It’s both!

 

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.

I read this and couldn’t help but think about both of our political parties. The Dem’s claim to care about people and focus on the deed, the Repub’s claim to care about people so they speak what they claim is truth, however true love is both deed and truth.

They are both liars because neither truly love the people and it shows in their actions. However God shows us how to love in deed and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus loved the people by speaking truth, healing the sick, and ultimately doing for the world what they could never do for themselves.

Reconcile them to the Father by the greatest love act any one could do. Laying down His life for us. Praise God!!!

Imagine what Christian homes would look like if each of us would take the above verse and apply it to our lives daily ! How would the gospel spread if we applied it daily to those around us! Let’s love others by speaking truth, and then doing the deeds of love.

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You are here!

Back in the day before cell phones, and GPS, you would be in the mall or at a truck stop and see a map that had a marker that would say: “You Are Here.” It helps you to understand what direction you need to go, and how to get there. In Second Timothy chapter three the Apostle Paul gives us a you are hear marker.

3:1″ But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 3:2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. 3:5 They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.” NET

The above description is an accurate description of the days in which we find ourselves in. We are here!  We are seeing this played out before us in full color. If we stop to think about it we can become disheartened and feel like giving up. This description Paul gives us is found even in the Church.

Here is what I’m getting at. Now that we know where we are, we can decide what we need to do. Some like Rob Bell, Brian Mclaren, Rick Warren, and others will turn to embracing other religions as just as valid, exchange the truth of God for lies, accuse those of us who hold to the truth as being hate filled, and mean spirited. Others will turn from their sin and cry out to God to purify them and draw them close to Himself.

The question for us as people who love God is this. Will we compromise the truth of God by embracing those that do? Or will we stand in the truth and change our lives according to it? The truth of God’s word is just as real as the truth of gravity. We don’t decide the validity of gravity, it’s real, and if we decide not to embrace it and jump off of the empire state building we will die. The Word of God is the same if we reject the truth that salvation is only found in the name of Jesus Christ we die and spend eternity in hell.

So as Christians we need to first face the fact that we need God, and His Spirit at work in our lives! We are not above the pull of this world. We must seek the face of our Savior daily for the strength to stand. Because none of us have the strength in our own power to stand. So let us get into our word, and pray for God to pour out His Spirit upon us so we can receive strength to stand.

Swallowing Camels

I wonder sometimes if we aren’t swallowing camels and straining out nats.

funny-camel--lala-4

Jesus accused the religious leaders of his day of doing just that by referring to the practice of straining wine, and other drinks through linen, or another filtration median in order to strain out small insects that might make them unclean by swallowing on accident. They would tithe the smallest amount but neglect the most important, and just like them we sometimes neglect the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Oh sure we’ll tithe, attend, and sing with gusto, but then forget to show kindness to the store employee, waitress, or gas station attendant afterwards.

My full time job requires me to work half of the Sundays in a month, and I have discovered something about my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are extremely rude and condescending to people who work on Sundays. For example One Sunday afternoon a fellow coworker received a cussing from a person whom he knew was a deacon in a local church, then was given a gospel tract by that same man a few days later.  (Gulp, Gulp, Gag! I wonder how many calories were in the camel that the dude  had just swallowed!)

Here is what I’m driving at. You can tithe, sing, and pray all you want while in church, but if you don’t truly care about the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness, your slamming the door of heaven in the face of the unsaved.

Your swallowing camels.

So quit choking them down, because camels don’t taste good, and aren’t heart healthy. I know this because just like you, I’ve choked down a few myself. So may God in His grace help us to realize that we’ve got a camel in our glass.

 

Matt 23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven!

Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!

 

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:13). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:23–24). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Thinking differently, and acting differently.

God loves you ans has a wonderful plan for your…have you ever heard some one say a phrase like that while trying to evangelize some one else? I’ve heard it, used it, and am quite tired of it. Most people who are not Christians have heard it too.  We live in a day and age where people are skeptical of these types of catch phrases.

The other day I was in a store, and saw a gospel tract lying on a shelf. It was designed to look like a thousand dollar bill. I thought interesting, I wonder how many times that the person who left this, has left it for a tip for a waitress on a busy Sunday morning. (I know a little cynical) My point is this. We need to stop using canned, overused, and weird tricks to reach those who are not Christians.

Rather what  we need is to think and act differently when it comes to reaching those who are not yet Christians. I know some are thinking, that the old methods are the best. Well maybe they once were, but they aren’t now. As a NASCAR fan I don’t want to see my favorite driver in a car from the 1980’s running Daytona with the cars of today. It would be silly to think he would be competitive. Why do we insist on running the race for souls in such a way?

Listen, people today don’t care how much you know unless they see how much you care. So instead of sharing the gospel first, and your life second, share your life first, and weave into it how your decision to follow Christ has changed it. Ditch the presentations, and get real with them about Jesus and His saving, and changing power in your life.

Here’s an idea.

How about the next time you go to a real nice dinner you ask the server if they have a need in their life that you can pray over before your meal. Then instead of the 15-20% you should be tipping,  give 30%. That way you show you care about them physically, and spiritually.

Dressing for the extreme!

The other day it was 18 degrees for the high, and I had to be outside working until 10 PM. I knew I had to dress for it, but what was I going to wear? So I picked out what I thought would help keep the cold away, and went to work. I’ve learned that the extreme can be hard to deal with if you aren’t prepared. So we have to be prepared to deal with the extremes of our society, in order to be effective in reaching our world for Jesus!

We may not like it, but America is not a Christian nation anymore; and because it’s not we have to learn how to deal with the extremes that this brings. For example, I work with people who believe that same sex marriage is OK. I also work very closely with Gay men, and Women. At the same time I also work side by side with people who live with their opposite sex partners, and foul language is the norm from both co-workers and customers. Today this is a fact of life in a secular job!

So just like the extreme cold, or the extreme heat we have to learn how to dress in order to face the extremes of our society successfully. The Truth is we can effectively reach America with the gospel if we are prepared to face the extremes. In order to face the cold I dress in layers, To face the heat I wear shorts and the lightest T-shirt I can find. We as Christians also need to put on the proper attire (spiritually speaking) in order to reach our country with the gospel.

So what is the proper attire?  Well, I think it’s two things, Grief, and love. Why those two things? Because, I believe those two things reveal the heart of Jesus for the lost of this world. We know it was love that called Jesus to come and die for the world, however His grief over the sin of mankind is just as evident. ” But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.” Lk 19:41-42

We need to grieve over the lost and dying of America who suffer the consequences of their unbelief, and show our love toward them in both word and deed! This is the nature and character of Jesus in us, and in action through us. Grief and Love! The garments that will face the extremes of the world we live in!

I don’t see this in the life of the church of the 21st century. We need…I need to put this on more and more each day! The other day I grieved as I learned of a young girl who found out she has contracted an std from her ex-boyfriend. I grieved at the words of a gay coworker who said she went to church and wasn’t welcomed. I heard a woman on the radio weep as she spoke of an abortion she had almost forty years ago, I was moved as she spoke of her shame, and fear of being rejected by her Church, because of their strong opposition to abortion. Views she now shared because of her decision forty years ago.

We claim to love the lost…..but do we? Do we really? I lost a dear friend almost two years ago. I still grieve over the loss because I loved him. I want to feel that toward my co-workers, friends, and family who have yet to know Jesus. If we would cry out to feel the grief and love that God feels for the lost and dying of this world, then obedience and self sacrifice would be the norm in the body of Christ instead of the exception. I’m afraid though we don’t dress for the extremes of this world because we refuse to go out and do the work we need to do in it.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Lk 19:41–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers..

Pools, Water Heaters, and Blown up Toilets!

You ever wonder “what were they thinking?” I do, I can’t help it. Working in retail for the last 13+ years, I’m amazed at what people will do.

Like the time a woman asked me to show her to the floor drains. She began explaining to me that she was tired of using a pump to drain her above ground pool to winter levels. So she decided that she would dig under it, cut the liner, put the drain in and seal the hole up with silicone. I began explaining to her that since it was July, and her pool was filled with water ,this is probably not the best idea, because the minute she cut her liner it would be ruined, and even if she was fast enough, and didn’t ruin her liner, we didn’t have any drains for that purpose. Did that stop her? Noooooooo! She simply didn’t believe me, and paid for the drain she was sure would work, and left.(The next day I found the drain covered in mud lying in the return area. Yep, she just had to do it her way!)

Or the guy that came to see me because he and a friend dropped some sort of large firecracker in the toilet and flushed it to see what would happen. Yep, you got it! He needed a new toilet.

My favorite, is the guy who called me asking about heating elements for his water heater and when I asked him for the wattage I heard him scream as he got shocked because he didn’t turn the breaker off. And after his cussing fit while looking for the phone he dropped, I managed to get the information I needed to help him.

I think there is a Proverb that fits here: “There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12

We can laugh at the stories I mentioned, because they are funny. However we shouldn’t laugh at the fact that we often see a way that seems right to us but in the end leads to death. So let’s seek direction and guidance before we drown, electrocute, or have no place to dispose of our… I think you get my point.

 

 

 

 

What are you eating?

As a kid I used to love peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches, they were some of my favorite things to eat. However nutritionally speaking there is just not much there.

If all I ever ate was peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches, I’d be malnourished and sick. I’m afraid that for most of us our spiritual diet contains more marshmallow fluff than real meat, and so the body of Christ is malnourished and in some places down right diseased.

What we need is real spiritual nutrition. An this passage in John show’s us where we can get it.

John 6:7

” I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me.”

The source of life for Jesus was found in the Father. If Jesus needed a source of life here on earth then I think that it’s safe to say we need one too. Jesus tells us our source of life, it’s found in what we eat. If Jesus is our daily bread then we have all we need. If He isn’t then we will become what we eat.

To be better nourished spiritually we need a real living relationship with Jesus Christ, and we have got to get in His presence through prayer, and a daily habit of reading His Word. That is the only place we can find nourishment and healing.

The times we live in are bad and getting worse! And only those with a daily time with Jesus will be strong enough to stand.

“The Bread of God when eaten daily, produces a quality of life that Jesus Christ Himself enjoyed.”

David Wilkerson

Hungry For More Of Jesus

 

 

 

 

Tyndale House Publishers.(2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Jn 6:57). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.