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Posted in christianity, church, eternity, growth, Jesus, ministry, sprtitual

Your Rainbow Profile Picture

IMG_3433-0.jpgThe recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage has brought about a lot of conversations in social media, such as Facebook.  One of the most popular things to do is to merge your photo with a rainbow photo to show your support of gay marriage.

Here are some questions for a Christian to consider before you start publicly supporting gay marriage.

What scriptures encourage gay marriage?
Our beliefs are proven by our actions. What are your actions saying about scripture?  Is the message you are sending say that your feelings outrank scripture?  If they don’t, then does logic?  Does politics?

Have you actually read the scriptures concerning sexual immorality?  If so, have you studied them?

Homosexuality was considered acceptable in the culture during the time those scriptures were written, and they were still written. As a Christian I encourage you to make sure you are allowing God’s word to influence your beliefs, and not allowing your emotions, beliefs, or culture to influence how you interpret scripture.

How will your argument for gay marriage work when others use it for legalizing: polygamy, pedophilia, bestiality or adultery?
Do those people have the same rights as homosexuals?  If marriage isn’t between just a man and a woman, then why not a group of people?  Why should age matter?  A girl can get birth control and an abortion at age 13 without parental consent. Why not get married?  What about a 13 year old boy and a 25 year old male?  Is that still wrong?

Do your arguments against the things you still disagree with still hold validity, or did we just open the flood gate to legalizing all forms of sexual immorality? From my seat, the liberal argument used to support gay marriage will be just as strong when used for other forms of sexual immorality.

Is it your guilty conscious that keeps you out of the fight?
Homosexuals consistently talk about “not throwing stones” not judging” and “loving your neighbor.”  In truth, they often misquote these scriptures. Jesus actually judged the adulteress woman’s sexual conduct as sin when he offered her grace and forgiveness and said, “Go and sin no more.”

Are you rationalizing other people’s sin because you haven’t confessed yours?  Do you use comparison with others behavior as your measuring stick of right and wrong, or do you use scripture? Yes we are all sinners, but that doesn’t rationalize participating in, condoning or celebrating sinful behavior.

Confess your sin. “Get the log out of your own eye so you can see more clearly to help your brother get the speck out of his.”  That is what Jesus advised.

I believe in the separation of church and state, so Christianity can’t influence politics!
Please, please research this concept, people!

Separation of Church and State is NOT in the constitution. It was written in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a woman who was worried that the state would choose one Christian denomination over another as the state religion.

Christianity was a huge part of government in the founding of and the first century of this country. The pilgrims weren’t concerned about other religions worshipping freely among them.  They wanted a place they could practice Christianity without the catholic church oppressing them!

The intention of the concept of Separation of Church and State was that government cannot dictate a religion that everyone must follow, or restrict the freedom of religion. It had nothing to do with the church not being involved in politics.

Democracy is a group of people’s set of beliefs influencing government!  If homosexuals can promote anti-Christian beliefs, then Christians can promote Christian beliefs. To believe otherwise is hypocritical.

WWJD?
What Would Jesus Do?  Good question. Since Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more,” what do you think he would have said to a homosexual caught in homosexual behaviors?  Let’s look at some options.  In your opinion, would Jesus:

  1. Give the homosexual a high five?
  2. Argue with the religious zealots that homosexuality is really ok?
  3. Kill the homosexual?
  4. Offer grace and forgiveness, and tell the homosexual to “go and sin no more”?

If you chose number 4, you are correct. Based on the consistency of Jesus’ behavior and teachings, number 4 is the most accurate answer.  As Christians we must follow Jesus. So, do what Jesus did; call it sin, offer the way to grace and forgiveness, and encourage them to sin no more.

Use your influence wisely!
In the parable of the talents Jesus warns us that we will be judged on how we used the resources God gave us.  Your influence is a part of those resources.  When you post a rainbow colored profile picture, what message are you sending?  How are you using that influential resource that God has allowed you to have?

You have every right to choose to send whatever message you want to send to your friends and the rest of the World Wide Web.  Just remember, your rationalizations now will never negate the future consequences of your actions.  The consequences to actions are already set; many scriptures tell us so. Therefore, choose wisely so you don’t face negative ones.

As a Christian, I implore you to prayerful consider these things. Someone’s salvation and eternity may just be in the balance.  You are more influential than you realize.  Use your powers for good. Better yet, use them for God.

 

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Islam’s View of Jesus

Ask any Muslim about Jesus, and not only will they acknowledge the existence of Jesus, they will let you know how much they love Jesus. This is very confusing to most Christians when hearing this, but a Muslim is supposed to love Jesus as He is recognized as one of the major prophets in Islam. What can not to be confused, though, is their distorted view of who Jesus really is. 
Following is a few of Islam’s views in how they see Jesus.

  • Islam denies the need for Jesus to die for our sins. Muslims believe that the God of Abraham can simply forgive sins without an atoning sacrifice.
  • Islam denies the fact of Jesus’ death on the cross. Generally according to Islamic teaching Jesus went directly to heaven without dying. He was not crucified. Muslims often believe that Judas, the traitor, had his face miraculously transformed into the face of Jesus and died in the place of Jesus as a judgement from God.
  • Islam denies the efficacy of Jesus’ death to remove our sin and guilt.
  • Islam denies Jesus’ resurrection and his victory over death.
  • Islam denies that Jesus has become the Messianic King, who is to reign over the whole world.

Jesus as found in the Qoran

You can find out more about the Islamic perspective on Jesus by reading about him in the Qoran. Various chapters (suras) and verses are indicated below. Jesus is usually referred to in the Qoran by the name Isa. Various titles, roles and activities are attributed to Jesus. Here are a few examples:

Jesus is the word of God: Sura: 3:45; 5:46, 110 and 57:27

Jesus is Messiah: Sura: 3:45; 4:171; 5:17, 72, 75

Prophet or a Messenger from God: Sura: 3:49; 6:85; 19:30; 57:27

Raised the dead and healed the sick: Sura: 3:49; 5:110

Pure, sinless: Sura: 19:19

Muslims never think of Jesus as being divine or as saving us through his death and resurrection. They think of him as a prophet who brought a book called the “Gospel.”

Today, when you pray:

  1. Pray for the truth to become more important than being accepted by family and society. (Many Muslims are resistant to the gospel because they are afraid of what their family or community would do if they became a Christian.)
  2. Pray for whole families to be saved so that they can support each other as they grow and mature in faith.
  3. Pray for more Muslims to have encounters with Jesus through dreams and visions. Pray particularly for this to happen to Muslims as they go on pilgrimage to Mecca.
  4. Pray that the message of Jesus would be accessible, even in remote places where Christian workers can’t go. Pray for Christian websites, satellite TV programs and radio programs to be available to all and make a lasting impact on visitors, viewers and listeners.

Reposted from 24:14 Ministries whose mission it is to reach the Muslim world for Christ.

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New Time, New Location, New Series!

I am looking forward starting our new series called “The Next Christians” tonight at our house at 6:00.  

 

This series is about your generation and how there needs to be changes in how we approach people with the gospel. 

The message remains the same, you can’t change truth, but it’s no longer Bout getting people to come to us. We need to go to them. 

The Bible is applicable to our daily lives. It’s time the church talks about it less and lives it out more!  

Join us from 6:00 – 8:00 on Sunday nights. Dinner is provided!  Click here for more details:  http://justjesus.com/college-and-career/

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Let Your Light Shine!

  

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When Life Is Unfair

If you are persecuted for Christ’s sake, not only do you build treasures in heaven, you set yourself up for God to protect His reputation. 

Don’t worry about the outcomes!  Remain faithful to your Foundational Core Values and let God handle the outcomes. 
Then you will experience more amazing outcomes than your temptation to manipulate could have ever caused!
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An Encouraging Word

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

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Don’t Judge Me!

I have a few questions for you: 

 1. Do you think it is ok to judge people?  Why or why not?  (answer this question out loud to yourself so you can hear your argument 

 2. What message do you hear from the world about judging people? 

 3. What does the Bible say about judging people? 

I had those that attended Bible study today answer these questions without using their Bibles.  I wanted them to use the information inside their heads, just as if they were going about their day normally, instead of giving me the “Sunday School” answers.

There were some mixed feelings.  

Is it ok to judge someone?  Well, yes and no came the responses.  The world seems to tell us Christians that if we share our beliefs of what is right and wrong we are judging others.  

When asked what the Bible says about judging others the verse “Do not judge unless you be judged in the same manner” came up.  (It always does.) 

 I am often surprised at Christian’s responses to the questions above.  Many Christians say that it is wrong to judge others and will misquote the Bible to prove their point using the verse above.

No one likes to be told they are wrong.  But pretending that there is no right or wrong isn’t the answer!  

Do you really know what the Bible says about judging people?  Most Christians don’t.  Here are a few verses to look up, if you are really interested.

  1. Matthew 18:6-9
  2. Matthew 18:15-20
  3. Matthew 7:1-5
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  5. Matthew 7:15-23

The Bible tells us that we are supposed to judge others.  Not in a mean and nasty way.  We aren’t supposed to name call and mistreat people, but we have to judge others in order to make very important decisions. 

 
The most important thing is to know Why we are judging others.  The verses above point to at least two reasons: One is so that we can hold each other accountable and on the path of righteousness, and the other is so that we can make good decisions on who we choose as friends and eventually spouses. 

 
It is also important to understand What to judge.  These verses also point out that we are to judge people’s fruit, or their actions.  Have you ever heard the phrase, “You actions speak so loud that I cannot hear what you are saying?”  Don’t just listen to what people say, but how they are living out their lives.  They might attend church, but are they really denying themselves, taking up their cross daily and following Jesus?  (Do they even know what that really means? – If you don’t flip through the blogs on here, the answer is in there!) 

 
It is also very important How we judge.  These passages talk about the need to judge yourself first.  Not that you have to be perfect, but to be repentant.  Make sure you aren’t being haughty and looking down on the other person.  If they are in sin, have a sincere desire to restore their relationship with God and their relationship with you.  Make sure you are asking God to convict you of your sin before you start running around pointing out everyone else’s sin.

 

Judging is supposed to be about righteousness.  Yours and other’s.  It’s about staying on the path that leads to eternal life and helping others stay on the path as well.  If we judge appropriately we will live a more abundant life and help other people to do the same.

Don’t listen to the world.  Judge others, but do so lovingly and appropriately.  Your abundant life depends on it!

 

Posted in christianity, church, growth, Jesus, ministry, sprtitual

Gaining True Wealth

The world defines wealth by the amount of toys you have and the level of happiness you feel. These are temporary fixes, and will work for a short period of time. However, because they are always contingent on outside sources you will never obtain enough; therefore, you will never be truly wealthy.

Oh, you will convince yourself that you are. Other people will tell you that you are wealthy, but deep inside you will still be as empty as you always were, because nothing outside of you, in this world, can fill that gap.

Here are my suggestions for obtaining true wealth. They are not in a particular order:

1. Focus on things that last longer than your life here on earth. This could be the benefit for others you leave behind, or more importantly your future in eternity.

2. Focus on activities that leave you fulfilled and leave happiness to the amateurs. Happiness is fleeting; satisfaction and fulfillment are long lasting. Some would even argue, eternal.

3. Stop violating yourself! The end result NEVER justifies the means it took to get there. The means is the only thing that matters.

If you are outcome focused you will wind up violating your Foundational Core Values and create a vortex of despair that can’t achieve your way out of.

4. Identify your Foundational Core Values! Use them as your first filter for all decisions, and refuse to violate them. Be willing to lose friends, jobs, family and even your own life before you are willing to violate your values.

Following this one rule will solve about 60% of all your current stress, immediately.

5. Identify and intentionally live in your purpose daily; hourly! Life satisfaction comes from knowing that you are making a difference, no matter how small. Intentionally fulfilling your purpose just once a day will increase your life satisfaction tremendously.

6. Keep the important a things important. Repeat them to yourself, wrote them down, hang pictures or quotes on the walls to remind you of what is important.

If you don’t do this, you will find yourself listening to the lies of the world and back in the rut you just came out of. Only this time it will be deeper.

7. Don’t ask for permission to be you. Go be you and stumble around the world a bit as you find the nitch that fits for you.

8. Realize that circumstances always change. A good fit today, may not be next year, or even next month. Be willing to adjust your circumstances, but never your Foundational Core Values.

9. Identify other’s values before you make commitments. This is true for friendships, romantic relationships and jobs. All good values mesh together, but not everyone really lives by their Foundational Core Values. Being committed to someone who doesn’t know or follow their own Foundational Core Values can be devastating.

7. Realize that true wealth is not something to be made or achieved, but something to be realized. A life of wealth and great value begins with learning who you are, and maximizing you on a daily basis.

8. Be willing to make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t failures, refusing to learn from them is the only failure.

You are amazing! You were fearfully and wonderfully made! Dig deep, meet yourself, and capitalize on what makes you, you!

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Tithing vs Giving

Last week we began a discussion on the concept of tithing.  We started by asking the discussion groups to tell us their definition of what a tithe is, how it makes them feel and to discuss what they think/feel when they see a beggar at the end of a highway entrance ramp.

Most agreed that a tithe meant “a tenth.”  Most everyone also stated that they had negative emotions or stress associated with the word tithe.  The answers about the beggar were varied, but honest. Some felt compassion and gave a dollar or two, while others thought things like, “look for a job instead of begging!”

I love the honesty of our Bible study group.  It is always refreshing for me to hear heart felt honest responses vs the typical “sunday school answers” that adults often give.

We continued to dive deep into two words: tithe and giving.  The discussion groups looked up all the verses in the New Testament that were associated with both and examined the context in which they were mentioned.  They discovered the following:

– The word “tithe” is mentioned very rarely in the New Testament.  When it is mentioned it is in reference to the Jews and their religious responsibility.  It was never mentioned as a command the early church to tithe or “give a tenth” of their possessions and a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

– The word “give” is mentioned a lot.  When it is mentioned it brings with it a responsibility for us to take care of the poor, the widows, the orphans and others that can’t take care of themselves.

In the modern day church we have begun to believe a lie, and that lie is that we are commanded to give 10% of all we have to the church.  Please understand, I am not saying it is a sin to give 10% of your earnings to the church.  All I am saying is that it is a lie to say that it was commanded of the New Testament Church.

GIVING was the command to the new believers!

Why is this so important to differentiate?  Because of what the results of these beliefs create:

– Tithing creates a legalistic responsibility that seems to absolve us of the responsibility of taking care of the poor.  When we give our “required tithe” to the church, we often think that now it is the church’s responsibility to take care of the needy.  It’s almost a “I gave at the office” mentality.

– Tithing creates difficulty for to poor, not the rich.  A rich person can give 10% of their income and live in relative comfort; they sacrifice comforts.  A poor person giving 10% is giving away food money.

– Tithing creates a weekly or monthly check to be written and handed off.  Our obligation is met.  It’s now someone else’s responsibility to manage the money and the needs of the community.

– Tithing creates legalism that robs the person of their daily responsibility to discern needs, and their ability to channel the Holy Spirit to understand what their responsibility is to do.

– Giving is about responsibility.  Responsibility to manage our resources well. (Matthew 25:14-29)  Responsibility to take care of those in need.  If I am responsible to manage my money well and use it to take care of needs, then I am paying more attention to the needs of those around me.

– Giving helps the poor.  It’s about people giving according to their means. (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)

– Giving is about building treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:1-4)

We are too often fooled into believing that money is given to us as a “blessing;” that it is to be spent on ourselves.  If we do that, we have our rewards here on earth.  The truth is that more money is given because we have been responsible with the little we had before. (Matthew 25:14-29)  It will either become a temptation to horde and trust ourselves to bless ourselves via our “investments,” or we will continue to invest into the Kingdom of God and store up our treasures in heaven.

We will continue our studies on this throughout the month of October, and I promise that it will be a large part of our conversations moving forward.  NOT because we are trying to get you to give to a building fund, but because Jesus talked about money being a very dangerous tool that the demonic use to tempt us.

What is your view of money?  Is it yours to spend, or has it been entrusted to you to invest?  Are you investing in worldly blessings or are you truly investing in treasures in heaven?

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