Meter

Justin Jackson: We did a Man on the Street interview in Las Vegas where we asked people, “How do you get to heaven.” 48 of 50 people said, “By being a good person.” I wanted a simple, visual way to show the Christian principle of Grace, and how it differs from the predominant public opinion. I think the most shocking thing about this video is the bitter, vitriolic comments we get. People are enraged that God would operate this way. I honestly thought it would be good news for people, but there seems to be a basic human need for self-right(eous)ness. People want heaven on their own terms, not God’s. This video (lighthearted as it is) either produces heartfelt gratitude or angry / searing bombast.

4. Love Lesson Learned (not yet shown but coming soon)

Justin Jackson: This was the easiest video I ever wrote. It’s my story. I was married at a young age to a non-Christian. It ended in divorce. This devastating experience drew me to God and He accepted me. Healed me. And most surprisingly, wanted to use me. Most churches consider the divorced to be damaged goods. Outsiders. Failures. Second-class Christians. This is a tragedy. It’s a misrepresentation of God’s character. God restores the repentant. He rebuilds the broken. And then uses them.

Its saddens my heart that more churches have not shown this video. I’m so thankful for Youtube. I pray God will land this message in front of people when they need it most.

ROCK Ministry: For those who want to do this for their church or as an individual what advise can you give to them?

Justin Jackson: Technology is getting cheaper and cheaper. Blogs and web-training are more and more prolific. If you have an interest in making films, it has never been easier. My advice: start. Just do it. Learn by trying, failing, correcting, succeeding and trying again.

1) buy a camera like the Cannon t2i ($900)

2) buy a good mic like a Wired Countryman b6 and plug it into a zoom h4n ($350 + $300)

3) listen to podcasts like http://www.izzyvideo.com or http://www.thec47.com (small fee + free)

4) read The DV Rebel by Stu Manshowitz ($20)

5) buy an iMac with Final Cut Express ($1,500 – $2,000)

For under $4k you are ready to go. ROCK Ministry: In closing, please tell us your ministry, your church and how can they view the videos.

Justin Jackson: My personal Youtube site is here.

http://www.youtube.com/thatjustinguy

Our official Central Films page is here.

http://www.vimeo.com/centralfilms

You can purchase and download several of our videos here.

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/producers/124/Central-Christian-Church

Thanks for the great questions! And thanks for all you do to bring attention to faith, truth and God.

ROCK (Reaching Out for Christ’s Kingdom) Ministry has a monthly gathering called Soul Fuel. We presented some of Central Film’s videos and we got a lot of feedback on this. Catch more videos (including Justin’s creation) on Soul Fuel. If you missed out some of them you can catch them at ROCK’s Facebook Fan Page or check those videos below:





Sex Sold: An Interview about Prostitution with Mastering Life Ministry

12 03 2010

We always hear these stories about prostitutes in some campus. They are students by day and prostitute by night. Others go by groups to a certain beach destination and sell their bodies. Its hard to imagine the oldest profession in the world can be found in an institution that promotes morality and dignity.

ROCK Ministry recently got a privilege to interview David Kyle Foster a former prostitute, now a pastor and heads Mastering Life Ministry and Pure Passion TV. We talk this very sensitive and controversial topic and we learned a lot from this issue.

ROCK Ministry:  First why prostitute yourself? Is their no other alternative to chose from for an individual? Do these individuals count what will cost them to sell their bodies? What really goes through their minds?

David Kyle Foster: The reasons people prostitute themselves vary widely. For me, I was very angry at God and wanted to do something that would demonstrate my extreme anger at Him. I happened to be at a location where prostitution was going on and accepted an offer from someone.

Financial need drives most prostitutes to do it. They are generally people who are being propositioned often anyway, so they decide to meet their need that way because it is the quickest way. They often dot not seriously consider the dangers because their need is so great.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the reasons why some goes to prostitution? I think no one will go to the mirror one day and say “I will prostitute myself today”.

David Kyle Foster: Sometimes people are violently forced into prostitution and sometimes they are tricked into it and then fed drugs and are beaten to keep them doing it.

Others continue because they are sex addicts and it becomes a way to satiate their unquenchable sexual appetite.

ROCK Ministry: I know that you have talked to people who gone to this line of “work”. What was the first time experience for them? How did they start? Do they look for a pimp or what?
David Kyle Foster: Every story is completely different. Some people are sold into prostitution by their parents or guardians. Others are lured by pimps. No one goes looking for a pimp. Male prostitutes almost never work for pimps.

ROCK Ministry:  What are the emotional and mental effects of having sex every night and getting paid for it? Especially for students how can they live a normal life by day and be a prostitute at night?
David Kyle Foster: Emotionally it is very difficult. It makes you feel less than human, worthless, perverted and sick. It is likely that the person already felt this way about themselves which is why they even considered prostitution to begin with. But to actually do it makes you feel like dirt.

ROCK Ministry: Are their any physical abuse? Any horror story you might have heard?
David Kyle Foster:  Every male prostitute gets beaten by about 10% of those who pick them up. For females, it is probably closer to 40%. A smaller percentage also attempts to torture the prostitute. It’s only a matter of time and luck before it happens. People tried to murder me on 3 occasions during my 7 years as a prostitute.

RM: what diseases they might catch in having different sex partner? Are they curable? How about HIV? Do you have cases that got AIDS?

DF: It is guaranteed that a prostitute will contract many sexually transmitted diseases, no matter how careful they try to be. Even condoms do not prevent some diseases like HPV virus, which eventually causes cancer. HIV is also prevalent. I have had many friends and acquaintances die from AIDS.

RM: I don’t think some of them really like this kind of work. But is their a point in time that they actually enjoy what they are doing?

DF: If the prostitute is a sex addict, there are times when they enjoy the work on the surface, but the underlying self-hatred and self-disgust never goes away.

RM: Does nymphomania develop to prostitutes? What other abnormal behavior do they get in this?

DF: Some prostitutes are nymphomaniacs or sex addicts and even more male prostitutes are satyrs or sex addicts. The consequences of this behavior are very severe. Demonic spirits from customers enter the prostitutes, so they end up with a great need for deliverance, for example. Needless to say, they are rendered incapable of ever having a normal, satisfying sexual relationship once they marry without significant inner healing prayer and ministry.

RM: Can a prostitute especially students sell their bodies without being hooked into smoking, drinking or even drugs?

DF:  It is extremely rare for a prostitute not to develop smoking, drug and/or drinking problems because they need those substances to cover up the psychic pain of their lives.

RM: Do straight prostitute eventually end up being a homosexual?
DF: Male prostitutes who start out mostly straight will inevitably program their minds and bodies to respond more and more homosexually over time if they are having sex with other men.

RM: How about those who will do it “just once” and their out? I mean just to pay this one tuition fee or pay a project for the school and that’s it. Nothing to follow. What can you say to them?

DF: Prostitution is like quicksand. Once you enter it, you cannot escape consequences. There will be spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical consequences that can be quite severe from the very start.

RM: Are prostitutes still longing for a real relationship? Even if they feel dirty do they still hope to have a family? Do they think someone will get serious to them in spite of what they have done?

DF: Prostitutes desperately long to be normal and to have normal relationships. However, their behavior prevents them from having that. Just the fear of their spouse finding out – that alone can ruin the peace they otherwise might have in a marriage. It is extremely rare for someone to fall in love with someone they know has been a prostitute. It happens in Hollywood movies, but almost never in real life.

RM: For guys and even girls who found out their partner is or use to be a prostitute, how can they face this issue? How can they forgive their partner and still be with them or call it a split? How can they live out their relationship day by day thinking his or her partner is a prostitute?

DF: No one should stay in a relationship with someone who is a prostitute. You never know what day they will bring home to AIDS virus, or some other incurable disease.

If they fall in love with someone who used to be a prostitute, that is another story. They should take measures to be certain, however, that the person has truly been transformed from that way of thinking and living, and have been checked out physically by a doctor.

RM: How can a prostitute forgive that one who led them to prostitution? Maybe a partner or a family member who force them to this work.
DF: Sometimes only God can give us the power to forgive someone, but He does do that if we want Him to.

RM: What if someone wants to get out of this lifestyle? What is the first thing they have to do? Maybe someone reading this and they want to get out. Is their hope for them?

DF: A person who wants out need only turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, cleansing, healing and transformation.

They need to get into fellowship with believers who are faithful to God’s Word and who study it together and pray for each other.

They need to find a church that practices intimate worship of God, which is spiritual warfare.

I ended up attending a large church that also had small home fellowship groups, where I got alot of prayer. I also went through various healing and deliverance sessions at conferences and at a YWAM training school.

RM: How do they get back the respect for themselves? How can they go back to society with dignity and without guilt? How do healing the wounds starts? Who can they approach?
DF: Only God can give them their self-respect back. They need to pursue an intimate relationship with God where He speaks worth and value into their hearts, and where they come to experience the fact that Jesus’ blood has cleansed them from all sin. They need to practice believing 1 JN 1:9 and operate from what God says rather than from what they feel or have felt in the past. The Bible says that they are a new creation if they have repented and made Jesus Christ truly the Lord of their life. They need to learn and practice spiritual warfare. Dean Sherman’s book, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian really helped me.

As for who to approach, they need to carefully watch people in church and see who are the ones who pray for and care about sexually broken people, and approach them.

RM:  I remember this one story about Ravi Zacharias. He was witnessing in a red light district and a prostitute say something like” If Jesus can really get us out this, how can He help us to find our daily living?” What practical help can a Christian do for these people?

DF: Our churches need to have outreaches to people who are coming out of these kinds of highly dysfunctional lifestyles. We need outreaches to former prostitutes, and human trafficking victims, and strippers and homosexuals and you name it. Pray for God to send those who can minister to such populations as Christ would and approach your pastors and entreat them to financially support such outreaches. As I read the Bible, these kinds of outreaches were among Jesus’ favorite!

People coming out of sex trafficking, for example, often need a place to live for a year or so while being trained in job skills as well as discipled in God’s ways. The church should finance these things. It is infinitely more important than plush carpeting and all the other excesses that we too often concern ourselves with.

RM: Thank you for this interview. We learn alot from you. Can you tell us about your ministry, what does it do and how can we reach you.

DF: Our ministry (www.MasteringLife.org) does 2 things: 1. we reach out to sexually bound and broken people with the news that God can set anyone free from anything, teaching them how He does it, and 2. we equip the Church to do the same.

We are trying to reach as many people as possible and so now put all our efforts into media outreaches, whether it be our weekly TV program (www.PurePassion.us), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/purepassiontv), our iPhone app (which should be ready in a few weeks), our multi-front internet outreaches, Google ads, and our teaching resources (DVDs, CDs, books).

Currently our Pure Passion TV program is seen on 11 TV networks around the world in English, Bulgarian, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic and Russian, and we hope that we will be seen in every country and every main language very soon.





Living on Power Prayer!

12 03 2010

What is prayer and how can we have an effective prayer life? We ask Ptr. Andrew Craig to help us answer these questions.

To me, prayer is our line of communication with the Lord. It is like the supply link for an army and we need to keep the communication lines open. A husband must keep communicating with his wife for the relationship to grow. Likewise we need prayer as an important part of our growing in our faith relationship with the Lord.

Praying isn’t something that is by ritual or rote, not something mechanical or by formula or certain method. Prayer is our natural language where we talk with our Heavenly Father and seek to express our heart to Him and find His grace and forgiveness. We can ask in His will for His help and guiding power for our lives and for others.

The Bible urges us to pray and so it is important, as our Lord wants us to depend upon Him and listen to Him. We need to stop and take time to turn our thoughts towards Him. Effective prayer happens as we learn to trust the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and find the peace that comes from yielding to Him and finding the joy of living in His favour. We can take small steps to learn to pray as we, moment by moment, have a prayerful life. And especially we can become thankful, for the blessings we often take for granted, and we can grow to be more gracious in how we relate to others about us. A prayerful person will find comfort in the scriptures, and the peace that passeth all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Andrew Craig – Aussie pastor, Fair Dinkum magazine www.thedinkum.com

Recommendation: Read “Of Christ, In the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray. The classic and most popular book about prayer can be downloaded FREE:

http://www.davidcox.com.mx/library/M/Murray%20-%20With%20Christ%20is%20the%20School%20of%20Prayer.pdf





Truth Twisting: An interview about Cults with Fran Shankey of Tower to Truth Ministry

12 03 2010

ROCK Ministry: First Lets define an important word. What is a cult?
Fran Shankey: The word cult comes from the Latin word cultus and originally carried the meaning “to worship or give reverence to a deity.” So, originally, the term cult could be applied to any group of religious believers: Southern Baptists, Mormons, Presbyterians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. However, as words change over the years the word cult wouldn’t be applied like this anymore but means something else.

I deal with what is sometimes referred to as non-Christian cults, which would be any group that claims to be Christian but distorts, perverts or deviates from Orthodox Christianity. It’s important to understand that a cult will deny one or more of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Essential doctrines are those that are indispensable beliefs for a true Christian because they are integral to the Person of God and the gospel message. These would be doctrines like the Deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the Trinity, salvation by God’s grace through faith apart from works, the bodily resurrection of Christ and His second coming.

Teachings that are important, but would not brand a group as a cult if they differed from your views would be, for example, the timing of end time’s events such as the rapture of the church, speaking in tongues, Calvinism, how often communion is shared in the local church, etc. Again, these teachings are important but not ones we should divide over.

ROCK Ministry: What are the marks of a cult and why are they dangerous?
Fran Shankey: The marks of a cult can vary from group to group. Not all cults will have all of the following marks, but will usually have at least 1 or more. Although the list isn’t exhaustive, some of the marks of a cult would be:
1) A deviation from essential doctrines of the Scriptures, as mentioned already.
2) An authority figure whose word is final on all matters. This could be an individual who calls himself a prophet, or an organization that governs all affairs. They often claim to be hearing directly from God, or are commissioned by Him in some way.
3) Cults may strip you of your former identity. Some cults in an effort to conform a person to their organization will go as far as replacing one’s personal clothing with the groups. We saw this in the UFO cult group Heaven’s Gate in the late 1990’s. When found dead in a house in California, all were wearing the same color sneakers. Some cults require you to give over your bank accounts and all personal possessions to the group. Some will even change your name or replace your family members with themselves. Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, from the Unification Church, have done this. They’re referred to by members as their ‘True Parents’
4) Cults often use mind control on members. One form of this is information control which filters outside information away from the group, such as TV, radio, phone or internet access. A less extreme example is the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) which warns members about reading any religious material other than its own. That’s why JWs will refuse your tracts but have no problem handing you theirs.
5) Behavior control is another make of a cult. Cult groups often keep their members so busy with the group activity that they have little time to rest and think. The Moonies (Unification Church) do this as many of their members are out early in the morning selling flowers and come home very late at night exhausted.
6) Fear tactics are often employed by cults. Most non-Christian cults claim that adhering to the group is the only way a person can be saved and will tell its members that leaving the group will result in severe disfavor, discipline or damnation from God.
ROCK Ministry: How do they differ from Protestants or Bible believing Christians? Why is it so easy for people to lump a true Christian and a cult member?
Fran Shankey: Cults generally differ from Protestant/Bible believing churches for all of the reasons I already mentioned above. They deny one or more of the essential doctrines of the faith and/or use some type of control over their members to keep them under the group’s power. A good Bible church would never challenge anyone from thinking or acting independently, reading the Bible on their own, nor would it manipulate anyone’s personal life or claim one must read its own literature as a requirement for salvation. It also will never put its own writings on par with Scripture as, for example, the Mormons and Unification church do. Also, no sound Bible church will ever claim to be the only true church and the only way a person can be saved.
The reason why people lump zealous Christians in with a cult is basically because they don’t know what a cult is, nor do they usually know what a Bible believing church is. It’s basically done out of ignorance on their part. Plus unbelievers lack the understanding that when someone gets saved, they have a profound love for Jesus that overflows into their daily life. This zealousness for God is abnormal to the unbeliever since they don’t have the Holy Spirit so they lump them together with weird religious groups they see in the news.
ROCK Ministry: What’s the difference between a cult and false religion?

Fran Shankey: Good question. The main world religions today are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. These are not cults. They aren’t all true, of course only Christianity is true, but none of these is a cult. They’re all separate religions that don’t claim to be Christian, so they can’t be examined as such. They have their own particular doctrines, teachings and holy books that they hold to. However, there are cults within these religions. For example, a cult of Islam is the Nation of Islam. A cult of Hinduism is the Hare Krishna’s. My ministry, Tower to Truth, concentrates on exposing and evangelizing cults that would claim to be Christian, but, of course, are not.

RM: If someone handed you a cult literature say a magazine or tract, what would you initially expect to see or read from those materials?
FS: Probably a lot of truth. Remember, cults do teach truth. The problem is that it’s mixed with error. Rodent poison usually contains 98% ingredients that are harmless to the rodent. Only 2% of it is poisonous. Satan didn’t tell all lies to Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is why cults are hard to detect for the average person. Unless you have good discernment and are studied up on the subject of false teaching, many cults initially come across as just another Christian denomination. It’s important to have a good knowledge of the Bible, to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and test the spirits (1 John 4:1) because a cult will reveal itself in time by its teachings and practices.
For example, the 1st article of faith from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost”. Sounds good to me! But upon further inspection into the doctrines of Mormonism, you’ll find out that they believe in a totally different God, Jesus and Holy Ghost. Their vocabulary is the same as ours, but their definitions are much different.
RM: We use the same Bible but how come some eventually use it and turn into cults?
FS: Why groups go astray and become cults is not always clear. The Bible gives us clues. Man is inherently sinful (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) and, because of this, likes to take advantage of others. Some people start cults because they want power and control. It feeds their flesh. They like the attention, women, money, fame. Peter talks about these people in scathing detail. For instance, 2 Peter 2:14 says these false teachers have “eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls”.
Others start cults perhaps because they are deceived themselves and truly believe they have the truth. I have sometimes wondered if Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, really had some of the supernatural visions he claimed. Personally, I don’t know. Remember, 2 Co 11:14, 15 says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. If Smith did have encounters with an angel, we can be sure from the angel’s message that he certainly wasn’t from God. Whether men start cults with full knowledge that they’re duping others or whether they are demonically deceived themselves is difficult to fully know. Maybe some of both is true. 2 Timothy 3:13 says that “evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”. It seems to suggest that after a while, you begin to buy your own lie.
RM: Some of the cults here in the Philippines dates from WW1 and WW2. How do these times significantly contribute to the development of cults?
FS: I would have to take a stab at this one since I never researched this. I would say that cults prey on man’s fears. Certainly fear is at its pinnacle in times of uncertainty like war. Cults promise men peace and happiness apart from the wicked ways of the world. They promote themselves as safe havens that have the blessing of God and naturally draw those who are looking for meaning, security and satisfaction in life. These groups often advertise a utopian society but never deliver the goods.
RM: Some readers might say that we are so judgmental and unloving about these people. What can you say about that?
FS: If ‘we’ is referring to Christians at large, I would have to say that, sadly, some of us are judgmental and unloving toward these people. This plays into the cult’s hand as the leaders often tell the group that the world will attack and hate them. I would hope anyone reading this interview, or anyone calling themselves a Christian, wouldn’t be like this. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.
This can be tricky because the Bible has some very scathing descriptions and warnings about false teachers. It describes them, among other things, as beasts, dogs and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Perhaps a good way to reconcile this is that Jesus was compassionate with the multitudes but had very harsh words against the religious leaders who led them astray. It’s easy to get angry at people who pervert the gospel since its so dear to us, but we must strive, as Paul wrote, to speak the truth in love. This should be every apologist’s life verse.
But there is nothing unbiblical about calling someone’s doctrine wrong and trying to persuade them to the truth. Some Christians feel as though any negative remark against anyone’s religion is judgmental and unloving. I would like to see this verse in the New Testament since I haven’t read it yet. To say nothing or, even worse, to encourage someone in their error is perhaps the most unloving thing we can do. Sitting idly by watching others go to hell isn’t in my definition of love. The New Testament is full of verses that exhort Christians to share the truth with people in error, to correct those in opposition (2 Timothy 2:25) and to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The Apostle Paul didn’t go into Corinth or Athens and say “Oh, well, as long as you really believe in your religion, who am I to judge?” He traveled throughout the Grecian world telling idol worshippers they had the wrong God and that they needed to repent and put their faith in the only true Savior, Jesus Christ.
RM: Are those people in cults aware that they might be wrong? Well I think they can sense they are different from others but have this sort of skepticism to prompt them to check what is truth?
FS: People in cults are people. Real people have doubts. I think most of us would say that at some time in our walk we’ve asked ourselves if we’re sure Christianity is really true or if God truly exists. Questioning our beliefs is a normal part of being human. Although cult groups try to dissuade independent thinking, they can’t stop it altogether. So, yes, people in cults ask themselves these things too. Does their questioning lead them to seek the truth? Maybe. Hopefully. Can God send someone who knows Jesus to them at just the right time when they doubt? Definitely. Many ex-cult members began their exodus from the group by questioning the group’s teachings. The questioning is usually bottled up inside but its there.
RM: How can someone get out of cults? What are the steps in finding freedom from it?
FS: Getting out of a cult isn’t like leaving the Baptist church to go to the Lutheran church down the street. You have to understand that it’s often leaving your entire known world. If someone was in the group long enough, they often will leave many friends and close family behind, maybe forever. All they know, do, and lived for will be forsaken.
Many ex-cultists, even when out of the group for considerable time are scared to death to go to another church. The cult mentality still dictates their thinking even though they’re inactive. Depending on the length of time spent inside, leaving a cult is painful, frightening, lonely and bleak. If you know someone in this position they need a very loving and patient person to walk them through the process. There are groups online that specialize in getting former members of specific cult groups together. Sometimes they meet together once a month at someone’s house or at a restaurant. These groups can be invaluable and places where confused people can meet others who have trod down this terrifying road before them, and lived to tell about it. One thing we need to remember is that just getting someone out of a cult doesn’t mean the job is done. It’s a two-fold process. Out of the cult and into the truth.
RM: Schools here have religious freedom and are tolerant to spirituality. How can we be still maintain respect to their religious freedom and point them to truth? How do you witness to someone who is your friend or classmate or a professor? I think that’s very hard to do.
FS: Religious freedom is a good thing. We should be able to choose which religion we want to follow. Jesus never forced conversions. He invited men to Himself. I meet people in my daily life from all sorts of religious backgrounds. I’ve learned a lot about them and their beliefs by asking questions. I try to maintain an outward interest in them as individuals and show respect to them, even though I disagree with their religion. Questions are one of the best ways to witness. It shows you’re interested in the person plus it allows you to place thought provoking questions into their minds. You can ask questions to anyone whether you have known them all your life or just met 5 minutes ago. If you are witnessing to a religious person you may want to check out some books by Ron Rhodes. He has a series of books called Reasoning from the Scriptures. He has them on a variety of groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Roman Catholicism. Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason (str.org) also does a great work regarding sharing your faith, especially with those with a postmodern worldview. Although we should equip ourselves the best we can, the best witness can be as simple as just sharing a simple gospel presentation and what Jesus did for you. The man in John 9 said “I was blind but now I see”. Simple and to the point.
RM: Some may come to you to talk about their religion. How would you graciously decline such conversations? When is the time to give them answers to their beliefs?
FS: Personally I love it when people come to me and want to talk about their religion. I just wish it would happen more! I might not ever decline, as long as the time was appropriate. Paul said to be ready in season and out of season. Think about it, there are only 2 times we need to share our faith: in season and out of season. The rest of the time we have an excuse. Ha! If someone comes to you and you don’t have the time or feel unprepared, the best way to handle that is to ask them if you could speak to them at another time that you both agree on. This will give you time to pray, prepare and become more confident in your witness.
RM: I love your radio show “Test All Things”. It’s short but very informative. Tell us about it, your ministry, website and how can we contact you for further information.
FS: Test all Things is an extension of Tower to Truth Ministries. Tower to Truth was started about 10 years ago to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The name Tower to Truth is a play on the word Watchtower (from the Watchtower to the truth). The radio show began in October, 2004 and it continues airing twice a week on WVCH in the Philadelphia, PA (USA) area. Since beginning, the topics have grown considerably but the show is focused on apologetics, exposing false teachings and equipping Christians to share their faith more effectively.
My web site is at http://www.towertotruth.net You’ll find articles and a huge inventory of downloadable mp3 files of my radio show and personal testimonies of former cult members. Feel free to contact me by email at help@towertotruth.net or by phone at 610-513-5525. Thank you for this opportunity and God bless your ministry!





Discipleship: A Deeper Love for Christ–an interview with Life Changing Discipleship (LCD)

24 01 2010

Like a newly born baby, a new believer needs help for him to grow. A new Christian should desire to mature and be useful for God’s purpose. He needs discipleship. Its a big word for many. But we need it to have deeper love for Christ. So we asked Ptr Elmer Quilas of Life Changing Discipleship (LCD) about Discipleship.

ROCK Ministry: Hi Ptr Elmer . So tell us what is Discipleship?

Elmer Quilas: Discipleship is the unveiling of God’s heart in the Word into the hearts of God’s children.

ROCK Ministry: Wow. Its what God’s want for his children. How important is discipleship especially to the new believers?

Elmer Quilas : It is very important because the Bible needs to be read and heard, it needs to be grasped or understood, also it needs to be acted upon and lived out in obedience and another thing which accomplishes the great commission is that the Bible needs to shared with others.

ROCK Ministry: Does it take a lot of time? Does it have to be one on one? Does it have to be a pastor member approach?
Elmer Quilas : 30 minutes or so each week will work. Discipleship is a process of growing a new believer to maturity. Consistency will play a great deal in the entire process. As a common saying says, “one apple a day takes the doctor away.” 30 minutes of sharing one’s life to another when accumulates in time matures a believer.
We cannot be effective to all but we can always be to someone. Since human personality is so complex, I believe that the Spirit of God uses people according to how a person can be best effective in sharing. God is using our experiences, culture, education and other things so the one discipling can clearly relate to his disciple.

RM: How can busy student and professionals benefit with discipleship?

EQ: Discipleship is a personal relationship developed. Flexibility can be applied. It doesn’t require permanent place only common place, doesn’t require permanent time only common interest, and it doesn’t require all of my time only common commitment.

RM: I read somewhere that discipleship can be easy if we establish first a relationship. whats your comment on that?

EQ: I strongly believe that relationship comes first in many cases of effective discipleship. It it true that I have to sell myself first before my product it is also true in effective discipleship.

RM: OK. How do you start discipleship?What are the necessary tools for it?

EQ: I always approach discipleship in the light of the Lord’s life how He first chooses people. In Matthew 4:18-22 account, Jesus saw the people, He called them and they followed Him. In John 12:32 account, Jesus draws people. You disciple people you attract.

RM: Do you recommend self discipleship or a person can just pick up his Bible or buy a Christian book?

EQ: I believe that every child of God is accountable for every action he makes. I cannot discount the benefits that Christians get through personal reading and devotions. The Bible is strongly expressing the benefits you get when you become like Joshua who was a disciple of Moses, Elisha who received the double portion of Elijah’s power, and in the New Testament Timothy whom Paul claimed to be his son in the faith. Nonetheless, before the apostle Paul’s execution, he told Timothy to “Take Mark” which implies a son and father relationship. I would say that great men of the Bible are the product of great mentoring and nurturing.

RM: Any message for those students who wants to be discipled?

EQ: A musician will learn under another musician because he wants to emulate him. There is something about his playing that the student desires. We become followers of Jesus because we love Him and desires to become like Him. This is the all-encompassing goal of a disciples’ faith.

RM: Please tell us about LCD, you and your church.

EQ: LCD is a ministry that hold retreats, seminars, trainings and Bible Studies that helps the youth, family and individuals discover their potentials and develop it. Through our series of meetings, we encourage them to use their God given potentials not only for their personal benefit but also to others.
I am Dr. Elmer C. Quilas, Senior Pastor of Gateway Christian Baptist and Ministries Inc. Our purpose is to love God and to love people. Our vision is to evangelize and make disciples. And our goal is to make every believer a leader

RM: Thank you Pastor for your time and God bless!

If you want to reach Pastor Elmer Castillo Quilas, Life Changing Discipleship Network (LCD) check his blog: http://lcdnetworklifesmart.blogspot.com/ or search his ministry and name at Facebook.





True Love Weights

24 01 2010

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

For those who are in a relationship (and also who aren’t) check these verses carefully. It gives you a glimpse of what awaits you in the married life. Pretty heavy right? If your not ready to prepare for what the verse asked, then are you ready for a relationship in the first place? How does your love for someone weights? Lets dig deeper:

1.It is a command “love your wives”. From God Himself. Not from a romance novel or movie. God commands it because it is His will. Do you want to please God? Remember to love your wife.

2.God brought this great love to the level of husband and wife relationship. His love for his church (the redeemed ones) should not come less to what marital love is. Thats high the standard! That’s true love!

3.Love between husband and wife is compared with Christ and the church. He redeemed His church by his blood. A sacrificial love. One commentator states” It doesn’t just gave us the duty but the measure of duty. I love what my pastor always says about love” The measure of love is to love without measure.” Love is not just a word. True love has a price to pay. But it will be all worth the risk if its a sacrificial love.

God didn’t command this love for us just to give us a set of rules and earn points for Him. He command it because He is the one who showed it first to us and we as followers of Christ should follow it. We don’t just follow a command but follow His footsteps for this kind of love.