Christian life

dennismuse_my_desk_bible

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.

 

God never ceases to amaze me, two weeks ago while reading my bible a voice in my head said, go to Bethel Church website, I dismissed it, it repeated it, only louder, and kept getting louder until I gave in pickup my phone and went to their website. The voice said click on the sermons tab, I did and looked down at the list of sermons wondering why I was there, I do not listen to their sermons, worship yes, all the time.

Then my eyes spotted a name I know, and the voice said, listen to that one. I started it and was speared in the heart. The message spoke loudly to me, I was all about me, as if it was written for me. It was as if some was reading my mail and answered back. I was a hard message to hear, in fact it took me three days to get trough it,  taking notes, praying, thinking about what I heard.

It turned out the guest speaker gave three different messages that morning, they has so much to give the that church. And the voice (obviously God) told me to listen to the second message they did. And it hit me like a sledgehammer between the eyes, it hurt, cut me to core, it took me five days to get through it.

Those two messages have cause tremendous change in me, attitude change, change in my prayer life, thought life, almost every area of my being is being effected. My head is still spinning.

And to top it off and the Friday night service, Mike’s teaching was a continuation of those first two messages, it was not that the first two have wrecked me, turned me inside out, sent me into a total system reboot.

Saturday I took my notes from all three messages and its as if one person wrote them, as if it was one message, a seamless message given by two different people in three different sermons, weeks apart. And it was written for me, I mean custom for me, like a tailored suit it fit me.

God was the author, the Holy Spirit lead me to the first two, and had Mike finish it on Friday, only God can pull that off.

Mission-Blues-Brothers

When it comes to “Fellowship”, I don’t need that to do American church. I don’t need fellowship to attend church on Sunday, to gather in a building with a bunch of people, face forward and hear some guy deliver a well-rehearsed message maybe or not about God, and go home, I can do that on my own.

I don’t need fellowship to just be a fan of Jesus, be a Sunday Christian, to live everyday just like the rest of the world, live for the same things as them, advance my career, make more money, get a bigger house, newer car, talk about politics, sports, and the kids soccer games. I can do that on my own, that’s easy.

But to stay on mission every day, I need people because I’m going to get distracted, I need co-labors in the mission to run the race with, I need prayer, encouragement in the work of the Lord. to run the race, preach the gospel to all the nations in the midst of persecution. To partake in the suffering of Christ, to die to self and life for Christ. For that, I need the fellowship of co-labors.

Fellowship does not begin with let’s have fellowship or let’s do community, where do you see that in the book of Acts, did Paul, Peter every say let’s get together and have fellowship? No, it begins with let’s follow Jesus, let go and make disciples. Let’s Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation, let’s partake in the sufferings of Christ, let’s run the race to win. That’s where you start.

If I just read the Scriptures, I wouldn’t even think so much about the gathering, Sunday church. You know – my first thought wouldn’t be, “Let’s have a gathering.” or “let’s get together and have fellowship”. Out of the Scriptures, I would think, “I’m on a mission” and I am to partner with others on that same mission.

When I read what Jesus has done for me, read His words, especially His last words to us in Matthew 28, how can my life response be anything other than I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and now I’ve got to go out and tell others about Jesus, and make disciples That’s what I would think, I need to go out there and just reach as many people as I can! I’m supposed to teach them to obey everything that Jesus commanded

That’s what I would get out of scripture, that I need to go out and start making disciples and to gather with people who are doing the same thing, partners in the gospel. This is what I am after.

And that pressure to always stay on that mission, to keep following Jesus, because the world and everyone in it would be beating me down, trying to stop me, I would actually need these brothers and sisters, co-laborers in my life. And I would tell them, don’t let me stop or even slow down, and I won’t let you slow down, we’ve got to stay on this mission together, that’s what we are here for.

So you see I Don’t Need Fellowship (to quote my co-laborer in Christ Francis Chan), or a fellowship group, a community group, to do American Church, But I do need those who are following Christ, living for the mission. to help me live on mission, to join with me in fulfilling the great commission as we call it, to take on the world preaching the gospel and making disciples. I need to gather with those who have “partnered in the gospel from the first day until now”, who are “co-workers in the gospel of Christ”. I need fellowship with those “who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together”, so that I might “run with endurance the race that is set before me”, to fight the good fight, and finish the race set before me. That kind of fellowship I do need.

A friends church home group gathering was having a BBQ for his birthday, I attend and did the Barbecuing for them. The Lord has been teaching me this week is about being a follower of Jesus, and the church and His teaching really took on flesh at this gathering.

The top topics of the night where, sports, politics, work, children and grandchildren, but never was Jesus even mentioned that I ever heard. If anyone did while I was not near them it was brief, quickly mentioned and on the something else if they did.

Is that’s what followers of Jesus look like when they get together? Seriously? Is that what it looks like when people have died to themselves and live for Christ get together? What do they talk about?

When I was part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, whenever I meet up with another follower of Jesus, whether it was at a church gathering, someone’s house, a restaurant, or running into each other on the street. 80 to 90% of our conversation was about Jesus, the word of God and the mission. Always.

When I look at scripture, read what the life of a follower of Jesus, what the church is to look like, then look how those who claim to be Christians are like, including me, they don’t match up.

When I walk into a church home group, or any home of someone who claims to be a Christian, and Jesus is not the main topic on everyone’s minds, conversations. If the mission and their part in it is not the hot topic. Something wrong with that, very wrong.

So there I was at a gathering of people who claim to be followers of Jesus, who claim they live for Christ, and yet when together they do not talk about Jesus, the word of God, Jesus did not dominate their conversations.

And I asked myself, are these are followers of Jesus? Seriously? Followers of Jesus? The same Jesus who said, you want to go bury the dead, for get you! That Jesus? The same Jesus who said you want to say goodbye to your family, you cannot be my disciple! The same Jesus that said the birds have nest, the fox’s have no holes, and I have no place to sleep, do you still want to follow me? That Jesus?

The Jesus that said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple! Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple! That Jesus.

The same Jesus that said the purpose of our life is to “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.”

That Jesus?

Are you telling me that people who claim that Jesus is their God, their Lord, their King, that they are willing to die for, be stoned to death for. Be nailed to a cross and die a slow painful death for. Yet when they gather with others who claim the same thing, that same Jesus does not consume their conversations? Does not so consume their life, who they are, that Jesus does not dominate their conversations?

Really, that’s what followers of Jesus look like?

Does that make sense to you?

It’s not that I’m not that I am judging them, it is more like a fear, like a concern, that it has become acceptable in America for Jesus not to be the center of our fellowship, dominate our conversations when we gather. Again, it’s not judging, it’s just I’m deeply concerned at what I see.

I burn to talk about Jesus, talk about the mission, hear what Jesus said that day, week to others, hear about their labor that day, week to preach the gospel and make disciples. Talk about what Jesus has done, about who He is, about His coming soon.

I’m no longer willing to settle for gathering with people who claim to be followers of Jesus and not have Jesus and the mission dominate our conversations. I don’t just want it like it was like in my old days at Calvary Chapel, I want even more than we had then, I want, what I read in scripture, I want to open the book of Acts and say, Wow, we are living this.

This is what God has been showing me in last few days.

i-am-angry

I read a blog post titled “Still an Angry Christian” and its first part “I am An Angry Christian”, by Cindy Brandt celebrating the gift of anger. And it was freeing to read, and it compelled me to write a similar post, being that I too am a Angry Christian, mad as hell might even be a more appropriate title for me.

Reading it has released me to surrender to the fact that its Okay for me to be angry, that I am right in being angry. That personal growth and spiritual maturity does not mean experiencing less episodes of anger, or even about managing anger better, but embracing it instead of fighting it. I am learning that as long as I care for those suffering and the injustice in this world, the mission of Jesus, biblical church, the word of God, my relationship with Jesus, the more anger is going to take up residence in my life, and I might as well get cozy with it.

Others have for so long told me I should not be angry, I should not express my anger, that Christians don’t do that, that Christians are to be filled with “the joy of the Lord” 27/7 regardless of what I am experiencing in life.

That as a Christian, I am to be nice: all the time, regardless of what people do to others, including myself. When things upset me, it is because I’m in the flesh and sinful, and not walking in the Spirit. A godly man never responds in anger, get angry at others or circumstances. Well Excuuuuse Me while I open the window, sick my head out and scream as loud as I can, I’m mad as hell, I am and not going to hide it any more!!!! I am a angry Christian!!!!!!

I hereby declare: I am an angry Christian.

I get angry when I hear about millions of young girls that are taken and turned into prostitutes for sex tourists, used to make internet porn.

I get angry when I hear over a billion people struggle with hunger, and 18 people die every minute from starvation, and most are children.

I get angry when people are hungry right now, have nothing to eat, especially children starving, many even in my own city and I can do nothing about it, and those who can, do nothing.

I get angry when Christians keep telling me to just attend a church, any church, (usually theirs), to just show up for an hour and go home, be satisfied with that and call that being part of a church.

I get angry when Christians tell me to stop being a passionate lover of God in my worship of Him and  come to their church and just sit quietly in the pew with folded hands and show no emotions. ( read more )

I get angry when Christians attack the worship music I worship God to, songs that express my love for God, remind me of Gods love for me, songs that speak from my heart.

I get angry when Christians tell me to stop being non-denominational, stop being charismatic, and join their denomination, join their non-charismatic church.

* I get angry when I want to follow Jesus and live on mission, Go preach the gospel, make disciples, gather with others that are devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. I want to be part of the body church and receive gifts to minister to the body, to pray for one another. And God will not let me, and yet everyone constantly hounds me, nags me to be part of the church, when I want to be, because God has blocked me from being part of the church in those ways.

But I don’t just get righteously angry.

* I get angry when other Christians tell me that I should not be depressed, sad, lonely, just because I do not have love and family, it’s wrong to want to have someone to love and be loved by, have children, when they do.

I get angry when other Christians tell me being single is “a gift from God”, that “Jesus is all I need (more)” when they are married with children (read my post on this).

I get angry when people point out that there are few people who choose to go through life never wanting to love or be loved by another person, and that I should choose be like them.

I get angry when God gives me a word, answers questions through His word and teaching from others, and people who claim to be Christians attack it, rip it to shreds, ultimately crap all over it. (read more).

I get angry when a pastor says from pulpit that singles should spend all their time serving God, yet their church only allows married people to be in ministry and leadership positions.

I get angry because I want to be part of a true biblical church and exercise my gifts for the body, have daily fellowship with others in Christ, but I cannot because there is no way being single at my age I can.

I get angry when I want to go and preach the gospel, feed the hungry, set the captives free, and God will not let me.

I get angry when people who God bless with love and family, say they are too busy, life to full of family things to serve God, and since I’m single that’s my job to do those things, not them. Have they never read “to whom much is given, much will be required” Luke 12:48. or  Luke 9:61-62.

And sometimes, I get angry for no good reason.

If you open your bible and read it, you will find it says to be slow in becoming angry, nowhere does it say never be angry at all. Jesus got angry, and often, even threw a fit of rage in the temple of all places ( that would be like in the middle of a church, full of people). All through out the bible God got angry at both His enemy’s and His people. Anger is part of God’s personality, and we are made in His image.

The problem is not my anger, that I am angry, the problem is the source of my angry, starving children in world of plenty, young girls being kidnaped and forced to be raped hundreds of times a day. People who say they are Christians, attack me for loving God to much, for being too passionate for God, for believing the bible and wanting to do what it says. Condemn me for wanting the church that is in the bible, for wanting my life and the church to be all about the mission of Christ, those are the problems, not my anger.

Anger channels passion, and is often a conduit of love. When God brewed in anger over God’s people in Scripture, it is often a reflection of God’s faithfulness with a people prone to wander. Love and anger are sometimes opposite sides of the same coin. They drive us to pursue justice in the face of suffering. Anger fuels commitment to lasting change.

Just as I want my anger to demand justice for others, that captives be set free, the oppressed be liberated, I need my own anger to demand just treatment for myself. Without anger, Stand up for the word of God and the mission of Jesus. I eventually learn to cope with words that minimize me, actions that diminish my gifts, my walk with God, and systems that marginalize me. My sweet, compliant spirit slowly whittles me down to a mere shadow of myself, one who goes with the flow, maintains harmony, and obeys without question. In doing so, I rob myself of the respect I deserve as a beloved child of God, and I rob my community the gift of my authentic self.

So I am an Angry Christian. Angry, because it is part and parcel of my humanity, part of being a Christian, part of being created in Gods image.

Also read:

Please Stop saying “All you need is Jesus” to singles

Stop Casting Your Pearls Before Swine

is-jesus-all-you-need

There are so many things that Christians say to others that really is callous, and cold-hearted, that does not help others at all, and for me the one that tops the list is for someone to say to me “All you need is Jesus”.  Say to anyone who is single, you don’t need love and family, “All you need is Jesus”. For someone to say, as if to brag, “All I need is Jesus”.

First off I have yet to hear one person say that to someone, that it is true about their life. Yes, Jesus is all we need as to salvation, it’s Jesus + Nothing = Everything. But when it comes to life, living life in America, functioning in life, everyone who says “All you need is Jesus” always has more than Just Jesus.

First, we are Not to go through life alone, After all God did say in the very beginning of creation,, back in Genesis 2:18  “It is not good from man to be alone” God said that of a man that all he had was God at the time, no wife, no children, no career, home, church or even one person to hang out with, all Adam has was God and God alone.. It was while man was in that state of him and God only, that God said, “It is not good from man to be alone”. Then after God said that, He created Adam a wife, then told them be as one and have lots and lots of children. God’s plan for man is to have more than Him for life on this earth, His created purpose included man getting a mate and having children, being a family just like the Godhead is.

Secondly we are not meant to be an inland., Josh McDowell said it well, “When it comes to my salvation, all I need is Jesus; after my salvation it’s, everything is Jesus plus the church… When people preach that all you need is Jesus, they cut you and I off from one of the greatest sources of healing, of sanctification which is the body of Christ. Don’t go it alone – you won’t make it.”

I have heard countless sermons lately about how important it is to be in a church, that it part of God’s design for Christians, we can’t go it alone.

The above two show us already that it’s at least Jesus + mate + children + church are to make up the life of a Christian.

With that said, what angers me the most is this: When someone says  “All you need is Jesus” and they are married, have 3 or 4 kids, lives in a very nice house, with two nice cars parked in the driveway. Has a great career, a job making a fat paycheck, has a fat 401K, holds a leadership position at their church, Jesus is not all they have, not all they have to be happy, fulfilled, content in life on this earth, they have Jesus + +  + + + + + +.

I feel that to say “Jesus is all I need” has become a Christian tagline, a statement to make to look super spiritual to others, and not a reality of their life.

I think it would be real hard to find one person in America that has a clue what it is to only have Jesus, to exist with nothing but Jesus. Or to be a happy, content, joyful, fulfilled person by having only Jesus and nothing else in their life. Everyone I hear who makes those claims is always married with children. Always have good jobs, nice houses and cars, some have lost position in their church of a ministry. Their lives are overflowing with blessings, their quiver is full, they lack no good thing, they have everything that pertains to life, they have a large box full of toys. So of course their happy, content, joyful and fulfilled, they have love family,  careers, home, cars, church, friends and everything else.

I say take away those things and let’s see if they still say that. And let’s see if the proudly proclaim “All you need is Jesus!”. See if after 5 years, 10 years, how about 25 years without those things if they say that, see if then they have a happy, fulfilling, purpose filled life.

What I am saying is a person cannot have multiple sources that give love, meaning, purpose, happiness, joy, life, and claim that only one is providing all that, that all the others are irrelevant.

I just wish people would stop proclaiming, “All I need is Jesus”, telling others “All you need is Jesus” when it’s not true of their own life, Jesus is not all they have. They cannot say their happiness, purpose, meaning and fulfilled life comes from Jesus alone, when their life is filled with love and family (mate and kids), career and good paying job, nice house, nice cars, fat bank account, part of a great church. They cannot separate themselves from those things and say they do not matter when they do matter.They cannot say Jesus is their source when their life overflowing with all of those other life-giving blessings, purpose giving things.

If you have a headache and you take two aspirins, pray and lay down for a half hour and get up and your headache is gone, you cannot claim all you need is prayer to cure a headache. You have to give credit to the aspirin and nap as well, not just to your prayer. Unless you prayed only, you can’t give it the credit, because aspirin and a nap, each will cure headaches. You cannot say All I need is prayer when your taking aspirin and a nap.

Only after you take the training wheels off you bike, can you truthfully say they have nothing to do with me being able to ride a bike, there not necessary.

I really believe people should not tell someone they do not need something in their life, if they have it in their life, do not tell someone they do not need a certain thing to be happy, unless you do not have it in your life and are happy. So, don’t tell people they do not need money to live a good life and be happy, when you have a fat paycheck and bank account, your not living without it, so don’t tell them to. If your married and have children, don’t tell singles they don’t need them, and should not want to have them. You’re not living without them, you were not willing to stay single so don’t tell them to.

Bottom line, Don’t tell people, especially single people that all they need is Jesus when you’re married, have children, great job, nice home, two cars and a place in a church, because Jesus is not all you have.

pigs-in-a-wallow

I kept hearing God say to me “STOP casting your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6) over and over the past few months related to experiences I was having when I would get a word from God and share with others and get negative blowback from them.

So I concluded that He meant telling nonbelievers, and even though I don’t that I knew of, he kept saying it to me.

This weekend during the Passion 2015 conference he gave me understanding to what he meant via what two speakers shared as well as the Holy Spirit speaking to me again about it, this time more detailed.

He said the church is full of non-Christians, social media is full of people who claim to be Christian, and just like swine they wallow around in filth, even in their own crap, in fact, they love their own crap, that’s why they wallow around in it, to cover themselves in it, it smells good, feels good to them and they think it looks good on not only themselves but on others.

So they love to pull people into their pig pin at rub their crap all over you. When I speak to you, give you a word. When you read my word and agree with it, when My Spirit gives understanding of it, gives you instructions of what to do with, to rub it in their crap.

Stop casting it before swine, to rub their crap all over it and rune it for you. I make you white as snow and then you walk over to them and let them rub their crap all over your white garments, what I have given you, Stop it.

Stop sharing it with those who will only rejected it, seek to cause you to rejected it, they are as Satan was with Eve in the garden, I gave her my word and she let Satan take from her what I gave her, add a big butt onto it, rip it up. Like here they want to cause you to doubt what I said, what my word says, doubt me.

Stop it….Stop it……Stop it!!!! Were you not warned to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Isn’t that what happens when you share what I give you with swine, when you share my word with swine, they devour you, rip you to peace’s, try to take from you what I give you, turn you away from my word. Stop it, look around you, see the enemy around you.

So I am no longer going to share what the Lord gives me with swine, no longer casting the pearls God gives me before swine to cover in their crap. To take from me what the Lord says, what His word says. With those whom I know will rip it to shreds, add buts to it, belittle me for it.

I am tired of people crapping all over the word of God, crapping all over what God says to me, crapping all over what the Holy Spirit is teaching me, crapping all over my relationship with God.

So swine you can keep your crap to yourselves, wallow around in it all you want, stink up your own life with it, not mine anymore.

“Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And, there was a abundant amount of fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, wrote book after book about fishing, how to fish, the different types of fish, the best places to catch fish, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They created witty slogans and displayed them on big beautiful banners.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They did not fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. But no one every went because there was always a family activity. A football game to watch. A movie to see. Work around the house to do. A career to advance. So the board even hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, what it would look like if every one fished, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.

They engaged in all kinds of other occupations, some felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know that they where loved. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.

But eventual they stopped teaching that everyone was to be a fisherman, no longer talked about how to fish, no longer taught them how to fish even. Instead they started teach that everyone was to simply invite the fish to come to the “Fishing Headquarters”, let the fish know they where welcome, that even preparations where made to make them feel welcome and at home in the “Fishing Headquarters”. But no fish ever come, just others that call themselves fishermen who where looking for a nicer “Fishing Headquarters” than the one they where at.  

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. Some world rub the scent of fish all over them so the fish would feel comfortable around them, feel like they where one of them. They suffered the ridicule of those who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished.

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never fishes? Is one really following if he isn’t fishing?

I ask again,  Is a person following if, year after year, he never fishes? ….“Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  So Is one really following Jesus if he isn’t fishing?

This is a weird generation that we live in, that we say things like hey, did you go to church today? How was church? Because in our mind this so normal to us, because we think of church as a building or we think of the church as a service you attend, but that’s not biblical.

When you think of church don’t think movie, think gang.

Think of church like a gang, like joining a gang, you don’t say what time is gang today, how was gang today? No, you jump into a group of people 27/7 you change your identity, have a sense of belonging, you commit your life to it, to the others in it.

You go to a movie, you have no attachment to it, you go to it, you set there for two hour and watch it happen, you have no part in what goes on, then you go out and critique it, whether you liked it or not.

Family, that’s what God wanted. that’s what he wanted of the family, just look at the Bible, look at these people. There was a deep, deep commitment to one another, it was not something they just attended.

In Acts 2:42 it says they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching in the Fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers. It says They devoted themselves, in John 17, Jesus prayer was not just that we put up with one another, He says Father want them to be one, I want them to be one just like you and me are, your in Me and I’m in you, that they may be in Us.

Jesus wanted our unity to get to that level that would parallel the father and son in their unity, so he wanted tremendous love in his church.

This is what happened in the first church, they devoted themselves to each other, they devoted themselves to fellowship, this is what matters, this is what needs to happen in the church. this and what God wants of the church.

God says don’t come like your are going to the movies, He said devoted your selves to Fellowship, be one just as Jesus and I are.

Devoted to one another, devoted to this fellowship devoted to these relationships, that is suppose to describe the church, be how it functions.

That’s what church was supposed to be, devoted to this, walking together, your a gang now, your a family now, your body now, one part hurts the whole part hearts. Let’s get back to that.

Church is not something you attend, it changes your whole identity, you have a common purpose now.

You’ve got this sworn allegiance to one another, you sat let’s go let’s go, we see something much bigger than ourselves to devote ourselves to.

In John 13:35 Jesus said “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Do you get that, Jesus said everyone will know your my disciples because of your love for the body. Not because you go to church, not because you say you are, not because you can quote some bible verse. But because you love the body of Christ. And we learn in Act’s 2 he means in actions, proven in daily deeds.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that.

If we can’t get this figured out, does God really want church that isn’t known for its love, it’s just known for a good speaker, a good worship band or good programs, a good juggler to entertain them. Is that really what he asked for? No it’s not.

What does the Bible emphasize.

I’m saying what does the bible emphasize?

If a ten -year-old red read this, what would be obvious to him or her, of what this book emphasizes?

Let’s was look at what God prioritizes and let’s make those our priorities. Not programs, strategies, marketing plans, or charismatic speakers, juggler or a rock show. But love for one another, being devoted to one another, being devoted to the blood and body of Christ.

I’m at an age where I’m going, man, all I want is this, I want to emphasize what God emphasizes, prioritize what God said we are to.

He said this is how the world to believe that you are my disciples. They walk in and go Look how they love each other, look how they are devoted to each other. Their so different yet look at the bond, look at the way they sacrifice for each other. I’ve seen glimpses of this when I was at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa back in the day.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that, part of what Jesus prayed for.

I’ve just started looking at Scripture and thinking if we can’t build a loving church, should we have a church at all? Malachi 2:3 says “Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.” God’s people where bringing Him lame offerings, not what He asked for, and God said He was going to rub dung in their faces and reject them for it. Think about that, God said He was going to rub crap in their faces. God is never happy when we offer Him what ever we want, only when we bring Him what He wants.

I want that one day, where wherever were so connected ,were not just a bunch of people attending a sermon. But that there’s a deep, deep love like in the early church, where they are giving the shirt off their backs to one another. There wasn’t a single needy person in the place. Where the people are one just like Jesus and the Father are, that devoted to, that in love with each other, that type of church that I want to be a part of.

 

 

I want to gather with People who love God and have a daily deep abiding intimate relationship with God, with Jesus, with His word. Who want a love relationship with the body of Christ so deep so intimate that is a answer to Jesus prayer in John 17:21. Who is devoted to the blood and body of Christ. Who’s life purpose is to Go and make disciples. I am seeking others who want that, who are seeking that, above all else. What I am looking for is what the bible describes as a real follower of Jesus, what the real body of Christ, the church looks like, acts like and is.

We can’t just be a bunch of people that come in the room and face forward and hear a sermon, that’s not what God asked for. You can justify all you want, but that’s not what I see in Scripture. okay where going to be a body.

We’ve got to be a body, be a family, so, so that our neighbors look on they are in awe.

I’m not looking for a place to show up, a place to attend. I’m not interested in helping someone filling up the room with people.

I’m not looking for the right worship team, right kids ministry, best juggler or what ever.

I want a body, I want to be a part of this, what I read about in Act’s, what Jesus said would be know for its love for one another.

 

Did you ever walk in to or join any type of church thinking, here’s my goal to get as close to these people at the father is to the Son.

This is the way he ordained it, this is Jesus prayer, we are totally ignoring his prayer. This is the prayer of Christ, is this type of unity

This is God desire, this is what church was supposed to be. We’ve turn it into something else.

This is how their going to know you are my disciples, love, I don’t care how good the guy up there speaking. I don’t care how good your music is. I care if you have the best childcare workers, best building. it doesn’t matter, love, that’s what matters. This is how you can tell whose of God, whose of Satan.

 

If we want to impact the world, it’s not going to be through preachers and programs and great bands. It’s going to be through our unity and our love.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

blood_body_christ

The gathering of Christ followers, what we call church, at its core it’s about the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, we are to gather because of Jesus,  because of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Without the blood and body of Christ we are nothing, we are doomed in our sins.

Center stage at any gathering of the Church should be the Lords table, communion, not some speaker be it the pastor of who ever. I seek to be part of a gathering where everyone coming in understands that it’s about blood and body of Jesus, communion, the Lords table, is all about Jesus, who He is and what He did.

This is what we have in common, the body and blood of Jesus Christ and we should always want this to always to be central to our gathering.

In Luke 22:19 Jesus said taking the bread and braking it, “Do this in remembrance of Me”, and we read in Act’s 2:42they devoted themselves……to the breaking of bread ……”.  I want to remember the body and blood of Jesus every time I gather with followers of Jesus, this is at the core why we come together. They got it, they understood what coming together was all about, Jesus’ blood and body.

Just as the disciples did, we get to partake of that too, devote ourselves to it two thousand years later we get to be doing the exact same thing the disciples did with Jesus, like the first church that we read about in Act’s did. And when we do, were connected to the body that was built upon the prophets and the apostles, with Jesus being the cornerstone and we get to join into this, that’s what were here for, so that must take center stage.

The early church did not just take communion, we read in Acts 2:42 they where devoted to it,  the actual Greek word is more really “they continuously devoted themselves”. That is, “They kept on devoting themselves” every time they gathered, every day even we read.

I want to be devoted, keep on devoting myself to it. It want to set myself apart for the purpose of communion. It was not just something tact onto a service once and a while.

Communion leads me to think how I am totally pure because of what Jesus did on the cross, He paid it all. My sin was dark, it was like blood re,d like crimson, and Jesus washed it white as snow. It’s just a joy to take that bread and remembering Jesus taking it and saying this is My body broken for you, this cup, my blood is poured out for you. I want to remember that daily, and celebrate with the body every time we meet up.

Starting with the blood and body of Jesus where can I go from there but into worshiping God the Father who sent His Son to die on a cross for me. To worship from the deepest part of my heart, worship songs of praise from the burning love in my heart. I don’t need a band to lead me, tell me what to sing, it will flow out of my heart. I will sing a new song to the Lord in my own words of love from my heart.

If I really believed my salvation, what Jesus did for me, remember His body and blood, wouldn’t I worship in an amazing way, wouldn’t I just be screaming my lungs out? Yes, and I do.

I want to gather with people who’s attitude is this is ware I want to be, I’m here because of Jesus, I want to be with the true followers of Jesus, I want to break bread, and remember what He did on that cross for me. I want to get together worship Him and tell Him how great He is. Sing with the people of God, pray with the people of God. Hear from the word of God. That is what I can be devoted to like I read in Act’s 2:42, And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. That’s the church I can be part of.

I don’t want be with people who are coming because of the speaker, the band, or the children’s program, we are to come together because God sent His Son. God said church is supposed to be about Jesus and I want this to always to be at the center. The body and blood of Christ, I don’t want to cover up the cross.

So when we walk in it’s not because so and so is leading, or because of that guy, or that band, but I come because of the body and blood of Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, I just want to celebrate His body being broken for me, his blood being shed for me. And I want to be with others of the same mindset.

I don’t just want to give lip service to the cross and blood of Jesus, to communion. I do not want to casually acknowledge it, casually talk about it, or once and a while, or do it once a month. I want to think about it, passionately talk about it, and be devoted to it. I want to do it in remembrance of what Jesus did for me, every time I gather with the body, every day. Jesus, I just want to remember Him, I want to proclaim Him, the cross, His body, His blood, and gather with others who are doing the same thing. I want to celebrate Jesus’ blood and body with others that are burn to celebrate it also.

This is the first thing I am looking for in a church gathering, a body of believers to be with, this is not optional, communion is to be center stage, every gathering, not the pastor, a band or anything else. And I don’t mean once and a while, on special occasions, or once a month even, I mean, every time we gather.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 3Church A Loving Family