Taking a look at the final verses in Philippians chapter 4. . Speaker: Scott Rasco. Philippians 4:13-19. Pastor: Scott Rasco.
John 15:18 (NIV) If the world hates you, remember they hated me first.
So at first sight the church finds pride in this statement. I have heard many Christian ministers say, “The world hates us because we are followers of Christ.” And Jesus did say it, but do they hate us like they hated Christ.
We need to first understand why they hated Christ.
19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
They hated Jesus because he was not like the world. He was a shining light in the midst of darkness. If we were like him then they would hate us for that reason. They would see the truth of the gospel and the spirit would convict them. Their hatred would stem from the conviction that was why they hated Christ. I don’t believe that is why they hate us.
They hate us not because we are like Christ, but because we are like the world. They hate that we indulge in the same sins, but then turn and pretend that we have it all together. They hate that we stand for something in the daylight, but when the lights are out we scurry around like cockroaches covered in stench and filth.
The world hates that we speak out of both sides of our mouths. We are double minded. We say we believe in God, but still seek after the things of the world. We truly have nothing to stand for, but we pretend to stand for everything.
In James 1:6-8 NLT is says:
6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
They hate us because we are fake. Jesus was genuine in everything he did. We too need to be genuine. Does that mean to be perfect? No. It simply means real. The Christians that reach the world are those who fail at life. The stumble and they fall, but they are honest about it. They do not attempt to hide it in the shadows and sugar coat the consequences.
The world needs to see that we are human. We are in the world, but because of the amazing Grace of Christ we are not of the world.
Stop glorying in the hate the world has against you. Instead start being the shining love that Christ created you to be.
This message is a call to all Christians. to everyone who voted for a new President and has wanted a change for our nation.
We felt like the vote was over and that was that. If they would have voted Clinton in the conservatives would have taken the news and moved on. Maybe a few radicals would have demonstrated and made idol threats, but it would end there.
However, I believe that America is right where Obama wanted it to be. You see the more that racial tensions were brought into the election the greater an army that the President had. now the dice have been thrown and the gamble lost so Obama can easily take his Ace out of his pocket and declare martial law all because of the civil unrest that he procreated.
On Alan Colmes radio cast, Dr. Ben Carson told Colmes that Obama could very easily declare martial law if the unrest of the nation got worse and turned into Anarchy. At that time Dr Carson was just looking at running for the presidency. He believed that the nation may not have an election if the unrest continued.
But we did have an election, and someone other than Clinton won.
I wondered for months why it appeared that Obama was not only supporting the protesters but actually applauding them. I wondered why he was actively making the civil unrest worse. Now I fear we may see.
While he begs the nation to take this transition in peace, to wipe his hands clean of any blood, he is possibly already drafting an Executive Order for martial law.
This is a call for all Christians to join together and pray, storm the heavenly gates for our nation. I fear we have not seen the worse of it yet.
About a year ago, I started tinkering with the idea to create an emoji/text abbreviation Bible. Basically I wanted to make something that would be easily translatable to text messaging, social media, and would speak to the digital generation. I wish I would have jumped on the idea because they have now created the emoji Bible. Here is my disclaimer: I have not had the chance to preview it, but the way it has been described and the samples I have seen they have taken the KJV, the old Standard of Bibles, the Authorized translation of most denominations and added emoji and abbreviated texting to represent the words.
It is really an interesting concept and I really love the idea. Nevertheless, there are many Christians calling this effort to reach the digital age heretical. Some of the comments stated that it was dumbing down the word of God and that the Holy Spirit is supposed to be the only thing we need to understand God’s word. My answer to this, then we need to get rid of the English, Spanish, and other translations and every one buy a Hebrew and Greek Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to help us understand it. Everyone knows that sounds stupid, but it makes as much since as this argument.
The second argument is that we are taking sacred things and making them secular. Sadly, that is a pharisee or Old Testament way of thinking. Jesus went to the lowest of the low and ministered to them in a way they would understand. He told parables and gave insight into the word of God that everyday people were unable to grasp. He dumbed it down for the people and they understood and accepted him.
Another argument was, how is this different than taking the Bible and creating a Gay Bible that supports Homosexuality. Again this has no merit. The Gay Bible is promoting a sin, but an emoji Bible is not promoting anything. It is offering a translation that help common people understand. Much like the work of Martin Luther when he made the first German Bible in the language of the common people or when William Tyndale made an early English translation that predates KJV.
Basically, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
So what do you think about this?
Tonight is the night before Easter. The night before the glorious resurrection. In just a few hours, we will celebrate the risen Christ, the coming of new life and the victory over death.
But think with me for a minute. Tonight I can’t help but wonder about the disciples, the followers. Those who had given their all. Those who set aside jobs and families and notoriety to follow this man from Galilee. To trudge after this teacher from Nazareth. Most thought he would bring a revolution and free his people. They thought his kingdom was about to rise up. Even though he warned them for months and even years that his kingdom was not of this world, they still expected him to grant them freedom.
Now it is Saturday night. He has been dead for over 24 hours. He could have called angels to free him, but he didn’t. He had the chance to rise up in glory and demonstrate the sum of his power but he chose not to. Now they sit alone in a darkened upper room, waiting. Every sound could be the government coming for them. Worst of all, they had all scattered like sheep.
They were filled with fear and regret. They were filled with anxiety, not knowing what would happen next.
So many times we find our selves in the same place. We lay looking up at the darkened ceiling, wondering why things have happened. Why didn’t he do something different? Why did the report have to say cancer? Why did the child have to make friends with the wrong crowd? Why did the car breakdown? Why did the accident have to happen?
We live in Saturday night but never realize that tomorrow, Sunday, is on the way. We can get so caught up in the misery of now not noticing that tomorrow is coming.
Saturday night was the darkest night in history. They thought the crucifixion was bad. But now he was still in the tomb. It was the time of greatest doubt. Sadly even those closest to him never understood his words. The Bible seems to indicate that no one was really watching and waiting for him to rise. The women were going to prepare the body. When he did rise they were in shock. Mary Magdalena saw Jesus in the garden and could not recognize him. Instead she thought the Romans had moved his body.
Nevertheless, Jesus revealed himself to them. He proved that everything he said was true. When we are caught is the darkness of Saturday night, just remember Sunday is just a few house away.
Today I heard Levi Lusko on the radio today. He said that when a Christian truly realizes that he or she is a pilgrim the Christian will start reacting differently. No believers will say, “You are different know.”
Lukewarm Christians will say, “Back down you are too fanatical.”
Then he went on the compliment this mindset of being a pilgrim and looking to heaven. The little that I know about Lusko I do not think he is saying that we need to take out focus off of the earth to focus solely on Heaven but hearing his message made me wonder what many Christians would think. I really feel like many Christians will hear his message and feel like they should focus so much on heaven that they are not relevant and reliable to reach the world.
If God wanted all of our focus to be on Heaven, he would have zapped us to heaven when we got saved. Nevertheless, God left us here to work as his hands and feet. We are called to be witnesses. We are called to fulfill the role of Christ in the world. Don’t ever let yourself be conned into believing the seduction that you are supposed to set tunnel vision on heaven, and miss the work Christ needs us to do here.
I think I’m losing my mind. Or maybe I’m just separating from the type of mentality that was once forced to believe.
I have always been taught that to see church growth I had to have a large church mentality. I guess I don’t really know what that means. From reading and conferences and even my own experience a large church mentality has proven to be, “the pastor moving away from hands on ministry.”
Don’t get me wrong, to have parishioners who help clean up and get the offering ready, and take care of the maintenance that is a biblical nessessity. The disciples created deacons as table servers to take care of the Greek widows. The word literally means slave or servant. The took care of the physical need so that the disciples could take care of the ministry.
But what about the hand on minstry. I have worked in churches over various sizes and it devastates me to see pastors who have tunnel vision, their own selfish agenda, or even are too ignorant to realize they are undermining their own ministry.
I recently had a discussion about Halloween. I had a friend say that he wanted to have revival on Oct 31. Sorry but that is counterintuitive. That tells the community, “We are better than you because we are worshipping Jesus.” The same thing with refusing to have an Easter egg hunts, superbowl parties, and Christmas pagents. When the church does not do things that people are involved in the church appears judgemental and arrogent. But when you say, I love this community enough that I want to offer the kids something to do so that they can learn about Jesus and also get off the streets then you are making a difference. Letting them hunt eggs and talking to them about the eggs symbol of new life is like the symbol of Jesus on the cross, you will see a break through.
We look at the great generals from wars gone by and everyone wanted to be in the middle. They wanted to be in the foxhole, hands on, changing people’s lives. All military complain about the pencil pushers that have never seen action and make decisions that make no sense in pratice. Far too many churches have fallen to the same prey.
It completely devastates me to see churches all around that are so focused on getting their numbers up that they are losing the personal touch. Yes, it is great to have 15 pastors and the lead pastor preaches and the rest do the lower work. But is it bad that you like cleaning the tables? Is it bad that you like making a personal connection with people?
We have a paradox of polar opposites. The “small church mentality” is when the people believe that the pastor should do it all and the people are not mentored and trained in ministry. The “large church mentality” is when the pastor is no longer touched by the people and everyone else does the work of minstry.
The “biblical church mentality” is when the church joins hand and hand with the pastor following the direction of the Holy spirit and vision for the church.
This is accomplished when the church realizes the pastor is just another cog in the wheel of the church. He is not meant to be the donkey that carries the load of the church but is also not to be separated from the church by a stain glass wall. He is a member, he is a leader, and a shepherd. Actually he is kind of like the head sheep almost. No doubt, his responsibilities are different and his employment is more dire to the soul, but he still uses toilet paper, puts his pants on one leg at a time, and yells when he has smashed him thumb with a hammer five times in a row.
Church growth occurs when the pastor is able to teach the people to join hands and walk together to accomplish the vision that God has set before them. Good pastors don’t make mandates and directives, they take the word of God rightly divided and understand that not everyone has to be in agreement with everything. Instead they have to know that he is just and listens to the voice of God. Moreover, their allegiance should never be politically motivated, manipulated, or threatened. Their allegiance should be earned through mutual respect and love. That was how Jesus is demonstrated to use in the word of God.
Churches grow through personal connection. They grow when people see the pastor leading with vision with his or her hands and feet.
More than anything as a pastor I want to be the hands and feet of Christ and I want to help those around find out how they can fit in the gear that we call the body of Christ. When I am able go on missions I want to teach other Christians how to show love for each other. I want my kids to see me doing the things that other people are unwilling to do and learn to do the same.
How can I tell them about Christ if they are freezing?
How can I tell them I love them if they are starving?
How can I help them believe that I care and am willing to walk hand in hand with them if their dying because they can not quit doing Crack or heroine?
How do I have the arrogance and audacity to tell them of the wonders and glory tomorrow in heaven if I am not going to trouble myself to help them out of the Hell they are in today on earth?
I know you have to have the money, but my daddy owns the cattle of a thousand hills. I know you have to have the sustainability but my daddy shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus my lord. I know you have to have a place to worship, but the disciples worshiped on the street corners and in the synagogues. And the hour is here when true worshippers are getting ready to worship him in spirit and in truth. For he is spirit and that is how he wants our worship. And what good is multimillion dollars if there is no love.
God is no where close to being done with me yet. I don’t think we have seen the end anywhere close to being in sight he still has work for the church to do. He wont come back until we have finished the work. For me I know he had a plan. And he will see that plan to completion. I’m ready daddy for you to show me where to step and where to go.