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Thursday
Apr072011

What Does Success Look Like?

As a young man I thought success was pastoring a large church, authoring many books, and being considered smart by my peers. I guess that sounds good, and probably it isn't all bad, but I certainly have a different idea of what success is today. I watch a Joyce Meyers clip from the ABC News program Nightline, and was quite impressed with what Joyce was doing around the world.  She does get criticized for her prosperity style ministry with corporate jets, and million dollar homes, but who are we to stand in judgment of how God has blessed her. Some say that her flamboyant lifestyle is her reward now, much like Jesus said about those wanting to be seen by others doing good, have their reward. 

Matthew 6:1-2

Giving to the Needy

 1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

 
2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Even though Joyce Meyers has every right to work hard and reap the fruit of her labor in this life, is it the best way to awaken people to the message of sacrifice?  Christianity at it's core is a message of sacrifice.When you forgive others for things they have done to you, you are sacrificing your right to be mad and get even.  When you give sacrificially to the cause of the gospel, you have sacrificed some creature comfort for yourself for the sake of others. When you deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him, you are sacrificing your dreams, and  ambitions with sacrificing personal achievement for the purpose of making the gospel known in our world.  The Bible is filled with examples of how we are to live our lives in the spirit and manner that Jesus lived His. He didn't live in a penthouse of His day, or ride the best camel , it was said that Jesus didn't even have a place to lay his head. 

Matthew 8:20

 20And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

So success isn't in the things you do, or in the things you have, success is found in the way you honor Him in your life. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," these are the words that will be spoken to those who will not allow this life to set the boundaries on how we will serve and honor Him. 

The successful person places Him first in everything, and then admits it when they fail to do it. 

Joyce Meyers has a place in God's Kingdom, and she is doing what she feels is best. Only God knows her heart and her motives, as is the case with all of us. 

May we always decide to be successful by making Him look good by placing Him first in all that we do.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/nightlinedailyline/2010/04/a-day-spent-with-evangelist-joyce-meyer

Until next time, keep it honest and trustful.....K

Wednesday
Apr062011

Okay, What Am I Going to Complain About Today? 

Good question, I get irritated by three things and I complain about them all the time. 

1. stupidity

2. arrogance

3. hypocrisy 

Stupidity: I complain about this because there doesn't seem to be much common sense anymore. Sometimes even spiritual people are stupid. I know this may not sound too kind, but have you ever encountered teaching that's just plain stupid? We have preachers today telling us that God doesn't know the future, hell no longer exists, and that Israel no longer has any relevance to God's plan. Now that's just plain stupid. How gullible do these preachers think we are?  Sorry, but I have to complain about it. 

Arrogance:  I complain about this because there is only one who knows it all, and it's not one of us. We have preachers telling us there will be a great revival, and that the church will take dominion over the earth and prepare it for the coming of Jesus Christ.  Sorry, once again, this is not what the Bible teaches. I have often wondered if these prophets are only interested in selling books and selling out their conferences. The only dominion that is going to take place on earth will not be accomplished by the Church, it will only happen when the feet of Jesus touch down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The dominion of the earth will be conquered by Him upon His return.  This is what Jesus said would happen:

9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.  10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  13But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

I complain about this because the truth of the matter is, life gets harder for the believer in Christ, not easier. So why aren't these prophets helping people to prepare, and know what the Bible teaches rather than spinning some far flung idea of a better world that we ourselves create?  

Hypocrisy: Lastly, I complain about this because I find myself too often a hypocrite. I say things I don't mean, and I don't do things I say I will do. So, I am guilty.  The number charge against the Church by non-believers is that we are all hypocrites.  Are we?  Most of us would say no, but do we need a reality check?  When priests molest children, ministers are divorcing, having affairs, and engaging in homosexual episodes, what does this say about those who lead the flock?  Christian marriages are as much in trouble as marriages of non-believing families.  Divorce among Christians is equal to that outside of the Church, so we can't boast of any stellar record on family success. 

So what do we have to offer?  How about honesty, and truthfulness?   How about ceasing from being spiritual misfits about our shortcomings, and stop inventing concepts and peddling them to unsuspecting people. Let's face it, we are flawed people, and the only way we will ever keep any civility about our lives is if we surrender to Him. Now surrender doesn't mean going to church, reading the Bible, praying, and stopping all immoral thoughts.  Perhaps all of that may be necessary in your life, but when I say surrender, I mean, lay it all out before Him, and ask Him to take control over it all. (don't forget to surrender your pride, arrogance, and self serving nature too!)  

Personally, I just feel bad about complaining all the time and I think it's time that I surrender it to Him today...don't you?

Until next time....keep it honest and truthful......K

Example of stupidity, arrogance, and hypocisy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mn5VhQNGmo&feature=related

Tuesday
Apr052011

Narrow is Godly?

The internet is buzzing about Rob Bell's new book, "Love Wins" and a young pastor in North Carolina lost his job over the issues raised by Bell.

DURHAM, N.C. -- When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.

The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls.

Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow's Chapel in Henderson.

"I think justice comes and judgment will happen, but I don't think that means an eternity of torment," Holtz said. "But I can understand why people in my church aren't ready to leave that behind. 

Okay, it's too bad Pastor Holtz lost his job, but in my opinion, he is just a little too naive to think Bell has a point. Bell, like so many of his contemporaries in the Emergent Church movement are re-engineeing a Christianity that isn't Biblical. They want a God who can fit into tight little blue jeans and wears t-shirts that supports global warming.  Come on, who cares what Rob Bell thinks. He and his publisher got what they wanted, a whole lot of book sales based upon a stupid idea. Doesn't it occur to anyone that if Bell was right in His spiritual assessment, where is his evidence?  It isn't found in the Bible. Hell, and the broad way is what most people choose, it's not assigned, but chosen and that's what Jesus taught.

Matthew 7:13-14

 13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

When we try to change the message of the gospel in order to appeal to the masses it only dilutes the truth, not enforces it. What Rob Bell thinks  will not happen. His accomplishments will only be a short run like all those before him in history who tried to change the scriptures to support their theories. 

Dr Norm Gesiler speaks to this issue if you're interested in furthering your understanding on how evil penetrates the Church.  http://olivetreeradio.com/OTM2011_04_02A.mp3

 

 

Monday
Apr042011

Is The Kingdom of God a Kingdom Now? 

In a small group of pastors I asked the question, "how do you define the Kingdom of God?'

I was amazed at the response. 

There are Christian teachers who say, that we have been given the authority to set up the Kingdom of God here on earth, and we, 'the Church' will usher in His return by accomplishing this goal.  Once again, we have inserted our own theology into the scriptures.  Jesus gave His followers one mandate prior to His departure, and it's found in:

Matthew 28:18-19

18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Now the authority was given to Him, and His commission to us was to go and make disciples based upon what Jesus taught, and what He did upon the cross.  

The Kingdom of God can be defined as who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and what Jesus will do when He returns. In Luke 17 Jesus was asked about this the Kingdom of God, look how he answered:

 20Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,  21nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Notice, no outward signs, no taking dominion, and no theology that says "we are going to take dominion over the earth" and pave the way for the return of Jesus. 

The only sign will be the presence of Jesus when we gather in His name, notice what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20

 "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

The Kingdom of God is seen in Jesus Christ, and He becomes our kingdom.  Why do we need to invent new theologies to inspire His followers?  Isn't the cross sufficient in it's power to bring His kingdom into our lives by the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God? 

What more do we need?  Prosperity preachers want us to have it all now, claim it all now, and dominion preachers think we can conquer it all now, and prepare the earth for God. Sorry, to be honest, I don't see that in the scriptures.  Our purpose as His followers is to go into the world and make disciples who will give up their lives in following Him. To what purpose do these crazy theologies do to make disciples?  They only get people all hyped up over things Jesus did not commission us to do. 

Dr John Piper has a great word for you on the prosperity message, I think it will challenge you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s

 

Author and radio talk host Brannon Howse looks at Dominion Theology, and it's ramifications in our world today. 

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-radio/episode.php?episodeid=18532

 

Until next time, keep it honest and truthful......K

Friday
Apr012011

Keeping God Away From Areas of My Life

Tennis anyone?

This picture is a reminder of how crazy it is to play with God. Why does anyone think keeping God away from areas of our lives where He could really transform us is of any value?  Much like volleying a tennis ball on the wings of a plane, it just doesn't make sense. In my experience as a believer in Yeshua/Jesus, I have found Christians who say they are followers of Christ, but demonstrate little to no fruit of Him in their lives.  Some of the biggest offenders of this are Christian leaders who teach others about Christ, but either are narcissistic or passive aggressive in their behavior toward others. What part of this verse doesn't make sense to us?

Mark 8

 34And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 

What part of denying my narcissism isn't covered by this verse?  What part of my selfish, self serving nature is not covered by this verse?  Why would Jesus say such a thing anyway?  Doesn't He know I like to be me, and in my world, I am the center of attention, and I always get my way.

Yes, I guess that's why He said it.  He knows what is in all of us, and its not about serving, it's about getting our way and to be served.  That is the nature of mankind, "get what I want and get out" without anything costing me a thing. Well, this is how the world we live in operates, it will not change until Jesus Christ comes back to rule this world.  However, in the meantime, the world may not change, but you can.  You can surrender your life to Christ, and allow Him access to the areas of your life that are self serving, and narcissistic. 

narcissism: excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance.• Psychology extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one's own talents and a craving for admirationas characterizing a personality type.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P7mwNI6QMY&feature=related

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