• October 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Posts you missed

  • Categories

  • Pages

Spiritual Unemployment

I’ve been in too many grocery stores where it seems that a tornado went through and rearranged everything randomly so that I could have a “fun” challenge to find what I was looking for that day. Maybe you’ve shared my experience? My thoughts…? …Where are all the workers? Why are they not doing their jobs!!! How about trying to find an employee to ask a question at a hardware store? Yep, same question. Where is everyone? I need help after all!

Now, before you get too sucked into a handful of bad memories, think about some history. Maybe your history. Have you ever been in a job where you felt overwhelmed, felt that management should provide more workers to get the job done? What happens all too often today is what? Yes, the company cuts the workforce even further and expects you to work EVEN MORE! Crazy and infuriating, correct?

The fact of expecting more from workers is in the blood of our nation historically. This attitude is a failing and not a strength. Maybe you disagree, but I doubt it.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”LordofHarvest2_987450940

Jesus recognized the problem that we are all too well acquainted with! This passage from the end of Matthew 9 is regarding Jesus sending out the disciples. Whether you are a Christian or not, you most likely know that Jesus did a lot of work over a short period of time (3 years or so). If he hadn’t, then there would be no way the Christian faith would still be around today. Or am I wrong about that theory?

Let’s think this through. Jesus did turn a lot of heads and did die for ALL sin, so I’m not belittling the sacrifice. I am going to say that it wasn’t really Jesus who propagated the Christian faith. It was the workers. Read that passage again. Jesus tells his disciples to pray for workers to be send out. Doesn’t Jesus know that he IS sending out his Disciples? Of course he does! Jesus knows that there needs to be a lot of workers!! Note that in this instance he didn’t say to pray for those that needed help…he said to pray for workers. I don’t think we do this…and we wonder why there are billions of unbelievers and starving people around the world.  Hmm.

So, are you a worker? Do you pray for workers to go into the “harvest fields”? You see, in our culture we have failed to study, to really read the words of Jesus in many ways. We sit at home, we read about other people doing the work, we wonder why things aren’t getting better…. We are sickened at the disarray of the Church, sad that more people have not come to faith in Christ, and lost as to how to do anything about it…

In much the same way, we are baffled at poorly kept grocery shelves, no help to find the garage door part we need and having to do the work of three people. Do you see any links here?

  • We need to pray for workers to enter the mission field, Jesus said to do this.
  • We need to stop and listen and be a part of the solution
  • We need to look in the mirror at our culture to see exactly why our faith is so weak.

You may be employed at a job, but are you spiritually unemployed? What are you going to do about it? You might want to consider starting to pray. After all, in many places like South Korea they fill stadiums up at 4am to do nothing but pray. What are we missing?  They fill stadiums just to pray.  We ARE missing something.

Thanks God and to David Platt whose book Radical inspired my thoughts today.

Advertisements

Snake Oil Salesmen Did it Right

Back in the day, and I mean BACK, small towns would sometimes be graced with the presence of the traveling salesman. Sometimes what was sold would be “snake oil” or something pretty good! These guys made their way across the country, working hard.snake-oil-salesmen Today, we could equate this work to a talented inventor working diligently to get his idea out there to make a difference in their realm of influence. And, on a larger scale, a company advertising hard to let the world know about their products so they could grow and make a living for their employees.

It’s funny to me how snake oil salesman was the first thing I thought of for this post. After all, many people have equated this profession to the world of religion. There is a huge distinction that I will make though and it will make complete sense if you stick with me. First, let’s take a look at the Great Commission again (see last post).

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit… (Matt 28:19)

In today’s church culture, it seems that we stick to our church buildings. We might talk to a neighbor, or do some meaningful work in the city, but for the most part we are not sharing the gospel are we? Think about that. If you are a born again Christian, true Catholic or committed to your denomination, meaning that you have stepped off the podium of life and placed Jesus on it, then how many people have you honestly shared the gospel with this past week, month, year(s)? I have to ask this question of myself too.

Let’s think back to the salesman, or the inventor, or the company looking to sell their goods and ideas. How successful would they have been if they just talked about helping people and served some food, but never talked about the real product they were invested in? What would it look like if they rode into town proclaiming they were a salesman but never explained what they were selling? WOW. Let’s read that again in a slightly different way.

What would it look like to proclaim to be a Christian, but never explain to anyone what that meant?

Hi, I’m a Christian! Yep, my calling is to proclaim the gospel to all nations! Here’s $10, I’ll pray for you! Here, have a meal, the potatoes are great tonight! Oh, you have questions? Here’s my church address…and my pastor’s phone number…

Are you uncomfortable yet? I hope so, since this is the church for the most part in the USA today with a few exceptions. Go and make disciples…this takes effort, commitment and time…of all nations…this means leaving your town, your country and getting the word out if you are able…baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…this means taking the next step, coming alongside a new believer and bringing them into the Kingdom.

It’s not just the pastor’s job, it’s every Christians’ job. Be like the snake oil salesman, not in the product that they sell, but in the effort in which the work was done. Have you ever considered why God has blessed the USA with so much money? Maybe it was so we would have the means to be able to fulfill the Great Commission, not so we could go out and buy one more thing that we don’t truly need.

Next up: Materialism and why the USA has already lost. Oh, this should be good!

All About “Me”?

Jesus died for “Me”

Of course, Jesus died in order to take away the sins of the world. The lies, theft, misuse of God’s name, all the times God was not put first in our lives.  Believe in the lordship of Jesus and be baptized, as the bible says, this may not be what your pastor has told you…(Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:31-33, etc)

Jesus died in order to give God glory

Now, here is the part we seem to have missed or forgotten. Everything, and I mean everything that happened on the cross, at the hands of Jesus, with the Israelites in Egypt, the walls of Jericho tumbling down, and Paul’s many journey’s witnessing to the Gentiles and beyond, everything was done to bring glory to God. God, the one and only. God the Creator. God, the only one who deserves it… (Jeremiah 9:23-24, Ps 96:1-9, I Chron 16:23-29, John 17, I Cor 10:31, etc)

Jesus died so that I could give God the glory20150116_124617

So, when we think of our salvation, or consider the idea of salvation if you are not saved from your sins, we must put these thoughts into context. The reason God wants us to be saved is more than the fact that he loves us, it’s that he also calls us to bring him glory! In all things we are to bring glory to God…(I Cor 10:31)

Give God the glory by Going and Making Disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

At the end of Matthew, Jesus proclaims the Great Commission as written above. Go and make disciples etc, right? Why? To give glory to God. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why? To give glory to God! Go and baptize, making disciples of all nations. Why? To give glory to God…Not because God simply loved “me”.

Summary

“Me”, “Me”, “Me” sounds like a line from The Matrix Trilogy when Agent Smith was duplicating himself.  If Jesus simply died for “me”, then when I am saved I am done! Yipee! I figured this salvation thing out!

I think God is disgusted with us.  The goal is to glorify God and our culture misses this fact. Read John Chapter 17 to get a feel for this concept, or do a little searching and you will find the concept of giving God all the glory pervades scripture. Jesus died for me so that I could bring glory to God through my salvation, to all nations. Going to church once a week for an hour doesn’t fulfill this command. Serving food in a homeless shelter once in a while doesn’t fulfill this command to go, go, go either, does it?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus clearly preached that the path to hell is wide but the path to eternal life is narrow and only a few will find it? (Matt 7:13-14).  Have you ever meditated on this scripture and wondered what it means?  Have you bought into a watered down version of Christianity?  Will you one day say “Lord, Lord”, but Jesus will say he never knew you? (Matt 7:22-23)

Next up: All nations doesn’t mean your town, your state or simply your nation. More on that in my next blog post!

Run away, now!

satanTemptation.  You know, Snickers bars, buttery popcorn, ignoring speed limits, yelling first asking questions later, even pretty ladies.  We all deal with temptation in our own way.  How do we overcome it?

Here we go!  Let’s look at a guy named Joseph.  He gets sold into slavery and bought by a rich family.  He’s a really smart guy and the man of the house sees it.  Joseph is given incredible responsibility to run the household because he does it so well.  The family prospers.  You must also know that good ole Joe is a pretty handsome guy too.  His owner’s wife notices this fact.  Uh Oh.  She wants Joe to pay attention to her if you know what I mean.  Joe isn’t into that at all, and he runs away from her repeatedly because he was taught to not mess around with another man’s wife!  Eventually, this lady is so fed up she traps Joe and he gets away, but he has to leave his coat because she is holding on to it.  Talk about a prima donna who must have always gotten her way!

Well, this lady goes on to tell a lie to her hubby.  She says Joesph tried to rape her. This leads to Joseph getting tossed into jail.  Fun, right?  Well, this all ends well.  Joe is so smart he is given a high place in running the jail, he helps others in jail and eventually is noticed by the King.  In the end Joseph is 2nd in command of the entire land and he helps everyone survive a severe famine.

Here’s the moral of this story.  No matter what evil temptations are coming your way, run from them.  You may have guessed this is a paraphrased version of the Biblical account of Joseph in Genesis 39-42.  God blesses Joseph in all that he does and even the bad circumstances lead to even better situations.

Do we trust God that much?

 

The Great I AM

-Before the power and the presence of the Great I AM-

You know many of us are pretty pitiful as Christians.  We believe (hopefully) in God who is out of this world powerful and his mere presence makes

mountain  4-The demons run and flee-

just

-At the mention of his name, King of Majesty-

Do we understand that?  Really?

-The mountains shake before him-

Is there –any who can stand-?

Too often I think we actually sit back and think that “WE” actually have it all figured out!  “WE” have the solutions and “WE” just ask God to watch us do “OUR” wonderful works. Bless us God!!!!!!!!!!!…….we say.

So, let’s get this straight…-Before the power and the presence of the Great I AM- we are going to simply do what we want or do what we think that God wants, THEN pray about it and ask for God’s blessings, AND wonder WHY things didn’t work out?  Some of us get upset with God when something doesn’t work out.  We pray to the Great I AM asking him why?!?  WHAT IN THE WORLD DO WE EXPECT?!?

“But seek FIRST his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

“You do not have because you do not ask God.”

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Yes, -the demons run and flee- through the power and the presence of the Great I AM.  Mountains shake…but do we first ask God what he would have us to do, OR do we first make OUR plans, then seek God’s approval?  Do not let PRIDE, because that is what it is, get in the way of putting God first!  Do not let pride deceive us into following wrong motivations.  God should be #1 because he is #1.

-Lyrics between “-“ marks in italics are from the song “The Great I am”.  Take a listen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_VR-zwp2KA

Parables that can really make you think

Have you ever completely ignored advice or someone’s request?  What was the situation?

In reading Mark 12 today, I came across the parable of the tenants.  This reading made me consider something I’ve never thought about before (imagine that!).

So, here’s the setup.  A man buys, sets up and grows grapes to make a nice vineyard.  He leaves and “rents” it out to some people.  He keeps sending some of his servants back to the vineyard to get some of the grapes to bring back home.  The tenants keep beating or killing the servants and the owner never gets any grapes.  Finally, the owner sends his son thinking the tenants will respect him.  Nope.  They kill his son.  The owner is a bit upset, and the tenants get what they deserve, death.  The owner then gives the vineyard to others.

So, the question, how does this apply to me?

Think about it.  How often have you been approached by someone to give of yourself for some cause?  How often have you been nudged to consider going on a mission trip to help someone or some project?  How often have you been asked to get involved at church?  How often have you been asked to give monetarily to a worthy cause?

God gave us all WORTH, VALUE.  We have godly GIFTS, if we have the Holy Spirit in us.  These gifts are different than our human talents.  God gave us these SPIRITUAL GIFTS and God expects us to use them!  If we choose not to use them, then we choose to beat, kill and kick out the servants of God who come and ask us to give back some of what God gave us.

I’ll repeat that.  When we ignore the requests, the opportunities to use our God given gifts, we spit on God and what he gave us to use.  If you don’t know what SPIRITUAL GIFTS you have been given, then are you truly saved?  Do you even care about the “vineyard” you are renting?  Are you standing knee-deep in the winepress and don’t even know your legs are stained?

What happens to those who ignore the gifts God offers?  Death.

The typical biblical pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit is through Baptism.  Baptism is modeled as something you do when you REPENT and BELIEVE in Christ as your Savior.  Have you been baptized like Jesus was?  Immersed.  Have you been baptized when you had a knowingly repentant heart full of belief in the Savior?  Sorry, as a baby you didn’t repent or believe.  Think about it.  Again, the Holy Spirit is promised at the time of baptism, and the Holy Spirit is what gives you your Spiritual Gift(s).  Yep, it can be complicated, yet it can also be so simple.  Here I go getting into baptism again when this post is really about Spiritual gifts!!!!  Don’t beat and kill the messenger!

One of many surveys that help you pinpoint SPIRITUAL GIFTS. The key is to answer these questions honestly and maybe even ask someone close to you what they think the answer is regarding you.

BLESSINGS!

Your Family & the Living God

A couple phrases from I Timothy 3 that caught my attention.  The first,

“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”

is a pretty tough, yet relevant observation that Paul writes!  Paul is writing about church leaders, elders, deacon, etc.  Is your church leadership “above reproach”?  In layman’s terms, are they honorable? Trustworthy?  I think this observation should also be considered by every Christian.  Are you taking care of your own family?  Are you placing yourself first, where you maybe shouldn’t be?  If you can’t manage your own family, how then can you take care of your relationship with God?  Hmm.

Also, at the end of this chapter I read,

“the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

I’m not sure why, but I had to keep reading this part.  “living God”.  We are the Church.  We are the Church of the Living God.  Do you grasp that?  Every Christian needs to reflect on this.  The pillar and foundation of truth.  Truth is held on high on a pillar.  The Church of the Living God is its foundation and the means by which the Truth is raised up upon a pillar.  Think about how important that is.  Reflect on these thoughts today.  Please do.

If the Church is not lead by honorable leaders, then it’s foundation falters and the Truth is lost.  If your family is not lead in an honorable fashion, could it too be lost?