Thursday, December 9, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So I began to think about how the disciples were focused on physical food to strengthen the body, but Jesus was referring to spiritual food to nourish the soul.
So what does food do for us? It seems like a stupid question, but nonetheless bear with me. Food satisfies an internal hunger, food taste good, food fill us up, food makes us happy, food gives occasion to fellowship with others and finally food keeps us alive. Bottom line food is great stuff.
Jesus I believe was saying the exact same thing to the disciples. He said , "My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." As I thought about that it appeared to me that my food should be the same as I walk with my Father through my relationship with Jesus. If everywhere I went and every relationship and conversation opportunity I had was potential food from the Father to satisfy the hunger to please God, to enjoy the spiritually satisfying taste of doing the Spirit's biddings from day to day how satisfying each day would be. To do His will does fill me up and satisfy the longing of my soul. When I can do the will of the Father and enjoy physical food at the same time it's a double whammy blessing.
God help me to be ever ready in his harvest to consume what food he sets before my eyes. May God prevent me from getting side tracked when He calls, that I might be satisfied with the unexpected spiritual meal He places before me more often then I probably often recognize. Oh to dine with the Master and continue in His work that He daily sets before me.
A friend called me two before Thanksgiving with an amazing story of giving through his local church. The stories of spiritual food satisfying hungry souls is yet to pour forth from what I believe was a large step of faith on his and his leaders prompting of the Father.
Dear Church Family,
The Pastor and Church Board wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving and a joyful Christmas season. When we think about being thankful, our first thoughts center upon God. We have much to be thankful for...families & health top the lists.
For many years I have pondered the possibility of giving back to our church family a gift to let each of them know just how much they mean to God and the Church. Today you are being given a gift of a hundred dollar bill. It is a gift! All we ask in return is that you begin to pray how God would lead you in dispersing His gift to you.
Some are thinking..."What is the catch?" There is no catch, there are no strings enclosed in your envelope. The only thing we ask in return is that you write out a testimony on paper and place it in a box in the back of the sanctuary. Do not sign your name, it is not important who did what, as much as we believe the impact will be something the whole church needs to share. These testimonies will be read by the pastor, and for those who would like to personally share their story, you will given the opportunity to share it publically.
So, take time and begin to pray and seek out how God wants to make you a blessing to someone between now and Christmas. The other thing we felt that was important is this: Perhaps it is you that needed this Gift from God today? Well, now how do you think God knew that?
From all of us to all of you..."It really is better to give than it is to receive"...Happy Holidays!
Which food satisfies you the most? A physical feast or a spiritual one? Let us all be mindful of the Masters table that He sets before us each day and may we find true eternal satisfaction in consuming the food that nourishes the soul.
Happy Thanksfgiving to all.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)
2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)
3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)
4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)
5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged and the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)
6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)
7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)
8. We take it too lightly that we have the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)
9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)
10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)
11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles that of the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)
12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)
13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)
14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)
15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)
16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)
17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)
18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)
19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)
20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)
21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)
22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)
23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)
24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)
25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and of business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)
26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)
27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)
28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)
29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)
30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)
31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)
32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)
33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )
34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)
35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)
36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived multitude. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)
37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)
38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)
39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)
40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)
41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)
42. Run from gospels that focus on our success and prosperity in the name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)
43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)
44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)
45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)
46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)
47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)
48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)
49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)
50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)
51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)
52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)
53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)
54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)
55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But they continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)
56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)
57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)
58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)
59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)
60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)
61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)
62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)
63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)
64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)
65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)
66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)
67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)
68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)
69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)
70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)
71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)
72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)
73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)
74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)
75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)
76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)
77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)
78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)
79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)
80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)
81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)
82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)
83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)
84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)
85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)
86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)
87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)
88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)
89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)
90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)
91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)
92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)
93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)
94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)
95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus! We need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I have heard people say thingss like " I never worship with others" and "I would rather do my own thing alone to connect with God". People who never read the bible, hardly pray or seldom do what the original followers of Christ did still call themselves "Christians". So what is a Christian? Is it what one intellectually believes even if their lifestyle never reflects it? Is it "doing" certain things on a routine basis as the bible instructs even if one's heart and life does not desire or authentically identify with it? Is it being a member of a certain church?
Over the years I have meet so many people who have said they were Christians from all kinds of angles that I got to ask again in the day we live “ What is a Christian?” Does getting baptized make you one? Is it taking classes? Is it receiving communion? Is it being a member of a church? It is going to church services in some frequency? It is possible for many to presume they are Christians when in reality they are technically not?
This is a really strange day indeed. Can you define what a Christian is? Is your definition a biblical one? Can anyone know for certain if they are a Christian or not? Well, I bet you are thinking I will end this article with answers for you, right? Absolutely not, but I will leave hints! Being a disciple ( Christian) means really knowing the answer to these questions based on what God's Word says about them. How do I know what a true Christian is? I discovered the Truth and it set me free. May God reveal to you the truth about how to know what a true biblical Christian is. Check out John 3:3 and read on! Seek Him while he maybe found.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The feast of tabernacles given to God's people most closely relates to only some of the original history of Halloween. That part being, remembering those who trusted God who came up out of slavery in Egypt and celebrating the final harvest of the year and all that God did who granted that great harvest. Tabernacles is about God and not man! The name Halloween is best associated from "All Hallows Even" which was from the Roman Catholic Church tradition for the night before All Saints Day. The tricks or treats was partly associated with Catholicism’s false teaching on remembering the dead in purgatory and the pagan religion Samhain. Samhein in the days of Halloween as it related to the belief that the dead came back to haunt or bother the living probably inspired kids and families to dress up. Since true biblical Christians know that it is not possible for dead people to come back whenever or each year it then it really can be a day that we use to mean better and more noble and hopeful things.
|Halloween is a Mess! |
At this time in history in North America Halloween means a ton of things to many people and it seems to be a mixture of twisted Christianity and paganism. To dress up and have fun once a year without being thought of as one to be supporting an evil holiday (that is super commercialized to make money) might be a difficult thing unless one really knows the truth of the Word and some of these false and non-biblical traditions. Really it's a day for the born again Spirit filled believer to talk about spiritual things and share Christ in a marvelous way if they know their stuff so to speak.
This is why I personally do not have issue with dressing up for harvest time once a year or other times and having fun. I will not celebrate what Halloween originally meant by "hallowing" dead people who have been elevated to sainthood by the Catholic church. God makes Saints when they leave a life style of sinner for following the Savior. The only "Hollowing" I can find in the bible is when Jesus said in teaching to us on how to pray to the Father. Hollowed ( Holy is your name ) "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name", ..... Matthew 6:9
I prefer Christians would take opportunity to draw attention to their costumes at this time of year to do something fun or current without reflecting on the devil or evil that is indeed so real so we might share Christ and the truth of His Word. All Saints Day was officially sanctioned by the Bishops of the Church in 993 to canonize the first Saint to be remembered and also prayed for among many things. The day after was November 2 as All Souls Day and that is another day to remember the dead and to pray for them. Even though the intent of these special days developed by the Catholic church have been twisted from the true biblical history we must remember that there are many biblical aspects of these present holidays that we can learn the truth from like what a real Saint is. Many traditions among the pagan's who call the holiday Halloween are those associated with Samhain who have more traditions that seem to be borrowed from scripture and twisted. That is another study for another time though. The Devil is a master at twisting truth to a lie and Halloween's original roots seem to be that as well. A twisting of truth is nothing less or more than wicked. For wickedness is the twisting of truth. "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead". Deuteronomy 18:10-11
So what is a Christian to do with Halloween? Know the past, know the Bible and know Jesus as your Savior and untwist the lies from the truth and reveal Jesus on all occasions. Take advantage of this season to witness to the Truth in Jesus Christ with love and a seasoning of salt to those who are clueless and just going with the flow of marketplace consumerism.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
|No harm intended!|
I recently had to call her with sad news about the death of a family member. She did not answer the phone at 10 p.m. and I wondered if she heard it or not. As other wondering thoughts passed through my mind about why she did not answer I decided to call my brother to make sure about her whereabouts. She ended up calling me back later after 11 p.m. and told me a rather funny story. The reason why it was funny was because she laughed and had such a great attitude about how her friend clawed her and sent her to the hospital.
You see my mom has a cat named Bunny and she was home enjoying the evening with her furr ball on her lap. An unexpected sound startled the cat and she clawed her in the legs without realizing it as she fled the room. Immediately my mom called 911 and the ambulance came and took her to the hospital. She received 9 stitches in her leg. When she was finished they asked her if she had a family member nearby to pick her up to take her home. She told them she had no family near. So they said,” no problem we will send you home with a police officer”.
As she was telling me about the adventures of her unexpected and long night she was so positive as well. With giggles and laughs she told me about the noise, a jumping cat, blood, stitches, ambulance and her first ever ride in a police car. Attitude certainly makes the difference in my mom’s life and I believe it is one key to her longevity as well. Instead of whining about her tragic evening that could not be undone I heard laughs, first time experiences and the joy of her first ever police car ride home
Just because someone who loves you might have clawed you, does not mean you cannot forgive, understand and release and get your lap cat back. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5 The way of Jesus is to learn to love those who claw us even when they did not intend too or for that matter even if they did. After all maybe it was an accident and the intent was not what the outcome became. Jesus said,"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Regardless of the intent, Children of God are called to forgive and love. With a Jesus kind of attitude we can learn to have joy when we are clawed.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Over a year ago after we moved into our present home my wife observed a neighbor throwing a half filled 5 gallon pail of fish guts, heads and tails under a tree close to our home. The tree was not directly in the front yard, but not far away either. The conversation between us went something like this. She said, “That is really gross, you need to go clean those guts up before the kids get sick from them over something”. I said “I don’t want to clean up someone else’s fish guts. I’ll just go tell him to clean up their own fish guts.” She said, “You can’t do that, they are our neighbors and what will they think if you say that?” I said, “I don’t know, but they should have thought of that before they dumped them next to our tree”. Back and forth we went over what was the right way to handle the unexpected fish guts and what should be done and what would Jesus do?
So it finally boiled down to me actually walking over to the fish guts and just starring at fish tails, heads and guts. It was starting to smell as well, since we live in the hot FL sun. My youngest two kids were looking at them as well saying how gross and stinky they were and wondering what dad was going to do. So I went and got my own five gallon pail and shoveled them into my bucket. Then I thought, I know what I will do, I will just dump them right on their front steps and show them. Since nobody was home the temptation grew. After another debate back and forth this time with the Lord, I finally did the right thing with the pail of fish guts. I ended up dumping them in my own garbage can and we smelled them all week long until the dump truck came.
Since then we have gotten to know those neighbors and have come to love the entire family in a Jesus kind of way. Had it not been for Jesus in our lives, fish guts might have truly divided us in the neighborhood over those stinky fish remains and how they should have been handled. If it were not for Jesus I think I would have likely dumped those heads, tails and guts in the wrong place instead of my own dumpster.
I am not perfect by any means and I know I have pulled my share of gut dumping onto someone else’s turf along the way. But I am reminded today that I can thank my God for the grace of Christ who took upon himself my stinky sinful fish guts and paid the price for me over 2000 years ago. Before I even knew how much my ‘fish guts’ would smell and would offend God he placed them positionally Under the blood of Jesus. Once I disovered Jesus and put them in His pail they never were to again smell.
Today I have a different type of ‘fish guts’ that recently got dumped into my life’s front yard by different folks. These folks are actually my brothers and sisters in Christ. As I pray and seek His grace I hope I can discover again the wonder of His Grace to know how to handle another completely different round of fish guts. I find myself again looking for more ‘Fish Gut Grace’. If he did once he can do it again. I live longing for more ‘Fish Gut Grace’.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Many years ago when I was a youth pastor in Lakeland, FL I remember a local church having a special day called "Bring a Sinner Day". Someone I knew told me about it and how they were supposed to invite people who agreed they were a sinner. As it turned out they had a great response and many people came who admitted they were indeed active sinners. People agreed to attend that day out of curiosity or honesty to be a sinner that day. I later heard that many who attended that day as sinners left as saints.
The other day I got into a conversation while out in public with a gentleman. At some point in the conversation he said "we are all sinners anyway, right?" I guess my answer shocked him because I said." No". You should have seen the look on his face! Had he meet me in 1980 I would have agreed with him. Since becoming a disciple of Jesus I do not confess I am an active sinner, because I am not. When God gets a hold of a person's heart and repentance occurs there is a spiritual transformation called being Born-Again. It is at that moment of true heart expressed repentance that sins are forgiven and sinner becomes saint. Throughout the New Testament we read how each of the epistles was addressed to the saints in certain cities.
Somehow humanity has exalted the term "saint' far beyond the reach of what the bible intended to convey.
I don't know about you, but I thank God that Jesus transformed this former active sinner into a present day active saint. My sinning days are over! To walk daily in the light as He is in the light is a joy and honor as a child of God. Once someone comes to know Jesus Christ as Savior there should not be a desire to continue in sin. Being a Saint is not about works of righteousness or how many good deeds one can do, but about a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ while living in the here and now.
So if you are tired of being a sinner then we welcome you any Sunday to come as sinner and leave as Saint. He still has the power to transform, forgive and set the prisoners of sin free and turn Sinner into Saint!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
My message title was actually "The kingdom of the rejected and a cookout with a cause". The main text was Luke 7: 36-50
The point of the message was even Jesus attended many dinners with many sinners and outcast in order to reach lost people. I noted that we have such wonderful homes, yet we often only invite those who could invite us back and that we should consider inviting the poor, the distressed and the many who have far less than we do.
I mentioned how people respond to food and fellowship and often enjoy cookouts and we should use cookouts to reach folks this summer.
When the message was over there was still 4 teens left who waited until I was done to tell me what happened. Yes I was a bit embarrassed to say the least and my teenager daughter thought it was funny. The boys who stuck around let me take them out to McDonald's and then we planned a real cookout for a few weekends from now with a pool party as well.
The lesson learned is I guess mentioning a cookout really does work, but you should be prepared to cook up what you advertise literally or it might backfire. After our time together after church I sensed God working through all my blunders in spite of me.
I am amazing at how God can work through a Cookout with a Cause message as well as a messed up understanding of a sermon title.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
After months of studying and reading about the emergent church movement I have learned a lot. One question was proposed in an article by Rev. David Felter in Sept 2009 Holiness Today was “ARE THE EMERGING CHURCH FOLKS STEALING THE CHURCH?” My answer to that question from the article is both a resounding YES as well as a resounding NO. I believe the whole emergent church thing is not simple, that is for sure. All those "emergent" leaders should read the book,”
Yes many within the emergent church movement are stealing the doctrinal clarity away from the those in the pews through false teachings. This cries Danger! Also, the answer is NO! In various ways, many are emerging to break free from ineffective methodologies so that they might more effectively win souls with new “out of the box methods” with the same clear message of holiness. Take the coffee (pot) shop method for example. Using a coffee shop atmosphere to attract people to the table to connect and share. For decades it was the Coffee Pot in the class room and now its the Coffee shop in the foyer. In the church world this is becoming more and more common as a means to share Christ inside the church buildings yet outside the class room. For a Church to use a coffee bar or “Starbucks” method in the church is an emerging methodology.
My 9 minute chat about Emerging Methods!
Read this article from Sept 2009 as well. By Rev. David Felter
Friday, April 23, 2010
Today I saw my family off to
I’ve tried listening to books, but that takes a different format to listen than reading and sometimes its great (like driving in the car for hours) for passing the time. I love a new book, but rarely do I finish them because I get bored with them unless they are exceptional all the way through. That might be the attitudes of many who listen to preachers preach sermons too. I’ve seen many sleep over the years from my sermons and many outstanding preachers as well.I even dose off in church unless my wife is next to me.
Anyway, today I did a roll call on my current books in motion and I am so overwhelmed on how many are started that I do not know where to begin to finish. I want to finish each, but….
So for the love of books here is my roll call on books at least one chapter started. How many do you have on the burner?
Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
The Orgins of Species 150th anniversary by Charles Darwin and forward by Ray Comfort.
Fearless- Maz Lucado
The 5000 Year Leap
Preaching the story that shapes us- by Dan Boone
Why We’re Not Emergent by Kevin Deyoung and Ted Kluck
How Jesus treated Others by Morris Venden
Going Rogue By Sarah Palin
Raising a Modern Knight by Robert Lewis
It Takes a Family by Rick Santorum
A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
Person Faith and Public policy by Tony Perkins & Harry Jackson
And of course I am always reading the Bible and I got about 4 more books on hold waiting on me at the Library.
A thirst for knowledge and a lack of time! Am I the only one out there who can’t read fast enough?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The blog was interesting and thought provoking , and the stories of those who responded with hope from National healthcare were also very compelling. However, I come from the other side of the fence when it comes to government intervention. After thousands and thousands of dollars and untold sleepless nights with my wife we still deal with a 13 year old son who I put 100% of the blame on the HC of the government system from 10 years ago.
My son is Autistic and was diagnosed around age 3. He has had the best in doctor care and we have never been too thrilled with what happens when the government takes control. Our son is the result of the government working with private corporations to make money at the expense of real people like Levi. My son Levi had his MMR shots in Ma in 1995. Had the government done their job and acknowledged that what they were making available for ALL Children was going to damage a high percentage of them for life it would be a different story. We had one doctor suggest that the rest of our children not get vaccinations because our particular family DNA and makeup cannot handle the mandated shots the government puts out. So the rest of our 4 children are healthy and autism free that God.
As much as I have sympathy for those without heathcare I see national heathcare as an increased problem not a decreased one.
We still hold out hope for Levi and are now working through yet another unconventional form of hope since the federal government refuses to take responsibility for the damages they inflicted on my son and millions of others in this country. I am all about solutions for HC, but not through a federal government who will just turn the people into numbers under another system in the hands of more federal red tape.
Let's be honest, what division of the federal government that touches any of our lives now is anyone jumping up and down about how wonderful it is ? Social security, postal service, medicaid, medicare and the IRS to name just a few. These are certainly criticised more then they are praised. I am all about helping people since I am a pastor, but I sense in my spirit that if this bill goes through and becomes mainstream like the rest of the government programs there will be more than 30 million people crying out in 20 years from now," why did they approve that?"
Sure I want to see 30 plus million have healthcare that are without now, but that need is not the Federal government Job. A book I've read recently called "Simple Church" advocates that what people need is simplicity. Our lives are so full of decisions that it's sometimes hard to order off a menu because of pages of choices. Take Denny's verses Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The menu of Five guys is so simple you can order before you get there. Denny's and others like it has pages of choices. The federal governments JOB is to protect the people and her freedoms that are our alienable rights from God. After that they need to keep it simple. We need a simpler federal government and keep the government protecting our freedoms and lives not providing for them.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The book “180” by the House Studios (a new publishing arm of the Church of the Nazarene) is a recent publication being promoted to Nazarene pastors.
I read the book as I was asked by a NPH representative to review it, since I objected to how it was being marketed.
The book was more shocking than I expected. After careful review of the book I would say a more accurate title might be, “The cultural effects of 30 years on a
The book is made up of 34 easy to read short testimonies of how men and women of various backgrounds and Christian heritages changed their minds and perspectives and became more tolerant.
The stories seldom quote scripture and none of the stories seemed to reflect Holy Spirit’s conviction of heart, but rather the change of mind from life impacting moments.
The book was something I would never expect to read from a “Christian Holiness Publishing House”. The reader will find testimonies of people changing their own minds on various topics, but nothing reflecting a move of God in the writers’ hearts leading to a life of holiness.
Many write about the bible, doctrine and ethics in a questioning mode verses an affirmative fashion. Just as the serpent in the garden in Genesis 3:1 proposed a Question "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'? So in like manner many write questioning their own original fundamental values and convictions and end up with a more tolerant open-minded world view and set of values.
This is the type of book that will create damage among younger growing Christians as it really gives validity to humanistic thinking, heretical understanding of the fundamentals of the faith.
Tolerance, evolution, hell and celibacy are embraced in this book as they would not have been a generation ago. Tolerance is lifted high as a virtue. Evolution is embraced as an acceptable value which one can have and maintain as a Christian. Hell is liberalized and narrowed as to who might actually go there. Celibacy and the Catholic Church are lifted to a place of favor as one writer shares growing up protestant and becoming celibate on the way to the priesthood. The validity of Scripture and moral absolutes are questioned and even denied. Doubt is recognized as a gift and open-mindedness and inclusiveness as a healthy viewpoint to hold.
Not every story is controversial or doctrinally heretical, but the ones that are ruin the book for its full impact. One quote from a writer left my wife and I wondering how this book got published from a
Where are the stories of people who were changed 180degrees from darkness to light? Where are the inspirational stories of lives God touched in a radical way? I believe the
This was a most unfruitful book and left me dismayed at the direction of the publishing house that this book was even published.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
How do you DEVO?
Spiritual Devotions are a common term among most of evangelical Christianity. The options available today to help people spiritually grow and stay closer to God are more diverse than ever. The most common way to grow and develop has always been to read the bible since the advent of the printing press. Then of course we should pray and meditate upon the written word on a daily basis. With the progress of technology many options have progressed with how to spend time in devotion to God for our spiritual growth and development. Considering that only about 26 % of the world’s population can read there has to be other methods than just reading.
In my earlier years I tended to just read the word, meditate and pray. In recent years I have adopted to listening to bible by cds and then mp3 files verses just reading it. Actually I think I enjoy listening to the word read to me on headphones intern mixed with music on my mp3 player.
The American Bible Society (ABS) has recently released some very high statistics about how most professing Christians do not spend very much time at all in spiritual devotions with the word of God. There studies have revealed that if Christians will spend time in the word 4 times a week on 4 different days it makes a significant positive impact on their lives. Because of a younger technology oriented generation ABS has now made available a 1 minute a day phone call that can be place to any phone number to keep a 1 minute audio reading of the scriptures before people. As well they have a text message system of the word of God and they email devotions to help people keep in the word of God.
Part of doing ones devotions with God also has a lot to do with personality types in my opinion. Some people tend to enjoy reading in a quite room in their home while others a walk outside in nature. I presently am enjoying going through the word of God in a year using the Youversion.com options of reading through the Word.
A great part of devotions that many exclude today is the aspect of fasting with prayer as part of seeking God on a periodic basis. The self denial of food (or other meaningful pleasures) to seek God is a part of devotion that is far less practiced today than perhaps even 20 years ago. A new fast I plan to start soon is a lengthy period away from all social network sites such as Facebook and twitter so I can be less distracted throughout the day and spend more time with God and in his word. It may seem like an odd thing to fast from technology, but you would be surprised how many social internet junkies are really in the culture. Social networking is basically sharing and commenting on other people’s lives, texts and comments on a daily basis through the computer or cell phone. Have you ever noticed how many people walk around in public just pressing and looking at their cell phones verses talking on them? When you see someone doing that, then this is a good sign they are social networking at that moment with someone somewhere in world.
A one size fits all devotional style is not realistic with today’s technology options. It seems that Americans truly are without excuse to spend time in the Word of God. I remember in the 80’s when Christians actually carried their bibles to church with them. Then churches started putting bibles in the pew racks and then with advance of screens and projectors they beam scripture on the walls. Now many people carry their bible with them electronically on their cell phones. Even though ways and means of technology have changed one thing for certain should not change and that is letting God’s Scriptures continue to get inside of us by some means or method so we stay in devotion to the one who redeems us.
I believe ABS has truly assisted the Church with their survey results and the tools they offer to Christians in helping them maintain a healthy relationship with God.
All Christians need to spend a focused time with God and His Holy Word at least 4 times a week in order to maintain spiritual growth and development for the renewing of their minds.
One of my all time favorite devotional books has been and remains “My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. There are many Devotional Books that are basically commentary snippets of God’s word for each day of the year. In these last days we must do more than devotions, but rather be devoted as we seek the face of God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.
So if you see me in town with my face to my cell phone I might be actually reading the scriptures and not just social networking. Let us keep our eyes and ears focused on the Word of God that He might continue to transform us.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
For months I have been concerned about the values of the Christian community let alone those we are trying to reach. I have spoken to those beyond the walls of my own denomination and church. It really seems the church in
In my own ministry I have seen lives changed and some growth, but never the way I had hoped and thought would be when I entered the ministry. I could blame others, but I’ll take my fair share of the blame upon myself. In large measure, trying to be politically correct combined with a lack of prayer time has probably hurt more churches then most would be willing to admit.
Within the last year I discovered that one of my old professors from College is still teaching science, but now he has adopted the theory of evolution as part of his Christian faith. I don’t know how he believed the lie from the devil on that one, but he continues to this day to teach that man evolved and that it fits right inside the creation story perfectly. Truly his writing in my opinion are a bunch of bunk and junk. Even one of the students on campus currently told me that everyone knows him as the professor who teaches evolution.
Then there is the emergent church mystery of the day. What is it and who are they? Well after a year of reading about it and discussing it, I finally came to my own conclusions. I can look back now and see that I was headed into that slippery slope myself through the blind acceptance of the Christian pop culture theology . Even within my own denomination I see many whom I am friends with that have accepted evolution and emergent thinking as the way of the progressive Christian thought. But as for me I am sticking to the bible regardless of what anyone says including President Obama.
So what did Obama say? He said we were no longer a Christian nation, but a nation of many thoughts and religions. Well, as much as I did not like those statements, I must admit, that he is right. I wish he were not right and I would rather he made a more politically correct statement so as to not offend so many Christians, but nevertheless he said what he said for reasons of acceptance I am sure among the secular world. Yet his statement was so true! Snce indeed so much of our culture has gone by the wayside of Christianity we are not a total Christian nation as we once were.
Recently I watched the Ken Ham broadcast from the
What do you think?