Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Revisiting Christian Doctrine Part 4 ( Serving the Lord)

The happiest people in the world are the ones who don't have much but give away an abundance. The Christian walk is not about going to church on Sundays or quoting a few scriptures. It is much more than that. Our life is more than just going to work, buying things for our families, and dying.  We can not help our birth nor our death but we can make a difference in between. What are we giving away for the cause of Christ? Christians should be at the front of giving themselves for the cause of helping others. It is the testimony of Jesus living inside of us and through us.

Why is it that churches find it hard to get workers?  Why don't believers have a heart to serve? There should never be an empty position. In fact there should always be people on a waiting list to fill a position of service within the local church. Believers should be lining up wanting to serve the Lord with great enthusiasm. A pastor should never have to ask for volunteers. Why is this not happening? Many believers are just believers in word but not in action. Our faith is an action verb which means it must have legs. If your walk with God is not moving then you don't have a relationship with the Almighty.


James 2:19-26  You believe that there is one God. That's fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.  (20)  You fool! Do you have to be shown that faith which does nothing is useless?  (21)  Didn't our ancestor Abraham receive God's approval as a result of what he did when he offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice on the altar?  (22)  You see that Abraham's faith and what he did worked together. His faith was shown to be genuine by what he did.  (23)  The Scripture passage came true. It says, "Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham." So Abraham was called God's friend.  (24)  You see that a person receives God's approval because of what he does, not only because of what he believes.  (25)  The same is true of the prostitute Rahab who welcomed the spies and sent them away on another road. She received God's approval because of what she did.  (26)  A body that doesn't breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead.


Here are some truths when discussing about a life that serves the Lord.

1. Just believing in God is not enough. Even demons do that but they don't serve the Lord.
2. Faith is useless unless it is given action. It must tangibly touch others.
3. Faith is organic which means it lives by interacting with others.
4. Giving it all away means surrendering completly to the Lord and having the willing heart to walk away from your comfort zone.
5. Your faith is only considered real if it has action. Dead people don't move. People who are alive do!
6. Here is a bold but True statement. YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN UNLESS YOUR FAITH IS MOBILE. I didn't say God's word did. We are not called to be pew warmers but kingdom workers. 


Our faith requires us and even commands us to surrender all to the Lord. I am not saying that we have to live as poor vagabonds. However, the question is this? Do you have things or do things have you?  What is stopping you from serving the Lord? Do you reach out to others with the Gospel?  Serving the Lord is one of the fundamental truths of  our Christian doctrine. When discussing faith service has to go along with it.  So what do you believe?


Lord give us your eyes just for one second.



blessings,

Johnny

Monday, November 28, 2011

Revisiting Christian Doctrine Part 3 ( Salvation Through Grace)

 I am helpless without the power of God. I need Holy Spirit each day to help me overcome sin, evil thoughts, and the lust of my flesh. Our human desires are strong and opposite of the desires of God. Some would say, " Then why should we have to stop our desires."" Why can't I fulfill my lust each day."  Well the bible says sin leads to death. Death in the worse kind. Death of body and soul. Eternal death is the worse kind of death any one person could have. God never meant for mankind to die nor to fall into sin. If you look at the many different kinds of sin today; one could see why the Lord does not desire for us to do them. All sin leads to more sin and to horrible outcomes. Ted Bundy, Serial killer in the 80's, told Dr. James Dobson  in an interview that pornography was a strong force which helped drive is sexual desires towards women and in turn to kill them. Now don't get me wrong not every person who looks at porn is a serial killer but it is what I call a starter sin which can develop into more hardcore sins. I have enclosed a video which talks about the effects of pornography on the brain. If anyone out there thinks that sin does not effect you or anyone else; you are badly mistaken. That is why we need a Savior. This is why we need salvation through His grace.

http://mykeweber.blogspot.com/2011/03/dr-hilton-talks-about-effects-of.html#!/2011/03/dr-hilton-talks-about-effects-of.html

I just used pornography as one example.It is something I have fought from time to time in my life and I understand it's power. It becomes a stronghold for many and this is the same for many sins that people are bound to throughout the world.  As you can see you and I need a savior. The doctrine of Salvation through Grace is  where God has given us a way out from our sin through Jesus Christ. Look at the below verses.

Ephesians 2:8-9  God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.  (9)  It's not the result of anything you've done, so no one can brag about it.

God has saved us through his kindness. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from sin nor to get salvation through Christ. It is a free gift given to us through the grace of God. Grace is God's unmerited favor given freely to mankind. In other words, we deserve to die in our sin. We deserve to face the consequences for our sin but God said NO. "I will give my people a way out from their sin. I will show them my mercy and give them a better choice."

Jesus died for us even before we were born. He gave us a way out even before the taste of our first sin. He brings us freedom from all accounts of sin and covers us with His wonderful grace.

Romans 5:5-14  We're not ashamed to have this confidence, because God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  (6)  Look at it this way: At the right time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for ungodly people.  (7)  Finding someone who would die for a godly person is rare. Maybe someone would have the courage to die for a good person.  (8)  Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God's love for us.  (9)  Since Christ's blood has now given us God's approval, we are even more certain that Christ will save us from God's anger.  (10)  If the death of his Son restored our relationship with God while we were still his enemies, we are even more certain that, because of this restored relationship, the life of his Son will save us.  (11)  In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ lets us continue to brag about God. After all, it is through Christ that we now have this restored relationship with God.  (12)  Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.  (13)  Sin was in the world before there were any laws. But no record of sin can be kept when there are no laws.  (14)  Yet, death ruled from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed. Adam is an image of the one who would come.

The First Adam brought sin into the world and sin brought death. The Second Adam ( Jesus Christ) brought salvation through Grace and through Grace eternal life. We can now have a restored relationship with the living God. The bridge has been rebuilt through the blood of Christ and his wonderful sacrifice.



Salvation through Grace is a God thing. He chose to give us a way out instead of allowing us to suffer for what we deserve. It is His mercy which have been bestowed upon us. There is nothing we can do to get salvation but to simply receive it by faith. We can not add to it nor make our own path. We truly need a savior.

Through Grace and Salvation sin no longer has to have dominion over mankind. We can walk in freedom through the power of Christ living within us.

Romans 6:13-16  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  (14)  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  (15)  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.  (16)  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

We never understand God's salvation through grace for our lives until we understand the depth of our sin.  John Henry Newton was a slave trader back in the 1800's. He saw the horrible conditions of the slave trade and actually fulfilled them. Many slaves died on his ships and many were sold to evil masters where they were beaten and subdued to harsher treatments. John later gave his life to Christ and became a minister of the gospel. He battled the guilt from being a slave trader and during one such episode of guilt he produced this famous song.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


Walk in freedom today. Except the grace of God. Salvation of Christ can change the cold heart of any man or woman. We come to him through faith. We need his salvation through Grace.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Revisiting Christian Doctrine Part 2 ( Only one God with One Way)

We already determined that we serve one God as Christians in my last blog. What about the controversial issue many try to argue about? ONLY THROUGH JESUS CAN WE COME TO THE FATHER.  He is the way, the truth, and the Life.

John 14:1-7  "Don't be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me.  (2)  My Father's house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I'm going to prepare a place for you?  (3)  If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. Then I will bring you into my presence so that you will be where I am.  (4)  You know the way to the place where I am going."  (5)  Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you're going. So how can we know the way?"  (6)  Jesus answered him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.  (7)  If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him through me and have seen him in me."

In America there is a bumper sticker which some car owners have placed on their bumpers. It is call the COEXIST bumper sticker. The sticker is meant to make a statement about all religions coming together as one.  Many believe there are many ways to get to God. Some say all the religions in the world are man's personal venture to try and find their god.

Jesus said something totally different than the popular belief for today. He declared that he was the only way to get to God. He made a bold statement that his teachings were the truth and nothing but the truth.  Now Jesus was either a delusional maniac , or he was in his right frame of mind. I believe in the latter. Only Jesus could make such a claim and have the proof to back it up.

In today's warped world many try to make their own path to God. What was Jesus saying when he declared he was the way? The word  " Way" in the Greek is " hodos"  which means road.

Jesus speaks of this road in Matthew 7.

Matthew 7:13-14  "Enter through the narrow gate because the gate and road that lead to destruction are wide. Many enter through the wide gate.  (14)  But the narrow gate and the road that lead to life are full of trouble. Only a few people find the narrow gate.

He describes his truth as a gate which encompasses a narrow road. A narrow gate for a narrow road.  Jesus made another bold statement by declaring that many enter through the wide gate because of it's accessibility. In other words, many whether walk through the wide gate because they can keep their self-imposed beliefs. Guess what? Ummmm Jesus said that be the wrongggggg gate!

So what gave Jesus the right to declare HE WAS IN FACT THE ONLY WAY TO THE LIVING GOD. Now please don't get made at me. I am just quoting the Lord of Hosts.

1. He was and is God. ( Read Part 1 for this truth)
2. He fulfilled over 400 prophecies from the Old Testament when He came to planet Earth the first time. Do you understand the odds of  this happening. Do you know the odds of Christ fulfilling just 8 prophecies is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.  He would be considered a great man if he only fulfilled one prophesy but he fulfilled over 400 of them. WOW!!!!!!!
3. He demonstrated Divine power of all things. ( Human being, objects, plants, and so forth.) He declared that the works He did was what He saw His father doing.
4. He was a innocent man who went to the cross for us and then He did something totally crazy on the third day after his death. HE AROSE FROM THE GRAVE!!!!! Now I am personally aware of Bill Maher's movie Relugious which makes claims of other Christ-like figures before Jesus came. I am aware of the documentary called  Zeigeist as well.  With the exception of Buddha most the other figures were fictional character's which belong to mythology. In other words, they were not actually people who were seen or walked the earth. Jesus is a historical figure. Many historians of the day have given accounts of Jesus' existence. Buddha was an actual person but his followers never make claim to him being Resurrected from the grave. Although there are some similarities in his teachings; there are some major differences. Jesus never says that we can become gods ourselves or we can make our own way. He proves that He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. Now let me ask you this. If there is such a thing as absolute truth and there is an enemy of this truth then would it stand to reason. That the enemy would corrupt the truth by sending out false Christs even before the original came?

Mark 13:20-23  If the Lord does not reduce that time, no one will be saved. But those days will be reduced because of those whom God has chosen.  (21)  "At that time don't believe anyone who tells you, 'Here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!'  (22)  False messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will work miraculous signs and do wonderful things to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen.  (23)  Be on your guard! I have told you everything before it happens.

Understand this thought. Did you know there is no such thing as cold? The feeling of being cold is derived when you body is absent from heat. The absence of heat produces the cold. Did you know there is no such thing as darkness? Darkness occurs when light is extracted from an environment. It does not exists. Did you know that there is no such thing as being false? The opposite of truth is false. The false of things only exists when there is an absence of truth. Truth is real and discoverable. Truth is something we can obtain but have to be willing obtain.

Jesus is the absolute Truth for mankind whether the world likes it or not. We can not deny who He is and what He has done for us. We can not lump all the world religions into one pot. It will not work. All you will get is a false smoothie with some sprinkled truth on it. Our faith is determined on this simple truth. Jesus is the way, the truth , and the life. He is the only one who can reconcile us back to the living God. Either we believe it and live by it or we don't.


Blessings,

Johnny


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Revisiting Christian Doctrine Part 1 ( Trinity/Godhead)

 I wanted to start a new series. I will continue my series on Leadership from time to time as well but something has been rolling in my heart. I read a book the other day about " Hell". The writer was giving biblical examples as to why Hell is not a real place. The book sparked inside of me the desire to revisit our Basic Christian Doctrines. With so many distorting and teaching wrong doctrine these days; I feel it is important for all believers to embrace at least some apologetic behavior within their belief system.

The word Doctrine comes from the Greek word didache which simply means " teaching." A doctrine is a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative. Jesus taught doctrine to us. The bible teaches God's doctrine to mankind. Now many denominations in the christian faith have written doctrine but many of it is not from the word of God. I desire to focus on the fundamentals of our faith. Why do we believe what we believe? Are all of the doctrines we follow scriptural ? Are the doctrines man-made or God made? What are the God made doctrines and what are the man-made doctrines? What is the truth? Is there absolute truth?

I spend time writing these blogs mostly for my friends in America and other countries who are a part of my relational sphere. Many of you use these blogs for your sermons on Sunday mornings ( as I am told.) I am blessed and honored that you use this material. However, I want to caution you all. Please ,and I say this with true intent, always compare what I teach or say with the Word of God. Let Holy Spirit reveal to you the truth of God's word. I have never said , nor will I ever say, that I am the final authority on God's word. Nonetheless, I do pride myself in digging deep into His word and ensuring that I speak only what is from his heart. With that being said, please feel free to use this series on Doctrine to teach your congregations. Do you know how to take a city forthe kingdom of God? You ARM every believer with the truth and allow them to walk in it.

Trinity/Godhead

Let's start off with the doctrine of the Trinity or as some call it the Triunion. We serve one  God but He exists in three forms. God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. For those looking in from the outside of our faith would think we worship three gods. Let me tell you that is not the case. The Christian faith is one of monotheism. We believe in one Living God who is all and all for mankind.

Now here is the truth. The word Trinity is not even mentioned within the word of God. It is a man made word meant to describe a biblical occurrence. We can see all throughout the Bible the trinity as the Godhead or in the form of  Elohim.

Jesus demonstrated the fullness of this triunion of God when He walked the earth.

Colossians 2:8-9  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

We see the Triunion of God working intimately at the baptism of Christ.

Matthew 3:16-17  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  (17)  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

We understand that all of Creation points to the triunion of God and all creation is without excuse when it comes to knowing the true and just God.

Romans 1:19-20  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  (20)  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

This Union of the Godhead is considered one of Christianity's biggest mysteries. I consider it a mystery only to those who don't follow the goodness of our God. I see clearly why God is father, son, and Holy Spirit. It is clear to me because my faith is real.

We see the Trinity of the living God at the beginning of our existence.

Genesis 1:26-27  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  (27)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Here we see the Name of God as Elohim ( meaning gods in the supreme sense to the Living God.) God turned within himself during creation and collaborated about the creation of mankind. He decided to make mankind different than the living creatures. He would give them a body, soul, and spirit. All human beings would follow the pattern of God's existence. We would be like him. ( Three in one) Walking godlettes upon the face of the planet. We would become God's ultimate demonstration of his Alpha/ Omega power. He who exists outside of space and time would create beings who hold his image. Elohim in the fullness of form. Elohim which is a word that only exists in the Hebraic language.  It is the name which describes the Hashalush HaKadosh. ( the trinity)  We can see Elohim working throughout the scriptures. We truly can see how Jesus, the son of the living God, was also Jesus the creator of  all things within the Elohim entity.


Taken from http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html


God

elohim


Elohim. [The basic form]
God; gods. The plural form of El, meaning “Strong One.” The Name Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the Tanakh. See Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; etc.


The Son of God

Ben Elohim


Ben Elohim. The Son of God (Matt. 16:16; 26:63; Jn. 6:69).

My God
elohai


Elohai. My God.
Elohim with personal pronoun suffix indicating 1st person singular.




The God of my kindness
elohei-chasdi


Elohei Chasdi. God of my Kindness (Ps. 59:17).
From chesed, the covenantal faithfulness (of God). See also Psalm 89:29; 144:2.


The God of gods
elohei-haelohim

Elohei Haelohim. The God of gods (Deut. 10:17; Josh. 22:22; Ps. 136:2).




The God who is near
elohei-mikkarov

Elohei Mikkarov.
God who is near (Jer. 23:23).
This Title for God acknowledges His immanence within all.


The God who is far
el-yeshurun

Elohei Merachok.
God who is far (Jer. 23:23).
This Title for God acknowledges His transcendence above all.


The God of Justice
elohei-mishpat

Elohei Mishpat.
God of Justice (Isa. 30:18).

The God of Hosts
elohei-tseva'ot


Elohei Tseva’ot.
God of hosts or God of armies (2 Sam. 5:10).


The Eternal God
elohei-kedem


Elohei Kedem.
God of the beginning; Eternal God (Deut. 33:27).


The Living God

elohim-chaiyim

Elohim Chayim.
The Living God (Deut. 5:26; Jos. 3:10; 1 Sam. 17:26, 36; 2 Ki. 19:4, 16; Ps. 42:2; 84:2; Isa. 37:4, 17; Jer. 10:10; 23:36; Dan. 6:20, 26; Hos. 1:10; Matt. 16:16; 26:63; Jn. 6:69; Acts 14:15; Rom. 9:26; 2 Co. 3:3; 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15; 4:10; 6:17; Heb. 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Rev. 7:2).

The Godhead is a significant presence throughout the Bible. Jesus came to our planet to simply put a face to the eternal existence of Elohim!!!! When we look upon him; we look upon the living God. No longer did God have to hide in a cloud or catch a wind from drifting smoke. Jesus embodied Elohim for all of mankind to see and know. Elohim stepped out of his non linear existence and walked into our linear existence so we may know Him once again. The Trinity or Godhead is one of our fundamental doctrines. If you wish to take this doctrine out; you cease to follow the true and living God. We don't fully understand this unity because of our finite thinking. We only grasp what we desire to grasp but the truth still remains. We need the Godhead in its present form. We need the father for he holds the key to all things. We need the son because he is the bridge for mankind, and we need Holy Spirit for he is the power to all believers seeking to follow the Living God. We need Elohim in all of His abundant forms.

We can separate them into three forms but we must keep them as the one and true God.I had a vision of this truth many years ago. I saw the throne room of God shining brightly and in glorious splendor. I saw the silouette of the living God sitting on this massive throne. There was glory smoke all around the throne. Jesus sat in and next to the father and Holy Spirit engulfed the throne. Holy Spirit was beaming from the throne onto planet earth. His light covered the whole earth and I could sense his loving involvement for us. Jesus would stand beside, inside, and in the middle of the living God. It was a sight to behold. I was humbled and baffled by the Unity of Godhead. They truly thought as one and moved as one but expressed purpose in different realms. I was seeing the beauty of the Godhead at work. I was brought from my existence into the existence of  Elohim. I know for some this sounds crazy or maybe unbelievable.( I don't deny my craziness but I am crazy for Him.) God chooses to show many of his people these things. John, the apostle of Jesus, was able to write the whole book of Revelation outside of his linear state. He saw the transition of the world in God's non-linear realm. How could this be? God( Elohim) is the Alpha and Omega at the same time. He is the first and the last at the same time.  He is the beginning and the ending at the same time. When John saw the course of future events it was only the future to him. It was the present for the Lord.  Our Christian faith needs the Trinity or the Godhead.  Each role plays a significant part within our lives.

Let me close this blog with a Mystery that can only be revealed to the reader by Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:3-6  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  (4)  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  (5)  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  (6)  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

When the Spirit of God is within us we live the character of Christ. That is why we can love people beyond our ability to love. That is why we can demonstrate grace and mercy to those who despitefully use us or curse us.  Holy Spirit is the revealer of Jesus to the people who desire to truly know him. He brings functionality to the gifts within us. Jesus gives the gifts to us and the Living God directs the whole operation.  This one little passage describes so much about the Godhead or trinity if you're willing to see it. What is the mystery, you might ask? This Godhead exists within every person who believes and lives the commands of God. This Godhead is transplanted within us through the power of Holy Spirit. We are given the ability, through Jesus Christ, to hold within us the Alpha and Omega and the beginning and the end.  We have HIS fullness living in us and through us! Why can we not overcome sin then? Why can we not walk in his freedom? Why can we not live beyond our linear existence and see through the eyes of King? The Godhead is left untapped within us. We have cautioned ourselves to simply know the Lord but to never cross fully over to His promises for us. Why not? I ask myself this same question. Why do I allow myself to fall into a similar sin when I have the fullness of the Godhead living inside of me? There is an answer to this question. One which consists of another doctrine we christians believe in. I will leave that topic for another blog entry.

Blessings loved ones,

Johnny




Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Sin Symbiont

Sin grabs a hold of every human being on the face of this planet.  Sin is an immoral act against the Divine law of God. Now I know some don't even believe in the Lord Almighty but that does not stop the reality of sin. Every person on planet Earth has built inside of them the knowing of right and wrong. People know when they lie it is wrong they can feel it. A murderer can feel it when he releases the bullet from his weapon that he has just crossed the point of no return. An adulterer can sense the wrong of her deeds when she decides to cheat on her faithful husband. Deep within our physique is the knowing of wrong and the knowing of right. Who put that there? Did evolution make us that way? If evolution is the creator then throughout the millions of years of evolving surely we would have evolved into having no morals because after all it is the survival of the fittest. No God made moral reasoning a part of our DNA. Now we can ignore it , make excuses for our sin, or even convince ourselves that our sin is ok. It does not matter. We can not run away from what our God has created within us.

Sin is worse than cancer or aids. Cancer and Aids are some pretty bad diseases and I desire for every person with these horrible diseases to be healed from them. However, sin is worse because it eats from the inside out. It attacks the Soul and hinders the body.  Regardless of your social status sin is stalking you constantly. It is controlling you or overcoming your godly reasoning. Sin , if allowed, rewrites our spiritual DNA and shoots us into a world darkness.

 Now I write this blog not as a spectator of sin but as a sometimes participant. It baffles my mind how I fall into it's clutches. I am bewildered by it's stealth ways, and it's overwhelming power to place the heavy burden of guilt upon me. It is Satan's greatest weapon against humanity. When he used the serpent in the Garden to trick Eve; his purpose was to introduce sin in hopes that it would taint all of humanity. His goal was to prevent an unblemished Savior for coming to our planet and save us all from Sin's stronghold. Obviously he failed and failed miserable he has. ( Yoda talk there for a minute.)  Sin makes no sense. When you care about the feelings and desires of God; you realize how much sin makes no sense. I understand why the Living God went through so much great lengths to send a Savior who would deliver us from it. Sin destroys. It kills our humanity. It separates us from the Living God. It blackens our heart and pushes us more into darkness. Who likes darkness? Who likes the prospect of Hell? I sure don't. That is not why I desire to serve the Lord; so I will not go to HELL. However, the realty of Hell is there no matter how many people try to deny it. Just like there are punishments for breaking governmental laws. There is a jail cell , HELL, for those who have turned their back against the heart of God.  We all cheer when the court system sentences a murderer or child molester to prison but we have a change of heart when dealing with our own consequences for our sin. I wonder why that is?  Maybe all those people out there calling Christians hypocrites or just as much hypocrites.


Paul the apostle gives a humanistic account of what sin is like within an individual. He equates sin to being a living organism. A parasite even or symbiont. The sin symbiont takes over our physique and begins to bring corruption within us. We black out to the Sin symbiont's power and allow it to sear our mind from the truth.

Romans 7:12-25  So Moses' Teachings are holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good.  (13)  Now, did something good cause my death? That's unthinkable! Rather, my death was caused by sin so that sin would be recognized for what it is. Through a commandment sin became more sinful than ever.  (14)  I know that God's standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin.  (15)  I don't realize what I'm doing. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate.  (16)  I don't do what I want to do, but I agree that God's standards are good.  (17)  So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.  (18)  I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don't do it.  (19)  I don't do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don't want to do.  (20)  Now, when I do what I don't want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.  (21)  So I've discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God's standards say is good.  (22)  I take pleasure in God's standards in my inner being.  (23)  However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin's standards which still exist throughout my body.  (24)  What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?  (25)  I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God's standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin's standards with my corrupt nature.


Paul comes to the realization that he needs a savior more and more. Only Jesus, who knew no sin, can free us from the Sin Symbiont's control. God's standards are good and true. We all have standards we must live by whether they are humanistic or godly inspired. His standards are pure, holy, and true. There is a reason why He calls us to it. there is a reason why we are called to embrace his ways with fullness. His standards saves our lives from a Sin death. A sin death is the worse kind of death one could befall. Once sin has killed you from the inside/out then there is no turning back. The consquence of the sin has swallowed you completely.

There is hope. Yes, and thank you Lord for your grace. We can be set free from the Sin Symbiont's clutches if we so desire. The simplest way to over come sin is to not do it. I know that sounds cliche,but it holds value. Only through the empowerment of the Living Lord can we conquer the sin symbiont's hold on us.  Only through prayer, fasting, and reading/doing his word can we overcome. It is not easy by no means but the force of it's power gets weaker every time we conquer a sinasode. ( Episode of sin).

I know someone is asking." If Christians supposedly have Jesus then why do they still " Sin."  We sin in the moments  when we don't have Jesus. In other words, when we are not faithfully following Him then sin occurs. It is just that simple.  Scripture is clear. Sin does not have dominion over us if we are following the standards of God.

Romans 6:19-22  I'm speaking in a human way because of the weakness of your corrupt nature. Clearly, you once offered all the parts of your body as slaves to sexual perversion and disobedience. This led you to live disobedient lives. Now, in the same way, offer all the parts of your body as slaves that do what God approves of. This leads you to live holy lives.  (20)  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from doing what God approves of.  (21)  What did you gain by doing those things? You're ashamed of what you used to do because it ended in death.  (22)  Now you have been freed from sin and have become God's slaves. This results in a holy life and, finally, in everlasting life.

We don't have to be slaves any longer. We don't have to be bound. We can be set free and experience the true love our Lord.  Thank you Lord for where much sin has abound your love has abound even more.

Romans 5:19-21  Clearly, through one person's disobedience humanity became sinful, and through one person's obedience humanity will receive God's approval.  (20)  Laws were added to increase the failure. But where sin increased, God's kindness increased even more.  (21)  As sin ruled by bringing death, God's kindness would rule by bringing us his approval. This results in our living forever because of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Loved ones except the grace and love of Christ. Loved ones please make Christ your number one priority. He is faithful. He is true. His love expands beyond the Universe. Do you understand this truth? If you wish to travel to the edge of the known Universe; His love would expand beyond that point. He is so kind and He is so faithful. Once again I speak not as a spectator but as one who has befallen the Sin Symbiont's  clutches.  I am one who was once lost but who is now found. I was once bound but now I am set free. I speak not as a judge but as a freed slave.

blessings,

Johnny



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lessons In Leadership Part 9 " Establishing"

When God gives you a leadership role in his kingdom, you have to build and establish something that is from His heart. It is not always easy. The key to establishing the work of the Lord is keep yourself grounded and humbled before the Lord. You CAN'T ever forget whose work you are building. Many leaders in the kingdom of God have forgotten about God's kingdom and have started to build their own.  I am almost 40 years old. I have done hundreds of things for the Lord but all of those things mean nothing if my Lord is not in the center of it all. The Living God has taken me to many places around the world because of His grace and for the advancement of His kingdom. It all belongs to Him. A good leader wants to see his company succeed regardless if he or she gets credit or not. It is the same for the kingdom of God. We want to see His Kingdom advanced on the face of the planet regardless if people see us at all. He must be high and lifted up!

I came across this below list on Perry Noble's blog. I liked it allot and wanted to share it.  I do not personally know Pastor Noble but I follow and read  his blog. When we are trying to establish something for God's Kingdom; we must keep our leadership in the right perspective.


12 Things A Leader Simply CANNOT Do! by Perry Noble

#1 – You Cannot Make Everyone Happy (Jesus didn’t…it wasn’t His goal, seeGalatians 1:10)
#2 – You Cannot Think That You Can Argue/Defend Yourself All Of The Time (Especially on the internet, arguing on the internet is like taking a pee into the wind, it feels good at first but always ends up in a mess!)
#3 – You Cannot Ignore A Problem & Believe By Doing So It Will Go Away.
#4 – You Cannot Just Pray A Problem Away (David had to walk down into the valley and whip Goliath’s rear-end!)
#5 – You Cannot Fall In Love With The Way Things Are (if you do then the word “change” will become a bad word!)
#6 – You Cannot Compromise Your Integrity–EVER!
#7 – You Cannot Believe That You Always Have The Best Ideas And The People You Are Working With Would Not Be Able To Function Without You.
#8 – You Cannot Hold Back From Speaking The Truth In Love Because It May Hurt Someone’s Feelings.
#9 – You Cannot Stop Learning, Growing & Developing.
#10 – You Cannot Be Good At Everything…Stop Trying!
#11 – You Cannot Be Fair (Jesus wasn’t, He had a group of 70, out of them He had a group of 12, out of that group He had three that He spent the most time with and out of that group the Bible says that there was one who He loved.  Hmmm…looks like “fairness” wasn’t one of His core values!)
#12 – You Cannot Lead Through Manipulation & Intimidation And Expect To Have Long Term Impact And Significance
When we are establishing the work of the Lord in the area or region he has called us too we can't allow our leadership to fall by the wayside. Being a leader is not always easy. Some of the people  you lead are like children.  Immature Christians can literally hinder the establishing process of God's kingdom. They can hinder the vision God has called you too. It is important we stand up for righteousness.  Immature Christians can cause division within the Body. Jesus said a kingdom divided against itself can not stand.
Matthew 12:25  And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 
We are called to establish HIS work or to build HIS work.  What are we doing in the area we are called to? Are we building His work or our own? Are we leaving behind a legacy for His kingdom or for our own personal kingdoms? Establishing His work is so vital.  Paul the apostle was all about establishing and building God's kingdom in every area he was sent to. He took 4 great missionary trips and saw the Hand of God move upon the people of each city.  He never forgot who the WORK belongs too.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15  We are God's coworkers. You are God's field. You are God's building.  (10)  As a skilled and experienced builder, I used the gift that God gave me to lay the foundation for that building. However, someone else is building on it. Each person must be careful how he builds on it.  (11)  After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that foundation is Jesus Christ.  (12)  People may build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw.  (13)  The day will make what each one does clearly visible because fire will reveal it. That fire will determine what kind of work each person has done.  (14)  If what a person has built survives, he will receive a reward.  (15)  If his work is burned up, he will suffer the loss. However, he will be saved, though it will be like going through a fire.

So how do we establish the Kingdom of God in our area or region.  Below are some simple thoughts.

1.  Never forget that the Kingdom of God belongs to GOD!
2.  You are a Co- worker not a co-owner.
3.  Be careful on how you build and be mindful of what materials you use. 
4.  Never forget that we work with other workers.
5.  Don't allow the immature hinder the work of God. Guard his work with your life.
6.  Lay down a foundation that lasts even after you are gone.
7.  Allow the work to go through God's fire at times. The Firing process keeps the work going in the right direction and allows the Living God to stay the owner. 
8. Don't get caught up in the many distractions. Keep pressing for the mark until you are finished with the Work He has called you too. 

2 Timothy 4:6-8  My life is coming to an end, and it is now time for me to be poured out as a sacrifice to God.  (7)  I have fought the good fight. I have completed the race. I have kept the faith.  (8)  The prize that shows I have God's approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.

We have a greater prize awaiting us if we ensure that God's Kingdom is being established in the right way.  We must run after God's approval not man's. We must eagerly wait for his return at all times. Oh what a glorious time we live in!!! We get to be used mightily by our Lord and King. We get to establish or build his kingdom in the places we are called to. We get to see people come to Christ and grow in Him. Oh what a glorious time in deed!!!!! Build the work of the Lord brothers and sisters in the faith!!! Don't let the distractions of life stop you from serving our glorious King!!! Stay humbled in his presence and never forget why we do what we do. It is all for Him and all for His glory. 




Monday, November 14, 2011

The Violin Maker

Psalm 33:6  The heavens were made by the word of the LORD and all the stars by the breath of his mouth.

The Living God has created everything in the Universe and has made it good. Scientist love to tell us how fragile the Planet is. I for one believe differently. God has made the planet much stronger than what most would admit. Most importantly the living God has created you and I. He created us all with a purpose and for a reason. Our lives are more than just for ourselves. We are meant to touch each others lives like a Sympathny plays beautiful music for the listerner to hear.

I think about violin makers. Each violin maker is different but the art of making a violin is a special and tedious process.  Contrary to popular belief most Violin makers do not look for the best wood to make a violin. They actually like the challenge of taking a piece of wood and turning it into a masterpiece. There are some instrument makers that declare they can build a master piece from any piece of  wood. They look for a piece of wood and salvage the best piece which catches their keen eye. The violin makers use their skills of tapping the wood with their carving tools and visual imagery while creating a violin. The way they cut the wood determines the beauty of the sound which comes out of the instrument. The mastered violin makers can account for the imperfections of the wood  and compensate for them. The end result is a beautiful sounding instrument which causes peace and tranquility to the listener.

Is not our God this way? When He calls us to Him; he is not looking for best piece of wood. He loves the challenge of turning any piece of wood ( You and I) into a masterpiece. He uses his creative abilities to fashion and mold the piece of wood into a familiar shape of an instrument. He passionately and softly carves each curve out of the shapeless wood. He meticulously strings the finished product and plays the new instruments with precision and love. You see the master violin maker also has a love for the music the instrument produces. The end result ( You and I) is a beautiful sounding instrument which touches the lives of the listeners.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are God's Masterpiece for the world to see and hear. We are called to produce the voice and truth of God to the world. Our purpose is simply. Be the Violin that God has made us to be. We are all different pieces of wood cut into a beautiful shape which was crafted by the Creator. We all have a purpose. We all have a reason. Each violin is unique and plays differently but the music or the notes are all the same.  Be God's masterpiece today. Allow the creator to use you for His purpose!



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where you Go I'll Go!

Matthew 10:11-20  "When you go into a city or village, look for people who will listen to you there. Stay with them until you leave that place.  (12)  When you go into a house, greet the family.  (13)  If it is a family that listens to you, allow your greeting to stand. But if it is not receptive, take back your greeting.  (14)  If anyone doesn't welcome you or listen to what you say, leave that house or city, and shake its dust off your feet.  (15)  I can guarantee this truth: Judgment day will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city.  (16)  "I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves.  (17)  Watch out for people who will hand you over to the Jewish courts and whip you in their synagogues.  (18)  Because of me you will even be brought in front of governors and kings to testify to them and to everyone in the world.  (19)  When they hand you over to the authorities, don't worry about what to say or how to say it. When the time comes, you will be given what to say.  (20)  Indeed, you're not the ones who will be speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.

Back in July , I had the privilege of taking a short term missions trip to Guyana, South America. It was so great to see my family in the Lord again. They are some wonderful people and love the Lord greatly.  There seemed to be a theme song for my trip.  It was the song " I will Follow" by Chris Tomlin.  It talks about following the Lord and going where He says go. Below are the Lyrics.


Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow



Obeying the Lord is much greater than a sacrfice on a bloody altar.  One time I preached a sermon about following the foot steps of Christ. I cut out foot prints and put them all around the sanctuary. When people came to church that morning they saw foot steps leading to the bath room. They saw footsteps leading to the children's church room. They saw foot steps all around the sanctuary.  I used some people from the congregation to demonstrate stepping on the same foot prints of Christ. It was a testimony of how our life should be before the Lord. Regardless of our situations, regardless of the hurts and pain, we will follow the Lord. There will be times where we will walk and step, and there will be times where our Lord carries us.

Jesus sent the disciples out to minister His message. He warned them that the task would not be easy. Some will listen and receive. Some will curse and hate the message. Others will try to bring His followers before judical leaders and tell all kind of lies. No matter what, follow the Lord. No matter what, keep stepping in the same foot steps of Jesus.

What about your present state? Are you going where He says go? Now following Christ means following everything about Him. It means allowing his Character to be your character. It means following His truth no matter what. In today's world the truth of Christ is being distorted by lustful and sinful men and women. People who desire to widen the gate of Christ. You and I must still hang on to the TRUTH. No matter what! We must show the world what Jesus really stands for and what he really is against. We must demonstrate his truth through HIS LOVE and HIS HOLY ANGER. We must be humbled, and we must be willing to lay everything down for His glory.  Where He goes, I will God. Where He stays, I will stay. When He moves, I will move. Oh the beauty of following our Savior!!!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Pure Lips to worship

Zephaniah 3:8-17  The LORD declares, "Just wait! One day I will stand up as a witness. I have decided to gather nations, to bring kingdoms together, and to pour my rage, my burning anger, on them. The whole land will be consumed by my fiery fury.  (9)  "Then I will give all people pure lips to worship the LORD and to serve him with one purpose.  (10)  From beyond the rivers of Sudan my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring my offering.  (11)  On that day you will no longer be ashamed of all your rebellious acts against me. Then I will remove your arrogance and never again will you act proud on my holy mountain.  (12)  So with you I will leave a faithful few, a humble and poor people. They will seek refuge in the name of the LORD.  (13)  The faithful few in Israel will not do wrong, tell lies, or use their tongues to deceive others. They will graze their sheep and lie down, and there will be no one to terrify them."  (14)  Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel! Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem.  (15)  The LORD has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is with you. You will never fear disaster again.  (16)  On that day Jerusalem will be told, "Do not be afraid, Zion! Do not lose courage!"  (17)  The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

I was in worship and prayer this week and the Lord brought me to this passage. It really shook me up and brought me to a different place of worship in the Lord. It was very humbling to say the least. It seems to me that before we can have pure lips to worship the Lord; we need to allow His fiery fury to come among us. Actually it says the Land will be consumed by His fiery Fury. Do believers need to experience this aspect from the Lord from time to time? I believe the answer is yes. Judgment comes first to the House of God, but the fiery fury of God is not just judgment. It is also a purifier. It is used to burn off the dross and to allow a heart of purity to emerge.

1 Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

God loves those whom he corrects. If we are not disciplined by Him then we don't belong to his family.

Hebrews 12:6-8  The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child."  (7)  Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers.  (8)  If you aren't disciplined like the other children, you aren't part of the family.




The Fiery Fury can also be used to bring us closer to Him and to His purpose. It is needed as a process for all believers. We should learn to embrace it! The outcome of his fiery fury are pure lips to worship. When we enter into this deeper kind of worship then our shame is gone. All of our past sins have been redeemed. A deeper adoration for the Father begins to surface and pure worship is birthed. As pure worship is birthed within us then there is no lying, no religiousness,no arrogance within, no halty looks, and no deceit within our lives. We can deceive each other but we can never deceive the living God. He knows what is the height, width and length of the heart. With pure lips for worship comes shouts of praise and celebration within the heart. God is yearning for this place for us. He is crying out for our fellowship. Nothing else matters. Nothing else has any merit. If we are spending time with Him then HIS CHARACTER will flow out of us. This is the fruit of the SPIRIT. This is the FRUIT that REMAINS. This is how we tell true believers apart from practicing believers. His Character is found in Galatians 5 . Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.  His Character of Mercy and forgiveness is all wrapped up in this truth. Only through Pure worship can we develop His character within us. No man can judge your personal connection to the Father, but the revelation of the time spent is demonstrated through your life and witness.
Gives us pure lips to worship!