img_3321 Shortly after God showed me though the book ‘ Not A Fan ’ that I was not only right in my choice to be a follower of Christ and not be a fan of Jesus. But also showed me to stand on my view on church, what church is to be and what I look for in one and not to compromise on that.

Idleman pointed out in his book that most church in America today are set up to cater to Fans of Jesus and not for followers of Jesus. The thought that came into my head was “Fan Clubs”, that they are, places where fans come to be fans of Jesus. Places where you Never have to make the commitment to follow Jesus. The sermons are tailored for fans, not followers. The services are set up to accommodate fans not followers, for entertainment not worship, for membership in a club, not discipleship,  for inward focus not outward movement. They are set up for weekend Christians, a place where you come to admire at best Jesus for a hour or two, then go on with your life. They are not where you go to become equipped to follower Christ but to be encouraged as a fan.

So I am sticking to my pursuit of biblical church, a gathering of Followers of Christ. Standing by my favorite pastor Francis Chan and his same view of church, “give me what I see in the bible, noting less will do”.

So what do I seek in a church, just that can I open the book of Acts read chapters 1 and 2 and then look at the church and see the same thing? Can I read the bible and every description of church in it and visit a church and say that’s it. If not, its not for me, and I refuse to settle for anything less.

I will not be part of a church that is a Fan Club, for Fans of Jesus, I will only be part of a biblical church, one that mirrors what I read in scriptures. I am not about planting Fan Clubs, but rather Churches that are gatherings of Followers of Jesus.

I am not a Fan of Jesus therefore I am not looking to join or start a Fan Club. I am a Follower of Jesus therefore I am all about biblical Church, that is a gathering of Followers of Jesus Christ.

NotAFan2 Just when I was starting to doubt my life choices in my relationship and walk with God do to my life situation. Beginning to think I was wrong for choosing to live by scripture like “Seek first the kingdom of Heaven”  and “Do not worry about what your life, what you eat, nor about the body, what you will put on it…. Seek the kingdom of And and these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:22-31

Thinking I had made the mistake of choosing to spend my life seeking after God, ministry over the things of this world, over career, money and pleasures. Just when I was praying to God telling Him that apparently I was wrong in my life choice, that I should have spent my life pursing career, money and pleasures just like everyone else. That apparently everyone else is right, you spend you life making money, advancing your career, not seeking God, not doing ministry. Boom, He lead me to buy and read the book ‘Not A Fan’ by Kyle Idleman.

The main theme of the book is, When it comes to Jesus, are you a fan or a follower? Many claim to be followers of Jesus. They point to their church attendance, tithing, Christian language, etc., as proof. However, most would be surprised to find that when their lives are compared to Jesus’ own words defining a follower, they are really nothing more than enthusiastic admirers at best. Being a follower of Jesus is a 27/7 commitment that will interfere with your life. And define your life, who you are, what you do, hour by hour.

To sum up what God did with this book was show me I was right in my life choice, to put God first, and to live for Him and not for the things of this world. That all the others are the ones who are wrong, they are only mire fans of Jesus, not followers of Him.

I do not want to be a fan of Jesus, a distant admirer of Jesus, just some who confessed Christ, said some prayer years ago, attends a “church” and thinks that’s being a Christian, that that’s following Jesus.

I want to be a follower of Jesus, and according to Jesus own words of who is a true follower of Him.

There is a difference between a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Just read the bible and compare what it says to how you live your life? Does it look like Jesus’ life, do His words describing a follower of Him match your life? Look a Paul, does your life look like His?

The question for us is not do I have a successful career, big house, nice car, lots of money. But rather, does Jesus know me, Do I know Him, intimately? Am I following Him as He described following Him?

So all of those around me who live as fans of Jesus, I say No thanks, I choose to be a Follower of Jesus, on His terms and by His definition of a Follower of Jesus.

This is a powerful message that truly made me look at my life, a Very challenging message about the depth of our love for people, and had me asking myself am I loving as Christ loved me.  In this message Francis Chan talks about how we as the church are called to love, and to be that reflection of Christ, imitate His life .

The biggest challenge for was a story he told about a pastor that someone told him about saying that spending time with him was as close to spending the day with Jesus, following Jesus around. That put me on my knees. Asking myself, At the end of the day, would people ever think that spending a day with me is  like walking with Jesus, as close as they could get to walking with Him?

But does my life look anything like his? Can I say like Paul, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ?” Do I look like Jesus? Do I love like Jesus? Those are the questions I have for myself after this message.

I want to be like that man, that others would say, spending the day with Dennis is as close as you can get to seeing the life of Jesus in action.

God spoke to my in so many ways, this message fit right in with the book “Not A Fan” that I am reading and some other messages I have heard the last couple of weeks.

You can watch the message here.

Or Download mp3 here: Francis Chan, Think Hard, Stay Humble

I went to the book store Saturday and they had a book I have wanted to get on sell”Jesus + Nothing = Everything” by Tullian Tchividjian. Pastor Tchividjian is one of the pastors God has been using to speak to me. I hard his sermon series the book was based on, loved it, God has been giving me a deeper and wider understand of the gospel through Pastor Tullian.

The surprise of the day was there was another book on sell also, that caught my attention, called “ Not A Fan, by Kyle Idleman. I scanned through it and what I read caught my attention, I felt lead to  buy it to, but put it back. Well all night and Sunday I thought about the book, so I looked it up on the Web and found a host of reviews say how great it was, a must read. So I went back on Monday and bought it.

After reading just three chapters last night, I was blown a way, put on my knees, God was speaking to me with ever sentence it seemed. The writer is talking about things that have been on my heart. Answered questions I have been asking myself and God. God is using it to cut me to my sole, cannot wait to finish reading it. I can tell you for sure, this book is a must read for everyone who is, or thinks their Christian.

The book is about asking the question are you just a Fan of Jesus or are you a Follower of Jesus, the two are worlds apart. And Jesus does not want Fans, in fact He rejected people who just wanted to be fans,  He wants Followers only. And we must chose if we are going to just be a Fan, or a Follower of Jesus.

January 5th came and went, it turn out not to be D-Day for me, the end it all, the day I would be cast in the street. That has been delayed tell March 1st or maybe even later date. God is keeping me here tell then from something. Time will revel what His plan is, if any for me.

12-15-11

All I have ever wanted in life was to be loved, server God, to have value and meaning as a person.

My story: I never had love as a child, felt like I did anyway. Growing up in a divorced home, tossed back and forth between 3 homes.

My mom never really connected with me in a intimate parent child way, loving way. When I lived with her in my early childhood she was never really there. Often leaving me home alone while going out, even when I was under 5. When she was around and most of my memories where of her yelling at me, not really being close to me at all.

I also spent a lot of my first 6 years staying with a baby sitter, a Jewish woman of whom I spent more time in her house with her family than with my parents. My time with them was great, I enjoyed the time with them. That was really the closes as I came to a family when my parents where together as far as I can remember. Family dinners at their table, going to synagogue with them and playing with her daughters.

At 6 when I moved in with my dad and his new wife, I became a step child. My step mom was very good to me I have nothing but good memories of her. I was closer to her than I was my real mother, but still I was a step child. Even children can since the difference. I was introduced to others as “Howard son” when my half brother and half sis come along. There was a treatment difference. I was the step child. Never treaded bad, just difference.

My dad was not really there much it seems, working all the time, even though my dad was marred 5 times and had 7 children he was never really a family man. He and I seldom did anything together, other than him and I going to a movie together now and then.

At 12 I was tossed back to my mom because my dad and step mom where moving to Ca, and the decision was made with out me being included, that I would go back to my mom’s.

My dad moved to CA and after a couple of brief phone calls over a couple of months, I would not hear from my dad again for 6 years.

I felt rejected by my dad, abandoned.

While living with my mom, then remarried I once again became a step child. My mom worked at night, so I was alone every night after school. My step dad was not a nice guy, he treated me like a step son. Very harsh with me. He was a functioning alcoholic who had fits of rage. Thank God he was a traveling salesmen and was gone Monday threw Friday. So I was alone every night from age 12 through 18. To keep away from my step dad on weekend or when he was home on weekdays. I would ether stay out very late, tell he was in bed. Or stay over night at friends every weekend.

So I grew up with out love, with out having a family. Felling abandoned, unwanted, unloved, like I belonged no where and no body wanted me.

I never knew what it was like to be loved, be part of a family, have my own family that I was part of.

Then I thought I found love for the first time, oh so I thought, a girl who was the love of my life, that I loved more than I knew I could love someone. She was perfect in every way a woman could be. She said she was in love with me, and so we where engaged to be married. But then without warning just like so many times in my youth, she was gone, pack up and moved on. With out so much as a reason as to why, no discussion, I was not involved in her discussion. She decided to end the relationship, called me over the phone, told me it was over, and good by, end of discussion. She was not mad at or anger with me, just simply and calmly as canceling her cable service, she ended our relationship. I was not worth talking it over with, working out what every it was, and worse not wroth fight for, fighting to keep our relationship.

So just like when my mom left me at home alone, when my dad left me to move on, I was left behind, pushed aside for something else.

All I have ever wanted is to be loved, but that was asking too much it seems. I have had a live void of love, acceptance and family. Felling like I have no value to anyone, no meaning, that I do not matter to anyone.

And that has dominated my actions in life, my thinking. Caused me to live a life willed with depression and very bad decisions. Thank God I never married for the sake of getting married, married just anyone. I have sought out the real things, real love, pursued true love,  my own family, the right one.

I know from my life there is no substitution for the real thing, a real family, love, marriage, I have had the substitutes they don’t fill the void inside. Silence the screams for love and acceptance. They can’t fill the void inside.

I own up to my bad decisions in life that have lead to my end that I now face. So many bad decisions that I have made be cause of the brokenness inside of me, especially in the area of career/work.

I have struggled with a reason to live for over 20 years, a deep sense of meaningless, hopelessness, lovelessness. Every decision I have made in my life has been ether out of the quest for love, family, acceptance and meaning. Or the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness. So many sinful decisions to let my flesh take over and do sinful act trying to find meaning, acceptance, love, intimacy, and fulfillment. So many just to cover the pain inside, the emptiness with something, anything that felt good.

The end is here now it appears unless miracles grater than anyone has seen come through. The screaming pain inside, the vast emptiness will come to an end finally. If just one person would have loved me, so much pain, so much sin would have be avoided, so many bad decisions would not have been made. I would not have come to this end. If God would have just stepped in, intervened, told me I was loved, worthy, helped me, healed me.

I stand alone with no one to listen
I scream out no one hears
I cry no one cares
I’m alone.
This is my World
I keep asking Why am I here?

 

Also read: I’m Dying, My Life is Ending

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More thoughts on the Reformed Theology craze, part one can be read here.

I liken all the focus on the teaching of “Reformed Theology”, going back to “Reformed Theology”, emphasizing the teaching of the “Reformers” as to what happened to God’s people before, with the Jews (something they still practice today). They became focused on the teaching of the Rabbis in a certain era, focused on the commentary of,  “theology” of certain Rabbi’s than scripture its self.

At the time of Christ the Jewish leadership was focused on, divided by what Pharisee said vs. what the Sadducees said to believe about scripture, or in today’s vernacular Calvinists vs. Arminian. Or Reformed vs. Calvin. That is what Pharisee vs Sadducees was all about, two different schools of thought, or what we call today theologies.

God’s people had become focused on the teaching of the Talmud ( a collection of redinic teachings) rather than the bible its self, the teaching of the great scribes and Rabbis, like Rabbi Hillel or Rabbi Shammai. A book on Reformed Theology really is synonyms with the Talmud, and one could say that Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, is in many ways as well.

Just like how Pastors and Christians today set around and argue about Reformed theology or dispensational or Arminianism, about Calvin vs. Reformed, Aarminsion vs. Calvin. It’s  just like the Jewish scholars of old, and today argue Talmud. Hillel vs. Shammai, Jerusalem Talmud vs. the Babylonian Talmud. I know, I spent my youth in a Jewish home, so I witnessed it first hand, just as I witness it among Christians today.

As for me When I talk with others about what I believe and why, I don’t quote Luther or Calvin, Tyndale, Piper or even R.C. Sproul. I quote scripture, what God said, what Jesus said. I base my beliefs on scripture not mans opinion of scripture or God.

I find no difference between what pastors, bible colleges, and Christians are doing than what the Jews have done, still do. Elevate man. I feel like name dropping has become more popular than scripture quoting. That learning what others believe about scripture is more important than studying and learning scripture it’s self.

I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 1:12-13

Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Today Paul would be saying:

Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Luther,” or “I am of Calvin,” or “I am of Reformed Theology,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Calvin crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Luther?

Like Solomon Said, “There’s nothing new under the sun”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

part one can be read here.

10-8-11

In some mysterious way that we can never fully understand, during these awful hours on the cross, the Father was pouring out the full measure of His wrath against sin and the recipient of that wrath was His own beloved Son. God was punishing Jesus as though He had personally committed every wicked deed committed by every wicked sinner. And in doing so, He could treat and forgive those redeemed ones as if they had lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness. – Greg Laurie

10-10-11 There is so much reference to reformed theology today, so many pastors refer to it, claim it, and teach from it. So many books on it today, so many people and churches claiming, even bragging we are of a Reformed Theology, there’s even a New Reformed Theology and there is a host of other theologies out there as well, both new and old. My question is Why?

Let me start with what it is it if you don’t know, Reformed theology grew from the sixteenth-century revolt against the Roman church, lead by Martin Lutheran whom was rebelling from the wrong beliefs, theology of the Catholic Church. He was joined, followed by a group of other men whom became know as the Reformers, and the period known as the Reformation. To sum it up in a simple definition.

But my question is Why are so many wanting to stand, use the theology from this time period, use a “Reformed Theology”, follow the teaching of the reformers, the likes of Luther, Calvin and others. Reformed Theology came out of rebellion of the Catholic Church theology, beliefs, Luther’s teachings where just a modification of some of the Catholic Churches teaching, theology, 95 point to start with.

A friend of mine is in the process of finding a new church, one he recently check out the pastor is in to something he calls Eastern Theology. He is all about the Eastern Orthodox church vs. the Western church, a split that took place around a 1000 years ago. He is using their teaching to form his theology, beliefs about Christianity and a the framework for his church.

With so many pastors and Christians today being all about Reformed Theology as both their framework of their theology, what they beliefs. And also the framework of what church is and how do to church.

Why? I must ask! I don’t get it!

I do not, nor do I want to base my theology, what I believe on what a man or group of men said, 350 years ago, or 500 years ago or even 1000 years ago. Or how to do church ether. I go back 2000 years ago. I go back to the first church, to the teaching of the apostles, of God, Jesus. The master builder and His blueprint is all there in the scriptures.

If I want to know about salvation I read what Jesus said about it, what Paul, Peter, John and the others said about it, who ether learned from Jesus while being with Him or learned from those who did.

If I want a framework for church I open the bible read the New Testament, I can turn to Act’s read the first two chapters and there it is, the framework, the blueprint and what it is and how it functions. If I want to learn about pasturing a church, I read 1 & 2 Timothy to start with. Want to Learn about who God is, I read the whole bible, it just that simple. Yes I love to read what other men have learned from their study of Gods work, I can gain insight from them. But I do not build my theology on them. Say hay I base all I believe about God on what Jack or Fred at church says is true about God. To me that would be foolish.

So for as for my self I would say I am of  a “Biblical Theology” or of a  “Original Theology” you could say. I follow the teachings of Jesus, and Paul not Luther or Calvin. when I want to know about something I do not go to Luther or Calvin or any of the other reformers, I go to God, to Jesus, to the bible. The written word of God infused with the Holy Spirit is my source. The writings of the reformers are wrong on many points, the bible is wrong on none.

Its not that I have not studied these men and their work and lots of others from church history, because I have, even enjoy reading their work. It’s that I do not use them for the foundation of what I believe, framework of my theology, or church. It’s that I use the bible. I guess I would have to say I refer back to a great theologian whom is greater than Luther, Calvin and all the others put together, the Apostle Paul.

Just as Luther woke up and saw that the teaching of the Catholic church was wrong, so should the church today wake up and say lets go back to the bible, to the first church and get the truth. Why build on what might be faulty theology (Calvin was wrong on things just as much as he was right), beliefs of men of the past who lived many hundreds or years far removed from Jesus, when we can go back to the foundation of the word of God, to the first church and the words and life of Jesus Himself and those whom walked with Him.

Read part 2 here

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Just heard the story out of YWAM of a 12 year-old girl orphan at an orphanage in Russia that is leading a church at the orphanage she is at for other children.

My first thought was praise God and the verse Isaiah 11:6 “A little child shall lead them“.

Going on with her story, Jesus healed one of the children at their church gathering, here’s the story as it was shared.

“The orphans were gathered together, reading the New Testament. They came across a story about Jesus healing the sick. One of the girls had a deep cut on her hand. She asked, “Could Jesus heal me?” The orphans started praying asking Jesus to heal her. When the girl opened her eyes, her cut was gone. It was completely healed, without so much as a lingering scab.”

So we have a 12 year-old orphan girl start a church at her orphanage, she is leading the church service. They are reading scripture and believing what they read so much so, that they pray for each other and healings are happing. Praise God.

After reading her story I though how none of us, especial me have no excuse for not planting a church or leading a house church, after all if God can use a 12 year-old orphan to plant and lead a church. Then so can I or anyone else who is in Christ.

Now I ask you who’s qualified to plant a church? Who’s qualified to lead a church? Whether it be in a orphanage, living room of a home or wherever? Whom ever God wants, even a 12 year old orphan girl can.

This along with other teaching the Lord has given me the last week has given me a change of mind as too what I can do, even when the “church” and others say I can not do it, because I’m not qualified to according to their rules. With God, we are always qualified to do what He wants us to do. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. So None of us have an excuse for not doing what scripture has given us the authority to do. Like preach the gospel, make disciples and even plant a church.

I must chose to be like the 12 year-old girl and live like the Nike slogan, and Just Do It.

(Note above photo is not of her, just a photo I used)