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We think in linear fashion. God does not. The name Alpha and Omega buries that notion. That is why Jesus is seen in the book of Revelation as a slain lamb by John and is later referred to as the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world. How can He die before there was anyone to die for? I think you get the point. That is why Gods Word is to be viewed as a complete work. God did not give Moses instructions to start out the first page of his book with the words “Old Testament”. God did not give Matthew instructions to start out the first page of his book with the words “New Testament”.
John 1:1 tells us that Jesus IS the Word. Not just the New Testament, the whole thing. Some people do not hold a very high view of scripture. If someone holds a very low view of scripture, they are likely to change God’s Word, interpret its meaning so drastically wrong that it becomes invalid, or just write part of it off. God’s written …
Living life with a Biblical worldview can sometimes be uncomfortable when conversations with certain people reach a point of contention. Such a moment occurred with me the other day when I was asked, very frankly, by a self proclaimed atheist if I believed in a literal hell. My answer apparently enraged her. She considers the notion of hell to be a contrived means of manipulating weak minded people into following a bunch of made up rules so that organized religion can manipulate people to eventually drain them of all their money, intelligence, and free-will. (or something like that) Though it is not a very original argument, I was enjoying the conversation.
She told me that I can only compel others by fear because of the prospect of hell. This brings up an interesting point. Can we effectively preach the gospel without preaching hell?
A couple of points to ponder.
1. Jesus clearly taught on hell.
Matthew 8:11-12, Mark 9:42-48, Luke 16:19-31
2. Since God is omnipresent, hell is the presence of God in His full judgment and wrath.
3. Hell is just because God is just.
4. Hell is …
Alright, this has been a fun “mini-series” for my blog. We will close it out today with Part 3. The chapter we have been studying begins by Paul stating his desire that this wild church at Corinth would stop being ignorant about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe there is a lot of ignorance even today about these gifts.
Paul masterfully addresses the subject in question in chapter 12, writes chapter 13 about the superiority of love over any gift (one of the major problems still…no love), then addresses the protocol necessary for the functional use of the gifts in public.
1 Corinthians 12:3-6
3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
It is important to realize the context here because clearly Paul is …
Better to Receive?
If God gave you a gift would you receive it? That is the question I ended Part 1 of this blog with. I think when the question is asked with no context, almost anyone would enthusiastically say, “Yes!” God has, in fact, given us many gifts. Salvation is the greatest gift of all.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am happy that I received God’s gift of salvation. When it comes to the gifts He has given us there is such an awesome degree of intentionality on His part. It makes me want to treasure the gift all the more. As a shepherd, or a pastor, I appreciate the gift God has given me to help lead people closer to Him, to watch over them and to build them up. We see in this scripture that the Lord gave these gifts, which are many times are vocational, specifically so Christians could be built up.
Ephesians 4:8, 11&12
8 When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and …
A Wild Church
1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, and 14 have always been so awesome to me. Let me explain why. The church Paul was addressing the church at Corinth, one of the most immature, enthusiastic, sinful, yet hopeful churches imaginable. They were messing everything up. They didn’t know how to do communion. They were going wild using spiritual gifts without order. They were having orgies and yet still showing up to worship passionately. They were trying to one-up all the other leaders in the church with their deep spirituality while still practicing extreme paganism. These people were wild, but they loved Jesus. They were new in their faith but they didn’t quit just because they were doing it wrong. They kept pushing forward (with the help of one extremely wise apostle).
In these chapters you find an amazing story of Paul explaining the “gifts” of the Spirit to these energetic people. The context of these chapters is one of rationale and gentle correction. He is not chewing them out. He is lovingly explaining why they are doing things wrong and how …
I received an email from a person who was thinking about the story behind “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan. If you are unfamiliar with the story I suggest that you search You Tube for the testimony, it is powerful. The idea is that a young man said in a prayer meeting that he would die if it led to a youth revival in this nation. That night he died in a car accident. The song was written by his best friend the next day about the young man meeting God for the first time. This email was pressing on me because the person was wrecked at the fact that they did not believe they could literally lay down their life for a stranger. They began to feel guilty because of their concern for their children and their own life above self-sacrifice.
I have been studying a lot lately about love. The giving of one’s self to prefer another, actually really simple, yet complex stuff. I wanted to post my response to the email in this note as I felt …
American culture is changing at this moment faster than I ever witnessed in my lifetime. Political and religious stereotypes are meshing into something that is nearly indistinguishable. I don’t often use German philosophy to illustrate spiritual truths, but Hegel’s concepts of thesis (truth), anti-thesis (the opposite of that truth), and synthesis (a blending, or new idea from both) to me is applicable right now in our society because something new is being created.
I am concerned because I do believe in truth and I believe the ever quoted John 14:6speaks of that kind of Truth. “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. No eisegesis here, simply pointing out the fact that Christ is inseparable from His Word. Jesus then in John 16:13 promised of the Holy Spirit that we would receive after His ascension, “Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. “ John 8:31-32 corroborates. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truth is becoming a philosophical conversation rather than an absolute in our world.
It is …
Remember Algebra II? I do. Let me prove it: -b ± √(b2 -4ac)]/2a. I can recite that to you at any given moment. The Quadratic Formula. On this test my score was 100%. Not because the principles and concepts of the Quadratic Formula are embedded in my brain, rather I had a teacher who sang it to me to the tune of, “When the Saints Go Marching In”. I will not make you wait much longer to decipher the meaning of this blog. I walked into a Christian bookstore the other day and something hit me… The amount of books in the store made me feel weird. Topics ranged from “becoming a more liberal conservative” (no comment) and “having great Christian sex” (uh….) to “what’s wrong with the Church” (wow, thanks for the diagnosis). Writing a book is no crime, (neither is writing a scarcely read blog) but how necessary are these books? I sometimes shudder as I hear my church members talking about the Christian books they are reading. People are reading more books about how to read the …