Tag Archives: Luke 9

Fake Faith or Different?

fake faithThere are times that I wish God had not made me such a vocal, passionate soul. I only wish it for a second… and then I get passionate about something else and forget my frustration. But life would be much simpler if I didn’t care so deeply. Caring gets me and usually my mouth into trouble.

The verses I claimed for my ministry are found in Ephesians 6:19-20.

 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Well, there it is. How do you claim a verse like that and not live by it? If you’re the Jesus Chick, you can’t; or at least you shouldn’t. So when I get into tight places, meaning where others disagree, I try my very hardest to stay on task and biblical. I am very aware that my passion can also cause my flesh to take control.  So when given a moment of passion to defend God’s stance, I have to reflect back and ask myself, was I defending God? Or Shari?

On the subject of “Fake Faith.”

That was the subject. And it took about thirty seconds to get my knickers in a knot! I am a defender of faith not of a denomination. Let me preface this blog by saying “I am a happy Baptist!” But I’m not just a minister to the Baptist, so when I hear words of discouragement about anyone’s faith or denomination it breaks my heart. I loved it when my Pastor has said in his sermons on several occasions that we need to take a stand on what we agree on, not argue with what we don’t, in regards to denominationalism. Let me also say that those are Christ, born of a virgin, dying on the cross, raised the third day, the way, the truth the life, churches. But on the subject of worship style, you can almost get a knock down drag out argument started with anyone of faith who is also passionate about what they believe. But on the subject of “fake faith,” I personally don’t think it should ever be a part of a conversation. And yet there it was… and there I was… and by the time all was said and done, I just didn’t say anything because I knew I wouldn’t change minds and I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t going to a place that children of God ought not go. Anger.

But my knickers were still, and are still in a knot. So today I’ve decided to do what I often do and that’s talk to God and write it out. So here’s the questions in my mind: “What is fake faith and what does the Bible say about it?”

Me Focused Faith

That’s almost a cult in itself! And it’s not discriminatory of denomination. It’s the idea that your church was founded for you. You are the final authority on all things God, and if things change you should be notified in writing with a letter from God. Now I know that’s extreme and no one would confess to that being so, but they’d like it if it were possible. And I’ve met them.

Church Focused Faith

It’s akin to “Me Focused Faith,” in that people believe their denomination is exclusive to salvation. There’s just one major problem with that… the Bible is our final authority and there’s no denomination mentioned. Yes there’s doctrine, but not denomination.

Fickle Faith

It’s really not faith at all, but it’s under the guise of faith. It’s the appearance of strong faith when all is well and everyone and everything is in its place. But let trouble come into your life, or things change in the church and it’s time to move on, out of church or in search of another church that has all the answers.

Fool Proof Faith

That’s not faith either. It’s the notion that you have God figured out and there is no wiggle room. The structure of faith is having all the “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed. Theology is where it’s at and the notion of worship comes from the book, not the heart.

Those are what I define as “fake faith.”

What I don’t define  fake faith as:

  • Someone who worships differently than I do.
  • Someone who uses another version of the bible. (although I am a King James Version gal, and have reasoning and belief that it is the protected Word of God)
  • Someone who goes to another church.
  • Someone who tries to prove their faith too hard. (meaning that perhaps they get a little zealous about a certain person or thing in the church) It’s sometimes hard to separate our love for God’s people with our love for God.
  • Someone who gets in the flesh. (else I’d be lost)

Even the Apostle John was concerned that folks weren’t like him when he expressed those concerns in Luke 9:49

And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

But Jesus answered him in verse 50:

And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Someone who worships differently isn’t being fake, it’s being who they believe God called them to be.

I sometimes think that God made me a little weird. It’s usually when someone who’s not like me questions why I am like I am. Be very careful on questioning another’s faith or actions of faith, lest you discourage a child of God and He’s not happy.

Don’t Look Back!

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Unbelievable!  We’re teetering on the edge of 2016,  and although my body feels another year older, my mind is saying “What happened?” It was just New Year’s Day 2015 yesterday! It’s like we’re on a Nascar track headed for the finish line and we’re not even slowing down for crashes. Troubles beset us round about but our eyes are on the next pit stop in life.  Try as I might, I can’t slow it down and it will do no good to look back.

Jesus said in Luke 9:62 No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Forward Ho!!!! Well I guess I just went back from the race track to the wagon train. Today on the Eve of 2016 I’m scheduled to sing at the funeral of a dear child of God who lived a full life and to her too it no doubt seemed like but a day. To her children they surely long for more time but it’s not possible. We’re on the course and the time allotted is known to no one but God. So what do we do when we’re teetering on time passing and the future? If we’re wise we’ll go to the Word of God!

James 3:17

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

James 3:17 is a good reflection point that provokes anticipation. Sounds like a great verse for New Year’s Eve!

Reflection

Wisdom from above – From the creation of all, the Word, which was authored by God has been pure and infused into the soul of a child of God through the Holy Spirit. That same purity produces purity (not perfection) into our lives, our conversation, and intentions, by driving us forward to a better life in Christ. The purpose of reflecting on 2015 is not to look back on the failures (although they can be good lessons) but rather use it as a gauge on where you’ve been and where you are at this point in time so that you can determine where you want to be when you stand on the eve of 2017, if God allows. Looking back for the purpose of counting failures is detrimental to your purpose. It causes doubt and confusion… neither of which bring anything good to the banquet table. They bring stale leftovers from a dinner you didn’t even enjoy the first time… throw them out and move on!

Peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated (treated) full of mercy and good fruits. Sounds like a place I’d like to be in 2016! A day spa that lasts 365 days of the year and at the end of the day has the Lord rubbing your shoulders like a player on the field of life, telling you what a great game you played. That game is well played by extending the mercy we’ve been shown by Christ. We’re not on the field to crush our opponents, we’re on the field to win them over to our team and then they become the fruit of the banquet table! Glory to God isn’t it wonderful how God uses food analogies. Because He knows we’re a hungry people… be it for physical or spiritual food… we long for it… and lots of it!

God is no respecter of persons, nor should we be. Without partiality, and without hypocrisy. He loves you just like He loves me, although sometimes I’m pretty sure I’m His pet, just sayin’. In the words of my sister Sarah…. God is soooooooooooooooooo good! And so very real. We need to share that message with every soul that crosses our path… or race track… or trail.

Anticipation

As I anticipate 2016 I’m looking forward to the Lord doing great, unusual, mighty things in my life and ministries. What are you looking forward to? Don’t look back unless you’re using it as gauge to see how far the Lord takes you next year. Forward, ho!!!!

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Organic Christianity… keeping it real in the youth ministry

Organic Christianity…Something the Pastor said in passing yesterday that has been stuck in my mind and obviously needs to go from pen to paper. Pricey organic foods are all the rage in healthy eating, although for the most part I have to wonder if it’s merely a difference in labeling than foods, and no different than the others on the shelf. I’m not real trusting of marketers. I’m even less trusting of many who share the gospel; one of the many reasons I’m a KJV (King James Version) girl. Just give me the basics. Is that not what organic is… just the basics. No additives or preservatives, its good just like it’s grown!

At a youth leadership meeting yesterday our discussion was around ways to improve the youth ministry, it’s always a subject of debate on ways to engage youth in the service. I was engaged with youth yesterday in the service, my three grandchildren. Curtain climbers that they are… I however was not engaged in the Pastor’s message for the distractions and concerns about the babies distracting others. Children are not born with social graces… it comes in time. I’m not so sure I’ll live that long. Insert grin here.

But the debate is, how do we change how we’re serving the Lord and keep the basics?

Luke 9:34-35; a portion of the scripture of the transfiguration of Christ says “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

According to commentary the appearance of Moses and Elijah symbolically represented the law and the prophets. But God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – clearly showed that the law and the prophets must give way to Jesus. The One who is the new and living way is replacing the old – He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. Also, in His glorified form they saw a preview of His coming glorification and enthronement as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain when they saw the new Jesus, yet He was still the basic. He was still the same, yet visibly different; God doesn’t change. That’s what I want to see happen in our youth ministry. I want it the same, yet visibly different. I don’t want to get away from the King James Bible, or reverence of God’s house; after all a youth program should be a training ground for servants, not an entertaining ground ~ but there’s nothing wrong with something new! The problem with new is it pushes us out of our comfort zone, but I’m not really the expert on that because I have the personality that embraces “new.” I do however understand that everyone does not, and as a leader I have to be considerate of that and make “new” softer and flexible if I want an excellence in the ministry for which I’ve been called to serve in. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone.

Shane Duffy’s definition of excellence in the ministry is found in John 12:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Excellence is giving up something good for yourself to provide something great for someone else. Youth ministry is not for everyone, but it’s for someone. It’s a sacrificial ministry. And there have been times that I have felt as if I was sacrificed on the altar of insanity. It’s those times when people who have not been called to the ministry look at you like your crazy and say… “you want to do what with the kids?” Let me rephrase my statement about the youth ministry not being for everyone. It is for everyone, but in different capacities. If it’s your church you’re either a part of it, a supporter of it, lest you be a hindrance to it. It’s important that there are multiple people with multiple ideas involved else you get someone like me that goes to the extreme.

Perry Noble in a recent leadership podcast said this about extravagance….

Excellence is the overflow of attention and hard work where Extravagance is something you buy so it looks like there was hard work involved. If the average person doesn’t notice the difference, what we’re using becomes a toy, not a tool. We need to makes sure that what we’re using is a tool to reach people for Christ, not a toy to entertain. Spend money on what matters, otherwise it’s extravagance.

I love that! I needed that!

Because I love toys in the ministry. I like shiny things and far too often they’re just attention getters and take my eyes off Christ. If we want something new, it needs to be for the basic concept of drawing young people into a relationship with Christ, and families into to the church. Just the basics… organic, grounded in the gospel Christianity…. With perhaps a side of bling…

Hope this helped you… it sure helped me today!