Category Archives: Scripture

Why the world hates the Church

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.

Focused on Heaven

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.

Biblical church mentality

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.

Bible reading

Recently we turned over a new leaf. I wanted to regain my bible reading time with my kids. Since I have been working in the evenings it was impossible to regularly read the bible to them. Finally, with taking a teaching position I have been able to do so. I can’t say that it has been an every evening thing. Mainly during the week and taking the weekends off. I realized very quickly that the little kids were not able to maintain focus but the bigger boys have begun getting into the routine. We are actually reading the entire bible in chronological order. Last time we made it through the whole bible in 6 months because the boys loved it so much. This time we will not move as fast, but I look forward to the time together.

Is this the Mark of the Beast?

Recently there have been a lot of hoopla about the possibility of RFID implants and the fact that many believe that Obamacare mandates that all citizens have to receive one. This statement is actually a gross misinterpretation. As the website Snopes explains the original Obamacare documents would have allowed for there to be a database of anyone with a medical implant. The implants being referenced are medical devices that are implanted into the body for a medical purpose, e.g. pacemakers, defibrillators, pumps, etc. There was no mention in the document about any time of implantation devices being placed in the body at the will of the government.

Secondly, the specific portions referenced were removed by Chip9486congress prior to the acts approval. Therefore there is no longer any part of the statement referencing a database of implants.

This does not mean that some time in the future some type of implant will not be created. So my question: Would such a data implant be the mark of the beast?

When you read the book of Revelations the mark of the beast is described a mark that is placed on the hand or the forehead. Once a person takes the mark they are unable to recant it, but an implant could be removed.

Also if you take the idea that the mark is a literal concept, then it would be on the skin not under the skin. I would dare say I am not sure if it is the mark of the beast. Instead I believe that the mark of the beast would come after.

What do you think?

 

 

So what should our reaction be

Today has been a defining moment for the equality of homosexuality. As the supreme court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of gay marriage it has essentially been taken from the hands of the states and the people.
Nevertheless, we knew this was coming. We have seen it on the horizon since Vermont first started honoring homosexual unions. Why then are we acting startled by this decision?
So what do we do? I think the greater question is what would Jesus have done. I notice a lot of pastors blowing up their blogs and their social media with statements against homosexual unions. Why? We are doing the same thing we have done and it has not worked yet. Throughout history we have murdered homosexuals in the name of god. We have tortured them and ridiculed them in the name of love and religion. We have banned them from our churches, spoke out against them in out communities, and defamed then to the world. So has our tactic worked. Has our ambush of damnation changed their hearts and turned them around. No. It turned them against us.
We have done everything the wrong way. How did Jesus reach the lost? Through love and compassion. He sat at their tables and ate their food. While building a relationship he showed what it was like to live in the kingdom of God. It changed their lives.
Who did Jesus preach against? The religious, the pharisee and the lawyer. The people who had been trained in the law. The people that knew God’s  word in and out.
The Dr came to reach the sick and he did it with the healing power of love. Instead we preach against the sick because we know the word of God.
We are no better than the Jews in the new testament. It is not my place to judge you. Because my sin is just as bad as yours. And mark my words if we don’t straighten up and show love rather than hate, the day will come when preachers who refuse to perform Same sex unions will be charged with a hate crimes for discrimination.

Trust not your own understanding

So recently I feel God is definitely trying to reinforce this scripture in my life. I am trying to make a career change. I 2011 I left Pastoring full time and have been working primarily at police dispatch. I have gone through the process of getting my Texas Teaching license through an alternative program. Now, I always see stats that there are not enough qualified teachers, but I guess that is not true in Texas because I applied for around 300 jobs before the 2014-2015 school year and the only interview I got was at the school where my wife works.
Moving on, this school year I have subbed almost every day. I made high scores on both my subject test and my pedagogy test. I have applied for ever job that has come available. I really feel that I will have a job by the end of the summer. I know that I God will provide the right job at the right time, but that does not mean that I do not worry.
Recently, I taught on patience in our Bible Study. I the book Bearing Much Fruit I talk extensively about peace and patience being fruit of the spirit. I will tell you right now, just because I know it in my head does not mean that I have fully excepted it in my heart. I want it now. I want to know the answer. I want to see the door open and me not have to wait.
In Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not to your own understanding.” But I want to lean on my understanding. I can trust my understanding. I can rely on my own ability. But it does not work that way. God is saying, “Wait, I got this, but it has to be in my time.”
I don’t want to see that. I want it now, and it is not happening fast enough. God is in control and all things will come together at the right time. I just have to wait and not lean on my own abilities.