Tag Archives: religion

Beware of Christians

It’s pouring the snow down in Calhoun County, West Virginia today, and the odds of me making it to our morning service are growing slimmer. Praise God, I was in church with the teens for fellowship last night, else I’d be even sadder.

I don’t know how people make it without a church family for encouragement.

The teens and I watched a film called “Beware of Christians.” It was documentary by four college boys who wanted to know what lies beyond “religion” who went by faith on a journey to Europe to witness for Christ.

As most movies it started out a little slow, and I’m sweating it because I want the kids to enjoy it and have a good time. Well let me tell you, when teens applaud at the end of a movie, with nobody to hear their applause but each other and God, you know the Spirit has moved and I’m not a failure as a youth leader J

When the title speaks of “Beware of Christians,” it’s not what you initially think. Or at least not what I thought. It’s speaking primarily of religious Christians which in the context of this film, I personally think most of us fit into. I’ve witnessed very few people in my life who live their lives to the extent of the disciples and by the instruction of Christ through the word.

These young men warn of the cause and effect of religious church goers who talk the talk but their walk doesn’t back it up. They interviewed people in the many cities they traveled, often times ending up in cities they never intended on going to. But God has His methods! They asked tough questions of young people regarding their sexual morality and spoke candidly about their own struggle. They delved into materialism and so many other topics that few Christians dare to ask themselves. Such as “Are you prepared to give up everything to serve Christ?” What does it mean to be a Christian? What things do you “need” and what things do you “need to get rid of?” Are you willing to walk away from some people because they’re unhealthy for you?

I’ll leave much of it for you to experience should you decide to watch the movie. You can rent it on YouTube for $1.99. This is not an endorsement, but rather an opportunity if you’re interested.

Link: https://youtu.be/ebEc73IYdyU

What I wanted to accomplish by this post this morning is to ask you what I had to ask myself last night? What good are you for the cause of Christ? How much of an impact are you making? What will you do differently this week because I ask you these questions?

Because I’m not going to make it to our services this morning, I’m going to spend some time pondering these questions myself. If you’d like to share your answers or your thoughts I’d love to hear from you!

The risk of dying before you’re dead

Perhaps it’s an advantage or a disadvantage to the privilege of traveling to multiple churches where I’ve seen both the dead and alive, and those in between. The live revive and the dead remind that I am just a rock’s throw away from being among’em as I witness those in between.
It doesn’t seem like much, but an “Amen!” goes a 4long way to a dry and dusty soul, and no doubt for the preacher in need of encouragement.

So, the question is, “How do you know you’re dying?”

Hebrews 4:1-2 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left of us entering into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto u was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

No fear

Possibly the first sign of spiritually dying is that you’re not concerned that it’s possible. I fear it. I’ve seen enough lifeless churches to last me a life time. Revelation 3:15 warns the people of God when He says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
I see the warning signs in the lives of others that make me fearfully aware.

• Church is a service on Sunday morning only. They’ve forgotten that they “are” the church.
• Church attendance is optional if something “better” comes along.
• Amen is said at the end of a prayer, or when prompted; seldom if ever spontaneously and obediently brought on by the Spirit of God.
• The altar is for fanatics, or those who “need” it.
• Bible study is on Wednesday only, and the preacher is the only one who needs to study so he can say what needs to be known.

If you’re on the list, be fearful, because you’re possibly dead.

No faith

James 2:17 – “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Faith in God is the premise for Salvation. Believing that faith in Christ alone, without works is the only thing necessary for salvation. But getting saved isn’t the finish work of the child of God. There needs to be evidence that that faith is alive and well! Else, as James said. It’s dead.
Dr. Myron Guiler preached last night at Gospel Light Baptist Church in Wallkertown, NC. Dr. Guiler is well into his 80’s. He’s been near death multiple times in his life, and yet he continues on. He continues on not because he’s a preacher and pastor, but because God’s not done with him yet. He was visibly tired last night, as he’s preached every night this week and traveled many miles between churches. His message was pure, simple and yet so profoundly un-evidentiary in the lives of so many.

• To lead a soul to Christ you must know people need saved and know how to lead them to salvation, you must have compassion for the lost, and you must get involved in their life.
If those are not qualities in your walk with Christ, you are dead.

No fire

For me, this is possibly the most telling of all. I get that people can’t be on the mountain top every day of their lives. Things happen, discouragement abounds. But if I’ve met you on more than one occasion the evidence of salvation should be in your life and you should have omitted a few sparks for Jesus.

As I write this morning in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel desk clerk has questions of about who I am. I tell him about my blog and he checks it out. He comes back excited… he’s on fire. He’s funny. He makes me laugh and our souls connect in Christ. He’s not a Baptist. I’m not a Pentecostal. It’s cool. We serve the same Jesus.

If the very fact that I said I was cool with a Pentecostal gave you more concern than excitement about the fact that we were talking about Jesus in the lobby of a hotel. You might be dead.
Check your blood pressure. Because it’s only about the blood. Not about the denomination.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

I don’t want to sit in the Pharisees Pew

Luke 19:37-40

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Have you ever been at the foot of a mountain top experience? You feel in your soul that God is about to doing something amazing! You can see in the distance a plan that God has unfolding and something inside your soul begins to stir and the excitement builds until you just can’t keep quiet. You’ve got to tell someone; you’ve got to share the good news!

That’s a place that I feel that many Christians are at, but there’s just one problem: Religion. It always has a way of working its way into the ministry, because it looks like it belongs there. It’s pretty, and dignified and never makes anyone uncomfortable. People sit in their seats with their hands firmly clutching the bible or a hymnal or a child, anything that will keep emotion from taking over, else they’ll have their hands in the air like they just don’t care, and we can’t have that!

That is far too close to the Pharisee’s pew for me.

In Luke 19 Jesus is making His entry into Jerusalem, not only the main disciples are excited, but there’s a crowd of other believers who are making noise and glorifying God for the great and mighty things He has done. They’re acknowledging His deity, His control of situations in their life, and they don’t care if He’s on a lowly donkey; as a matter of fact that probably made Him more relatable to them. He didn’t arrive in a chariot, because He was the God of the common man. He put Himself in a position of relativity. They were excited that God was with them.

Although not everyone was happy. There was a religious crowd that didn’t like the noise. So they complained… to God.

Oh. My. Stars. That cracked me up. They went to God and ask Him to shush the crowd. Essentially asking God to shut up the gratitude.

It made me laugh and then it made me sick. Because I see people who are sitting at the foot of that mountain top experience of a service that leaves you excited and ready to go into all the world and share the good news but religion comes in. But, since it’s already had God’s answer, religion goes to the people and tells them to shush. They’re noise will disrupt the service and somebody might look at them. And they’re more than happy to oblige.

So… what’s the worst that could happen? Somebody else might get excited?

Jesus told the religious crowd that if the people would hold their peace, the stones would cry out. What might that sound like I wonder?

There’s a lot of things that happen around stones in the Bible and the Pharisees knew it. Jesus may have been reminding them of some of those events. What if the stones on location began to cry out about the things they’d seen? Like the delivery of Israel out of Egypt and the twelve stones that were laid in remembrance of that event. What would those stones say… would they tell of the rejoicing and the weeping as the children were lead toward the Promised Land? What would the stone say that Jacob used for a pillow the night that God changed his name to Israel. When that stone watched Jacob wrestle and get his thigh knocked out of kilter. What about the stones that were about to be hurled at the woman caught in adultery and Jesus stepped in and saved her life, just like He saved ours. What would those stones say?

Can you see why I don’t want to sit on the Pharisee’s pew? I don’t want those stones to weep because I fail to praise God Who is worthy of a loud house.

There was one more stone that the Pharisees knew nothing about. But Jesus did. It was one that would shortly to come to pass, and would be rolled away to find an empty grave and risen Lord so that I, and you, could have eternal life and a relationship with the Lord. He would forever be “God with us.” What would that stone say? The stone that witnessed it all!

We don’t have a stone to tell us, but we have the Word of God and it stirs my souls this morning and I can assure you that my hands may be on the key board but they will be praising God in the air here shortly. He is the Rock! And there will come a day when every person of creation will hear the Rock cry out. Be ready, and be loud!

Not by Happenstance – a Presidential Truth

american chickI know that the bible is relative to the day, but it still gives me a moment of pause. And so I re-read what was written and it’s as if God says, “Yes, that’s what I wrote. What part of the “Living Word of God” did you not understand?” So, I’m reading through 1st Samuel and I’m in the 10th Chapter, reading the story of the anointing of Saul to be King. I need to preface this with a Facebook story. God woke me up at 5:30 ish this morning and I knew I needed to get up and read the word of God and see what He’d have me focus on today. But it was so toasty beneath the covers that so I lay there scrolling through Facebook and catching up on the latest meme’s, prayer request and antics of somebody’s baby. And low and behold, this will shock you, I came across an anti-Trump post. Now that’s rare in my Facebook world because most of those who are on my feed are Trump supporters or at least they’re not negative nellies. But one such character, a preacher no less, was a very vocal Obama and Clinton supporter and although we’ve not locked horns about the issue, his post bother me. So in frustration, I hop up out of bed and head to the living room to get into God’s word. That’ll teach me not to obey God the first time.

Not by happenstance, I’m in 1st Samuel 10.

Verse 9

And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.

Samuel had just laid the news on Saul that he was about to become King of Israel. Saul didn’t understand. He was of the tribe of Benjamin the smallest of the children of Israel, he didn’t have any training and he was just trying to find his dad’s wayward mules, not trying to become king. But God had another plan. It had never been God’s plan that His people would have another leader besides Himself. But they chose that path, and so God allowed mans will to become the way. But it still didn’t take God out of control. As Saul turned to leave Samuel, somewhat in shock I think, it says that “God gave him another heart.

When Obama was elected in 2004 and 2008, I wasn’t happy. But he was President and I knew that God had allowed him to be President and who was I to question God. I spent those eight years watching as the American dream was flushed down the toilet and Christianity was mocked from one end of the country to the other. Yet, I still respected the office of President of the United States. So when 2016 came you better believe I was on my knees begging God for a change in our Nation’s leadership before the whole country found itself searching for God in the house of the Lord and having Him not be found. When President Trump initially ran, my first thought was “I don’t think that’s God’s man.” But as time went on I became a Trump believer. Not because he was a godly man, but because he was a man God could use. And then, when he added Vice President Pence to his team, a man of God and proud to be, I had my answer.

So when I scrolled across that post this morning of side by side images of Obama and Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast, with their opening words being used to tear at the political seams of our Country, I was upset. Obama had opened up with scripture, Trump opened up with a joke. Now, for the record I never watched Obama’s national day of prayer speeches because I fully believe the man is Muslim, not a child of God. At every opportunity he thwarted the efforts of Christianity and promoted Islamic terrorism. But back to the prayer breakfast… Trump was stirred up after he had heard Chaplain Barry Black preach one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard and a salvation message to boot!  God is at work on the heart of Donald Trump, I believe it. So he opened up with a joke about who appointed Black and that his job was safe whether he appointed him or someone else. It was Trump trying to be funny… he doesn’t always master that.  But what he mastered in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast was the fact that he is willing to fight for Christian freedom. That was never Obama’s agenda.

I’ll shush at this point, because I really don’t like being political. But I needed to get that off my chest and I have a platform for which I pay a month subscription that gives me the right to do so. And I figure if you’re not a Jesus Chick fan, you’ll likely not read it anyway. And if you’re a fan of mine, you’re probably a fan of President Trump. Yes, I’m aware for the biblical scholars that Saul later failed. Trump’s not Saul and our story doesn’t have to be his. This is about who God appoints and the fact that we have no right to question but to follow scripture that says that we are respect authority.

The end of that chapter says this in verses 26 and 27.

And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

I see God moving in our country in a way that I’ve not experienced for a very long time. And I’m just saying for the record that those stirring division are not of God, because God unites Christians. Satan divides.

When there’s no way out but up!

12

Have you ever been there? You have used your last ditch effort and all human hope is gone, you’re praying there’s nothing lower than where you are, because where you are is no where you wanted to be. It wasn’t that you intended to be there, just… one day you were. In Luke Chapter 8 there are two lives that collide that had me taking note in a new way for this space and time of my life. It was new for me, maybe not new to you, but maybe so! Two people, whose lives were at the bottom, seek Jesus. And they find him in an extraordinary way.

There was Jairus, a ruler over the synagogue who had no doubt heard Jesus’ name a time or two in the Jewish circles. The religious leaders weren’t happy about the Man Who claimed to be God. They liked religion just the way it was. Controlled. There were rules and they could put people neatly in their place.

  • You can come close.
  • You may not.
  • God will meet with you.
  • You, not today. Perhaps tomorrow when you’re clean.
  • Perhaps next week.

Religion makes life tidy. It’s repetitious. So tonight I’ll be teaching this thought to my teens. Pray for us as we

Delve into twelve

Jarius had a daughter of the age of twelve, who the scripture says was dying. That’s a hopelessness I can’t (nor do I want to) imagine. But it’s been very real for some people. Darius didn’t go to his religious friends.

I wonder why? Perhaps because you don’t find answers or hope to something new in repetition. It’s the same ol’ same ol’, is it not? He was experiencing something he’d never had to face before. The loss of his most prize possession… his child. He’d do anything to save her. And so he sought Jesus. And when he found him he fell down at his feet. He’d never done that at his church.

What was different? Jesus had power. That’s what the church needs! We need the power of God in our lives doing mighty and miraculous things; but we don’t have it because we’re stuck in repetition.

What do you suppose the reaction would have been by his religious friends? They’d no doubt question him, perhaps laugh, scorn or criticize. He might even lose his position. But Darius didn’t care! If he didn’t have hope, the job was nothing.

And then the collision

She doesn’t have a name, but if you know any bible and I say “she had an issue of blood”, you know her. She had had this issue twelve years. Hmmmm…. Jarius’ daughter was dying at twelve and this unnamed woman had suffered twelve. Significant? Probably far more significant than I’m about to try and explain, but for me it was an “aha” moment for my ministry.

The woman, like Jairus, had no hope of her own. She’d spent every dime she had, she had no doubt lost every relationship she had because no one could be with a person unclean. Her children couldn’t touch her, her husband couldn’t love on her and she was desperate for healing.  But what she was about to do was to take her life in her own hands, when she, who was unclean, reached for the Priest. It was forbidden. Her life could get a lot worse and very quickly if anyone knew.

What kind of faith would that have taken? A bold faith! Do you have it? I pretend I do, but I’m not so sure. She crawls on the dirty ground to touch the dirtiest part of his garment. The part that had been dragging through the streets of camel poop and pee and heaven knows what else. She didn’t care! She knew if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would be made whole. So she did… and she was! And He knew!!!

What would have been her reaction then? I’ll bet her heart leapt into her throat! But even so she confessed to the Lord what had happened and His words to her was “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”

Wow! Was where I was when I read that today. Here in the midst of Jesus traveling to heal Jarius daughter, He finds another daughter who needs Him too. An old one… like me. One who needs a miracle in her life and she receives it through faith. But just before the party is about to break out the streets someone comes to Jesus from Jairus’ home and says “don’t bother, the girl has died.”

But He went in any way and there was grief everywhere. But Jesus said she wasn’t dead. And they laughed Him to scorn. But the last laugh was to be on them when Jesus raised that little girl from the dead and told them to get her a bologna sandwich!

Two daughters. Two miracles. One old. One young. The old needed healing. The young needed resurrection.

Can I say that the leadership of the church needs a healing and the bleeding to stop. Jesus’ blood covered it all. Every sin, every wicked thing in our life has been healed by Jesus and we need to get on with life.

So what about the young? They need resurrected! Time is short and there is a host of young people going to hell because they’ve believed what the world has said. The parents and the leaders need to humble themselves and fall before God, and the young need to listen and allow Jesus to give them a new life.

Delve into Twelve? How many months have we just been given? Twelve. What will we do with them? Are you Jairus, the woman or the child? Or… are you the repetitious religious one without hope? God has what we need to make 2017 amazing but it’s going to take some bold believers! Be one.

I’m Sick of My Own Excuses

no-excuse-banner

2017 is just days away! Shocking right? I know that it’s not a big revelation that it followed 2016 but the way time has flown by almost seems surreal. Kind of like the fact that Obama is leaving office. So, for a few days I’ve been strategizing my coming year. Oh… I always make great plans! And sometimes I even get a few of them accomplished. My word for last year was unusual, and the year in review would prove that 2016 lived up to it. It was unusual in the sense that God opened unusual doors (like the wonderful state of Minnesota), allowed unusual circumstances to occur that changed the fabric of my life (such as people entering and leaving my life) and 2016 brought a vigor into my ministry desires that is carrying me into 2017. I’ll announce my 2017 word in a few days.

Yesterday I worked on the banner of my Facebook page and replaced it with one that read “2017 – Sharing Christ Without Excuse.” I’m sick of my own excuses for not sharing Christ more boldly. My aforementioned snarky comment toward the Obama administration was without regret, but I promise not to get hung up on it like he has with the fact he’s leaving office. But I can say it in truth that I have never felt so free to share my faith than after the election of 2016 – another unusual event! I feel like 2017 is going to offer Christians an opportunity to take back some ground that has been lost the last eight years.

Religion (I’d rather say faith, but I’ll use this term for now) losing ground isn’t new to the world. As I read in Judges this morning of Micah in chapters 17 and 18 it was quite parallel to what I’ve seen happening in America. Micah had stolen some money from his mother (which caused her to cuss) because she had intended to use for religious purposes. Ha! I guess she really did lose her religion!  But for whatever reason Micah decides to return it, and this odd woman blesses her son for his state of conscience. She had wholly dedicated this money to the Lord for her son to make a “graven image and a molten image.”

Did God not say not make any graven images? So how this woman thought that the money was wholly set aside is a mystery. Unless you look at religion today, where churches okay a lifestyle of sin, idolatry worship and Jesus combined. And then it looks pretty much the same.

So back to the story and this is definitely a condensed version of it. Micah decides to use the money to make a couple of images and buy himself a priest. What?  Yes, that’s what he did because that way he and his momma didn’t have to go all the way into town to church. They had their own. I guess it was their version of a television evangelism of the day. And although the priest they hired was a Levite, he wasn’t necessarily called by God to be a priest.

Well long story even shorter, a group from the tribe of Dan hear Micah’s priest speaking as they passed by. The Danites inquire of him as to whether or not they can defeat the city of Laish, and following their victory, take him from Micah because he might come in handy in the future for more advice. They not only steal the priest but take his idols with them as well and incorporate that into their worship.

Now scroll to the modern day Christianity and compare.

  • People no longer go to church because it’s inconvenient.
  • A bible proves their faith in God, right? Even if it’s dusty…
  • A few dollars in the plate buys them a preacher who will preach what they desire to hear, or they’ll stay home until they’re over it.

That sounds pretty negative but it’s none the less the truth. Church attendance across America is on the decline because people are too busy or deceived into thinking that it’s not necessary for a Christian’s life. I write this to two groups of people, those in church and those not. So you surely fall into one of those categories, or perhaps in the middle because you “attend when you can.”

The children of Israel when into captivity because of their halfhearted faith and I firmly believe that America was just a few votes shy. So, what will we do with 2017? For me I want to live without excuse! If Jesus says go, I want to go. If He says do, I want to do. If He says speak, I want to speak. How about you?

Tune in in a day or two to discover my 2017 word!

 

 

How to Lose Your Religion on Sunday

psalm-134

A friend of my husband messaged him last night and said that I needed to sing him a song on Facebook because “between the people he had to deal with and the WVU ballgame his religion was at risk.” Needless to say that was a nice compliment and a worthy chuckle. So this morning it put the word “religion” on my heart, why we should lose it, and why Sunday is the perfect day to set out on that mission!

Religion reminds me of those folks who sing “Standing on the Promises” while sitting on the premises with their hands across their chest. Religion causes me to have frown lines and I don’t need any more lines on my brow. It reminds me of a previous me who felt very uncomfortable when the Holy Spirit moved in a service. It felt odd, out of place and very unwelcome. Heaven forbid people should raise their hand or go to an altar with a repentant heart, or a burden of prayer. Let’s just carry those burdens around until we die and in err believe that people buy our pious religious demeanor and mistaken it for spirituality. Wow! Where did that come from? I guess as my ol’ friend D.L. Kerby used to say, “If God laid it on your heart, you must have needed to say it!” Well, sometimes D.L. was right and sometimes not, but perhaps we all need to hear a reminder before church this morning that now is not the time to get complacent in our faith. Religion should have no part of church, you should lose it before you enter the building.

Religion is repetitious

In Christ every day is a new day. We don’t go church “just because it’s Sunday.” We go to church because that’s the day God’s people come together to encourage one another and to hear what God has to say.

Religion is like raisins

Only not nearly as sweet. It’s a shriveled up version of what God intended. Yes, God wants you in church, but not just to sit there for your one hour due diligence. He wants you fresh and lively like the grapes on the vine. Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  Raisins are dried up fruit, a very good analogy I think to a religious Christian. Oh… you were good fruit once upon a time, but now, you’re ready for the box.

Religion is rebellion

Yep. I said it. And if you’re religious you’re likely upset. But God did not die on the cross for religion. He died on the cross for a relationship with those He died for. Sitting lifeless and unaffected by a sermon is not having a relationship. It’s like a rebellious child who will sit in your presence and listen to you speak, but your words are doing nothing more than tickling their ears as they go in one and out the other.

When Saul failed to take heed to the word of God and kept some of the “good spoil” for himself and the people in the battle against the Amalekites, Samuel said this to him in 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of   Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”

 We call children rebellious when they won’t listen to their parents… Hello… God is our Father. If we’re not listening to Him, we’re rebelling. It’s that simple.

And I’m as guilty as the next.

I’m not saying every Christian has to be loud and hands in the air, else their not saved. That could be chaos. But if it was done in the Spirit of God, it would not be, even if the whole church was loud and hands in the air! What I’m saying is… When you get to go to church this morning, go in… sit down… and wait for instruction on the edge of your seat. And if you do… something exciting might just happen. And you too can lose your religion on Sunday and God will be well pleased!

Is it Real Religion?

chick real2

A little reflection is probably good for the soul, but it certainly needs to be balanced. As I wind down 2015, I’m first of all shocked that I’m winding down 2015! Somebody put my life in fast forward mode and I can’t slow down. Do you feel that way too? But as quick as it went, this morning had me thinking about what I did with the past 323 days. Were they productive for the cause of Christ? Some were, some weren’t but for a fact they are both un-re-doable. Should you double hyphenate a word? Life is short… let’s walk on the wild side.

A little food for thought today from the book of James caused me to ponder the question “Has my 323 days been real religion.”

RELIGION MAKES ME NAUSEOUS

You can be “religious” about anything. I was raised in “religion.” A theory of theirs was religiously going to church was “enough.” Saying you are a Christian was “enough.” Don’t overdo church, once a week is “enough.” Well enough already! There is no point in rehashing pre-salvation failures, those are under the blood! Glory to God!  Lukewarm Christianity that makes my Lord want to puke and spew us out of His mouth isn’t good. So when I start “going through the motions” of Christianity it concerns me. I want to arrive at church with great expectation of what the Lord is going to do, I want to get up in the morning and say, “Reporting for Duty Sir!” to the Lord… and mean it. I want there to be excitement in my life every day for the opportunities before me. I don’t want to be religious, I want to be as spontaneous as a fire on a windy autumn day, igniting everything around me. Yes I’m getting fired up! How about you?

James 1:22-25

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:   For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

My second point is this

RELIGION MAKES ME NERVOUS

And it’s why I’m reflecting today. Not living up to my potential as a child of God can cause eternal damage and a friend to be in that fire that cannot be quenched. If I get lacks on my responsibilities as a Christian, and concern myself more with the affairs of this world and not the cause of Christ, who will I not see in Heaven? I look around at friends and family and I’m nervous for them. Because I don’t see Christ in their life and I have no assurance if they were to die today that they’d be in Heaven. I don’t want to go through the motions of Religion, I want a relationship with Christ which will motivate me to share the gospel. Reflection and reading God’s word blesses and readies my heart for service.

James 1:25

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

RELIGION MAKES ME NEGATIVE

It’s a line I have to try so hard not to cross, and one that I see so many good people crossing. They spend more time setting fires of destruction with their negative attitude and critical spirit than lighting a fire for Christ. They’re constantly (religiously) concerning themselves with what’s happening in another church, rather than concerned about the lost and those in need.

James 1:26-27

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

As I wind down 2015 I want to be wound tight for 2016. I want to be busy in my relationship with Jesus and the people I meet every day. I want to open my “Big Stinkin’ Mouth,” in the words of a recent sermon title I heard. I want people to see the love of Christ, and that I am religious with my relationship with Him so that they’ll know it’s real!

Join me! And if you feel so inclined… share me. Post this blog link on Social media or share it with a friend!

Love ya… mean it!

chick encourage 2

Revival Vs. Religion… Chick Fight!

CHICK FIGHT

Acts 14… what an action packed chapter! Who needs Hollywierd when you and the Holy Spirit can grab a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (my personal fav) and a bowl of Special Fruit & Yogurt Cereal and watch an action packed movie of the mind. It’s amazing! In the words of a dear friend Sandra Lancaster… “Picture this…” and keep in mind that this is the gospel  according to Shari.

Paul had just preached the Word of God in Antioch, he’d torqued off the Jews and stirred up the Gentiles until they wanted to hear part two of his sermon. Evidently they’d never ask the Synagogue staff for part two of theirs because they were very upset! It might have also had something to do with the fact that Paul told the Jews that God had given them the very same word but they didn’t think they were worthy of living forever so they turned it down, and now  we’re givin’ your piece of Heaven to the Gentiles.” (Chapter 13, vs.  46, 47). So Paul and Barnabas end up getting  thrown out of Antioch and head out to Iconium.

It was there that both the Jew and the Gentile heard and believed the Word of God.

Rejection shuts the door to the Holy Spirit

Paul and Barnabas were no doubt on fire by the time they had reached Iconium. (14:1-5) It was no wonder that many of the Jews and Gentiles heard and believed. They could see the Holy Spirit working in and through the Apostles and Revival had broken out in their community. But those who rejected the Word of God and refused to consider the signs and wonders began stirring up strife in the community until the Revival leaders were forced to leave town. They could see it, but they wanted no part of it.

Responsiveness opens the door to the Holy Spirit

Paul and Barnabas fled to Lystra and Derbe and it was there that a responsive invalid opens the door to faith and revival of the heart. (14:8-10)

And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Did you catch that? Paul could see the man’s faith. The impotent man was believing before the miracle had even happened and he had opened the door to the Holy Spirit which was already evident even before the miracle. He knew something big was about to happen, and when it did, he didn’t grunt and  groan and wallow around on the floor trying to get up, he leaped! Don’t you think that didn’t catch some people off guard and cause revival to break out again! It’s the same way in a good church service when someone gets saved. Our teen retreat was good, but not until a few girls minded the Holy Spirit and testified, and then a young man broke down and realized his need for repentance did it become great! It was then that revival broken out in camp last week. It was on!

Religion Doesn’t even know the Holy Spirit

Imagine if at our camp, when the young man got saved, the kids all bowed down to Steve Boggs who had just preached the sermon that pricked the young man’s heart that led to his salvation.  Imagine if they gave Steve the glory for saving his soul and wanted to build a statue right then and there to memorialize Steve’s power. That would be crazy, but that’s what happened when the lame man leapt. They didn’t recognize that it was God they recognized man and wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas. Religion is just that… it’s the evidence of man’s abilities and not faith that the Holy Spirit made the entire thing happen through supernatural abilities.  When Paul and Barnabas refused to be idolized the crowd (spurred on by Antioch Jews who followed them and Iconium citizens) drew Paul out and stoned him, supposedly to death.

But again, they were looking through the eyes of religion. Paul’s friends the other apostles came and stood around Paul…

And he rose up! Can you see the credits start to roll!!!!

I’d like to thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit…

Whew doggy Revival broke out again. Paul left town for a few days to gather his strength but he returned to each city and encouraged those believers to keep on keeping on.

Now that’s the bible according to Shari, but read it for yourself.

Lesson for the day… even in a world that rejects Christ and the Word of God… Revival still happens. Bring it on!!! It starts at Victory at 7 p.m. tonight under an old fashioned tent in the outdoors. If you’re local, bring your chair or use ours and come on out, if you’re too far, please pray for us and we’ll celebrate in Heaven over what the Lord has done.

 

 

 

We don’t patch old britches where I come from

chick patch

There is danger in dead religion

What seems like a lifetime ago, almost 20 years, I sat in the midst of dead religion. I didn’t know it, until the first day I sat in the midst of live faith! Tears well up in my soul as I write those words because it breaks my heart to think that there are many people around the world sitting where I once did. They are quite possibly good, saved people, serving Christ in their place; but I was not. I didn’t know the saving grace of Jesus Christ any more than I knew Superman. In my mind I knew of Jesus, but didn’t know Jesus. He was as surreal as Superman himself. I would read (and teach) scripture thinking… wow… that’s an amazing story. It is an amazing story, but at the time my unsaved soul had no spiritual discernment of the Word of God that comes with salvation, so it was just a story. That’s the danger of dead religion.

The scripture becomes just another book. The church becomes just another place. A prayer becomes a ritualistic means of getting “it” done.

Matthew 9:16-17

No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Patchin’ Old Britches

The disciples of John the Baptist had just questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not fast and carry out the ritualistic practices of the Pharisees. And to country quote my Lord, He said, we don’t patch old britches where I come from. That thought tickled me.  The Pharisees put so much stock in their religious practices that their relationship with God was not a relationship at all, but merely a “get it done” method of behavior. Where they came from was all they could think about, not where they were going. The new that was happening was making them very uncomfortable. And for Jesus to put His new disciples in with the old works of the Pharisees would have been to Him like patchin’ a old pair of britches that were worn out. The new converts would have become a part of weak, worn out group of people. Jesus disciples were hanging out the Lord, the Bridegroom as mentioned in verse 15. They had a new relationship with the Lord who was in their midst. The Pharisees had lost their relationship with the Lord through ceremonial living.

New Wine and Old Bottles

The  Pharisees represented empty vessels. Jesus said in Matthew 23:27  – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Putting new wine in an old bottle would have been like putting a live person in the tomb of the dead. A new convert sitting in a church filled with lifeless Christians is no different. You’ll become one of them, just an empty vessel, looking pretty, but filling no one’s soul. You need fellowship with Christ and His people who are filled with the newness of life that never grows old.

I hope today finds you as a part of a church that is carrying out the mission of God, which is to bring people to the knowledge of Christ and His salvation and then disciple them to bringing others to the knowledge of Christ and His salvation. That jug of wine never gets old!!!

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