Author: Dennis Muse

sinai-desert I have always heard the time the Hebrews spent wondering in the Sinai desert (wilderness) after they left Egypt referred to as the "Wilderness Experience", and always in a Negative way. Christians always use the phrase "Your having a Wilderness Experience" when ever someone is going through a ruff time in their life. Having a bad season in life. But if you read the story and truthfully look at it, are they really right to teach it in a negative way, really use it as a comparison to a hard time in ones life.

 

This is what we read about the Hebrews experience in the Sinai desert.
1. They did not have to work for their daily meals, toil, plant, harvest or hunt for food. Their daily meals where delivered to their doorstep.
2. The women did not even have to prepare or cook a meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was catered for them.
3. They did not have to make or buy one single peace of clothing, repair or replace their tent (house) for 40 years.
4. They did not have to start their day wonder what they where to do, or God’s will. His physical, visible present lead them day and night. God walked among them, with them, visibly with them daily.
5. God was verbally teaching them about Him and life. As life was happing, God was telling them how to handle it, live.
6. When they gathered for worship, God was there, visibly and verbally His presents was there.
7. Their days where consumed with being married, having and raising children, living in community and listening to and following God.

OK, how may of us would not trade our life in the rat race for that life. How may of us would love to wake up every morning with God’s pillar of fire showing us where we should go today. Trade in the daily grind at the office for spending the day with our family, not having to worry about making ends meet, putting bread on the table, paying the rent. Having God take care of, provide everything for you. Go to church and have God there, just a few feet away from you. Have God with you visibly every day, guiding you, not in feeling like He is with you, you look with your eyes and see His hand showing the way.

I think we need to new understanding of what the Hebrews had in the Sinai. And new phrase to use for those going through bad times, hard times. Maybe we should start referring to the good life as the "Wilderness experience".

flashforward-logo The new TV show Flash Forward (ABC Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET) debut last night, with an interesting show plot. If you did not see the first show, the plot is that everyone in the world blacks out at the same time and has a flash forward to their future. And while blacked out they see for two minutes and seventeen seconds, his or her life six months in the future on the same day. What they where doing on that day, what their life was like. And a FBI task force sets out to find out what or who cause it and why it happened.

One of the character points out that everyone was changing how they lived and how they have a different outlook on their lives based on what they saw about their future. People where beginning to change the way the lived, their outlook about life. Those who saw a bad future on that day where now seeking to change that outcome, create a different future for themselves, avoid the for seen event.

And I thought about that, how the author of the book that the show is based on, understood if we could see the future, even a single day, it would effect our life choices now, how we live now. How true that should be fore every follower of Christ, for we have seen the future, not just ours but the future of the all mankind, all of creation. How the story will end as they say.

We followers of Christ have had our own Flash Forward, only we have seen more than two min of the future. We do not know the exact date of events like in the show, they had a time line, we do not, it could be tomorrow, next month or ten years from now.

So my question is has it really changed the way we live compared to those who have not had a Flash Forward, seen the future. Has knowing the future really changed what we live for, what is important in life, what our life priorities are? Do we really live in light of our Flash Forward?

Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
      Give me neither poverty nor riches—
      Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You,
      And say, “Who is the LORD?”
      Or lest I be poor and steal,
      And profane the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:7-9

A prayer that we all need to take to heart. He is basically asking God to let him live pay check to paycheck, that is so anti American. Goes against the grain of what so many churches preach today. I think even churches need to pray this payer regarding income lest they fall away in the same way, for get the Lord become the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2 leaving their first love, God.

I seek to take this verse to heart and pray it. How about you, will you?

Listen to Francis Chan 2 min video on the verse here>>

Church is to look more like a family than a corporation!

Starting, Planting a Church is about relationships, church is all about relationships. The relationship between God and His church, Jesus and His bride, and the body/church with each other. Then there is the relationship with the world, but the church must first be built on it’s relationship with God, Jesus and each other, that’s its foundation, core and heart of what it is. Jesus said the the body, His church would be recognized by the peoples love for one another, that sounds like a family to me not a business. Too often churches come with nicely packaged systems, programs and curriculums to start the church. It is easy to think that great marketing tricks will somehow build up the church. But the reality is that no matter how good the packaging might be, it really comes down to the time and investment made into relationships. Its about crating a family of passionate lovers of God and each other not only in words, but in deeds. It’s about being a family, living together as one, one family in Christ.

When the church gathers it should look/function more like Thanksgiving dinner with the Walton’s or the Huxtable’s, than a stockholders meeting at IBM or Apple.

There is the famous saying in business, “It’s not personal, it’s business” but you see church is personal, it’s all about getting personal. Therefore you cannot use a business model to start, build or run a church, church planters, pastors take note “It’s not business, it’s personal

The church is to be build on love and relationships, to function as and look like a family, a family deeply in love with each other, with God our Father and Jesus our Lord and savior.

repent In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Mat 3:1-2

That was the message of John the Baptizer, he spent his life going around call on the nation of Israel to repent and be baptized.

In Luke 7:28 Jesus says of John:  “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

That was quite a statement for God to say of someone, I know I certainly would love to be such a person that God would say that of me. And John had lived his life doing only two things, declaring repent and be baptized.

 

 

Twenty five times Jesus says the same thing in verses like:

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Mat 4:17

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 

Jesus makes is very clear that repentance is a requirement for salvation, this is why I believe John was crowed the greatest, because he was doing the most important step need for salvation, repentance.

And in verses like John 8:11 we read what Jesus said to an adulteress woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." To go and sin no more is to repent, we could insert repent, “go and repent” that what repent means, to turn from sin, leave your life of sin.

But yet strangely enough I do not ever here repentance proclaimed in the post modern church today. Never hear a pastor tell people the must repent. Never hear Christian share that necessary step with others.

I believe we need another John the Baptizer, that it is time for God to send another to go about proclaiming His message “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Someone who will shout repent not only to the world but to the church.

fearless How can you grow your faith to go beyond the fear? Is the question that Max’s book is all about. "Lets be numbered among those who hear a different voice, God’s. Enough of these shouts of despair, wails of doom." Max writes. In this world we live in today with a failing economic system, high unemployment, AIDS, swine flu. foreclosures, a failing government, wars and terrorism to name a few things. Fear is king. One only has to just watch or go to one of the town hall meetings on health care, and see how fear is driving people to a state of anger. The timing of the release of this book is impeccable, our world is facing a multitude of critical situations like is has never faced before at one time.

 

 

He writes:
"We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals, church suppers, and meditation. We never expect to see him in a bear market, pink slip, lawsuit, foreclosure or war. We never expect to see Him in a storm. But it is in storms that he does His finest work, for it is in storms the He has our keenest attention."

"And Jesus wants them to know (speaking of the disciples): they will never face the future without His help, Nor do you. you have a travel companion."

So many today live a life dominated  by fear, and it does not have to be the set in the corner and cower at the world kind. But a fear that cause you to live a life not centered on and dependent on God. To seek and find security in the things of this world like riches to be your security. The type of fear that will cause you to make decision for yourself based on fear rather than faith, God.
Max has done it again. He has taken a subject that is on everyone’s mind these days, fear, and with his writing ability and gifted insight has addressed it from the viewpoint of faith.

If you are looking to build you life on a firm foundation, some words of wisdom, and to put to rest any of the fears you may be experiencing, I strongly recommend you read this book.

This is an encouraging book that I would recommend to anyone who struggles with fear and even if you do not, because like the Eagles song: ‘In a New York Minute’, everything can change in a moment.

Buy it here.

man praying on knee And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, "My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?"  Mark 11:17

Jesus was quoting Isa 56:7 when He made the above statement when He was chastising the people for what they hade made the Temple into. Here Jesus was saying what God had already stated one of the purposes of the Temple, the forerunner of the church. Jesus had found the Temple lacking, not fulfilling one of its purposes, prayer. Prayer is to be center stage when God’s people gather.

How about your church on Sunday, would anyone who was there say that your church was a house of prayer. If Jesus visited it today would He make the same statement of your church as He did the Temple in Mark 11?

I’m not talking about, or is God a one or two minute prayer at the beginning of the service. Or a 60 second closing prayer at the end ether. I’m talking about Gethsemanes garden level praying here, earth moving, world changing, on your face praying. Does that describe your church service today?

If your church was not a house of prayer on Sunday, ask your pastor why it is not. If you are the pastor why isn’t your church a house of prayer. God said, Jesus said that the gathering of Gods people was to be known as a house of prayer for the nations. Any gathering of God’s people, the church should consist of Spirit lead, Spirit filled, Spirit empowered prayer. The church should be praying for the nations and each other every time it gathers.

selling organs There is a world wide epidemic going on, an atrocity, an appalling act that reveals both the said status of the worlds economy, but also sets new lows in depravity for our day. Desperately poor people are sell kidneys for cash, from the Philippines, to India, Pakistan, Egypt to Iraqi and even in the US.

There are hundreds of stories a day now like:

"I’m a father of four and my wife is very sick. I do not have work and need money desperately to support them and for this reason I decided to sell my kidney."

Karim borrowed money to expand his bakery. When the money ran out, and
facing the prospect of imprisonment if unable to repay his debts, the 36-year-
old Egyptian baker sold his kidney.

Poverty meets Human Trafficking

Not only is poverty forcing people to such desperate acts to survive, but there are street children being snatched up and forcible having a kidney removed by black market doctors. Even parents selling a kidney of their children for money. The worse cases is they are selling their daughters kidney, then they sell her, her whole body to a trafficker to be used for the sex trade.

This is the said truth, condition of the world today, extreme poverty growing world wide forcing people to do horrible things to survive. Poverty is a severe plague on the world, people doing insanely horrible things to survive. And horrible people doing unimaginable things to others to make money off the poor.

Watch the Fox News videoIraqis selling body parts to make ends meet.”

 

See my sites on Poverty and Human Trafficking.

It was said of the early Christians, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 17:6. And “…These men do exceedingly trouble our city..” Act’s 16:20. Nearly everywhere they went riots broke out! The status quo was over turned, the norm was challenged.

Paul was called a “Riot Starter,”  “for having found this man a pestilence, and moving a dissension to all the Jews through the world — a ringleader also of the sect of the Nazarenes.” Acts 24:5

Paul was constantly starting riots and he was constantly being persecuted, run out of town, stoned, jailed and beaten. And what did he have to say about all the persecution, the hardship and suffering he endured for live such a life. Being a “man of pestilence” according to the world, “ For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” Php 1:29.

What was his response to being a riot starter, for tuning the world upside down, disrupting the acceptable peace as wellbeing of all around him. Caused by perching the gospel, “I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the job and complete the race…of testifying to the Gospel.” Acts 20:24. He had a job to do…nothing else mattered!

I ask you do you cause riots where ever you go like the first church did, that is turn the world upside down with the gospel, for Christ? Do the other Christians you know cause riots wherever they go like Paul? Why isn’t this the norm today? Could it be because Act 20:24 is not at the heart of our existence as it was Paul’s. That our identity is is not grounded in the Great Commission?

Maybe it is time for Christians to resolve to be riot starters everywhere we go, to be found a people who are tuning the world upside down with the gospel.