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Tuesday
Jun192018

When Kids Are Used To Divide A Nation

I am so mad at what I hear in the news these days that I could spit nails.  Some politicians have been calling what is happening at our southern border with parents and children “evil treatment”, which is just plain wrong.  HEY POLITICIANS, YOU BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL LAWMAKERS, you strain out a gnat and swallow camels. Isn’t that what Jesus said of the Pharisees? These politicians are so upset about these kids being separated from their parents at the border, but they don’t mind supporting laws that kill babies in the womb. I think they desire the same reaction Jesus gave the Pharisees. These politicians who are given the right to represent Americans in Washington should be the first group of Americans who support the laws of the land, and not advocate against them. The United States has laws governing illegal entry into this country, and those laws are finally being enforced. This immigration problem is a politician’s problem; they created it, and they also refuse to fix it. How many administrations have come and gone who swore they would fix the immigration problems?  President Trump is right - it is the job of Congress to write laws, so why haven’t they fixed our Southern border? Let me be blunt. Our politicians are not worth listening to nor are they worth voting for, because they aren’t doing their jobs. I am like so many Americans who are sick of the sanctimonious rhetoric in Washington on immigration reform. We can’t seem to agree on anything and meanwhile more tension builds over something that could be fixed with a little cooperation from everyone. Everywhere I look I see division so tense that it appears that we are in another civil war. It is a war of ideology with hateful people wanting to destroy America for the sake of their political agendas. I am sick of it, however, I have a solution!

Split American in half using the Mississippi River as the dividing line. Give all the land West of the river to the liberals, and all the land to the East to the conservatives and let them rule their domain according to their ideology. All liberals will live in the West and all Conservatives in the East. These two countries can govern their parcel of land by their ideologies and everyone can be happy ever after. 

Of course it won’t work because the liberals will have total chaos and the conservatives will be overly restrictive. Perhaps it would be fair to say that we need each other in order to have a reasonably balanced form of government that works together in finding the best solutions for the people they govern. Not all liberal ideas are from hell, and not all conservative ideas are brainless and hateful. I think it is time we become Americans again, and not Democrats and Republicans. We need to stop the bi-partisan politics and get back to helping Americans agree on what is best for our country. We may always disagree, but we don’t have to use our disagreements to manipulate the process so our party can win the next election.

Jesus told us this:

Matthew 12:25 “Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.

So unless we pray for a different spirit in our land, we will destroy America. You may not acknowledge it, but we are in a civil war in America today. Unless we are willing to make some concessions to getting back to the country our founding fathers established, we will no longer be a nation for the people, by the people; we will be a nation of divided people. 

Divided people will not prosper, nor will they survive. Perhaps that is the reason America is not mentioned in the prophetic scriptures, we were so divided that we destroyed ourselves… 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Thursday
Jun142018

Discipleship Transforms our Character

Discipleship sounds so boot-campish doesn’t it? Discipleship however is the process of God’s Word, Holy Spirit mentorship, and the Church - all coming together to bring transformation that is the next step within the salvation experience. 

For example, I know many people who, before coming to Christ, lived a cheating, lying, life and they were always looking for a way to overcome a problem by their craftiness. When this kind of person comes to Christ, that basic nature needs time to be transformed into the image of Christ. In fact, sometimes even if they experience salvation by faith in Christ, they still hold to the tendencies of their former life. That is why it is very important to be in a fellowship group that accents on discipleship, with spiritual growth as an outcome. I even know older, more mature Christians, who have never had any serious discipleship training and as a result their current day theology is often questionable.

There are several signs of poor discipleship, let me list a few: 

  • ·     Negative attitude toward others
  • ·     No humility 
  • ·     Lack of forgiveness
  • ·     Greedy and lacks a spirit of freely giving to others
  • ·     Argumentative know-it-all attitude
  • ·     Lack of discipline in working with others
  • ·     Poor relationship building skills and superficial relationships
  • ·     Often sees other races in a negative light, including immigrants coming to America
  • ·     Careless about theology and is naïve about Bible doctrine
  • ·     Has no mercy on people who make mistakes, or is highly critical of people down
          on their luck
  • ·     Has a tendency to accept all religions as equal
  • ·     Has no interest in Israel or the foundations of the Old Testament
  • ·     Independent attitude that is at odds with the Church

Well you get the point. The question you have to ask yourself, what part of that list represents Christ? What aspects of this list are even good character traits? 

Discipleship is not taught in many Christian circles today, and that contributes to the lack of spiritual knowledge in the body of Christ. One of the big short- comings in the character of Christians today is the depth of relationships. This will be painful for most of you, but it is the truth. 

“People love what you do for them, but they won’t love you.” In other words, relationship is made only as long as you are supplying a need. You as a person do not matter as long as you continue to supply the need.  

I can say a hearty AMEN. (This was supplied to me by the way by one of my podcasters. He also said AMEN.)

I call it the truck syndrome. When you have a truck in a neighborhood where people need you to supply a HAULING need, you are loved. However, get rid of the truck, and you no longer have a relationship. 

Discipleship is the transformation of your character into the character of Christ. It is a critical mandate for the Church and without it we will lose sight of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. 

Read through that list again, and ask God which ones you represent.  It might be painful…

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun132018

Silence is not a Strategy

Dietrich Bonhoeffersaid: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, silence is not the end result of ministry. It is my personal belief that the last days will try to silence or twist the truth into something that does not represent the God of the Bible. This is what the bill AB 2943 in California is trying to do. It will legislate against Christians’ freedom of speech to tell the Biblical truth about gay marriage and homosexuality. The bill is based on a psychological mindset, which insists that gay people are not sick, they do not have a disease, and that homosexuality is a normal human function. The bill will make it illegal to promote, teach, or counsel any gay person to reject their gay lifestyle. In many countries this is the same intent of laws that prohibit Christians from evangelizing. 

As Americans we have always had freedom of speech as our core freedom. Now because of an agenda where a protected group wants to place a muzzle on the kind of speech that can be spoken, we have entered the stage of censorship.

This is more than just the idea of having the freedom to speak - it is about the silencing of God and the imprisonment of truth. This is the kind of legislation that will make or break the Church. Pastors will either avoid the homosexual issue altogether, or they will be civilly disobedient to the dictates of the law.

Most of the Church has been conditioned to avoid issues that divide people, but that is not the counter cultural nature of the gospel. The scriptures teach us that we are not to accept, tolerate, or avoid evil; we are told to resist it and push back on it. The Church is the only institution that majors on moral issues, and if we go silent in our defense of what is right, we will lose the moral war in our society.  Some would say we have already lost that war, now it is simply a survival mode for most believers. 

I think we can take a lesson out the playbook from Bonhoeffer and resist the temptation to be silent and not create any waves. This however is falling into the category of being a worthless and tasteless organization. 

Matthew 5:13 “"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Sunday
Jun102018

The Bottom Line of our Day

I write a lot about our day and how we have been in a spiral downward as a country and as a Church. People do not want to face the reality of where we are going and refuse to admit we are in trouble. They go to church on Sunday and hear messages that are inspirational but not life changing. Christians today want to sway to the music, lift their hands in praise, yet never sense the need to discern our age and see with their eyes and hear with their ears. 

I believe Jesus gave us the bottom line on how every generation lives without God in Matthew 13.

 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,hear with their ears, understand with their heartsand turn, and I would heal them.’

 It is fascinating to me to watch religious communities tell their stories about God and yet their stories don’t represent the God of the Bible. I have written about this repeatedly in this blog on how we have invented a God that is part Bible and part culture. When you look at the message of Jesus, it was about self-reflection, becoming aware of your greatest need, and then pursuing that need without hesitation and without excuse. 

Listen to his message from Matthew 3:2

Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

My point is simple, do we have eyes to see what the scriptures tell us to do, and do we have ears to hear God speaking to us about what He wants us to change in our lives? If we are going to church to hear a message of happy endings, and stories that inspire us to be better people, we are clearly blind and deaf. 

To become better people requires that there is a change. It reminds me of what people do as they repaint over an existing paint problem. Scraping and stripping the layers of paint off the object to be painted is the best way to assure that the new paint will take hold and not peal. 

Our lives are similar to old paint, before a new life can successfully begin there needs to be a removal of the old life. This is the message of repentance, removing the old and turning to God for the new. The new life in Christ comes about becomes there is a change in our understanding of life and we accept the offer of the gospel.  Many churches do not teach this and I am seeing this trend even in churches that used to make it a regular theme in their ministry. 

Repentance is the key to opening eyes and ears to God. Seeking Him means you are willing to put your life on the line for what He has for you. There are too many of us that think making a commitment to Christ is enough - but that is only the beginning. Following Him requires that you are willing to change and make adjustments in lifestyle and attitude that are becoming of honoring God. 

Those adjustments as leaders will not be easily made. Some of us have traditions and theology errors that will not be easy to overcome as they hold us back from telling the truth. I was speaking with a preacher today about how many pulpits are governed by the budget. Some preachers are told to inspire people but don’t convict them. Why? The budget is directly tied to the pulpit presentations. If the preacher gets too convicting, people will stop coming. I asked my preacher friend a simple question. “Would the message of the pulpit be any different if the budget of the church/ministry was not at stake?” It was a sobering question, and was not readily answered. Today, there are two aspects of most churches: the teaching and the budget. One feeds the other, and together they need each other. However, if the budget is the bottom line to what is preached, then the eyes are blind and the ears are deaf. 

Some may disagree with me, but I think most leaders who run a church or a non-profit ministry are required to provide a service that people will support with their tithes and offerings. If the truth gets too much in the way, that may not happen, thus a great dilemma arises. 

What do you do?  Good question - that is where eyes that see and ears that hear come into play.  What do you think God says? 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K  

 

Sunday
Jun032018

When Christianity is just another Religion

It is no surprise Europe is a spiritually dead continent, but in a recent article by WND writer Bob Unruh, he confirms it. 

A new poll by Pew Research Center indicates European Christians, once the driving force behind the faith’s expansion worldwide, no longer are. Christian. Really. At least in terms of what they believe.

I have noticed within my circle of friends, that when a person walks away from their faith they still associate with Christianity. In fact I heard the son of Francis and Edith Schaeffer say that he is a Christian Atheist. He primarily does not associate with any church at this point in his life, and is highly critical of Evangelicals in general. I, of course, do not agree with most of Frank Schaeffer’s assessments of Christianity, but there is one aspect of what he says is true. Frank Schaeffer believes what has ruined the Evangelical faith is all the personality cult preachers who have made preaching a business. They are driven by ratings and the bottom dollar and, according to Schaeffer, have created a false religion. 

Perhaps that is why so many Evangelicals have found emptiness in their churches. Many Christians will wander from church to church hoping that the next stop on their church tour will bring them what they want. I think more than anything else we have made church into a program or a series of programs that offer people an opportunity to have fellowship. Many churches are continually looking for that secret sauce that can be applied to their church that will make it a winning recipe for success. Europe has long since abandoned any hope of revitalizing the church and it seems they have stopped trying. I believe a major part of the problem the church in Europe is experiencing is the lack of desire to even try. The people even admit Europe is now past what the church has to offer.

Bob Unruh continues about this in his article:  

They may call themselves Christian, but Pew describes them as “non-practicing” and found that they “drifted away,” “were alienated” or just “stopped believing.” They only rarely walk in the doors of a church.

The survey found for example, that while 83 percent of Belgians say they were “raised Christian,”only 55 percent now identify as such.

Norway’s figures plunged from 79 percent “raised Christian” to only 51 percent now. In the Netherlands, from 67 percent to 41 percent, Spain, 92 percent to 66 percent, Sweden, 74 percent to 52 percent. In the United Kingdom, 79 percent to 73 percent.

The survey comes as millions of Muslims migrate from the Middle East and Africa to Europe.

“Western Europe, where Protestant Christianity originated and Catholicism has been based for most of its history, has become one of the world’s most secular regions,” the survey said. “Although the vast majority of adults say they were baptized, today many do not describe themselves as Christians.

“Some say they gradually drifted away from religion, stopped believing in religious teachings, or were alienated by scandals or church positions on social issues.”

This is now true in parts of the United States too. We have seen many scandals within the Christian community that brings into question the validity of the message of the church. How can priests molest children and even remotely be close to God? What about Mega-churches who package their products and services like Amazon to see how many people they can move through their auditoriums in one Sunday morning. The bottom line is, “do you cheapen the message and water down the experience when you are simply running a business under a religious logo?” Secularism has challenged the authority of the church in Europe for decades thus life without the church is now normal in most countries in Europe. This has also happened in the United States. In a small microcosm on marriage in our neighborhood, we discovered that many of the young couples moving into the rental units around us forego the institution of marriage by simply living together. This trend has been going on for some time now among non-religious couples, but this same trend has taken root even among those couples that identify as Christians. 

Christianity was never meant to become a religious practice - it was designed to change lives. Jesus came to transfer us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” Colossians 1:13

The domain of darkness never rests, and it never retreats for any length of time. If faithfulness to God is to be maintained, it must always be on the guard against ideas, attitudes, and influences that will slowly remove our awareness of delusion. Europe lost its soul to delusion through its affinity to secular thought and education. The Bible is clear to practice a strong defense against the dominion of darkness when it says:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”                                                                                     -2 Corinthians 10:5 

If we let our guard down we will become like Europe. We will repeat their mistakes and become a secular domain of darkness by making Christianity just another religion.  

Keeping it truthful and honest….K 

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