Christianity Tag

Four minutes of awe-inspiring illustration of eternity by Francis Chan my favorite pastor. If you really get his message it will change your perspective about life and what it is really about, what matters most.

Does making lost of money really matter? No. Does having a successfully career really matter? No. Big houses, expensive cars, fine clothes, lots of material things? No. Which political parties your in, who’s president? No.  In light of eternity none of those things matters one bit, has any effect on the next billion years.

We should ask ourselves is what I am doing right now, spending my time, my life for, matter in regards to my eternity, and the eternity of those around me?

NotAFan2 Just when I was starting to doubt my life choices in my relationship and walk with God do to my life situation. Beginning to think I was wrong for choosing to live by scripture like “Seek first the kingdom of Heaven”  and “Do not worry about what your life, what you eat, nor about the body, what you will put on it…. Seek the kingdom of And and these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:22-31

Thinking I had made the mistake of choosing to spend my life seeking after God, ministry over the things of this world, over career, money and pleasures. Just when I was praying to God telling Him that apparently I was wrong in my life choice, that I should have spent my life pursing career, money and pleasures just like everyone else. That apparently everyone else is right, you spend you life making money, advancing your career, not seeking God, not doing ministry. Boom, He lead me to buy and read the book ‘Not A Fan’ by Kyle Idleman.

The main theme of the book is, When it comes to Jesus, are you a fan or a follower? Many claim to be followers of Jesus. They point to their church attendance, tithing, Christian language, etc., as proof. However, most would be surprised to find that when their lives are compared to Jesus’ own words defining a follower, they are really nothing more than enthusiastic admirers at best. Being a follower of Jesus is a 27/7 commitment that will interfere with your life. And define your life, who you are, what you do, hour by hour.

To sum up what God did with this book was show me I was right in my life choice, to put God first, and to live for Him and not for the things of this world. That all the others are the ones who are wrong, they are only mire fans of Jesus, not followers of Him.

I do not want to be a fan of Jesus, a distant admirer of Jesus, just some who confessed Christ, said some prayer years ago, attends a “church” and thinks that’s being a Christian, that that’s following Jesus.

I want to be a follower of Jesus, and according to Jesus own words of who is a true follower of Him.

There is a difference between a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Just read the bible and compare what it says to how you live your life? Does it look like Jesus’ life, do His words describing a follower of Him match your life? Look a Paul, does your life look like His?

The question for us is not do I have a successful career, big house, nice car, lots of money. But rather, does Jesus know me, Do I know Him, intimately? Am I following Him as He described following Him?

So all of those around me who live as fans of Jesus, I say No thanks, I choose to be a Follower of Jesus, on His terms and by His definition of a Follower of Jesus.

I went to the book store Saturday and they had a book I have wanted to get on sell”Jesus + Nothing = Everything” by Tullian Tchividjian. Pastor Tchividjian is one of the pastors God has been using to speak to me. I hard his sermon series the book was based on, loved it, God has been giving me a deeper and wider understand of the gospel through Pastor Tullian.

The surprise of the day was there was another book on sell also, that caught my attention, called “ Not A Fan, by Kyle Idleman. I scanned through it and what I read caught my attention, I felt lead to  buy it to, but put it back. Well all night and Sunday I thought about the book, so I looked it up on the Web and found a host of reviews say how great it was, a must read. So I went back on Monday and bought it.

After reading just three chapters last night, I was blown a way, put on my knees, God was speaking to me with ever sentence it seemed. The writer is talking about things that have been on my heart. Answered questions I have been asking myself and God. God is using it to cut me to my sole, cannot wait to finish reading it. I can tell you for sure, this book is a must read for everyone who is, or thinks their Christian.

The book is about asking the question are you just a Fan of Jesus or are you a Follower of Jesus, the two are worlds apart. And Jesus does not want Fans, in fact He rejected people who just wanted to be fans,  He wants Followers only. And we must chose if we are going to just be a Fan, or a Follower of Jesus.

091110

I became aware yesterday of just how thankful I should be of the mercy of God towards me, as it was brought to my attention just how many people whom called themselves Christians I have known over the years. That ether no longer walk with Christ, have left the faith completely, in other beliefs now. That have traded the truths of God for the lies of others. That now follow another Jesus, one created in their own image, a god to their own liking, one who agrees with their beliefs. So many that have stop believing the truths of and about God because of events in their lives, or just a shift in how they wanted to live their lives, the lifestyle they want to live out, what they want to be truth for them.

I thank God that I have never left Him or forsake Him or His truths, that I have by His grace and Spirit have stood firm on the bible and what it teaches. Clung to biblical Jesus, the real Jesus, and have not made a Jesus in my image. (more…)

90110

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.

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

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.

2-20-10God buys ugly lives.

We are all familiar with the We Buy Ugly House signs all around our towns, they are in the business of buying homes that are in disrepair that for the most part no one wants. So these guys swoop in and buy them up cheep, then rehab them, make them into much nicer homes that people would want to live in and buy them.

Well, that is the business God is in, He buys ugly lives, people no one else wants, messed up lives, the sinners supreme, the poor, the down trodden, miss fits, prostitutes, murders, the worst of the worst felons. And He pays the highest price from them, He buys them with the life, and shed blood of His Son, Jesus. And then He rehabs the them, turns them into something beautiful, a new creation.

Every church should have that banner on their building “We Buy Ugly Lives” that is the business we are in, God’s, the transforming of lives. Jesus said that He came for the sinners not for the righteous. That where the church should be operating, going out into the places no one else would go. Gathering up the ugly lives, the prostitutes, drug dealers, the unwanted. Carrying to them God’s message, He wants’ them, wants to rehab them into something beautiful and valuable.

Again Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 If your church does not have ex-criminals, ex-drug addicts and dealers, ex-prostitutes, ex-convicts, ex-sex offenders, ex-adulterers, ex-thieves, the outcast of society. If it is only full of rich, healthy suburban dwellers. Its not fulfilling the mission of Jesus, not keeping with His life mission as he states in Mark 2:17.

God wants to buy that ugly life of the drug addict, prostitute, thief, the drunker and rehab, transform them into a beautiful new creation in the image of His Son, Jesus.

Then Luke 15:7 is fulfilled, Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

If we can not look at a prostitute, drug dealer, murder and see someone that God through the Gospel of Jesus in the power of the Holy spirit can be transformed into a beautiful life, the images of Jesus. Then we do not truly know and understand the gospel and  the power of the gospel, the life and death of Jesus and His mission, the power of God. If we do not understand that is who we are to reach, we do not understand God’s mission on earth for His church.

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