Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hungering for Christ lesson II

If I want to hunger for Christ, I must empty myself of all selfishness, all pride, all self pity, and any thing else that comes between myself and Christ.

God scattered the believers.

On the way home from house church tonight I was thinking about, the way we all love each other and enjoy the time of fellowship. I was also thinking about the fact that logistics of a participatory meeting require the group to remain fairly small ideally <20. It would be ideal for each family to be prepared to lead a church in their home. In order to attain that we have to be spending time now preparing our own family, hearts, and homes for this. God used the persecution of the early believers in Jerusalem to scatter them, causing the message of Christ to reach distant parts of the world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Praising God

Have you ever had a day, where nothing seems to go right, everything you touch seems to break, nothing you attempt to do turns out right. On days like these it is difficult to praise God and be thankful to him, but we are called to rejoice in the Lord always. I had the pleasure of eating supper with a fellow believer, that I knew was having a hard day, but was impressed as he prayed for our meal, and thanked God for not just the meal, but for the day. It hit me like a box of rocks that I needed to take the same attitude, when I have bad days. I need to be thankful that God has granted me life, and forgiveness even when things are bad, and not wish for that day to be over, so I can get on to the next one, but to truly be grateful to be alive to experience it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Are you under Christ or under Old Testament Law

It is interesting how many christians choose to follow parts of the old covenant, even after Christ fulfilled it and replaced it with a new perfect covenant. Galatians says if the law could save you, Christ would be of no value. It also states that if you retreat to part of the law, you must keep the whole law. So why do we seek to go back to the law that brings condemnation, rather than continuing in the grace of Jesus. We once again have a choice to make, Do I want to follow the new covenant of grace and mercy bought and paid for by Jesus with his own blood, or would I rather follow the old covenant of legalism and condemnation. The Old Testament was meant as shadow of what was to come, and has now been fulfilled, and we now live under the New Testament, and cannot return to the Old Testament in whole or as is more common in part for personal gain, and still hope for grace. It is most common to use the Old Testament when it comes time to preach on giving, to continue to bind people to the tithe, which is not found in the new covenant. Beware when you choose to go back under the law in one thing you must keep it all, so if you demand the tithe you need to also demand the sacrifices of goats, lambs and doves. You should also only accept the tithe in grocery form, rather than money, because that is how the Jewish people tithed before the coming of Jesus.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Will a Man Rob God?

If you have attended a church for very long, I am sure you read the title and thought, "please not a post about giving." The good news is it is not a post about giving your money, the bad news is it is about so much more than your pocketbook. In Galations chapter 5, Paul makes the comparison between followers of Christ, and followers of the the world, being the same difference as Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac received great blessing, and through him many many generations have been blessed. Ishmael received no blessing, and persecuted Isaac, and his descendants continue to persecute Christians (the descendants of Isaac, by birth or adoption.) The exciting thing about this is we have the choice to be the descendants of Isaac or Ishmael, one is blessed, one is cursed. Our Lord and Savior Jesus, bought that choice for us on the cross. In Galatians chapter 5 Paul writes, "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free." Christ bought our freedom from both the Mosaic Law, and bondage to sin. I submit that when we choose to follow the world we cheapen the gift that God gave to us freely, and in so doing rob him of the glory he deserves from us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I mentioned earlier that I had the pleasure of reading Heavenly Man. I was talking to a couple Christian brothers about the book, and while we were talking about the book, I came to a realization that I shared with them. In the book it talks about trying to unite all the house church networks in China, and the problems they were having. They called a meeting of all the leaders. One of the leaders attending received a word from God telling him to wash the feet of the others there before, any talks or prayers started. The brother did not, the talks began, and the meeting began to fall apart in disagreement and aggression. The brother immediately sent for a towel and water and began to wash the feet of the men at the meeting. Seeing this other leaders began to help wash the feet of those in attendance. As they served each other the animosity was melted, and over the next several months they were able to unite. I was thinking about this, and thought, what would happen if the members of all the denominations of Christianity in the U.S stopped trying to one up each other, but instead looked for ways to admonish and encourage one another, perhaps this would lead to the love and unity in the body that God expects from his followers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Writing God's Word on our Hearts

I have had the priviledge of reading a book called Heavenly Man, it is a biography of a Chinese preacher and the hardships he has endured for the cause of Christ. At 15 years old, he fasted and cried out to God begging for a bible, when he finally received the bible he began to memorize it a chapter a day, in less than a month he had memorized the entire book of Matthew.
Reading the book, caused me to ask myself how my life would be different if I had memorized an entire book of the bible, particularly a gospel. Just think how much easier he would be to share Jesus, if you even just had the sermon on the mount memorized. With all of that being said, I don't think it is necessarily beneficial to memorize scripture out of obligation, or out of a desire to please men, but I would love to feel that kind of hunger for God's word. I would point out that memorization of scripture can be a good thing, but if you make it an obligation to memorize one passage or book, and poor all your energy into that one passage, you may ignore promptings from God to look at other areas of scripture. In conclusion I think it is important to spend time meditating on the scriptures, and memorizing them, but to have balance, so that we are still free to vary from one passage to another.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics again

Well Obama will be our 44th President. So even though disappointed in the result; I would encourage every Christian in America to pray for Barack, that God will use his presidency according to his will. The scriptures tell us to respect those in authority (see Romans 13). It also says that God places them in the position, so even though I am in a worldly sense fearful for our country, I know that in the end God is in control and we as Christians win eternally after this temporal life is over.
Quick question. Is it okay to move to another country if you don't like the president in your own? I won't go that far but have heard alot of people say that they are moving to Canada. I am not panicing about the outcome and have serious doubts whether things will really change all that much. Also see 1 Tim. 2

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sorry, but this is more political, than any thing else.

People say they want change, but we are wasting our time looking for a president to bring it about. If we really want change for the better then all of the people who profess belief in the God of the bible, need to stand up and stop being the silent majority, it is time to be the vocal majority. I see so many people voting for people, because they promise change, but history shows that presidents almost always fail to make good on their promises. It is time to stand up for the change we want and see it happen from the grassroots stand, the government is supposed to be based on representing the people.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Remembering an illustration.

Several years ago a friend of my Dad's showed me a joke/illustration that had a great message. The story starts with two men walking up to the pearly gates, and Peter asks them for their tickets to enter. They walk away and one decides to make a ticket out of a piece of paper in his pocket. He begins to fold the piece of paper, and the other sees what he is doing and asks for a piece of paper that he might make a ticket as well. So the guy tears him off a piece of the paper. Realizing that he has damaged the paper he was going to make the ticket out of he unfolds it, and what's left looks like a cross, and Peter tells him that he may enter. The second guy takes his piece and begins to write down all the good deeds he had done. When he finished he went back to Peter, but Peter told him, those are some fine things, but you can't earn it with works, only by Jesus, and sent him away. The joke is kind of silly, and works much better in person and includes the visual of folding and tearing the piece of paper. The point is that Jesus is the way to heaven. I did the folding and tearing and realized that when you tear the piece for the second Guy it is four squares given to him, and if those four were folded and torn you would then have 5 crosses, and 16 more potential crosses, and I realized that this would continue infinitely with increasingly small crosses. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that Jesus is our ticket, if we were to share him with four people, who in turn shared him with four people they knew, who in turn shared him with four people, the gospel would spread extremely quickly, and the greatest part is that the real ticket does not shrink or decrease. Jesus is limitless. You are probably thinking that I am nuts for making a big deal out of some random joke told years ago. But to me I find it encouraging that if you looked at it in that way one person stepping out and sharing the word of God, can change a multitude of lives, but the reverse is also true one person who takes the good news of Jesus and does not share it is robbing hundreds, or thousands of people from that good news.

Who do you chase?

Have you ever watched a dog chase his own tail? It can be a hilarious site to behold, but if you think about it, we as humans often do the same thing. No, I don't have a tail, but when I chase the things I desire instead of chasing God's glory, and righteousness, it is the same thing, just as ridiculous, and self defeating. The scriptures tell us that if we seek to save our lives, we will lose our life, but he that gives up his life will save it. As I reflect on my life, I see that I have wasted a lot of time running full speed after things that in the end do not matter, or worse yet things that drew me farther away from God. If it were not for God's mercy and grace neither myself or anyone else would have any hope, but we serve a God, who sent his son for us, while we were still sinners. An example of God's mercy is taught by Jesus through the parable of The Prodigal Son. I am not going to recount the entire parable, (you can read the full account in Luke 15:11-32) I would like to point out that the father in the parable is God, and we all have been the prodigal son, and possibly felt like the bitter son at times. Jesus said "his father saw him and had compassion, and ran to him." God is waiting and watching for us to turn and chase after him, and will when we turn to him run to us, and be right there with us through out the journey.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fasting: is it for today?

The idea of fasting is one that has become fairly uncommon in many of the denominational churches I have attended. No one would step out and say it was no longer necessary, but no one talked about it at all. I have come to the conclusion that it is expected that we fast from time to time. I will give scripture below. I think that fasting may be particular important in our culture here in the US, because we in general have had things so well. It is good to feel the deeper hunger of going a couple days or more without food. To show us the kind of longing and yearning we are supposed to have toward Christ. I think that the act of fasting when done properly can bring you to a place spiritually where you can see things in a different light. If done properly it will likely draw you closer to God. One important aspect is the motivation for your fast, your fast is to be between you and God, it cannot be to please men. Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when you fast do not be like the hypocrites with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly I say to you they have their reward. But you, when you fast annoint your head, and wash your face. So that you do not appear to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said to them, "can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
I Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self control.
The first verse you will notice says when you fast, it does not say if, it is assumed that you will fast.
The second verse says they will fast, this is future tense, and since there is no clause limiting it to the first century, I conclude that it carries forward to the present.
The third verse, is actually flat out telling husbands and wives to fast. In context Paul is writing about the relationship between husband and wife, and specifically tells them to fast; hmm, perhaps fasting is an important part of modern christianity.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey

It is time for Christians to wake up. As a whole we have become complacent. We have stopped being the church, we simply go to church. I personally believe that the words we use to describe things deeply impact the way we view and behave toward things now and in the future. By using the term "going to church" we imply that we are not the church. This is contrary to the bible where it describes us as living stones, and our bodies as God's temple. We are to be Christ's body everyday of our lives, this is what it means to be the church. We should be reaching out to those around us. We should be proclaiming God's good news to all the people we come in contact with. We should be on fire for God, shouting with joy from the rooftops his good news, so that people who are lost might hear and believe. Christians, here in the U.S, where we do not risk being killed for speaking of Jesus, do not proclaim Christ, while the first century Christians proclaimed him even though they risked death, imprisonment, and torture. It is time to preach on the street corners in America, it is time to reach out to our communities. It is not happening nearly enough, and I believe that this goes back to the idea of "going to church" rather than being the church. By using the term "going to church" it makes it easy to compartmentalize our Christianity to Sunday and Wednesday, and delegate our individual responsibilities to the ministry staff. We need to drop to our knees in prayer daily, and then leave our houses and boldly proclaim Christ. We need to wake up and actively seek the lost, and be excited about our Jesus who died for us.

Hungering for Christ.

In the United States even the poorest of people would be considered rich in many other countries. Most of us do not really understand hunger. We mostly have plenty to eat, all the time. So what does it mean to hunger and thirst for God and righteousness?
I think that it is important for us to find it in and of ourselves to be desparate for God's presence. We need to be yearning deep within the very core of our being to see his will carried out. This is difficult, it does not come natural or easy, but it is important all the same. To achieve this we must present ourselves broken and empty before God, and allow him to fill us. You cannot achieve this while still seeking to please yourself or other men. Our God is a jealous God a consuming fire. He deserves the preeminence in our life and will accept nothing less. To deny him this position in our lives is to rob him of that which he bought at great price, at the price of his son bleeding upon the cross. If we allow ourselves to be emptied of our flesh. Christ will fill us and show us what it means to hunger and thirst for him.