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I’m thinking I can’t afford to even consider another year of sitting in a “church service” and hearing someone preaching a sermon, or worse a sermonette, sing a few songs, saying amen, shake hands on my way out, and saying that’s church, my duty complete, and even worse think God’s happy with that.

When you look at scripture it wasn’t just show up for a service, sing a couple of songs, hear a message and walkaway, maybe be convicted or rejoice or whatever. On my way out shake hands, smile and ask “How are you? How’s work?” Respond I’m fine, works good, see you next week, and say church done for the week. No where do we ever see Jesus model that, describe it that way. Peter or Paul describe it that way. See it done that in in scripture or in the first 100 years of the church, no where. Read the book of Act’s, you will see a different church.

Jesus didn’t command us to get a bunch of people room to set around listen to one man talk one a week for an hour, that’s not what He asked for, not what He says the church will be known for.

God has been speaking to me, taking me deeper and deeper into His word and Himself the last 5 years, the last year especially He has been working in me in life changing everything. He has been speaking to me especially about church, what it is, and it’s purpose is according to him.

He has been speaking to me through His word, His Spirit through followers of Christ he has connected me with like Francis Chan and JD Greear and a few others.

I’m saying lets go back to Scripture and ask what did He say. Because Jesus did Not ask for a bunch of people just to come sing a couple of songs, to come sit and listen to a man give a sermon. God’s never wanted His church to be a one hour, one day a week event you attend like a Las Vegas show, something that’s put on for you. Something that is You centered, all about You and Your likes and dislikes.

I pick up the bible and read what Jesus said the church is to be, what its purpose is, read how God started the church, look at what the church did when it gathered in the beginning. And I say what God want’s is what I want. And I am not one of those who reads the word of God, then like Eve listen to Satin say to me, did God really mean what He said? Did he really mean what He said? After all the bible is descriptive not prescriptive for you today.

One thing I know for sure, when I stand before God, He is not gong to say to me “you fool” you actually believed my word, took it literally, you actually believed I would do what I said, you actually where obedient to what I said, you did church my way. You loved Me and Jesus so much you believed my words “you fool”. Not hardly.

On the other hand those who say the book of Act’s is descriptive not prescriptive, fables, symbolic, figurative or what ever excuse to not believe what it says, not to obey it, want to do it their way. Well let’s just say I don’t want to hear what they will hear the day they appear before God.

What does God say church is suppose to be? I say let’s go to the word and see what did Jesus die for. What did he say the church was supposed to be and just do it, no more excuses.

Imagine if you were on an island and never been to a church and just read the bible, over and over and over and over. And then you get rescued somehow and you come to America. And you went to visit one of those things you’ve been reading about, this gathering of believers. And then you walk into a building called a church going okay, I have been reading the bible. And I want to experiences what I’ve read about, with this group of people here. You walked in and look around, would you find what you would’ve expected? Would you find what Jesus describe, said He wanted? Find what you read about in Act’s? No, you would not.

I’m talking about the real thing, a gathering of the church done the way God said, designed it, what I read about in the bible. I don’t know about you but I want the real thing, the church I see in Acts, the one Jesus died for. I’m talking about doing what God asked His people to do, being what the church is to be, its reason for being according to Him, His word. What God said it’s to looks like when true followers of Jesus gather together. That’s what I am after, what God has been showing me in His word and speaking loudly to me about, that He wants.

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

Part 3 – Church A Loving Family

It seems every church, every person that calls them selves a Christian has their own definition of what it is to “follow Jesus” to be a “follower of Christ”. Their are a multitude of books, countless sermons on the subject, each with their own opinion of what it means.

Recently The Lord took me to Matthew 4:19 where Jesus says “And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

When I think about these words, “Follow Me,” and being Jesus is clearly and absolutely worthy of far more than church attendance and casual association.

We are talking about the Savior King of the universe and the Righteous Judge of all, God in the flesh saying, “Follow Me.” Just let it soak in, the thought alone is Mind-boggling when you realize Who’s speaking here. God. And when He speaks you don’t just memorize it.

When Jesus comes to you and says, “Follow Me,” this is not a minor thing, there’s no potential for a casual response here. It’s either turn and run or bow and worship. You ether say No or Yes Lord!

So one can establish right off the bat that following Jesus is far more than church attendance, casual association, simply being a fan of Jesus. Imagine yourself standing before Jesus and Him saying to you “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. How would your life change from that moment on.

As you know if somebody gets hit by a Simi Truck they look different. How much more when a person comes face-to-face with the God of the universe in the flesh, the Savior King of the nations and the Righteous Judge of all peoples Who is sovereign over everything in the world, when you meet Him…….you look different. Everything changes, you do not go on with life as it was, with the same goals, worldly ambitions, desires, purpose, lifestyle or even identity. Everything changes!

I go from doing what I want to do with my life, pursing what I want to do and be, to doing what Jesus says I am to do.

Jesus did not say follow me and ______________, you fill in the blank what that means, with what you want to do. No, He tells us what following Him means, what follows the word “and”. I don’t need to read commentaries, read volumes of books, ask Google to know what it is to be a follower, Jesus tells me here.

Jesus says, “I’m going to make you a fisher of men.” In other words, Jesus says, “I’m going to do a transforming work in your life that will enable you to spread My gospel all over the world. Your life is going to be spent for My purpose, being a fisher of men, that’s what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.

Every follower of Jesus is to be a fisher of men according to Jesus in this passage.

And like I said in my last post, I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.

So I pick up my bible, read Matthew 4:19 and Bingo, Jesus defines following Him, or maybe more precise, the result of being a follower perhaps. If we are following Him, He will make us fishers of men. Going back to my last post on Matthew 28:19-20 about “Go, make disciples”, put the two verses together it’s quite clear Jesus is saying if you are following Him,  you’re a fisher of men, you will be making disciples.

So according to Jesus, what does it look like to be a follower of Jesus, you are a fisher of men, you are making disciples. That’s your new identity, purpose, and lifestyle.

Again like I said before if I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to let Jesus make me a fisher of men, and go do it, go make disciples.

It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, say here’s what I would do. I would be a fisher of men, that would define who I am and I’d start making disciples!

According to Jesus’ own words, if someone ask what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus, I would answer, if you’re a following Jesus, your a fisher of men, busy making disciples. Is there more to it than that, Yes, but this is where you start, this is the core of what following Jesus is, to be a fisher of men, to Go make disciples.

See Jesus Says – Go make disciples.

When I was a kid we played a game called Simon Says, I doubt kids today even know it since it not played on a smart phone. How you play it is if the person who’s “it” says, Simon says pat your head, or jump on one leg, or bark like a dog, you have do it, because Simon said to, or your out. That’s what the game is about, if Simon says do something, no matter what it is, you have to do it because you must obey Simon’s commands.

It’s very simple game, but it’s so weird how in the church, Jesus Says is a totally different game. If Jesus says to do something you don’t have to do it, you just have to memorize it, talk about it, have bible studies about it, and that’s it, you don’t have to actually do it.

It doesn’t make any sense, Jesus tells us to Go and make disciples, but yet how many people in the churches are actually making disciples? They’ve memorized the verse, so what, is that what Jesus asked us to do, memorized His commands? Do bible studies on what it would be like to do it?

If you told your daughter or son to go clean their room, they wouldn’t come back to you two hours latter and go, I’ve memorize what you said. You said “go clean your room”…….. and I can say it in Greek too. And my friends are going to come over and where going to have a study on what it would look like if I clean my room. Tomorrow I’m going to start a discussion group on the theology of what you said, theorize as to if you really meant “I” should do it, what exactly you meant by clean, and and is descriptive of prescriptive.

Your kids know better than that, and so why do we think we’re  going to come before The Judge one day, before the one we say is our Lord. Stand before Jesus and quote everything that He said, talk about how much you know, and Jesus will say “well done good and faithful servant”? Really!

Note the key word in His statement is “done“, its a action, a verb, meaning you have completed a task you where given to do. The only way you can hear well done is if you do what Jesus said to do.

It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, here’s what I would do. I’d start making disciples!

I would Not just memorize it, do a bible study on what it would be like to do it, read two dozen books on the theology of it, argue whether or not it was for then only or for today, or is it’s descriptive or prescriptive. That’s not what I would do, I would say, Yes Lord Jesus and start making disciples.

If I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to make disciples of Jesus, and go do it.

I would just Go and make disciples……… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)

And when you combined that with Jesus saying:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

Jesus’ very words to us are if you love Me you will do as I say, and He said, Go and make disciples. So ether we love and obey, or don’t and make excuses. that’s are only two choices.

I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.

See part two: Jesus Says, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

In Joel 2:31 he prophesy’s “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” which is part of one of the most famous prophecy about the End Times, the second coming of Jesus. Peter quotes the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17-21 referring to the out poring of the Holy Spirit on the believers.

One can read that and wonder what does he mean “the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon turn to blood”, well here is what could be a possible answer to that.

Sun turned to darkness = moon directly between the Earth and sun in a total solar eclipse.

Moon turned to blood = Earth directly between the sun and moon, Earth’s shadow falling on the moon in a total lunar eclipse.

“During the next two years NASA tables shows we will have what astronomers call a Tetrad phenomenon – a string of four partial lunar eclipses where the moon will appear blood red on certain Jewish Holy Days. This has only happened three times in history and – every time – the blood moons signaled huge events that affected “God’s Chosen People. we have coming four blood moons on 4/15/2014, 10/8/2014, 4/4/2015, and 9/28/2015, but the added significance is that the total solar eclipse on 3/20/2015 is on the biblical calendar of Nisan 1. Nisan 1 begins the New Year according to the Bible, it is the first month in the biblical calendar.

The last three times this phenomenon occurred were right around seminal moments in Jewish history.  For example, when it happened in 1493 and 1494 Jews were expelled from Spain. The blood moons in 1949 and 1950 came right after the nation of Israel was assembled, giving the Jews a homeland for the first time in thousands of years.  And in 1967 and 1968 it was linked to the Six-Day War.

All that to say over the last 500 years, these lunar events all falling on holy days were an announcement of a time of tears and tribulation that ended in tremendous national triumph for the Jewish people.”

Some like to blow off Joel’s prophecy as being fulfilled at the destruction of the temple, I have two problems with that theory, one it says

“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.”

you can make a case that this was fulfilled at Pentecost, in part, which is what Peter was doing in Act 2, but not fully.

Second these things proceed “the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” and if you know scripture you know this refers to the coming day of judgement at the end, or more to the point the second coming of Jesus. It’s used 17 times is scripture, the last time in Revelation 16:14,  and that is why I believe Joel’s prophecy is still waiting to be fulfilled.   But that’s me, based on what I see in God’s word.

Not saying that the coming 4 red moons and eclipse are in fact is what Joel was prophesying about, I’m not foolish enough to run about claiming that, (unless of course God where to tell me to). Nor say it’s a sign Jesus is coming back this month, or next year, because there are many more scriptures that must be fulfilled first. But also, I’m not foolish enough to disregard Jesus’ very words in Matthew 24:36-46. To be on look for the signs of His return, to be ready, be prepared, to not be caught off guard to it ether. I see this as more of a sign on the road to the rapture, to His return, To be alert and be ready for it is coming.

onething-dm

I ended my year at the Onething Conference 2013 just as I have for 10 years, God moved in power, did some amazing work in me, big changes coming for me.

No better way to end the year than with teaching from the likes of Francis Chan, my favorite man of God. Mike Bickle, Banning Liebscher and others. Even my old WYAM boss John Dawson was there and shared something.

Something like 20 hours of worship by passionate lovers of Jesus, such as Jesus Culture, Misty Edwards, Matt Redman, Laura Hackett. Worship that brought God down or us up to Him.

A stranger came up to me during worship and said he felt God wanted him to pray for me, his prayer addressed the very things God was saying to me, in other words, a word from the Lord.

For the last 3 weeks I have be struggling with some issues, talking to God about a list of things, everything was addressed, 3 of the speakers covered what I was in dialog with myself and God about. Even during worship, many songs even gave me answers from God. Add in the prayer by a stranger. God was speaking loud and clear to me. God is so awesome like that.

Ending the year surrounded by 35,000 of the body of Christ from all over the world, met people from China, Korea, Australia, and many different states.

I can think of no better way to end the year.

 

Sometimes people think eschatology is just for the theologians and pastors, but that could not be further from the truth. The second coming of Jesus Christ should be at the forefront of every Christians mind, life.

I have learned that eschatology is important, because it actually affects your life more than you may think.

What you know and believe about the book of Revelation, or what you don’t know or believe will greatly affect the way you live day to day.

Here’s what I mean…..

When I as at Calvary Chapel in the 80’s the book of Revelation was the most studied and talked about book, Chuck preached about, talked about the return of Jesus a lot, so everyone had their thoughts and conversation set on Jesus’ return. We lived in anticipation of it, and desire for Jesus to come quickly. The result was everyone lived with with a eternal mindset, so everyone was about doing the will of the Father, living out the great commission, we where passionate about sharing the gospel and seeing people get saved. Maranatha was a word spoken by one and all, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! was the cry of our hearts, we desired, longed for His return, to be with Him.

If you believe that the next 10 –3 0 years is all you have on the earth to live (whether they end by death or the return of Jesus), you will live very differently than if you know that life is not mainly about this life, but about the age to come, that’s the way we lived back then at Calvary.

The Bible tells us that there is coming a day when heaven is coming to earth.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”
   
(Revelation 21:1-6 NKJV)

Most people avoid the book of Revelation, I love it, it’s a Revelation of Jesus Christ, it’s the most vivid presentation of He who is, events leading up to His 2nd coming,  it’s what every follower of Jesus hearts long for, because it’s what we were made for!

I began studying the book of Revelation again for a study group I was in, but more because as I mentioned earlier I believe that having a heart rooted in eternity, and the age to come dramatically affects my life on a day to day basis.

Here are some of the ways I feel it impacts my life dramatically whether I set my heart on the age to come or just on this life:

  • The only way I believe I will walk out my life with the correct priorities in life is if I have a revelation that everything I do in this age can carry on into the next and have eternal value.
  • The only way I can make the right choses for career, mate, how I spend my time is through the lens of what will pass away and what is eternal, that Jesus and His Kingdom is coming soon.
  • I will live a live looking for,  being prepared, ready for His return. (Luke 21:36)

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  (Matthew 24:42-44 ESV)

  • An eternal perspective will guard me from making the American dream my life pursuit, goal. If I know that this life is not to be where I set my heart, then I will not try to fill my life with things that will only pass away. I will spend my time and money differently.

    “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
(Colossians 3:1-4ESV)

  • I will have perspective for pain: I will know that this world has pain and disappointment, and that where I am going, there will be no more pain, sorrow, sadness or death. Therefore any pain I experience in this life I can use to propel me closer to the heart of Jesus, knowing that pain will not always be my portion and will come to an end.
  • It will cause me to set my heart on the great commission, make spreading the gospel the single most important thing in life, my life priority.
  • Maranatha! will be the cry of my heart, come Lord Jesus with fill my prayers, thoughts and desires. Everyday I will eagerly anticipate and look foreword to the return of Jesus.
  • Setting my heart on the age to come will prepare my heart to not fear persecution or death.
  • Setting my heart on the age to come will propel my heart to want to live a life poured out for Jesus and for the sake of His name, no matter what the cost.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  (Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV)

(This list is by no means exhaustive. )

All throughout the New Testament, you will find the centrality of this theme exhorting us to set our hearts and minds on things to come…

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.” ( Col. 3: 1,2)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on this earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself.” (Phil. 3:20-21)

I want to live a life on the earth that will have eternal significance. Our culture screams at us trying to convince us that we must store up as much as we can and live life to the fullest in this age. I want to fight against the deception that tries to dull my spirit and make me settle in for a life of comfort and ease.

I am asking the Lord to wake me up, to give me a greater revelation of eternity. I encourage you to find out for yourself what the Word says about eternity and the age to come, and talk to Jesus about what that means for how you should live your life today.

I want to go back to life, fellowship to be like it was at Calvary Chapel back then, all things centered on the second coming of Jesus, Maranatha being the cry of my heart and center of the conversations of Christians.

May we not forget that we are just pilgrims on this earth passing through, with a eternal mindset, and desire above all the return of Jesus.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen.