Christian life

business-cards-design-inspiration (206)What is the first thing that men ask each other when they meet? What do you do? A.K.A what is your job title? Even when men introduce themselves to other, write a Bio for something that proclaim their career, job title as to identify whom they are. Hi my name is Paul, I’m a architect. My name is John, I’m a investment banker.

But something most people miss when reading the bible that the Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 18:3 he was a tent maker by trade. But yet Paul never introduces himself as a tent maker, never had that on his business card, that is not who he saw himself as, it was just a way to pay the bills as they say. Paul always saw himself in light of his calling of God, never in the work he did to pay the bills. He introduced himself as “Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ”, “an apostle”, “ambassador for Christ”, “a prisoner of Jesus”, “separated to the gospel of God” separated from what, the world. That is how, why he could introduced himself to others, it was the focus of his life.business-cards Paul How do you introduce yourself, as you job title, accountant, programmer, salesmen, manager, a bank loan specialist?

How do you introduce yourself to others, who you see yourself as dictates that. Determines the focus of what you live for, you purpose in life. So what is it, what is on your business card, who business are you about. Paul’s was Jesus’, the Kingdom of God, the gospel is whom he work for.

What if Christians truly become a new creation in Christ, bondservants, slaves to Christ, lived out the great commission as there career, vocation, life purpose. Understood like Paul and so many others that we are all missionaries. That the point of our life is the gospel and the proclaiming of it. Not to make money, live in big house’s, drive expensive cars and have iPhones. We do not go to work for the same reasons as the world does, Our Identity is not in our job title, our purpose here on this earth in not our secular careers, jobs we do to pay the bills. What if we took on our identity in Christ, our calling as who we are, and why we are. Introduce ours selves as Dennis, Missionary, Dennis a bondservents, Dennis slave to Christ. Dennis Salve of the Gospel, takes the air out of pride doesn’t? Does not leave room for loftiness, keeps you real, reminds you who’s incharge of your life, who you are really working for.dennismuse 4 cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on your business card? Who do you identify your self as?

bible-studying-pen-papgerI was asked why I do not like study bibles. (in reference to my post on finding a new bible read here )

1. When I read the bible I want God to speak to me though what I am reading. The comments in study bibles interfere with that.

2. I rely on the Holy Spirit to enlighten the word to me, not someone else’s interpretation of what it says.

3. I interpret the word of God with the word of God just as God taught me to do, that is, I read the entire bible, ever verse related to every verse, the concordance is my main study aid. Study bibles can make one lazy and just rely on the notes instead of reading every Word.

4. Study bible are like Cliff Notes, someone else’s summery filtered threw their interpretation, theology and beliefs. So study bible leave you at the mercy of whom wrote the notes, do you really want to trust your spiritual life, put your understanding of God and His word in the hand of someone else? I do not.

5. Study bibles make people lazy as to never engage in real bible study, read every word, study the history and languages of the bible. Not want to take the time to actual study, learn, know and discover for themselves what the word of God says.

The only study notes you find in my Bible are my notes that I have written in, what God said to me about that verse, or word study notes. Study bibles can have there place as a study aid for quick reference. But for me never as a primary source for study or to use as my daily bible I read and study.

mac-vs-pcPC vs. Mac, we all love the ad’s demonstrate the two systems against each other in the form of two different people. I was thinking how that applies to Christians and salvation. I see a collation between the two computers operating systems and our nature, we have a operating system so to speak, that like a computer determines our course of actions, and who we interact with the world around us.

The big difference between the Mac and a PC is the operating system. The Mac is more stable, and not as susceptible to viruses, Trojans and worms out there that the evil cyberspace has lurking about waiting to infect and destroy your computer. To where the PC is total vulnerable to them. And because 90% of the computer market is a PC, it is far more compatible as to working/communicating with everyone else out there. That is when you live in the old nature, operating system, you fit in, work better with the rest of the world, your all on the same system, way of operating.

We are born a PC, have a sinful, worldly operations system therefore was are susceptible to the viruses, Trojans and worms, that is Sins. Becouse they are all written by and for the old operating system, the do not fit, work with the New Operating system, God’s system.

We are told in Eph 4:22-24 to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Rom 6:6 Could be rewritten to say: “knowing this, that our old man (operating system) is crucified (deleted) with Him (new operating system) in order that the body of sin (viruses) might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve (be infected with) sin (viruses, Trojans and worms).

So in essence when we get saved, filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit we get reformatted with a new operating system. And the new operating system is immune to the viruses (sins) out there just like a Mac, and we are no longer compatible with the ways (non Mac programs) of the world. We switch from being a PC to being a Mac, more stable, not susceptible to viruses and not compatible any longer with the ways of the world.

So the question is are you a PC or Mac, who’s operating system are you operating under, the devils (old nature) or God’s, the Holy Spirit, New nature, making you immune to the viruses, Trojans and worms out there. That is sins such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, covetousness, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and evil habits such as porn, drunkeness and idolatry.

days of the week shirtsTo me Sunday is not above any other day, how can that be you might say, what about church and it being the Lords Day, this is how Paul explains it;

One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. Rom 15:4

 

This is how it brakes down for me.

  1. For one I hear great bible teaching everyday of the week, because I download podcast of my favorite pastors from all over the world to listen to at the gym, so I get feed by good teaching everyday not just on Sunday. I do not limit it to a Sunday event.
  2. I study the word of God daily, intently and have great in depth discussions with others on what I have studied. So I do not depend on someone else to study the word and give me the cliff notes of it.
  3. I worship the Lord daily, with passionate worship, at home every day and I also go to IHOP (International House of Prayer) a 24/7 place of worship filled with passionate worshipers of God, and enter into not only passionate worship myself, but do so with like minded followers of Christ in the presents of God daily. I can worship God as long as my heart desires, an hour, two, even eight hours if I want (and sometimes do), and anyway my heart desires to, dancing, shouting, kneeling, laying prostate, raising my arms, clap my hands, leap with joy, sing my own songs from my heart, how ever I want.
  4. I pray through out the day, daily, as well as at IHOP where I also engage in passionate prayer in the Spirit both alone and corporately. Enter into prayer for the nations, churches, lost, others, every need under the sun with others for as long as my spirit wants to pray, an hour, two, even eight. And I can do it daily 24/7.
  5. I gather with true followers of Christ daily, people who are living passionately for God, living on His mission, in the battle, living the Kingdom life and busy proclaiming it to others, followers who are on the front line of the battle. People who passionately love and worship God with great passion. I engage in true fellowship with others over a meal, cup of coffee, where ever daily with other believers.

To me church, Christianity, the worship of God, bible study and fellowship with the body of Christ is not a one day a week thing. It’s to be a way of life, the way followers of Christ are to live daily.

So that is why Sunday does not standout, offers nothing I do not do already have access to, already doing daily. In fact most Sunday services are detrimental to my worshiping of God, block my fellowship with God and the body, but that is another whole blog.

hole in our gospelThe Hole In Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision published by Thomas Nelson, is a compelling call to Christ-followers to know and understand the whole gospel, and our obligation to take it to the world. This book is amazing; it is one of best books I have read in a long time. In this book we learn of Richard’s personal story, his rise to not only CEO of World Vision but God’s working in him to know and embrace the whole Gospel. We learn of Richard’s ventures into the world, the world of poverty and need. As he states “Poverty, disease, and squalor had eyes and faces that stared back, I had to see and smell and touch the pain of the poor. We learn “The mission of God is now our mission, and the whole gospel is the good news”. That the Kingdom which Christ spoke of was one in which the poor, sick, grieving, cripples, slaves, widows, orphans, lepers and aliens – the lest of these, were to be lifted up.

This subject is one of my passions, world hunger and ending it, so this was preaching to the Choir for me, but helped fuel my passion for the need and for the church to get, know, embrace the whole gospel and do something with it. This book should be a must read for every Christian, in the pew of every church. A required reading for every pastor. Stearns tells a powerful and compelling story of how God transformed him from one who like most Christians believes the American dream is the gospel, Christianity lived out. To one who was changed by the whole gospel, humbled and broken, giving it all up for Christ and to take the gospel to the world.

What does it look like to live out the gospel, the would gospel. This is what it looks like in this story shared by Richared Stearns in his new book The Hole in our Gospel.

Richared met a pastor of a house church of 83 people while in Cambodia and he asked him his story, how did he come to Christ, and his story is summed up was.

His encounter with Christ began with Christians with World Vision who came to serve the poor, nursing the sick, educating the children and helping increase the food fro the hungry. So compelling was this service that it provoked questions in the mind of the curious man: Why are you here? Why are you helping us? The answer to these questions was the gospel, the good news. And they took me to a pastor who told me all about Jesus. He opened his bible and told me all about Jesus, explained salvation in Christ. And I committed my life to Jesus that day.

When asked, now what about the 83 people who worship with at your house church, how did they come to follow Jesus.

“I was so excited to learn about Jesus, that I had to share this good new with everyone I knew.

Wow there it is, the gospel in action, the great commission fulfilled.

A group of Christians taking the whole gospel va the great commission into the world. They saw Jesus was hungry so they gave Him food; that He was thirsty so they gave Him drink; that He was a stranger so they took Him in; that He was naked so they clothed Him; that He was sick so they visited Him.

Then giving an answer as to why they where doing it, Jesus. And as a result one person comes to faith in Christ, then he immediately goes and shares the gospel with other in the shadow of what the others where doing for them, they also come to faith and then he starts making disciples and a church is born and he is their pastor. That’s the gospel in action.

So let it be said of each Christians life, like Jesus said as you have seen, read, go and do like wise.

worshiping girl In a conversation with a friend who is about to get married led to me listing the four things I must see and experience in a girl in order to be wife material for me. These are nonnegotiable traits a girl must have.

1. She must be a passionate worshiper God. She must worship with great passion, with all her heart, words and body. She is the one you will hear signing her own love songs to God. She worships with raised hands, shouting out praises to God with a loud voice, and by dancing before the Lord. She worships prostrate before the Lord, and with jumping with joy. When she worships she sets her heart on entering the throne room, to see God’s face and will not relent tell She enters the throne room and sees God’s face and tells Him she loves Him. She worships to tell God her love for Him from her heart, in her own words she sings praises to God. Being entertained by a performance band on Sunday is not worship to her, Her hunger for a deep face-to-face encounter with Jesus drive her for real worship. Only thirty Minuets of worship is unacceptable to her, She is unsatisfied with anything less than a encounter with God, and when He shows up she does not want to leave His presents. Worshiping only on Sunday is unsatisfactory to her, she must, needs to worship God everyday at home, in the car anywhere and everywhere she is. She loves and hangs out in 24/7 prayer and worship places like International House of Prayer (http://www.ihop.org/ ).

2. She will be a woman of the Word of God. You only have to pick up her bible to know this, it is well used. When you open it you will find every page filled with highlighting, underling and hand written notes. It will be stuffed full of note paper with bible notes on them, the pages will be well worn from use. She is a person who really does read and study the bible daily, she knows the word of God from cover to cover because she has actual read and studied every word of the bible.

3. She is a passionate prayer warrior. She is a woman given to much prayer, she truly prays without ceasing. Her prayer mat in not in a glass case that says “Brake only in case of emergency”. She prayers with great passion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with great love for God and others. She prays in the Spirit, that is she is under the control, leading and in the power of the Spirit, prays for the perfect will of God. She prays day and night not just in crisis situations. She is one who stand in the gap between the people, nation, world and God’s wrath. She is a Daniel and a watchmen when it come to prayer. Her heart brakes and her knee bends over things that brakes God’s heart, like starving children, children dieing of ADIS and malaria. She laments, weeps and is heart broken over the lost, over orphans and the homeless, she intercedes for the lost, to see them saved, to see the gospel preached.

4. She has a resume similar to mine in service to the Lord. My resume consists of a life time of service to God, and as the Apostle Paul says “I will show you my faith by my works” so her life must also show her faith with a life time of service to God, in ministry. Her life story should be similar to mine.

ConversationsThe following are some ideas by pastor Jeff Vanderstelt on having gospel conversations with people. I think these are great, a very good starting point.

1.Love Jesus: Our conversation about him will only be genuine if we really love him. Besides, we all talk about the ones we love the most. The reason many of us don’t talk about him is because our affections are not that strong for him.

 

2.Remind Yourself of the Gospel: If you’re affections for Jesus aren’t strong, remember what he did for you…everyday…throughout the day.

3.Experience Ongoing Gospel Transformation: Continue to submit yourself to the truth of the Gospel and walk out ongoing repentance. If you’re not experiencing the Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) yourself, you will not believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to save and change others. It is out of the overflow of your heart that your mouth speaks.

4.Pray for Open Doors to Share the Gospel: If you do, you will have opportunities to share the Gospel. Jesus said if you ask according to his will, he will give us what we ask for. I’ve found that I get opportunities to share the Gospel whenever I ask God to open doors to share.

5.Live a life that demands a Gospel explanation (1 Peter 2:11-12): Live the kind of life among unbelievers that can not be explained other than by the Gospel – live a life that demands a Gospel Explanation.

6.Live as Gospel Metaphors: Take time to identify all that is true of Jesus in the Gospel (Advocate, Suffering Servant, Mediator, etc…) and then ask how you might be able to live as these descriptions with your neighbors so that you can display Christ then declare why (i.e. Be an Advocate for others…Serve even when it hurts…Mediate for Reconciliation between neighbors…etc…)

7.Be Prepared to Share (1 Peter 3:15): Do you know the Gospel Story? Can you share the Redemptive plan of God from Genesis to Revelation? Practice articulating it with other believers so you are ready to give an answer when people ask.

8.Ask your friends who are observing your life Questions and LISTEN: Don’t just fill the space with words. Ask questions…then ask more questions…then more…seeking to discovering their deep longings, needs, disappointments, idolatry…looking for Gospel Need, common ground to start on, open doors to walk through…Get to know their Story.

9.Listen to the Holy Spirit: Ask God’s Spirit to show you the deep needs of their hearts AND ask the Holy Spirit to give you the question and words.

10.Pay attention to others Personal Worldview and the Culture’s Worldview: Everyone has a Creation – Fall – Redemption – Restoration Storyline…they just don’t all see Jesus as the Hero of the Story and us as themselves as the Hopeless Culprit. Listen for where their storyline is out of line with the Gospel and what part is in line with it. Then start with the common ground and move to what is out of line with the Gospel from that place. For instance with Environmentalists it generally is: Creation (Mother Earth) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Humanity) – Restoration (Humanity and Mother Earth). The Biblical/Gospel Storyline is: Creation (God) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Jesus Christ) – Restoration (Jesus in and through us And Ultimately Completed by Jesus). So, start with the Fall as the common ground and move from there (you may need to listen to the training to understand this one more fully).

oprahs big giveHow is it that Oprah is fulfilling Acts 2:34-43, James 2:16-15, Mat 25:31-46 and the church is not, why is she is known as the radical giver, the one who rescues the orphans and needy and not the local church. Why is she known for giving away millions and church as only a taker, the one who only wants your money.

Why instead of building super mega Christian entertainment centers and calling it a church, isn’t the church going out into the neighborhoods looking for needs and filling them. Finding the person who needs a wheelchair and buying it for them. Paying for the operation to save the life of a child, clothing the naked children, feeding the starving children, fixing leaky roofs. Giving away new cars to struggling families. Filling up the pantries of the widows. Building orphanages, schools and hospitals.

Fighting AIDS, malaria, and digging wells? Why isn’t the body the largest adopters of orphans? Why is Madonna and Angelina Jolie are seen as the rescuers of orphans, the adoption queens and not the church? We where commanded to take care of the orphans.

It should not be that people go to Oprah as the one hope for the needy, that the people are hoping that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition answers their prayers and comes to their rescue instead of God through the church. The church and God should be the first source of help on peoples minds not Oprah. Churches in the US spend less than 3% of their income on the poor, the needy and missions combined, Oprah gives away about 43% of her salary to the needy.

Oprah and the likes of her should not be fulfilling and getting the glory of Acts 2, James 2 and Mat 25, the church is to be doing that. The world should be crying over what God is doing through His church not watching Oprah and see her fulfilling Act 2 and crying over her and giving her the glory that should be God’s and His church.

The church needs to get back to the business, mission of being the church we see in Acts, doing what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

There is two churches doing it right, one is Cornerstone Community Church pastored by Francis Chan, read his story here.

spiritual gifts

“Going to church no more make someone a Christian than going to McDonald’s make one a hamburger”. Something well said by Keith Green in the 80’s. But it is also very true that going to church, attending church, does not make you part of the church. We are called to be the church not attend a Christian country club where a show is put on for us. Biblical church requires the participation of each and every member to happen, each is giving a gift for the edification of the body. Each is given a spiritual gift that makes up the body of Christ. If someone is not exercising their gift each time the church gathers, that gathering of the Church is incomplete.

We are to be an active part of every gathering of the church, no one is to be an observer, each is there to an to contribute to the functioning of the body.

We are to ” strive to excel in building up the church.” 1Co 14:12, every Sunday, every time the church body gathers each of us has a part to do to make it happen. From God perspective it’s pointless for anyone to be there that is not contributing to the function of the church, He has given each a gift, part, place in the body to make church happen. And He says that no part is “indispensable” (1 Cor 12:22). As a pastor I can tell you I would rather have a gathering of 10 people whom each is exercising their spiritual gifts for the good of the body every time we gather, that a stadium filled with 10,000 observers.

Read 1 & 2 Cor, learn of the gifts and the part each of us is to play in the church, and if you do not know your gifts, seek them out, and go to the assembling together of the church with the expressed intent of exercising them. Let me give you some help here no matter what someone tells you changing diapers, passing out programs or directing traffic in the parking lot are not spiritual gifts. They can be service to the institution of the church, but not what God has in mind for you or limits you to. Do not let anyone sell you short in believing that is your “calling”, service to the body.

People have really never seen the real church in action tell they go to one where every single person is exercising their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body. Where there are no observers only functioning parts of the body. It is a glories sight to behold, it is the fullness of Christ manifested.