Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CONVENTION BUZZ #SLHC2016

PLEASE SHARE THIS LETTER WITH OTHERS!  OUR EMAIL LIST IS NOT COMPLETE. 
2016 LOGO.jpg

DEAR FRIENDS OF SCRIPTURAL HOLINESS,

There's always a lot of buzz as we approach convention time.  I'm sure that God has something great in store for us.  The devil is sure fighting mad about this gathering.

We're praying for travelling mercies.  The delegation from the Indian Reservation in South Dakota pulled out about an hour ago headed east for St. Louis.  Many will be flying and driving in tomorrow.  Please keep our cell phone number on hand so that we can help (314) 607-1424.

Both days will open with devotion at prayer at 9:00 a.m. On Thursday MARSHAL MOSLEY will lead us to the throne.  On Friday we are thrilled to welcome for the first time, TRAVIS SAYLOR.

At 10:00 a.m. our FRONTLINE SERVICE will feature PASTOR ANDREW DURST on Thursday and MISSIONARY STEPHEN GIBSON on Friday.  These are men who are truly on the front lines and have a passionate message for this generation.

Before we break for a delicious lunch and time of fellowship, we will welcome to our platform, EVANGELIST ROBERT THOMPSON (Thursday) and EVANGELIST BENJAMIN CRAWFORD (Friday) at 11:00 a.m.  These services have always been among the best services of the convention.

Throughout both mornings and afternoons, SISTER BECKY SCHENCK will be meeting with the ladies.  What an inspiration Sister Schenck has been to the SLHC!

At 1:30p.m. you'll not want to miss Thursday's "THE WORLD IS MY PARISH" service with MISSIONARIES JOHN POFF, STEVE HIGHTSTEPHEN GIBSON and OTHERS.  On Friday we have invited DALE HAYFORD to speak on ESSENTIAL HOLINESS. Due to illness he may not make the convention so we are making stand-by arrangements.

The afternoon discussions are going to really be interesting.  On Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm  PASTOR AND AUTHOR WALLACE THORNTON will be leading a discussion of FOLK RELIGION and America's new religion MORALISTIC THERAPEUTIC DEISM.  

On Friday afternoon,  PASTOR AND PROFESSOR MARSH JONES, PhD, will be discussing the challenge of WINNING THE NEXT GENERATION, a look at the problems the first Methodists faced in winning their children, and the challenges we are face in winning the next generation to the way of holiness.

The 4:00 p.m. service will feature the music of UNION BIBLE COLLEGE and a challenging message from PASTOR TROY BOLEN (Thursday) and PASTOR DAN PLEMMONS (Friday).  There is a possibility that Brother Bolen will be delayed with a medical emergency in his congregation and in that case we will switch the days he and Brother Plemmon's will speak. 

Just as at the noon meal, you are warmly invited to the parsonage for a delicious meal at 5:30 p.m. each day.  Our ladies are working hard to prepare wonderful meals with plenty of food.

At 7:00 p.m. you'll not want to miss some of the greatest services this side of heaven, as we gather for Spiritual Singing, Glorious Testimonies, and the Preaching of the Word!
PHIL ALEXANDER will be at the keyboard.  UBC will be singing.  And EVANGELIST HARRY PLANK will stand behind the sacred desk to deliver the message of the hour. I can't wait.  I hope you're bringing someone with you.

I JUST READ AN ARTICLE "INERRANCY: NOT OUR DEBATE" IN "HOLINESS TODAY"  I hope you'll get a chance to see our response: INNERANCY: OUR DEFENSE

If you need more information you may link to the JOHN WESLEY FOUNDATION OF ST. LOUIS & THE ST. LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION WEB PAGE.  Click here.
http://www.stlouisholinessconvention.org/

I SURE HOPE YOU'RE COMING!
WE'VE BEEN PLANNING ALL YEAR!
WE'VE GONE TO SIGNIFICANT EXPENSE AND GREAT EFFORT TO MAKE THIS YEAR'S CONVENTION A REAL SPIRITUAL BLESSING!

I read yesterday that it was the Heaven sent idea of a DEEPER SPIRITUAL LIFE that sparked the Welsh revival at the dawn of the last century.  We are praying that as we again focus on THE DEEPER LIFE God will once again pour out His choicest blessings upon His church and His people.
Pastor Rick Jones
FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH + A CRUSADERS USA CONGREGATION

2969 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Ann, MO 63074   Cell Phone (314) 607-1424; Fax (314) 298-7442
BLOG: www.PastorRickJones.blogspot.com  WEB: www.FCCStLouis.org


PREACHING SERVICES SUNDAYS 11AM & 6:30 PM

Thursday, February 11, 2016

RESURECTION REFLECTION #2 + WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016

“We preach Christ crucified…”

 46 Days to Resurrection


Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:17-31

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.



REFLECTION: As I stood outside the University of Illinois Student Union Building preaching the Gospel to a group of skeptical fellow students I was struck by the sheer improbability of the message I so confidently proclaimed. 



I quoted the Scriptures to prove that Christ was born of a virgin, crucified, dead and buried. I preached that Christ rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming again. But in the empirical world of science, the material world of business, and the heady world of philosophy, my message bounced off the walls of those impressive buildings sounding more like a fairy tale than Gospel truth.



What kept Paul preaching at Athens—the cradle of philosophy? 

What kept him preaching in Rome—the most powerful capital in the ancient world?  

Why did he return again and again to Jerusalem—the Holy City?  

Why was he so tireless in proclaiming Christ? 



Paul knew what we have found to be true:  The preaching of the Cross is “the power of God” to all them who are saved.  



Science cannot change our nature.  

Business cannot transform our desires. 

Philosophy cannot answer the deepest needs of the human heart. 



But Christ crucified, buried, and risen can do all of that and so much more!



PRAYER: Our Father, How grateful we are today for your amazing Love!  “How can it be?  That thou, my God shoulds’t die for me?”  We pray that your great love for us, would incite us to greater love for you.  May your wisdom, your righteousness, your sanctification, and your redemption be ours through the shed blood of Christ.  We glory only in you Lord!  We know that we are blessed to be a blessing.  May it be so throughout this day. In the name above every name, the name of Jesus, Amen.




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

COME AND DIE + RESURRECTION REFLECTION #1


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016

47 DAYS TO RESURRECTION SUNDAY


SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 9:18-25

18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?


REFLECTION: Too many professing Christians imagine they can be identified with Christ without being crucified with Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."

Christ's disciples deny the pleasures of sin, pride, and the "self-centered life. They willfully (choose without compulsion) and willingly (choose without reservations) take up the cross daily--dying to the world and the flesh. Without a death there can be no resurrection.

Only when we die to our self-centered and selfish agenda can we rise to walk in newness of life.

Fanny Crosby expressed the same idea in her hymn "Blessed Assurance," "Perfect submission, all is at rest."

PRAYER: Our Father, Thank you for sending your only begotten Son to die on the cross for my sins. Search my heart and reveal to me any area of my life that is self-centered, or selfish, or in any way disobedient to your will.(Pause here and wait for a moment to listen for God's voice). Forgive me Lord. Purify my heart. I surrender my entire life to you. Put to death any rebellious and self-centered attitudes in my heart. Fill me with your great love. In Jesus' name, Amen.


NOTE:  It is our fervent prayer that these 47 Lenten Reflections will prove to be both inspirational and devotional.  We begin with THE CENTRALITY OF THE CROSS, then focus on THE PROPHECIES OF THE CROSS in the Old Testament and THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CROSS as revealed in Scripture.  Over the final days of this series we will make a PERSONAL JOURNEY TO THE CROSS.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

SLHC2016 + LOVE THIS, NOT THAT. # 1




The legalist tells us “do this, not that.”

The theorist tells us “believe this, not that.”

The moralist tells us “judge this, not that.”

The loyalist tells us “stand here not there.”

But the Christ tells us “love this, not that.” Then he shows us how love thinks “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?,” and how love acts, “if you love me keep my commandments.”

Performance based Christianity is heartless. 

Precept based Christianity is powerless.  Intellectual assent may change what we believe, but it cannot change who we are.

But Passion-motivated Christianity is holistic and holy—transforming our minds, conforming our actions, and purifying our hearts to be like Christ.

IF THERE WAS EVER A GENERATION THAT NEEDED A DEEPER LIFE—DEEPER FAITH, DEEPER HOPE, AND DEEPER LOVE—IT IS OURS.   WE ARE PAYING, AND WILL PAY DEARLY, FOR OUR UNWILLINGNESS TO FOLLOW CHRIST WITH A SINGLE EYE. 

The ST. LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION (#STLC2016) is calling for Christian leaders from across the nation to convene in St. Louis for TWO DAYS OF PRAYER, WORSHIP, PREACHING, DISCUSSION, TEACHING, AND FELLOWSHIP!

YOU WILL BE BLESSED AND YOU WILL BE A BLESSING!

Our Keynote Speaker each evening is HARRY PLANK, of GOD’S MISSIONARY CHURCH in Pennsylvania.  This man of God communicates the plain truth in plain terms and with passion.

YOU’LL BE BLESSED BY THE MUSIC OF PHIL ALEXANDER at the Keyboards, and THE UNION BIBLE COLLEGE QUARTETS SINGING.

Also speaking and leading seminars will be:

PASTOR TROY BOLEN

EVANGELIST BEN CRAWFORD

PASTOR ANDREW DURST

PASTOR JOHN EAVEY

MISSIONARY STEPHEN GIBSON

PASTOR DALE HAYFORD

BISHOP/PASTOR MARSH JONES

PASTOR DAVID KNIGHT

PASTOR MARSHALL MOSLEY

MISSIONARY JOHN POFF

PASTOR/MISSIONARY BOB THOMPSON, JR

AUTHOR/PASTOR WALLACE THORNTON

PASTOR DAN PLEMMONS

SISTER BECKY SCHENCK will be leading ladies meetings.

MISSIONARIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN INVITED.  We’re expecting several.

DELICIOUS MEALS WILL BE PROVIDED.  We can help with discounted lodging and free transportation from the airport, train stations, and bus terminals. 

We are insistently, consistently, and persistently praying for a mighty move of God among all who are attending.  We have heard that people are coming from MISSOURI, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, OHIO, MICHIGAN, ALABAMA, SOUTH DAKOTA, KANSAS, and IOWA.  WE HOPE YOU’LL BE NUMBERED AMONG THEM!

John Wesley said, ““Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.” 

WE ALL KNOW THAT UNLESS SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING EVERYTHING IS AT RISK.  LET’S START BY MEETING ON THE LAST THURSDAY AND FRIDAY OF THIS MONTH IN ST. LOUIS.

Call or text (314) 607-1424 or email: PastorRick@FCCStLouis.org if you have questions.




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FEBRUARY 2016 FCC UPDATE






February 2016

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
                                                                6 Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:.
P H I L I P P I A N S   1 : 3 – 6

+ LENTEN SEASON Begins Wednesday, February 10
+ Biblically Married Couples of All Ages Are Invited to a Lovely Valentine Dinner Saturday, February 13, 6 p.m. at the Parsonage
+ GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS SUNDAY! February 14
+ ST. LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION + Thursday & Friday, Feb 25/26
Phil Alexander & UBC Singers – Harry Plank & Many Other Great Speakers
+ALLEGHENY WESLEYAN COLLEGE CHOIR + Sunday, March 13, 11am
+ PALM SUNDAY, March 20
+ GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE, 7:00 pm, March 25
+ RESURRECTION SUNDAY, 7am, 11am, 6:30pm, March 27

GOOD MORNING!
You’re making history! This is our 20th Anniversary year!  The Lord willing on Sunday, September 18, FCC will celebrate 20 years of ministering the wonderful grace of Jesus to greater St. Louis.  IN FACT WE PASSED OUR 1,000TH SUNDAY ON NOVEMBER 22, 2015, and This Weekend will be our 1,012th Lord’s Day telling the greatest story ever heard—God loves, Jesus saves, and the Spirit sanctifies!


As you can see there are some great events planned over the next 10 weeks at FCC!  Scripturally Married Couples of every age will enjoy dinner at Pastor Rick & Vickie’s home on Saturday, February 13 at 6:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to not only enjoy some great food but to experience a wonderful time of fellowship and inspiration from the Word of God for your marriage. 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 WE ARE PRAYING FOR A WONDERFUL “GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS!” RALLY DAY! If you have a loved one or friend who needs to be saved, you will want to invite them, sit with them, and maybe have them over for dinner.  You can be sure they will hear the way of salvation

THE ST. LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION will be the best ever as we welcome preachers from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Michigan, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Iowa.  YOU’LL LOVE THE PREACHING OF HARRY PLANK each evening at 7 pm, Thursday and Friday, February 25, 26.  PHIL ALEXANDER will be at the keyboard and UNION BIBLE COLLEGE SINGERS will bless us with their great music.



We begin our JOURNEY TO RESURRECTION SUNDAY on Wednesday, February 10.  There will be daily devotionals, inspiring music, and a number of special services between now and Resurrection Sunday, March 27.

SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2016
Hear the Allegheny Wesleyan College Choir 11am

SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2016 PALM SUNDAY CELEBRATION and Kid’s Parade

GOOD FRIDAY, March 25, 2016 7pm

RESURRECTION SUNDAY, March 27, 2016
7am SONRISE SERVICE, 11am & 6:30 pm WORSHIP AND PRAISE

We begin this year with a series of messages on OUR CHRISTIAN CONFIDENCE.  You can read each chapter on our www.ReachingForth.blogspot.com site.  Apparently we have touched a nerve as more than most are reading and sharing this post.  We hope to publish a booklet of these messages in the near future.

We have often heard it said, “The family that prays together, stays together!”  We’re sure that’s true.  In fact I read a study that showed that of the families who take time every day to read the Bible and pray with their children, the divorce rate is less than 1%.  Wow!

But what’s true for the biological family is true for the church family.  When we pray together, and each take part in worship, we are more devoted to the Lord and His Church.  For that reason we’ve been doing what we can to infuse more involvement into our Sunday Services.  You’ll see different people reading the Scriptures, giving announcements, singing and playing instruments, and taking part in the services.  I think you’ll find it to be a blessing. 

Sure looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at FCC!  Call or text or email or send up a smoke signal if I can help you in any way.  Be assured of our love and hearts full of gratitude for all your mean to us!

Onward!


Pastor Richard M. Jones

FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH –  A Crusaders Church of America

Telephone (314) 298-5840; Cell Call or Text (314) 607-1424    PastorRick@FCCStLouis.org   Blog: www.pastorrickjones.blogspot.com

P.S. Thanks for praying and faithfully supporting FCC with your tithes and offerings.  We are thankful that though we ended 2015 with giving down nearly $10,000 our ending balance was $200.00 more than 2014!  God is helping us meet our needs.  Thank you again. Keep praying. It is not easy raising $9,000 a month. We are so grateful for your investment in eternity bound souls and the work of the Lord. 




Friday, January 22, 2016

A DEEPER LIFE #SLHC2016 - ST LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION 2016






“Trivial pursuits” are trending.

Politics smacks of “Reality TV.”

Thinking is out. Feeling is in.  “Yeah! Let’s make America great again!”



Soft drinks are “light!”

Church services are “lite.”

And thinking is the “light-est” we’ve ever seen. 



It’s easier to coast than to climb.

It’s easier to ride than to push.

It’s easier to talk than to act.



And it’s easier to nod our heads in disapproval, than it is to bow our heads humbly seeking God’s approval—His good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives.



And we have the audacity to invite you to #SLHC2016 focusing on THE DEEPER LIFE!



It is our conviction that our crisis is not intransigence (a stubborn unwillingness to change), our crisis is indolence (we are too lazy to pray, to think, to act, and to do what is necessary to be disciples). 



Nearly everyone agrees that our nation is heading the wrong direction.  Thoughtful Christians can see that churches are losing their grip.  And in our own Zion, we who contend for Scriptural holiness have witnessed “a great falling away.” 



And yet we do not want to do the heavy lifting that must be done.



Is there an easy way to get a crowd?  Sure!  Give them what they want not what they need.



Is there an easy way to increase the offerings? Of course!  Offer tangible benefits and don’t say a word about the sins of your donors.



Is there an easy way to keep your pulpit? Absolutely!  Preach profound masterpieces that soothe sinners and wouldn’t offend the devil if he was in the congregation.  Preach generalities not specifics.  Hit legalism hard and be gentle toward the liberal.



The “easy way” has brought us to a moment of crisis.  Evangelism has all but disappeared.  Discipleship is dissipating.  Holiness is out. Worldliness is in.

 And the Church has lost her sanctifying influence in our culture.



WE MUST HAVE A REVIVAL OF THE DEEPER LIFE.



The ST LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION is an annual gathering of dedicated Christian leaders who are praying and believing and working for a revival of Scriptural holiness.



Our goals are specific:

1.     To fervently seek after that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”  Heart purity is first. 

2.    To diligently discern the implications of Scriptural holiness—doctrinal, practical, and spiritual. We contend for orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and ortho-cardia.  We love the works of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Fletcher, Adam Clarke, Joseph Benson, Francis Asbury, Thomas Coke, William Booth, Catherine Booth, J. B. Chapman, Phineas Bresee, Richard Taylor and holiness writers and preachers of every generation.

3.    To engage our generation—both in and out of the church--with the truth and reality of Scriptural holiness. 

4.    To network those of the same heart. 



We will have prayer meetings, church services, teaching seminars, open forum discussions, and a great fellowship.  We are doing all we can to make it easy for you to come (ie. meals are freewill based).  If you’re interested please let us know how we can help you get here.



HERE’S THIS YEAR’S LINE-UP



HARRY PLANK, General Superintendent Emeritus of GOD’S MISSIONARY CHURCH will be speaking at both evening services at 7pm.



MUSIC WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE UNION BIBLE COLLEGE QUARTETS and PHIL ALEXANDER AT THE KEYBOARDS. 



SISTER BECKY SCHENCK will be leading A LADIES’ TRAC on both days.



OTHER GREAT SPEAKERS include:

MARSHALL MOSLEY

ANDREW DURST

ROBERT THOMPSON, Jr.

JOHN POFF

STEVEN HIGHT

WALLACE THORNTON

TROY BOLEN

DAVID KNIGHT

STEPHEN GIBSON

BEN CRAWFORD

DALE HAYFORD

MARSH JONES, and

DAN PLEMMONS



The convention is sponsored by the JOHN WESLEY FOUNDATION of ST LOUIS and hosted by FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH, 2969 N. Lindbergh, St. Ann, MO 63074.



WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU HERE!



We are expecting and praying that everyone attending will leave with a deeper love for God, a deeper desire to know the will of God, and deeper determination to walk in holiness and righteousness.



ONWARD!




Pastor Rick Jones & Pastor/Missionary John Poff



P.S.  We have just confirmed that DARRELL STETLER will be our keynote speaker in 2017, the Lord willing.


Monday, January 11, 2016

CONFIDENCE SLAYERS - Part 2 of OUR CHRISTIAN CONFIDENCE


         





        Forty years ago I called on an elderly lady who was burdened with many difficult circumstances.  She was not healthy, her son was often in trouble, and there was not enough money.  Her favorite, and very often repeated phrase was, “I just don’t know.”   Over and over she would say, “I just don’t know.” 

        As we visited I listened to her problems, thought with her about her trying circumstances, and then talked with her about spiritual doubts--“I just don’t know.” 
        For her “I just don’t know,” was more than just an expression.  I’m afraid it was her testimony. 

       What troubles me today is that I’m afraid it is actually the testimony of millions of others. 

        They don’t know that they are loved with an everlasting love.  They don’t know that God has a perfect plan for their lives.  They don’t know the power of grace--forgiving grace, teaching grace, saving grace, keeping grace, sanctifying grace, dying grace.  They don’t know the joy of serving Jesus.  They don’t know that the Bible is really true.  They don’t know that the Word of God is lamp to our feet, and light on our path.

CONFIDENCE SLAYERS ARE EVERYWHERE.

Educators
        Educators are great at helping us gain new perpectives--seeing what others have thought and done. But too often their open-minds keep them from discerning answers.  I'm afraid the critic was right, "Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out."
        Learning that is devoid of virtue diminishes confidence.  Facts in the context of the Christian worldview fosters confidence.

Scientists
        Scientists are good at unsettling what we thought was settled fact and settling what we know is not settled. For example, did you know that the word “Atom” literally means “that which cannot be divided.”  At one time science was sure that the Atom was the smallest particle in the universe.  Now they know it is not.  Today they are sure that life is the product of random chance, but sheer probabilities alone demonstrate the impossibility of naturalistic evolution.
        Unfortunately, secular scientists have eroded the confidence of the unsuspecting students who are unware of their intentions.  Historically this is a new phenomenon as most of those who led the scientific revolution in its infancy were Christians or Deists convinced that the universe was created by an Intelligent Designer.

Politicians
        Politicians are noted for exploiting the passions of their followers to further their personal agendas.  As they mislead their voters they engender a skepticism that depresses the mood of nations, and disheartens the good hearted.  Travel in Post-Christian Europe and you'll soon see how corruption has fostered cynicism, doubt and ultimately apathy. 

Philosophers
        Philosophers and religious leaders have driven millions into that same ditch.  They speak with such certitude, relying on their own lights, discounting the True Light, and obscuring the Way of Light.  It’s amazing how quickly moderns will accept the opinions of a popular expert over God’s revelation.  Coolness is better than rightness to the post-modern mind.

        C. S. Lewis once observed, “Experience is an honest thing.”  And so it is.  How many times have we witnessed the masses rushing to follow first one and then another leader, only to be disappointed.

Entertainers
        The popular genres of entertainment are corrosive to Christian Confidence.  Sensuality has always been the enemy of spirituality. To make matters worse we are witnessing the blending of sensual with sacred so that "feeling good" has replaced the Christian aim of "being good."  But when the music stops, and the dance is over, and the movies end, and the internet is gone, we are left with nagging doubt and overwhelming despair. 

        With that context it’s no wonder that so many people, even in ranks of the Church, are wondering if it is really possible to know anything for sure. 

"Christian" Diversity
        Add to that the diversity of opinions among believers, we are not surprised that honest, good, intelligent people are asking, “What can I know for sure?” 

        Professing Christians in one country do this. 
        Believers in other cultures do that.  
        My Christian friends on FaceBook seem to have no problems with going a different direction.
         Who are we to tell them that they are wrong? 

          The Apostle Paul faced all these questions, and the added trial of painful and life-threatening persecution.  If anyone had a reason to doubt it was Paul! 

THEN JESUS CAME!
        Hear his testimony to his young preacher, “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  (2 Timothy 1:12).          

        Assurance like this is not found in abstract ideas, scientific principles, pop-psychology, or human endeavor--it is centered in the God-Man, the Word Incarnate, the SAVIOR OF ALL THE WORLD!  This same Jesus who was born of a virgin, crucified, dead, buried, risen, ascended, and coming again is the source of confidence.

        How can Paul be so confident?  He answers, “I Know HIM!” The poet aptly penned

Not what, but WHOM, I do believe,
That, in my darkest hour of need,
Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man can give;--

Not what, but WHOM!
For Christ is more than all the creeds,
And His full life of gentle deeds
Shall all the creeds outlive.

Not what but Whom.
Not what I do believe, but WHOM!
WHO walks beside me in the gloom?
WHO shares the burden wearisome?
WHO all the dim way death doth illume,

And bids us look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live?-

Not what I do believe,
But WHOM!
Not what,
But WHOM!
 [John Oxenham, “Credo,” in Bees in Amber: A Little Book of Thoughtful Verse, 1917]