Archive for the ‘Kingdom & Church’ Category

The Twenty-Two Questions Members of

John Wesley’s Holy Club Asked Themselves

Every Day in Their Private Devotions

More Than 200 Years Ago

 

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

What’s in a Tithe?

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Kingdom & Church

I thought about titling this post ‘To Tithe, or Not To Tithe’, but usually when the topic of ‘Tithe’ comes up it is assumed that you are completely on one side or the other. In this case it couldn’t be further from the truth. I personally lean towards ‘To Tithe’, but find myself close to the middle when discussing its relevance and/or requirement for New Testament believers, for me its more a matter of the heart, then an act of following the law. I’ll let you in on an e-mail conversation, and you can decide who’s right, who’s wrong, or maybe you’ll end up right in the middle with me.

—-TO TITHE—-

In regards to “money,” in over one of every six messages Jesus taught, He refers to finances, wealth or investments. I realize that each person must decide what ended at the cross, what began after the cross, and what came before and through the cross, but the following would require an explanation:
 
Matt 23:23 NASB
 
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
 
Luke 11:42-43 NASB
 
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
 
The tithing was so exact, that it went down to the smallest of herbs in the garden – and Jesus said, “You ‘should have done it’, but with an attitude of justice, mercy and faithfulness.
 
God has always required a physical demonstration of that which is spiritual. Therefore, Paul writes, “…present your bodies…”, not simply present your soul and spirit. Water baptism is a physical acting out of a spiritual decision – whereas, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is also required.
 
—-NOT TO TITHE—-
 
Did Jesus the son of man tithe?
Did His disciples tithe while they were with Him? 
Can a person tithe on money according to The Law?
 
If The Scriptures are silent on these things, then anything you and I come up with is merely speculation.
 
I don’t believe the Lord cares if we tithe a dollar or a million dollars, since it’s only money.  He is always interested in our hearts, and not our hands.  Money comes and money goes, but the things our Father is doing in us and through us are eternal.
 
—————————————————————————————————————————————————-
 
There are probably hundreds of other arguments for and against ‘Tithing’, but, where do you stand?
Here are a handful of questions that may help your decision ‘To Tithe’ or ‘Not to Tithe’.
 
Is your money yours or Gods?
Do you give 10% of your money to fulfill the ‘Law’?
Does God love a cheerful giver?
Do I invest in the ‘Kingdom’?
Am I a better Christian because I tithe?
 
I’ll leave you with part of an e-mail response I gave to the subject:
 
All I have is His (Jesus’), am I required ‘by law’ to give back 10%?  I would say no, but, do I think He rejoices when I do give and give more than the law requires? Yes! Does it make me a better Christian? No! 
 
I have experienced supernatural provision when I have been tithing. God loves a cheerful giver.
I also believe we should be tithers of our time, and giftings. Again ALL we have is HIS and HIS alone!
 
In closing, what is in a tithe? My simple answer would be, a heart for the advancing the Kingdom of God. Notice I didn’t say, a heart for advancing the Gospel of the Church, big difference.
 
Thank-you very much for your time, May God Bless you today!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jesus never told us to build the church,  He said, ” you go preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and I will build My church.”

Do you remember Jesus showing the disciples how to pray?  He said, “Pray then,  this way” 

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. 
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

His Kingdom, and His Will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  We have been called to advance the Kingdom of God on earth and He will build His Church. We are His Church, you don’t go to church, and you don’t have your own church. We need to change our minds (repent) about what we think the church is, and see the Church the way God see’s His Church.  Look in your Bibles, the ‘Kingdom of God’ is mentioned 63 times in the New Testament, and the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is mentioned 31 times in Matthew alone.  Jesus’ central message is the ‘Kingdom of God’ throughout the epistles.   How many times do you think the ‘kingdom of the church’ is mentioned?  UHM, it’s not.  Yet the Western/American church has embraced the ‘Gospel of the Church’, expecting God to advance His Kingdom.  This is completely backwards. The Church needs to be the by-product of advancing the Kingdom, not the other way around.

I believe that the American (Western) church has veered far from a biblical base of truth and light (advancing the Kingdom), into a corporate daycare model of bigger is better, more bodies equals more money, with feel-good non-offensiveness, and the gospel of political correctness. That being said, we need to remember that we are the church, we are His body, and His bride. The church is not a building or Sunday meeting, like most Americans think. So, let us be careful how we toss the word ‘church’ around, and make clear that the critiques of the church are usually, church as an establishment and/or the gospel of the Western (American) Church. Part of advancing the Kingdom is the act of overturning tables in the market place, and I (a son of God) take part in overturning tables, advancing the Kingdom for His Church, against Americas Church. Pray for His church! Love His bride!

Peace, and God Bless!

Just Another Donkey

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Kingdom & Church, Personal

Do you remember the beginning of the Easter story, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey?

In John 12:13  it says a large crowd, “took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 

So here we have a picture of Jesus on the back of a donkey, with many people on both sides of the road laying palm branches down in front of their every step into Jerusalem, and shouting praise,”Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”  Put yourself in the hoofs of the donkey, all you see is a carpet of palm branches, and the crowd praising you.

Do you think the donkey thought it was all for him?

Do you think that the donkey forgot that someone was on his back?

Have you forgotten that you are ‘just another donkey’, bringing Jesus to the lost and blind?

Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s not all about us, not our giftings, not our great Sunday messages, or our revelation of scripture. It is so easy to forget that, especially when God is doing awesome things with and/or thru us.

I pray that today’s blog leaves you encouraged and motivated to give God all the glory that He is due, from one donkey to another! “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”

The question of communion has come up recently in a number of conversations, and recently blogged about here.  Most of what we know about communion comes solely from the practice of it at our local churches. The practice of communion is one of two ordinances/sacraments (most people don’t like the word sacrament, because of its Catholic roots) we are called to practice/observe in the New Testament, the other is baptism. My brother Donald Borsch dives into the discussion focusing on the silence of scripture in these ordinances, noting, “My spiritual father, Jim McNally, taught me that in issues where The Scriptures are silent, I need to be silent”.  Today, I want to dive into the differing thoughts about the communion ELEMENTS (bread, and wine), the four predominate views in the American Churches, and how I personally view/practice communion.

There are four predominant views when it comes to the parts of communion.

The first view is called “transubstantiation” (substance transformed), which states that the substance is transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The traditional Roman Catholic view is that the bread and the wine are supernaturally transformed, by the blessing of a properly ordained priest, into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, and then the elements are distributed. In fact, Martin Luther was upset with the Catholics, because in his day, although the Catholic church distributed the bread to the laity (to the folk), they would not distribute the wine. The wine was considered too important for common people to receive. They all might spill the blood of Jesus, and that would be a really bad thing to do. For this reason, the priests in Martin Luther’s day would drink the wine on behalf of you commoners. You could receive bread, however, because you are not going to do a lot of harm to the bread.

The second view is called “consubstantiation.” This is a traditional Lutheran view of communion. Consubstantiation says that Jesus’ body and his blood are contained in the bread. The bread does not fully transform into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, but the bread and the wine contain the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. That is sort of a middle ground view.

The third view is called the “spiritual” view. This is associated mainly with reformed traditions, with Presbyterian churches. This view says that in a very special way, the spiritual presence of Jesus is with us during communion. In a special way, Jesus is spiritually present with the bread and the wine during the communion ceremony.

The fourth view is the “representative” view. It says that these elements are merely tokens, symbolically representing the body and the blood of Jesus Christ — that there is no supernatural transformation in the form of these. The body and the blood of Jesus Christ are not going to come here with these elements. Jesus was killed, he rose again, and he is seated at the right hand of the Father right now. That is where his body and blood are. They are not here physically with us. They also do not believe that Jesus is more spiritually present in the elements during communion than He is with you and me at any other time during the week. Being filled with the Holy Spirit of God, you are always in the presence of God. Jesus is not spiritually in our presence more during communion than he is at any other time of the week.

Whatever you believe about the elements, scripture has made it clear that we are to ‘do this in remembrance of Him‘. As my friend Frank would say,”Communion is all about PROCLAIMING his death, his blood poured out”.

Luke 22:19-20
..And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”And in the same way, He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

In Luke, we are given this picture of the Last Supper, it’s in this picture that we see clearly how to take communion, and the represented elements. Notice that it is a full meal that they take part in, and the communion starts at the beginning of the meal with the breaking of bread, and ends at the end of the meal with the wine. When is the last time you have had a communion dinner like this? For most, probably never. Granted this would be difficult to do in a church service, considering time and the number of people in the service. So, I suggest doing it at your home, with close friends, or alone with your wife. In most denominations it is forbidden to take communion outside the church walls, or without a Pastor or Priest distributing the elements. I cannot find this in scripture, and you will not find it either. I encourage all christians to take communion regularly, it is the only ordinance in the NT that we are commanded to do that is not a one and done sacrament (i.e. baptism).

As for my view on the elements, I fall right in between the third and fourth view. So, I guess I have a spiritual-representative view on the elements of communion. The best thing about not being part of a denomination, is not being handcuffed to their theology.

What is your view?

In light of the car I saw parked outside the grocery store a couple of months ago warning me of the impending ‘Judgement Day, May 21st 2011’, and the fact that when I googled it, I read:

….May 11th–Rapture

….May 21st–Judgment Day

….October 21st–END OF THE WORLD

I decided to write my blog one day early, just in case I was to be raptured.  As I searched some of the sites today, I noticed that they have removed the May11th date and have combined it with May 21st. So I don’t have to worry about not being here tomorrow, according to Harold Camping and Family Radio.

Which leads me to the question, “How many times has there been Judgement Day prophesies?”. Thanks to Google I have done some of the foot-work for you and compiled a short list of failed ‘Judement Day Prophesies”.

…Micheal Baxter, an early 20th century prophesy teacher, pinpointed the date on March 12, 1903 between 2:30 and 3:00 am. I just wonder if he was able to keep his teaching job.

…Jehovah’s Witnesses, they got smart and just announced a year, 1914. Then another year, 1925, and another, 1975. Three strikes and your out-of-there, I guess they just gave up.

…Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, in 1978 he proclaimed that the rapture was coming in May 1981. I think he learned from the JW’s not to pick an exact date, but did narrow it down to a month.

Edgar Whisenant, NASA rocket engineer turned prophesy teacher, predicted Jesus return between September 11th to September 13th 1988, then on the 14th of September updated it to October 3rd of the same year. He also wrote a book entitled ’88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988′. I wonder if he was a better rocket engineer.

…Hal Lindsey, prophesy expert (uhm?), like Whisenant prophesied the return of Christ in 1988, maybe he read Whisenant’s book.

Lee Jang Rim, a Korean preacher announced the rapture to come on October 28th, 1992. Subsequentally he was sent to jail, and sadly many of his followers committed suicide.

…Benny Hinn, Florida Assemblies of God preacher predicted the rapture for 1993. Well he also said that God would destroy all homosexuals in America by 1994 or 1995 at the very least.

Harold Camping, civil engineer turned radio broadcaster, stirred up the world when he calculated ‘Judgement Day’ to be September 6th 1994 (oops), and now says that it is on May 21st. Everyone before him, including himself, have been 100% dead wrong.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” —2nd Peter 2:1

A CALL TO BE ON YOUR GUARD

ACTS 20:29-31

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

31 So be on your guard (“Therefore be on alert” NAS)

The apostle Paul clearly states that from among our own, men will distort the truth.

McLaren, Emerging Church, offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He, McLaren, contends that people can follow Jesus’s way without becoming Christian, and argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just “Kingdom of God” on earth than about getting into heaven, and said that followers of Jesus might not be the only ones to gain salvation.

(quotes from Washington Post)

 

Jesus says  John 14:6-7

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Matthew 7:15-16

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

Acts 20:28

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Each believer has the responsibility to strengthen other believers. This is especially true of those who shepherd the flock. Jesus died for the church. Christians must live to strengthen it.

FINAL THOUGHT

 Acts 20:13-38 is the apostle Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders. We are not all pastors, or local church leaders or elders, but those of us who are adults in Christ, we are the shepherds of our families and friends. We cannot abdicate our responsibilities to study the word of God, and to know Jesus intimately. “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32 NAS) 

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength. Proverb 24:3-5

 

SONSHIP IS DANGEROUS

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Kingdom & Church
SONSHIP IS DANGEROUS 

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Set God- sized goals.

Pursue God-ordained passions.

Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.

Keep asking questions.

Keep seeking God.

Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.

Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.

Expand your horizons.

Accumulate experiences.

Enjoy the journey.

Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.

Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges.

Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating.

Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks.

Don’t try to be who you’re not.

Be yourself.

Laugh at yourself.

Quit holding out.

Quit holding back.

Quit running away.

And remember: If God is for us, who can be against us?

-Mark Batterson from his book, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Let’s start with the fact that I don’t know much about Mark Batterson, and I have not read his book. I saw this excerpt in a magazine and liked it so much that I’ve framed it and given it to close friends as gifts. I thought it would inspire you, I know it inspires me, and leads me into my topic today. Sonship is dangerous!

Jesus never promised us temporary safety, and He is not a safe man to follow in this world! In John 16:33 Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world. It’s safe to say that it’s not safe to follow a man who orchestrated His own death. God calls His children to take serious and deliberate risks toward danger, for the sake of the gospel (Matt 28:19). In Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus says,  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

Hebrews 2:14-15……14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Luke 12:4-5……4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him”. 

Now, knowing that Jesus has removed eternal risk, and by removing eternal risk removes the fear of death for us believing, I challenge you again (and myself) to:Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God- sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. And remember: If God is for us, who can be against us? GOD IS FOR US!

 

 

 

 

A better way to phrase the question is,”Is God pro-choice?”. 

Let me start this by explaining who I am not speaking to, as to narrow down the amount of hate mail I will receive:

1.)……if you are not a Christian (one who claims to have his/her faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), this is directed to people who call themselves Christians, and are subject to Kingdom law. Unfortunately, our society has made it legal for women to have the ‘CHOICE’ to murder innocence. I do not agree with the law of the land, but this blog is directed to those under Gods law, we are held to a higher standard.

2.)……if you are a Christian and have had an abortion, and you are pro-life.  Abortion is a sin, like my sin,  it has no value attached to it. Jesus died for our sins, past, present, and future. This message is for those who claim to be in the Kingdom and advocate for a woman’s right to choose murder. Yes, murder.

Abortion in the Kingdom???? Is God pro-choice????

ABSOLUTELY, NO and NO, I scream at the top of my keyboard! There are plenty of things in scripture that we can differ on interpretation, like end times, or Calvinism vs. Arminianism. There is no grey area of interpretation on the subject of abortion. As a Kingdom son, I will no longer sit in the pews and let Christian Liberals and/or anybody else in the Kingdom continue to advocate a woman’s right to choose, on the matter of abortion!  You can not have your cake and eat it to, this is exactly what Christian Liberals want. They want the comfort of a loving God, and the plan of eternal life with Him, but they don’t want to obey Him, and call sin what He calls sin. We do not have to like what God calls sin, but as son’s and daughter’s, we do need to ‘turn’ (repent) and see it His way.  To say you can be a pro-choice christian, is like saying I’m a meat-eating vegetarian. There is no such thing and you cannot have it both ways.  

 How do I know God see’s abortion as sin?

It’s easy math, first, ‘does God know us before we were born?’ (Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you).  Second, ‘what does God say about murder?’ (Exodus 20, remember the 10 commandments, “You shall not murder“). In conclusion if we are alive before we were born, and God commands us not to murder, this is clear, we in and of the Kingdom are called to stand together against abortion (like any other sin). In the Kingdom of God you have no choice on this matter, a woman does not have the right to choose murder.

I will leave you with this, something to think about if you still think that it’s okay to be a pro-choice christian. It comes from Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven“. Just because you say Lord, Lord, this does not make you a citizen in the Kingdom.

Love (in a nut shell)

Posted: April 6, 2011 in Kingdom & Church

 

If I started with what love actually is, it wouldn’t be as much fun as telling you what love is not.

Love is not a feeling, it’s not those butterflies in your stomach when you got your first kiss. Love shouldn’t change, like the seasons coming and going, and tossed about in the wind.  Love is not pixie fairies and unicorns, or your favorite NFL team or favorite entrée. Love does not envy, it does not boast, and is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil.

Love is hard work! …it’s hard work, if you don’t have to work everyday to love then it’s not love. Yes, sometimes it is mushy-gushy, sometimes it is easier (but isn’t that true in all aspects of life). 1John 4:8 says,”God is Love“. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but, if you don’t know God, you don’t know love. God is love, you can only know and experience love when you know Him, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

What is love without God? I can’t answer that question without telling you what Gods love is, it can be summed up in John 3:16,”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” So if Gods love is selfless, then any love apart from God would be the opposite, selfish love.

 What is selfish love? Selfish love looks for a benefit for itself. This kind of love is not Gods love, but a paganistic love. In selfish love, the most important thing is “you” and satisfying your own self. In Godly love, the most important thing is the object of your love. Example, if I say I love beef stroganoff (and my wife makes the best), I’m really saying it’s my favorite, because I’m not willing to lay my life down for a plate of food. On the other hand on a more serious note, when a man says he doesn’t feel in love with his wife anymore and wants a divorce, he is essentially treating her like that plate of food, she’s not his favorite anymore, and vice versa. The biggest problem with the term ‘selfish love’ is that it’s an oxymoron, like military intelligence, all natural artificial flavor, adult male, and jumbo shrimp. So lets just drop the love and call it what it really is ‘SELFISH’.