Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Our Response Should Be To The President-Elect

I meant to write this earlier today (Nov 5th) but have been real busy with other things going on. Anyway here are my 2 cents.

First, I did not vote for Barack Obama. I have a lot of concerns about his capabilities as being the Commander and Chief. I also question if all the promises that were made will come to pass (yet you can expect that from every politician).

Now that is out of the way. I feel it our duty, as True Christians, to uphold in prayer our President-Elect rather than make foolish Christian rhetoric. I can't believe how many times I saw statements that dealt with Barack Obama ushering in the end of the world. Really people!? IS that what we Christians do when we don't get our way: "Something didn't go my way, so it must be close to the end of the world." A Christian temper tantrum.

Have you ever watched the movie "Ice Age". You remember the Dodo birds. They tried to prepare for the end of the world with just 3 melons. When our herd of misfits came near the birds started chanting "Doom on You, Doom on You." We Christians can't afford in this season to act like the Dodo birds but we are. We think we have it all figured out but trust me we have fallen short in our preparations to establish the Kingdom of God. Our "Doom on You" mentality when things don't go our way just shows our ignorance of scripture, gives us a bad testimony, and further prevents the work of God to take place.

When Jesus was asked what the two greatest commandments were He said the first was to love God and the second was to love your neighbor. That means every person we know on earth we are meant to show love and compassion for. The neighbor who blasts music way too loud and way too early in the morning - we need to love him. The grocery store clerk who charged you twice for items in your cart - we need to love her. The homosexual who is proud of his lifestyle - we need to love him. The person driving their car 5 miles under the speed limit when we're 10 minutes late - we need to love her. The President-Elect who you may not agree with - we need to love him.

Our prayers for Barack Obama should not be ones that are tainted with hatred. But heart-felt prayers for the man and those who he chooses to serve with him to be guided by God. Christians are good activists when it comes to things not turning out their way (Doom on You). Christians should be known for their proactive love and sincere prayers (But we're not). Let's try to make steps to change that. Pray for Barack Obama. Pray for Joe Biden. Pray for Rahm Emanuel. Show love; that's truly what Jesus would do.

Father, we come before You rejoicing. Knowing that You know all things and have greater understanding then we do. Forgive us for our "Doom on You" attitude. Help us to show Your love by loving our neighbors. As You well know our country made many choices recently. Some that we agree with and some we don't. Father, I lift up our President-Elect, Barack Obama. Guide him. Give him courage and strength for the tasks that are set before him. Bless his family. With the same prayer I lift up those who are working with him, Joe Biden the Vice President-Elect and Rahm Emanuel the White House Chief of Staff. You alone have laid out the future and know what stands before these men. Lord, guide them to do their work with integrity and morality. If they do not have a relationship with You bring someone in their path that will point to You. Thank You. We love You. Amen.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"In the world but not of the world." - Christianese

Christians say the darnedest things. If you are a Christian you might have said this; or if you have been around any Christians or gone to a church service in the past 10+ years you have probably heard this: "We are 'in' the world but not 'of' the world." This statement is so often said that many believe that it is scriptural. But this is just some Christianese that really is not biblical. Some may say I am splitting hairs but hear me out.

Now I am not denying the fact that we are "in" this world. I'm not denying the fact that scripture does say that we are "not of the world". What I do deny is the concept taught here is that we live in the world but we should not have fellowship with those in the world. It suggests that those who do not have a relationship with Jesus are horrible people that we, "holier-than-thou", Christians should stay away from. (FYI: this is crap)

There are many scriptures that say that we are not of the world and that we should not be friends with the world. But this type of friendship is meaning to "be like" or "reflecting" it's personality.

"In the world but not of the world" is such a separatist statement. We are in the world to be the salt and the light (Matthew 5) and yes our destiny is heaven. This statement, however, releases me of my responsibility "in" this world. To me this statement is saying, "I am in this world but since I am not of the world I don't need to make an impact on it".

This Christianese statement should be "Not of the world but in the world". This reflects more of what scripture as a whole teaches; "I am not of this world but since I am in the world I'm going to make an impact on it". This makes me responsible to fulfill the Great Commission. Look at what Paul says:

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges." - 1 Corinthians 5:9-12

Paul is saying that if anything we are not to separate ourselves from the people of the world. On contrary, be with them. But if you are to separate yourselves from a person it is to be from the believer who is living like the world.

Pharisees judged Jesus for eating with sinners. I don't think I need to point out who we should emulate. TRUE Christians are not Pharisees. Let's not get caught up in Christianese and forget what the true Word of God says.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who In Hell Are You?

Reality TV finds a limitless amount of people who are willing to eat insects, lie in a bath tub of roaches, humiliate themselves trying to sing, dance, and match their intellect to 5th Graders. Why? Mostly because like one of today's popular songs says "I wanna be famous". Many people strive to do what they can to make their mark in this world. In this world, though, moments of fame come and go. The greatest mark a human can make in this world truly makes the biggest impact in the supernatural.

Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord makes an impact on our present world. How we live, treat others, view social issues. Even more so "TRUE" Christians (emphasis on TRUE) also make a significant mark in the supernatural. We realize that the life we live in the flesh now is only temporary. In that realization there comes an action. An action that causes hell to tremble because a True Christian realized their purpose and authority.

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18

First lets get past the idea that this church has four walls, a steeple, a nice encouraging marquee in front. This is not a church that has a superior sound system, comfortable seats, a choir, or a pastor. The church talked about here has life. It has two legs to take the gospel message where ever it goes. It has two knees that are bent often in prayer. It has two arms to show compassion to those around it. It has two eyes to see the need for a loving Savior. It has only one mouth and that mouth speaks the Word of God with authority, authenticity, and love. It only has one heart that beats after the will of the One who established it. The church is the True Christian.

This verse is not a defensive scripture for the church. This verse isn't referring to the church being under siege by the enemy. Using this scripture as such is foolish and completely counterproductive to the true meaning of the church. This verse is about the church, or the True Christians, being on the offensive taking the battle to Hades. Look at this verse. The gates only belonged to the stronghold of that city. Gates don't fight a battle. They withstand the battle. True Christians take action in breaking down the strongholds of the enemy.

So who are the True Christians? They are famous. I don't mean televangelist famous. I don't mean mega church famous either. I'm talking about hella famous. They are famous in hell.

"And the evil spirit answered and said, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know but who are you?'" - Acts 19:15

Of course, the evil spirit knew Jesus. Jesus took part in it's creation. At a time this evil spirit was holy and had dwelt with God. Until, along with Lucifer, this evil spirit rebelled. So this evil spirit knew Jesus well. It was Lucifer, aka Satan, who tried to have Jesus killed as a baby. It was Jesus who Satan personally tempted in the wilderness. It was Satan who prompted Judas to betray Jesus. And it is by the name of Jesus that evil spirits are cast out. Jesus is the King of kings so the evil spirit understood who the ruler was.

Paul, previously known as Saul was a great persecutor of True Christians. Yet one day he realized his need for Jesus as his Savior and took action. He told everyone he came into contact with about Jesus. Paul is a fantastic example of a True Christian. Leonard Ravenhill says this about Paul in his book Why Revival Tarries:

"He had no side issues, no books to sell. He had no ambitions - and so had nothing to be jealous about. He had no reputation - and so had nothing to fight about. He had no possessions - and therefore had nothing to worry about. He had no 'rights' - so therefore he could not suffer wrong. He was already broken - so no one could brake him. He was 'dead' - so no one could kill him. He was less than the least - so who could humble him? He had suffered the loss of all things - so none could defraud him. Does this throw light on why the demon said, 'Paul I know'? Over this God-intoxicated man, hell suffered headaches."

If we say we are Christians does hell know us? Is there a "Wanted" picture of us hanging up in hell saying, "Approach Carefully - Considered Armed and Extremely Dangerous"? Do we take hell by storm or are we overcome by the storm of hell? Do the gates of hell oppose us or are we comfortable inside those gates. We can only be on one side or the other. Are we like Paul? Do we give hell headaches? If you can't say that this is true about you; than more than likely you are not a True Christian. Only by name have you become a Christian.

Take time and think. Ask yourself, "Who in hell am I"? If you are a nobody in hell than you are a nobody in heaven. However, if you are a somebody in hell than you are a somebody in heaven.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The main reason I started to blog, and it isn't as often as I'd like, was to just express my thoughts. Like most guys I don't just say what I am feeling. I need time to digest what is going on. This bugs my wife of course. She'll ask me many times what I am thinking and I tell her honestly "I don't know." She looks at me and wonders how in the world do I not know what I am feeling. I usually say soon after my greatly insightful answer that I need time to think. When things occur in my life I need time to reflect.

Lately I've been looking through and reflecting on old journals that I wrote. Most of them only having around 7 entries. They all were written at different times in my life. However, there was always a theme. A reoccurring theme. One that resounds in my heart still nothing too hard for God?

The Assemblies of God have a campaign that makes this bold statement that Nothing Is Too Hard For God. We are taking part of this campaign at my church. This campaign deals with 8 different subjects that many people deal with. This past Sunday was our first service with one of these subjects. Yet I had to wonder, does everyone here truly believe this statement? I can do all I can to share with what little life experience I have, being only 28 years old and ministering to people that are old enough to be my parents, that truly nothing is too hard for God. Yet, it all comes down to each individual and how they reflect on their life with God.

I can reflect on the time that I know the hand of God stopped a hurricane because of my prayers. I can reflect on the times that I know God healed a person that I prayed for. I can reflect on the numerous times I called on God for help and He supplied, provided, protected, and restored what I needed.

I can also reflect on the times that God didn't. When I prayed for people to be healed and they weren't. I can tell of times that things didn't work out the way I hoped or thought they should.

So is it true that nothing is too hard for God? My answer would be an unwavering "YES". Nothing is too hard for God. I can reflect all I want and the times that God showed up greatly out numbers the times I think He doesn't.

When I take time to reflect on any occasion I can always see God at work. Whether I get the answer I am looking for or not. God is still God. God is still on the throne. God is still in control. Whether you or I believe it all the time or not...Nothing Is Too Hard For God!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fans or Disciples

The common definition for the word disciple among Christians, preached from pulpits and taught in Bible colleges, is that a disciple is a close follower of Christ.

That is a pretty weak definition of a disciple.

Someone who is a close follower of a sports team can tell you in great detail the statistics of that team, who plays for the team, and a bunch of other frivolous information. They can possibly even tell you why that team has a good chance at being in the championship game at the end of the season.

That person spent a lot of time investing into that game. More specifically that team. They watch every game. They listen to Sports News. Read and watch archives of the team's history. So is this person considered a disciple? By that weak definition, yes. But really they are called a fan.

Webster's Dictionary says:

Fan - an enthusiastic devotee or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.

Disciple - a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrine of another.

Both deal with an understanding of the fundamentals of what they follow. However, a fan is always a spectator and a disciple is always a participator.

So are we creating fans or disciples in our churches?

In today's modern church we have separated discipleship from salvation. These churches feel discipleship to be a matter that is handled latter on. Those who do this are spiritually stupid. Our relationship to Christ as our Savior is just as crucial as our relationship to Him as our Lord. When we accept Christ's salvation we also accept our need and responsibility to become a disciple. We take Jesus completely as He is without reservation. He is our Savior AND Lord.

There are no fans in heaven. We are more than close followers. We are involved head to toe, day in and day out in our need for spiritual growth. We should be in a perpetually growing experiential relationship with God. Training our bodies, minds, and spirits to fulfuilling our responsibility to become a disciple.

If all we are doing is creating fans then we are populating hell through the fake ministry of the church. The church exists to worship God first and foremost then to create disciples who create disciples. Our relationship with God is not a game so it makes no sense to stay in the seats of the church and cheer when there is growth that needs to take place.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dependence Day

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own

Today we celebrate our country's independence. This is a great time to celebrate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans. All of our freedoms that we many times take for granted. Just to name a couple: The First Amendment - Our Freedom of Speech, The Second Amendment - The Right to Bear Arms, and The Fifth Amendment - Our Freedom from Self-Incrimination.

This last one gets me. If you have ever watched a court TV show you may hear someone say "I plead the Fifth." When someone says that I tend to automatically think they are guilty of something.

I believe all of us are guilty of something...independence. We have adapted the mentality that we are independent in all areas of our life including our relationship with God. Even the most church going saint struggles with this independence. We many times trust in ourselves more than we trust in God. We feel we can do so many things on our own that we fail to trust in God like we should. I plead the Fifth when it comes to all the times that I have done things through my own strength and abilities when I should have trusted in God more.

Most people like to be in the driver seat and not give control to anyone else. I hate it. If I'm not the driver I get cautious about what the driver is doing. I start to think they are intentionally trying to drive off the road and kill me. And of course many of us have used the phrase, "If you want to get something done right you got to do it yourself." But we must free ourselves from this mentality.

We need to get back to our DEPENDENCE on God. The more and more we depend on God the more and more we transform into His likeness. We become a living example of what Romans 12:1-2 says that we should become.

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This is an amazing concept that the more we depend on God the freer we become. DEPENDENCE on GOD = FREEDOM from this WORLD.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coram Deo

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My friend and I were having a discussion about discipleship: what it is and what it is not. We came to the conclusion in our churches discipleship has become a trivial part of our christian walk; even though we may have discipleship initiatives. Funny isn't it. The very thing that is meant to strengthen us is what is put on the back burner. Looking at the church in whole here is what the church in general does with each new convert. (1) Get them "saved" (2) Take them through a new believers class (3) Place them in some sort of ministry or in a small leadership roll. I don't see anything wrong with any of these individually. Don't get me wrong; I am a guy who loves to evangelize. I will throw out seed until I have nothing left to throw. But what happened to the seed that landed everywhere else but the fertile soil? It got choked, scorched, and eaten. Without proper care our people will be too burdened, burnt out or devoured by the enemy.

So where is the discipleship? Churches need volunteers and lay people but to what extent? I see more clearly why the majority of our youth start drinking and having sex, if they haven't already, when they go to secular colleges. They don't have a good foundation and they are burnt out on their faith. Also, it is why the deacon is sleeping with the church secretary and why the pastor fell from grace. Because we have not trained our "soldiers" to fight. They are missing a very crucial part of their training...the training.

Why can't our students defend their faith? Well, it could be because they don't know what they believe. We think discipleship is setting a solid devotional life. That is not accurate. A devotional life consists of Bible reading/study and prayer correct? Those things are good but they are not signs of a disciple. Those things, without decreasing their important value, are genetic instincts we should have as a Christian. Because I am a Christian I should pray and read the Word. Just as it is my instinct to get something to drink when I am thirsty or eat when I am hungry so should it be with prayer and Bible reading with Christians.

Discipleship is how we live "coram Deo" (before the face of God). Every God given moment of our lives we should portray and develop the fruits of the Spirit. Are we desiring to be more like Him or just enough like Him to get to heaven? Coram Deo is how we live under His authority, how we live to honor and worship God. Discipleship goes beyond memorizing is the holy scriptures living through us. Every thought we have, every word we speak, and every action we make is based on our desire to honor God. Discipleship must be more than an initiative. It must be more than a class. It must be a lifestyle. We don't become a disciple at a certain point in which we have reached the pinnacle of understanding. It is a lifestyle that is life-long.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where Would Jesus Worship?

Sup erbody. I recently read one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is called The Jesus Sensitive Church by Ron Auch and Dean Niforatos. It posses the question stated by the title of the blog. Where Would Jesus Worship? If Christ were in bodily form would He worship at your church or at my church? Most Christians probably would say "yes". Let's think about it though. It seems that many of the standards that the Father has set have become an offense to the church. The church tries to convince people to come by appealing to their vanity and pride rather than with the truth.

Have our churches substituted ploys (coffee shops, game rooms, free gas cards, give aways, feel good messages, etc.) for the presence of God? Here is a quote from this book:

"...we make His desires the primary thrust of the church. I don't believe there
is anyone more sensitive to the needs of those seeking than Jesus. When did we
ever get it in our heads that we had to protect the seeker from Jesus? When did
the presence of God become inadequate to do the work of God?...They (seekers)
need an encounter with Him, and that is not going to happen without a strong
sense of His presence in our services."
Is the method just as sacred as the message? Or have we come to the point to say "the end justifies the means"? They put it this way in the book. Why stop at a coffee shop if you want to draw people to your church. Why not have some female greeters dress in Hooters outfits to draw a mass of men to your church? If the end justifies the means why not? As long as we are not depending on the Holy Spirit to do the drawing than what would be the problem? People will come but would the presence of God come? Ploys have a way of doing more damage than good. Think about it. A ploy will attract a person but it can't change them. A church gets the person to come because of that ploy. But once, IF THEY EVER, start telling the seeker about the need for repentance they feel betrayed and turn away. Why? Because it wasn't God doing the drawing.

I have always felt that the seeker-sensitive philosophy is truly sinner-sensitive. Where we try to make sinners comfortable at church. Should sinners be comfortable at church? No! God doesn't tolerate sin. He convicts people of it. So when a sinner enters a church he should feel convicted, some tug at his heart for repentance, if the presence of God is there. We think the word convicted is such a bad word but it is what will truly draw a man to true repentance. True conviction is not a horrible experience but a sweet one because of the hope we have in Christ.

Maybe the churches now are like a chicken with its head cut off. The chicken's body can still run around even after it's head has been cut off. At first glance you can see a church body that seems lively, very active, involved in lots of things. But the head of that body is missing. After a while you would come to see that even though the body is's not attached to it's Head. Jesus is not in control. The source of all that activity wasn't God but man. Jesus is the head of the church and in order for the body of Christ to stay alive it must be dependant on the Spirit not a ploy.