Thursday, September 9, 2010

Honk if You Love Jesus

It seems the new thing on Facebook is to put a post such as Jesus is my Savior.... and put like this or post this and lets see how many true Christians there are on facebook. Copy and past this on your facebook page.

I just think it is so easy to like something ... re post something ... quote a bible verse... or honk if you love Jesus.

I wonder how many true Christians would jump on the bandwagon if we posted something like.... love the person who stabbed you in the back at work and strive everyday to show them the love of God...... Love every Christian the same whether they believe the way you do or not.... Love you neighbor as yourself no matter who they are or what they do.... Love people and show them everyday no matter what they say or do..

I think that is not as popular because it involves crucifying your flesh and making yourself act loving toward others when your flesh is screaming...... but look what they did to me...

I just wonder how many people who are so quick to post a claim that they are a christian or that they love Jesus are walking the "love your enemy" walk ....or... "the do good to those who hate you " walk.

I'm not saying that LOVE JESUS posts are bad.... not that bible verse posts are bad.... I'm just saying that I haven't seen much "loving those who hate me" actions in my lifetime and without that .... all the posts and quoting are in vain.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Following the Leader

There is a great post today on the blog of "Former Leaders Journey" about validating or following a particular leader. There is a link to that blog on the side of my blog. Not necessarily the video but Former Leader's post really hit home with me. I am still sickened daily by the leadership that I followed and endorsed for more that a decade.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Seven Deadly Sins

The pastor at the church I have visited a couple of times has started a series on the seven deadly sins. I just love it! It is the first time in years I have heard sin addressed so directly from the pulpit. Not only is it addressed, it is made clear that we are responsible for our actions and there are very real consequences for them. He also addresses the results that these sins have on our relationship with God,our relationships with others and on our spiritual health. All the teaching has been so practical and what is so refreshing is that at the end of each service there is not just an invitation to receive Christ as Lord and savior but also opportunities for repentance and dealing with areas in our lives as Christians where we need to repent and turn away from sin in our lives that hasn't been dealt with.

The first lesson was on envy. The Bible says in James 3:16 where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you have disorder and every evil practice. I have seen so much of this firsthand and in the church at that.

At one church that I attended we were taught to never be satisfied with what we had materially and that our faith would become stagnant if we were not constantly "raising our vision" to the next level of material things and "believing God for them" we were instructed to write a "vision list " and write down all the material things we wanted, how big of a house we wanted, what we wanted our salary to be, etc..... along with our spiritual goals of course. Sometimes when someone achieved a material goal, huge house, being left large sums of money, etc. they would be called upon to speak on what their faith had gotten them and the whole service would be devoted to that. Hands were laid on the chairs in the auditorium and they were prayed over in diligence and instructed to "grow millionaires".

Envy is insatiable, envy cripples our ability to examine ourselves - to see our motives, envy cripples our trust in God, envy never stops at that sin - it always grows into other sins, it causes one to take matters into their own hands to make what they want happen, envy cripples our relationships, envy cripples our ability to enjoy what we have, envy is a heart problem and begins in the heart, envy is not something that happens to us..... it is something that comes from us.... from our heart.

I believe that this constant pursuit of and pressure to achieve material things and money with "our faith" bred envy within the church, and as a result bred evil practices that changed innocent peoples' lives in horrendous ways.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hocus Pocus

The other day I was reading some comments and someone commented on a sentence used in a pastors message. The quote was this..... "If you don't have a relationship with JESUS, if you don't believe it when you use His name, you might as well be saying hocus pocus". This struck a sore spot with me. Over the past years that seems to me, what the majority of using the name of Jesus is to many Christians, is hocus pocus.

In the past 18 years I have heard the name of Jesus used to call in the money, the vacations, change personal circumstances for comfort and want, keep people out of jail and twist the courts after they have committed horrible crimes, and almost every other selfish and self centered reason imaginable. Rarely have I heard it used in a way that a person was willing to sacrifice their life to Him in service. I have heard it used in prayers for others for healing but not nearly as much as for personal gain.

I wonder when Paul and Silas were in prison, why they didn't use the name of Jesus to get themselves out. The Bible says that they were "praying and singing praises to God" and an earthquake shook the doors of the jail and they were free. Funny how it doesn't say they USED the name of Jesus to get out or how they used their FAITH to get out. Unlike Christians of today they weren't miserable in their circumstances, even though their circumstances were that they were in jail. Even when God freed them they didn't even escape because they didn't want the heathen jailer to get into trouble. Wow!

How different from many Christians I know today who can't wait to USE the name of Jesus to get out of their circumstances. How different from many "faith" preachers of this day and time who would have used the incident to proclaim what they had gotten with THEIR faith and how they had USED the name of Jesus to get it.

Believing that the name of Jesus has power has nothing to do with having a relationship with Him. Doing what He says and practicing what He tells us to do is what a relationship with Him is about. Not using His name and knowing it has power.

In Luke 6:46, Jesus asked "Why do you call me Lord, Lord when you don't do what I say?" Matthew 7:15 -23 talks about those who stand before Jesus and say "Lord, Lord, didn't we cast out devils, heal the sick and perform miracles in Your name?" and He says he never knew them. Obviously they didn't have a relationship with Him yet they knew the power of His name. They used it and it worked for them. No different than saying "hocus pocus".

In the amplified version Jesus says to them "depart from Me, you who act wickedly, disregarding my commands". He didn't say, sin is no big deal as long as you know the power of My name and what My blood bought........ He dismissed those who "disregarded His commands"!!!! Now I haven't heard that preached in church in a very long time.

I was talking to a friend the other day and he told me that he would be surprised if it was many more years before Jesus returns. In the course of our conversation he said..... " folks just act any old way they want these days." When I asked him if he was talking about the world or Christians he was referring to Christians.

I think maybe the name of Jesus has been reduced to "hocus pocus" to many, many people and the blood that he shed has been reduced to a "get out of jail free" card that many think enables them not to be accountable for their actions.

Yes His name is powerful, and He did shed His precious blood and He deserves for us to take up our cross and follow Him every day and live a life of service and obedience, not a life chasing the health, wealth , prosperity and do whatever gospel.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rocket Town

The other day I was downloading music and I came across an old song by Michael W. Smith. If you are familiar with the song then you would remember lyrics but if you are not.... it is about a bar called Rocket Town and how it was the most popular and happening place to be. But there was on there who stood out. One who wasn't there to party but to witness. One who didn't want to make sure he was treated right but turned the other cheek. There was something about him that made him stand out in the crowd. It was the presence of God in him. One who spent his weekend nights not thinking of himself but thinking of how he could bring others to Christ.

What happened to Christians like that and pastors who provoked their church members to be like that?

It seems like these days, many Christians and many pastors aren't any different than the world. Their focus is on themselves, having and achieving position and material things, using their faith mostly for believing for material things or events in their lives to propel them to their desires for themselves. Yes tons of Christians are in the bars but they are there to party not to witness. Many Christians think nothing of planning to get drunk with their friends, having sex without being married, cussing, lying, and manipulating and using others. Many Christians don't want to hear about sacrifice, holiness, accountability, responsibility, obedience or taking up their cross and following Jesus. There also seems to be few or hardly any pastors preaching about these things.

Most messages seem to be about what we can have, how we can get it and don't worry about what we do.

We don't seem to hear parents talking about forgiveness and turning the other cheek. Instead we hear "you don't mess with my family" Aren't we glad that God didn't have the don't mess with my family attitude or there would be no blood of Jesus to pay for our sins.

I can't remember when the last time I heard a message about how Jesus told us to forgive 70 times 7 .....was that each day???? Yes it was if someone asked you to forgive them. Now I'm not talking about being a doormat for someone but I am talking about forgiving them. I mean if someone hits you in the head with a bat you can forgive them, love them, help them without handing them another bat and standing there waiting to be hit again if they have done it several times before.

I certainly don't claim to have all the answers but I do believe that these are the things I should be seeking after instead of how to use my faith to get what I want or need. Didn't Jesus tell us to take no thought for these things that our Heavenly Father knows what we need and He will take care of us? Doesn't the Psalmist say that he was young and is now old and he had never seen the righteous forsaken or their seed begging for bread. Didn't Jesus tell us to seek first the kingdom of God and His RIGHTEOUSNESS and He will give us everything we need? I happened to notice that Jesus didn't say what we want or desire. How strange that was not what I was taught in church. Jesus also knew that when He died His blood would make us righteous and yet here he is telling us to SEEK after righteousness. I wasn't taught that in church either. One translation tells us that the heathen seek after these things. Wonder if a nice vacation falls into that category...... maybe so.

I may not know a lot but I do know that God is going to take care of me. It really doesn't matter where I live, what I wear, what I eat or what material things I posses. I am happy and content knowing Him and I have decided that I am going to put my focus on seeking first the kingdom of God, His way of doing things. I also know that through the blood of Jesus I am righteous but I also have decided to seek after His righteousness because that's what He told us to do.

You know once I heard a sermon about how when we look good we attract people to God. I think that that poor preacher needs some help with what attracts people to God. The Rocket Town christian not only attracts them but offers them a foundation other than money, things and looking good to build on.

I have two versions of Matthew 6:28-34 listed here if you would like to read them.

The Amplified Bible - Matthew 6:28-34
And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lillies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.

Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like on of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is
tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, where are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to wear?

For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.

But seek (aim and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

The Message Translation Matthew 6:28-34

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as and inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion - do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp of shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen- don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with GETTING, so you can respond to God's GIVING. People who don't know God and the way he works full over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your ENTIRE attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen o=tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birmingham News Religion Top Stories 2009

On December 26, 2009, on the front page of the Religion section of the Birmingham News the top 20 church stories in 2009. In the opening paragraph one of the four stories first mentioned was the "sentencing of a megachurch youth minister as a sex offender". This sad but true story ranked number 2 out of the top 20 stories of the year.

This story of perversion on such a twisted level managed to outrank several truly wonderful stories such as, Matt Pitt, the founder of the Basement who is actually changing the lives of youth in the city and turning them toward God instead of using them to satisfy a sick and perverse lust for young flesh. It also outranked a story of an anonymous donor who wrote a check for $720,000.00 to keep a beloved Methodist church camp open and running.

The number 2 story reads:

"Former Word of Life Christian Center Executive Pastor and Youth Pastor David Webb was sentenced on July 30 and reported to federal prison on Aug. 31 to begin serving a five year sentenced for transporting a minor girl across state lines for sex. David Webb, former executive pastor and youth minister for Word of Life Christian Center on Derby Parkway, was indicted in January and PLEADED GUILTY to having sex with an underage girl in his youth group. He's now serving a five-year sentence in federal prison. "

Many deny this ever happened and this man pled guilty to "save the church" which would mean he would have had to lie in open court to the judge. This would have meant that he would have also lied when the judge asked him point blank in open court if he did "eventually succeed in having sex with her" to which Webb replied "yes sir"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Reaping

The other day I heard a person talking about a local church in our area that claims to be a faith church. The pastor there prides himself on being a faith teacher. Ninety percent of the messages on CD that I have heard from that church center around USING faith to get material things, money and what an individual wants for himself. I have spoken to and know so many that have come from churches like this that have been used, taken advantage of by the leadership, raped by staff members, shunned, lied to by the leadership, controlled by the leadership, manipulated by the leadership...... the list of abuses for leadership's selfish and self centered gain goes on and on.

The popular sing song rhyme for the new year at this church is:


I feel sorry for many of these pastors, their families, and many who have foolishly followed their example of the treatment of others in the body of Christ. If the reaping has begun for them and will never end they are going to need God to have mercy on them!

It almost reminds me of Pharaoh who spoke his own judgement out of his mouth.