If American churches are going to be revived, they will have to rid themselves of Convenient Christianity. Christians who are looking for a savior that works like an app on their smartphone are obviously missing the point. As MercyMe sings in their song, “Wishful Thinking:”
‘Cause without suffering grace is hard to see
So maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be
Continue reading “Grace Without Suffering”
One of my greatest challenges as a Christian is being judgmental. At times it seems like there is a fine line between standing on the word of God and casting my personal judgments upon another. If I am going to be a dispenser of grace, I have to take into account the dual nature of a Christian. This does not mean that I excuse sin, but I should not be quick to judge a person as lost because of their behavior. As my pastor says, “Sometimes are beliefs don’t match our behavior.”
Pastor Dennis was talking of the time when David pretended to be insane in the land of Gath, the home of Goliath. Saul had been pursuing David to kill him out of jealousy and David fearfully fled to enemy territory instead of relying on God to protect him. This is why in his later years David could write:
Continue reading “Behavior Betraying Beliefs”
In the past week it has become abundantly clear that the American church is in a state of panic. We are panicking about the outcome of an election that is still over four months away. We are making predictions as though we have eyes into the future. The sad part of all this is these predictions of doom and gloom are the same ones I’ve heard in the last eight years. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Oswald Chamber once wrote that fear is calculating without God. For some reason, Christians cannot imagine God intervening into the affairs of man, including our elections. It is sad that of all the Founding Fathers who were Christians, it took a non-believer in Benjamin Franklin to remind them of a sovereign God:
Continue reading “A Shrinking God”
I was recently reminded of the importance of discipling other Christians to help them grow in their walk with Christ. As a Bible teacher, a great privilege and responsibility has been given to me of which I should never think less. We often think of the Great Commission as mainly witnessing to the lost. That is important, but that does not encompass all of Jesus’ charge:
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Continue reading “Making Disciples”
You’ve no doubt heard that all religions lead to heaven and worship the same god. If this is true, then Christianity is a lie. Christianity is the only religion where salvation comes through grace alone, by faith in Christ. All other religions require some sort of works to receive salvation. This means Christianity is the opposite of all other religions. Two opposing belief systems can be wrong, or one can be right. However, both cannot be right.
Believers around the world celebrated Christianity’s holiest day yesterday. Most call it Easter; others prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday. Regardless its name, a Risen Savior is the center of the celebration. Many denominations are now rejecting a crucified and risen Christ. This too is a false Christianity. The Bible declares as much:
Continue reading “A False Christianity”
Anger and fear are two emotions that can overtake our lives and bring us to destruction. There are cases of righteous anger and healthy fear, but usually those are not what consume us. Our imaginations can be preoccupied with fret, worry, and thoughts of revenge that lead us down the wrong path. Those paths always lead to wickedness:
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)
Continue reading “Abandoning What We Know”
I am by nature an impatient man. As a retired Army First Sergeant, I am experienced in “making things happen.” Yesterday, our Minister of Students Andrew Bosak, preached from Ephesians 4:1-6. During the initial reading, I immediately came under conviction:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Continue reading “Lacking Longsuffering”
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and many of you will either visit or have family over for the holiday. Celebrating this wonderful occasion is always better when done so with family. Most families have a “no politics or religion” rule so as to avoid any ugly arguments, thereby “ruining the holiday.” There is some wisdom in that rule.
However, as Christians, we are not allowed to keep silent about our faith, even in our hometown. While it does risk rejection and ridicule, the sharing your faith commandment does not come with a “Holidays with the Family” exemption. I understand this can be a perilous adventure, so let me help you with this “delicate” situation. This will apply to any occasion to share with family and neighbors.
Continue reading “Not Admitting the Conclusion”
Do you have one? Do you have a marvelous testimony? The word testimony comes from the Latin testi- and means “to witness.” The suffix –mony is used in Latin abstract nouns, in this case signifying a function. So testimony is the function of witnessing.
As a Christian, do you perform the function of witnessing? Testifying to what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for believers was very high on His list. Many times after healing a person, Jesus would command that person to go tell people what had happened. One well-known case was after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.
Continue reading “A Marvelous Testimony”
Recently in a Wednesday night Bible study, our pastor Brother Dennis said something that really struck a chord in my life:
“When we trash people, we lose authority. Not trashing others protects me from me.”
Continue reading “Losing Authority”
Clarity comes to the Christian life when we become “hearers and doers” of the Word. The Bible has been described as the manual for life, or “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” All the issues of life can be addressed in the Bible, some very obvious and some not so obvious. Nevertheless, my worldview must be grounded in Biblical principles if I am going to leave a truthful life:
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)
Continue reading “Being Found A Liar”
Some days I don’t like you eavesdropping on my conversations with the Lord. Perhaps I want to put up a stained glass masquerade, even though I try to be a man of integrity in all things. Nevertheless, as this ministry has grown I’ve learned to be obedient to the Lord’s call and so here we go again.
There are days where I’ve gotten over Christ’s love for me. What I mean, is the fact Jesus loves me doesn’t always overwhelm me. I’m thankful for the knowledge and truth, but some days I’m not overwhelmed. Yesterday was one of those days.
Continue reading “Dying To Live”
This past Monday evening at our Men’s Bible Study, our pastor encouraged us to “Just look for what will bring glory to Christ and move in that direction.” Let that one soak in for a while. If I will look for the things that bring glory to Christ that will be time well spent. For whatever brings glory to Jesus brings glory to God the Father.
The particular instance Brother Dennis was referring to is when things are happening and you don’t know what to do. We are often times tempted to speak and we end up blabbering. I can definitely speak for myself in this case. Nevertheless, instead of saying something incoherent or irrelevant, just be silent and look for what will bring glory to Christ. And then move in that direction.
Continue reading “Moving In Jesus’ Direction”
There is only one God. If this is not true, then the Bible is a lie. People may have their own gods, or be their own god, however it is a lie. Mormons do not worship the same God as I do; neither do Muslims. If they do, then the Bible must be declared a lie, and it was by those two belief systems because they wrote their own religious books. More importantly, they have violated God’s First Commandment. God declares of Himself:
“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.’” (Exodus 20:1-3)
Continue reading “Only One God”
One Monday evening, our pastor told the men’s Bible study group that God’s commands are prayers waiting to be prayed. He said we could ask God to teach us how to do the things He commands. That really resonated with me: awaiting prayers for you and me.
I can imagine the triune God just waiting for me to ask Him to help with His commands. Perhaps you’re thinking you don’t even know where to start with God’s commands. Sometimes the best place to start is at the start:
Continue reading “Awaiting Prayers”
I feel sorry for those Christians who believe, or worse yet are taught, that the Old Testament no longer applies to the modern church. One would have to ask if that was true, then why would God have written it? Nevertheless, an honest reading and seeking of God’s truth in the Old Testament results in the Holy Spirit speaking from it. It is a treasure of good news.
Continue reading “The Old Testament Gospel”
One of the skills I appreciate most that I learned in the Army is the ability to navigate with just a map and a compass. Now that might come as a surprise to my wife and daughters, knowing my stubborn male ego and refusal to ask for directions at times. Nevertheless, I was taught and have taught land navigational skills.
One area in the world where you really rely on these skills is in the desert, especially at night. If you are familiar with the terrain, you can become comfortable navigating using terrain recognition during the day.
Continue reading “The Heavenly Trailblazer”
What would be your response if someone told you that you smell like Jesus? Would you think that person odd? Would have to seek clarification? Would you nervously thank him or her, look at your watch and hurry away? Or would you understand the tremendous compliment that had just been paid to you?
This may seem a funny topic, but yesterday in church our Minister of Discipleship and Evangelism Pete Belmain was preaching on “What It Means Not to Waste Your Life” and I was struck by something he mentioned. His fourth point was a life that is selflessly devoted to Jesus results in love-driven conduct. He was preaching from the familiar passage of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive spikenard. In John 12: 3 we read:
Continue reading “Smelling Like Jesus”
Last Wednesday night, I was looking for some Scripture to finish our Share Jesus Without Fear training and I read this passage again for the first time:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4)
Continue reading “Vain Fancies”
Have you ever met someone who seemed to always find bad luck? This is the type of person who seems to have a knack for always getting into trouble. If there is a way to get into trouble, this person will figure it out. When you scratch just below the surface, you’ll discover the root problem. It is sin.
However, the sin that is self-inflicted is usually avoidable. Worse yet, this person’s sin is often worn as a badge of honor. I used to have many of those badges. I was the type of person who could party with the best of them, doing immoral things and relishing in them. Mankind has been doing this for some time:
Continue reading “Bringing Evil Upon Themselves”