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Tuesday
Apr192011

Why Is Grace So Hard To Accept?

To some of you this may not be an issue, but too many of us are not gracious receivers. In other words, we don't like compliments, are surprised when people really appreciate what we do, or it is hard for us to talk about ourselves.  I believe receiving Gods grace falls under this same category, "it is hard for us to accept."

God's grace is based upon His relationship with us, in fact, Jesus told us that everything God ever revealed to human kind was based upon relationship.

Matthew 22:38-40

38This is the great and first commandment.  39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

These two commandments are the foundation for all the Law and the prophets.   God's grace is a relationship too, it's based upon what God wants from us, to love Him, and to love others.  How's that for theology?  Our great institutions of higher learning can't get much better than that, Jesus narrowed the study of God (theology) down to two simple statements. 

Grace is one statement. God loves, so He gives us Grace. It doesn't really matter whether or not we receive or accept well, what matters is what God does.  God does grace. We don't deserve it, we can't earn it, we can't store it, we can't inherit it, it is a free gift every day from God.  Ancient Israel under the leadership of Moses during the Exodus story in the Bible, was feed every day a supernatural food known as 'Manna."  God provided it every morning as a provision for each day. Today God provides a daily "manna" portion of grace so that our lives can be enriched by knowing God is watching over us, gracefully. 

I thank God for His rich gift of grace. If there is one thing you need to understand about the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is this: "It is based upon God's grace!"  Dr John Macarthur in a short video clip explains it best.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZuVt7qWO80

In this season of remembrance of what Jesus did for you and for me, it's all about God's grace..

Now that's keeping it honest and truthful.....K

 

 

Monday
Apr182011

Okay, It's Grace, and More Grace

In about a month's worth of blogging, I realize how one sided I have become. Have you ever noticed that about yourself?  You like one kind of food, and that's what you always order when you are out.  I have a friend for example that loves bacon cheese burgers, so it's a sure bet if it's on the menu, he'll have one. 

Well, my blog was one sided too. I realize that, and it was intentionally written that way. Why? 

Well because the church is neglecting a part of God that the Bible teaches will become a reality some day, and no one is preparing people for it.  Yes, I am speaking about judgement. Judgement is not an easy subject because most people want grace, and I guess if it was me, I would want grace too.  However, if you reject grace, guess what, you get more grace, because God loves you, but at some point the day of grace will cease, and then comes the judgment... 

But this week, I am going the second mile with you, I am going to talk about grace. Andy Stanley wrote a great book called, The Grace of God, and I recommend it for those of you who feel unloved and graceless.

Here is a quote from the book, "Grace acknowledges the full implication of sin and yet does not condemn."

Grace is not earned, it is just given.  I think that's why this theme of grace is so popular, it's a wonderful gift, and God is the only one who really can give it. His grace is best experienced at Easter because of the willingness of the sacrifice of Jesus.  Just think of it. The most powerful person who ever lived, who could have called legions of angels to defend Him, willingly surrendered Himself so that God's grace of forgiveness could be freely experienced by all human kind.

Grace and more grace is God's provision for you and for me. Personally, I am in consistent need of more grace because of the way I keep messing up. But the fact of the matter is, the more I mess up, the more He extends grace. I don't deserve it, and neither do you, but He is willing to grant it to us anyway. 

I am a person who wants to walk in grace, how about you?  Give people the benefit of the doubt and make them more important than yourself.   That is exactly what God did when Jesus hung on the cross, He put you before His Son, because there is victory in sacrifice, and sacrifice is an act of grace.

Andy Stanley's book is called The Grace of God. www.thomasnelson.com but better yet get to know the author and why he wrote such a book.  You will also discover that Andy Stanley believers that you can be a PC user and probably still get to heaven....(yes he is a Mac lover...smart guy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2QCUf4DMKQ

Keep it honest and truthful....K

 

Friday
Apr152011

So What's Playing on Broadway?

Who knows, but it is fun when you are in New York to see a Broadway play.  It is interesting that a name that is associated in scripture with destruction is used in our day to represent the artful community. Jesus in fact said that people who have no restraints, no regard for moral integrity, will be people who choose a broad worldview. In fact, I find it interesting that our culture celebrates diversity, openness, tolerance, and the broader the worldview, the more accepted you are. However, the greatest teacher that ever lived taught something completely different. If Jesus were around on earth today saying these things, He would be considered intolerant, and bigoted. Here is what He said.

Matthew 7:12-14

The Golden Rule

12“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

 
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.

Keep in mind, His reference is not to hate people who are different than you, the "golden rule" is to respect them as people, love them as God loves them, but don't do as they do or condone what they practice. 

The focus of finding the meaning and purpose of life, is not in the worldview that is tolerant in accepting the anything goes mode, but it's found in a very narrow focus that concentrates on the purpose of creation. God's purpose for human beings is to build relationship with Him, and live with Him forever. 

Jesus knowing human nature pinpointed how the majority of people will react to living out a more narrow worldview. Most will always take the course of the least resistance, yet taking the easy way out will never bring much satisfaction, in fact, Jesus said it brings destruction. So, if I follow that to it's logical conclusion, the broadway of life brings me to a nasty end. Well.....isn't that what He said?  Destruction is a nasty end. I bring this to your attention because the church is following the same kind of thinking. We are too narrow, too restricted, to old fashioned, too old school to be of much good to a modern culture whose world view accepts everything.

Does it matter to God about our worldview that determines the boundaries for moral, spiritual and ethical behavior? It should, if we are a representation of God in our world.  However, if the representation put forth by the church is more about ourselves than it is about God, then I guess we have chosen with the world to do the broad way.  But if the church represents God, our worldview will be narrow, and the course we take will be hard. And because of that narrow plan, it will not be popular.  Okay, now I did it, I exposed a foundation of many ministries today. Popular defined means,  more people, more money, more tolerant, more acceptance, and the preacher keeps his job, yes, I get it.

In my opinion, the church has compromised it's voice, it's practice and it's theology all to be accepted by our culture. The church has finally made it, it's playing "Broadway."  Congratulations....and in the end, where will it take us?  The Church has it's 15 minutes of fame, and the expense of an eternity lost for so many who will not hear the truth about the narrowest way on earth. "I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man can come to the Father but by Me."  

Yes, I know what you are thinking, I am so narrow minded..yes I am! Until next time, I willl remain honest and truthful...K

p.s. Here is some video to ponder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGSQjtWTpaw&feature=related 

Thursday
Apr142011

Have You Seen The News Today?

Our government is broke, Donald Trump is planning to run for President, and air traffic controllers are falling asleep on the job.  Everyday I get up and read the news, but I don't know why, I really don't get energized by it.  I suppose its my curiosity about knowing whats happening in the world.  However, the more I read or watch the news, the more I realize how unaware we really are about the world. We have more technology to report the news faster to us, more news programs to interpret the news, and you can find more news stories from anywhere in the world on the internet. So why do I say we are more unaware than ever before?

Its because God says we are unaware.  You can get all the facts, and information you want, but without the right information, you're still unaware. Here's my point from Matthew 24:37-39 

 37As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,  39and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

The last days will be days of travel, and education will increase according to the prophecy in Daniel, but the population at large is still unaware of the pending dangers that loom in their world. 

Notice that those in Noah's day were so pre-occupied with life that they were clueless as to what was about to happen to their normal existence here on earth.  Well, why did Jesus compare His coming to the days of Noah?  Simple, we are still unaware humans.  What's even worse, most preachers in the church today won't even talk about Biblical prophecy because it's too controversial.  Too many opinions about it, and it scares people.  How's that for rationale?  We have sirens to warn us about tornados, but no one in the church is warning about the pending dangers the Bible predicted would happen? Almost 1/3 of the Bible is prophecy, and yet you don't hear any messages about it?  Come on....doesn't that seem just a bit strange to you?  Why not ask your preacher about this? I would be interested in knowing what he has to say.

Now, why am I picking on preachers again? Because the news reminded me about preachers. They are like the government spiritually bankrupt, they are like Donald Trump more about entertainment than substance, and they are like air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job.  

I think its time we had  another "reformation" this time taking the church back from those who are bankrupt, entertaining, and asleep. (that would include preachers who tell us there is no hell, and God does not know the future)

Lets see, my tag line once again is what?  Keeping it honest and truthful. (just testing you to see if you are staying awake) 

K

Wednesday
Apr132011

The Dark Little Secrets

Have you ever discovered something that for the longest time you were clueless on?  When you discover that there is either another side to the story, or you get the real details about the incident, you not only feel relieved, but justified in knowing the whole truth.  I don't think any of us likes knowing just a part of the story, we like to be informed from the beginning to the end.  Sometimes, we don't get the whole truth, because of the dark little secrets that are held back.  The part of any story where someone may be implicated or exposed, that is the part gets excluded.  I believe there is a story line in scripture that is not being told. Is the God of the Bible being properly represented by today's pulpits?  Is God only about love and mercy, or is there another side of this God the church is afraid to defend or expose.  It the God of the Bible a warrior, and has He  changed since the days of the old Testament?  Yes the Bible describes Him as a warrior and no He has not changed since the O.T.

 

Isaiah 42:13

 13The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.

Revelation 19:11 and 15

 11Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.   15From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

 

Revelation of John 6:16

16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb

 

I think this verse in the Book of Revelation is interesting; "wrath of the Lamb" gosh that is an oxymoron. However, I find it exceedingly interesting that this aspect of God is not talked about ever in the Church. It's as if this side of God is missing.  Doesn't that disturb you?  Congregations across the land are getting only half the story, and even if the story they hear is a good story, it only half the story. Just a little honesty here!  Where is the clarity on who God really is?    We hear about His servanthood, His laying down His for us, and His everlasting love that He has poured out upon all mankind. Yes and amen on all of this, but is there more to who He is?  

The dark little secret is He is also a God of justice and righteousness. Why is this so distasteful in todays culture?  We love when the hero's in our movies kick butt, and kill the bad guys.  I have been in the movie theater when the crowd cheers when bad guys get mulched.  But when it comes to God, we need Him to be this loving, caring, easy going God, who won't hurt a flea. Well, got news for you. Look at the verse above, the same Lamb of God whose death on the cross brought salvation to the world is the same lamb of God who is running the destruction in the Book of Revelation.  Stop denying that God is both Savior and Judge, because one day you will stand before Him either as one who will receive your reward for serving him, or your punishment for rejecting Him. Your choice....

How will God judge us? John Piper has a four minute clip that you might want to watch. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWzH1vdo1pI

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