Decay of Nations

I began preaching through Isaiah several weeks ago and am very thankful to God for these strong warnings. As one looks and listens to Isaiah warn the nation of Israel it is not missed why they were judged by God so harshly as they ignored God and His preacher.

I began preaching chapter three last Lord’s Day. Here, Isaiah informs the nation of what it will look like as the decay of the nation is in full effect. There are many things along the way that lead to this but Isaiah makes it very clear what the last days of the nation that rebels against God looks like. All nations should look closely at this. All Churches should pay close attention to this. Every family should stop and look into these words. Every professing believer should examine his life closely against the plumb line of holy Scripture.

Here is a general look at the entire chapter three. (Based on Isaiah 3:1-12)

  • There will be a removal of the great and mighty men. One of the first marks of decay is not a falling away of great men, but a removal of them. There will be a noticeable shortage in the land of wise, prudent, disciplined, discerning, honorable, skilled men of honor and valor.
  • The shortage of men of honor and valor will be replaced with incompetent, undisciplined, dishonorable,  and childish desires will seize them to attract selfish attention upon themselves and prolong childhood by delaying manhood.
  • There will be a rise of weak willed, moody, rude, arrogant, disrespectful, children who will demand from and oppress the elders. Many cities will notice a shortage of reliable and discerning leaders. Churches will water down the criteria for biblical leadership in light of this great shortage. Children will rule their homes with demanding behaviors that parents will give in to for fear of tyrannical tantrum raging children.
  • A generation or two of this without widespread correction of course will only intensify selfishness among society at large.
  • Disrespect for elders becomes the norm of the day. Where there is a lack of biblical social order in the home, in the church, and in the society, anarchy becomes a path most desired and appears appealing to the majority. This kind of chaos replaces peace with widespread unrest.

It is necessary for this progression to happen for a total collapse of a nation. If foolishness attempted to overthrow a nation ruled by men of valor and godly honor it would be thwarted with ease and a corrective course would happen quickly.

The family must recover. Husbands must pray that God would grant them courage and pray that God would give mercy to their wives. Fathers must instruct the children and mothers must gather and nurture the children. Parents must co-labor in this God ordained duty.

Where are you family?

The church must come out of her slumber. Pastors must lead, deacons must serve, congregations must secure the preaching post with heralders of truth. She must advance this gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ without any mixture of the philosophies of men or fallen angels.

Where are you church?

Where the family and church was once the birthplace and training ground that society looked to for principles of justice and good will, the majority are now petri-dishes of undisciplined selfish little boys and girls who demand others give them what they want while redefining and rebuilding a society that more impoverishes and distresses  with the markings or the Judges of what it’s like when everyone does what is right in their own eyes and hates that which is true and just.

Arise Church! to your duty! The day demands it! Our Lord commands us!

Go into this day and advance this Gospel, now!

 

An Open Letter to Crossway Church, Keene, New Hampshire

Dear Pastor Craig Johnson and to the Saints at Crossway Church, Keene, Hampshire,

My name is Paul Thompson, I pastor Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho. This past Sunday evening we had the privilege of having Sam, Sarah, and their sweet children with us as they introduced their hope to soon relocate to Croatia for the training of Pastors, planting churches, and strengthening the church.

I want to express joy in the Lord for the opportunity to meet Sam and Sarah Wulbrandt. It was a blessing to have a few occasions to visit with them while they are here in Idaho and to hear of the desire God has planted in them to obey His word and of the intentional work of your church in Keene, New Hampshire.

Sam and Sarah were so kind in how they spoke of our God and the seriousness of this gospel work before them in Christ. Sam was faithful in his exposition of 2 Timothy. His preaching was timely, passionate, and  articulated with the precision of the word of God.

May the Lord be pleased to raise up in our churches many like Sam and Sarah.

To the uttermost with the Gospel,

Paul Thompson
Eastside Baptist Church
Twin Falls, Idaho

Keep Watch

Psalm 141:3-4
3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice deeds of wickedness
With men who do iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Christian, never forget that we are called to live a disciplined life.

As often as possible, I attend the weekly city council meeting of the City of Twin Falls. I consider the experience as both part of my duty as a citizen and a pastor in the city. Every week the agenda provides for a time for members of the community to speak to the city council about whatever is on their mind. As a citizen of the United States, among all the nations of the world, this kindness from God is not missed on me.

Privilege is no permission to remove the guard and behave undisciplined.

The Psalmist (above) asks God to set a guard over his mouth and keep watch over the door of his lips. Then, because he is disciplined and knows his propensities asks God to not give him over to the inclination of his heart to do any evil thing or to practice the deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity and there eat of the same food (do the same) as those who oppose God.

There is no secret that the city of Twin Falls has become a topic in local and national, traditional and non-traditional news outlets in the past few years. My thoughts today are not about matters related to religious differences between Christianity and Islam, the differences are clear and distinct. My thoughts are not about the cultural dangers of a philosophical conflict Islam presents with the constitution of the United States, there is substantial evidence that points to the fact that the religion of Islam poses serious threat and I have spoken of this.

My thoughts are about how people, professing Christians particularly, speak in the public square when there is conflict. For me, Scripture has to be the rule that governs my thoughts as well as my words. Following are some thoughts for consideration based on years of listening and observing how people speak in the public and speak about and to people of authority.

Give respect. Show respect. You are an ambassador of Christ’s reconciliation. If you want Christ to be known then put yourself aside and put Him upon display in how and what you say. Your patriotic spirit is best seen as you salute the flag at the start of the meeting.

  • Speaking in a public civic meeting must be limited. Don’t let limited time restraints create an angst against leaders. Count a time limit as a blessing.
    • Time limits in the public square causes us to purposefully process what you intend to say. Brevity in the public square helps give clarity. Choose your words carefully. Time limits help put a guard over your mouth.
    • Consider writing out what you intend to say. This helps you to avoid saying something you didn’t mean to say or saying something that may be poorly communicated.
    • Don’t waste your words.
  • Refrain from name calling. There is no benefit and you don’t win a listening ear when you use degrading names to the ones you hope will listen to you. You must speak with respect. If you don’t you are the fool everyone talks about after the meeting.
  • Refrain from cursing. I get it, hardly anyone, and I mean anyone, exercises this discipline anymore. Cursing wins nothing, ever. If you want to be known as a slave of Christ, then keep your speech honorable. There have been city council meetings where cursing is used, trust me, it doesn’t look good or sound good.
  • Consider your attire. It is hard to define “appropriate”, but at least consider what your clothing communicates. To address a person of authority in a t-shirt, wearing a hat, disheveled appearance may actually communicate that you don’t take your issue serious enough to even consider respect. Like it or not, you must give consideration to this. Swallow your pride, comb your hair, and leave your Three Stooges t-shirt for movie night at the park.
  • Speaking with genuine respect is not the same as manipulative flattery. Being polite and respectful is no shameful thing. People may accuse you of flattery, but if you’ve checked your motives and you’ve established boundaries for your words you can be at peace that you have been genuinely respectful.
  • Be courteous. Address public officials with sir and ma’am, Mr. and Mrs. Guard your tone. People know when your tone is condescending.
  • Avoid generalities.
  • Avoid slander.
  • Take note of your heart rate as you prepare to speak. Take deep breaths. Take a drink of water before you speak.
  • If you expect your public officials to uphold the constitution of the United States it is no small thing that you should do the same.
    • This is not the time to declare someone as guilty of a crime because you’ve read things or heard things. We have a judicial system for this. Our constitution protects us from being found guilty of something until it’s proven in a court of law that one is guilty. If you believe someone has committed a crime, there are legal means to process through. You are a person under authority. First to God, then to country. To publicly accuse someone without due process is a violation of the constitution.
  • Remember this, you may have to go back and sit down next to someone who disagrees with you.

At the end of the day say what is helpful, give serious voice to the conversation. After speaking, sit down with your head up because you represented the Kingdom of Heaven with integrity. To do so is no guarantee that you will be spoken highly of or respected but they’ll have to make up things about you to speak ill of you. Don’t give them a reason to discount you, make them make stuff up about you if they want to speak ill of you.

 

 

 

 
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 141:3–4). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Parents, Walk in a Manner Worthy of Being Followed by Your Children

It is the desire of all God honoring parents to want their children to live God pleasing lives. The duty of godly parents is to, first of all, conduct their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27). That is; living in an authentic manner that can be modeled by others. Part of the parenting work is one part instruction and two parts setting an example of patterns.

A pattern is something to be copied/imitated in action or attitude. The duty of setting a pattern is a high duty.

Parents, be patterns… (patterns, not pretensions)

  • Let your children see in you the patterns of godliness.
  • Let your children see in you the patterns of holiness.
  • Let your children see genuine patterns of compassion.
  • Let your children see your horror of sin.
  • Let your children see you value Christ.
  • Let you children hear your love for Christ’s church.
  • Let your children hear you sing praise to God.
  • Let your children hear your cracking voice when you speak of the holiness of God.
  • Let your children see you smile at the news of God’s grace.
  • Let your children see in you a pattern of prayer.
  • Let them hear your humble repentance.
  • Let them watch you conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Next time you are in conversation, don’t forget there are intentional observers watching and listening to you and are about to imitate your words, body language, phrasing, tone, eye rolling, facial expressions and all such.

Be exemplary.

It’s exhausting to be on spot at all times. You really never get to let your guard down (and it’s best that you don’t). Let them see in you a striving toward joy in the Lord. Let them see a pattern of desire to conduct your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel; not because you deserve the gospel, but because of Christ’s work on your behalf.

O dear parents, let them see how they should walk. They may choose to reject you and your God, but not because you didn’t set a pattern of God honoring conduct.

Go, show them who your Lord is; they are watching you, always.

What Man Intended for Harm, God Intended for Good

It’s difficult to determine the outcome of life circumstances based on circumstances. It’s difficult to see what God is intending for good when difficulty is ruling the day. Then there is the risky task of concluding the finished outcome of something that is still unfolding. That has been the way it has been for the past six years in relationship to a gospel work God has begun, birthed in disaster, bathed in humiliation and seasoned with joy.

I want to share a brief moment from a recent trip to Haiti with pictures. Anyone wanting more details of the ongoing ministry of New Horizon Home/School/Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I’m more than willing to share more details either in print or in speaking with your church or mission/ministry groups of our ongoing, unfolding, unfinished, developing work in international gospel work.

Here are a few moments from the most recent trip.

img_20161101_0939359881 img_20161101_1026004121 img_20161101_0940232491 img_20161101_1026091771 img_20161101_1050053541 img_20161102_2012268801 img_20161103_1045464451 img_20161103_1201319931 img_20161106_0655139461 img_20161106_0700137051 img_20161106_071841642_hdr1 img_20161106_0842143161 img_20161106_0910443201 img_20161106_132624919_hdr1 img_20161106_1756391511 img_20161107_081256641_hdr1 img_20161107_081442528_hdr1 img_20161107_081449719_hdr1 img_20161107_0829105831 img_20161107_0818256441img_20161101_0940095931
img_20161104_1520445651img_20161103_1201319931
img_20161102_1417369481img_20161102_141740397_hdr1

Apparently the Pope Does Not Know the Gospel

I was hoping for better than this as my first political statement of the year:

“Wait-a-minute! What did the Pope just say about the Gospel?”

Today, according to all reports, the Roman Catholic pope, Francis, weighed in on presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

This may go down as one of the worst theological statements of the current election season from a ‘religious’ leader. Not only is it a poor theological statement, it’s bad logic in general.

Granted, I can only go off of the translated manuscripts. (Full Manuscript HERE)

Pope Francis: Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ At least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

I have never read anything in the Bible that puts ‘bridge building’ or ‘wall building’ as being the litmus test for being a Christian.

That’s bad theology, and needs to be called out as bad theology.

His logic, if fleshed out, puts all wall builders in danger of Hell fire.

I will give the pope the benefit of the doubt on this though. I’m sure he wasn’t talking about me and the wall I built to divide my living room to create a guest room in my house; was he? No, probably not.

Two tragedies:

  1. This kind of talk confuses the Gospel.
  2. This kind of talk seems to only help Donald Trump.

For clarity: this is no statement by me to defend or declare Donald Trump a Christian or not. He appears to be a shrewd businessman/politician. Which has nothing to do with being a Christian. I’m still weighing his demeanor/speech/conduct/overall character against the plumb-line of Scripture.

My hope is to get to cast a vote for Ted Cruz in the upcoming presidential election. I’m a long time registered independent and so I don’t get any say in who any party puts up for election, but I always – always – vote on election day.

At the end of the discussion, Only God can bridge the gap between His glory and your sin. And For greater clarity, Pope Francis, this is the Gospel: Romans 5:1-21

1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

      6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

      12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

      15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

      18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We Stand Ready to Preach This Gospel

Dear Twin Falls and the Magic Valley,

The born-again, repenters of unspeakable sins, who gather at 204 Eastland Drive North in Twin Falls, Idaho cried out to Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians  1:10) and found a solid ground to stand upon.

By the grace of God we found a solid place to stand, a firm foundation that did not disappoint.

This was not a place filled with romance that never delivered on its false promises.

We, too, were once slipping down a slippery slope to certain disaster, accumulating false teachers and creating false doctrines to justify our fleshly cravings when a faithful soul, standing on a firm foundation, gave a clear warning; We didn’t even know we were sinners at the time. That faithful follower of the Lord Jesus spoke of a righteous God who would justly judge all sinners and find us guilty and already condemned.

This righteous, loving God invited us to respond to His holiness and repent. By His grace, we were rescued, in faith, by the satisfying requirement of the necessary death of a perfect life. Jesus Christ, this redeemer of sinners took our place, and appeased the wrath of God on our behalf. What a Savior.

Like us, when you discover that helpless estate of pride, selfishness, and unbelief, cry out to God in the name of Jesus the Christ, described by the bible, repent and be saved.

May He plant your feet on a firm foundation, on Christ the Solid Rock. Where “all other ground is sinking sand, may you in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”

We stood ready to preach this gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ when it was popular; and now, when it’s not, with great patience and instruction, we ask God for strength to endure. We will not, by the grace of God, abandon our post in the city. We will steadfastly engage in the advancement of the gospel.

We strive to speak with compassion, as those before us, so as to call all sinners unto repentance.

To compromise our message is to compromise our duty. To abandon our duty is of unimaginable hatred.

We remain steadfast as ever, willing to endure hardship for payment. Come, all who deserve God’s wrath, come, come, to Jesus. He stands able and ready to redeem all repenting sinners.

Paul Thompson
Eastside Baptist Church
Twin Falls, Idaho

Doss Thompson

Early this morning my dad finished the race.

Grandpa Doss ThompsonSome of the best things about gathering with extended family are the pictures. The stories begin to flow, tears swell, laughter is deep and a consideration of your heritage take residence in the mind.

This is my grandpa Doss Thompson. There is not a date on the photo but he was in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during WWI

Unless you are family, you’ve never heard of Doss Thompson. He was my grandfather, my dad’s dad. He died when I was two years old. But in the scope of eternity, Doss Thompson was the father of Clyde Robert Thompson. By the sovereignty of God, God used a man you’ve never heard of to father a man who would take the gospel into towns where few people live and even fewer preachers were humble enough to go.

It was at the age of 9 when that preacher, the son of the man you’ve never heard of, talked to me about my need for a Redeemer. This same preacher did this same duty time after time to countless people you’ve never heard of.

The kind of preacher this preacher wants to be is the kind of preacher who doesn’t think he’s bigger than life. I’m satisfied this week to preach the funeral of a preacher who knew he was not bigger than God.

 

Divorce, A Financial Drain on Local Governments

CitizenLink reports that “family breakdown” costs taxpayers approx $112 billion per year in America. Read that sentence again…

That’s $1 trillion per decade.

Part of this financial burden on the government comes from professing born-again believers. I respect that there are real people with aching pain walking through some of their darkest days. When there is a lack of biblical preaching on this matter we should not be surprised that the financial expense on the court would be drastically increased.

What if the church spoke into this matter with care and boldness once again?

There’s no doubt the taxpayer will have a bill to pay as the family continues to breakdown. But what if the church took responsibility of this critical matter? What if the state let churches issue their own marriage licenses and divorce had to be achieved through the church where the marriage took place?

At least the church would no longer be a financial burden to taxpayers for marriages they performed. Marriages would have increased accountability. Churches would have increased responsibility. Government could spend money on civic needs rather than paying the ever increasing bill of “family breakdown”.

Can you imagine if just Christians stopped divorcing… not that that is a radically biblical expectation. The financial burden on the taxpayer is among the last reasons for the church to put greater investment into family strength, but it is at least a reality of the day we are in where family breakdown is showing to be a great burden.

The primary reason for the church to always speak into this matter is because this godly relationship is ordained of God as a representation of the Gospel.

Hey, husband and wife, this is a good day to speak the Gospel into your community by not being a financial burden to your fellow taxpayers.

 

The Plain Gospel

“Weary, working, plodding one,
Wherefore toil you so?
Cease your doing, all was done
Long, long ago.

“Till to Jesus’ work you cling
By a simple faith,
Doing is a deadly thing,
Doing ends in death.

“Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner, No,
Jesus did it, did it all,
Long, long ago.

“Cast your deadly ‘doing’ down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in HIM, in HIM ALONE,
Gloriously complete.”

William F. Bell

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