Category Archives: Christianity

Where is humanity headed?

As a pastor I often tell the church about my life before Jesus Christ.  My goal is to show listeners my mindset, what was going on in my heart, and the consequences of what life was like without Jesus.  It seems to me that if those who listen to my stories knew how chaotic and crazy things were in my life they might appreciate what many of them have grown up accustomed to.  My life before Jesus was headed no where; literally.  In fact, when I was single, I really didn’t care about my life; worse yet, not much about anyone else’s either.

Since the turn of this century, and especially in the last 8 years, I’ve witnessed human life become less valued because most have rejected the Truth that there is a God who holds humanity accountable.  We must consider the role of secular society in this rejection, as well as American Christianity.  I have long thought that these two entities have parallelled each other.  In fact, to me, one side’s thought influences the other.  This means that these two influence each other throughout history.  As a result, it seems that secular society influences The Church in America.  In the past, The Church used to influence secular society.  In fact, some might argue The Church still does, but negatively.

Right now secular society values animal life more than human life.  I obviously take the position that human life starts at conception.  Yet, most seem to believe that a dog, as wonderful and cute as it is, is more valuable than the baby inside a pregnant mother.  When the people are outraged because of the abuse of an animal, but not so much about the abuse of a baby labeled as a fetus, humanity is headed for disaster.  Further, when we hear about someone using a “less crunchy” procedure in order to harvest organs from the baby I am horrified; even more horrifying is to watch someone say those words over a meal!  It is so disgusting that I am not even going to link the video to cite it.

Before Jesus Christ came into my life I was not really for abortion, unless I needed it.  After all, I cared, but I only cared about myself.  Yet, Jesus taught me that everyone matters because everyone is valuable to Him, and should be to His Church.  Since The Church seems to no longer influence secular society this is what we can expect from most of humanity a low view of humanity in general.  We can expect humanity to care less and less about human life.  Is it possible that we are headed toward a Mad Max world?  I hope not.

Someone might say that the baby (fetus) is not a life at all.  In other words, I should stay away from that argument.  After all science settled it right?  Yet, those of us who follow Jesus Christ, and believe that He is The God who will hold everyone accountable must not be led by science, but by this God who loves all of His creation.  Most of us would be appalled if people were digging up dead bodies to sell limbs and other parts.  We would call this terrible and disgusting.  We would do so because they were people and should be treated with dignity.  These unborn babies are human as well and also possess human dignity.

One reason Christians do not seem to influence society is because we seem to tolerate it since most Christians believe that the world will get worse and worse before the ultimate end comes.  Yet, I’m one who believes that if that is true, it is because most Christians have forgotten the power of God.  What is worse, maybe most Christians have forgotten the high value God places on His creation and humanity.  More and more there seems to be silence on this issue from Christians.  In fact, we talk simply about forgiveness without talking about accountability.  The fact is the forgiveness we receive from Jesus transforms us into people who value all humanity.

Maybe secular society and The American Church have forgotten how worthless human life was before Christ’s Advent.  It is not much effort for someone to look at historical records to see that before Christ, slavery was rampant, murder was rampant, and torture.  These were the norms of society and if you weren’t born into the right families life would be terrible for you; and very short. It seems that because of Christ this began to change.  In fact, Christians led the fight to end slavery because all human life is valuable.  Most of us agree that The Church did well to influence secular society.

When humanity discounts Christ we are in trouble.  When The Church is not boisterous about the value of unborn babies, and all life, the world gets worse.  Yet, if The Church is boisterous, but her people do not live out the message, then humanity is headed for disaster.  Jesus always taught that people were to be thought of as more important than self.  The idea was that everyone is valuable.  In fact, He taught there would be accountability, not just for horrible acts, but also for what is horrible inside minds and hearts.  When Christians were concerned about this, society was influenced by Christ.

If Christ is no longer taken serious, then we will continue to see people multiply who have no conscience.  This will take us back to society where life is not valuable.  I would warn people, that if Jesus doesn’t return, and we continue down this road, then their lives won’t matter to anyone, and possibly not themselves.  Further, the lives of their loved ones won’t matter either.  In fact, humanity will be headed where I was without Jesus, no where, without value, and no value for anyone else.

If you are a Christian, then you need to speak up about abortion and the value of human life.  If you are a Christian you cannot accept this.  If you do, then this is one reason that humanity is headed for disaster.  Plus, I would remind you that Jesus will judge your heart in the end too.  We can no longer accept this.  We can no longer, here it comes, participate in it with a clear conscience.

 

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Filed under Abortion, Christianity, compassion

Doctrine

What I like about WordPress is that I am able to see how people found my blog.  Most of the time my blog is found it through the search engines.  One of the phrases that seems to show up often is “What do Wesleyans believe?”  Well, obviously we are Christian Protestants in the the Evangelical persuasion and should be thought of as believers who see themselves as part of the Holiness movement.  Therefore, I thought I would post our foundational beliefs along with the Calvinist viewpoint for a bit of comparison.

I will start with what Calvinists generally believe, although there is some variance, taken from the famous TULIP:

  1. Total Depravity: The personality, mind, body, and soul of a person is totally depraved.  Devoid of any ability to will spiritual good toward salvation.  There is nothing in us that can bring about salvation.  We are born with Original Sin inherited from Adam..  Regeneration occurs before faith.
  2. Unconditional Election: God has chosen some for salvation.  He has done so without regard for the decisions of those who have been chosen (Elect).  God elects, chooses, some to everlasting life no matter how hard-hearted.  He also elects others to eternal damnation.
  3. Limited Atonement: Christ died only for those whom God has chosen.  Therefore, those who are elect received salvation through His shed Blood.  Through the Blood of the Cross, Christ has redeemed by cleansing from Original Sin and sin committed before and after receiving faith, chosen ones from every tribe, nation, and language.
  4. Irresistible Grace: The Holy Spirit gives an irresistible urge to be saved to those who are elect.  Basically known as effectually drawing them to Christ so that they come most freely to that which is good.
  5. Perseverance of the Saints: Those who are chosen, or elect, will persevere to the end.  They cannot fall away from the state of grace.  They cannot lose their salvation.

Wesleyans are Wesleyan-Arminian.  Our beliefs were greatly influenced by John Wesley and James Arminius.  Here is what we believe:

  1. Limited Depravity: People are deep in sin, but God has extended His grace to all so that everyone can be saved if they “will.”  Faith occurs before regeneration.
  2. Conditional Election: God has called everyone to salvation, though many whom He has called do not respond.
  3. General Atonement: Christ’s Blood was shed and is available for all.  It is applied to those who respond to His offer of salvation.
  4. Prevenient Grace: God has given prevenient grace to all, which draws them toward saving grace, but the individual is not forced to respond to God’s grace.
  5. Conditional Security: Once saved, a person will always be saved unless by defiant, continued, purposeful rebellion, they refuse grace and choose apostasy.

Here are some useful links: TULIP, Arminius’ Remonstrance. and The Wesleyan Church.

These beliefs are just two doctrinal points of view within the Protestant Church.  I suggest that if you are someone who wants to compare what people believe, then you need to go to their website.  Often mainstream denominations will have their Articles of Religion posted.  However, churches that are autonomous, meaning independant or associations, may not have websites.  This means that you would have to ask the pastor if you could see what they have printed about what they believe.

Often, many assume that everyone believes the same things.  Yet, many times Protestants only agree on a few things.  In fact, I caution you that if you ask a pastor, or someone involved in a different church, what a church associated in a different denomination believes, you should not expect total accuracy.  Sometimes people take liberty in turning what another church believes into something outlandish.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternal Security, Holiness, Salvation, The Wesleyan Church

Is it okay to make accusations against The Church?

The purpose of this article is to find out whether or not it is okay to speak against The Church.  In fact, is it okay to speak against a local church of which is a smaller part of the whole Body of Christ?  Often criticism against the Church is popular among secularists and Christians alike.  In fact, some pastors would seemingly speak in such a way to attract people to their church particular part of the whole Body.  Usually this type of attraction is levied in such a way to try to get Christians to leave their church, or to reach those who say they are Christians who have rejected church.  That might be another blog someday.  While those on the other side, meaning, those outside of The Church universal would criticize The whole Body in general.  Many of these are those who want nothing to do with Christ because they have rejected Him by determining to live their lives on their own without Him.  In other words, they do not want to live lives influenced by Jesus Christ.  In fact, this is God’s gift to them anyway because He allows them to choose freely to live without Christ.  On the other hand, there are those who want the gift of life which only is available through Jesus Christ.  Yet, these sometimes only want eternal life and, therefore, follow Christ in the way that they see fit.  Sounds very similar to those who reject outright, but only God knows the heart; yet, Jesus does tell us that we will know them by their love, while Paul says by their Fruit.  In other words, these do not allow Jesus to be their Lord, but will allow Him to be their Savior if such a distinction is possible.

When trying to put our minds around the idea of Church, the Bride of Christ, it is helpful to remember that The Church is both Human and Divine at the same time.  It is important to understand this concept in order to properly address the question at hand.  As a result, this simply means that churches can make mistakes and need correction from the Word of God as prompted by The Holy Spirit; hence, Human and Divine at the same time.  This is usually needed when the church has gone outside of the boundaries of what is written in the Bible.  In fact, when correction is needed, it is not necessarily from an individual who is not associated with The Church.  Therefore,  denominationally, there is usually supervision that comes from those whom God has placed in leadership and their charge is to hold a local Body accountable to operate within the boundaries of what is written in The Bible.  These leaders are overseers that we trust that God has placed in these roles.  If not, God will remove them.  In fact, when governing  a Body, leadership will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, The Bible, and historically from the early Church fathers.  This should be a comfort for those who tend to be suspicious of churches.

It seems that many Christians in America, in particular, have not been discipled properly.  In other words, it seems that many fall into the group of people who want to be saved by Christ, but they do not want to follow and obey Him.  This may be the result of praying a simple prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and then believing that the finish line has been reached.  This is far from the truth.  In fact, receiving Christ is the starting point.  Yet, most churches, unfortunately, do not disciple young believers (not young by physical age, but still new in their belief) into a healthy relationship with Jesus as their Teacher for life.  Jesus is supposed to teach all believers not only how to live Holy lives, but also how to love and protect The Church while existing in a hostile world.  After all, He gave His life for everyone to be incorporated into The Church (God’s Kingdom; the New Israel).  In fact, Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25).  Further, in this same passage, some accused the work that Christ did as being the work of Satan.  This is blasphemy against The Holy Spirit.  Jesus warned them about this type of accusation.  Therefore, it only makes sense that Christians are not quick to make accusations against Christ’s Church and churches.  After all, if God is doing something unusual through The Church or churches, it is better safe than sorry.

The Apostle Paul addressed the importance of The Church in the world, by dealing with the Corinthian Church which was part of the whole Body, in 1 Corinthians.  In fact, contrary to popular belief, churches exist to hold members accountable according to this book.  In this church, Paul said that there were those who were not Spirit-filled and seemed to build the church from the foundation of everything but the Cross.  They did so because they operated under the influence of the world’s wisdom and not under the Spirit’s wisdom which is not of this world.  Therefore, when listening to those who would criticize The Church, one needs to decide whether or not someone is has a unifying spirit or not.  God desires that His Kingdom be united here on earth.  If not, then it is usually because the person may not be filled with the Spirit. This means The Church should not listen to someone who fits this mold.  In fact, if someone is not filled with The Spirit, The Bible seems to classify this person as someone who is part of the Kingdom of this world.

In answering the question of whether or not it is okay to make accusations against The Church, or part of the whole Body, one needs to see what The Bible said about it.  In fact, Paul talked about the dangers of someone who believes he or she is wise.  The issue he dealt with was that unity had been challenged by those who followed certain leaders and their particular teachings.  Division was brought about because worldly wisdom seemed to help shape the Corinthian Church.  Paul believed that those who created division and operated under the influence of worldly wisdom were actually destroying The Church.  Here is his reply, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple  is sacred and you together are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:16-17, NIV).  This is usually a passage that some like to use to discourage Christians from drinking and smoking.  But, in the context that it is found, and the plural “you” that is used, it is obvious that God has a major problem with those who are destroying His Church whether knowingly, or unknowingly.

Therefore, creating division and making accusations seems to be dangerous.  It is true that people can have an opinions.  Yet, those opinions must submit to the authority of God’s Word.  At least if these who say they are Christians would desire to please the Lord.  According to The Bible, Satan is one who accuses the Saints, those who belong to The Church, and with that knowledge it is a very serious thing to bring accusations against The Bride of Christ.  Moreover, it seems that these Scriptures, along with others not listed, seem to exist to cause one to consider carefully what he or she says.  In my opinion, it is best not to bring an accusation unless the accuser has had a Burning Bush experience.  Yet, even then, signs and wonders would accompany such an individual.

 

 

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Filed under Christianity, Church bashing??, Discipleship, Ecclesiology, Unity?

A minister’s path to success in the 21st Century

Here is a list of characteristics, skills, requirements, and yadda yadda yadda,  that are needed to be successful in as a Christian pastor; or at least to feel successful.

  1. You must study leadership, over and over, so that you can play the part of a professional.  After all, you are the leader of the church and possibly Jesus wants you to become very successful so that one day you can write a book.  You need to know how to exercise “power” among people to hold them accountable toward reaching your goals.  What you will learn is that you are a good leader when you are successful, but when you are not successful, you don’t have good followers.  You will learn how to get rid of those who are standing between you and reaching your, I mean, God’s goal.
  2. You must move on from the CB and Ham radio to Twitter.  Once you are on Twitter, you have to tweet simple sayings about leadership.  Preferably, you must let others know that you are a person of vision and they must develop one too.  Never Mind the vision that Jesus already gave His followers.  A great tweet to consider might be something like, “Leaders lead from influence.”  Or, “Leader, let the people see you sweat.”  These are short enough to likely get retweeted by those you followed, and after they followed you, you dropped them, so that you can have it listed on your Twitter account that you have 6,000 followers.  Plus, it is great to show that you are only following 60 people who are worthy enough to gain your followership.  With 6,000 followers, you have now become a person of influence even though you might be pastoring a church of 45-100.
  3. You must have an attractive appearance.  It would be helpful if you could attract the same type of attention that King Saul did when he was not king.  Looking hip is a big help in the 21st Century.  A gym membership is a must, along with hair coloring and very intellectual eyeglasses.  How you dress will help keep the undesirables away too.  A classy wardrobe simply lets people know that you only hang out with a certain group.  This way you will gain an audience that may have enough money that you won’t have to get bogged down in their problems.
  4. You must travel back and forth to major conferences routinely so that you can mingle with other professionals.  Successful ministers budget for the top conferences.  These are a must even though many conferences are centered around the same topics.  The point is that you are traveling, and this helps to maintain your professional appearance.  What is more, you can possibly squeeze in some golf during one of these conferences too.  Hanging out with professionals will build your network that will bring you clout for leadership.  This was where the Apostles went wrong, they caught peoples’ attention, but at the end of the day the people realized that they were uneducated men and were not professionals.
  5. Your vision must include reminiscing about your awful experiences with church growing up.  This will help to communicate to everyone that your church has finally developed the formula that will keep humanity from ruining the experience.  The experience has to outweigh the disappointment every week, even though God seems to mold and shape His people through disappointment with church experience and others.  In addition, you will help to eliminate the competition of those smaller churches that have to make use of their older facilities.  Likely, these were the churches that messed you up when you were younger, before you found the right formula.
  6. You must attach yourself to every new trend that comes around in the Christian world.  Warning, this may require a new wardrobe and younger look if you have been around for a while.  You never know when something new will make a splash sent in from the Christian writer’s world of thought.  For example, those who went for the attraction movement may now have to jump into the missional movement.  Be warned though, poverty is beginning to gain traction in the Christian world.  If so, this will change the path to success dramatically.
  7. You must be able to recite the Starbucks menu by heart.  Even if you are not a coffee drinker, it is in your best interest that you begin acquiring the taste for it.  After all, whoever heard of an up and coming minister that did not have meetings with potential white middle-class church attendees anywhere else?  It gives a sense of an artsy appearance and intellectualism to those who frequent the coffee house.  While there, don’t forget to tweet about it.  Something like, “Working while at Starbucks, love the private atmosphere, it keeps me close to the real people.”  This will help remove any guilt you might feel while your lay people are working; because they now know you are working too.
  8. You must have the newest Apple technology on the market.  You cannot run around with a flip-phone, or just a regular PC.  You have to have a Mac.  You need an awesome IPhone too (I have an IPhone also).  I keep mine in case I have a trendy Twitter thought about leadership that I would need to post.  This will simply give the appearance that you are on the cutting-edge of things.  We all know how important that is for ministers who are successful to blaze a trail before others.
  9. You must woo people by talking about their potential.  I mean, never mind talking about them decreasing so that Jesus can increase; that is outdated.  Instead, talk about how they too can become a great leader like you.  Further, talk about how God wants them to be happy  and that life is not supposed to be hard, especially once you teach them how manage properly their sin.    After all, Dr. Phil has been successful with doing this too.  I wonder if going to conferences regularly helped him.
  10. You must have trendy clothing that goes well with the Christian culture of today.  I prefer special caps along with this piece of the success puzzle.  Shirts with the Phoenix are slipping as I type, but it appears that shirts with patches and jeans with holes are sticking right now.  Shoes . . . that is a huge statement about the character of the successful minister.  Try to live with flip-flops and hiking shoes.  These demonstrate your oneness with nature.  You know going Green is a great trend to attach yourself to also.

Now this post has been written in fun.  Nevertheless, there are still truths in this post.  I won’t say which of these 10 I struggle with, but be assured that many do struggle with these.  It is time that ministers start distancing themselves from CEO role playing and consider people as those whom God treasures and not buildings or the work they feel called to.

My battle is to make sure that I’m not role-playing with a motive that is really more about me than it is the church that Jesus has entrusted to me.  If nothing else, this list could be a way for lay people and ministers to hold each other accountable so that we can be re-aligned with the purpose that Jesus has for His Church; the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

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Filed under Christianity, Leadership, Ministry, Pastor, Small Church

The Church and her fight against same-sex marriage

I haven’t been a good citizen or a good pastor lately because I am on break from watching the news.  I impose these breaks from time to time because it seems like there is a lot of bad news for the world, America, and me.  Add to this that politically, I find myself in a dying breed category.  Politically I’m conservative.  You may be someone who is on the other side of the aisle right now and just felt a strong disdain for me.  Or, you might just feel sorry for me since I’m such a poor misguided soul who just doesn’t get it.  Nevertheless, if you are still reading at this point, I am aware that politicians, federal justices, and Americans are dealing with same-sex marriage again.  Therefore, I felt that it is in order to remind Christians and secularists about what the Bible actually says about this hotly debated issue.

First, I want Christians to step back and examine what their motive is that dwells in their hearts when they post statuses on Twitter and Facebook about same-sex marriage.  I feel that honesty, with what is going on in our hearts, is needed in this arena.  I fear that some Christians really are attacking a group of people who commit a particular type of sin, according to the Bible.   What continues to be forgotten is that sexual immorality is a branch off of Original Sin that everyone, theologically, is born with.  In fact, the self is always in contrast to God.  If sexual immorality is a branch off of the tree of Original Sin, then a branch off of sexual immorality is homosexuality, and, a list that includes sins like adultery, sexual fantasy with people other than your spouse, all sex outside of the context of marriage, pornography, incest, and etc.  These, and others that I may not have listed, are stems off of the branch attached to the tree.

The problem is that we Christians focus all of our efforts to grab the saw to remove the stem of homosexuality from the branch of sexual immorality.  All the while, however, we simply try to manage the other types of sin with less vigor.  In fact, we do not even really get upset when those sins are committed because we understand them; and most of us have committed them.  Therefore, we become compassionate toward those people who struggle with those sins.  And, could I say, that some “Christians” even practice some of those sins regularly.  Here is the rub, pastors will correctly say that we have to work with these poor lost souls.  But, incorrectly it seems, not with homosexuals.  Instead of acknowledging them as those who are in bondage to sexual immorality like most other people are too, Christians begin to call judgment down on them.

This is much like OT Israel who continued to long for The Day of The Lord, but prophets warned them that when that day came it would not be what they expected.  In fact, it would be a day of justice for their injustice toward others.  Yes, injustice was practiced in Holy Israel, where God was “their King.”  They practiced racial hatred even though their Law called for them to care for those who were foreigners among them.  They ignored the poor often, and the list goes on.  The lesson that we Christians, The New Israel, should learn is that sometimes when we start calling down curses, like some disciples wanted to do, and ultimate judgment we might not get what we expect.  We might just get what we deserve.  After all, we never had the zeal to hold people in our churches accountable for those other sexual sins that they continued to practice.  We settled for “loving” them and fighting against one particular type of sin that we personally did not like.

Further, I am shocked at how few Christians really know what the Bible says about this issue and how we are supposed to live in a world where this issue isn’t going to go away.  Some Christians will post that God is fine with this type of behavior, or lifestyle, but upset with those are not because they are “judging.”  Christians continue to misunderstand what judging is.  I make judgments daily, for example, I make the judgment that if I place my hand on a hot stove I will get burned.  Therefore, I do not do it.  In fact, I tell children, don’t do it.  The problem is that some children have put their hand on a stove that was not hot before.  In fact, they enjoy doing that.  Nevertheless, I tell them not to do anyway.  But they think I am judging them because that stove has not burned them before.  Besides, what they do with their hand is their business and I should not care as long as it isn’t hurting me.  Yet, most would say that if I don’t warn them, then I am not caring for them.

I used possibly a silly example, but the point is that I don’t believe that my motive, if I’m judging others by saying that homosexuality is a sin, is meant to intrude on someone’s right to touch a stove.  My motive should be that I know that one day that stove will be on and it will burn the child’s hand so I don’t want the child to eventually get hurt.  In fact, I deeply care about the child, otherwise I would not say anything to the child about the stove.  I would simply sit back and watch the show.  When it was over I would say, lol, I told you and walk away.  Now obviously, I think that according to the Bible homosexuality is indeed sin.  Those who practice it, along with the other types of sin I mentioned earlier, may not be getting hurt now, but they will.  And one day Jesus will return and those who clung to their Original Sin will be sent to a place of judgment.  These will be those who rejected Jesus and His teachings.  They wanted the right to live their lives and touch that stove without people like me bothering them.  And, God will grant that to those who did not want to respond to God and ignored His warning.  So in fact, these will get what they always wanted; eternal life without God.

For those who are secular I want you to know that we Christians are supposed to be showing you respect and love.  If you experience those who do not, please know that they are not currently speaking the language of Christ.  You are right that you should be able to live the way you choose.  We Christians call that Free Will.  From my point of view that is biblical, that is a gift from God to you.  If you don’t believe that the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, then none of this matters.  But, if you do believe that the Bible is God’s communication to His Church, then you need to know that homosexuality is sin.  Plus, as Americans, even if there are people misusing Scripture, or being hypocritical while quoting Scripture, it is their right to take part in the American process politically.

I do ask for forgiveness though when you experience wrong-motive Christians attacking you if you are someone who supports same-sex marriage, or someone who is homosexual.   I want you to know that you would like Jesus, and sometimes His people get a little edgy, but eventually we will grow to become more like Him.  The Christian Church simply cannot support same-sex marriage, but she should not attack those who do.  Christians are supposed to be ambassadors who persuade on behalf of her King.  Jesus is not into coercion.

If same-sex marriage is legalized, then Christians, you and I, are still called to love God and love others.  We will continue to operate as we have since they lowered the age for consensual sex, legalized alcohol, and in some places marijuana, divorce, and etc.  We live in a fallen world.  Do you really think that legislation will fix it?  Or do you suppose that being motivated by love and compassion to disciple others will eventually impact your surrounding community?  I can’t help but think of the Kingdom that was spawned by One Man over 2,ooo years ago who did not condemn, but came to save.

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Filed under Christianity, compassion, Doomsday, Holiness, Homosexuality, Love, Marriage, Same-sex marriage

Election 2012 Thoughts

My candidate lost.  Yes, my idea of what America should be like is not the popular view right now.  Why is that?  Well, I guess people have changed since I was a kid.  Somehow the values that I grew up with were not taught to new generations.  This is fine, because I still choose to live in America over any other country.

Why did I vote for Romney?  It wasn’t because I am a Christian.  In fact, I struggled to vote for him because he is a Mormon.  This means that he operates under the influence different from the Bible.  As a Christian that should have caused me not to vote for him alone.  After all, if we want a Theocracy his religion should have been taken into consideration.  A Theocracy is what many Christians want.  I’m not especially for that though because we’ve seen throughout history how that harms the people.  Soon enough the leader no longer listens to God and begins doing things his way.  The Theocracy will work when Jesus returns.

I voted for Romney because of his business skills.  I felt that he could reduce our deficit.  I did not necessarily vote for him because of his morals.  I think he is a good man, but I’m sure there is dirt somewhere on him just like there is on the rest of us.

It was annoying to watch so many Christians talk of Doomsday simply because President Obama was re-elected.  First of all, Christians cannot pull this card if they voted for someone who follows a different teaching.  Secondly, President Obama says that he is a Christian and was sworn into office with his hand on the Lincoln Bible.  Is he a fruitful Christian?  I don’t know.  The better question is whether or not those who proclaim Doomsday now are perfect Christians.  Unlikely.

It is appalling that so many people think that Obama is the AntiChrist.  Come on people.  If you believe that, then you need to re-evaluate who your teacher in the Scripture is.  There are 4 different interpretive options for the book of Revelation.  Here they are: The Preterist, or Contemporary-Historical view, The Historical view, The Futurist, or Eschatological view, and The Idealist, or Timeless Symbolic view.

It is ridiculous to think that God had Michael, Gabrielle, and His other angels lined up behind Jesus ready to come put an end to this sinful world simply because America re-elected Obama.  Shame on us for teaching those who do not know Jesus Christ that this is the type of God He is.  Nevertheless, it is true that the Lord will return soon.  After all, He said He would. But why would He return soon on account of this election?  There are children starving throughout the world.  If I was starving in another country, and Jesus came back because of the election, I would have to wonder what I was really worth to Him.

It is offensive to hear people call our President the Anti-Christ too.  He is nowhere near somebody like Nero.  In fact, there are many who act like anti-Christs in the world, and in the Church.  I see them when they get out of church and go to McDonald’s and mistreat the employees and other customers.  We see it on FB and in blogs.

As a pastor, I realize how important a relationship with Christ is.  In fact, I also see how important that relationship with Christ is to those who claim to have one.  Often, most people quoting Scriptures about this election are nominal in their faith and church attendance.  It is amazing that many voted against President Obama because he believes in different values openly instead of privately.  What I mean is that those sinful things, like abortion and homosexuality are practiced privately by many Christians.  In fact, many other forms of sexual immorality are practiced privately, but the Church doesn’t get in an uproar over those.

Christians should see this election as moment when secular society has truly rejected Christian influence.  Is it because Christians are trying to influence people politically instead of spiritually?  I think the case could be made.  Why did President Obama get re-elected?  Because the exit pollsters said that people felt like Obama cared about them personally.  Isn’t this how we used to witness about Jesus before we were political?

I think it is time for Christians quit spouting off Scriptures taken out of context and focus on building a relationship with those who do not feel connected with us and definitely are not united with us on values.  Side note; the government is caring for the poor because the Church isn’t.  Some are in the Church, but most are not.  Jesus called us to be Disciple-makers; not lobbyists.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Christianity, Doomsday, Election 2012

Believing toward freedom

Before I came into a relationship with Jesus Christ, there was a point in my life that I wanted to be a good person.  In fact, I desired to become a good person for several reasons, such as, I felt sick about how I didn’t care for others, I wanted to be respected in the community, I wanted my wife to have a good husband, and I wanted to be different so that my children would not behave as I did.  What I found was that while I tried to do these things, I could not achieve peace with myself about the results.  Now the results were not simply centered around right actions; they also included right thoughts along with right actions.  I soon found that I could not become the person I wanted to be.

After a few years of trying to be different, I decided to try God.  I thought that if I got saved that somehow that would establish me as the person that I longed to be.  I decided to read the Bible, mostly because I didn’t know many Christians who would help me and from my experience I did not want to be associated with them.  As I read, I found that God had an entirely different plan for, not just my life, humanity as whole.  This knowledge enlightened me to the point that it became about desiring to know this God of the Bible instead of simply being saved.

Many people who are not associated with a community of believers realize that there is something missing in their lives as I did.  The problem is that God has outlined what is best for us in the Bible, but we generally do not find out for ourselves.  Instead, we rely on other Christians to tell us spiritual things that will make us feel better.  The problem is that most Evangelical Christians get stuck at the point of belief.  What I mean is that most simply point out that believing is what God does to make you and I saved.  Then the problem becomes that you and I, who have not been associated with church, find that we are still the same persons we were before getting saved.

Finding out that nothing has changed, both internally and externally, becomes troubling to those of us who have not been properly pointed to Christ.  After all, Evangelicals simply believe that we should get saved to avoid hell and to be ready for when we die or Jesus Returns.  This type of believing causes many of us who are giving church and Jesus a try to give up.  We learn quickly that simply believing has not helped us in this life now.  We are still in bondage to our poor attitudes and behaviors.  Yet, those of us who will turn to the Bible can learn that Jesus wants humanity to believe toward freedom.

Believing toward freedom, means to me, now that we believe in Jesus Christ and received Him as our Savior, what does that demand that we do?  Think about; the Bible is full of God’s plan for His people and continually communicating the importance of being different. This is where much of our problem occurs.  God wants us to be different from who we were before we established a relationship with Jesus.  Yet, we Evangelicals continue to be reluctant to tell those outside of the Kingdom, along with those who are new in the Kingdom, that God expects our belief in Jesus to bring us into freedom.  Freedom is being free from the internal and external issues that troubled us in the first place, which is why we investigated who Jesus Christ is.

God wants us to do more than simply believe in Jesus.  He wants us to become more like Jesus.  In fact, if we don’t and simply are satisfied to just believe, then are we really saved?  These are questions that are age-old, but these may need to be wrestled with again in the Evangelical circles.  Consider the Fruits of the Spirit, these are those characteristics that I longed to have but could not on my own.  Why?  Because Jesus was not involved in the change.  In fact, simply just believing in Jesus can also lead to Jesus being uninvolved in our character reconstruction.  The Fruits represent the freedom to be who, I and Jesus, desire me to be.

This is what I call believing toward freedom.  Freedom means that I am not locked into the hatred, jealousy, pride, and anger I felt all of time anymore.  So if you are someone who believes in Jesus, but you are not free to love God and others that would demonstrate that you are becoming more like Jesus, then you may not really be saved.  My Jesus came to set the captives free.

Here’s what you need to do.  Seek Him with all of your heart.  In other words, you have to desire Him for more than just avoiding hell.  You need to seek Him while surrendering yourself to Him so that He has the freedom mold and shape you into someone He wants you to be; this better than the person you tried to become without Him.  Pray to Him regularly.  Read His Word regularly.  Meditate on Him and His Word regularly.  Incorporate His commands into your new lifestyle.  Don’t give up.  If you surrender you life in these ways, then you will have the freedom be the person that loves God and others.

We need Christians to start teaching lifestyle change instead of lifestyle acceptance.  We need Christians to teach lifestyle change now instead wait until later change.  The Church needs people who model this change in a positive light instead of an unhappy negative light.  Believing toward freedom makes more sense than simply believe and you will be saved.  So what are you going to do about it?  Believe toward freedom.

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Living it, Sacrifice, Salvation