Archive for July, 2009

Church uses “Thriller” dance for outreach?????

I ran across this picture of a mega-church in Munster, Indiana which is near Gary, IN. Intrigued, I wanted to find out what kind of a church goes to this kind of trouble to make a church look like a gaudy pagan Roman temple. No surprise, then, that this church, called Family Christian Center, considers the late Michael Jackson a good role model and Christian.

For some odd reason, they seem to think reenacting Jackson’s thriller on stage with dancers from the church is a great outreach tool. Sorry, but I don’t get the connection with the gospel of Christ Jesus, salvation, or the biblical principle of NOT being like the world. And apparently they don’t either. This is nothing but a glorified amphitheater where ticket prices for concerts featuring “Christian” artists cost more than tickets to see the American Idols tour.

It’s a shame that apparently none of these people are being taught what being a true disciple of Jesus is supposed to be. I am flabbergasted at the biblical shallowness of the congregation, but mostly at the audacity of their leaders. This is all about entertainment and showboating. It’s obvious they do charitable work, but the motivation behind it is to attract people to the church, not to Jesus Christ.

These are wolves in very bad costume. So, how come they fool so many people then? 

May God have mercy on these blind sheep!

The Law of Christ

The “Law of Moses” could not free anyone from the power of sin or compel us to be righteous through coercion or threats. Paul says that particular Law actually stirred up more sin.

So, if the “Law of Christ” can free us from another law, it means it is much stronger than the old law. Which reminds me of Christ speaking about “plundering” the strong man, but only after overcoming and binding him (Mark 3:27). Some take this to mean that sin literally no longer has power over us and we “cannot sin” in the truest sense of the word, according to their interpretation of 1 John 3:9 and Paul’s declaration in Romans 6.

But, we are also told that the Law of Christ sets us free from condemnation AND the law of sin and death. The “law of sin and death” IS the Law of Moses, correct? Isn’t that what Paul was emphasizing in Romans 7?

So, we are no longer under the condemnation that comes as a result of breaking Moses’ Law, our natural inclination, but the law of Christ is the OT law fulfilled for us in Christ and we are freed from it’s implied punishments. Which means we are released from spiritual death, because, obviously, no one is freed from physical death.setfree

So, when we do sin, does that imply we are temporarily “slaves” of the flesh? I struggle with where the line is drawn in Paul’s statement that says “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? ” (Romans 6:16 ESV)

When do we cease being slaves of Christ and become slaves of sin? Is there a specific tally or type of sin that causes us to switch masters? Or are we truly “free” and simply trapped in bodies that want to sin? I believe that is the case, especially when we consider Paul’s conclusions at the end of Romans 7, “So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” and again “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23 ESV)

It was a great enlightenment to me to see that Paul emphasizes that what counts, and is evidence of our salvation, is whether or not we are spiritually MINDED. The emphasis is no longer on what we do, but on what we honestly WANT to do, don’t you think? A carnal and unregenerate sinner doesn’t want to be righteous and doesn’t care if he sins, as long as he can postpone any consequences. Those who are in Christ DO want to be righteous and hate and detest it when they sin through their flesh.

The attitude of our hearts (our true mindset and interests) is what Paul says is what counts as righteousness, because only the Spirit of God can affect such a change of mind. This change of the mind is the effect of the Law of Christ.

Being spiritually minded is what makes you a Christian. If you are not spiritually minded, then you do not have the Spirit of God. You are still a slave to the flesh, who has not been set free in Christ.

Do you agree?

Note: This post is actually a rather lengthy response to an article on Scott Shifferd’s site .

Are you doing what you can? And how do you know?

One of my favorite verses is this one:

“She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.”
(Mark 14:8 ESV)

I believe that is all God asks of us. I often don’t have the words pop into my head that I want to say at times. I often don’t get the opportunities to witness that I wish I did. And I don’t have the gift of being able to draw attention to myself; I am very often just a face in the crowd.

But, I do believe, by God’s grace, I do what I know to do and am always looking for opportunities to serve Christ. So, I take comfort in the knowledge that while I often wish I could or would do more for Jesus, God knows I am (almost) always ready. I AM human you know.

I truly believe that God will provide opportunites for two kinds of people: those who are seeking and those who are looking for them.

Peace and grace!

Small knots are sometimes hard to unravel

Small Knot #1– We aren’t necessary to this world. There is no logical or scientific reason for humans to exist.

So, why are we here? There is no evolutionary explanation, since man is credited with destroying all kinds of species, supposedly to the extent of altering the global weather systems,  and depleting all kinds of irreplaceable natural resources.

The only explanation that makes sense is that God had a better plan, just as He said in Genesis 1:26-30: We were meant to have dominion and be stewards of the earth, but our fallen nature has completely corrupted us into self-seeking and ignorant abuser of this world.

Small Knot # 2– In both Matt 19 and Mark 10 Jesus affirms that entering into the Kingdom will be difficult for many, especially the rich. But, we are promised we will be recompensed for the things we give up for His sake, in this life and the next. Oddly enough, sons, daughter, mothers and fathers are mentioned, but never wives or husbands. I think this was omitted on purpose and thus means: God does not condone divorce, even between a believer and an infidel. Paul affirms this in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16. Many in the church wink at believers leaving abusive husbands or wives, non-working spouses, etc. But, where is the scriptural warrant?  I am not approving spousal abuse or neglect, but this may very well be the persecution one will have to bear due to poor choices made earlier in life be either or both people. Nowhere does the scripture say a man or woman may leave their spouse and divorce them for anything other than adultery.

Small Knot # 3 – Jesus states explicitly in Mark 9:38-41 that anyone not opposing the cause of Christ supports it, in effect. Not sure how this applies to different Christian sects, but it certainly sounds ecumenical. How far do we take this?

 Small Knot #4 – Water and the Bible
When the Israelites were leaving Egypt they had to pass through the Red Sea. In order to inherit Canaan they had to cross the river Jordan. God gavethem their freedom and the “land of promise” but it required obedience and effort on their part. A specific example is Jericho. They had to march around it once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day in order to possess what God had given them!

God promises us salvation, but there are things we must do in order to obtain it just as the Israelites were not just given the Promised Land without any participation on their part. Argue that God is the One who actually performs these things in us, and I won’t necessarily disagree. But, these acts of obedience must occur or we cannot be saved!

1. Repent – change our minds about how and why we are here and have godly sorrow about our rebellious form of life.  (2 Corinthians 7:10, Romans 3:11, 2 Timothy 2:19)

2. Believe the good news that Jesus has died in our place and through Him we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God. (John 11:26, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 5;10)

So why do so many say the following are NOT required?

3. Be baptized (Acts 2:38, every conversion in the book of Acts, Romans 6:3-5, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 5:26, Titus 3:5 )

4. Love God, not the world ( 1 John 2:15, Colossians 3:1)

Small Knot #5 – Jesus says “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:47-48 ESV)

and yet, John says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV)

and Paul “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)

Why does Christ seem to contradict this? I mean, surely He doesn’t, but I am missing something here, I am sure. If Jesus is the Word, and we know He is, then why would He say men will be judged by His words, but not Himself?
Small Knot # 6 – The Christian Hope; what is it?

While we are told of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that only implies the rule of that kingdom, not the location. Nowhere in scripture are we promised we will live in heaven. God, Jesus, the angels, the seven spirits, our citizenship, our treasure, our rewards, ours names, our future bodies (or permanent dwelling places – John 14:2), and our inheritance is KEPT in heaven for us. We will be united with these at the judgment after the resurrection. The Resurrection is the GREAT HOPE of the Christian. (Matt 22:30, Luke 20:36, Acts 23:6, 24:15, Romans 8:23-24, Philippians 3:10-11 to list a few).

Even Rev 19:1, which mentions a great multitude in heaven, does not imply that these are either dead or resurrected people.

I just cringe when I hear people talk about loved ones in heaven. Why then is there a resurrection? Martha knew that (John 11:24) and Paul, as both a Pharisee and Apostle believed that the resurrection of the righteous was what we were looking forward to. The resurrection is when we receive immortality. Not before. (Daniel 12:2, Romans 2:7, etc.)

Jesus stated plainly “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)

There appears to be only one destination for those who are counted worthy to attain to the resurrection of Christ –  the New Earth (2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1) in which righteousness dwells.