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Assurance of Salvation

With this post, I’m going to be starting a series on spiritual maturity.  As they could get rather lengthy, I will keep these lessons in outline format.  Now, as Christians we may know Christ as Savior, but where are we in our relationship with Him?  The aim of this series is to take a look at some areas in our lives that will draw us closer to Him with Bible verses for support.  If you are reading this, and you do not know Jesus as Savior, I would advise you read on also as these posts especially this one will help you know how you can rest assured you will go to heaven.

With all that being said, the first part of this series on spiritual maturation kicks off on the topic of salvation and assurance of salvation:


MEMORY VERSES: I John 5:11-13

1.   Salvation

A. Why do men need to be saved?

I) Romans 3:10, 23

II) John 3:3, 18, 36

B.  Since Adam, man has been born into sin

I) Romans 5:12

C.  Can man be saved through his own works?

I) Ephesians 2:8-9

II) Titus 3:5

III) Galatians 2:16

IV) John 14:6

D.  What is the price that God puts upon sin?

I) Romans 5:12

II) Romans 6:23

III) Revelation 20:14-15

IV) Revelation 21:8

E. What did God provide for us through His Son, Jesus?

I) John 3:16

II) John 5:24

III) John 10:9

F.  Who can be saved?

I) John 1:12-13

II) John 3:36

III) Romans 5:8-9

IV) Romans 10:13

G.  What must a person do to be saved?

I) Romans 10:9-10

II) Acts 2:21

III) Acts 16:31

IV) John 5:24

H. How do we know that God will save us if and when we call upon Him to come into our heart and cleanse us from all unrighteousness?

1) John 6:37

2) John 14:13-14

3) Romans 10:12-13

I. Have you ever personally asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart and to save you from sin and hell and make you a child of God?


2. What happened to you when you were saved?

A. Forgiven

I) Colossians 1:14

II) Romans 4:5-8

B. Justified

I) 2 Corinthians 5:21

II) Romans 4:5

III) Romans 5:9

C. Accepted by God

I) Ephesians 1:6

D. Sealed

I) Ephesians 1:13

II) 1 Corinthians 6:11

E. Complete

I) Colossians 2:9-10

F. Member of God’s family

I) John 1:12-13


3. Does salvation mean we will never sin again?

A. Is our salvation dependent upon our ability to live upright and holy lives?

I) Hebrews 7:25

II) Jude 24-25

III) Romans 3:10, 23

IV) Ephesians 2:8

B. What should a believer do when he has fallen into sin?

I) Psalm 51:3

II) 1 John 1:9

III) Isaiah 55:7

IV) Proverbs 28:13

C. Will you be happy while living in disobedience to God’s Word?

I) Psalm 32:2-5

D. What will God do if we confess our sins?

I) 1 John 1:9

E. Once we are truly born again, is it possible to lose our salvation?

I) Romans 8:34-39

II) Jude 1:24

III) John 10:27-29

IV) Philippians 1:16

V) 1 John 5:11-12


On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 09/14/10

God blessed the Gold Lions bus with 35 riders last Sunday, September 12th.  The previous Sunday, we had 34.  These are some interesting days in the Gold Lions bus as some of our kids have dropped off the face of the earth, and thus, we cannot pick them up.  Now that our crew has been fortified again, we hope to be able to invite some new kids.

What’s that you say? Our crew has been fortified? YES! We gained a new recruit to our bus in the course of the last two weeks. He’s actually Sarah’s brother, Steve (or Stev-0).  So, yeah, you know I’m excited.  I feel like an old man sometimes because I can’t seem to do all the running on my own, which is crazy, because I’m only 23 years old.

Something that I failed to mention previously is that Jennifer’s father passed away a few weeks ago.  She’s currently in the Philippines for his funeral.  Be sure to be in prayer for her.

I had an interesting problem happen to me in the last two weeks.  I am very happy that our bus kids are interesting in helping out.  During the summer, some of the little girls were helping with pouring cups of water to battle the blazing Texas heat.  Recently, they have wanted to help me knock on the doors on the Sunday ride.  I love this.  This is what I want for them, to get involved in the bus ministry!  I decided to reward them with some chocolate.

And I never imagined how problematic that would turn out to be.

I have mentioned Tammy Friddle in the past.  She is a tremendous help in our bus by providing keeping things in order in that back of the bus.  She also has a certain amount of influence over half of our bus.  So much so, that sometimes she gets a little carried away with the authority that we’ve given her. And I’m not complaining or anything like that. Here’s what happened: I promised one bus girl from her neighborhood to give her some candy for helping out on the bus.  Tammy overruled me by saying she wasn’t going to get any candy, because that’s not what volunteering is about.  Since I already made the promise and intended to keep it, I gave her the candy anyway.

The next week, Tammy was upset because I gave the girl the candy. Why? Because I went against her authority. I didn’t know this at the time, but she has become responsible for all of the kids from her neighborhood.  She knows everyone there. She’s involved in their lives. And they all look up to her. The little girl began to brag about the candy, and apparently all the kids began to cry about how unfair it was. So Tammy had to buy them all something to keep them happy. And she basically resented that. Nothing bad came of it.  I just gotta be more careful how I reward the kids.

But what I find disconcerting is the reasoning behind this. Tammy, she says, was raised to believe that every kid should get something and that no one should receive any special treatment.  And I agree to a certain extent, but I personally believe in rewarding good work.  The little girl helped.  The others didn’t.  It seems unreasonable to me to give them a prize for doing absolutely nothing.  And yet they did.  Not by my hand, mind you, but nevertheless they did.  And my problem with this situation is the lesson being taught: if someone gets a prize for helping, you are entitled to the same prize, regardless of whether you helped or not.  And that is not the kind of lesson I want them to learn.

I understand her point of view: the kids should be helping not for reward, but for the Lord.  But even the Lord rewards those that do His work.  And besides, these are kids.  Most of the time, they don’t have spiritual things on their mind (same could for said for some adults), and they need some sort of incentive to get involved before we can expect them to do them for spiritual purposes.

Just something to think about. What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments on the section below and share with others.

~My Two Cents

Thank God For Sports!!!

In the past, I must admit, I have been kind of non-confrontational. That’s going to change!!! I plan on beginning a series of posts entitled “Is it really a Big Deal.” I’m sure some feathers will be ruffled and I’m fine with that. In fact I really don’t care. Everything I will blog about will be factual and backed by scripture. So, take it up with God. However, with this post I want to be a little more mellow.  Well, at least a little. View full article »


There are denominations that believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Actually, someone should be baptized after he puts his faith in Christ. So, is baptism a requirement for salvation? The answer is resoundingly NO. Faith in Jesus alone is sufficient for salvation. Christ’s finished work on the cross has paid your sin debt. Let’s take a look at what scripture has to say:

Acts 10:44-47
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

They got baptized after they were saved. How do we know they were saved? They were speaking in tongues — which is a gift from God to believers (1 Cor. 14) and they were exalting, or magnifying, God. Non-believers do not exalt God. Also, Peter said they had received the Holy Spirit, and it happened before baptism. (Note: speaking in tongues is simply a sign of salvation. It is not necessary that a Christian speak in tongues as a proof of salvation. Not all speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30)*.

” For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” – 1 Cor. 1:17


1 Cor. 15:1-4.
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what i preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which i also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the the third day according to the scriptures

Paul is saying they got saved when they believed in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for the remission of sin. Baptism is only an outward symbol of what Christ did on the cross.

Let’s look at an example that appears to say baptism is necessary and examine it.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5

Water here means the water of the womb referring to the natural birth process. Jesus said in John 3:3** that Nicodemus needed to be born “again.” He is speaking of a physical birth through his mother’s womb. Nicodemus responds with a statement about how he cannot enter again into his mother’s womb to be born. Then Jesus says that he must be born of water and the Spirit. Then in John 3:6 He says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The context discusses the contrast between the natural and the spiritual birth. Water, therefore, is interpreted to mean the birth process.

Let’s look at another verse referring to baptism and examine it.

Romans 6:4-5
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Notice the word likeness? We’re not dying and getting buried. The figurative usage of baptism is symbolic of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We become “dead to sin” when we’re saved and we walk in newness of life.


To close, Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.


* “Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? (1 Cor. 12:30)
** ” Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Thanks for reading. God bless.  Holla!

Why Christ is the Rock upon which the Church was Built

People misuse Matt. 16:18 which says, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” They say the verse states that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built.

First of all, when we look at the original Greek of Matthew 16:18 we see something that is not obvious in the English. “…thou art Peter (πέτρος, petros) and upon this rock (πέτρα, petra) I will build My church…” In Greek, nouns have gender. It is similar to the English words actor and actress. The first is masculine and the second is feminine. Likewise, the Greek word “petros” is masculine; “petra” is feminine. Peter, the man, is appropriately referred to as Petros. But Jesus said that the rock he would build his church on was not the masculine “petros” but the feminine “petra.”

3 other times in the New Testament, is the Greek word petra used:

Matt. 27:60 “And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock(petra): and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

1 Cor. 10:4 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock(petra) that followed them: and that Rock(petra) was Christ.

1 Peter 2:8 “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock(petra) of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

In the 1st verse, it is referring to petra as a large immovable mass of rock in which a tomb was carved out. In the other two, it is referring to petra as Christ himself. In the last verse, it is Peter himself talking about Jesus. Peter himself is calling Jesus the rock…

Insight through means of Greek dictionaries and lexicons:

1. Source: Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon (636). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Petros: “πέτρος, a stone, distinguished from πέτρα
Petra: πέτρα , Ion. and Ep. πέτρη, , a rock, a ledge or shelf of rock, Od. 2. a rock, i.e. a rocky peak or ridge…Properly, πέτρα is a fixed rock, πέτρος a stone.”

2. Source: Vine, W., & Bruce, F. (1981; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996). Vine’s Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:302). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.
PETRA πέτρα , (4073)) denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.

A stone is movable, unstable and this is exactly what we see with Peter, who doubted when he walked on water, who denied Jesus, and who was rebuked by Paul at Antioch. Examples of the instances of Peter’s instability evidenced in the scripture:

Matt. 14:29-30, “And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

Luke 22:57-58, “And he denied him, saying, Woman, i know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them, And Peter said, Man, I am not.”

Gal. 2:11,14 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 14. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”

Jesus, who knew the heart of Peter, was not saying that Peter, the movable and unstable stone, would be the immovable rock upon which the Church would be built. Rather, it would be built upon Jesus and it was this truth that Peter had affirmed what he said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Matt. 16:16). This is consistent with scripture elsewhere where the term rock is sometimes used in reference of God, but never of a man.

Deut. 32:4, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

2 Sam. 22:2-3, “And he said, the LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; 3 The God of my rock; in him will i trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”

Psalm 18:31, “For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”

Rom. 9:33, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

So, time after time in the Bible, the rock was is being referred to is not Peter, but Jesus Christ himself. Thanks for reading peeps. God bless.  Holla!

Romans 13:7

Its been exactly 1 week since I last posted. I wanted to post something this weekend but a busy schedule, labor day, and not enough time in the day kept me away from the laptop. Even as I type I would really like to be sleeping…but If I don’t do this now it will never get done. And I really don’t want Aaron to fire me!!

I received the idea for this post on Sunday Morning. As I was sitting in Sunday School Preacher reminded every one that it was his last Sunday to teach the class. Next week Bro. Todd will be my new Sunday School teacher. I felt like I should use this avenue to accomplish what Romans 13:7 teaches.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Romans 13:7

Dr. Bob Smith, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

My preacher, Dr. Bob Smith, for those who may not know, came to our church 24 years ago (the same year that I was born).  Throughout my life many things have changed. I have lived in two different countries, 4 cities, and I could not even count how many houses/apartments.  But one thing has always remained a constant in my life. I never had to wonder who my pastor would be or how long he would stay. I thank God for this consistency.  Having traveled around America with my father, I realize how valuable this is. Some churches get a new pastor ever two years.

The amount of memories I have accumulated with him over the years is nothing short of priceless. From senior camp every year, to Halloween Alternatives, to going to his office for M&M’s as a small kid… there are just to many to count.  Again I must emphasize that all these memories include one man in the role of pastor… not two or three different men.

The list of people that I would consider to be primarily  influential in my life is pretty short. Preacher would be very close to the top of that list.  And two others that follow close behind him are men that God used to bring him into my life.  His influence is not limited to things I’ve learned from his messages. The life that matched the message has helped me more than any message or sermon ever could have.

I am obviously not a wordsmith, but even if I were I don’t think that I would be able to adequately put into words how much Preacher has influenced my life. Nor could I explain how grateful I am for what he has meant to me. I’ve heard most of the great preachers that have lived during my lifetime.  And I would not trade him for any of them.  I know what I believe.  I know what’s right.  I know what God expects from a pastor and from the church.  I learned it from Bob W. Smith. I am proud to be able to say that he was and will always be my pastor.

I love you Preacher and thank you for everything you have done for me over the last 24 years.  I know there are many others who feel the same way I do, but if there were not… know that I am and forever will be grateful for what you have done at Trinity Baptist Church and in the lives of the people to whom you have ministered.  Once Again THANK YOU!!

Just to paint you a little picture:  I was 10 years old in 1997, the year George Broussard and 3D Realms announced Duke Nukem Forever after the success they had with Duke Nukem 3D, one of the pioneers of PC first-person shooters.  Well, it’s 2010, I’m 23 now, and Duke Nukem Forever hasn’t come out yet.  Believe it or not, this game has been in development for nearly 14 years.  The fact that the title was never really canceled all these years has made it a farce in the gaming community, with jokes such as “this will happen the day Duke Nukem Forever comes out” (or other words, never).  Problems such as scrapping months of work in favor of updating the game’s engine and legal battles have only made things worse for those fans who have been waiting over a decade for this thing.

Just when everyone thought the game had finally been put to rest after 13 years of failed development, news surfaced today that Gearbox, the developers behind the popular game Borderlands, owned the IP (intellectual property) now and were finishing this game after 3D Realms had folded.  At this year’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a playable demo was on display on the showfloor.

I wrote this up because I want you guys to realize what a big deal this is, so much that today it has been at the top of the trending list on Twitter.  This is a game that NO ONE thought would ever be released.  The scheduled release date (once a humorous “when it’s done”) is now set for 2011.  Some gamers, understandably, still hold a certain amount of skepticism that this will happen at all.

If it does, this is what we have to look forward to:

"And Duke Nukem Forever was released ... and the rivers turned to blood and the sky became like fire, as The Horsemen began to ride."

Remember to leave your comments in the section below and share!

~My Two Cents

Tim’s Two Cents

My first thought when Aaron asked me to contribute to his blog was, “What in the world am I going to write?”  And two days later I’m still thinking the same thing!  I enjoy writing! However, I’ve never considered myself to be a good writer!  I guess that’s the joy of modern technology and the World Wide Web.  Anyone can have a blog and anyone can share their thoughts with the World (or whomever happens to stumble across your site).  You don’t have to be famous, relevant, or even a good writer.  I guess that’s where I come in (yes I ended that sentence in a preposition on purpose).

I hope to add to his blog and hopefully bring more readers.  And Aaron, if your followers start to drop…it won’t hurt my feelings if you kick me off.

Twice a week I plan on posting.  I already have a few things in mind.  So stay tuned and maybe Aaron and I can form the blogging team of the century!

TTY in a few days!
God Bless!!
Timothy Ingram

Let’s Play – The Good Old Days in a New Era

"It'll happen to you too, sonny!"

You never think about this until you get to that point, but it’s hard to talk about the past without relying on phrases such as “back in the day” or “in the good old days” or “when I was kid” because you immediately feel ancient.  At least it is for me.  So sit down, kiddies, because Old Man Specialist is about to tell a story.  A story about videogames (after the jump but before I begin snoozing). View full article »

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 08/30/10

I apologize for not updating last week.  It wasn’t so much that last week was nowhere near a stellar day on the bus like I wished I had and I didn’t want to update about it, but it was simply the laziness to write about it (well, that, and work was crazy).  This is for the best, because I get to update on the last two Sundays and do a little comparison.

On August 22nd, God blessed the Gold Lions with 29 riders.  This is a huge hit from our usual numbers, but situations beyond our control forced us to quit picking kids up halfway through.  Looking back, we had everything against us (and we always do, but this time it felt so much worse): we were short-staffed again, we had a 105 degree Texas weather, and I was careless and got dehydrated quick.  One of our little girls got sick on the way to church.  We had run out of napkins and baby wipes, and plus she ruined her beautiful dress, so we stopped at a dollar store to buy her a quick change of clothes and some more napkins.

And from here, everything went downhill.  The captain got sick as well.

With no other runners and with the danger of seeing more kids sick, we decided to call it a day and take what kids we had back to the church. We got there early but it wasn’t a good feeling.  Now my throat was sore and I still had to preach twice (one of those with only an hour of notice, which ironically turned out much better).  Needless to say, I felt horribly defeated. To be honest, I felt like I failed my bus kids for letting this happen, even though it really was beyond my control.  I especially felt bad about not picking up the other half, including a few kids that we have been working on for weeks.  Hopefully that effort will not be in vain.

So the next week came and I was afraid we would end up not doing well at all.  A situation with our foundation had me stay home and help while only one worker did the visiting (and she couldn’t do the whole route).  Luckily, the kids know we stop by regardless, so I was glad that this didn’t set us back.  I’m glad to report that on the 29th God blessed us with 37 kids, none of which got sick.  We were still short-staffed but I’m thankful for Sonya Stover who helped us out, and no workers got sick either.  Ben and Sonya also provided our promotion that day (freezer pops, or more like cool Kool-Aid, but it’s all good).  And we actually got there early in spite of the fact that we did the whole route today (and that I became more of a “walker” than a runner for the bus).  All in all, I’m happy for how things turned out.

So what’s the lesson to be learned? I personally believe that my “failure” on the 22nd was simply due to my attitude about being able to do anything without any help, not even God’s.  It’s embarrassing to admit it, but it’s probably a more commonplace problem that we care to admit.  Without God, there is no bus ministry.  Without His blessing, I will not get anything done.

I’m just one man.  I can’t possibly do everything by myself.  And I’m glad that I have the help and support of my bus staff, who make up in the areas where I need that help. So thank you, Jennifer, Sarah, Grace, Ben, and Sonya.  I know sometimes life and other commitments get in the way of our service, but I know you are committed to our bus and do what you can, which is all I could ever ask for. I’m not the Gold Lions bus. We are all the bus, together. Thank you.

~My Two Cents