Worship The Lord Jesus

In Jesus Is True Joy!

Could This Happen In Your Church?

A pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service. Only 3 people said hello to him, most looked the other way. He asked people for change to buy food because he was hungry. Not one gave him anything.

He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told by the ushers that he would need to get up and go sit n the back of the HomelessManchurch. He said hello to people as they walked in but was greeted with cold stares and dirty looks from people looking down on him and judging him.

He sat in the back of the church and listened to the church announcements for the week. He listened as new visitors were welcomed into the church that morning but no one acknowledged that he was new. He watched people around him continue to look his way with stares that said you are not welcome here.

Then the elders of the church went to the podium to make the announcement. They said they were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce you to our new Pastor.” The congregation stood up and looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle.

That’s when all the clapping stopped and the church was silent. With all eyes on him….he walked up the altar and reached for the microphone. He stood there for a moment and then recited so elegantly, a verse from the bible…..

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’

After he recited this, he introduced himself as their new pastor and told the congregation what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and bow their heads in shame. “Today I see a gathering of people here but I do not see a church of Jesus. The world has enough people that look the other way. What the world needs is disciples of Jesus that can follow this teachings and live as he did. When will YOU decide to become disciples?

He then dismissed service until the following Sunday as his sermon had been given.

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August 11, 2015 Posted by | Christian, God's Word, Jesus | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A New Journey – Trusting His Word

I met with an old friend and co-worker today to discuss the possibilities of doing contract work, which is new to me.  Up until now I have only worked full-time.  He was able to share many insights and to get me thinking about thing I have not considered before.  I am sure his comments will be valuable as my job search gets underway in earnest.

 

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August 27, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Faith, God's Grace, God's Word | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A New Journey

ANewJourney

(See journal index at the end of this introductory post)

A little over five years ago I was laid off during the peak of the recession.  I was out of work for sixteen months, finally landing a job in August 2010.

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August 19, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Faith, Godliness | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Let Jesus Be Our Example

Follow JesusI want to share a few brief passages from the New Testament that show how Jesus ought to be the example that we live by.  First Philippians 2:5-8 shows us that as Jesus was radically obedient to the Father, so ought we also be:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

In 1 John 3:16-18 we see that Jesus showed us love by laying down His life for us, and that we ought also to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in need.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

We also se that it is not enough to give verbal assent to this truth, we need to put it into action.

In 2 Corinthians 8:9-15 we see another example.  In this one we see that Jesus made Himself poor that we might become rich.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

And Paul then applies Jesus’ example to the Corinthian Church, a congregation that was experiencing a time of great abundance, and encouraging them to share their abundance with the poorer Church at Macedonia.

I would like to close with a reiteration of John’s admonition to act in deed and in truth by sharing a passage from James.  In chapter 2 verses 14-17, James shows again how our faith must be more than just verbal assent, it must play out in action as well.  

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

And James gives another example of a brother or sister in need, and how we, as followers of Jesus, must not simply say that we will pray for that brother or sister, but must also do a concrete action to help alleviate the situation.

It may seem obvious, but following Jesus is more than knowing what Jesus said, it is doing what Jesus does.

May peace go with you.

 

 

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Discipleship, Faith | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turning The World Upside-Down For Jesus

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world Surrenderupside down have come here too.  —  Acts 17:6

This was a complaint against Paul and those working with him made by the Jews when Paul came to Thessalonica.  The Jews were not happy because Paul was upsetting the status quo and many Jewish followers were instead following Jesus in every city that Paul visited.  The Jewish complaint was, in fact, a complaint against Paul’s overwhelming success in persuading people to follow Jesus.

Paul’s success as an evangelist is undeniable, and “turning the world upside-down” seems a proper description of what Paul accomplished.

So, as I look at the Church today, I don’t see nearly the intensity that I see recounted in the Bible.  In fact, in the Western World at least, I see the Church as being ineffectual for the most part, and I wonder why.  And in wondering, I think I have some idea why we are so ineffective.

So lets look at the average Western believer for a minute.  He, or she, is likely married, working and with children, supporting a mortgage payment, two or more cars, looking to get ahead in their career, and looking for ways to make life a little easier and more comfortable.  More likely than not, these people came to Jesus by praying a simple prayer and were told that if they were sincere in their prayer, then their eternal destiny is safe in Jesus.

Okay, done.  They will go to Church when they get tje chance, maybe even put a few dollars in the offering plate.  But their eternal destiny is secure, so they don’t need to let any religious exercise get in the way of pursuing their next raise or a better car or even a bigger house.

And that, to a large extent describes the Church and the average believer.

But lets look at Paul and see if we can see why he was able to turn the world upside down for Jesus.  I think if you compare Paul’s life to the life of the average believer today, you would say that the reason that Paul was so effective is that Paul lived an upside-down life.  Living upside-down would be taking all of the commonly accepted behaviors, things that we might consider to be our top priorities, and turning upside-down, making a top priority a bottom priority instead.

We might like to live in security, knowing that we have a roof over our head, a car in the garage, and a steady income so we can always count on our next meal.  Paul, on the other hand, might have considered it a good day if he was not both stoned and shipwrecked in the same day.

We are happy that we are saved and know it because we prayed a little prayer one time.    Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  —  Galatians 2:20

We may find ourselves flirting with sin from time to time, but Paul was dead to sin:

Likewise also reckon yourselves to be truly dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord.  —  Romans 6:11

Sin had no place in Paul’s life, rather, he presented his body to God:

Neither present your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  —  Romans 6:13

And finally, Paul took very seriously the words of Jesus:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23

Jesus was not part of Paul’s life, not even the most important part.  Jesus was Paul’s life!  Paul’s life was upside-down from we we consider normal and acceptable, and as a result, Paul, along with the other Apostles and early believers, was able to turn his world upside-down.

Will you join me in praying for an army of upside-down believers to dramatically change the direction of the Church in North America and Europe?

 

 

April 8, 2014 Posted by | America In Crisis, Evangelism, Faith, Revival | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Church In America

Over the years, the Gallup polling organization has polled a broad swath of Americans on a variety of issues.  Among those issues, they have polled Americans on divorce rates, the rate at which Americans have affairs or have abortions, how much we give to charities, and many more.  And of course, when they do these polls they also ask if the respondent considers themselves to be a Christian or not.

As of 2013, 41% of Americans consider themselves to be Born Again.  And yet, Christians are just about as likely as non-Christians to be involved in an affair, to get a divorce, or to have an abortion, and no more likely than non-Christians to give money to a charitable organizations, even to their own Church  for those who attend services.

Many, many so-called Christians have heard the Gospel presented, either by an Evangelist or Pastor, or by a lay person sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with them individually, and have responded by saying that simple prayer we have all been told we should get a potential convert to recite, and then we convince them and ourselves that if they repeated the prayer that they are now a Christian and that their eternal destiny is secure.  But is it?  What does the Bible say?

1 John 2:15-17 says:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

We can see from these verses that there are two types of people, those who do the will of the Father and abide forever, and those who love the world and its lusts.  We can see that he who does the will of the Father abides forever, that is, has eternal life, but those who love the world do not abide forever, that is, they do not have eternal life.

And this same thought is stated by Jesus when He said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  —  Matthew 7:21

In the following passage, which is right before Matthew 7:21 actually, Jesus compares good fruit and bad fruit:

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?   Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.   A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.   Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.   Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  —  Matthew 7:16-20

So, a tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.  In human terms, the lack of good fruit would be lack of obedience to God, and the fire would be judgment.

So, if we look at a person’s life and find it filled with immorality, adultery, lying, cheating, et al, in other words, if they are behaving as the world behaves, if we are to believe Jesus, the reasons is, they are not of the Father, but of the world.  (Look back at 1 John 2:15-17 again)

Of course, no one is perfect.  Even the holiest of men still commit sin.  So how does that fit in?

It is all a matter of attitude.  If a person sins and is convicted by God for his sin, if he feels a sense of guilt and remorse for having disappointed the Lord, that person is likely a child of the Father.  If, on the other hand, a person commits sin continually and repeatedly with no sense of guilt or remorse, that person is likely still in the world, and of the world.

So, when I see statistics that show that Christians and non-Christians commit adultery or get divorced sat about the same rate, I believe that the Bible gives ample support to the conclusion that many of those people who profess Christ do not also possess Christ.

We have a tendency to think that these thing don’t apply to us, or you may be thinking that I am being legalistic and expecting Christians to perform in a certain way to show themselves approved before God.  But that is backwards thinking.  We do not behave in a certain way to obtain or maintain our salvation.  Rather, we behave in a certain way because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and if we do not, it may be evidence that we are none of His.

And, I think very soberly upon the words of our Lord:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.   Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  —  Matthew 7:13-14

So, what ought we to do?  I think Paul has the right advice.  This is not something that the Christian should take lightly, considering the eternal nature of the consequences.  Paul exhorts the Corinthian Christians:

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.  2 Corinthians 13:5

I look at the state of our nation, and I lay responsibility for its state directly at the feet of the Church in America.  The Lord said that we are salt and light.  Perhaps, but if we were behaving as salt and light behave, we would not be where we are today.

Let us pray together that we as a Church begin again to follow our Lord as the top priority in our lives.  And let the first person to make the decision to walk as close to Jesus as we can get be us!  

God bless us all.

April 2, 2014 Posted by | America In Crisis, Discipleship, Sanctification | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Good Shepherd

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

That is Jesus speaking from The Gospel of John, Chapter 10, and verses 1-5.Jesus-Good-Shepherd-16

As followers of Jesus,we are to be so familiar with His voice that we can instinctively discern His voice and follow it, and at the same time discern the voice of a stranger and reject it.  And some glorious day, in a day when Sin is no more and we are all part of The New Earth, it will be so, but not today.

Today we find ourselves in bodies that were created in /sin and raised  in a corrupt world system.  Sad as it is to admit, following the voice of a stranger is all too easy.  That voice might be the voice of wealth, or power, or lust, or any of a host of voices that are part of this evil world.  If it were not for our God’s grace and mercy and His infinite patience with His children, we would not stand a chance.

Oh, what a blessing that we have a Savior who is able to identify with our temptations, and forgiving enough to forgive us as many times as we require forgiveness.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you have redeemed us from our sinful state and reconciled us to the Father by your incredible sacrificial love.  When I think of what you put up with from me, I can only bow my knee and give thanks!

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Christian, God's Grace, Worship | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Sacrament Of Life

“The Sacrament Of Life” is the title of the last chapter of A.W. Tozer’s book, “The Pursuit Of God” For anyone who has not read this book, I highly recommend it. It has provided so many blessings to me.prayinghands_6

But none greater than the last chapter. In it, Mr. Tozer describes the difficulty that many Christians have with the two areas of their lives, the sacred and the secular. As Christians we want to live in the sacred acts of prayer, fellowship, shared worship, etc. but we find ourselves living in a secular world which forces us to deal with such tasks of making money, maintaining our home and transportation, etc. Thus we are forced to switch back and forth between our inner spiritual life and our external secular one.

But Mr’ Tozer points out very eloquently how this view of two separate “lives” is nothing more than a misconception on the part of believers.

At the heart of Mr. Tozer’s argument are some of Paul’s exhortations to believers that point out how the Lord intends for us to approach our lives.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  —  1 Corintians 10:31

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  —  Collossians 3:17

Seeing these verses, and others like them, it is clear that God never intended for us to separate our lives into secular and sacred. Rather, we are to do all to the glory of God. Every act then, whatever it may be, is to be done as an act of worship to the Lord.

Another verse that should drive the point home is where Paul exhorts bond servants and their relationship to their masters. In our day we could think of this as how an employee should relate to his employer:

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  —  Ephesians 6:5-6

When we go through our daily routine at work, we should give our employers the same level of service as if we were working directly for the Lord.  And, by extension, when we are engaged in any of our earthly tasks, we should look to perform them as unto the Lord, glorifying Him in all that we do.

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Faith, Godliness, Uncategorized, Worship | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Living A Crucified Life

the-sacrifice-of-isaacWhen God wanted to prove Abraham’s obedience, what did He use?  He used was what most precious to Abraham, his only son, Isaac.

He (God) said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  Genesis 22:2

God could have asked for 10,000 goats, and Abraham would have complied without so much as blinking an eye.  But God was not after Abraham’s possessions, He was after Abraham’s heart.  And what better way to tell whether Abraham was willing to give his heart to God than by requiring the thing that Abraham loved most?

And since the days of Abraham, nothing has changed.  God still requires the heart of every believer, given to Him without hesitation and without reservation.

Jesus 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.”   Luke 14:26

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:27

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:33

Jesus is very clear in emphasizing what God wants from us, only now, He does not say that He wants only what is most precious, He wants everything!

Just as with Abraham, God does not expect us to sacrifice all of our possessions and relationships, but also, just as with Abraham, God does expect our willingness to sacrifice everything.  And it is not good enough to just say we are willing, God knows the deepest intentions of our heart.  He knows if we are truly willing, or if our willingness is just so much talk.

Whatever we put before God, whether it is money, or power, or possessions, or relationships, these things are taking the place of God in our hearts, and they become our idols.

But if we are Christ’s,  truly Christ’s, we have crucified the flesh as Paul says:

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

Having crucified the flesh, all is in subjection to Jesus, our Lord and Master.

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Faith, Spiritual Commentary | , , , , | 2 Comments

Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet And A Light Unto My Path

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  —  Psalm 119:105

A few days ago, I was reading Psalm 119 as part of my devotion.  When I came to this verse, the Lord pointed out something that I had never noticed before.

God’s Word is a light to my path, enabling me to see where I am going. I see this as me understanding God’s overall plan of salvation, so that I can understand my entire path through life and eternity, from my sin in Adam all the way to my glorification in Jesus when He returns, and beyond.  From the Light of God’s Word, I can see the overall path that God has designed for all believers.

But there is not only the general light, there is also a “lamp unto my feet”. I see this as much more focused. The lamp at my feet does not show me the broad strokes of God’s plan, but rather it allows me to see the next step that God wants me to take. Or maybe, if I peer deeply into His Word, I might be able to make out the next two steps. The lamp does not have a long-range, so it will not show me, except on rare occasions, what God wants for me a year from now, or five. But it will show me what He wants for me today. And, if I am living in faith and in trust of my Lord, being able to see today is enough.

I hope that you find this passage of His Word as much a blessing as I do.

God bless!

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Prayer, Scripture, Spiritual Commentary, Worship | , , , | 8 Comments