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Atlanta, 7 December 2016

Good afternoon! Today is Pearl Harbor Day in the United States. I cannot help remembering standing with a dear Honolulu brother on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri just last month. The Missouri is where the Japanese signed the treaty formally bringing hostilities -- and WW II itself -- to an end.

Today our planet may not be in the throes of world war, yet the reign and influence of the Prince of Peace is far from complete. Let us not tire of bringing God's word to a deeply conflicted world!

I've just returned from a visit to Denver, the penultimate trip of 2016. Out of 20 lessons I taught there, 19 were in the area of Christian evidences -- from astronomy to prophecy to the problem of suffering. It was also an honor to be asked to speak at the Denver chapter of Reasonable Faith. I spoke to Denver area campus ministries, as well as to the teens of the Denver Church of Christ. Most of the talks, however (70%) were given in the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology.

It was uplifting to reconnect with many Denver disciples of Christ from decades past! My sincere thanks to everyone in the Denver area who made this visit so rewarding (even if taxing). More than any other trip in many years, the Colorado trip was demanding, and your prayers for physical strength kept me going.

The final foray of the year begins 5 days from now -- to Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz, cities in the South American nation of Bolivia.

Before we continue with our Jesus & Jeremiah series, I wanted to bring to your attention the latest Q&A. It addresses the issue of whether salvation is a free gift, or conditional on obedience -- a question I've been asked a lot lately. Click Q&A 1447.

False charismatics today?

In Jeremiah's day, a number of religious figures deceived themselves about their spiritual experience. With their fantasy "I had a dream" -- the third and final lie Jeremiah exposed back in the 6th century BC -- they claimed to have the inside track on God's will. Yet they ignored his word! (Reread Jeremiah 23!) 

Jesus, too, challenged the sign-seeking mentality of his day (Matt 16:1-4; 12:39). The Lord is not one to be impressed by signs and wonders -- if they originate in a spiritually unstable mind that has substituted faith in self for obedience to God. The writings of the early Christians (outside the NT, about 100-300 AD) are filled with cautions about the charismania of their day. Taking their cue from Jesus -- actually, from both testaments (see Deut 13:1-18 and 2 Thess 2:9-12) -- they were unimpressed even by the genuine signs and wonders of those whose false teaching was taking their followers away from the gospel.

So, too, in our day there are tens of millions of false charismatics, men and women deceived into thinking they have a "hotline to God." We should not be easily wowed by claims of the supernatural. While feelings and emotions aren't necessarily wrong, any emphasis on feeling God over following him is a dangerous course. (For more on the modern charismatic movement, see my book The Spirit.) Don't miss the conclusion of the Jeremiah & Jesus series -- next week.

IBTM: Your donations at work

Finally, as the end of the year is nearly upon us, I thought it might be advisable to list the outstanding financial needs of the International Bible Teaching Ministry. With your help, in 2016 we have been able to give a strong boost to biblical teaching and training in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. Yet there is still some shortfall:
  • $500 -- intern support on Maui
  • $510 -- Costa Rica leaders to attend Miami School of Ministry
  • $703 -- UK ministry couple to teach in Ghana
  • $1204 -- the Hammonds' visit to Atlanta (Strength in Weakness)
  • $5263 -- teaching materials for Bangladesh, Turkey, Italy, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Trinidad, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Lesotho, and miscellaneous gifts in Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East. (Click support for the breakdown.)
  • $12,950 -- support services (secretarial and website)
  • $46,124 -- training (all cities) in Latin America, the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa. 
  • $70,087 -- teaching (all programs) in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Are you able to make an end-of-year donation to support the ministry? For the bigger picture, just click on Support at the website. You can also make an online donation there. (U.S. citizens, checks can be sent to IBTM, 2256 Rushmore Dr, Marietta GA 30062. All contributions are tax-deductible.)

Gratefully yours,
Douglas Jacoby

All material (c) 2016 by Douglas Jacoby.       unsubscribe from this list           update subscription preferences