Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

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.

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Night before easter

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.

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.

God loves Gays

rainbow crossRecently, with all of the changes and laws with marriage we have heard more and more about Homosexuals vs Christianity. More Christians are piling of weapons against homosexuals while the LGBT are piling up weapons against the church, and God is left caught in the crossfire.

Why do we think that God hates Homosexuals? Jesus talks a lot about sin, but never once plainly mentions the sin of homosexuality. Also it is not listed in the 10 commandments. Because of these two reasons many feel that it is a recent fabrication of holy-than-thou Christians. I have even heard some people state that Christians throughout history have perverted the Bible to speak against homosexuals while they state original documents did not.

I really don’t care because I am very tired of churches fighting against people and pointing fingers, people are pointing fingers at the church. God loves homosexuals just as much as God loves you and me. God has a passion for them, and he wants them to accept his love. God does not say, “Hey you are homosexual I don’t want you.” God does not give an ultimatum that says, “If you are homosexual’s then you can not be saved.”

Furthermore, there will be many homosexuals in heaven. There will be people of all kinds who have all different types of life styles in heaven. I believe that even Ted Bundy is in Heaven because in his interview with Dr. Dobson he said that he had been saved. If God cast us out because of our struggles we would all be in hell, but if we have humbled ourselves before God, he will help us with our struggles. We have no power to over come any struggles alone. Nevertheless, God does.

God loves gays, do you?

 

Stop Worshiping Me

Chris_Kyle_January_2012As stated in a previous entry, I recently read the book about Chris Kyle, American Sniper. It was a really good book; however, if you can not handle graphic descriptions or extreme language the book is not for you. Nevertheless, the book was very good.

This post is not about the book. Recently, I have seen a lot of people talking about Chris Kyle. Many people idolize him, claiming him to be a hero, and ridiculing anyone who does not do the same.

I feel like such people did not get the message of the book or the movie. Kyle did not want hero worship. He did not want to be immortalized. He did his job. Throughout the book and also in the movie he was very emphatic that he did not want to be idolized. He would rather give the glory and honor to his fellow soldiers.

I think it is time that we learn that we can show people respect for what they have done. But we should also show them the honor by respecting what they want. He did not want to be a worshiped, so stop using him to compare against the people who are acting out for the purpose of being immortalized.

Choosing Heroes

VanityFairJuly2015So there have been a lot or people lately discussing what it take to be a hero. This is because of the recent gender reassignment of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner.

First, honestly, why s/he does with his/er own life has nothing to do with me and maybe the story will help others who are struggling find confidence in being who they are.

However, this has made a lot of people question what it means to be a hero. Some people argue that Jenner’s actions are that of a true hero willing to demonstrate what it means to truly be oneself. Others see this a deplorable and feel like people looking to Jenner as a a hero are misguided.

Nevertheless, everyone needs a hero. Everyone needs someone they can relate to and look up to. I would rather look at Jenner as a Hero than many other athlete’s who are not willing to stand up for what they believe in.

We have to realize our definition of a hero is based on many things. It can be on our culture, religion, values, upbringing, moral understanding, etc. What makes a hero to me will not make a hero to you. A radical Muslim would see someone entirely different as a hero than an orthodox Jew.

With this in mind we need to all grow up and put on our big boy underpants and stop ridiculing other people and their beliefs.

So what do you think determines a real hero?

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?