New Year 2013

 

Well here we are on the threshold of a new year… 2013

Have you made any resolutions?

Every year I resist making New Year’s resolutions… partly because I have never been able to keep any… but mostly because I begin wondering what the Lord wants for me and from me in the New Year… I have been working on that for most of my adult life and still am…

This brings questions of what my destiny is in the new year… in my life…

Questions of my purpose… the meaning of my life… is my life counting in the grand scheme of creation ? ? ? These are ancient questions that have haunted every thinking – feeling soul from the beginning of time…

How do you answer these important questions in your life????

As Christ-followers we have sure guidance if we really want it…

We have a destiny… meaning … purpose for living…

As I began to read the Scriptures this morning these are some of the thots that came…

 I see a purpose – goal- prize listed here… to fix our eyes – concentrate on what Christ is to you and is desiring to do in and thru you…          

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.   Heb 12:1-3   NASU

The Word tells me to ‘press on’ to the ‘goal’ and ‘prize’… to work on laying hold of what Christ has laid hold of me for… also not to let the past hinder me but letting the past go for the purpose of pressing on to win the prize…

 O yea… also that I should keep living by the lessons that I have learned in the past… I should order my life by these hard won lessons – but press on to learn new ones… WHY???     

12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

15 So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.

16 Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.    Phil. 3:12-16   AMP

Paul also reminds me that I will follow someone’s example as I live my life… so why not follow another Christ-follower rather than the hopeless, helpless, confused people around me who never are able to find their true purpose or find lasting fulfillment in their life… I have a good example in the apostle Paul to follow (because he followed Christ) — pressing on to the prize of my high calling in Christ…

17 Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you.

18 For there are many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, who walk (live) as enemies of the cross of Christ (the Anointed One).

19 They are doomed and their fate is eternal misery (perdition); their god is their stomach (their appetites, their sensuality) and they glory in their shame, siding with earthly things and being of their party.

20 But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven (the Kingdom of God), and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior,

21 Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.            Phil 3:17-21 AMP

 So, you may be wondering… what is that goal – that prize??? That High calling ???

Paul answers that question in  3:7-11

7 But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.

8 Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),

9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

11 That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].    Phil.3:7-11 AMP

Now those are worthy New Years resolutions maybe even resolutions that we can press on to, grasping a hold of for the rest of our lives – not just a new year… to be continually transformed into His likeness – becoming more and more like Christ so that the world can see Jesus through me… and be drawn to Him to receive Him as Savior and Lord as we have…

 What do you think???

Another purpose and goal that God has for us is to be equipped to do the work of ministry that He gives each believer to do… are you being equipped and doing the work of ministry that He has given you to do and BE???

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Eph 4:12-16    NASU

I think that these are worthy resolutions to make in the New Year 2013…

 What do you think???

 

 

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Christ-Centered Church Life – Hindrances #3

Christ-Centered Church Life – Hindrances #3

 

There are certain things that hinder and can even destroy a church and its Christ-centered life. I hesitate to write this blog lest people think I am being negative and not ‘grace-full’. However if we do not understand what hinders the life of a congregation we are not able to guard against the devils schemes against us. Make no mistake, the devil is very serious about inserting these hindrances and more so that our fellowships will not be Christ-centered. The devil wants to destroy our effectiveness in our own lives and in our communities. Let me say that these practices and attitudes are prevalent in most churches today and they must be dealt with if your church is going to accomplish Gods will for you and your congregation.

  • Complaining, critical and judgmental condemning spirit- these are typical practices and attitudes in many congregations today. They begin because we do not agree with what is going on in the church, we think we have a better way of doing things, so we set out to convince the leaders that we are right. If that doesn’t work then we begin to politic in the congregation and win others over to our side so we can change things. Of course this begins to cause division in the congregation rather than the unity that God desires us to come to. 1 Cor 4:1-5; Matt 7:1-2; Jas 5:8-9
  • Disunity and divisiveness – when people are divisive they cause disunity in any group of people. When disunity is present the plans God has for a congregation are seriously hindered and this kind of a situation can end in a church split with most of the people being damaged and feeling rejected. These attitudes, at least, cause division and the hindrance of progress and accomplishment of plans. Jude 17-21; Mk 3:24-25;
  • Gossip, faultfinding, and complaining – these are also prevalent in the Church today and these practices account for much of the lack of grace and love in congregations. Gossip is the practice of quietly – in secret – telling some ‘juicy’ information about someone, it is usually negative and slanted by prejudices or hurt feelings and it is a dreadful sin that causes much hurt, rejection, and division in a congregation.

Wikipedia Definition:”The Epistle to the Romans associates gossips (“backbiters”) with a list of sins including sexual immorality and with murder:

28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29: Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30: Backbiters (literally gossips), haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31: Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:28-32)

According to Matthew 18, Jesus also taught that conflict resolution among church members ought to begin with the aggrieved party attempting to resolve their dispute with the offending party alone. Only if this did not work would the process escalate to the next step, in which another church member would become involved. After that if the person at fault still would not “hear”, the matter was to be fully investigated by the church elders, and if not resolved to be then exposed publicly.

In order to gossip, writes Phil Fox Rose, we “must harden our heart towards the ‘out’ person. We draw a line between ourselves and them; define them as being outside the rules of Christian charity… We create a gap between ourselves and God’s Love.” As we harden our heart towards more people and groups, he continues, “this negativity and feeling of separateness will grow and permeate our world, and we’ll find it more difficult to access God’s love in any aspect of our lives.”[13]

But, it should be recognized that the Bible is both in favor of Group Accountability (Ephesians 5:11; 1st Tim 5:20; James 5:16; Gal 6:1-2; 1 Cor 12:26) as well as against Gossip (Proverbs 18:8; Romans 1:29; 2 Cor 12:20; 1 Tim 5:13; 3 John 1:10).”

 

  • Accusing of the brethren – my way is better than yours… you just don’t know… he is a liar… she has a bad sin in her life… they are not mature Christians… etc.
  • Individualism and independence – I don’t need anybody but Jesus and the Holy Spirit…We are not called and saved by God to be individuals or independent from others. We are called to be fully dependant on God and interdependent with our brothers and sisters in our congregation. God has called us His family, the BODY of Christ. No one person is to function alone, rather we are called and placed in the Body as God sees fit to function in our place of gifting and ability with others of the same body and calling. Seeking to be independent is actually a rejection of how God desires and has planned for us to exist.
  • Self-centeredness and pride – the opposite of self-centered is to love God with our total being and to love others as our self – the way Jesus showed us while He was on earth. The way we are to deal with pride is to kill it every time it raises its ugly head in us. Jesus is again our example:

Phil 2:2-9

2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

  • Not putting God and His ways first – this is another way of being selfish, individualistic, self-centered and rejecting God and His ways. We are called to submit to and obey God in all things, we are called to put off the old ways and put on the new ways that God has provided for us so we can live in freedom and health. When we put our self and our ways first we are – in essence – worshipping and serving our self…  Matt 2:37-40
  • Not loving our brethren and putting them first – this is the opposite of loving our neighbors and considering their needs as important as our own.  Matt 2:37-40
  • Not repenting of fleshly ways in our life – but self justifying – we are called to a life of becoming more and more like Jesus [progressive sanctification]. This involves owning our fleshly actions and attitudes and repenting [turning away] from them and putting on Christ.
  • Thinking we are spiritually mature when we are not – we will know if we are spiritually mature when we see Jesus in and thru us, when we have dealt with the actions and attitudes listed above. Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with how long we have been saved, how much doctrine or theology we know, how many years we have been in ministry or how long we have been leaders, how many people follow us, or any other thing about us…

Spiritual maturity has everything to do with how much we reveal Jesus and His life, grace, and love in and thru us… how truly humble we are [not how humble we think we are], [Do people see and experience Jesus when they are with us?], how we love God totally and how fully we love our neighbors and brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. How united and supportive we are of the church and it’s ministry for Jesus… including trusting Jesus to guide us thru the spiritual leaders He gives us in the Church…

Are we an active, committed, serving, member of the congregation that Christ has placed us in? Or are we dissenters and complainers, judges and dividers???  Do we unite and heal or divide and hurt??? Are we submissive and obedient or individualistic and divisive???

When we begin to think that our Church and its leaders are not following the Lords direction we need to first look into our own hearts and see if we are able to ‘hear’ the Lord because we have pure motives and are free from these kinds of attitudes and actions…

Once again I want to give the reminder that I am not trying to be negative, I am endeavoring to help us to see the kinds of attitudes and actions that hinder the Body of Christ from being what God wants us to be and to be able to do what the Lord wants us to do and to have what the Lord wants us to have… If we don’t know about them we will not recognize and deal with them as we should, first in our own hearts…

If we do find these kinds of attitudes in our heart, God loves us still and He wants us to be free from them – that’s why Jesus died and rose again – so we can be freed from these kinds of things… so we can be the healthy Body of Christ and Family of God on the earth… so others will want to be part of us, in Christ.

With Compassion and Love for God’s People and Church

Jim

 

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Christ-Centered Church Life – Is Jesus our Center? #2

Christ-Centered Church Life – Is Jesus our Center? #2

  • Does the Church really work in this modern age?
  • What is God’s plan and purpose for the Church?

In my last post I asked the following searching questions:

“So why do you think the Church is becoming ineffective in society today?

I’m wondering if it’s because we are not the Church that God has envisioned us to be…

  • Perhaps we are too organized-businesslike, and not ‘organic’-familylike enough…
  • Could it be that we are not really a close knit family unit that really longs to meet together, to experience Jesus, enjoy one another, learn from each other, and minister to each other as they did in the book of Acts???
  • Do we really expect Jesus to be in our midst – His ‘real’ presence … when we get together?
  • After all, He said that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He would be in their midst, and
  • That if 2 or 3 agreed on anything and asked as concerning Him He would agree with us and do it for us…
  • Could it be that Jesus is not really our center???
  • Maybe buildings, family, work, play, ministry, planning ministry, ‘prayer meetings’, or outreach have become our center…

Let’s look at a few ‘New Covenant’ Scriptures…

[Words in red are mine]

Heb 10:19-25   NLT

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.[in other words there is nothing to keep us out of God’s presence any more] 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house [which we are], 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him [this is not just praying, it is living in the consciousness of His Presence at all times – we are in really Him and He is really in us]. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. [if we are born again we have the privilege and the right-as ‘sons’- to be in God’s presence at all times]

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. [could this be part of God’s purpose for the Church? Are we doing this?]

Acts 2:38-47   NASU

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized [baptism is our initiation into Christ] in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [future generations], as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. [this is how the Church should live]

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. [could this be the kind of life God has planned for His Church in the world today???]

Col 2:8-15    NLT  We are new creatures, free, totally forgiven, with a ‘Holy’ nature, Gods           children, when we are placed in Christ at salvation – BELIEVE IT!!! And live in it      without doubt or fear… no one can condemn us now!!!

8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies [religious, theological, or worldly] and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ [we have the Spirit of Truth living in us to make us aware of these]. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority [when we live in unity we are complete as the Body of Christ and He protects us by His authority].

11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross [the devil cannot accuse us because Christ canceled all charges against us that resulted from our sinfulness].

Eph 3:8-12    NKJV

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;  10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,  11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. [God’s eternal purpose for the Church is that we will reveal the many-faceted Wisdom, love, and Grace of God to the demonic realm and the world around us by being the ‘Body of Christ’ on the earth]

Col 1:9-23   Holman Christian Standard Bible

9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [we are to be God’s Church, a living example of who and what we are all about in this world so that we can bring others out of the kingdom of darkness into Christ the light]

        The Centrality of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation;

16 because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.

18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,

20 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross—whether things on earth or things in heaven.

21 And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a minister of it. [this is not something we can accomplish as individuals… we must be complete = united together in and through Christ so that we can be the revelation and presence of Him to the World of unbelievers…]

Does the Church really work in this modern age?

The western mindset is an individual mind-set rather than the eastern or family – group mind-set, the Bible was written from the eastern mind-set. The bible was written from God’s perspective, therefore that mind-set was what He planned for His humans to live in. When sin entered the human race it corrupted God’s creation and mankind has become more and more individualistic and self-centered as time has passed. Even the Eastern perspective has been corrupted by a general self-centeredness… We in the west tend to interpret the Bible according to our individualistic mind-set rather than God’s mind-set of family – group relationships. Therefore we have organized the Church in many instances following a business style, and we have developed plans and programs to accomplish what God intended to accomplish through close family-type relationships. We disciple and mentor from a top down perspective rather than following Jesus’ and the apostles’ example of one on one or having just a couple of disciples that we develop from personal example and individual training as we begin to understand our disciples Gifts and character type.

So instead of raising up disciples that are Kingdom citizens, that live by the ‘rule of God’ in their lifestyle, we let them ‘learn for themselves’ as individuals rather than parts of a larger family that have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and are now part of God’s family living to reveal God to those around us in the world.

What is God’s plan and purpose for the Church?

According to Acts 2:42-47 the Church is supposed to spend a LOT of time together: being the Family of God, studying the Word, praying, sharing the Lords Table, eating together, playing together, loving each other, reaching out to our neighbors together – being the revelation of God in our neighborhoods together… BUT we cannot do this as organized individuals, we must learn to do this as a collective Family group – God’s kind of collective family group…

So how do we get to be this way? By beginning to do things God’s way not ours. If we truly want the kind of results we see in the Word we must get it God’s way… Think about it… God’s results God’s way… we don’t have to be super-smart to understand that… the question is ‘do we really want what Jesus came to give us in this life?’ It will cost us… but we will only find fulfillment and joy in being what God says we can be…

Read Acts 2:42-47 with an ‘eastern mind-set’ and ask God how we can begin to do life this way…

Ask Him how He wants His Church to function and then read the Word from Acts to       Jude to how He has revealed His plan and ways…

By the way I don’t necessarily believe that we need to abandon our churches to accomplish this, we just need to change some things, change our ‘western’ mindset when it comes to ‘doing church’ and begin to meet in our homes regularly as in the book of Acts… Yes it takes time and purpose, we will need to rearrange our lives to fit God’s Kingdom ways [isn’t that God’s plan for us?]… But I believe we will find it is well worth it to begin to experience our Christian life in fullness with all of the benefits.

What do you think?

Heb 10:23-25   NLT

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another [I believe that this is descriptive of meeting together in homes as in Acts 2], especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

With Love and Encouragement to All

Jim

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Church Life – Is Jesus our Center?

I apologize for not being more productive in this past month or so, I have been thinking and seeking the Lord for ‘stuff’… But I’m back.

I have been thinking a lot about “The Church” and what it is supposed to be like for Christ-followers (Christians). There is a proliferation, today, of materials on the Missional calling of the Church, some good, some OK, but all challenging to those of us who sincerely desire to be and do all that God has called us to be and do in this world today.

Some say that we are called to worship God and reach out to and save the lost. Some say that we are called to expand the Church through church planting. Some say that we are to build up the Church so that we can carry on the Great Commission that Jesus gave to us at the time of His ascension. Then there are those who say we are to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Many today are seeking to do these things by revival, power and authority, spiritual warfare and intercession, the understanding of the hidden things of eschatology, correct doctrine, even becoming more spiritual and Christ-like through performing the disciplines of the Christian life…These are all good and Scriptural things for us to do… but… what is God’s mission and purpose for His church  in the world??? What we as westerners sometimes miss is that the Church is a corporate organism, like a family or a body – not a bunch of individuals organized together that are trying to do something for God.

As we read and study the Scriptures there are a few reoccurring pictures that we find: the Bride, the Wife, the Family, the Community, the Dwelling Place, the Body, the Head. I am coming to believe that God’s mission and purpose for His Church are hidden in these relational terms.

Each of these pictures are presented in relationship to Father God and Jesus Christ, It seems obvious, to me at least, that God’s purpose and mission for creating humans is so that He would have an extended family to love, dwell in, and to reveal Himself through them to principalities and powers… when we read Genesis we see this even before mans fall into sin indicating that this was God’s intention from eternity past, and not part of the redemption plan to rescue people from the devils bondage, rule, and destruction. It is obvious to me, also, that the devil knew God’s plan and that’s why he stepped in, to ruin it by tempting and deceiving Eve and Adam to disobey God and sin.

You may be asking yourself, ‘so what Jim?’ where are you going with this? Well… many are saying today that the Church is ineffective and becoming more so as time goes on. The Church is shrinking and we are struggling to understand why. Some think that the Church has outlived its effectiveness has become archaic and is no longer needed in our modern times. Let’s face it Christians are not very committed to the Church, we allow almost anything to keep us from attending even though the Word instructs us to not allow anything to keep us from assembling together;

      Heb 10:19-25   NLT

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

So why do you think the Church is becoming ineffective in society today?

I’m wondering if it’s because we are not the Church that God has envisioned us to be…

  • Perhaps we are too organized and not ‘organic’ enough…
  • Could it be that we are not really a close knit family unit that really longs to meet together as they did in the book of Acts???
  • Do we really expect Jesus to be in our midst – His ‘real’ presence …
  • After all, He said that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He would be in their midst, and
  • That if 2 or 3 agreed on anything as concerning Him He would do it for us…
  • Could it be that Jesus is not really our center???

Do we really believe and practice that kind of meeting together?

If we did what would that produce in our meetings… in the world???

Please let me know what you think…

Love Ya

Jim

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We Can March to Different Drummers Together

Please Understand Me

We Can March to Different Drummers Together

I found this article in a book by David Keirsey about the four temperaments based on the Myers-Briggs Temperament studies. See the book name at the end.

I want to say that I believe that God has worked in us to make us who we are through the Spiritual Gifts that He placed in us while forming us in our mothers womb, and begins perfecting that in us when we accept Christ as Savior and Lord by His indwelling Holy Spirit who is the third Person of the tri-unity of our God. Our temperament is also a work of His that psychology has found out-working in  and through us in 4 different basic ways. Understanding our basic temperament is good and will help us relate to others in their differences and will help us to value – rather than devalue them – because of their differences…

I hope you enjoy this excerpt as much as I have…

Jim

Please Understand Me

We Can March to Different Drummers Together

 “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Henry David Thoreau

 “If you do not want what I want, please try not to tell me my want is wrong.

Or if my beliefs are different than yours, at least pause before you set out to correct them.

Or if my emotion seems less or more intense than yours, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel other than I do.

Or if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, please let me be.

I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up trying to change me into a copy of you.

If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself to the possibility that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear as right – for me. To put up with me is the first step to understanding me.

Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And one day, perhaps, in trying to understand me, you might come to prize my differences, and, far from seeking to change me, might preserve and even cherish those differences.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, your colleague. But whatever our relation, this I know: You and I are fundamentally different and both of us have to march to our own drummer.”

David Keirsey

“…The point is… that people are different from each other, and that no amount of getting after them is going to change them. Nor is there any reason to change them, because the differences are probably good.

            We differ from each other in fundamental ways. We differ in our thoughts, in our wants and beliefs, and in what we say and do. Differences are all around us and are not difficult to see, if we look. Unfortunately, these variations in action and attitude trigger in us an all too human response. Seeing others as different from ourselves, we often conclude that these differences are bad in some way, and that people are acting strangely because something is the matter with them.

Thus, we instinctively account for differences in others not as expressions of natural diversity, but in terms of flaw and affliction: others are different because they are sick, or stupid, or bad, or crazy.

And our job, at least with those we care about, is to correct these flaws, much as the mythical sculptor Pygmalion labored to shape his perfect woman in stone. Like Pygmalion, we labor to remake our companions in our own image. After all, are we not ourselves, even with our flaws, the best models for how humans should think, feel, speak, and act? Remember the line in My Fair Lady (based on Shaw’s play Pygmalion), when Henry Higgins wonders why Eliza Doolittle can’t simply “be like me”?

But our Pygmalion Project cannot succeed. The task of sculpting others in our own likeness fails before it begins. Ask people to change their character, and you ask the impossible. Just as an acorn cannot grow into a pine tree, or a fox change into an owl, so we cannot trade our character for someone else’s. Of course we can be pressured by others, but such pressure only binds and twists us. Remove a lion’s fangs and behold a still fierce predator, not a docile pussycat. Insist that your child or your spouse be like you, and at best you’ll see his or her struggles to comply – but beware of building resentment. Our attempts to reshape others may produce change, but the change is distortion rather than transformation.”

Please Understand Me II; By: David Keirsey

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We MUST choose up sides…

We MUST choose up sides – AND decide who our enemy is   

What is the most important thing in your life – really THE MOST IMPORTANT

be honest with yourself…

We can tell by:

  • what we think about most often
  • where or what we spend the most time on
  • where we spend the most energy
  • what we like to do the most
  • who we like to be around the most
  • where we get the most pleasure investing our time, energy, and loves…

How do we handle conflict… desires… our motives… people… time… money… our pride… our humility… our energies ? ? ?

What do we give our self most completely to ? ? ?

How faithful are we to our commitment to the Lord Jesus?

Now before you go on… go back and honestly answer these questions to the best of your ability

The book of James has been called the “New Testament Proverbs”. James gets right down to the weaknesses of the redeemed human nature – that’s right he is addressing Christians who struggle with choosing what way we are going to spend our life – in the world system… satan’s domain – or in the kingdom of God – living our lives committed to and for Christ.

We cannot live submitted to both kingdoms – we must choose and we cannot flip flop back and forth either…

 Consider with me James 4:1-10 in the Amplified Bible:

Christians can choose to live like this:

1 WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual {not necessarily sexual} desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.  [1 John 3:15.] 3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. 4 You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.

The results of living by the philosophies, attitudes, direction, motives, and ways of the devils world system cannot give us the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that we seek …

 Christians are chosen and empowered by God to live like this: it’s our new nature…

5 Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit whom He {God} has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He {God} yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?  [Jer 3:14; Hos 2:19ff.]

6 But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).  [Prov 3:34.]

The way to deal with sin in a Christian’s life:

7 So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. {2 steps to victory for Christ-followers}

8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners [when you sin], get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery] {thru repentance}.

9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. {let God change the things you enjoy and rejoice over – repent}

10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].

We all desire to be significant and feel we are making a difference… Let’s submit our ALL to our Heavenly Father, follow His guidance, and allow Him to make us significant for now and eternity…

What do you think?

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Peace – Do you have any?

Do you make peace or do you need peace?  

 James 3:13-17   The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest

13-16 Who is wise and well informed among you? Let him demonstrate from the source of a good and beautiful manner of life his works in meekness, which [meekness] is characterized by wisdom. But if, as is the case, you are having bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your heart, stop boasting and lying against the truth. This wisdom is not the wisdom which comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual [having to do with the natural, physical existence as over against the [Gods] spiritual world of the supernatural], demonic; for where jealousy and contentiousness are, there, in that place, are restlessness and instability and every base deed. 17-18 But the wisdom which is from above is essentially pure, then peaceable, sweetly reasonable, satisfied with less than its due, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free from insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Peace is a wonderful illusive thing. Peace is desired by every person as we live our lives in this “peaceless” troubled world.  Many think that peace is the absence of trouble, stress, conflict and fighting… but… if these troubles were not present in our life would we really be at peace? Probably not, peace does not happen because of the absence of external trouble and turmoil… peace is an internal thing, a thing of the heart. Jesus said that out of the heart come the issues of life… so, how can we find peace? ? ?  Only in Jesus can the human heart find and live in peace – peace even in the presence of trouble and life threatening circumstances. Pride, boasting, competition, contention, conflict, jealousy, lying – half-truths – covered truths are the world’s way of dealing with trouble, conflict, the lack of peace. But these ways do not produce peace – just more trouble…

This passage in the letter of James contrasts the peace that the world offers with the peace that comes from living in Christ. The source of true peace is found in Godly wisdom, not in the knowledge and ‘wisdom’ that the world offers.

Peace begins with our relationship with God through our believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior AND Lord, then we have Godly wisdom available to us. Godly wisdom brings peace, when we accept Gods wisdom to live by instead of the world’s wisdom we will live in the peace that Jesus has provided for us – the ‘peace that passes all understanding’

Phil 4:7-9   NIV    7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

When we experience this kind of peace – Gods peace – we want it to last, and then we can become real peacemakers…

Are you ready for this peace???

Are you ready to be a real peacemaker???

Seek God and His wisdom, keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of your faith and you will have this peace too…

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