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Sunday
Aug282016

Beware Of The Teaching

Matthew 16:6 “"Watch out!" Jesus warned them. "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Later in the same chapter Jesus explained that we wasn’t talking about yeast or bread, but the deceptive teaching the religious leaders were delivering to the people.

Matthew 16:12 Then at last they understood that he wasn't speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Would Jesus warn us about the teaching in our pulpits today?  What do you think He would say? Now I know this is speculation but think about what Jesus would say to those who are responsible for teaching His Word.

I am sure you would like to add to my list, but since this isn’t an interactive blog site, you have to endure my suggestions.

  • I think Jesus would remind the leaders about their stricter judgment because of their role in the church. Teaching God’s Word is not just being clever, or entertaining, it is about training ourselves in righteousness and in truth.
  • James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
  • He would recite Revelation 3:20 “See, I stand knocking at the door. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will go into his house, and dine with him, and he with me.”
  • He would be asking why He is often not mentioned or why He was not leveraged as the most important theme of the day? Jesus is often standing outside of many churches, trying to get in to have fellowship with that church.
  • He would recite Matthew 23 1-3 Then Jesus addressed the crowds and his disciples. “The scribes and the Pharisees speak with the authority of Moses,” he told them, “so you must do what they tell you and follow their instructions. But you must not imitate their lives! For they preach but do not practice. Jesus is not a big fan of hypocrisy because he knows how it destroys trust and the value of following a leader who will do what he says.
  • Jesus would ask another question: “Are you about what interests man, or are you concerned about the things that concern God?” Matthew 16:23 “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”This is probably the most poignant question asked by Jesus,  “what is your ministry all about, you or Me?  Many ministries today say they are ministering Jesus, but at the end of the day for many of them it’s all about the visionary of the ministry and not Jesus Christ. Many faith-preachers will talk more about giving  than they do about representing the Cross. Giving is definitely a character issue in discipleship, but it is not about fund-raising for million dollar jets and large ministry expenses. Jesus would have something to say to these folks: “you have your reward on earth, but you will be poor in heaven. “

Perhaps the last thing He would say to the pulpits today would be similar to all the other suggestions I have written. “You are blessed by your gifts and abilities, but you are repeatedly forgetting that it is not about your bottom line, your attendance numbers, the size of your staff, or the influence of your name. The bottom-line is where I fit in your priority list?

  • The Apostle John wrote about the works of a church in Revelation 3 where they had replaced Jesus for the good works of ministry. Revelation 3: 2 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

The one basic spiritual lesson that every believer needs to know about is the importance of what is taught, and it is equally important to know what is not taught.  You become like the teaching you subject yourself to and even if that teaching is good in some areas, it will not make up for the things that are left out. We are told that the whole counsel of God needs to be taught, and not just the things that make us feel good. 

Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

One question you need to ask: “Does my church preach the whole counsel of God, or do we leave certain things unsaid?”

If the church you attend does not address:

  • The moral issues in our day
  • The holiness aspect of discipleship
  • The idea of sacrifice and submission
  • Rebellion against God as a believer
  • Bible Prophecy and the future
  • Israel God’s Blessing or Curse
  • False Teaching and Truth
  • Worship Is Not Singing
  • The Cross and Social Justice
  • Gods Leadership and Today’s World

If you are not hearing Bible based sermons or teachings on themes that affect the basic character of being a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are not getting the whole counsel of God. The above themes are only examples of what is important for the believer to know today, and most often they are left out of the pulpit series preached in our churches.

How about doing your own survey and see what you discover. Remember, you become an extension of the kind of teaching you are subject to accept.  However, if that teaching is ignoring the basic character of Christ, you will find yourself less prepared to understand the God of the Bible, and definitely you will never understand the world that is being prepared to totally rebel against God.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Tuesday
Aug232016

When A Cause Targets YOU

Target corporation is facing a nationwide backlash for its support of transgender rights.

More than 1.2 million people have signed a pledge to boycott the retailer after it announced last month that it would welcome transgender customers to use any bathroom or fitting room that matches their gender identity.  –Business INSIDER

How this all translates to money is that Target’s stock has fallen 20 percent, from $84 per share to $67 per share since it imposed the pro-transgender policy on its customer base of families.  That loss has chopped roughly $10 billion from the overall shareholder value of the company, according to a chart produced by Yahoo.com

I was one of those 1.2 million petition signers and I have not gone into a Target store since. I think Target has put women at risk and their response was, “we don’t care.”  It was this arrogant attitude that made me think twice about spending my money in a store that places women and girls at risk. This entire issue is silly and at the end of the day it comes down to a plumbing issue.  If you are a female go in this bathroom, and if you are a male you go to where they have urinals. It really is that simple and it has been that way ever since they have had public restrooms. Why should it matter about how you feel about your gender, it’s about the plumbing and using the appropriate bathroom facility according to the plumbing you possess. It has nothing to do with how you feel, it’s about the reality of the plumbing, male or female and feelings have nothing to do with how you relieve your bladder. However, it’s not about the plumbing is it? It’s about a cause! There is an element in our society that doesn’t want any distinction between genders and the more freedom you have to express your sexual experimentation without restriction the better.  This is the confusion in our age, a sign of times where many people are so inundated with this kind of silly bathroom arguments that they don’t know what is right or wrong. In fact that is the big cause in our day, remove all distinction between what is right and what is wrong. Blur the lines of moral law, make all deviant behavior a civil right, and we simply do what we feel and its all okay.

There is no question that we have entered a time in human history like no other. Target Corporation’s stand on these transgender issues is unprecedented and it will only open the door to more of the same in America. We will never go back to a time of civility, the progressive mindset is too far-gone to reverse course. Even when scientific research comes out that states an opposition to the progressive gay agenda in our day, it is ignored. This headline caught my attention:

Johns Hopkins Scientists Offer Absolute Proof Gay Agenda's 'Born This Way' Is a Lie!

How much of this research did you hear in the mainstream media? Here is a link for you if you want to see what they found through their research.

http://www.charismanews.com/world/59417-johns-hopkins-scientists-offer-absolute-proof-gay-agenda-s-born-this-way-is-a-lie

We could apply the same observation to global warming.

Last May, the White House tweeted: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” A few days later, Secretary of State John Kerry announced, “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425232/climate-change-no-its-not-97-percent-consensus-ian-tuttle

Now on the other hand, scholars who do not buy into the global warming myth never get any press for their side of the story.

PRINCETON, NJ S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the National Association of Scholars (NAS) that “the number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily; I would guess it is about 40% now.”

So obviously 97% of scientists do not believe in global warming that there is a significant and growing number of scientists who disagree with the government’s conclusion on global warming.

Let’s look at how this progressive mindset has affected the church. How is this for a news headline?

Pastor Claims ‘Single Christians’ Can Have Sex As Long As It’s ‘Mutually Pleasurable And Affirming”

You can read more at the link below.

http://endtimeheadlines.org/2016/08/pastor-claims-single-christians-can-have-sex-as-long-as-its-mutually-pleasurable-and-affirming/

So Target is not alone in how this progressive spirit is working in the world that is always in opposition to the principles of God.

However this is what Jesus said would happen to those who stand for godly values in a day of progressive ideas. Progressive modern ideas are socially engineered to invent a cultural socialism with a DNA that opposes God. 

Matthew 24:9-13  “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

This is what we face as believers, hatred for what we believe. Read that passage again a few times until it sinks in because today it is the silly arguments about bathrooms, but tomorrow it will be about how your faith is resisting the progressives ideas of a new world order and you must be silenced. Are you ready?

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Monday
Aug222016

When Doctrines Are All We Have

 

Oswald Chambers is one of my favorite Bible commentators, and he said, “It is possible to know about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him.”

Personally, I am a doctrine-oriented person, but I understand what Oswald Chambers is saying. I have met clergy who have been so doctrine oriented that they miss the love and the mercy of God. Their doctrine has become so important to them that is has become more important than God Himself. Doctrine never is intended to be the focus of being worshipped and just because you have a systematic theology scheme doesn’t make it correct. In other words, keep doctrine in its place and don't let it become more important than the relationship you have with God.  I know that may sound funny to some of you but when you listen to people who are dogmatic about any aspect of eschatology or their once saved always saved theology you begin to see how a doctrine can become priority in their Christian walk. 

Are there other doctrines that should be questioned?

There are those who defend the “open theism” doctrine, which basically says that God chooses not to know the future. Futhermore, there are some who say you have to keep Torah in order to understand Christ. Then there are those who teach the doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is initially a sign accompanied by the speaking of tongues.  Many of these doctrines are squeezed out of the verses and passages in the Bible but upon further study find that the Bible does not endorse them. Doctrine is meant to aid the believer to stay focused upon what the Bible clearly teaches and does not create it’s own theology to fit an idea. Doctrine then is much like the Sabbath, which is given to keep a believer focused on God.  


Mark 2:27 ”Then Jesus told them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Doctrine is meant to be a guideline that also is made for us, and we are not made for the doctrine. As you do your own investigating into doctrine you quickly realize that some doctrine can be misguided. As I listened to what is being preached today, many doctrines can assume too much from the scripture and theologians expanded the meaning beyond what the text is really saying. Let me give you an example.

 There is the doctrine of cessationism.

Cessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the original twelve apostles. The offices of Prophet and Apostle have also ceased because we now have the Bible.

Those that teach cessationism use a series of scriptures to defend their doctrine that really don’t apply to this concept. The Bible never tells us that these gifts and offices have ceased, in fact you have to inject intellectual arguments into the scripture in order to prove your case. Men like John Calvin were guilty of this when he wrote about predestination, and election.

Some of the other doctrines that are not justifiable by scripture are eternal security, predestination, and supersessionism, commonly known as replacement theology.

God has chosen and predestined only one people group to represent Him and that group are the Jews. He gave them all the covenants, including the New Covenant which is Christ, (Jeremiah 32:31-34) He gave them the Ten Commandments and the law, and all the scriptures where written by Jews.

The predestination and chosen passages that John Calvin and others who support a concept of a God who has already chosen people for salvation and damnation is a bizzare concept to me. The presestination passages do not serve as a blanket doctrine for everyone, those concepts were arguing for a predestined and chosen people who would bring the Messiah/Savior into this world for the purpose of providing salvation for all. For God to say He was going to make the decision for his creation on who accepts Christ or who does not, can not fit the image of God who created man with a free will. He allows us the free will to choose Him, and it is not a predestined choice of His. This is where doctrine becomes a stumbling block to our understanding of God’s interaction with His creation.

Now this topic is actually quit exhausting but as you can see these are the types of doctrines I have questioned and for the sake of argument have replaced them in my pursuit of studying the Bible.

I have also rejected all denominational stands on issues that violate the scriptures. Denominations who support gay marriage, abortion, and transgender issues have all become an anathema to me. Those churches and denominations no longer represent the God of the Bible because they are violating what His word tells us about such issues. I am not afraid to say that those that violate His principles are cursed by the very belief’s they adhere to that violate His commandments.

Also the doctrines that dogmatically state the timing of His return are also all subject to violating the scriptures.

Matt 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

We are given signs that will awaken us to the reality of His return, but to dogmatically say when He will return or when Jesus will rapture the church is still a decision that is His alone and we shouldn’t set doctrines in place that say it will happen as we believe it will.  Believing in His return is scriptural but placing conditions on it may be subject to question.

I could go on and on, but let me say that my purpose in writing this blog today is not to say everyone is a heretic who does not believe as I do. What I am saying is that for me, I am going back to the Bible and wrestle with what it says and teaches, and not insert my own interpretation, or the interpretation of what I have learned from others in order to come to a conclusion. If the Holy Spirit resides within us, and we are committed to Jesus as our personal Savior, I believe we will come to the right conclusions in our understanding. I realize that no person has perfect revelation that is why God gave us the church with the gifts of discernment, teaching, and wisdom to help us navigate the issues of keeping the right perspective of God’s Word. The Bible gives us the foundation for all our beliefs and we don’t need to use commentaries by scholarly people to interpret it for us. I am not saying scholarly work is not important, but just because it is scholarly does not make it a perfect revelation.

Here is the bottom line for me:

God wants to be first in our beliefs and not second subjected to our doctrine

God wants to be first in our practice of our beliefs and illustrated by our doctrine

God wants to be first in how we honor Him and He is always above our doctrine

Again, doctrines are meant to help us define the boundaries of scripture as it is taught, and not as it is interpreted by personal bias of the commentators.  Too often doctrines have gotten us off course and that is my point of today’s commentary.

I remember a pastor say years ago say, that before he preached he would read all the commentaries and then preach the opposite. He said that he discovered that so much commentary was in contrast to what the Word of God really taught. So my caution to you is to read the scriptures and then determine from His Word what to believe. Question everything, don’t just accept what you hear, because a lot of what is heard today isn’t of the Lord, it is the wishful thinking of an over active imagination.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Thursday
Aug182016

The Curse of the Divestment Movement

There is a movement among corporations, universities, and Christian denominations where they refuse to buy or invest in the Israeli economy. The movement is known as the “BDS” movement and it is designed to force Israel to give land to the Palestinians. Here is how it works.

BOYCOTTS involve withdrawing support for Israel and Israeli and international companies that are involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as well as complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.

DIVESTMENT campaigns urge banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from all Israeli companies and from international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights.

SANCTIONS campaigns pressure governments to fulfill their legal obligation to hold Israel to account including by ending military trade, free-trade agreements and expelling Israel from international forums such as the UN and FIFA.

Just a few of the denominations who favor this BDS movement

The World Council of Churches – called for a boycott of products

US Mennonite Church

United Church of Canada (UCC)

United Church of Christ –

United Methodist church (USA)

Presbyterian Church

Now the ELCA is the latest denomination to join this movement.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/evangelical-lutheran-church-in-america-becomes-9th-denomination-to-divest-from-israel/219544/

We are also seeing small signs that many colleges and universities are beginning to shift their support from Israel in favor of the Palestinian cause.  Bethel University in October 2012, hosted a "Hope for the Holy Land,” a one-sided, blame-Israel speaking tour featuring Sami Awad, Lynn Hybels, and other long-standing Christian critics of Israel. President Jay Barnes concluded the evening with a passionate appeal to rethink the Evangelical support for Israel.

Support for this movement has a wide range of followers and it doesn’t surprise me when corporations get involved but I am disturbed when I see Christian Denominations and Universities moving away from Israel and toward the Palestinians. This isn’t about two groups fighting over the ownership of the land it is about what the Bible teaches about Israel and His promise of the land. It is also about Israel being blessed or cursed by the nations.  It is clear from Genesis 12:3 that Israel was God’s choice to bring about the revelation of who He is, and to execute His plan to bring all people to salvation. The Jews are responsible for the giving us the Scriptures, the prophets, the law, and the Messiah Christians call Lord and Savior.

So when Christians deny the right of the Jews to be in their land in favor of supporting a Palestinian state, they are in essence in favor of exterminating all Jews in Israel. Palestinians want to exterminate the Jews from the land and they are trying to do so by gaining support for their cause among the group most in favor of Israel, the Evangelical Christians.

According to the Times of Israel, the Palestinian goal is to eliminate Israel.  Marking a notable shift in Palestinian public opinion, 60 percent of the population surveyed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (55% and 68%, respectively) said that the five-year goal “should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea,” according to the poll, a position meaning the elimination of Israel.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals in July of 2014 some Evangelicals are making a shift in their stand with Israel.

They found that Forty percent of U.S. evangelical leaders indicate some change in their thinking about Israel and Palestine over the past 15 years, according to the July Evangelical Leaders Survey. The most common change, mentioned by about a fourth of respondents, is a greater awareness of the struggles faced by the Palestinian people.

Anna Baltzer, a Jewish American national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation described the BDS movement this way.

“To me it’s very symbolic to see that this is not one church, this is not two churches, this is churches of the United States moving on this issue,” Baltzer said. “And in some it might take a few more years, it did for all those who have voted so far, it took many years, but they got there and they will get there and the message is clear that things have changed in this country.”

For me the bottom line is what God says about the land, and about His promises made to Israel.

Genesis 12:3

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Genesis 17:8

The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you: and I will be their God.”

This is yet another sign of our times when we move away from our Biblical heritage to fixate on a cause that undermines the sovereignty of the Jewish nation and fly’s in the face of GOD.

Any Christian leader/denomination who advocates to undermine Israel is subject to the curse of God expressed in Genesis 12:3.  I would find out how your denomination or church sees Israel in light of what you read today. If you find that they side with those who support the BDS movement I would find another place of worship.Who wants to worship under a curse? 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Wednesday
Aug172016

The Blame Game

Blame: assign responsibility for a fault or wrong.

This human characteristic has been happening ever since the beginning of human life as illustrated by Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:12 “The man replied, "It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it."

It is easy to assign blame for when things go wrong. Politicians blame each other for the failure of government, couples blame each other for the failure of a marriage, blacks blame whites for racial disparity, and the poor blame the rich for their poverty. In this blog, I often blame preachers for the lack of character to address the church in a way that prepares them for these last days, which I am convinced we are entering. There is a lot of blame to go around everywhere today, because we don’t want to be personally accountable for anything. If we provide the opportunity for thieves to rob our home because we don’t lock our doors whom should we blame?  To often we are blaming the wrong people for the issues in our day, rather than confronting the lack of responsibility that is displayed.

Racism is a problem that never departed from America in light of the legislation of civil rights that was passed in the 1960’s.  Since then race relations have been tolerated and it went underground for a decade or two as African American communities deteriorated from family imposition, drug addiction, and gang activity. The African American community is not the only community suffering from this family imposition known as fatherlessness, but fatherlessness is a major issue as research has discovered.

1. Poverty

Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.

3. Physical and Emotional Health

A study of 1,977 children age 3 and older living with a residential father or father figure found that children living with married biological parents had significantly fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent.

4. Educational Achievement

Children in grades 7-12 who have lived with at least one biological parent, youth that experienced divorce, separation, or nonunion birth reported lower grade point averages than those who have always lived with both biological parents.

5. Crime

Adolescents living in intact families are less likely to engage in delinquency than their peers living in non-intact families. Compared to peers in intact families, adolescents in single-parent families and stepfamilies were more likely to engage in delinquency. This relationship appeared to be operating through differences in family processes—parental involvement, supervision, monitoring, and parent child closeness—between intact and non-intact families.

6. Sexual Activities and Teen Pregnancy

A study using a sample of 1409 rural southern adolescents (851 females and 558 males) aged 11 – 18 years, investigated the correlation between father absence and self-reported sexual activity. The results revealed that adolescents in father-absence homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers.

Here is something to think about:

Research has told us that one in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent, a percentage that has been on the rise and is higher than other developed countries. Of the 27 industrialized countries studied by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. had 25.8 percent of children being raised by a single parent, compared with an average of 14.9 percent across the other countries.

In the African American community, 72 percent of Black children are raised in a single parent household.

This is not to pick on the African American community, but when you read statistics like this, it is no wonder that the racial tension in America is so high.  The question still remains: "is it right that we blame others in society for the issues that have been created in our own neighborhoods?"  I was raised in a single parented home and I know how the negatlive aspects of this affected my life growing up without a father in the home. However, blaming others for my problems created by the destruction of our family due to divorce was not the answer. I had to take responsibility for my own behavior and make the changes that I needed without blaming people for my lousy situation. I wonder how many of those rioters in Milwaukee were fatherless growing up?  The issues coming out from these Milwaukee riots are not about race it is about authority. This was a situation where a black officer shot another black man as he ran with a weapon, where is the race issue here? The Bible calls this lawlessness, a rebellion against the law and against the authority that is designed to enforce the law. It is one of the characteristics the Bible says will be indicative of the last days. There are no easy answers to the race debate happening now in America, but I think we have to start by addressing the core problem in any society, the destruction of the family. That’s where Black Lives Matter should spend their time. That’s where the Media could be used in effective ways to help people sort out the issues rather than always race baiting people into anger. Society needs to help communities where 72% of the children are growing up without dads and without a stable home. We can blame all day long, but at the end of the day unless the family is restored in health in these communities nothing is going to change. Make the family a top priority and things will change because parents will make a difference again in the lives of their children. This could also affect the amount of government assistance that is needed to sustain the family, and get the churches back into the game of family support in these communities. I know this is a tall order to expect, but the problem stems from the deteroation of the family starting with fatherless homes. It is not the drugs, not the poverty, not the issues that are constantly in the news, because these stories we see are the results of a culture without the godly structure of the family. Gangs are the new family and we see the results of how this new paradigm plays out everyday in our cities. 

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark is an example of the kind of stand that black men need to take as we review the facts about the rhetoric that seems to fill the airwaves from our media about the wrong approach to racism in America. 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/11/sheriff-david-clarke-its-time-to-stand-up-to-black-lives-matter.html

It is easy to blame others for racism when the problem of disparity, poverty, and the lack of life skills learned from the stability of the family structure with both dads and moms in the home. It is the family structure where authority is first taught and respected.  The anger that is seen in these riots is symptomatic of the deeper issues of family imposition where love and respect were never learned from strong family ties and relationships.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

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