Heart Issue

Posted: April 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Let’s be real about this.  Your problem with being consistent, willingness to give toward the cause of Christ, ability to spare time to serve, and willingness to go make disciples is not because it is dangerous. It’s a heart issue!  Your tithing to your local church, giving to global evangelism, supporting the gospel with everything you have…. will not happen until you clear something up in your heart.  Not going, not being willing to reach out to homeless, not trying to have the ability to understand the ins/outs of people overcoming addiction, not taking refuge in Jesus in a dark area, and not becoming a full time missionary to another country are not because it doesn’t fit your life.  This is a heart problem!  Your mind tells you if you go to Mexico then you will be kidnapped, held for money, and then decapitated by a drug cartel.  Your mind and  logic tell you there isn’t enough money in the bank to give to the church, a missionary, or global evangelism.  You don’t understand other languages and the likelihood of going to another country would be profitable seems small to you.  You don’t give of your time because the rest of your week you work.  You deserve time off after working, a vacation this summer, a 401k, and retirement on a beach, or mountain somewhere.  This is a heart problem!

Why is it a lifestyle for you?  This is the question of the hour!  In Acts 2 we see the Holy Spirit come upon those in the upper room.  Peter preaches a message which is bold and strong.  Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”   Peter’s answer is in verse 38 ““Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

I find this amazing.  The people were CUT TO THE HEART.  This was not just a thought process.  This was not just an emotional response to a message.  This was Titus 3 at work!  We can see the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  He saved them, not because of works done by them in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out on them richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by His grace they might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

When this being CUT TO THE HEART happened all the people were changed.  They were changed so much that the very next part of Acts shows reflection of change.  Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Being CUT TO THE HEART led to repentance which in turn led to being DEVOTED to the apostle’s teaching.  This reminds me of Ephesians 2 where the people of Ephesus are told they WERE dead in trespasses and sin BUT God being rich in mercy made them alive.  Our memory verse from when we were a kid (if we grew up in the south, in a church) was Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

I think this picture is clearly painted.  Should you need to see more then Acts 4 talks about Peter and John healing a lame man.   Peter and John are brought before the council (the same Jewish council which would have put Jesus to death.) They are let go and go back to the people of the church and pray.  Acts 4:23-31 tells about them praying for boldness to preach the message through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 4:32-37 says once again that the gospel was changing lives, hearts, and the way people served.  All the sudden the thing of heightened priority was supporting the mission.  All of a sudden people who understood the gospel are changed forever to serve.  People are giving back, sharing with one another, and living life together.  Nothing can cut to the heart of someone to produce something, of that nature, but the truth of the gospel.

Let’s be real about this.  Your problem with being consistent, willingness to give toward the cause of Christ, ability to spare time to serve, and willingness to go make disciples is not because it is dangerous. It’s a heart issue!  Your tithing to your local church, giving to global evangelism, supporting the gospel with everything you have…. will not happen until you clear something up in your heart.  Not going, not being willing to reach out to homeless, not trying to have the ability to understand the ins/outs of people overcoming addiction, not taking refuge in Jesus in a dark area, and not becoming a full time missionary to another country are not because it doesn’t fit your life.  This is a heart problem!  Your mind tells you if you go to Mexico then you will be kidnapped, held for money, and then decapitated by a drug cartel.  Your mind and  logic tell you there isn’t enough money in the bank to give to the church, a missionary, or global evangelism.  You don’t understand other languages and the likelihood of going to another country would be profitable seems small to you.  You don’t give of your time because the rest of your week you work.  You deserve time off after working, a vacation this summer, a 401k, and retirement on a beach, or mountain somewhere.  This is a heart problem!

These heart problems can be taken care of by repenting of your sin and following after Jesus!  There is nothing else which will give you true community!  There is nothing else which gives you a reason to live your life in fullness!  There is nothing else which will cause you to quit thinking about your life in selfishness!  Nothing besides repenting and believing will cause a change from the sin nature of wanting “The American Dream!”  Without repenting and a “CUT TO THE HEART,” then you will continue seeing the job you have, the money you make, and time you have outside of work as yours!  Without being CUT TO THE HEART you will continue letting fear, hesitancy, and ignorance rule your life!  Missions may not be safe…. but since when is it safer than the wrath of God?  It seems that there is only one thing which will CUT YOU TO THE HEART.  JESUS.  When will you follow him?  When will you quit believing the lies of the bible belt?  Just repeating a magical prayer, crying alot, and knowing who Jesus is doesn’t make you a follower of the Most High God.  It’s time to confess your sin to God in true remorse because you have wronged Him.  It is time to realize that true faith won’t be alone.  Once a person submits to the King above all Kings then worship begins.  The repentance and faith to a Holy God leads to worshipping the Lord.  The worship of the Lord leads to community to those who are truly following after the Lord.  You are able to share life, food, prayer, hardships, joys, and the Lord’s goodness together.  When people realize their Mighty King Jesus is on His throne ruling then they bow down and will continue to learn how to bow down. Let’s have koinonia together.  Trust the Lord and share life. Run the race! Your life is not your own…it is bought at a price! Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!!!!!!

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World Evangelism

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Evangelism”  some have heard the word but have no clue what it means.  Some people have never heard of the word.  This is the focus for today’s blog.  I feel everyone should know the term and how it effects them.  For those people who know what evangelism is, they should keep reminding themselves about it.  Let’s jump right on in!

Evangelism is defined by Carm as, “The announcement, proclamation, and/or preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), the good news of and about Jesus Christ. Therefore, the gospel is a communicated message—communicated in verbal (Luke 7:22; Romans 10:14-17) and/or written (Luke 1:1-4) form.”

What does Evangelism have to do with us?  The greek word which evangelism derives from is εὐαγγέλιον, from εὐάγγελος (euangelos, “bringing good news”), from εὖ (eu, “good”) + ἄγγελος (angelos, “messenger”).  Either someone should be telling you the good news or if you are a believer then you should be proclaiming the good news.  Good news?  The good news referred to here is the Gospel.  R. C. Sproul explains the gospel HERE.  R. C. Sproul tells us, “There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel.”  Everyone born on this earth is born into bondage to sin.  The Gospel is the good news of Jesus, His life, what He did, and what He is currently doing to set us free from that bondage.

If Jesus is the gospel then how should we be sharing the gospel?  We can’t physically go back to the day when he died.  We won’t find his bones in the tomb because He is alive.  Our words, in and of themselves, do not change anything.  This story of Jesus in it’s fullness must spoken of with faith that the Lord will do everything He said He would.  The same Holy Spirit which beckoned me to faith in Christ also calls me to preach the gospel.  This Holy Spirit will call people to forsake themselves and follow after Christ through faith. This applies to you as well.  How do people hear about the good news if we don’t say anything?  Evangelism isn’t changing hearts, making people follow rules, or making people follow a culture.  Evangelism and the gospel are well beyond just the culture we live in.  This message we are proclaiming is for all nations, tongues, tribes, races, gender, ethnicity and creed.  Everyone is born into the bondage of sin so they must be saved.  You can proclaim the gospel in the American church or you could be overseas in another country.  You could be in a nonreligious society, where they have never heard of Jesus, or in a very religious Hindu state with many gods.  The method of proclaiming the gospel may change but the gospel won’t!

The gospel should be in its fullness.  Don’t just share a message about sin and leave people there.  Don’t tell people Jesus died for them and then never tell them about His resurrection! Don’t tell people about Jesus life, death, and resurrection without showing the person/s about his ascension!  Don’t tell people about Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension without mentioning that Jesus is still ruling today!  The entirety of scripture points to the ruling and reigning through the eyes of the kingdom.  If we aren’t telling people how Jesus did all of these things, and how He rules today, then how would they know their lives can be lived as worship to the King?  This is why so many people feel Christians are about rules and imposing moral sanctions.  All the sudden this “christian” thing is about holding rules and what we can and can’t do.  If we show people the full gospel then people will realize the importance of their life.  When they see they are created for a higher purpose of serving a King, to lift Him up, they don’t see rules.  People realize that their entire life has been in backwards worship of themselves and giving their life over to Satan and his kingdom.  They have long been a slave to a false king!  The TRUE King exposes the lie and shows how He is worthy of turning over a new leaf.  The True King abolishes slavery to the old king and calls us to be a new servant of Him.  When we start serving the True King, which rules right now, then rules are thrown out and everything becomes about His exaltation.  In Mark 1:15 Jesus said, ““The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Jesus would know what the gospel is.  The gospel is Him living a perfect life, dying for sin to make his followers clean, raising from the dead to defeat the evil one, and now His ruling.  He was forecasting what was coming soon upon the people He was teaching to.  His life was perfect and He made claims about the kingdom.  He was telling them to be ready… this time is at hand.  Repent for He had the key to everything.  He was the messiah they longed for.

If the fullness of the gospel is proclaimed will the person react well?  Why does this question even pop up into our minds?  As a believer we have to quit thinking that sharing the gospel should be easy or hard.  We just need to do it as the Spirit leads.  In Acts we see the apostles doing whatever they have to do for evangelism.  They were no slacker to opposition and they celebrated new converts.  They would have stones throne at them, left beaten, jailed, and killed for preaching the gospel.  Stephen would stand before the same council of people that killed Jesus but He still talked about his king!  Then we see all over scripture the new converts (especially ones healed of lameness, blindness, etc) be over come with joy and exuberance.  Either way there will be feed back and either way God called you to spread the gospel.  He will refine you through every experience.  God will show you how the Holy Spirit will guide your conversation.  The Holy Spirit will help you defend your own faith in the gospel.  Just trust and walk with the Lord.  You may be spreading the gospel in your own home, at a coffee shop, church, in a country that persecutes Christians, to people who claim atheism, or to people who believe something entirely.  Your job isn’t to convert people but be willing to be used of God.  Don’t you want to be His vessel?

Do You Understand Repentance?

Posted: January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

John Calvin wrote that repentance “may be justly defined to be a true conversion of our life to God, proceeding from a serious fear of God, and consisting in the mortification of the flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.”

In the Solid Joys  Daily Devotional by John Piper (for January 28) we see this, “A vague, bad feeling that you are a crummy person is not the same as conviction for sin. Feeling rotten is not the same as repentance.  This morning I began to pray, and felt unworthy to be talking to the Creator of the universe. It was a vague sense of unworthiness. So I told him so. Now what?  Nothing changed until I began to get specific about my sins. Crummy feelings can be useful if they lead to conviction for sins. Vague feelings of being a bad person are not very helpful.  The fog of unworthiness needs to take shape into clear dark pillars of disobedience. Then you can point to them and repent and ask for forgiveness and take aim to blow them up.”

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 Corinthians 6:16 B-7:1, 9-10  “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

These are just some of the things I have read lately.  I hope to follow-up with the personal side to this soon.  Can you see where this is going though?  Maybe we should just contemplate about true repentance.  I wasn’t a true believer, following after the Lord in faith until 2007.  I knew all the Jesus answers, knew plenty of theology because of the church I grew up in, but I missed out on the biblical truth of repentance.  Whenever I started struggling with it I couldn’t stop wrestling.  I am so grateful!  I would lay and cry at night knowing who Jesus was, knowing bible stories, and knowing I said a prayer, but I knew that this repentance stuff was never understood when I was small.  What about you?  I went to church and learned all of this because my mom took me all of my life.  I found out that I can’t live out my mother’s faith, or my dad’s.  As much as I looked up to my sister…. I still couldn’t trust in just the words she said to me.  I had to repent.   I couldn’t just think about repentance and say to God, “I want to repent”, if I didn’t understand it yet.  That would be like a skydiver trusting me that I packed his chute right. Just because I saw it once on YouTube doesn’t mean I can pack a chute correctly…he would surely die.  I couldn’t just repent that once either.  When we understand this concept and follow Christ because of it then we will find repenting a daily need.  This is something we have to know about.  So dig in.  See what the Lord says.  Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.

This Is the World We Live In

Posted: January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

I could see it in your eyes… You were staring right through me! I came in and gave a defense of scripture, how God is over everything, how you are made in his image, and how the battle line is drawn…..

BREAKAWAY YOUTH….
We have to be ready to battle everyday!

ESV: 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In the New King Jimmy (I mean New King James) it states verse 13 like this: 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

gird up your loins?????? What does that even mean????  The Free Dictionary states the definition as “to prepare yourself mentally to do something difficult (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/gird+loins).”  So this scripture is telling us to be ready because this won’t be easy.  We can’t be stammering around in a stooper acting as if we don’t understand what is going on.  We can’t desensitize ourselves to what is going on around us.  Our eyes have to be open, we must be ready in the best way possible, and know that battles are ahead.  One by one battles will come, but if trusting in the Lord, you have hope of winning the war.  Isn’t that great?  Scripture, with all authority, has given you what you need to hear! Go into battle to win!  You wouldn’t show up for a battle without trying to arm yourself and putting on a bullet proof vest.  Why would you go into your day without being ready for the battle waged for your soul?  

If you truly trust in Christ as savior, then you will think of these things.  Life will change once you realize sin is prevalent.  John 10:10 ESV says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  The tricky one wants to slither in and tell you things are ok, to take away your love for Christ, and to make you fall down a slippery slope of sin.  He is after you.  Without being ready you set yourself up for failure.  Those who gird up their loins will understand the next part… you won’t go back to who you were before you were a believer.  You won’t stop fighting to become more like Christ.  You are also not ignorant to these sins and the war waged against you anymore, so therefore, you have no excuse.  God made us in His image and part of that is to be Holy.  Think about it!  I hope you get sick of your life being in the condition it is in and wage war against your enemy.  Get sick of his tricks and lies.  He wants to harm you.  Take it and use it to follow after your Savior.  He will walk with you through the thick of the battle, but for crying out loud, be ready!

 

Regarding Eternity

Posted: December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

John Piper does a great job here.  What do you think?  Do you see Jesus in this way?  Do you process what eternity will be like…. either as a believer, being with the greatest thing ever, or non-believer, separated from the best thing ever? Let’s follow it up with this video:

Say Your Prayers

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I woke up this morning it was rough.  I was so tired that all I wanted to do was sleep more.  I ate some friendship bread, sat on the couch, and prayed to start my day off.  As I sat there praying my mind started wondering.  I don’t  remember what I was thinking about but 20 minutes later the only thing I had said to the Lord was, “Dear Lord.”  Everything else tapered off in the distance…..

How many people have had that happen?    I wonder why we are ok with that?  We have 24 hours in a day.  This is a stated fact.  There is no more or less hours in a day.  Days have 24 hours in them.  If we are too tired to pray, then we need life change.  This practice shows a problem.  People who are believers use their day to get stuff done, watch tv til absurd hours, read til sleepy, wake up last-minute in the morning, do other things impairing their waking up, and etc.  This is just truth!  So if the day is a literal 24 hours why is it we save just a little for the Lord?  This is not just an “Oops, I did it again” accident!  This is something that we don’t feel the least bit convicted about.  Why is it that way?

I am going to propose something to think about.  I think this is a heart problem.  If we can spend our day going through doing what we want and do not place priority for prayer, then we don’t understand who Jesus is.  If we can consistently live our life, day by day, without living with the Lord (in prayer) then we truly don’t care.  If we don’t care about what the Lord wants for our life, that He wants to reach us, and He made a way for us to pray to Him (through Jesus), then do we really care about anything to do with Him?  How can we go through our days, everyday, and put the God of all the Universe in our scheduled appointments?  Why don’t we live day by day with Him in constant communion?  When I die and stand before the Almighty will God remember my constant pleas, praise, petitions or will He remember that I never trusted Him to control my life, situations, or that I didn’t give Him praise?  Our hearts are not to be followed.  We must start glorifying God in our sleep so that when we are awake our time is devoted well to the God of all creation.  I encourage you to constantly fight the battle to be in a constant state of prayer.  Please……drive me to do the same.  Let’s give our hearts to Him daily because we love Him and He is giving us discipline.  Let’s watch our life, church, and relationships change because we are praying together.  Lets do this thing!

“You wanna walk with me
Well do ya?
You wanna walk with me
Well if you love me
Then just love me
Don’t you give me pretty words
Lay your life down at the altar
Let me see how serious you are”- The Wedding “Say Your Prayers”

Undesirable Beauty

Posted: December 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

I woke up this morning with a fantastic song in my head, “Search My Heart,” by Hillsong United.   This song is about His infinite beauty and pursuit of Him.  This is our hopes of praise right? This blog isn’t about the many days that I have worshipped the Lord with gladness. The last few days God has shown me unbelievable grace because I would rather try to follow creation, rather than the Creator.  I wish I could say, since I became a believer, I have chosen to follow after the most beautiful, gracious, and most beautiful God, but I haven’t.  I have seen His face, have been redeemed by His blood, and led by His Holy Spirit, but there are still times I have fallen.

This morning I was hearing that song in my head, but I was also hearing the words of Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

I woke up remembering how great the Lord is, how He moves, His forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy.  He knows my heart from before the time I was in the womb, until the time I would sit here writing this blog, and even after.  So the question is : Why wouldn’t I desire His beauty, grace, magnificence, and every other good attribute of Him?  Even without His actions, his love for us, and history of what He has done, wouldn’t we still want to worship the God above all?  Today I am going to choose to worship Him for who He is.

“With all my heart,

and all my soul,

with all I am,

Lord I will follow you.”

Let’s walk together for the sake of the gospel, to make His name known, to preach the word of God, and to live life together as servants of the Most High.  He didn’t just die for us, but He gave us all eternity to worship Him.  “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”  Let us not forget how precious He is, to run the race with perseverance, and let’s help each other desire Him more.  I pray that we don’t waste a life of worship on things less than the God of the Universe.  If we falter then let us help each other up so we may keep running.  Let the beauty of our Lord drive us as we go through our lives and help us as we discover more about Him.  Lord help us desire you above all.