Theology, Themes, Genres, Chaisms, Parallels, Author, Audience, Context
I have spent the last couple of days in lectures, learning to become a better preacher and teacher of God’s word (I have a long way to go). And this session has been part of a three month journey covering additional areas of biblical study and ministry. It will span five more months.
Two things have become very apparent.
- Image being extremely thirsty. You are looking everywhere for water and your only alternative is the fire hydrant on the street. As you go to get a drink, someone cracks it wide open. How much would even get in your mouth? That’s how much information we have been taking in. It is a blessing beyond all belief and the content is life-changing, but getting it all in my little brain has been a challenge to say the least!
- I can get so caught up in all the teaching, all the information and all the preparation that I lose sight. I can begin preparing my next sermon with my notes on the right outline, right content and right delivery but forget.
Without the Holy Spirit leading and guiding my preparation, it won’t affect a single person. With the Holy Spirit opening my mind to the Word of God, it will never make any sense to me, nevertheless to the people I am attempting to teach.
But this doesn’t just pertain to me studying in this program. It goes for all of us at work, at home, and in every other area of our lives. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we will end up doing the same things in the the same ways the rest of the world does them.
WHAT’S THE POINT OF THAT?
The answer is…….THERE IS NO POINT!
We have been created to image and glorify God. The only way that can be accomplished will be by asking God to send the Spirit down on us. Maybe by this point you are wondering when you should ask that question.
- Before you start your day
- Before you get to work
- Before you walk into your bosses office for a “talk”
- Before you head out to a business meeting
- Before you make a phone call
- Before you discipline your children
- Before you disagree with your spouse
- Before you eat
- Before you go to sleep
You see a pattern here?
BEFORE YOU DO EVERYTHING ASK FOR A FRESH FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!
“God I pray now that as I send this blog post out, I pray that these words are your words laid on my heart for your people. I pray that this blog blesses someone in a new way. I pray that you would be made known to someone new. Father I pray that my life would always be a testimony of the love and grace you have given to me through the cross of Jesus Christ.”
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
I had a discussion the other day with another pastor and a young guy over the topic of alcohol (now let me preface this by saying that I believe the Bible allows for the Christian to drink on occasion. The Bible does not call moderate consumption of alcohol a sin). The conversation was much more about what we should and should not do as Christians versus clear sin or not sin.
The Bible says that in this life, we will never be perfect. Our sanctification is a process in which every single day (hopefully) we are made more righteous by the Holy Spirit by the loving grace of God (2 Cor 3:18). While we hold onto that truth as hope for transformation from our sinful ways, there are things we just can’t perfect in this life.
So why in the world would you continue to partake in things that are “borderline” which you can control?
I have many times told people (and God) that I want my life to be all about Jesus. LOVE JESUS, SERVE JESUS. In my heart that means that I am willing to give up everything for His glory. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for the One that did everything for me. There are many things in this world that are allowable but not good for me as a follower of Jesus so I just won’t do them. When I said yes to Jesus, my rights became His. Now even more so as a pastor I need to live in such a way that glorifies Jesus. Even when that means I don’t do something that is allowable.
A case can be made for many things which are allowable but not good. Things like drinking, smoking, and watching certain movies or television programs. What do you think? Am I going too far? Could we pick apart our entire lives determining what’s good and what’s not? Maybe that’s exactly what Jesus wants!
For just over one year, what started out as a few families praying has brought about the opportunity to plant a new church in Claremont, California.
We have struggled through many things to this point and I am certain that there will be many more ahead. But knowing that this is what God has called each of us to, we are ready to do whatever is takes to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ in Claremont.
Claremont is a great little city (population approx 40,000). The residents are diverse, with a variety of people of all shapes, sizes and colors. Faith is diverse as well, with multiple Christian, Quaker, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic churches/worship centers (and a Church of Scientology). Overall, the vibe is fairly liberal and this is evident in the Claremont School of Theology’s recent addition of a “Master’s in Muslim Leadership Degree” (the first of it’s kind in the United States). The arts are also well represented, ranging from music to dance to theater. There are great families spread throughout the city and kids from all over flock to Claremont for their well-regarded Claremont Colleges.
By the grace of God, we pray that we are a light for Jesus to the people of Claremont. We want to share the Gospel in truth and love.
I ask that you come along side us in prayer that God would be glorified and that many would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
It is all For His Glory!!!!
You can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ForHisGloryClaremont
Here is something that I can’t seem to wrap my head around….
Major companies like Google, Oreo, Starbucks, and Home Depot have come out in support of gay marriage. While I do not agree with gay marriage, I do believe that these companies have the right to exercise their support of certain groups or personal beliefs and are not necessarily “God-haters” (though some may be). I continue to shop at these places when I need certain products (who can resist an Oreo or Gmail) and will not protest them based on their actions.
So in comes Chick-Fil-A (article here). They decide to stand up in support of their own Biblical values. Now they are being protested by the LGBT community for their stance. One man makes a comment that their chicken nuggets are “filled with hate”. I mean really?? They are not posting signs on their doors rejecting homosexual clients. Why is it some want tolerance for all while being intolerant of some? If you call for tolerance of all, that includes sexuality AND religion even when you don’t agree.
And before you put me in the “hater box” (if you have read this far), I believe this is a wake up call for the Christian as well.
You shouldn’t be supporting companies like Chick-Fil-A because they are against homosexuality. You should be supporting them because they are speaking truth for Jesus Christ.
There are some things in life that just aren’t negotiable. If you live and work in the United States, you must pay taxes. It is not a negotiable thing. Taxes are based upon what the law says. Certain parts of the tax law pertain to everyone while other parts are left to interpretation. Now people will find ways around paying their taxes or just simply avoid paying their taxes but sooner or later it will catch up.
In many ways Christianity is the same. There are specific commands and references in the Bible, if you are to consider yourself a God-loving Christian, that are not negotiable. They include such statements like Mark 12:30-31 where Jesus says “And he said to him, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” or Romans 10:9 where Paul says “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.
There are other things in the Bible which I believe God has left to our own interpretation. In doing so, God has said that those things are for our own personal exhortation and conviction and not to cause division. These include things like election versus free will, the time of the rapture, and even the consumption of alcohol.
So what’s my point? Two things.
- There are certain things that you have no option to lend your own opinion to. God has made it clear that when it comes to areas such as who He is as part of the trinity and how you inherit salvation, there are NO OPTIONS. Quit trying to tweak God’s word for your personal interests.
- There are certain things that you need to settle down about. It is great to constantly challenge our heart and intellect in studying scripture, but if it doesn’t keep someone from understanding who God is and how someone is saved think twice before challenging others. As Christians, we end up causing more damage to each other than the world could ever do.
Not sure what to think of certain areas of scripture?
- Pray and ask God for wisdom
- Read your Bible yourself instead of solely relying on others to tell you what it says
- Seek advice from well leaders
- Pray and ask God for wisdom
- Pray and ask God for wisdom
- Oh, and pray and ask God for wisdom!
It’s not really what you think:). This blog post isn’t about bad breath but rather the fire that we have the ability to breath. In the Book of James, Chapter 3 it talks all about taming our tongue due to it’s powerful nature. Let me share a couple verses with you.
James 3:5b-6 says “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
That’s pretty powerful stuff. A spark from a tiny match can burn thousands of acres. In the same regard, one word can turn someone to eternal damnation.
Recently a series of events happened due to something that I said. Now, nothing I said was at all negative or an attack on others. It didn’t challenge anyone or anything. But it still ended up causing a stir and hurt. It made me realize that I need to always consider what I say and to who I address things as to be as sure as possible that no harm can be done. Especially as Christians, we say things at times (discussion of sin, Bible truth) that do not make sense to or may even offend non-believers. Now I am not suggesting that we don’t speak the truth. But if our call from Jesus is to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19), then we need to make sure we aren’t pushing people away. That means we must hold back when we aren’t sure what the outcome may be. We must always lean on the side of love. I believe that in doing so, God will handle the rest!