Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

True Diversity in Gods Church

I was recently reminded in one of his Facebook posts that Franklin Graham didn’t seek or receive salvation through Jesus Christ until the age of 22; is that because his parents, iconic Gospel Crusader Billy Graham and wife Ruth did a poor job of explaining and presenting Jesus to their son?

WeRKlay’s own Marie – raised in a dysfunctional, unbelieving, witchcraft practicing broken home with alcoholic adults and angry, unhappy half siblings sought the Lord from the tender age of 3; is that because her parents managed to convey Jesus while only using His name to express anger or frustration?

All of our children have seen and heard the gospel message.  They have witnessed our struggles; our failures along with our prayers and triumphs through Christ.  Some of them have chosen to follow us in faith and are experiencing their own relationship with God Almighty.  Some continue to struggle with faith.  Some have not received and we continue to pray for their deliverance and salvation.

There is no pat, certain, one size fits all path to relationship with the God of the Universe.

A majority of those who call themselves Believers suffer a sad sameness to their conversion experiences simply because of the interfering actions of man.  Mans unquenchable thirst for power and control even over the very souls of other men leading to the demand they suffer a watered down inauguration into the Kingdom of Eternal Life that caters to those who delude themselves into thinking they are in charge!  

 Uninspired, uninspiring believers who believe arriving at a building at a specified time each week and sitting docilely in the pews, giving their attention to another, lecturing on the things of God as if they can be contained and delivered as regularly as the electric bill.

Mans tired attempts to steal Gods glory always fizzling out to mere sparklers; while God invents an extraordinary unique display to mark the beginning of each NEW LIFE IN CHRIST!  For God is infinitely creative and will never run out of stunning ways to birth each child into His Kingdom.

God orchestrates sensational introductions; man only interferes and presents a stumbling block.

Saul, met on the road to Damascus by a spectacular light and booming voice.
Peter, instantly enchanted by the depth of quiet strength to follow without question or hesitation God come in human form as Jesus His Son.

Malchus, from servant status instantly inducted into the role of healed recipient amidst the dramatic excitement of arresting the King of Kings; sudden pain of a severed ear miraculously reattached.

David, diligently watching over the welfare of his father’s sheep.  An innocent call to join his brothers at the house; fully doused with oil and before he grasps what is occurring he is anointed by Samuel; announced as the next rightful King of all Israel!

John, performing the tasks assigned in obedience to the voice that has led him all his life now confronted by He Who is I Am for humble baptism in the Jordon River by this same, convinced he is unworthy, loyal child of the Living God.

God uses the analogy of sheep to describe relationship between King and subjects only because it was a connection the people of the time could easily understand.  It was not that He intended His people’s relationships with Him to actually resemble that of idle, unimaginative, dull witted sheep!

The Apostle Paul tried to convey the complexities of differences while adhering to the simple yet profound theory of One Body.

Each and every individual has a path, uniquely crafted by a loving, creative, all powerful and all-knowing God.  To find that path they must set out on the adventure fully expecting to be led by the Holy Spirit alone.

The gathering of the saints was intended to be a time of equipping and encouraging for the real work of the ministry which is out there, in the world, in the highways and byways and back alleys and offices and cubicles and sidewalks and side roads where people everywhere are wandering and lost and not even aware they are in need of a Savior to deliver them out of eternal bleak and blackness to Eternal Light and Love and Life through Christ Jesus the Lord!

We’ve allowed the gathering itself to be the be-all and end-all event.  We seem to think the work of the ministry is cleaning that building and serving those people and sitting in those seats week after week, year after year until finally our tired and worn out bodies make a last trip up its aisle in a wood box and then return to God from whence we came, to explain how pleased He should be that we sat and sat and sat in that seat for 30 or 40 years!

If the Great Commission to every believer is to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it, and the church is full of those who know it – WHY ARE WE SITTING IN THESE BUILDINGS WEEK AFTER WEEK? 

Is it because we aren’t being equipped?  Do we still lack understanding of our purpose?  Are we waiting for some new instructions from the Lord?  Do we honestly believe that if someone is going to hear the gospel from us they should darn well get themselves into the building we are occupying at the appointed times we’ve set to be there so we can tell it to them????

I’ve asked this question before and I will ask it again….is the model we are following for “church services” broken?  Is there a better model?

I think there is.  Paul just barely describes it in Corinthians, but it certainly hints at something other than what I witness in our churches today.  Take a look, see what you think, and then join us in prayer…praying the saints will open their hearts and hear from God and adjust how we come together to a more productive end result.  I truly believe there can be one, don’t you?

 I Corinthians 14: 26-33 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

We certainly should be gathering.  And the first order of business?  I Corinthians 14:1  PURSUE LOVE.  Our first order of business is the same as Gods own, the same Jesus portrayed as He walked this earth; to love others.  Not the romantic, mushy, teary kind of love.  True love. Love that lifts the hearts and causes change that blesses.  Love that meets needs and draws others closer to the God Who loves them.  Love that is practical in it's application, illogical in it's loyalty, limitless in its giving.  Love that is real and honest and raw and gets right down to the true heart of every person.  Love that never fails!

Next; PROPHESY.  This isn’t about telling everyone’s fortune!  To prophesy is to “speak forth the marvelous works of God.  To speak forth God’s truth”. 

Read the words of Paul. 

“He who prophesies speaks
EDIFICATION- moral improvement or guidance
EXHORTATION-a discourse or address conveying URGENT advice or recommendations
COMFORT TO MEN-relief or consolation of affliction

These are the things we all need, regularly!  And the very best way to learn something is to teach it to others.  So the best teacher any of us will ever encounter is when we teach and preach what we are learning!

Every week, two or three should be sharing edifying words, exhortation to build the Body of Christ in love and comfort to those who are afflicted in one way or another.

In this way, we are ALL PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF THE BODY
WE ARE ALL GROWING
WE ARE ALL TEACHING
WE ARE ALL ACCOUNTABLE
WE ARE ALL ACTIVE

A well ordered church must have CHRIST as it’s only HEAD, an administrator who coordinates churchwide activities in the community and an ACTIVE, INVOLVED, PARTICIPATING BODY OF BELIEVERS.

Talk about starting a movement!  The more I read Gods word, the deeper I become convicted and convinced that being actively involved in the world and lives of those around us was, is and always will be Gods greatest gift and call to action for every one of us.

This Sunday when I gather with other saints of God, my heart will be listening for my assignment for the coming week, for the encouragement I need to be strengthened and the reminder I need that God is for me!  What about you?




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Who is fit for ministry?

The difference between what WE THINK can and cannot be done, and what GOD KNOWS can be done!  Washed in the blood of Jesus - that's true CLEAN!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Recognizing Truth

There is so much noise clamoring for our attention day in and day out.  From the moment we awake to the moment we close our eyes to sleep we are distracted by this and that.  Bombarded by ideas and thoughts and feelings and emotions and desires and news of the actions of others and the reactions of others and being pulled this way and that way by so many telling us we should think this or think that or feel this or feel that or do this or do that or vote this way or behave that way........ we've become a world of regurgitated information that never stops with 24 hour news cycles and endless television shows and video's on youtube and instant information from any search engine on the internet and a constant stream of noise and interruption and WATCH THIS HEAR THIS THINK THIS BELIEVE THIS TRY THIS DRINK THIS EAT THIS DO THIS BE THIS...
Until we just don't know any more what are we supposed to be doing thinking feeling being

ROMANS 12:2a  and do not be conformed to this world.......

How many of us are watching news on the tv, reading the newspaper, listening to radio?  How many are active on Facebook, Twitter and receiving emails constantly from one source or another?  How many have family, friends and neighbors, co-workers who all have opinions and are only too happy to share those opinions with us?

Over time all of this exposure to all of these thoughts and feelings and opinions mix with our own and we get worn down.  The clear line we may once have drawn for ourselves between what we chose to believe and what we now think can become blurred.  

The clear line between right and wrong, righteousness and sin becomes blurred and faint and slowly fades away until we become uncertain, unclear about right, wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.  We begin to think there may be a gray area, we don't want to offend others who also believe what they believe just as strongly and sincerely as we believe what we believe and after all how can we really know?  How can we truly say this is right or that is wrong when surely what is right for one in ones circumstances may not be right for another in another circumstance.

How can we be sure?

ROMANS 12:2b but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.....

To be transformed is to be you, but different.  Think about the movie or the toys, the Transformers.  First it's a robot and then it transforms into a car and vice versa.  It's still what it is but it is transformed, changes shape and purpose and becomes something entirely different, yet still the same parts and pieces.
Our instruction is clear.
We must NOT be conformed: compliant, accommodating, integrated, yielded to this world, but instead we are to be TRANSFORMED: altered, reconstructed, revolutionized, translated, remodeled and MOLDED.....

HOW?
by renewing our minds.
Among all the tv, radio, newspapers and internet, how much time and how often do you pick up your bible?

Until you are introduced to TRUTH you will never recognize TRUTH.  Truth is the only thing that will set you free from political correctness and confusion over right and wrong and indecision and uncertainty!

The truth is Jesus. Jesus tells us that there is no middle ground, no gray area.  Let your yes be yes!

Matthew 5:37 is clear.  
Let your Yes be Yes and your No, No.  For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

The world would tell us there are mitigating circumstances and "gray" areas where one thing or another are difficult to choose from, where what might be wrong in one situation may be right in this situation.  When a clear violation of what is right and wrong isn't clear.  The world contradicts the TRUTH and pressures us to accept the contradiction and conform to a manner of thinking that leads to behavior that is clearly in violation of what God has revealed is righteous behavior.

Such as when abortion would be acceptable. The world would confuse us with goobledygook double speak about emotions and thoughts and feelings and womans rights and womans health issues and a womans right to choose; BUT GOD tells us that every person is made, formed and created by Him and He personally formed each of us and covered us in the womb of the mother! (Psalm 139: 13-16)

While the world clamors to fill our heads and hearts and half truths and confuse us with too many choices so we might never know the clear path of truth, God gives us simple, easy to follow instructions.

We must be BORN AGAIN.  Repent of our sin and be forgiven.  Accept that Jesus died in our place and rose from the dead to redeem us from evil.

We all fall short of Gods glorious perfection.  We all sin, even AFTER being born again! Even after the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts we fall, we mess up, we choose wrong, we SIN!  And God still makes a clear way for.

I John 1: 8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 

As long as we let the world dictate all our thought and actions the line between right and wrong will continue to fade and the false gray area will continue to look like a safe place to dwell.  The opinions of many will sway us and the rule of majority will even convince us that we are right.

But the day will come when we will stand, ALONE, before the God Who Created the universe.  No mother, no father, no sister, no brother, no husband, no wife, no son and no daughter.  No neighbor, no friend, no pastor, no preacher,  just we alone with our God to answer to Him and be judged by Him according to His perfection and holiness and righteousness.

Jesus will be the only one standing with each of us.  What you have done with TRUTH, for Jesus Himself is the TRUTH, will determine whether that TRUTH will recognize YOU at that time that determines your entire eternity.  And it won't be about what all that other noise influenced you to think and say and do.

It will all be about whether or not you recognized TRUTH.  If you did, then TRUTH will now recognize YOU and be your advocate and speak on your behalf to the great God Almighty.  Or will TRUTH do with you what you did with TRUTH?  Be silent, reject it, fail to recognize it?

DON'T BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD.......
                      BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND
that you may PROVE what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

There surely is a LOT of noise working hard to get our attention.  And it would be easy to get confused and wonder how we could possibly know where TRUTH lies.  Trust the still small voice in your heart.  For God has called us to know the TRUTH and God desires that all men should repent and come to a saving knowledge of the TRUTH.  

It is always right to LOVE; and God has proven His love by sending His son to shine TRUTH on all who will receive it with gladness!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

People ask

"How can I KNOW there is a God?"

"How can I be certain the God of the Bible is the one True God?"

"How can I be sure?"

Right there, in His word, He gives us the answer.  It isn't an easy answer.  It is a true answer.

It begins with His instruction to us to Be STILL.

No clamoring or clattering or asking endless questions or making noise or moving about - no doing ANYTHING.

Hold STILL.

Be STILL in your physical body.

Be STILL in your mind.

Be STILL in your heart.

Once you are STILL, know, recognize, acknowledge, understand, grasp, fathom, perceive, appreciate, experience and learn that HE IS GOD.

He is exalted among nations and in the earth.

Watch for it, look for it, search for it, seek it and see.

When you are still from your rumblings and ramblings and insistence on making your own philosophies and doctrines and theologies and notions and ideas; when you are STILL from all of this He reveals Himself.  Once He reveals Himself you will know that you know that you know that He is the one and only TRUE GOD.

His Word gives clues of Who He is, but cannot possibly contain the fullness of the God and Master of the Universe.

Other people have understanding but their language and oratory skills, as good as some are, cannot possibly reveal the fullness of all the He is.

Only He can truly, fully, completely and without question reveal Who He is; and He will show you, when you are STILL.

In the STILLNESS you will see and experience knowing God; you will recognize His handiwork and glimpse His sovereignty over all the earth.

Peace that passes all understanding will be yours.  Assurance and certainty fills the heart.

You will know that He is God and that You are His workmanship, wonderfully and fearfully made in His image according to His purposes and to receive and give away to others to His Great and Unconditional Love.

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

It all begins and ends with HIM.