Indentity Crisis

Mat 16:  MSG
13  When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”
14  They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15  He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”
16  Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17  Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.
18  And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
19  “And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.
20  He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.

Joh 17:  MSG
15  Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One.
16  They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world.
17  Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth.
18  In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.
19  I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.
20  I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me.

Rom 12:  MSG
1  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
2  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Growing up can be frightening to a child always something new to grasp and understand.   School can be abusive, so many bullies on the playground, someone making fun of another because of looks, clothes, or maybe just not as quick when it came to understanding what the teacher was trying to teach.

I was one of those who always felt that I didn’t fit in.  It wasn’t because I was a little slower in learning.  My parents try to give us five children the best they could, both of them working to put food on the table and clothes on our back.  Deep inside of me I was feeling that I was alone.  I didn’t have lots of friends, usually I would have one best friend and that was good enough for me.  My interests were not the same as my peers going through school.

My interest was concentrated of learning a new gospel song with my grandfather.  I cannot remember a time where gospel music was not a part of me.  I didn’t know the lyrics to the latest pop or rock song.  Some of my family would listen to country music, no not the style of country music today, but, the stylings of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and many more from the Nashville Grand Ole Opry.

My other true interest was reading the Bible, yes, back then it was strictly the King James Version of the Bible.  I didn’t have any fancy library to access, just the Bible.  I can recall telling my mother that when I grew up I would be a preacher.  Somehow I knew that was what I was going to become, nothing more, nothing less.

Looking back on my life I guess I could say I had an identity crisis.

As christians living in this world we should almost be having an identity crisis.  We should not feel comfortable with the world around us.  To the child of God it should be like we are just a visitor passing through a land for just a short time.

If the Bible was one big self-esteem lesson we wouldn’t need a Saviour.  

Christ knew that when He left planet earth we humans would need protection.  He knew that we were like sheep being sent forth into a pack of wolves.

All through Biblical history we see where man has needed someone bigger than himself to guide him and protect him.

Joseph was placed in Eygpt for in due time it would be him that would save the Hebrew children from the famine spreading throughout the rest of the world.  Joseph was given divine insight to tell the pharaoh that in the seven years of plenty to store up wheat because there was coming seven years of famine.

Four hundred plus years later along comes a man who as a baby was found in a basket floating down the Nile river in the backyard of the pharaoh’s palace where the pharaoh’s daughter would rescue him.  The man was Moses.  He would go into exile as a wanted murderer and in the desert would have a God encounter.  The God, I am.  In that desert he would have to confront his own identity crisis when God gives Moses a command to go back to Eygpt and tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go.

Moses like us today questioned this plan, Moses a man with a stutter so God gives him his brother Joshua to be the speaker.  God did not send Moses unprepared, He taught Moses all that he would need to be the deliverer of the children of Israel.

All through the Bible we can see where God never sends His servants out to do a task without giving them the tools to get the job done.  No, not the equipment the world would use, tools that to the onlooking world would seem like foolishness.

Now, Christ’s death is approaching, time is running out the Son of God and yet there is still so much more to tell the disciples.  He knew that there was coming a period of time where the disciples would face their own identity crisis.

Christ gives them a command that seems ill timed.

Luk 24:  MSG
49  What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”

I can imagine that the disciples in their finite minds were baffled questioning, ‘endued with power, what power’.

Fast forward to the day we now call the ‘day of Pentecost’.  They are shut in a rented upper room worried that they may be next.  That a knock on the door could mean Herod’s army coming to take them to their own deaths.

cloven tongues of fireWhat comes next is something like out of a great sci-fi movie.  A great mighty wind fills the entire place, it begins to shake and quake, and on the head of every individual is what appears to be ‘cloven tongues of fire’.

People down in the streets hear this great noise and begin to run up into the room.  They here men and women speaking languages other than their native language.  Speaking with languages that were discernable among all of those looking on at what would seem like a bunch of people who have lost their minds.

Peter, finally gaining control of his own native language gets up and delivers his first powerful sermon:

Act 2:  MSG
14  That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight.
15  These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning.
16  This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
17  “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.
18  When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy.
19  I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
20  the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, Before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvelous;
21  And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.”
22  “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—
23  this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him.
24  But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him.
25  David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.
26  I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.
27  I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death.
28  You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.
29  “Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried—his tomb is in plain sight today.
30  But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom,
31  seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah—’no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’
32  This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it.
33  Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear.
34  For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say, God said to my Master, “Sit at my right hand
35  Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.”
36  “All Israel, then, know this: There’s no longer room for doubt—God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.”
37  Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?”
38  Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”
40  He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”
41  That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up.

This is the day the ‘church’ was birthed.  Their identity crisis was over.  They now have put on the mind of Christ.

The modern day church/christians if they are going to win this world for Christ they must stop trying to use the ways of this old world.  The church needs to shake off the mind of this world and how it does things and start listening to the mind of Christ like the Apostle Paul commanded us to do.

God gave Christ’s church a command to go out and teach this world leading them to Christ Jesus.  God never sends out warriors without giving them the armour and weapons of warfare.

There are so many other points I would like to write in this article but it would become a small book.

The other day on social media someone asked me what is a former pastor, they had never heard that before.  I sent a message back stating it meant that I was no longer in active ministry.

That began my mind and my being to thinking, yes, I may no longer stand behind a physical pulpit every Sunday delivering a message to a congregation, but, I am still bringing forth the message of the cross.

I am not an active pastor, evangelist, but this term came to me, I am a revivalist.  For that is what is needed in these last perilous days.

Dear reader you may be facing your own identity crisis at this time in your life.  Down deep inside of you you don’t quite fit in with your peers at work, school or maybe even in your neighbourhood.  Remember, you are in this world but you are not a part of it.  You are just a wayfaring pilgrim passing through until you receive your heavenly home.  So, shake yourself, stand up in Christ for you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus your Lord!  Take and put on the full armor of God!

Rom 8:  MSG
36  They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
37  None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
38  I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,
39  high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

 

 

 

 

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The Remedy, Prayer

43e4094a9b087dd123653574d5d6b072--neon-art-praying-handsJoel 2: MSG
17  Between Sanctuary entrance and altar, let the priests, GOD’s servants, weep tears of repentance. Let them intercede: “Have mercy, GOD, on your people! Don’t abandon your heritage to contempt. Don’t let the pagans take over and rule them and sneer, ‘And so where is this God of theirs?’

 

Mar 11:  MSG
17  And then he taught them, quoting this text: My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.

Rom 8: MSG
26  Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

I thank God for the greatest tool a child of God has, ‘prayer‘.

Prayer is not some ritual, it does not matter if you are in a kneeling position, standing position, or just laying on your bed before you fall asleep.

What prayer is total direct communication between God and His child.  You do not need to know some mystical chant or repitition of words strung together.

I know that this is contrary to what many have been taught since they were a child.  You do not need to be at a certain place at a certain time.  You can be engaged in this during your lunch hour at school, work, shopping or any other place on this earth.

The idea of prayer to some seems so trivial in this generation.  They would rather have great music, I am a musician and do love great gospel music, a spectacular building, a fine robed choir, a great orator, but all those things are minor in the eyes of prayer.  

I was raised that you can be in a constant state of prayer.  Sure, those around you may not know that this is true, but prayer is something that connects your spirit with the very Spirit of God.

I have found myself waking up in the night finding myself in prayer for something that was not even on my mind when I was awake.  It might be praying for someone whom you haven’t thought about in a great length of time.  These are the times when the Spirit of God prays through you even when you had no knowledge of the need.

Prayer, in my opinion, is a two way communication.  We tell God our needs, and then we wait for an answer from above.

I hear people declare on the news that it is a national day of prayer.  Oh this sounds so sanctimonious, yet it is nothing but empty vain words.  Nothing but a show.  It goes no further than the ceiling in the room.

I must say I find pastors and leaders lacking when it comes to prayer.  A pastor in North America has a congregation in the tens of thousands, talks alot about self-esteem, but very little on the subject of prayer.  You don’t need a pep talk about self-esteem, or what your value is, how to get wealthy, you need a pastor who will tell you how to shake the heavens through prayer to move the hand of God.

I truly believe a nation is only as strong as their prayer life.  A family is only as strong as it’s prayer life.

A church is only as strong as the priest’s prayer life, and as strong as the congregation’s prayer life.

Oh I am not against the shout during a great message, or even a dance during the worship, but, what is your prayer life like when you face the reality of life the next day.

In these tumulous days what will sustain you through it all is, prayer.  

When your cupboards and fridge are empty all the self-esteem and positive thinking will not feed your hungry family, but, prayer will turn that empty table into a table of food.

The name above the door of your gathering place means nothing to God.  I don’t care how many doctors, lawyers, etc., are in the congregation, but I do care that it is a house of prayer.

You don’t need hundreds or even thousands for the Spirit of God to be in your presence.

Mat 18:  MSG
20  And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

If you just have two or three, it might be just a shack, but you have the promise of the Son of God, that He will be there.  This is true prayer!

I believe God is not moved by your politics, he is moved by the cry of his’ people.

Pastors need a heart of prayer, weeping before God between the porch and the altar.

Nations have risen and fallen because of the strength of the prayers of the leaders and people.

Mothers, keep praying beside your bedside for that wandering child, do not quit, do not give in to defeat.  God hear’s those prayers, and sees your tears.

Fathers, if you want to teach your son how to be a man, teach him how to pray.

Leaders, if you want to be an example, teach those who follow you how to pray.

“Prayer changes things”.

 

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Bankrupt

bankruptRev 3:  MSG
14  Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:
15  “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot!
16  You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.
17  You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.
18  “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.
19  “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

Mat 6:  MSG
19  “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars.
20  Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.

For the past several days now the word “bankrupt” has been going through my mind almost non-stop.

I had been trying to write about the axe head that floated, but for now that is for another time.

When I was in active ministry and trying to prepare a sermon, message to preach I would sometimes meditate on a subject, verse of Scripture, or maybe just a word for several days to weeks before delivering the sermon, message.

I wasn’t much into writing out my sermons or messages, I would just study and meditate on that which was weighing on me.  By the time I went to speak I knew my subject inside and out.

Now to the topic of this article.

Here is a definition of the word which I would like for this article to focus on:

completely lacking in a particular quality or value.
“their cause is morally bankrupt”

I have seen the effects that financial bankruptcy can have on a person, persons, or families.  Families fall apart, abuse of alcohol, and or drugs, or to the committing of suicide of a person.  No matter how you look at it all outcomes are devastating.

Over the past years I have becomed alarmed of what is being said behind the pulpits of North America.  Messages that have no Scriptural foundation to support them.  Scriptures being twisted taken out of context to fit their misconceived ideas.

Preachers who at one time preached the message of the cross now resorting to teaching some other gospel.  

Gal 1:  MSG
6  I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message!
7  It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head.
8  Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed.
9  I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.

I am sure if Paul were to be alive today who himself would not recognize what is being preached as the Gospel he delivered over two thousand years ago.

It is easy to get caught up in something that seems to be the going thing and give in and preach it yourself.

There are many sermons, messages I wish I could go back and erase them as though I had never spoke them.

I have come to a conclusion that I no longer would consider myself an evangelical as is thought of when you mention the word.  What I see and hear coming from “evangelical” pulpits I do not recognize them as sound doctrine.

Jud 1:  MSG
3  Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.

As I look in on what I see and hear all I feel is a people who have become bankrupted.  Yes, they have some of the correct actions, words, and maybe even looks, but spiritually totally bankrupt.

During the great depression of the 1930’s pastors, teachers, and evangelists were having a troublesome time trying to keep going for finances were slim to none.

Some began to try and find ways to bring in more money so that the bills would be paid.  

Now from what I understand there were some tent evangelists that got together and talk among themselves of what they could do to better their situation.  Hence, the birth of the “prosperity gospel”.  It began to catch fire with those in the pews and the offering plates began to overflow with finances.  The only one who truly prospers from that gospel is the one behind the pulpit spouting it.  I at one time also preached that gospel, but I have renounced that false gospel today. 

Paul in his travels would often send word to the local gathering to take care of the finances and such so that when he arrived he could preach the Gospel.  Paul sometimes even had to fall back on his trade, tent making.

Act 18:  MSG
1  After Athens, Paul went to Corinth.
2  That is where he discovered Aquila, a Jew born in Pontus, and his wife, Priscilla. They had just arrived from Italy, part of the general expulsion of Jews from Rome ordered by Claudius.
3  Paul moved in with them, and they worked together at their common trade of tentmaking.
4  But every Sabbath he was at the meeting place, doing his best to convince both Jews and Greeks about Jesus.

The Church and Government

When I was in active ministry as a pastor when it came to an election I never resorted to talking about politics from the pulpit.  The minute a pastor does this he isolates some of those sitting in the pews.  He forgets not everyone under the sound of his voice has the same political convictions as he does.  So, for me I would only say to the congregation, ‘vote your conscience’.

The body of Christ needs to come to full understanding that government is not it’s friend.  I realize I am somewhat alone in this matter, but, I will hold fast to this until my dying day.  Yes, I follow Scripture, I pray for those who are in authority over me.

Israel had a king, not because it was God’s perfect will, He gave them want they wanted but, sent leaness to their souls.  God’s will was that Israel would be led by the prophets who were led by God.  When Saul became king he eventually turned his back on God and started Israel on it’s way to worshipping false Gods and idols.

David was probably the greatest king that the nation of Israel ever was priviledged to have, and yet, David was a flawed man.  He sent a man to the front of the battle, the man was killed, it was David’s way to have the man’s wife.  With all his failings God still declared that David was a man after God’s own heart.

Now forward to the time of the Romans.  Rome was not a friend to Israel, Rome was Israel’s slave master.  Word was brought to Herod about the prophecy of a king being born, a Jewish baby.  Herod had his soldiers go out and kill every male baby two years old and younger.  Mary and Joseph escaped by going to live in Eygpt during those troubling years.

Christ grew up in and around Bethlehem.  At the age of thirty he begins his public ministry.  He began to have favor among the people, but the elites among the Jewish temple began to become jealous.  Those elites were the religious priests and others of the Jews.

They began to plan a scheme which eventually would have them convince Herod to send Christ to the cross.  No, Herod had nothing against Christ, but, things were already set in motion.  After the crucifixion the disciples and other followers of Christ went into hiding, fearing that they may be the next to be put to death.

Rome had their very own terminator, his name was Saul.  Saul was a citizen of Rome and also a Jew.  He would be considered in today’s society a lawyer.  He probably was somewhere in the area when the crucified Christ, but, we have no written records to say if the two had ever met.

It was Saul who gave consent to the mob to go after Stephen and stone him to death.  Later, the man who gave consent met the Lord on the road that led to Damascus.  He then took on the name of Paul.

At first the disciples and others did not trust this man named Paul.  They were fearful thinking that this could be a deception by Rome to persecute more followers of Christ. 

I find nowhere in history where the new Christians ever became friends of the government.  They had no trust in the governors of Rome and Rome had no use for the early church.  I would urge everyone to seek out the writings of Josephus, the first century historian.  Read the writings entitled, “The war of the Jews”.  The government was brutal against the Christians.  Feeding them to the lions as a form of entertainment.  Crucifying and stoning everyone they captured.  The disciple Peter was crucified upside down only because he did not feel worthy to be crucified the same as the Lord.

The apostle Paul was no stranger to the brutality of the Romans.  He penned many of the epistles while in jail.  Actually, they were letters to various new churches around the region and the known world.  Paul while in prison in Rome finally met his day where he would lay his head on the block and lose his life to the axeman of Rome.

The author of the Book of Revelation, John, would spend his final years on an island meant for criminals, the Isle of Patmos.

Somewhere over many centuries and years the Body of Christ has come to believe that they would not see persecution.  I have always maintained that we today are no better than that of the members of the early church over two thousand years ago.

I have more years behind me than I have in front of me, so, I may not physically see which that is coming upon this world, even North America.

There is coming a government upon this earth that will make the Romans look like saints.  The ruler of this government will make it his task to destroy and kill all Christians.  He will only save the lives of those who will renounce their faith in Christ Jesus.  If they refuse they too will be beheaded.  This time of trouble I believe will be global.  Some theologians teach that it will be contained only in and around Europe and the mid-east.

He will present himself as a friend of Israel and make a treaty of peace for seven years,  The Word of God tells us that half way through this treaty he will break it and declare war on the saints.

The upcoming battle that this will unleash will see rivers of blood of the slain as high as a horse’s bridle.  It will take the world seven years to bury the dead.

It will begin to look like all is lost, Israel is near extinction, but just before it would seem all hope is gone Christ will come back just like the angels told the disciples on the day of the Lord’s ascension on the mount of Olives.  When His feet touch the mountain it will be cleaved in two.

Christ will finish the battle and be the victor and then begin to set up His kingdom here on earth.

Every day as I watch and read of the events happening around the globe I see glimpses of prophecy coming into being.  Then I look at the state of the church and even I wonder if many will make it through.

The eyes of the church have turned away from their focus on Christ.  Little foxes have come in and began to spoil the vines and the fruit.

On the day of judgement when we stand before the throne of God we will have to give an account of our lives.  Many like the Scripture tells us will tell the Lord, ‘we cast out devils in your name, we healed the sick’ only to hear the reply from the throne, ‘depart from me, I never knew you’.  Most of these will be the preachers, teachers, leaders in the churches who led many astray turning their eyes off the prize of eternal life.

There is so much more to write but at this moment this will be sufficient to warn the church and the Body of Christ to turn back to the cross, get under the blood that washes our sins away and turn from all these false idols of wealth, luxury, etc.,

May God himself have mercy on the nations who have known the Gospel but perverted it with their religion, power, and money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Broken Watch

broken watchMat 24:42 KJV – Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

From my earliest memories I have heard numerous messages that Jesus is coming soon.  The preachers would stress that Christ could return before the service was finished.  There was always such urgency in the preacher’s voice like it might happen that very minute.

Then every New Year’s eve there would be a service that was called “watch night” service”.  The message would be based on the scripture found in 1 Thessalonians.

1Th 5: MSG
2  You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would.
3  About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—”We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.

After the message there would be a communion service where everyone would be encouraged to search themselves and take stock of their life.  If there was anything in our heart that stood between Christ and us to get it under the blood of Christ.

Then after the preacher finished he would encourage the congregation to gather around the altar and kneel down in prayer while waiting for the clock to strike 12:01.

After the resurrection on the mount of Olives while Christ was ascending to heaven the angels of heaven gave this message to the disciples and followers of Christ:

Act 1:  (MSG)
11  They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”

Christians have been looking for the blessed appearance every since the angels made that promise.

Every preacher since then has believed it could happen in their life time.  It was always a message of urgency and conviction.

As I stop and listen to many preachers, teachers, etc., I do not sense any urgency in their message.  They are relaxed and complaceny has taken its place.

Church services now are but a place of entertainment.  Auditorium lights are off the platform equipped with strobe lights, loud music, smoke machines.  Music that would be called “rock” if you didn’t have any lyrics.

The message of the Gospel now replaced with a message of steps to feel better or how they can have the wealth of the world in their hands.

Let me remind you what Christ spoke to his disciples:

Mar 11:  MSG
17  And then he taught them, quoting this text: My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.

I find no place in todays church services for prayer or the things of God.

Oh how far society has strayed from the Gospel road.  No power in the message because there is no Gospel in the message.  Todays church has become drunk on the appetite for things of the world.  This drunkeness has driven out the place where faith once dwelled.

Luk 18: KJV
8b  …Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

While I am writing this I can almost hear the critics saying this is judgemental, harsh.  No, it is the sound of a clarion call.  A call to the backslider to come back to the cross of Calvary, be washed in the blood of the lamb.

A trumpet call to the weary, weak, oppressed and those that are bound by sin that there is safety in only one man, the man Christ Jesus!

Oh the clock is almost ready to strike midnight and many do not have their lamps full of oil trimmed and burning.

Like the prodigal son they have sold their inheritance for a bucket of pig slop.  It’s time for those to get up out of the pig pen of the world, return back on the road that leads to home where the father’s arms are outstretched waiting for his lost son to come back to him.

I can hear the gospel song in my mind,

“Come into the ark, the sky grows dark

There’s a storm called God’s great judgement day”

Reader what are you waiting for.

Mamma, dad, don’t quit praying for that child who has wandered far from home.  Believe God to put a hook in their jaw and bring them back to the fold.  We have the promise:

Pro 22:  MSG
6  Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.

Child of God keep that love one before the throne of grace, trust God that He will turn that one around.

Be like the widow who bothered the judge day and night until he grew tired and weary for a change in the sentence.  God is faithful.  It may grow worse before it gets better but do not lose faith, place it in the hands of God.

Maybe, you are blessed and your family is in the ark of safety, then start believing God for your neighbour, neighbourhood, and the very town, city, village you live in.  From there we can see a move of God that will encompass the whole earth before the Lord comes back.

 

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Let Him Say it in His Own Words

t2gospel

MEN TALKING

If God keeps waiting on the Church, this world will never be saved.  Let’s face the facts: they’re distracted and we’re paralyzed.  You know it’s true.

There’s so much buzz in church circles about relationships and building bridges to lost friends, but mostly what comes out of all that chill chatter is generalities and coffee conversations.  If that celebrated bridge ever gets underway, it’s generally another bridge to nowhere.  Maybe it’s partly due to growing urbanization and the oppressive idea of tolerance, but Jesus feels like a very offensive topic, even to people in the church.  His name may be the last taboo.

  • We’re afraid we’ll mention faith too soon and turn them off.
  • We fear we’ll be too direct and friends will feel judged.
  • What if they ask a question and I can’t answer?
  • It would be embarrassing if I got through my whole testimony and the only…

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Slow Down, Stop Hurrying!

Isa 40:  (MSG)
31  But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Mar 6: (MSG)
31  Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
32  So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves.

Act 1: (MSG)
4  As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me.

Maybe it’s my age but I have made some observations about the generation living now.  Everyone rushing about, yet, not really going anywhere.  

We have fast food, microwave ovens, and even popcorn you place in that oven that pops within minutes.

The generation of a family all sitting down together for a meal seems like a distant memory.  Every person in the house on a different schedule with the only contact made between each other is passing them in a hallway or the kitchen grabbing a meal bar.

Sometimes while I am shopping I can grow frustrated watching people staring down at the little palm size thing called a “cell phone”.  Not watching where they are going and at times almost run you over getting to the place they are in a hurry to get.

It seems no one has the time to actually get all the facts of an issue before making an informed decision.  They get there information in bits and pieces and most of it from people that always think like they do.  I sometimes wonder and would like to ask some when is the last time you actually took time to read an actual physical hand held book.

I still have a land line phone, yes, no cell phone.  I tell people if you cannot reach me on the phone or by email, it usually means I am not available.  Just recently I saw a report on television how this generation actually takes their cell phone to bed, waking up intermittlingly through the night to check social media websites.

I have a relative who thought when he applied for a job he should start at the top.  I once told that person, ‘if you start at the top you have a long ways down to fall’.

The same is true among evangelicals in North America.  They want their pastors to have them in and out in one hour.  It has been a long time since I have witnessed an actual altar call where the people of God gather around and pray for one another.

Young ministers and pastors think that if they don’t have large congregations at the beginning of their ministry that they are a failure.

I was one of those young ministers and a good friend told me one time ‘slow down, your ministry will wait for you’.

Those who want to be a lawyer, doctor, or other professional life realize that they will have to spend many years in study, then as a law clerk, or an intern in some rural emergency room.

I now have more years behind me than in front of me.  I have learned a valuable lesson that being, you really never know it all.  Somehow, when were young we have the thought that we have the world by the tail, we know everything there is to know about life.  To that I say, poppycock!

I cannot say how many time I have read the Bible, maybe a certain chapter or verse thinking I have gleaned every thing there is from it.  Yet, somehow every time I take the time to wait on the Lord and read that chapter or verse some new nugget of truth seems to leap from the pages.

Your prayer life is the same, it takes waiting.  Sometimes that means no talking on our part, just quiet listening to what God has to say to our heart.

The upper room experience would have never happened if the disciples and followers of Christ would have hurried just to get to the temple market.

Christ spent the whole night in the garden of Gethemane.

Mar 14:32-34 MSG
32  They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
33  He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony.
34  He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

He returned some time later only to find the disciples asleep and He asked them couldn’t they have not at least prayed for an hour.

At the turn of the twentieth century a simple prayer meeting turned into one of the greatest revivals that America ever experienced.  It was on a street in Los Angeles called, ‘Azuza’.

The great preacher John Wesley had great meetings, but it started with John Wesley waiting before God.  They asked him why he saw the crowds like they saw during his meetings.  His response, 

“I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.”

I am not quick at preparing a sermon, nor I am writing on this blog quickly.  I take time and wait until I know I have something that needs to be said, something that is relevant.  I do not write to receive a paycheck.  I am not trying to profit on preaching the Gospel.

I truly want to say if you want to be a firebrand for God, please, it would behoove you to learn to wait on the Lord.  Waiting is a difficult tool to master.  I truly believe it will take a life time.

So, starting today, slow down, get before the Lord, wait until you are endued with power from on high.

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The Handshake & The Fist

The Handshake & The Fist

Mar 8:34-38

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
What could you ever trade your soul for?
“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

During the past several weeks I have had the pleasure of seeing something I have not seen in my lifetime.

On social media I have witnessed many Arabic speaking citizens joining me.  Some who privately acknowledged they like what was being done.

Late me state all who reads, I believe that Christ died for all people, including those in the Arab countries.

Somehow, men have created barriers that separate into ethnic groups, religion, and country of origin.  I call this “the fist”.

Evangelicals in North America have had their part in this.  Instead of conversation they preach of message of condemnation that separates people.

I may not agree with Islam and it’s teaching, I do however believe that Christians need to start a conversation with other faiths.  I call this, “the handshake”.

Several days ago I had an appointment with a doctor who was of the Islamic Faith.  While sitting in his office I noticed a picture, a picture of Mecca.

MeccaWith that picture in mind I asked the doctor if he had been there yet.  You see in the Islamic faith they are taught if possible they need to make the pilgrimage to Mecca called “The Hajj”.  The doctor turned to me and asked how I knew about Mecca.  I responded that  I love learning about all different religions and faiths.

With that questioned I created a “handshake” and for the next following twenty minutes, after he closed the office door, we shared back and forth about our faiths.  During that conversation I learned Islam has a teaching similar to what Christians would call tithing, called “zakat” the third pillar of Islam.  They are taught that charity to the poor is essential.

That handshake was something to behold even for my best friend who was sitting beside me.  I had never seen the doctor with that much enthusiasm.

 Now let speak to the issue of “the fist”. That is what keeps people apart.  We hammer what is unacceptable.  We thunder sermons that they are wrong. With all that we create walls and barriers.  Somehow, we have decided that they are not worthy to hear the Gospel of “whosoever will may come”.

There are two ways to approach a person:

1. A handshake of welcome.

2. A clenched fist.

I choose the handshake.  I truly believe that is what Christ would do if He were to walk the earth today.  I extended a handshake to the little children and then to the woman caught in adultery.  He did not push them away with the fist, but rather, welcomed all with a handshake.

During these several weeks I have had the pleasure of speaking to those in Kenya, India, Russia, and many more.

If Christians are going to win this world they must put down their preconceived ideas of who we should share the Gospel with.

Christians need to open the fist and welcome people with the handshake that opens the door for conversation and witnessing.  Stop trying to clean the fish before you catch them!

 

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