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Is It All About Jesus?

Jesus 2I wonder as a Pastor what some who attend Church regularly are driven by. I think for some people it can become a routine that completes or starts their week. They may have grown up in the Church and like the routine because it makes them feel good about themselves. People who get into a Church routine might even start to think that they are pleasing God by showing up on a weekly basis. A certain amount of pride or self-righteousness follows that hinders a true relationship with God. Our life with God was never meant to be a routine! Jesus did not die a bloody death and take our sins upon Himself so that we could go to Church once a week and feel good about ourselves.

If we are saved and its truly about Jesus how does that play out in our everyday life? As a Christian I don’t want to just go through the motions every week like those who don’t know Jesus. I want to see transformation in my life and those who attend the Church. I think it starts with the attitude that each person in the Church has. Every one of us who have been saved by grace should desire to be transformed by grace everyday. Our attitude is to be one of submission to everything that Jesus taught and preached about. It is submitting to the authority of the Word regularly. Without an attitude of submission I am nothing more than a pride filled hypocrite. I don’t want to live my life that way. When we lose sight of submission to Jesus and His Word (the entire Bible) we get stuck in a Church routine which never brings pleasure to God. Any person who lives a life of submission is a person that is going to be used by God and knows God. Everyday we have the choice of being submissive and moving forward. Because God is so gracious he gives us the choice. This country, our Churches, and this world is in need of submissive Christians.

Paul the Missionary

PaulPaul the Missionary by Eckhard J. Schnabel is one of the best treatments on the Apostle Paul to come out in recent years. This book is slow through the first 120 pages because it deals with background material. With that said I do think that most Christians wanting to go deeper and understand background material should give this book their time. After the background material Schnabel takes us into the message and methodology of the Apostle. In a day when the Church is filled with programming over the basics of method and message we need to learn to simplify our task of what ministry truly is. We do live in a much different world than the Apostle lived, but the message and how God works is still the same. We forget that aspect a lot of the time. If you want to be challenged on a different level and are tired of the basics this book is for you.

Let the Wise hear and understand.

Church FathersHave you ever considered that it matters what is being taught at the Church you attend? I was once a person who thought as long as we proclaimed Jesus it really didn’t matter beyond that. Over time my view of what is being taught has changed. My change came through my study of the New Testament and experience as a Pastor. When people don’t understand basic tenets of the faith they cannot interact with God as He has intended. Lack of doctrinal understanding leads the Church also down the dangerous path of heresy. A Church that is not unified in what it believes will never be able to move forward as God desires. Basic Doctrine is foundational for all Christians who need to have an understanding of what the Bible is proclaiming . The Apostles and early Church fathers all thought this was important.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

Galatians 1:6

The first thing you should know as a Christian is what does you Church believe in concerning the gospel. The Bible is clear that we enter into a relationship with Jesus by faith alone. Romans 3-5 states that we are justified by faith and nothing we can do helps us merit the grace of God. Ephesians 2:1-10 also helps to clarify this matter as well. There are Churches out here that are teaching falsely that you have to do something such as be baptized before God will accept you. That thinking is not biblical and is not found in scripture. Where does your Church stand on this matter?

What does your Church also believe about God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus as the only way, Scriptures being inerrant, and how to function as a body of believers. If you can’t answer any of those questions its time to talk to your Pastor or other Church leaders. If they cannot or will not answer those questions for you its time to consider worshipping somewhere else. Our relationship with God should matter more than anything else in this life. If God didn’t care what we believed we would not have the Bible to guide and direct us. Start asking questions and stay in the Word. It really does matter.

Bible StudyA Pastor in San Diego was informed by a County Official that he was in violation of the county code with his “religious assembly” for having too many people over for a Bible Study. Fox News has the full story here;

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,522637,00.html

When I read about this story I was in shock. What about Christmas time, family barbeque’s, or just hanging out watching the Super Bowl? I find it strange that a problem with a gathering that violates a county code has something to do with the Christian faith. I see persecution coming our way in this country and it is troubling. First we have a Hate Crime Bill (HR 1913) and now this. Maybe this is a wake up call for the Church that has taken its faith in Christ for granted. Maybe this will be a means for us to evangelize and defend our faith in greater ways. Whatever it is we need to wake up and take a look around. Every group in our country is being accepted with the exception of Christianity. However the San Diego problem turns out will be interesting.

QuestionToday the California Supreme Court took a stand against same-sex marriage. This decision by the California Supreme Court should be applauded. We are living in a time when there seems to be no definition of what true morality is. There must be some reference point that dictates true morality. For me that reference point is the Word of God. The reason that I am happy about this decision to ban gay marriage in California is that I see a homosexual agenda that is relentless right now. It goes beyond the marriage issue and it is trying to infiltrate many other areas of our lives. From the schoolroom to the proposed hate crimes bill the homosexual community is trying its best to promote itself and get the nation to accept them. This is still a free country and while freedom of speech is still my right I will choose to stand my ground upon the Word of God that this lifestyle is sin and unacceptable. My hope is that the Church will discuss this issue and not just sit this one out.

RTThe book Sensitivity of the Spirit by R.T. Kendall who is the former Pastor of Westminster Chapel in London is an outstanding contribution to the work of the Holy Spirit. In the Church today we have confusion over the Spirit of God which is c0-equal with God. He is a part of the Trinity and yet He is not sought or discussed like he should be. Kendall in this work describes the leading of the Spirit and addresses the way in which Christians can quench Him from their lives. The premise of drawing closer to God is present with the pitfalls that many Christians fall into and the reason why the Spirit is not guiding them. If you care about holiness and want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in greater ways I recommend this book to you. This is not a treatment on tongues but being sensitive to the leading of God in your life. Too much of the time Christians think that they have a handle on God when in fact we are just going through the motions. I do not readily recommend every book on the Holy Spirit that I read, but this is one I will be passing along for a long time.