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

Turning The World Upside-Down For Jesus

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, this post is more relevant than ever.  This was posted originally on April 8, 2014.

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?

 

 

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Evangelism, Follow Jesus, God's Word, Great Commission, Same Sex Marriage | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Essence Of Christianity In Just Four Words

Here is the essence of Christianity in just four words:FollowMe

Jesus commands:  “Follow Me”

And we respond:  “Yes Lord”

These words are a paraphrase of Evangelist David Tran in our morning Church service on March 15, 2015.

There are two things that impressed me, first about our Lord’s command, and second, about our expected response.

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March 15, 2015 Posted by | Faith, Revival | , , | Leave a comment

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 – Tongues, Really?

Holy-Spirit-Fire-in-RedAs I write in this journal, I guess that I should try to define what this journey is all about.  Where is it headed, for instance?

 

But that’s just it, I don’t know exactly where it is headed, but I do know Who is directing it, my Lord, Jesus.  Literally, the only one I would trust with the direction of my life.

 

I see this journey, and what I hope to journal, as being split into two areas.  First, there is the physical aspect, which began last Thursday when I worked my last day on my job and will continue at least until I find other employment or learn of the Lord’s purpose otherwise.  But then there is the spiritual aspect which began earlier, even before my salvation, and will continue until the day I meet the Lord face to face.

 

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August 21, 2014 Posted by | Baptism, Christian, Holy Spirit | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Journey – First Steps

first-stepMy last day of work was Thursday, August 14.

From the time I landed this job, almost exactly four years earlier, I knew that God’s hand was in it.  My wife and I, along with our Church, had been praying for this job for over a year, and when it was offered, the circumstances were such that it was obviously a gift from God.  As it was a gift from my Lord, I remembered to thank Him for it often.

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August 19, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Faith, God's Grace, Godliness | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How To Divorce Proof Your Marriage

MarriedIn today’s society, the divorce rate is about 50%, overall.  That is a dismal statistic, and one that is of concern to anyone who is considering marriage, or who is in a shaky marriage relationship.  It seems as if people are getting married for the wrong reasons.  But rather than focusing on the negative, that is, the wrong reasons for getting married, I would like to explore marriage from a Biblical perspective.

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May 20, 2014 Posted by | Christian, Divorce, God's Grace, Marriage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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