Bible

 

As for me, the cross is at the center of my faith, belief and theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the foundation to how I read, study and understand Scripture .

Without the cross and the resurrection, there is no Gospel, the Apostle Paul sums it up like this, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:14 ESV), “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV).

What Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection is central to everything to my life and faith for me. The death and resurrection of Jesus are not only central to Scripture and the Gospel, but are also central to learning who God is, what God is like, and how we are supposed to live our lives as followers of Jesus.

I believe that the key to learning scripture, about the Christian life is to see everything through the lens of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

I am still learning about the infinite ramifications of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and will continue to so all my life, and will continue to be surprised by new revelation and understanding till that which is perfect comes back, Jesus, or I stand before Him in heaven. Because I have only just began comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the gospel.

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Take away for the week from what God was saying to me through His word, in my bible studies

1. I need to surround myself with people who are doing it, living out the NT.

Who are following Jesus, passionately following Jesus.

Get around godly men that are beyond me spiritual.

Especially people who are strong in your weakness – or what you want to be stranger in

Like people who are prayer warriors – evangelist, est

Those kind of people are going to convict me, push me,  challenge me

So I am going to surround myself with people who have strengths in areas of my weakness. with people who doing what I want to be doing with God. 

2. Find where God is working and moving and join Him.

Just like when Jesus told the disciples “follow me”, they went everywhere He went. Joined Him in what He was doing, so am I. Where ever a follower of Jesus is preaching the gospel to the lost and people are being saved. Where ever the hungry are feed, naked are clothed, I will be.

3. I want to Never be satisfied with where I am, to be insational with more and more of God. I want to always have a Holy discontentment in my life, to never be comfortable where I am.

The kind of discontentment that wants to know Jesus deeper and more intimately

The kind of discontentment that wants to worship more boldly that I do

The kind of discontentment that wants to know the bible more deeply

The kind of discontentment that wants to pray more deeply and passionately

Not that it parallelizes me, but that constant want of more

I don’t want to just study about Jesus

I don’t want to be some who just talks about Jesus

I want to be someone who knows you Jesus, Who Knows Jesus

I want to be the one Jesus knows, in Matt 7:23, not the one He says 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me” to, but the one that He knows and I know Him.

4. Be careful not to let you pursuit of Jesus today be effected by something dark in your past, by a failure, something you where part of. Forget what is behind.

That can be a source of pride, like I the one guy that the cross of Christ is not adequate enough for. He can save Paul, Peter, everyone else, but I’ve got the one thing in my life, I’ve got that one thing in my past that the cross of Christ is completely inadequate for.

That’s just as proud as pretending that you do not need the cross at all.

5. I want to be about Him

I want others to see that in me, that I just can’t get enough of God.

 

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.

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.

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I have been using e-Sword bible software ever since it came out in the late 90’s, it is a free and great bible program. And in my opinion as well as other it is as good as the best paid ones.

Well last week I was introduced to a new, old free bible software package called The Word. It turns out that Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa took over the program and remade it with the help of Calvary Chapel Bible college.

Well I have been trying it out the last week, and I am sold, it is great, e-Sword does beat it in some functions. But The Word has some awesome functions that give is a big edge. e-sword has more bible versions and commentaries at this time. But The Word has fare more book that you can load in the book reader. (more…)

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I was reminded today of the words of Jesus “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” that is so often quoted. But if you read the entire verse, and the two before it, that are the complete statement of Jesus. I think we might just learn that His statement “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” does not mean what everyone thinks it does.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:17-20

His words I am with you always seem to be linked to going, doing all the tings He mentions before those those famous words, that is what is known as the great commission. (more…)

060810How things have changed over the last 30 years, I was thinking as I was doing my evening bible study that how 20 years ago you could go to the tape library, book store of just about any church and could find the pastors teaching on any verse of the bible. The reason was most pastors taught through the bible, usually verse by verse.

Having spent 10 years at Calvary Chapel, I had heard teaching on every verse in the bible about two and a half times. I could go to the church book store and for $2.00 get teaching of any chapter of any book of the bible and take it home and hear teaching on it. Today I dare you to even find a church who’s pastor teaches the entire bible verse by verse. You will not find a CD with teaching on every verse of the bible for you to pick up, and that is a tragedy.

Today people are not being taught the word of God, they have no knowledge of God’s word, the Apostle Paul stated “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Act 20:27). Meaning he left out nothing of God’s word. But pastors today are shrinking from declaring the “whole counsel of God” that is all of scripture, all of the word of God.

The only places I know one can get, find verse by verse teaching for sure, find a library of CD covering every verse of the bible, that is every verse read and taught on is at Calvary Chapel, my old church, as well as most of the other Calvary Chapel’s. Pastors like Mark Driscoll and John Macarthur cover just about every verse of a book.  People say that that bible teaching is widely available to anyone in the US, but that is not true, we have a lot of teaching about the word of God, but not actual teaching of the word of God. We have a lot of teaching that tickles the ears, but not verse by verse teaching.

This must change, we need to fill the pulpit with men who can and do teach as the Apostle Paul stated “the whole counsel of God.” that is every word of scriptures, teach verse by verse through the bible leaving out nothing.

0605130604bI am adding to my daily bible reading the book of Revelation, I have set the goal of reading through it this month. I plan to read through the book of Revelation twice this month, two chapters a day. From the Greek text I might add, I always read from the original text when I study any book of the bible be it Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic.

Why the book of Revelation you might asked, being it is the most unread book of the bible: Revelation 1:3 states “Blessed is the One Reading, and the Ones Hearing the Words of the Prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” There is a blessing that is promised to those who do these three things verse 3 mentions: read it (this include studying); hear it (includes agreeing with it); and keep it (includes acting on it).

I believe that Christ is not only returning, but returning in my lifetime, so as to equip myself for being a watchmen looking for His return, and to be one found ready when Christ returns by reading this book, this prophecy of Revelation, that I am agreeing with it and doing something about it, acting on it, that I might be found ready when my Lord returns. That the Day of His returning will not overtake me as a thief but instead I will be likened unto a bride who eagerly awaits her Bridegroom.

Why not join me.

21510Wanted to share my thoughts on a bible passage. Exodus 32:1-4

The making of the golden calf was not the peoples first idle they made, it was Moses, it was Moses they where following in the desert, not God. It was Moses they where looking to for leadership, and provision of all things, not God. So when Moses was gone too long from them, they panicked and sought anther thing to worship, to follow, so they made a golden calf to take Moses place, because they where never following God or worshiping Him, but Moses instead. Although they claimed it was God that they worshiped, the real test is always when ever something or someone is removed from a persons life, it’s true place in their lives is reveled. If God was their God, the one they where following, Moses absent would have not have lead to the creating of a golden calf, another false idle to worship, because they still would have had God.

People still do this today, only they make their pastor, church or some other person their god, an idle they are following, worshiping, looking to for leadership, to take care of them. And when the person, pastor, church lets them down, they simply make another golden calf to worship. They simply turn to another idle to worship, a job, drugs, sex, another person, another church, or even another religion to fill the void left because they  blame God and/or Christianity for that person failings. Because they say it was God who failed them, but really they never new, worship, or followed God, but rather a person or church, and they failed them not God. If a pastors or a churches actions can brake your “relationship”, your faith in God, then it was never with or in God in the first place, it was in an idle. Idles come and go, that is why there is so many of them. Hinduism alone there are millions of gods, different idles that the people chose to worship, the reason so many, they are always adding new ones because the old ones fail them. Just like here in Exodus, one fails you, just make a new one.

We must always be on guard as not to create are own golden calf’s, idles to follow, check to make sure we are always following the Lord and not a person, pastor or church. But the Lord alone and none other. People, a pastor your church should be beside you in your relationship with God, your faith in God, not in between you and God.