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Sunday, August 31, 2008

VII. Poor Adam

Can you imagine being the beginning of something perfect and everything you did would cause the universe to spin in one direction or another? Can you imagine being the one who got to name all of the known universe? Can you imagine being in control of everything on the earth? Can you imagine living forever in God's Paradise made just for you? Can you imagine being the cause of death of each and every thing on the earth?

For 6000 years Adam has had to have this over his head. He has had the sentence of death for every human placed upon him since the day he sinned. Can you imagine living 900 years and seeing the destruction that one action of yours caused? He witnessed Paradise lost as he was banished from it. He witnessed animals who were once his companion turn on him in fear. He witnessed innocence being lost when Eve had to cover up. He witnessed the earth decay and now he had to toil to keep it alive. He witnessed pain caused by childbirth. He witnessed his own son murder another son. All he had to do was listen to one command. He was allowed to do anything he wanted except one thing. Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This one disobedience sent the rest of the human race spiraling downward to hell. What kind of life could Adam have lived with all of this on his shoulder? A redemptive one!

Just like all Christians and those who believe in the Almighty El Elyon, he has a redeemer. He was given the promise that there would be a seed that would crush the serpent's head. Adam knew that one day he would be redeemed. We may sin. We are no better than Adam. We may fall away everyday. But, there is a redeemer! There is one who has paid the price for our sin. We are His. We have been paid for. The second Adam has come and has restored Paradise. If you are eating from the wrong tree then put down the fruit and eat from the Tree of Life.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

VI. Milk Money

When we are first born we get nurtured on Mother's milk. As we grow mother's milk will no longer sustain us. It will not nourish us enough to grow. If we stay on mother's milk, we tend to rely upon mother and never gain our full independence. We become lazy. We become unhealthy. We become dependent. We can not function. If we somehow manage to function, we become lame, i.e. blind or deaf or crippled. The same for the Church.

Too many times the Church in today's world is focused on numbers and not real growth where it counts: spiritual growth. Churches are filled with what has been labeled as "seekers". First, a church filled with seekers is fantastic. It shows that a church has programs (for lack of a better word) in order that bring people in, or it shows that a church can show love to those who normally do not see it anywhere else. Or just as important, it may show that people are doing exactly what we have labeled them. They are seeking. As scripture says, seek and you shall find. But what happens when you find it? We have to bring in the seeker by finding what they seek for them. We have to have programs for the seeker. The world needs to be told what Christ is all about. The seeker needs to know. No one should turn away the seeker. But no one should leave a seeker seeking. All parts of the Church are important. The Church should be seeker friendly but not seeker oriented. Even mature Christians need a place to keep growing and mentored. Sometimes mature Christians hurt and need uplifting. If the Church is seeker oriented only, where is the mature Christian going to go got help?

Too many times the Church in today's world is focused on seekers only and not anyone else in the Church. This sounds like a negative thing to say but listen to the rest of the story. Babies need parents. Babies need those who can nurture the young. Seekers need mature Christians who can lead them. But Churches are unfilled by those who should be leaders. Why? Because they are all babes in Christ. No one is left in the Church to lead because there is nothing in place for them to keep growing. Churches do not have the right leadership due to the infancy of the people. The writer of Hebrews tells us:
"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good and evil."

Too many times the Church of today's world leaves the seeker seeking. They leave them on milk. You know what happens when you have too much milk? You vomit. The Church today is sick. It is falling ill. It's leaders are still on milk. It's seekers are relying on milk. They can not distinguish right from wrong. Churches are dying because not enough solid food is on the table. The Church needs to provide a balanced meal. If you the same meal over and over and over and over and over and over again, you get sick of the meal. You don't want it anymore. There has to be a time when seekers need to grow as well. If a church does have anything in place the seeker loses the want to stay. Glamor only goes so far before it wears off.

This posting may change with more information and scripture from both sides of this situation. It could possibly even be deleted given correction of views.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

V. Evolution is a Joke

Evolution is only a theory yet we treat it as if it were a fact. Science and evolution actually are not the same. Science uses the scientific method to prove things. Real science will not or can not be disputed. Real science uses a step of the scientific method called "observation" to prove things. The actual steps that they still teach are:

  1. Observation---We say we have observed this. We say we have seen animals turn into another species. But evolution is supposed to take millions of years. There has also never been a fossil found in any "transitional" state. Evolution can not be observed.
  2. Hypothesis---We have made an hypothesis (evolution). Life started from a big bang and a primordial soup.
  3. Data Collecting---We have collected data but the data is only based on assumptions, i.e., big bang, meteor strikes, etc. We try and place variables into the equation. But we don't know if the variables are the absolute truth and facts can only stand if everything is a constant, no variation in the outcomes. Such as a dinosaur is lying by a crater, so therefore this dinosaur was killed by a meteor. But what if the dinosaur was old and fell into the crater and then died? There was a variable there that was not considered.
  4. Test---We have tested it. We have stated that the universe started from one point and life eventually expanded from this point. Real science has found that non-living matter can not produce living matter; biogenesis. Life can not come from things that are not living. Life always come from life. Oxygen can not produce a lung. Louis Pasteur was one of the first to acknowledge this.
  5. Conclusion---We have made a conclusion. And that conclusion is that evolution is the truth.
Now how can evolution be the truth when one step can not be done (#1), one step is flawed information (#3), and one step has been proven wrong (#4)? And since three of the steps are now invalid, evolution can not be considered a science. Evolution can never be proven because the first theory of evolution is proven to be wrong. Hence, it is a joke. Worse yet, a lie.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IV. A Gift of Gifts

Some believe that the gifts of the Spirit have died out when the "apostolic age" ended, claiming we don’t need them since we have the scriptures and the early church didn’t. Based on that assumption answer the questions to yourself or comment on them later if you wish. Remember all opinions are respected.
  1. Would the gifts be only for the early church or would they be for all Christians?
  2. Are God’s promises in the scripture for the early church only or are they for us as well?
But here are some things to remember as you answer the questions:
  • Through the Holy Spirit we have access to the gifts (Acts 2). God has set the gifts that each of us has and are distributed by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).  1 Corinthians chapters 13-14 says the gifts must be exercised in love. Focusing on 1 Corinthians 13:8-14, some gifts will pass that are done in partial until the perfect comes. This passage can not stand alone because it will be taken out of text. Here is where people say that the gifts will die out. But they do not use the whole text, just this small passage. They will not "die out" as some have claimed. They will pass due to us not being perfect and not using them. They are temporary. However, no matter what, three things will never pass away. They are eternal. Faith, Hope and Love. Love is not only eternal on the inside but is also an action on the external. This is why it is the greatest of all. It neither passes nor is it limited. This is why the gifts must be exercised in love.
  • Gifts are not for competition but for edification.  Read James 5:12-17, prayer is the key to unlocking the gifts.
  • Gifts will overlap. There is no clear cut vision of how one gift differs from another. Think of a baseball illustration. An outfielder may play left field. However he may also play first base when needed. He has the qualities of both but "excels" in one more than the other.
  • There is a big difference between gifts, talents and fruit. Talent is natural. Anyone can have a talent, which is something someone is good at doing by natural abilities. Fruit is what is produced from a Christian’s life. Gifts are Spirit-given. They go beyond someone’s natural abilities.
  • Read Romans 12, Gifts come in variations and degrees. You may not have "as much" in a certain gift area as someone else. But this does not mean you are less important. You have a specific role, a responsibility. You have a specific passion, a ministry to serve in. And you have a measure of faith that is yours specifically. You do what God has called YOU to do.
We are the body. (Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:14-26) Paul always equates the use of gifts with that of the body of Christ.  The church will not hold together without all the body parts working together as they were meant to do. We can function just like someone who is missing a foot or an arm, but it will not be doing what is could be doing.

Definitions:Gift- something given to someone for free. Greek word is "charis".Grace- something given to someone to get through a situation, protection. Greek word is "mata".So God’s grace is what God gives you to get through situations. His grace is sufficient. He will get you through.God’s gift of course is eternal life but that kind of gift is different. We are talking about a spiritual gift. If you put the two words above together you get "charismata" which is what the Bible calls these things. A grace gift. Charisma. Something for free to get you through a spiritual situation.

Conclusion: If the promises of God are for us as well then the promise of Act 2:38 is for us as well. Because if the promises are not for us there is no hope for us, but alas hope is forever! The gifts are for us. All of them! And they are meant to be used, Ephesians 4:16, Matthew 25:14-30.

Monday, August 18, 2008

III. Worship

There are steps to worship. As illustrated in the OT (TaNaK), worship begins in the outer courts.
  1. The outer courts was a place anyone could go. People met here all the time. Priests gave sermons. People did business. Yet it was still part of the worship center. It was open to all. But once you got to a certain point called the Sacred Enclosure only Jews could enter. So to enter to the next part you had to be of the right physical culture (BODY).
  2. The next part was called the inner courts. This is where the praising of Adonai started to take place. Specific prayers were offered. Each went to their own place, men to men, women to women. A focus on Adonai ELOHIM was apparent. Your mind was set upon God. So to enter the next part you had to have the right focus (MIND).
  3. The next part was called the Holy Place. Here only the Priests of El Shaddai were allowed to enter. These were the descendants of Levi. They were the only ones allowed because Levites stood behind Moses and followed his leadership during the Golden Calf incident. They stayed close to God and listened to their heart, not their head. God gave them a special place. One that was close to His heart. So to enter the next part one had to be of the right character (HEART).
  4. The last step is only for the strongest of hearts, the Holy of Holies. Only the Chief Priest could enter this place. He entered once a year to make atonement for all. He had to be clean in all ways. If he was not found to be cleaned he could die at the altar. This altar was the Ark of the Covenant. The place where God comes down to meet His people. The highest of all worship is when God comes to meet you.

What does this mean for us? It is an illustration of what worship is. Each worship time we have should follow these steps. We start with a call to worship. Kenaniah and all of the worship leaders blew the shofar to let the people know it was time to worship. It doesn't necessarily mean it is time for a song or music but it is a time for fellowship. A time for our BODIES to wake up. Once we are awake we are ready to move into the inner courts. This is a time of praise! Songs should be sung at this point. They should be uplifting and praising God. This sets our MINDS for the next step. Real worship. Getting our hearts ready for the Lord's presence. This is a time to slow down. It is a to get deep with your worship. Ultimate praise becomes a personal issue. You are no longer using your mind you are using your HEART. Once your heart is prepared is when you can meet God.

Here is the problem. Too many churches do not know what worship really is. They think it is a program. They want to put on a show. They don't know how to lead people to the next step in worship. They think all they have to do is practice and put on a presentation. It is not about presentation. It is about participation. People need to participate. They need leaders to get them to the next step. Many people say worship is individualized. Worship is up to each person. Then why have a worship time in church? Worship leaders need to do exactly what their title is: LEAD WORSHIP. The leader has to understand people each week come with baggage. You can't just present something and leave it up to the people. People are hurting. Their bodies are drained. If their bodies are drained then their minds are not thinking right, which means their hearts are not in the right place.

  1. There should be no "worship bands". Technically there should be no "worship teams". There should be a worship ministry! These people are more than just musicians. They reach out to people. They are examples. All should be involved.
  2. There should be a balance of music played. Not everyone is in the same place. The people who say it is not about the style will be the same people who will refuse to change the style.
  3. There should be a time set for praise and a time set for worship. Songs should change from words of praise to words of personalization. All songs should focus on God not on people.
  4. Distractions should be kept to a minimal. Remember people have to worship in steps. No one can get to the Holy Place without going through the courts first!

The greatest story of what worship is, is the Menorah. A lamp with seven places. Each place is dedicated to a day of the week. The middle place is "worship" time. There are three places before the middle. This is a symbol of preparation for worship. There are three places after the middle. This is a symbol recovering from worship. Can you imagine worship being taken that seriously? Instead, in today's churches it's all about the production and not what should be produced. What a shame.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

II. Judge Not

The first argument non-believers will give a Christian when trying to reach them about Christ is Matthew 7:1, "Judge not, lest you be judged". First problem is they only know this verse by the King James Version. They have no idea what it means anyway. For all purposes The Complete Jewish Bible or the NIV will be used in all scripture references.

There is a huge difference between what "judging" means in Matthew 7:1 and what the world thinks it is. First of all you need to read the rest of the story. Matthew 7:2-5 says:
  • 2  For the way you judge others is how you will be judged. The measure with which you measure out will be used to measure you.
  • 3  Why do you see the splinter in your brother's eye but not notice the log in your own eye? 
  • 4  How can you say to your brother, 'Let's take out the splinter in your own eye', when all the time you have a log in your own? 
  • 5  You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother's eye!
The verse, when read by itself, tells us not to judge, but in reality the whole passage is telling us be careful how we see and view others because we have problems of our own and it wouldn't be right for us to question others if we ourselves are not following what we preach. It doesn't really have anything to do with actual "JUDGEMENT". Because if that is the case then wouldn't praising someone for a good deed that they have done be judgement too? Even so, we can "judge" if what we are doing is calling out to people the change they need in their life. Nathan "judged" David. Paul "judged" Peter. What you have to be careful about is not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

If we do not call out to people what sin really is then we are ignoring what the truth is. People in today's world do not know what truth is. But, unfortunately sometimes neither does the church. We are called to tell the world the truth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I. Perfection of Christians

Christians are not perfect. They are not hypocrites. They are humans who make mistakes just like everyone else. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all personalities. Many are jerks. But that doesn't mean they should be blamed or hated because of the way the world is going. The world is down the drain due to our own (all humans) self-absorbant minds. We want things now and in our way. If we are not satisfied with our hamburger, we sue people. We quit trying things because it didn't work the first time. We hate because we are different and scared of the difference. We hide behind alcohol and drugs because we don't know how to cope with the world. And we go on rampages because we aren't accepted. None of these things are because of Christians. None of us know how to be patient with ideas and/or people. We are too busy trying to have self-gratification in all aspects and are not willing to deal with the rest of humanity. Dave Thomas (late beloved owner of Wendy's) never went to college yet became a multi-millionaire. Someone asked him one time how he got this far without an education. He said he didn't look at it that way. He said imagine what he could have been with one. The world is in shambles but imagine what the world would be like without Christians. Charities would not make it. Christians are the biggest starters and supporters of charities. You can't judge Christ based on some Christians. Just like you can't judge your family based on you. Or you can't judge your profession based on a few loose nuts.

It's not fair to be harsher on Christians than the rest of the world but we are.  If a construction worker gets sued by a woman for sexual harrassment people can accept it.  If it was a CEO of a company many expect it.  But if a minister has this happen to them then he is sexual preditor, pervert, someone not to be trusted, proof that Christians are the worst, etc.  But in reality, they are all human.  We all have temptation and we all fall short of the glory of God.  Every one mentioned above were wrong.  And they all are equal in its abhorance.  But who will get more ridicule by mankind?  The minister.  Sure they should hold themselves to a high standard but do you know what?  We all should.  The problem is we hold everyone else to a lower standard and expect the minister to be all high and mighty and if/when he falls we attack him to no end.  This is not to excuse any minister, just used as an example for this situation.

Christianity is a work in progress and it gets harder to live like one when the rest of the world treats you like hell. If you blame Christianity for your problems, then apparently you have more problems than you know.

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