Category Archives: Christian

Breath of Heaven

To the Shepherds it was a glorious heavenly calling that brought them to the manger that night.  To the wise men it was a star in the sky that guided them to come see the King born as a child in humility.  To Mary and Joseph it was the census that brought them to this place at this time.  To Jesus. it was His choice to come in this manner.  To us, it is often just the faint sound of the Breath of Heaven.

Don’t expect the angel;s to come and tell you what God wants from you.  Don;t expect a miracle to point the way.  Don’t expect the events of this life to lead you in Christ’s path.  Most often, it will be that still small voice, that breath from God, that tells you the way to go.  If y’u are not listening closely., you will miss it.  if you do not wait for God to speak with earnest expectation, you might just think He hasn’t spoken.  But He is speaking all the time.  He is breathing life into you all the time.  He lights our path with His still small voice.  He shows us the way by His word.  Don’t miss a single word.  Listen for His breath!

 

Love That Divides

I want to start out this blog by saying that some will be offended by what I am going to write. I am not writing to offend anyone. I have long struggled with posting this piece and have given it a lot of thought and prayer. II hope you will rely on the same as you read it.

I was sent an article that appeared in an email on Perspective from the United Methodist Church. The article was about decisions that are currently being made on how to handle the LBGT community when it comes to same-sex marriage and ordination in the Methodist church. It highlighted the struggle between the progressive arm of the church and the conservative arm. The analysis made was that in 10-20 years, these practices would be common place in al churches, and the United Methodist Church wanted to be at the forefront of this trend. It also talked about the fact that a full 45% of Methodist say they are on the conservative side (those who do not agree with this stance). Adopting such a doctrine would further diminish the Methodist church, which has lost hundreds of churches over the last few decades.

But this is not simply a Methodist dilemma. Many denominations are struggling with this issue. They feel that the love of Christ needs to be shown to all and is all inclusive. Christ accepts us all just as we are, and therefor who are we to deny anyone the right too serve God the way they feel called to do so. Many believe we must allow this trend to continue and accept this lifestyle as mainstream and fully compatible with God’s will. With that, I have a problem, and I hope to at least let you know what I have learned after over 40 years in ministry.

The church today is weak on sin and strong on mercy. The problem is that God is strong on both. His opinion of sin has always been the same – He hates it (Eccl 12:6). He is a holy God, and He expects us to do all we can to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8), and He sent His son to save us from our sin (Romans 4:25). If sin was not an issue with God, then Jesus died in vain.

There is not a single verse in the bible that says anything about LBGT being righteous. There are several that say it is a sin (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Tim 1:8-11, 1 Cor 6:9, Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13, Deut 22:5). I am not saying that these should be put to death, because we are in the age of grace. Those who say that they were wrongly gendered in the womb, and are the opposite of what their body clearly shows, are calling into question the very purpose of God, who created us in the womb (Jer 1:5, Is 44:24, Gal 1:15, Psalm 139:15-16). Those who believe God made them wrong also must believe that God is capable of telling a lie and doing things the wrong way. How can we have these people as clergy?

The bible is also very explicit when it comes to marriage. The verses above show God is against same sex relationships when it comes to the bedroom. Marriage is as old as Adam and Eve, and is defined by God as being between a man and a woman (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:6-9). But we now feel we have more intelligence than God and can change His definition of marriage. How proud we have become!

Many theologians and church leaders are saying that Jesus command is to love all, no matter what their condition, and I agree with that statement. However, when a sinner accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, His command is to repent and go and sin no more (John 8:11) He expected the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest so that, by law, he could declare them clean (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus demands repentance, a turning away from our sin, before one can truly follow Him. Just because we call Him Lord does not mean we have heaven as our home (Matt 7:21).

Love is a funny thing. It asks us to unconditionally accept those around us and treat them as equals. It is a giving of ourselves to another. Real love, however, is not afraid to correct the object of its desire and set them on the right path. Who among us does not love their children? Wouldn’t we stop them from doing something that would harm them out of love, even if it made them feel terrible? Wouldn’t we deny them things to keep from getting hurt in the end because we love them?

As Christians, we are considered watchmen on the wall (Ezekiel 33) for the gospel. It is our obligation to warn those who are headed for eternal destruction, otherwise known as hell, so that they can avoid such a demise. If we do not warn them, the bible is clear that their blood is on our hands. Pastors have an even higher responsibility to do so. But we have exalted love and grace over judgment, and we are afraid to correct one another of their faults.

This is a subtle tactic of our enemy, the devil. He goes about seeking whom he may destroy (1 Peter 5:8). We are not fighting the LBGT Community on this, it is a spiritual battle (Eph 6:12). We are commanded to love them into the family of God, make sure they repent of their sin, and follow Christ in obedience to the word. Allowing them to stay in their sin is just wrong.

I will end this by saying I am not the final judge, and I do not pretend to be. This is what I see happening, and this false form of love the devil has convinced many we must have is dividing the church. That is the enemies ultimate victory and aim – to bring down the church. Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. I would venture to say if the United Methodist Church continues down this road, they will also continue to diminish in influence and numbers until they are barely recognizable as a church anymore. And that would be sad.

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.