Christianity

I post on twitter the statement:

“Why do so many want 2 be like prophets of old, & like Tozer, Wesley & Spurgeon but no one wants 2 pay the price they paid?”

So someone asked me “What price did they pay” of course that can not be answered in the 140 characters limit on Twitter, it can not even be effectively answered in this post. But I will put a Cliff Note version on here.

The prophets of old as well as many of the great pastor and other great servants of God, those who spoke for God. The Tozer, Wesley Knox, Tyndale, Moody, Wigglesworth, Ravenhill & Spurgeon and many more.

  • To them ministry was not a paid 8 to 5 Monday – Friday job, a Sunday only job, it was a 24/7/365 job.
  • They labored hours a day in prayer, not unusual for them to spend a whole day or days on their face before God, for His people, the lost and the needy, for the Kingdom to be spread.
  • They labored night and day for the Kingdom of God preaching the word of God to the people anywhere they found man, street corners, bar rooms, anywhere, everywhere they went and they went everywhere.
  • They lived lives of great faith, displaying great faith in God to accomplish His work through them, they said no souls reachable for God, no task undoable.
  • Endured any hardship, made any sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, for Christ.
  • Spend hours a day in study of the word, the diligently committed themselves to the knowledge of the word.
  • They where obedient to the word of God, they lived according to the word of God at any cost.
  • They lived lives of complete dedication to the call of God, for Kingdom purpose, they forsake all things for the cause of Christ, for the gospel.
  • They put proclaiming the word of God, spreading the gospel, the Kingdom of God over possessing wealth, or anything of this world.
  • They left loved ones, wives, children for months even years at a time to do the work of the Lord

I will leave you with the words of John Knox: “Give Me Scotland, or I die!” that was the price they where willing to pay, and many did.

man praying redChinese Christians spend two to four hours a day in prayer. While the average American Christian spends on average ten minutes a day in prayer.

WHY PRAY?

1. We pray because you love God. We spend time with God in prayer and communion because we love him. Just as a man and woman in love desire to be together and communicate, so we, if we love God, will desire to be with Him and to fellowship with Him in proportion to our love for Him. And being Jesus said “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat 10:37) so shouldn’t we be spending more time with Him?

2. We should walk in the spirit of prayer, to pray without ceasing. Prayer is to be a way of life, when Paul said pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17), he meant just that. A lot of what it means is as it says about Enoch “he walk with God” that is he was in constant communication with God, talking with God all day. If you have seen the Movie or play Fiddler on the Roof, you have seen a truth about Jews portrayed in the Jewish characters, they where constantly talking with God about everything they did all day. They had dialog with God both asking Him what to do, seeking His wisdom, and thanking Him for all things, as well as complaining, Oy Vey. The main character Tevye is always talking with God, about everything, even asking God to bless a new sowing machine.

3. If we are truly walking with Christ, seeking God’s will in everything. Then we should be talking with God about every aspect of our life, hour by hour. Seeking God will for every decision as we encounter then. Should I buy this? Do this? What is your will for me in this God? Our work decisions, personal decision. It’s not just starting our day with a quick prayer what is your will for me today? God can not give His will for you that day, every aspect of your day in a short prayer. It’s a play by play coaching, a as you go guidance. But in every action asking before we do it minute by minute. Praying instantly for others as we see their needs, with others at the moment of need.

That’s how we are to walk, live with God. In constant dialog, prayer. That is not done in ten min a day.

israel-flag There are more Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel than I could list in this post (100’s of verses), being one with Jewish roots does give me both prejudice, a bias as well as possessing intimate knowledge on this subject.

But simplify we will take the verse found in Genesis 12:3
"And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

That  alone should motivate every Christian to bless, support Israel. God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People.  History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

I was pleased to read an article in The Jerusalem Post that ’50 million US Christians back Israel’

Christian supporters of Israel who gathered in Washington last week did not just sit through policy briefings and lobbying sessions; they danced the hora, blew a shofar, sang Hatikva and celebrated all that they love about Israel.

“We’re here to tell you and the people of Israel that there are 50 million Christians in this nation who support you and the State of Israel,” said CUFI founder John Hagee to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who joined the conference via satellite.

I say, Amen! & Amen!!

Read the article here.

go Jesus told His followers to GO, not stay, not sit, but GO! I envision God looking down sometimes and saying to His people ‘What part of Go, don’t you understand?’

Go is one of the most powerful words Jesus used, command he gave His people, most life change two letter word in the bible. God told Abraham, Moses, Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Paul to Go just to name a few. That little word changed men, nations and the world.

 

 

Lets read Jesus’ words:

  • Mat 10:6  But rather Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
  • Mat 10:7  And as you Go, proclaim, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
  • Mat 19:21  Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me.
  • Mat 28:19  Therefore Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  • Mar 16:15  And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation.
  • Luke 10:3  Go! Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
  • John 8:11  And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I give judgment. Go, and sin no more

 

So according to Jesus we are to:

  • Go to the lost
  • Go proclaim the gospel
  • Go proclaim the Kingdom of heaven
  • Go to the poor and give to them
  • Go teach the nations His teaching
  • Go and baptize
  • Go as lambs among the wolves
  • and finally Go and sin no more

 

So are you Going? does this list describe your daily activities, your To Do list for the day? It should. I know I need to get Going more and staying less.

So how do we fix our going problem, simple, just Go like Jesus said to. Let that one little word change your life and the world around you. Go!

keith green Keith Green is one of my all time favorite Christian singer/song writers no one since him has impacted the Christian world with such encouraging songs. He’s lyrics challenged Christians in their walk with God like no other musical artist. In so many ways His concerts where like sermons being song.

A great example is his song ‘A Sleep In the Light’ probably my favorite song of his, the lyrics motivated me every time I heard the song. I can not count the number of times that the song came into my head, in opportune times to share the gospel, jump starting me to do so.

This song is so needed in the American church today, one that needs to be played in every church and on every Christian radio station, this message need to come from every pulpit, because the church has never been more a sleep as it is today. Read over the lyrics below, let it take hold of your heart, Hear it here.

My favorite lines are “How can you be so dead When you’ve been so well fed Oh, Jesus rose from the dead And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Light’: by Keith Green

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don’t you care, don’t you care
Are you gonna let them drown
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?
Cause He brings people to you door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left him out on the streets
Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay
God’s calling and you’re the one
But like Jonah you run
He’s told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can’t you see it’s such a sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

Jump-for-Joy 2 The word in the English bible Praise, actually in the Hebrew and Greek text it is not as Americans define, envision it. In the original languages of the bible, there are 52 Hebrew words in the Hebrew text (OT) and 29 Greek words in the Greek text (NT) of which the majority are translated as simply Praise. In church today it has come to mean something much less that what the bible says it is.

Here are some of the key Hebrew words used in the scriptures and their meaning:

Havah worship, kneel
Samah rejoice, be glad
Yadah to worship with extended hands – to though out the hands
Hallal to be loud, to boast, to be clamorously foolish
Barak to kneel
Shabach to shout in a loud tone
Karar to dance
Pazaz to leap
Patzah to bust forth with
Rana shouts of joy
Gil shout, to circle in joy
Rinnah shout in triumph
Tzavah to cry out

Some of the Greek words and their meanings:

Allomai to leap
Gonupeteo kneel down
Kampto to bend knee
Proskuneo to fall down and worship
Skirtao to leap with joy

That’s just a 18 of the 81 Hebrew and Greek words in the scriptures you read simply translated “Praise”, the key and most used ones. So when was the last time your church gathering worship service was the people doing any of these things listed above. How about you when was the last time you where loud and clamorously foolish (I love that one), extended your hands with a shout in a loud voice, danced or leaped with joy, or fell on you face before God. Most important to note is Not one of the 81 words is defined as sitting, being quite, or being somber, not one of the 81 words. They are all physical actions with loud voices.

This is how God defied to Praise Him, the words He used when instructing Israel in worship and praise, they are word that described how God’s people praised Him, what they did to praise Him. The words Paul used to teach the gentile believers in how to praise God, it gives us a glimpse at what the first century church worship services looked like.

I say let’s go back to the days of old when the people of God, worshiped and praised Him like this. I would love to see this as the normal worship service, real worship and praise going on, not this sit in your seats and set back and enjoy the show on stage, but instead a bunch of people being  loud and clamorously foolish.

follow me The common belief among many church goers is that simple confession of belief in Jesus is all that one must do to be “saved” be a Christian. But that is not what Jesus said. Two word paints a different picture:

 

Follow Me

He doesn’t want us just to acknowledge Him, simply confess who He is, but as Jesus said, even the demons know & believe who I am.  He wants the most intimate relationship possible. He wants us to be like Him, imitate His life, live and do as He did, continue His mission on earth, follow Him even unto abandoning ourselves and our lives.

 

Here’s what Jesus said:

  • And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Mat 4:19 
    But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead. Mat 8:22
    And he who does not take up his cross and Follow Me is not worthy of Me. Mat 10:38
    Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and Follow Me. Mat 16:24 
    Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, Follow Me. Mat 19:21 
    And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and Follow Me. Mar 8:34 
    And it happened as they were going in the way, one said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. Luke 9:57 
    The day after, Jesus desired to go forth into Galilee. And He found Philip and said to him, Follow Me. John 1:43 
    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they Follow Me. John 10:27 
    If anyone serves Me, let him Follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26

 
And the response of the disciples, those who heard Jesus say those two words?

  • And it happened as they were going in the way, one said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. Luke 9:57
  • And they immediately left their nets and Followed Him. Mat 4:20

and they did, even unto death, how about you…

are you a Follower?

charity_water baby bottle I read for the first time yesterday about Scott Harrison founder of Charity Water, I was both elated and jealous (in a good Godly way) of his life and ministry. Scott after doing a 2 year tour with Mercy Ships (when I was in YWAM I got to go on their ship Anastasis it was part of YWAM then) he was the ship photojournalist, photo documenting their work during his time with the ministry. The things he saw changed his perspective on life, what was important, so he traded the life he once had in NY. Life in the fast lane, hanging out with the rich and famous, drinking $16 cocktails, driving a BMW to doing something about the water crisis, so he started raising money from those he knew in NY and founded Mercy Water.

As he put it "I fell in love with Liberia – a country with no public electricity, running water or sewage – Spending time in a leper colony and many remote villages, I put a face to the world’s 1.2 billion living in poverty." So when he left Mercy Ships he set out to spend his life for more then living for himself and his selfish pleasures, he could not get out of his mind people, children walking for miles everyday to get a few gallons of dirty water, that any American would not let their dog drink. People living in extreme poverty, so he decided to do something more with his life. Spend it for God and those closest to God’s heart, the poor.

So he founded Mercy Water, and in 3 years his group has raised $10 million (most of that last year alone) and has helped bring water to thousands of people.

I want his life as they say, my life to be spent for such a cause, purpose, I too would rather live poor serving God and help end the suffering and plight of the poor that clime the corporate latter, drive a Lexus and live in a 5000 sq ft home in Malibu on the beach. Would love for God to have that kind of calling and gifting on me.

Read about Scott and see Charity Waters website

Watch his video presentation at The Idea Camp

My website on world poverty Isaiah Challenge

time 

Take this quick quiz . . .

How much time did you spend this past week:

  • Watching  TV shows and movies?
  • Playing video games?
  • Watching sports on TV or at a game?
  • Surfing the Internet, or hanging out on Facebook?
  • Have conversations about meaningless worldly things?

Add all those hours up______:

Now how much time did you spend:

  • Reading, studying and meditating on the word of God?
  • Praying?
  • Worshiping God?
  • In community and fellowship with other believers? (and I do not mean just setting in same pew)
  • Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mat 16:15
  • Going and making 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 Jesus has commanded you. Mat 28:19-20
  • Fulfilling Matthew 25:31-46………
  • Feeding the hungry?
  • Giving drink to the thirsty?
  • Taking in a stranger?
  • Clothing the naked?
  • Visiting the sick?
  • Visiting those in prison?
  • Visiting orphans and widows in their affliction? James 1:27
  • Delivering the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him? Job 29:12 

Add all those hours up______:

If our total hours is larger on the first than the second, then our lives are out of sync with Jesus, with His calling for every follower of Him, and things must change. All the things on the second list are the things Jesus said if you love Him you will be found doing, daily. All those things are what the life of a true follower of Christ should looks like, what it means to truly imitate the life of Christ. The difference between confessing who Christ is and truly being a follower of Christ.

It is time to reevaluate our lives and what we spend our time doing. Is it following Christ, obeying His commands, living for Christ or our selves and our own pleasures, just like the rest of the world? Is our life being spent to reach the lost, spread the gospel, make disciples, heal the sick, take care of the needy, orphans & widows, or it to obtain and maintain the American dream, be rich, happy and comfortable?

3043675198_52ec03c72a In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus tells us;

“Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

But yet so many pastors and church’s are preaching the gospel of the Wide Road, they are teaching that all one has to do is make an intellectual decision, that is agree with the fact that Jesus is Lord, and you are saved. Then live however you want, believe whatever you want about who Jesus is, who God is. Pick and choose what every scriptures you agree with, and cut out the ones you do not like. And adopt any theology you want about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation and life.

So many pastors, churches and even study bible today teach that there are no absolute truths when it comes to God, Jesus, salvation and the word. That God is an individual experience, interpretation and understanding as to who He is and what He requires of man.

There is a great difference between what men teach today and what Jesus taught.

This must change.