Christianity

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Hell exists; the Scriptures reveal this with the testimonies of the apostles, and of the Lord Jesus Himself. Hell is vividly described in the pages of the New Testament, but yet I can not think of the last time I have heard a pastor preach of it in the last few years. In fact any Christian who even dares speak of it is chastised by other Christians for doing so.

Here is a great quote from Thomas Brooks on hell, thought it worth posting:

Oh, but this word eternity, eternity, eternity; this word everlasting, everlasting, everlasting; this word forever, forever, forever, will even break the hearts of the damned in ten thousand pieces…Impenitent sinners in Hell shall have end without end, death without death, night without day, mourning without mirth, sorrow without solace, and bondage without liberty. The damned shall live as long in Hell as God himself shall live in heaven.”

Hell should make every Christian want to weep, and what to preach the gospel to every living soul. Maybe it is time for us to revisit what the scriptures say about it, let it sink in that it is real. And the final destiny of everyone not found in the Book of Life, whom rejects Messiah Jesus as LORD. Maybe it is time to put Hell back in Sunday morning messages and Christian conversations with others.

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I feel the need to splash the cold, but refreshing water of gospel truth in my face every morning for now on.

Why? The gospel reminds me not only of my right standing before God, but also that I brought nothing to the table with respect to my standing with God. The gospel is not something we leave at the front door to pursue Christianity without, as most do. I believe the abandoned of the gospel was at the heart of what Paul was referring to when he got upset with the Galliano. When he said that they began in the Spirit but deemed it necessary to carry out their life in Christ absent of the very thing that gave them life, the gospel (Galliano 3:3). They apparently thought, as do many Christians do today that the gospel was for the unsaved to hear to be saved but not needed to facilitate growth in or maintain their walk with Christ.

Without the foundation of the gospel, sanctification can become just a process of sin management, which is what it is for most Christians today. The gospel has been replaced with programs and how to strategies to keep their “sin managed”. It places a focus on me, my sins, my ability and my strength to live out Christianity. My self and other to define who I am. Versus focusing on Christ, His work, His power, and who I am in Christ. Paul indicates in Romans 7:7-14, that highlighting the sin to avoid will only make one gravitate towards it, this is why we must focus on the gospel and Christ.

The gospel ensures dependence on the work of the Spirit, since it is He who enables the believer to walk according to the gospel. The Spirit bears testimony to Christ and facilitates obedience to the gospel. We are able to accomplish this work because of the indwelt Spirit and His gifting not of anything, means of our own doings.

The gospel is the foundation of our Christian being. Spiritual maturity requires the gospel on an on-going basis. Growth and true fellowship cannot happen without it. So the next time we think the gospel is just for beginners, or that it is a message for only the lost, lets think again.

Therefore I chose to do as I stated above, to splash the cold, but refreshing water of gospel truth in my face every morning. To renew my mind every morning with the gospel, to wash away the filth of this world and the lies the enemy bombards me with daily to erode away the truth of the gospel and my position before God in Yeshua, my messiah, and Lord.

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Normally anything that comes our of church denominations I run screaming from, I have nothing to do with them because I know scripturally they are not to exist. Because they divide the body of Christ so I avoid them like the plague.

But early this year the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on the need for their churches to be centered on the gospel. This resolution is not only very good but is worth passing on and for all churches to take acting on. Here is a different way of breaking down the concepts in the resolution and added scripture to it that Trevin Wax did to make it more palatable for the average Joe.

I would recommend reading this over and over tell it soaks deep into your mind and soul. Mediate on it day and night tell it because part of your DNA.

Gospel Truth

We are, every one of us, sinners against God and, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, deserving of only condemnation.

* For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)
* For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23) (more…)

51ma-qyg1lL“The Kingdom Life” edited by Alan Andrews with several authors contributing to it, explores the practical theology of spiritual formation. The book brakes down  spiritual formation into two parts, process and theological. The books begins with the seven process elements and three theological elements.

The book does not go into great detail on all the steps for spiritual formation, and I would have liked for it to have more steps/examples than those given. I for one like to have more that the destination given to to, I like a good road map to get to the destination.

Several parts do overlap, but over all it is a good overview of discipleship and spiritual formation. A good recommended for a new Christian as well as for mature Christian to keep your mind refreshed and on keep on track with your spiritual formation.

Your life will truly be changed as you apply the truths of this book to your life. Put into practice what it says, it is a worthy read that you will benefit from no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. Here is a quote from page 119 that I like.

The spiritual heart can be strengthened, it’s passions made greater. Can we imagine that by engaging God in the way He recommends in Scripture, we can have a passionate spiritual heart that directs our transformation? That it would keep the internal and external in balance? That would bring congruency to all of life? It is crucial to understand that one does not arrive at such a state by wishing and hoping.”

That is what the book is about, knowing, applying, doing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Not only does everything in our lives that is inconsistent with the Kingdom of God start to die the moment we encounter Him, but the superior, supernatural reality of His Kingdom starts to come alive in us. It is not possible to encounter One so overwhelming and maintain the status quo.

Those who respond to the invitation find little else to live for. Those who say no spend their lives looking for an adequate replacement. And there is none to be found, anywhere. – Pastor Bill Johnson

Love this statement by Pastor Bill Johnson, just to bad this truth is not being taught from every pulpit in America. All but the last two sentences of this quote should be found true of everyone who claims they are saved, a Christian.

42910Why does it seem that everyone who claims to have the secrets of God want’s me to buy their book to find out what it is. It seems like today even just to hear a bible teaching / sermon it will cost you five bucks.

A man just recently claims that the churches belief in the rapture for the last 2000 years is wrong. And he can prove it by the scripture, only one catch, when you go to his site. All you find is a marketing plot, great sales pitch to lure you to buy his book to get the “truth” of God. Really.

Today We have to many pastors who sell their sermons, if you go to their church websites and you want to hear one of his sermons, it will cost you $2.99 to download the mp3 or $5.99 to get the CD. Really!

I recall the words of Jesus every time I see these things, “Freely you have received, freely give” Mat 10:8. And being these guys always claim God gave them the secret, the truth about the bible or whatever, but you must buy their book to learn what it is. Pastors claim that it is God who gives them their messages. That they are under the leading of the Holy Spirit when they preach. As any pastor should be. Then the message is not theirs to begin with is it, it was “freely” given to them, so they have no right to sell it anyway, it’s Gods given to them to freely give to others.

Did Jesus go before a crowed and say do you want to know the secret of prayer. Then Pick up my latest scroll “The Lords Prayer” at the tables as you leave, only 5 denarius today. Do you want to know Gods truth about being happy get my scroll “The Beatitudes” on sell for 6 denarius, today only get both for only 8 denarius.

Image Paul on Mars Hill saying to the crowed “To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” that for only 10 denarius for my set of scrolls you can learn about who this unknown God is, learn who the real God is. Act now they are going fast.

Or him saying to a church body; If you really what to know how to live as a Christian in Christ pick up my scroll titled Ephesians for only 9 denarius, you can’t live without it.

How about: “And the eunuch answered Philip and said, I beg you, of whom does the prophet speak this? Of himself or of some other man?” Image Philip saying for 3 denarius I will teach you what that verse means.

You might say those are ridiculous scenarios, not so fast, what men are doing today I feel is just that. I always think of Jesus cleansing the temple every time I go to a seminar or even some church and see all the tables of book, CD’s and DVD’s for sale. “And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple

Something to think about.

I have asked myself the question many times the last year… “What is the normal Christian reality or “Kingdom reality” that we are to be living?” I do not mean what is the popular belief today, not what is being taught from most pulpits, in most books today, but what scripture says is, that is what God says is. I keep wondering why do I read of one kingdom reality in scriptures, but see most living another reality around me. I mean if you pick up the NT read it and define what the normal life for a Christian. Then I asked myself the question, “Am I living in this reality? Are most believers living in this reality compared to that?

My answer to this question is, No. I believe that for to long we have allowed ourselves to live to far from living in true Kingdom reality. Christians, have taken themselves so far from living in Kingdom reality in order to embrace the American (Christian) Dream instead. What do I mean? I mean that the so-called impossible, miracles, healing, deliverance, preaching the gospel, making disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit and all His powers and gifting’s, etc. Act 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you“, John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do“. How many live in that reality day to day? Seek to live that way?

With the recent outpouring of the Spirit happening at IHOPU and other places I pray it will open eyes to God’s original plan, life for His people, what is to be normal. So many scoff at those whom the Holy Spirit and His gifts are being poured out on in power, at those who are living as the scriptures say we are to, doing what Jesus said we will do when the Spirit comes upon us. While defending a lifestyle not seen anywhere in scripture for a follower of Christ.

I feel as though this is the time for us to re-define what is “normal” Christianity; and lining up with God’s definition of normal. That we read the scriptures and say that is “normal”, the way my life is to look, the way I am to live, read Acts and say that is the way my life is to be, that’s normal Christianity and I want it.

21210Today was day 3 of the Radicalis conference hosted by Saddleback Church and Rick Warren. Got a lot out of what was shared by Rick in his closing session. It really gave me a lot to digest that falls inline with what God has been saying to me. Give more refinement to my 365 Days of Mission and 365 Days of Love. I feel more life change decisions being made very soon. Do not know yet what to do will all God has been bringing my way these last few weeks.

Day 3 has further equipped me for both my 365 Days of Mission and Acts of Love, giving more focus to them and a deeper understanding of God is calling me to do.

Here are some of my notes:

Is anyone going to be in heaven because of you and your investments? ~ A question everyone needs to ask themselves daily!

“Jesus doesn’t care about politics, or making America great again. Jesus cares about people (their salvation).” And so should we, we should not be about getting someone to join the Tea Party, but join our heavenly Fathers table for the wedding feast.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. Luke 16:9

In a sense that is use our money to buy people for the Kingdom, that is spend our money for the work of the Kingdom, giving to the poor, helping others, however means necessary to reach others. Gain them as a eternal friend by being God’s instrument in their coming to faith in Christ.

We should ask our selves are you spending our money for the Kingdom, or worldly junk that will burn.

The greatest thing you can do with your life and money is to get other people into the Kingdom.

We must get angry about what Jesus got angry about
– When the needs of children go unmet
– When the suffering of others is ignored
– People who should know better (i.e. religious leaders)
– People who took advantage of the poor
– Getting rich on religion
– Poverty
– Disease
– Injustice

We must sacrifice for what Jesus sacrificed
– If you only preach freedom from hell, but not freedom from sin, you’ll get people who are saved, but don’t want to be holy

I feel some very great life-changing decisions in my life soon, God is differently working in major ways in me right now.

2-11-10A Radical Experience

Attended the Radical Experience conference via the web cast today, it was hosted by Saddleback Church and Rick Warren. It was for pastors and church planters. Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, Perry Nobel, Ed Stetzer and Andy Stanley where some of the speakers.

Heard some good things, Ed Stetzer did a good job of motivating church multiplication, church planting, gave 5 reason every church should be planting churches every year and they should be planting churches.

Rick Warren was on living on mission, he gave the top 5 problems of the world, and a list of the 5 things Jesus did, what His mission consisted of and how those 5 things are our mission. And then he showed how Jesus’ 5 acts of mission where the answer, solution to the 5 top problems of the world.

* Global Problem #1: Spiritual emptiness
* Spiritual emptiness causes conflict
* Global Problem #2: Corrupt leadership
* This means leaders don’t understand what being a leader means, you are either selfish or humble
* The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence
* Global Problem#3: Poverty
* Global Problem#4: Pandemic diseases
* We need leaders who say, “enough is enough” when it comes to diseases
* Global Problem #5: Illiteracy and lack of education

The 5 things Jesus did, His mission consited of

* Plant churches/promote reconicliation
* Equip servant leaders
* Assist the poor
* Care for the sick
* Educate the next generation

How does that deal with the 5 World Problems

* The only group that can answer these 5 Problem is the church
* Jesus preached reconciliation and he planted a church
* What kingdom leadership looks like (Matthew 20:25 – 26)
* Jesus assisted the poor
* Jesus cared for the sick
* Jesus educated the next generation
* Study Luke 10, Mark 9 and Matthew 10 is the P.E.A.C.E. Plan

The PEACE plan is ordinary people empowered by God, doing what Jesus did, together, wherever they are

This conference was about living out the mission of God today, as a pastor, a church planter, being a Christian on mission. The things I want to implement into my life daily.