Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who Are You In Christ?

As you describe your relationship with Jesus, which of the following phrases states your personal testimony?

1. I don't have a relationship with Jesus.
2. I believe in Jesus. He existed, He was a good man with important things to say. I could even believe He is the Son of God.
3. I know Jesus. I have studied about Him, believed in Him and have a good idea of what He likes and doesn't like. I pray and read His word to know Him more.
4. I love Jesus. My studies of His word, understanding of His character and acceptance of Him into my life has caused me to love Him. Just the mention of His Name brings me joy.
5. I live for Him. My belief, knowledge and love for Jesus have led me to choose to lay aside my own life plans and take up His life through me. I can say with Paul, "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Phil. 1:21

What difference does it make? Which of these is "A Saving Faith in Jesus?" Are these fair questions? Talk to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Faith In God

Some people have done amazingly stupid things in the name of "faith". Doing something unsafe, unwise or unnecessary just to prove you believe God can do something miraculous to save you from the normal consequences of your actions, is not biblical faith.

People have accomplished amazing things when acting by faith in God. Noah built an ark and saved his family - and ultimately, the world. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac because of his faith. But these men did not just decide to do something risky and trust God to help them. God told them to do something that was impossible for them to do alone - they trusted in what they could not see. Obeying God when we don't know how everything will work out...that is faith. Faith leads to obedience, as Paul wrote in Romans 1:5:

"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

Here's the comparison: It is not faith that causes you to give money you don't have, hoping God will repay you miraculously. Faith causes you to give whatever God calls you to give when He calls you to give as you listen to Him speak through His word and by His Spirit.

"Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down. For it is written:
`He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in
their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'
Jesus answered him,
'It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "

- Matthew 4:5-7

Don't confuse "acting in faith" with "putting God to the test". There is a big difference between testing God and trusting God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prayer Walk

Did you ever wonder why compassion commercials are on so often? The statistics show, we are more moved by what we see than we are by what we hear. Similarly,it is better to be out among the people we are praying for than to sit in our building praying for faceless, hypothetical or generalized people.

Do you know that there are people digging through the dumpsters in your town trying to find anything they can use, sell or even eat? It is amazing how God can break your heart for people when you actually see their needs. Child abuse, spousal abuse, human trafficking, sexual abuse, drug use, alcoholism, depression, overwhelming grief, anger - your community has its share of these things among them on a daily basis. It is different walking by a house and hearing the screams of domestic disturbances than it is praying about it from the church without definite knowledge that it is happening.

This is the reason we are beginning to join people all over the country in doing prayer walks through our community. God works through prayer. Where two or three gather in His Name, He is in their midst and when they agree together in prayer, He honors their efforts. This we know.

So, what would it take to get you to go out and pray in public? Not putting on a show or drawing attention to yourself, but praying, none-the-less. What would it cost you? What might happen? Does it matter? Will you do it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Miracles and the Gospel

We began a study on 1 Corinthians in our church at the beginning of September. We have been addressing the wisdom of God. Paul says he didn't come to the people of Corinth with "eloquent speech or human wisdom", but with nothing more than the message of Christ and Him crucified. The convincing factor was not the great arguments he made or the apologetics of the day, but the Holy Spirit making the truth clear, and the miraculous signs that accompanied the message.

We now live in a post-Christian era. People have heard about Jesus, experienced the church in one form or another, and have been left unimpressed. Even worse, many have left hurt, broken and demoralized. Their experience with the church has not been miraculous, it has been disasterous. And all the "positive-thinking" you aim at them with your motivational speeches and emotion-bending stories will not bring them into the shadow of the church, again.

It is time for the church to grab hold of the power of God, again. Jesus gave us the "Great Commission" sandwiched between these two thoughts: 1) All power in heaven and earth has been given to me; and 2) I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

We celebrate numeric growth in our own church while the church down the street dies in our shadow. And no one was saved today. Our baptismals are dry and cracked, but who would know? We haven't opened them up in years. Our Sunday Schools are dying because we don't think they are viable methods of discipleship any longer, so we gave up on them. Meanwhile, the Small Group ministries we raplaced them with are becoming a source of controversy about cliques and exclusion instead of love and inclusion. And another lost person who visited us as a "last chance" for hope just left for the last time today. She won't be back, but at least we averaged more this month than we did last month and our giving is still paying the bills.

Is the church really experiencing the effects of "All power in heaven and earth" being "with us"? Are we "displaying the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authority in the heavenly realms (Eph. 3:10)?" What happened to the power of God and the miraculous signs that accompany the spreading of the gospel?

There are a few things that need to happen for us to return to the powerful gate-crashing force that rescues people from hell, knowing no power can stand against the church when we are bring the church!

1. PRAY!
2. HAVE FAITH IN GOD! - Heb. 11:6
4. OBEY!

I hope to address each of these items in the next few blogs. I cannot go on watching for the latest fad to drive me for a while until I realize it leaves people empty. The truth is simple: The world is lost, and will be lost forever, if we don't start calling on the One Who wields "All power in heaven and earth"; Who also, by the way, came to seek and to save that which was lost!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is It God's Will That We Bear Fruit?

As we have been discussing the will of God, I believe this is a question we must answer. As you consider this, I want to challenge you to consider it through the lens of the Bible. I know you may have different feelings or may have heard different teachings from people you respect. I am not trying to belittle your feelings or the input of other teachers, I am simply challenging you to use your knowledge of scripture; your ability to call on scripture for answers.

Here is the passage we will start with for this discussion:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

- John 15:1-8

So, is it God's will that we bear fruit?
What fruit are we supposed to bear?
What does it mean to "Remain in Jesus"? How do we do this? What if we don't? Is it possible not to remain in Him? What happens then?
Does this passage indicate that answers to prayer are conditional to keeping His Word? (If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.)

Does Jesus mean what He says? I think so. What defenses immediately go up when you read these verses? What challenges you? What motivates you? This should be a great discussion!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Continuing the Obedience Discussion

One discussion has been very interesting, and unless you read the responses people give, you may be missing this one, so I'm catching you up to is my latest response to this discussion:

And still, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." Why?

Paul said in Romans 1:5:

"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

Faith brings obedience; love brings obedience.I'm not saying that obedience brings faith or obedience brings love. Faith and love are the relational motive - obedience is the outpouring of the two.

"If you love me, obey me" - Jesus
"Obedience is the result of faith" - Paul

You can see why I am still of the mind that obedience is our calling. Jesus even said of His relationship to the Father in John 14:31:

"...but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me."

He loves the Father, so He obeys the Father.

Peter, when addressing God's elect, said in 1 Peter 1:1-2:

"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:"

We were chosen by God, and sanctified by The Spirit for obedience to Christ.

No, Jesus is not ticked when we don't get it all right. That is not my point. But He has called us to obedience by His Spirit's power, through faith, because of our love for Him. It is the way He has given to show our love.

Are you ticked when your kids don't show you love? When your children disobey you, isn't it more of a sense of hurt and sadness that you feel? Deliberate and obstinate disobedience may make you a little angry, but when you know that kids have to learn obedience, you discipline them because you love them, not because you are ticked at them.

Look at Hebrews 12:6-7, then:

"...because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

It is a relational comparison (and a human one) that God's word uses to describe the relationship He has with us. He disciplines, we endure - two-way street. He died and rose again for us, we obey Him - two-way street.

Otherwise, it is like Jesus said when He died for us, "I love you," and we just have to say, "Thank you." Try that with your spouse some time.

Obedience, by Jesus' own words, says more than just "Thank you;" it says, "I love you, too, Jesus."

It is the difference between giving Him my life, or just inviting Him into my life; between dying to myself, or just letting Him die for me; between claiming to believe, and living out our belief.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."
- 2 John 1:6

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reaching the Lost vs. Trying to Grow

Churches are trying this new thing they are calling "Ancient Future Worship", or some similar name. The three stated standards or values of the Ancient-Future movement are:

1. A return to the ancient roots of the first centuries of the church.
2. Connection of the church body to each other
3. Authenticity in a changing world.

It sounds good to start, but as you get into the decided ramifications of these values, you find that there is a great potential to bend on the hard truths that divide denominations. Potentially, this church would just not deal with these issues any longer. Does that matter? Should we be ecumenical, no matter the compromise? If someone claims to be a Christian, do we just jump in with them and allow their interpretation to coexist with ours, no matter the differences?

If you are a reader, look up Robert E. Webber on He has a series of books on this concept, and actually coined the phrase "Ancient Future". The has posted their concerns about the movement, along with the entire "emergent church" movement. Between the two of these resources, along with committed prayer, you will gain insight into the validity of this theology and make wise decisions for yourself and your family.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Know God; Does He Know You?

As a basketball fan, I know a lot about Michael Jordan. I could answer a lot of statistical questions you might or might not have about him. But if I tried to get in to see him, his security guards would ask not if I know him, but does he know me. The answer to that question is "no," by the way.

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' - Matt. 7:21-23

If Jesus will say, "I never knew you," to some people, how can I be sure that He will know me when my time comes? The easy answer, Love Him.

But the man who loves God is known by God. - 1 Cor. 8:3

God knows those who love Him. We like to say in our church that we are not trying to teach you how to join a religion; we are trying to lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship that He desires is one of mutual love. God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. His act of love has already been carried out for every generation, so how do we show Him our love? How do we make this a two-way relationship?

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. - John 14:23-24

Jesus only gave us one teaching that specifically said, "This is how you show me that you love me," and it wasn't by singing certain songs or filling out certain formulas. You can't go down a check-list and make sure you have fulfilled your quota of good works.

To show our love to Jesus, we must live a life of obedience. If we love Jesus, we obey Him, and the love of the Father is on us. If we do not obey Jesus, we do not love Him. If we do not love Him, we are not known by Him. If we are not know by Him, we will not get in to the eternal kingdom which He has prepared for us.

A relationship is always a two-way street. God has already shown His love for us - He gave us Jesus. Will you choose to love Him back, and obey His word?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is God's Will Always Done?

"I guess if it happened that way then it must have been God's will."

Have you ever heard anyone address a situation that way? Do you agree with it?

I have a couple of thoughts on this I will post after some healthy discussion on the concept. Feel free to leave comments (On topic) by clicking the link under this post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't Shrink Back

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But

- Hebrews 10:35-39

Living by faith depends on doing the will of God. This passage leads into Hebrews 11, which we call the "faith chapter". The heroes of the faith are heroes because they did the will of God, not because they said the "believed". If Noah said he believed it would rain, but never built the ark (obeyed God's will), he would have drown with everyone else, and none of us would be here today. Abraham's faith that was "Credited as righteousness" was not in saying He trusted God, but in walking up that mountainside with his only son, laying him out on the altar and raising the knife to obediently sacrifice Isaac. We know that God had provided the ram in the bushes, but Abraham knew that if God wanted to do it, He would bring Isaac back from the dead.

We are to have that same faith in the will of God. "We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."

Our faith leads us to obedience to the will of God. When we have done the will of God, we will receive what He has promised.

What is this thing that He has promised? Is it heaven? Is it rewards in heaven? what do we receive if we do God's will? What do we receive if we don't do God's will? Can a Christian continually avoid the will of God and still go to heaven?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Will of God - Day One

I want to follow through on something I promised the people at my church on Sunday Night, May 31. We had a study sheet that I never got around to filling out, leaving many blanks on the study sheet and on people's faces. The next few blogs I enter are going to be that study on the will of God - drawn out and open for discussion through the "comment" option at the end of each study entry. Anyone who reads this study may leave comments or ask questions, if you think I'm off base. It is possible that I won't explain myself as well as I think I did, and even more possible that someone might disagree with my observations. Either way, your insight and thoughtful consideration as to what I have said will be valued.

Let's start right in the nitty gritty of this issue of the will of God:


What does Matthew 7:21 say about doing God's will?

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

- Jesus

Did Jesus mean that if you do not do the will of God, you will not enter heaven?

Many are going to say that they deserve to be in heaven because of what they did in God's Name, or in Jesus' Name. These things may seem very impressive to people, but to God there is only one thing that seems to matter: "Did you do what Jesus told you to do? Did you live out the will of God?"

If that is the measuring stick Jesus will use to separate the sheep from the goats, it becomes a truly vital thing to do the will of the Father.

Are you doing the will of God? Do you believe it is as important as what I have presented here? If not, why not? If so, how are you doing at this? What have you done this week because you believed it was the will of God for your life? Can we know God's will? How does God reveal His will to us?

Lots of questions, but all very important to answer for yourself if you have the desire to please God and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

God Bless you as you consider the consequences of your answer to these questions.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Narrow Door

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, `Sir, open the door for us.'

"But he will answer, `I don't know you or where you come from.'

- Luke 13:22-25

Here is an intriguing question: Since man is saved by grace and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9), why did Jesus say to "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door?"

Just to get an idea if anyone reads this thing, I will leave the question unanswered and invite your comments and discussion on the topic.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Marriage Matters

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,' and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." - Jesus
- Matthew 19:4-6

Key points to this scripture:

God created male and female - one of each.

It is because of this order of creation that to this day a man leaves his parents and is united to his wife - Marriage is a direct result of how God made us, and is therefore ordained and created by God, not by man.

God joins the couple together, and man must not destroy the work of God.

Key truths and interpretations:

1. God designed marriage and therefore has the right to tell us what marriage is. This is not a man-made institution, but a result of the order of creation. Specifically, one man marries one woman, because that is what God created. This is why we believe homosexual marriages are wrong. God created marriage, Himself, and has the right to set this standard. He has.

2. Not only is God's creation of marriage for a man and woman only, but only for one man to one woman. People in the Christian community who are fighting so hard against homosexual marriage had better get the same fire in their hearts to preserve faithful heterosexual marriages and fight divorce among the body of Christ with as much or even more fervor. Otherwise, your entire argument against homosexual marriages is completely hypocritical and empty.

"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
- Jesus
- Matthew 19:9

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is God Loving?

I was considering some of the questions that many of us have heard:

“If God is loving, how could He send anyone to hell?”
“If God is good, how can He let children suffer from abuse, disease and starvation?”
“If God is righteous, how can He allow so many bad things to happen?”

On the surface, all of these questions sound reasonable to us. We may struggle to answer them, as believers. They may even be our questions.

Well, here is a mind-bender for us all. We are asking the wrong questions.

The Bible says in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”

And in the 100th Psalm, David says:

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

In Psalm 119:75, the writer has an interesting frame of reference for his afflictions:

I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Here it is, then: The Bible says God is love, God is good and God is righteous, therefore He is. This means that instead of comparing God to our ideas of what is good and righteous and loving, we should study the actions of God to learn what is truly good and righteous and loving.

Let me illustrate it this way:

If you say that something is “gaudy”, because you think “gaudy” means “big and attractive,” then you may not understand why someone else becomes offended by you calling their wedding ring, “gaudy”. They think “gaudy” means “unnecessarily big and overdone – too showy.” You have two different ideas of what a word means, so where do you go to solve the issue? How do you come to an agreement as to what is “gaudy”?

You would go to the dictionary and find out how the word “gaudy” is defined.

We think we know what “love” means, but God defines “love” for us. If He does it or says it, that is the definition of “love”.

So we can’t say, “If God is loving, how can He do this or that?” We have to say, “Since God has done this, it was the loving thing to do, because God is love.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miss California is...

Something has to be said about Carrie Prejean, the runner up to Miss America in this year's amazingly brutal competition.

Perez Hilton in an interview with Matt Lauer on MSNBC made some of the most illogical statements I have ever heard...see the interview here:

Perez specifically said that he wished she would have kept her political and religious views out of the competition. WHAT?! Who asked the political question? Who set the agenda here? Hilton asked the question! Carrie did not walk out on the stage with a sandwich board on that said, "I hate gay marriage!" She did not actively oppose or organize any kind of protest against gay marriage.

Hilton also said he wouldn't want her taking about Jesus in the pageant as an example of why he thought her answer was poor. But what if she was asked, "What is you relationship with Jesus like?" How does she then not talk about Jesus?

She was Miss California, by the way, Perez. She speaks for California, who just voted for the ban on gay marriage. She spoke for the people of her state as much as she did her own "religious" or "political" views. She agrees with the majority of Californians - she represented California exactly as they voted.

Even if you support gay marriage, the tolerance mantra of the day should say that Carrie won this competition in every category. The political input came from judges with an agenda, not from Carrie Prejean! She lost because Perez Hilton came face to face with a person of integrity and he didn't like an opposing view to his own.

Jesus said to his own brothers in John 7:7:

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil."

and in John 15:18, Jesus tells us:

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

What we see in Perez Hilton is this hatred the world has for Jesus on display in a major way in the most unexpected place - A Miss America competition. Carrie, you have become the whipping girl for the gay rights movement - A movement that just showed its absolute hatred of Christians in the public arena; a movement that is blogging its hatred for Christians and Christianity all over the internet, led by Perez Hilton; a movement that calls Christians hypocrites and haters.

Miley Cyrus proposed to speak for Jesus in her blog, speaking of His love for everyone and His desire that everyone be happy. I know she means well, but read the whole Bible. God didn't write a bumper sticker, He wrote a thick, revealing book to show Himself and His holiness to the world. He gave us His Holy Spirit to defeat sin in our lives. Yes, He loves the whole world, so much that He died for us all, but He rose from the dead, defeating the power of sin and death that the devil held over us all.

Perez - and all who think like Perez - let me say that Jesus loves you, too. So much that He would die to set you free from sin. But He says that what you are doing is evil. He is God, the Creator of everything, and He has the right to make that call.

Watch the interview again. Never once does Carrie call Perez any bad names. She doesn't attack his character. She stands up for her right to say what she believes, she admits that she knew it probably cost her the pageant to say these things, but she is finding God's hand at work in it all, and moving forward to impact the world with the love of Jesus that has set her free. She is completely classy, and is not responding in anger.

Perez is spewing hatred for her and all Christians. He is calling her stupid, and a b***ch. He is blasting her for being unprepared and trying to portray her as completely incompetent and inept.

Tell me...which one has the "phobia"?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Four-Wheeling Theology

Have you ever been off-road in a Four-wheel-drive? "Mudding" in a Jeep can make a mess of your vehicle. The spray of mud thrown up from your tires, splashing through holes filled with filthy water - and all through this you run your windshield wipers non-stop, trying to at least get a glimpse every once in a while of where you are going and what you might run into along the way.

Life is like this in some ways. You are trying to do what is right, perhaps trying to follow the Lord as He leads you, but the world around you is filthy, and the junk in life is splashing all over you, making it hard to see what is right. Much like your windshield, you need something to wash the mud away so you can see where you are going and be aware of any obstacles in your way.

The Bible is the tool we were given by God to clear the windshield of our lives. As the philosophies and lies of the world muddy up your views of God and of life, you need to go back to His word often and allow Him to wash the mud away from your view so that you can see things the way God does. God's vision is always clear, because sin cannot blind Him. We, on the other hand, can be, and often are, blinded by the sin around us, until we don't know what is right or wrong, anymore. Our windshield is covered with the dirt thrown at us by the world, and sometimes by our own choices splashing the mud up and getting it all over us.

How long has it been since you ran the windshield wipers to clear your windshield? You wouldn't go "mudding" without cleaning your windshield consistently, or you would crash. How long until you do this in life? Read the Bible at least once every day! You'll be amazed how much easier it is to see.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Worthy of the Gospel?

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have." - Philippians 1:27-30

Standing firm in one spirit
Contending for the faith
Unafraid of opposition

These things are given as the result of conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. As we look at our church(es), we can use these as a method of self-evaluation. Are we existing, keeping the "company" afloat, or are we worthy of the gospel of Christ - Unified, Contending, Unafraid?

Too often, we let the opposition get the upper hand by bowing to their philosophies. "Science has shown...", "New historical evidence indicates...", "Most scholars agree..."; these are the opening lines of sentences that we are less and less willing to go against in contending for the faith. We are afraid of looking irrational or unintelligent.

In science, often all evidence is viewed through a scope of atheistic presuppositions. Is this any less a "faith-based theory" than our faith in God? When these scientists are starting from the premise that there is no God, aren't they starting with a "faith statement"? So, when they think they have "proved scripture wrong", their proof is faulty because they are starting from a faulty foundation. Much of what is actually proven true in science points to the truth that there is a God who created all things rather than proving there is no God, but many "scientists" choose not to see it.

What do you read that helps you "contend for the faith" alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ? Let me take this moment to recommend that you visit the "Answers in Genesis" website and give them some thought. These, too, are scientists, but they start from the premise that scripture is true, and show how science can be used to prove it. They have some thought-provoking and even faith-strengthening materials available. I am not in any way sponsored by them or even connected to them. I just appreciate them. You may want to visit their "Creation Museum" in the Cincinnati, OH, area.

Let's not give in to fear of confidently preaching the word; standing up for God in the power of His Spirit without apology. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sticks and Stones...

You know that "sticks and stones may break your bones" thing? Is it true that "words will never hurt me"?

The Bible talks a lot about our words. Sin has many languages: Gossip, slander, lying, unwholesome talk, cursing, coarse joking, divisiveness - even the truth, when not spoken in love, seems to be a powerful weapon we use against each other.

James speaks much about how bad the tongue (what we say) can be, in James chapter 3. Verse 6 is especially blunt:

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

James also says in James 3:2 -

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

It almost seems that one of the final tests of our spiritual maturity is the ability to control the things you say.

Jesus also made a pretty bold statement about what we say:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
- Matthew 12:36-37

If your words can acquit you or condemn you, what will be the result of the conversations you have had just today? Can we become mature enough to hold ourselves accountable for what we say today so God doesn't have to later? What's the standard by which my words can be judged?

Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (emphasis mine)

Rank yourself on how you talk about the following things; A (Always good); B (Sometimes good); M (Mostly bad); C (Completely bad):

1. ____ God
2. ____ The church
3. ____ My church
4. ____ My spouse
5. ____ My children
6. ____ My extended family (including in-laws!)
7. ____ My boss
8. ____ My workmates
9. ____ My President (evangelicals?)
10. ____ Everything else

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wisdom In 2009

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" - 1 Cor. 1:20

Imagine that all of your credit cards are carrying debt up to your total credit limit, your house payments are beyond your ability to make and you could lose your car because your payments are too high. You get called into court to explain what you plan to do to get our of this extreme debt you owe, and you answer with something like this:

"This terrible financial crisis I find myself in has only one possible solution: I am going to start spending like never before. It really is the only wise thing to do. Previously, I spent money on frivolous things, and that has to stop. I can't keep the failed practices of my past going any longer. Now, I am going to spend on important things. And I'm not just talking thousands, either. I am going to spend a cool million dollars. That is the only way I can see to get through this trying time. I know that this means that I will never pay off this debt in my lifetime, but my kids will just have to understand that I only did what I had to do to get through this moment."

Welcome to the wisdom of man. Our government is taking this exact approach to "stimulate" our economy. Finding no projects to cut in the national budget, we are adding new projects that will put us trillions of dollars in debt.

Remember when we found out the military was paying $400 for a hammer; all of those crazy amounts that were being paid for toilets and common items you and I could get for a few dollars? Well, US residents, you are now paying $2 trillion (that is $2,000,000,000,000!) for a band-aid!

I pose this question from scripture, again:

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" - 1 Cor. 1:20

And you thought the Bible was irrelevant...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thankful for the Church

In almost every Epistle of the Apostle Paul, he starts with words of thanksgiving for the church:

1CO 1:4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

EPH 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

PHP 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

PHM 1:4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,

COL 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints--

1TH 1:2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.

2TI 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Why, then, is there such a major shift in the body of Christ to be harsh with, disgusted with and disappointed with the church? What has happened to the "love for all the saints" mentioned in Ephesians and Colossians (Above)?

Love for all the saints...does this even register with the American Church?

Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). Paul told the church in Corinth that even if they possess spiritual gifts in powerful measure, without love, they are nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The new trend is for "believers" to attempt to love the needy people in the world while harboring contempt for the church.

You cannot love God while hating your brother:

1JN 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

To the "Revolutionaries" out there: Get back to church!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rick Warren on Gay Marriage

This is so well-said, I will just add that this is our belief on the issue. I agree 100%!

I would love to hear your response to this video! Just add a comment at the link below.