Giving Grace – Our Mission

Pastor Jim Abernathy, Westwood Baptist Church, Springfield, Virginia writes the following: RMF

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Grace is a gift we receive in coming to faith in Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of grace as a gift of God in Ephesians 2:8. We are unworthy of such grace, yet God offers it freely in love. But is grace simply something we embrace and claim for ourselves, or is there another application of this wondrous gift? J. Brent Bill, in his book “Life Lessons From a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace,” says that grace isn’t just a gift we receive, but also one we share. In other words, touched by the grace of God that transforms my life, I am then to reach out to others, extending that same grace that can transform existing relationships, build bridges to new relationships, and help redeem and bring healing to broken hearts and lives.

The Third verse of Ira Wilson’s great hymn text, “Make Me a Blessing,” conveys this truth. “He writes, “Give as ’twas given to you in your need, love as the Master loved you; Be to the helpless a helper indeed, unto your mission be true.” Perhaps you have not thought of extending grace as a mission. Look around you…perhaps it is time for you and me to truly embrace this mission; blessed to be a blessing.

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Mind Melding with Christ Jesus

As a Christian I want to be able to think like Jesus.  The popular WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) is part of it but even more than that.  I would like to be able to do what Jesus would do but without even pausing to ask the question.  I.e., I would like to be so totally in tune and in sync with Him and His thinking that my response in all situations would be to react, think, and do as Jesus would.  I believe this is what the apostle Paul was telling the people when he wrote “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, KJV). What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? To me it means to think and act as Jesus did. It means making Christ-like decisions in determining how we live.  It means bringing every faculty of our mind to bear on how we actually let Jesus live through us.  And, of course, we can’t do that all on our own — we need the help of “The Helper,” the Holy Spirit, to make it happen.  With His help we can cease being conformed to this world and be transformed by the renewal of  our minds (Romans 12:2).
I realize that is a strange introduction to this article on Naval Aviation.  But, what got my attention in the article was the relationship between the pilot and his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), “Sassy.” With sufficient cockpit time together there would be a “mind meld,” at which time they would really be a great team.  That, plus the fact that the RIO actually guides the pilot is another point of  similarity between the pilot-RIO team and a person who has the mind of Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit.
This article appeared at:   as: How Do You Intercept an SU-24? Hockey Stop a Tomcat.

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How Do You Intercept an SU-24? Hockey Stop a Tomcat

by Reggie Hammond, CDR, USN
 F-14 Tomcat U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom. (RELEASED)

F-14 Tomcat
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom. (RELEASED)

[The Arabian Gulf (Mar. 18, 2003) — An F-14A Tomcat assigned to the Black Knights of Fighter Squadron One Five Four (VF-154) makes a catapult launch from the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk and her embarked Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) are conducting combat missions in support of Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom. Kitty Hawk is the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and operates out of Yokosuka, Japan.]

Get into the cockpit with CDR Reggie Hammond when he intercepts a Russian SU-24 Fencer near the coast of North Korea in one his first flights in the F-14 Tomcat.

It was just another day at the office. I was a brand new naval aviator, or “nugget”, in an F-14A Tomcat squadron, forward deployed to Atsugi, Japan and operating on the Tip of the Spear. I had arrived in August 1998 and immediately started working up to become a combat wingman in Carrier Air Wing FIVE. I was on my first underway aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) for Operation FOAL EAGLE/ANNUALEX. Those were two exercises in the Fall we did to reassure our allies on the Korean Peninsula and the islands of Japan that we cared about them.  Continue reading

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At The Altar Of The New Church

Worshipping The Orgasm Tread Softly For You Tread On My Jokes by Malcolm Muggeridge Karl Marx famously complained that “religion is the opiate of the masses.”A kindred spirit, Barack Ob…

Source: At The Altar Of The New Church

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Looking on the Bright Side

Here’s some great advice for when things turn bleak.  This article by Pastor Bob Russell appeared at: as: Stay Positive When It’s Politically Negative. RMF

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Stay Positive When It’s Politically Negative
by Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Someone sent me the following obituary, clipped from a local newspaper. “Faced with the prospect of voting either for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at the age of 68.”

The recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions have left me a little discouraged too. I’m not quite as despondent as Mary Anne Noland, but it’s easy to get discouraged about the upcoming election. The rank hypocrisy and boastful claims on both sides are demoralizing.


Hillary Clinton suggested in her acceptance speech that America is great because America is good and yet she favors permitting every form of abortion right up to the moment of birth. In his acceptance speech Donald Trump proclaimed, “I am your voice. I alone can fix it. I will restore law and order.” He did not appeal to prayer, or to God but asked Americans to trust him alone. Really?   Continue reading

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What’s Your Take On Hell

Sometimes things come at you in bunches. Recently I’ve been confronted with the subject of hell on several occasions. It started with our Men’s group studying C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, a book about how Satan uses deception, deceit and diversion to lure us into an eternity in hell.  (A more modern version of the Lewis classic is Lord Foulgrin’s Letters by Randy Alcorn.  It builds on the Screwtape concept and I find it superior and highly recommend it.) Next came a minister’s daughter staying with us as a house guest while on a summer internship. Her father, Bryan Jones, had authored a book dealing with the subject: Hell is Real — But I Hate to Admit It.  I got a copy and found it to be a super read — mostly about how to keep folks from going there.  Then, among other things, I came upon a Francis Chan article: Do You Think About Your Own Death?, which was posted at:  Most recently I came across the following article by Mike Riccardi which appeared at The Cripplegate as: Does the Doctrine of Hell Make God Unjust. My  friend Gordon Dalbey informs me that there is no word for coincidence in either Hebrew or Greek.  So, it seems like a good idea to share Pastor Riccardi’s article with you – especially since it is a really thoughtful and impactful piece on such a typically ignored topic, a subject that Demon Screwtape would recommend his junior demon, Wormwood, to have us avoid.  RMF

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Does the Doctrine of Hell Make God Unjust?
by Mike Riccardi

Pastor Mike Riccardi

Pastor Mike Riccardi

  Awhile ago, I posted some selections of Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” As it happens, three weeks ago was the 275th anniversary of the greatest sermon preached on American soil. If you haven’t read that post, I would invite you to read what I’ve called America’s greatest sermon for America’s greatest need, extraordinarily relevant for our nation today.

Sermons and teaching like that represented in Edwards’ sermon tend to generate several objections, including the notion that it is unjust for God to punish those who die in their sins for eternity in hell. I want to respond to that objection today.

Two Disclaimers

Law school

Law school

But before I jump in, I want to make a couple disclaimers. First, this post does not set out to prove that the biblical picture of hell is that of eternal conscious torment. For the sake of time and space I assume it to be so. I know there are strenuous objections to this doctrine from the various corners of unbelief—both from those who do and do not claim to be Christians. Though I vigorously believe this to be the biblical teaching, it simply falls outside the scope of this post to make a full defense of the doctrine. For those looking for that, you might start here. Continue reading

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Discerning the Lie

I am fascinated by military strategy. To me the most interesting component of war fighting strategy is what Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz, the Prussian general

Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz

and military theorist, described as the “fog and friction” of war in his most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War).  In actual combat there is, thanks to fog and friction, a vast difference between what ought to be theoretically and what turns out to be the real situation.  The job of the military commander is to sort out the schemes of the enemy designed to deceive, distract, divide and thwart his forces while inflicting the same on his enemy.  As children of God we find ourselves in a similar warlike situation in that satan is relentless in seeking to mislead us with erronious information while trying to divert our attention from our Savior and His provision for us.  Praise God that He has given us the ultimate war-fighting manual, the Bible, by which we have all we need to discriminate between truth and deception and be victorious in life.
The following is a really helpful article written by my online friend April Cassidy, who is a leading voice in women’s ministry.  April itemizesScreen Shot 2016-07-11 at 9.53.12 PM various types of lies that attempt to deceive us.  She has also listed resources that are useful in dealing with the lies we are prone to believe.  This article appeared first at April’s website at: as: Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced.  Incidentally, I highly recommend April’s book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in  Submission to Christ as Lord.  It contains wise counsel on how to have a fulfilling and godly marriage.

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Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

By April Cassidy

April Cassidy "The Peaceful Wife"

April Cassidy
“The Peaceful Wife”

Here are some lies I have come up with that some of us may believe – I’m sure they don’t all apply to everyone, but they may give you some ideas to prayerfully consider as you invite the Holy Spirit to examine the hidden motives of your heart in your quiet time. This is not an exhaustive list! If you recognize that some of these lies are things you struggle with, I invite you to search on a site like or for terms to find verses in Scripture that reveals God’s truth about these topics. Be willing to REALLY dig into whatever lies are issues for you and spend as much time as you need to hash through what is true and what is not true. Some of these things are not conscious beliefs, but rather unconscious fixed beliefs upon which we have built our lives. Allow God to transform your thinking though the power of His Word! Compare everything any human author said against the Bible. Be willing to trash ungodly thinking and rebuild your life on God’s Word.

Lies about Perfectionism/People Pleasing:

1. I should be able to be perfect in my own strength without Christ. I’m a good person. I am not a wretched sinner.
2. Other people’s approval is the most important thing.
3. If I can do things perfectly in my eyes, I can control everything and I will be safe and can be guaranteed the outcomes I desire.
4. My approval and opinions are more important than God’s.
5. I am responsible for things that really aren’t my responsibility.
6. If I am not worried, afraid, and trying so hard that I am exhausted, I don’t really love other people.
7. I can’t relax and enjoy intimacy with God or with others.
8. My value is in what I do – not in who I am or in what Christ did for me.
9. If I don’t ever make mistakes, other people will love me and never be upset with me. This is a reasonable plan.
10. Perfection, in my definition(i.e.: how clean my house is, or how much I follow a list of manmade rules), is more important than people and relationships.
11. I am the key here, not God.  Continue reading

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RIP Wayne B. Smith

Bob Russell remembers a great Christian minister.  This blog post appeared at as Wayne B. Smith (1929-2016) One of a Kind.  I had the honor of meeting and being present for Pastor Smith’s teaching and preaching and there is no doubt that God truly shed His grace on those who were able to share in his life.  RMF

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Wayne B. Smith (1929-2016) – One of a Kind

by Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

My good friend Wayne Smith died in his sleep last Wednesday morning. He was 87. He had just met with a group of 70 preachers at noon the previous day and encouraged them to be faithful. I’m so thankful he died peacefully in his own room at Sayre Christian Village. I wouldn’t ask for his passing to be any different but I am really grieving his death. I don’t cry a lot but when I tried to tell my wife what I’d just learned I lost it. I’m really going to miss Wayne Smith and so are a multitude of others.

Pastor Bob Russell and Pastor Wayne Smith

Pastor Bob Russell and Pastor Wayne Smith

(Left to right) Pastors Barry Cameron, Bob Russell, Wayne Smith, and Wally Rendell
(Left to right) Pastors Barry Cameron, Bob Russell, Wayne Smith, and Wally Rendell
I’ve often tried to analyze what made Wayne such an effective leader, pastor and preacher. Why was he able to lead a startup church in Lexington, Kentucky to become a church of thousands? Why was he so loved and respected not only in central Kentucky but by ministers and missionaries all around the world? What was there about him that resulted in so much influence both inside and outside the church?  Continue reading

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