and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Seeker’s Church- Part 2

       In trying to make church services more acceptable to the unsaved we create two main problems: first the sheep miss out on a main meal.  Even though we need food and should be partaking of God’s Word daily, the ones gifted to teach/ preach should ensure there is solid meat at service.

(Jesus to Peter) …Feed My lambs…  Feed My sheepFeed My sheep. Jh. 21:15-17
Woe to the shepherds who destroy* and scatter the sheep of My pasture, says Jehovah. Jr. 23:1  *cause to perish, go astray

       The second problem is the focus on self as opposed to on God.  Instead of knowing who we are in Christ we really we need to know Christ for who He is.  Jesus/ God isn’t our magic pill to improve us in the way we wish.  He’s our Creator, our Lord, our Savior- the One to whom we owe everything and to whom we must bow.  He is holy, just and will judge all men.  By speaking only non-offensive words, the unsaved do not really know, before making a decision, the true cost of Christianity which includes repentance and submission to God’s will.

Are any of us truly seeking, or are we just after improving our lives somehow?

there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God." Rm. 3:11
And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, Ep. 2:1
For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousnessFor the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse. Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools  Rm. 1:18-22

       See, it not only takes ALL the truth to bring conviction and true repentance but the Spirit must draw the person or the words will be as scattered on the hard, dry ground.  Our natural man is dead and does not understand the Truth or that which is revealed by the Spirit.  For the sake of the unsaved, we must continue the pure gospel as taught by Jesus to the disciples who were to teach others to observe all He commanded and not just the easy to hear parts. 

No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him Jh. 6:44
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Cr. 2:14
And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers. Ac. 2:42
Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you... Mt. 28:19,20

       And yes, our lives do become better in that we have His peace and joy within us when we truly surrender to His Lordship.  But our lives also become more difficult because of trials and without proper teaching, we are no longer prepared because we want God to intervene and save us from the trials He promised we’d have (Jh. 16:33).  Family divisions may happen (Lk. 12:53); we may be looked on as fools by the world (1Cr. 1:18,23); life will throw lots of curveballs at us.  Still, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hb. 12:2)- and not so much on ourselves.

       The Word of God (not just man’s thoughts or knowledge) divides our soul and spirit, convicting us of the truth and compelling us to faith (Hb. 4:12).  It is good for doctrine and correction (2Tm. 3:16,17), much of which is lost in the ‘seeker’ oriented church service.  All who teach, preach and spread the gospel must “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.(Jude 1:3).  This ‘seeker’ movement is large and well accepted, but that doesn’t make it right.  And let’s not forget the first sermon after Pentecost.

       Peter basically called the people murderers, spoke of Jesus’ death on the cross, hell, and did not speak/ focus on God’s love for them.  Imagine that!  It was what many consider very offensive.  Yet, Scripture records, “And hearing this, they were stabbed in the heart, and said to Peter and to the other apostles, Men, brothers, what shall we do?” (Ac. 2:37) and thousands were saved after one sermon.

Oh Lord, help each of us to do as well…

Friday, September 05, 2014

Seeker’s Church- Part 1

       These days I’ve heard the term seeker as if it is in the Word of God.  Now, the Bible does include the word seek, but I have not found the word ‘seeker’.  As a result of using the word, we have many churches that began having 'seeker friendly services'.  This is an attempt to make the unsaved as comfortable and services as non-threatening to him as possible.  Modern entertainment is often used to keep the unsaved interested such as up to date technology, superior lighting and sound.

       Well run programs are a must for kids and adults.  Shorter sermons focused on self improvement are more acceptable messages.  All of this is in hopes that the unsaved will accept the gospel. The focus of these services then becomes self instead of Jesus Christ.  ‘Come to Jesus, He’ll make your life better.’  In contrast, the Bible indicates Jesus seeks the lost and WE are to seek God, not ‘spirituality’ as is the new norm.    

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Lk. 19:10
But if you shall seek Jehovah your God from there, you shall find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Dt. 4:29
I love those who love me; and those who seek me early shall find me. Pr. 8:17
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… Mt. 6:33
Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face continually. 1Ch. 16:11

       Jesus often offended people with His words- knowing He would do so before He said them because He is omniscient.  He lost disciples due to offending with His words: “From this time many of His disciples went back into the things behind, and walked no more with Him. (Jh. 6:66).  But these days, we’d rather be assured God loves us even though we sin instead of our need for repentance.

       Many great doctrines are shelved because they are deemed divisive.  There is nothing comfortable about the Truth.  Sin, hell, repentance and Jesus being the ONLY way to heaven are rarely if ever mentioned.  In love, Jesus always spoke the truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.(Jh. 14:6)  Some churches today go so far as to not have a cross because it could be offensive.  Without the cross we’d all be lost!!!

Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. But I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and you keep the doctrines as I delivered them to you. 1Cr. 11:1,2
And He said to them, Follow Me… Mt. 4:19
For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God. 1Cr. 1:18

       We should follow Jesus Christ in these matters by showing love to the unsaved but doing that which Jesus did- tell the truth- boldly no matter who is offended or not.  We should follow Paul’s example as he followed Jesus and preached His doctrines.  We should follow the Holy Spirit’s leading “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.(Gl. 5:25) instead of man’s ideas of what is best.  “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” (1Cr. 3:19)

After all, do we really think we can do better than Jesus?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I Don’t Know…

       Some days I have questions that continually circle in my mind like drizzle on a cold, wet day.  This is only a pilgrimage here, a journey; this is not my home.  I’m glad for that because if this is all there is to eternity, I’m not impressed.  It’s been another day of bad news.

Dearly beloved, I exhort you as temporary residents and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 1Pt. 2:11

       The beheadings going on in the east are the topic of the day.  Why can’t people just get along?  Why must the enemy continue to have such power as to drive men to murder?  Why can’t the world be filled with true Christians who really love others like the Bible says we should?

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  Mt. 22:37,39

       Then there is a precious lady in the hospital very sick with more than one issue.  She loves the Lord and has worked in His service, yet she is still sick and doing poorly.  There are many Christians that way right now; and many more non-Christians.  Sick, lame, heart failing, diseased, cancers, poverty, starvation, death…  Oh Lord, why must the enemy have so much success over our minds and bodies right now?  Lord, when will You come and abolish the enemy, sickness and death?

Come quickly please.

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. Jh. 16:33

       Right now I’m really tired of offense especially among the brethren.  It should not be!  Ever!  Are we hurt and offended that someone thinks poorly of us?  Perhaps there’s a reason for it and we should look at it from their side- for we might act the same if we were in there shoes.  Maybe we should be more careful about how we treat others and think before we speak and act.  Maybe we shouldn’t let our past hurts taint the actions of others which may be of right motivation.  Why don’t we just deal with it?

Certainly we should deal with it immediately at the first offense; otherwise the devil may use it to mess with us.

But if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  Mt. 18:15 plus more

       And why do we Christians continue to be so worldly, carnal, fleshly minded.  A man gets blessed and we get jealous.  A worker gets a new car and we are upset nothing good ever happens to us.  The tv or tech device is the first thing we use in our ‘free time’ instead of our Bible which often collects dust on the shelf.  How many times do we go to church a week to learn?  Once or twice?  Would we only eat food that many times a week?  No, certainly not.  We need three meals minimum seven days a week- but we act like the solid food of the Word will maintain our health with only one or two ‘meals’ a week?  I think not!

But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Mt. 4:4
But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah; and in His Law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:2
I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able to bear it; nor are you able even now. For you are yet carnal… 1Cr. 3:2,3

Precious Lord, please forgive us for making everything more important than You…

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Allow God to Interrupt Your Plans

       That’s what the speaker said during the sermon on Sunday as I sat on a hard wooden bench under the morning sun at worship service with a bunch of other campers.  He brought up Jairus in Mark 5:25-34 (also Mt. 9:20-22; Lk. 8:43-48) who asked Jesus to heal his only daughter (Lk. 8:42).  Jesus was walking to his house when a woman with an issue of blood touched him to be healed.  He stopped to deal with her.

       This woman was unclean for 12 years (see Lev. 15:25).  Twelve years of everything you touch being made unclean; of seeking out healing at the hands of doctors that can’t help and leave you penniless but you still get worse.  Whatever the issue was, her life was forever altered by the flow of blood.  Perhaps she was unable to marry or bear children.  Perhaps she was married but could never touch her husband (would he stay with her?), or if she had children, would she make them unclean by her touch?

       No matter how her life was going, you can believe it was slowly destroying her.  She heard of Jesus and went to see Him believing for a cure even by only touching His clothing.  She pushed through the crowd aware of how many she was making unclean.  Nothing deterred her for she was determined.  She reached out and touched the hem of his garment, and He felt power leave Him as she was healed instantly.

     And a certain woman who had had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and had not been bettered any, but rather came to worse, having heard about Jesus, she came in the press behind and touched His garment. For she said, If I may but touch only His clothes, I will be cured.
     And instantly the fountain of her blood dried up. And she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And knowing instantly within Himself that power had gone out of Him, Jesus turned Himself around in the press and said, Who touched My clothes? And His disciples said to Him, You see the crowd pressing on You, and do You say, Who touched Me? And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.
     But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done in her, came and fell down before Him and told Him all the truth. And He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be whole from your plague.

       Now Jesus knew who it was (He was still God after all), stopped, interrupting His plans and called her out; not to yell, put shame on her for touching Him, or any other negative reason but to show His love.  She reported her story.  He called her daughter, spoke words of courage or cheer to her, commented on her faith, told her she was saved and proclaimed peace over her.  Jesus was more than okay with delaying His plans for her.  He made time instead of rushing away to accomplish His own agenda.

       Jesus said the two greatest commandments are that we wholly love God, and love others as much as we love ourselves (Mt. 22:36-40).  That could be why as we read the Bible we find He often allowed His plans to be interrupted by people.  He wanted to show God’s love for mankind.  This all makes me wonder how often I allow my plans to be interrupted for others.  Do I allow God to use me to show His love to others even when it is inconvenient to me?

Lord, I need some work in this area.
     Please help me improve and help me see others through Your eyes of love and be willing to interrupt my plans for Yours!