Christianity

1-3-10After reading of a fellow pastor and his project for the year, I was inspired to join Jaeson Ma in his venture for the year. Although Jaeson has a 32 day head start on me, I have committed to the next year to not only do the same as he. But this has also inspired me to do similar acts that came to mind that I am also starting, more on that this week.

I, like Jaeson will attempt to do at lest one random act of kindness to someone each day of the year. That is, 365 acts of love for 365 days of the next year.

To be the good Samaritan, to live a life of acts of love for others as Jesus did.

It can be anything from helping someone out in need, to listening to someone’s problems, to giving encouragement, or to do some crazy act of love for a stranger. I don’t know, I will have to trust that each day will bring before me an opportunity to love. So I will try to blog about one of the acts each day.

To sum it up: I will do 365 acts of love for 365 days of the next YEAR

The purpose ~ To not just talk about the love of Christ, but be about love

The goal ~ To live a life of love that will hopefully inspire others to love the same.

1-2-10I recently found out about 3 people from my past, people I have not seen or talked to in over 10 years. Unfortunately I discovered that none of them are still walking with the Lord, in fact two even actively promote false teaching and condemn the bible and church for their teaching. And I can tell you all three lived what all consider a committed Christina life back when I knew them.

A friend of mine has also had three friends of his abandon the faith, two turned gay, two denounce Christ and the bible. Two of them lead what all would consider a stiller Christina life prior.

That that leads me to the questions, Who really is a Christian? How can you tell who really is Christian?

The general belief among Christian and the church in American, the answer that is given is.

1. Do they confess Jesus is Lord, said the sinners prayer.
But my problem with that is this. Jesus said if you do, well done, but even Satan and all his demons do, so what. So according to God hell will be full of people who know and admitted that He is God and Jesus is Lord. Remember the story in Matthew 8 about the two demon-possessed men who met Jesus, and He confronted the demons and they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? They knew who Jesus was, they confessed who He was, where they saved after that, no, no at all. So we really can not use that as a test. All of the people I’m talking about did that.

2. They claim that they are a Christian.
The Gallup and other poles show that 82 to 87% of Americans claim to be Christian, so welcome to the club, it’s all most who does not claim to be one. That proves nothing. All of the people I’m talking about did that.

2. They attend church, they are active at church.
As Keith Green once said, “Going to church no more make you a Christian than going into a McDonald’s make you a hamburger.” Anyone can go to church, anyone can even be a worker, anyone can learn the lingo and talk like a Christian, even Satan can. All of the people I’m talking about did that, where very active in church, one even on staff for years.

So that leaves with the real questions, Who really is a Christian? How can you tell who really is Christian? How can we distinguish who is, this is very important for may reasons. One example, Picking a mate, if you really want to be marred to a real Christian, Christ follower it matters. Just think if you would have married one the six people I am talking about above a few years back.

I will post my answer to these questions this week. I you have answers send them to me, would like to hear from others.

1-26-2010What if Christians where as excited about the coming of Jesus as the world is about the coming Apple Tablet, the church was as passionate about Jesus’ coming as Apple is about their new Tablet.

Maybe so would the rest of the world, maybe it would dominate the news like Apple is, blogs would be on fire with the news about the coming phenomenon. Steve Jobs boast the Apple tablet will change the world, the way we live, revolutionize everything we know and do. All that hype for a peace of electronic equipment that really is unnecessary for anyone to have, and it will not really transform anyone life in ways that really matter, like eternity.

I think the church and Christians need to take a good look that, consider we have all the info about the upcoming release of something that really will change everything, the entire earth will literally be made new. Man will be made new, everything, life its self will be change in the blink of an eye. And every ones eternity will be set for good of bad.

Now that is news worthy of proclaiming, telling the world about, getting excited about.  Maranatha!

Someone sent out a link to their new post on their blog on Twitter, after reading it I could not help but post a reply on it. It is cute and funny, but their is also a danger to this kind of thinking. That what ever a church does, the leadership does and is teaching is not to be disputed by anyone and anyone that points out errors, is bad and wrong. Below is his post and below that my response.

Terrorist Groups Operating in Churches

Latest news reports are that five terrorist cell groups have been operating in many of our churches. They have been identified as: Bin Sleepin, Bin Arguin, Bin Fightin, Bin Complainin, and Bin Missin. Their leader, Osama Bin Lucifer, trained these groups to destroy the Body of Christ. The plan is to come into the church disguised as Christians and to work within the church to discourage, disrupt, and destroy.

However, there have been reports of a sixth group. A tiny cell, known by the name Bin Prayin, is actually the only effective counter terrorism force in the church. Unlike other terrorist cells, the Bin Prayin team does not blend in with whomever and whatever comes along. Bin Prayin does whatever is needed to uplift and encourage the Body of Christ. We have noticed that the Bin Prayin cell group has different characteristics than the others. They have Bin Watchin, Bin Waitin, Bin Fastin, and Bin Longin for their Master, Jesus Christ to return.

To which cell group do you belong?

This was my response to his post:

We must keep in mind that John the Baptist would have been called a terrorist because he spoke out against the religious leadership for God. Jesus was considered a terrorist because He also spoke out against the leadership, the way they did things and their teaching. As was the Apostle Paul, and a host of others in the bible, they where sent by God to give His warning to the leaders about what they where doing wrong.

So we must be careful not to categorize every voice pointing out the wrong doings or bad teaching of church leadership as a terrorist, bad, they just may be Gods voice to the church. They just might be a Jeremiah, or John the Baptist sent by God to that church.

Something to think about.

There is a book call Barnabas Factors: Eight Essential Practices of Church Planting Team Members, by author and professor J. D. Payne, that describes how Barnabas should be considered as a model for contemporary church planting team members. Each chapter of this work addresses a particular “Barnabas Factor, ” a healthy aspect of Barnabas’ life that assisted in Kingdom expansion.

While I was looking over the eight practices that his book contains that some listed on their blog it got me thinking that really these should be part of every Christians life. So I have taken Payne’s list and add a definition to each practices we all should be doing.

The eight practices include:

1. Walks with the Lord:

  • Text: Gen 6:9  These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
             Col 2:6  Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

We should be walking in complete intimacy with God daily, in continual pray, communication with God, seeking His face hour by hour. Under the full control of God, the Holy Spirit.

2. Maintains an Outstanding Character:

  • Text: Eph 4:24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
            Eph 4:22  “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,”

This really boils down to are you walking in Christ, have you put on Christ and put off the old nature, are you walking the walk, living out who you clime to be in Christ.

3. Serves the Local Church:

  • 1Co 12:7  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
                     All of 1 Cor 12

No one should be just attending church, every person present should be exercising their Spiritual gifts every take the church gathers. Should be fulfilling their call if they have one within the church.

4. Remains Faithful to the Call

  • 1Ti 4:14  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
  • Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

5. Shares the Gospel Regularly

  • Acts 1:7 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth

This should be the way of life for every Christian, sharing the gospel should be their way of life, in words and deeds.

6. Raises Up Leaders

Every Christian should have a Timothy in their lives, some they are disciplining, they should be encouraging everyone to “stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Tim 1:6 We should be equipping other for service to the Lord and the body of Christ.
 
7. Encourages with Speech and Actions

  • Heb 10:24-25  and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Every one of our conversations with others in the body should be encouraging them in their walk with Christ, fulfilling their calling and encouraging them in their daily life struggles.

8. Responds Appropriately to Conflict.

  • Matthew 18:35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
  • Matt 18:23-35 The Parable of. The Unforgiving Servant
  • Heb 10:34 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

How we handle conflict really shows where we are in our Christian maturity, show if we really understand the forgiveness in Christ, if we are forgiving then we should have the same attitude towards others as Jesus points out in Matt 18:23-35

what side I have found that when it comes to Christians, what they believe, stand for depends on what side of the fence they are on, there current place in life. Like recently a friend posted on FB their support for a new bill that will pour billions into steam cell research. A year and a half ago like the majority of Christians they where against it, but do to current situation in their family they are now on the other side of the fence on that issue.

Just as Christians are against abortion, tell their 13 year old daughter get pregnant, or a single Christian girl gets pregnant, then they switch sides on the issue, they take the side that benefits them at the hour of their situation.

It’s no wonder the world no longer take Christians serious, we do not stand on what we say is truth in our own lives.

This is why the church needs to get back to teaching the word of God, teaching that obeying is not an option, that it is God Word, truth, the truth that all other things are measured by. That the word of God is to change our beliefs, not ours rewrite the bible. Christianity is not a set of beliefs you pick and chose from when they meet your current needs or life situation, but yet that is what it has been come in the US.

11-17-09 Last week there was quite a buzz around the internet social networks about a statement made by a well known pastor at a church leadership conference. He stated that they should focus on building a online church community rather than a brick and mortar church.

He stated that it is not necessary for people to attend a church, that being part of a “online church” is all that one needs as a Christian. That being part of a body as to in person, gather to gather face to face is not needed. That pastors should be moving from a live congregation to a virtual online congregation, church only. That’s the way to to church now, virtual community via the web, twitter is the way to do church fellowship.

I can not express how much that saddened me, to hear that the leadership, movers and shakers of the church world (the under 35 crowed) adapting that mindset. Seeking to do away with real church, biblical church. The gathering of the body is the heart of church, it’s very essence. Gathering together for fellowship, for each to exercise their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body is why we meet, to build up one another, encourages each other, brake bread, share a meal, lay hands on each other and pray, lest see them do that online, in less than 140 characters.

So for him church is only a 30 min feel good sermon that you pay 10% of your income to listen to on line. This just does not set right with me. I’m a community person, fellowship is a necessity, so I guess people like me, people who believe the scriptures will just have to go elsewhere than “virtual church” in the near future for that.  

110309 An estimated 1.5 million evangelical Christians joined Brazil’s annual "March for Jesus" on Monday in Sao Paulp, Brazil, an event sponsored by a church whose leaders recently returned after being imprisoned in the U.S. for money smuggling.

Now in its 17th year, the march unites faithful from hundreds of evangelical churches and attracts dozens of Christian bands, preachers and local celebrities.

It is organized by the powerful Reborn in Christ Church, whose leaders said they had hoped to draw 5 million people to gather around a central Sao Paulo plaza where the main stage was located.

74 percent of Brazilians identify as Catholics, down from 84 percent in 1990. Fifteen percent classified themselves as evangelical Protestants, up from 9 percent in 1990.

"It’s one giant party for Jesus," one participant said, standing among a noisy throng of revelers.explo72

Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro. read full story here.

I remember the good old days here in America when this type of activity was a regular event, being a child of the 70’s. I remember the Jesus movement well, when thousands of followers of Christ held marches on school campuses, streets, rallies in parks an schools campuses, and filled stadiums. I miss those days when love and passion for Jesus was so white hot, when every follower of Jesus was passionate about sharing Jesus, proclaiming the gospel, and the result was we baptized hundreds at a time. Church where growing so fast we where taking over closed stores and warehouses, sadly today churches are closing, dying off, and I do believe there is a connection. We need to get that fiery hot passion back, for Jesus for the lost.

 

Photo from Expo 72 in Dallas, TX

the love revolution jm This is a great book, a must read for every Christian and really everyone. This subject is one I am most passionate about! There are over 2000 scriptures where God is speaking about the poor, needy and orphans, this is the one issue most on God’s heart. And therefore it should be the priority for His people, the poor are the ones most dear to the heart of God and should be for His people also.

The book is about getting it, understanding the heart of God, aliening our hearts with His, understanding our responsibility to the poor and needy. Moving from a selfish life, a self centered life, to one of love for others. Having our hearts break over the things that break God’s heart.
At this books core is the story of author, Joyce Meyer and how she finely got what God says about our duty to the poor and needy, how she was changed and how her ministry changed also when she got hold of Gods passion for the poor and needy. This book is about her encouraging others to get that same passion, to get Gods heart for the needy, and take action as she did. To understand our calling to take care of the poor and needy, do something, to act on what God said, to walk the talk as they say.

Ted Kennedy was asked once how he could have such an obsession with the condition of the poor being he grew up with privilege, so much wealth. Kennedy replied with a question; asking reporter if he had never read the bible?.He got it. And it dictated his life, his work, the focus of all most every bill he authored in the senate (I’m no fan of Kennedy’s political stance, but admired his passion for the poor and social justice.). This is what Joyce wants for her readers, that just as it took hold of her and her life, for it to take hold of her readers and change them.

In Matthew 25 Jesus said He will separates the sheep from the goats of those who call Him Lord, and says to the sheep, that being the ones that have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, given drink to the thirsty, and visited those in prison, visited the sick. Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: But He said woe to the goats those who did none of these things. This is an issue God does not take lightly, this book is about being found a sheep in Jesus’ story.

Sweatshops I was very angry when I was made aware of the fact that Christian items from bible covers to t-shirts are being made in factors which abuse and traffic workers, that is sweatshops.

The Just Holy Hardware Campaign in Australia launched last week as part of a movement to end slavery, especially slavery of children, in the production of religious items.  The initiative, aims to provide religious organizations in Australia with paraphernalia made under fair labor conditions, with a "no-slavery" guarantee.

This is something that should not be happing in the US, how can it be that Christian goods sold in Christian book stores are being produced in sweatshops, by human trafficked people, children. There should be someone taking up the cause to stop this practice such as the Just Holy Hardware Campaign to put an end to this practice here in the US.

The Association for Christian Retail needs to adopt a set of standards similar to the ones adopted in Australia, it would make a huge impact on the lives of the slaves who are right now suffering in silence while making religious artifacts. Send them a letter or call them and tell them you do not what Christian goods to be made by salve labor, in sweatshops, by people caught up in human trafficking. Tell the Association for Christian Retail to adopt a set of anti-slavery standards for the production of Christian goods by signing the portion on this link! That the good are to be produce by people earning a good wage, in good working condition.

Click here to sign a letter to end this practice here in the us here.