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Archive for January, 2014

Speaking generally, it seems to me that the American church is about making converts to Christ, rather than disciples of Christ, in direct violation of God’s precise instruction found in Matthew 28.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

What if schools did this. What if they simply handed out diplomas without dipenrolling any students? What if students were enrolled, but were not required to observe, learn, or apply any of the curriculum? Would they remain in school? Would they flourish afterwards? Would their diplomas be of any worth?

Two Noteworthy Problems

  1. Most Christians don’t share their faith at all.
  2. Many who do, do so errantly.

The church is very much aware of the first issue: Christians have a tendency to hide their light under a basket. Statistics reveal that ’80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.’ (Jon D. Wilke, Lifeway.com August 13, 2012)

As a result guilt often kicks in and the Christian, motivated by his flesh rather than the Holy Spirit, sets out to correct the offense. As you can imagine this leads to the second problem: a wayward focus on conversion over discipleship; the shunning failure to declare the whole counsel of God. The probable reason we keep doing it is because occasionally it works; every so often a convert becomes a disciple.

There must be a better method.

What if we did it Jesus’ way?

What if we focused on enrolling students (aka: disciples) and emphasized learning? What if the church stressed and affirmed through education: spiritual growth, holiness, fear of the Lord, Christ’s supremacy, submission and obedience, abiding in Christ, fruitfulness, evangelism, love and forgiveness?

What if we echoed Christ’s clarion call:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

My brothers and sisters in Jesus, our methods lack Holy Spirit proficiency. Sure, some converts make it. I suppose if you fill a school with children and required nothing from them, perhaps a couple or three might decide to do some *work, but we all know that most will not. But isn’t this what the church typically does? Are we not guilty of handing out diplomas and then sitting back and waiting for disciples to appear? How many people have to leave the church or abandon their faith before we realize the error of our ways?

Can’t we see how large a role ignorance has played on both sides of the equation?

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Final Thoughts

Imagine the farmer planting his crops. Tell me, what occurs if he fails to first clear the land of boulder and brush; if sun-baked soiled is not tendered with the spade? Will the seed germinate; will it blossom and bloom, will it bring forth fruit? I’m seeing a liability issue. If you dare, consider if it is the seed’s fault or the farmer’s that the ground was not properly tilled?  I submit to you that Jesus was addressing the farmer in all of us when He said:

“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:3-8)

*You may have noticed I mentioned the word ‘work’ in the text. Please understand that I am in no way suggesting or implying that there is any work a person can do unto salvation. Christ Jesus started and finished the work on the cross (nor am I suggesting that we ‘make’ disciples. That is another work of God and we are His instruments). I am however suggesting that work (discipleship if you will) follows salvation. The Christian who rejects work is playing with fire, just like the gardener who rejects work should expect weeds.

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Did you read the story about Natalie Grant walking out on the Grammy Awards?  I didn’t watch the program, but apparently it was so filthy and demonic, Natalie upped and left, tweeting,

“We left the Grammy’s early. I’ve many ngthoughts, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I’ll say this: I’ve never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I’ve never been more sure of the path I’ve chosen.”

Was it Katy Perry‘s performance replete with satanic imagery and witchcraft that caused Natalie to bail? Was it Queen Latifah (aka: Dana Elaine Owens) officiating over a mass homosexual wedding to Macklemore (aka: Ben Haggerty) & Ryan Lewis‘s pro-gay marriage anthem ‘Same Love?’ Or could it have been  Beyonce‘s (aka: Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter) disgusting dance to open the program?

I suspect it was none of those things, but rather it was the result of her submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit. I’d like to speak with her directly to get her testimony regarding the incident, but it’s my sense that the Holy Spirit was directing her to not attend the award show at all that evening. Of course (and if in fact my hunch is correct), she disobeyed and decided to go anyway. I’m not condemning her for that, but only using it to highlight the fact that in due time, she listened to the Lord’s directive and walked out.

Bravo, Natalie, bravo!

I applaud her obedience. This Bible passage came to mind:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2)

What Really Happened?

I submit to you that what Natalie did is a picture of revival. If you’re not sure what revival is, I like this definition:

Revival refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It encompasses the resurfacing of a love for God, an appreciation of God’s holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and sometimes deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to the truth in a fresh, new way. It generally involves the connotation of a fresh start with a clean slate, marking a new beginning of a life lived in obedience to God. Revival breaks the charm and power of the world, which blinds the eyes of men, and generates both the will and power to live in the world but not of the world. (Taken from GotQuestions.org)

Revival is initiated by the Holy Spirit. In other words, it’s not something we can work-up within ourselves. God, through His Spirit guides, instructs, and empowers. Individually it occurs when the believer first recognizes God’s voice, and then decides to submit to His will and obey His directives. I for one believe this is what occurred with Natalie; I doubt she was led by her flesh to leave the show [because] her flesh would likely have told her that the choice could greatly damage her career. She disobeyed her flesh and obeyed the Lord — the first step toward revival.

The question is not whether or not Natalie will keep on walking (I pray she does), but rather if you are willing to take the first step of revival, with the resolve to stay revived in and with the Spirit of God.

Did you walkout on the Grammys?

If you didn’t, you still might be in the world, and therefore not revived. Does that make you sad?

I pray that it does.

“For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)

I feel confident in telling you, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, that the Lord, by means of His Holy Spirit and His Word the Bible, is telling you it’s time to walk away from all those things that are attractive to your flesh. He’s been telling you all along, but you have been tuning Him out. You know this is true.

Jesus knows you cannot achieve this on your own, which is why He has given you the power to do this! The evidence of your personal revival is going to be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit which will manifest itself in your changed life.

But it’s hard!

Jesus said it isn’t.

“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Jesus cannot lie. If it’s hard, let me tell you what’s going on — it’s a sign that you are being driven by your flesh and that you need to switch drivers. Praise the Lord that He has given us a method whereby we can easily identify the problem. It is when a Christian allows himself to be led by the Holy Spirit that the words of Jesus spring to life and His truth is experienced.

The Bible tells us the works of the flesh are evident.

“…Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

Saint, you need to know if your watching these things on TV or the computer, God has said you’re an accessory to the crime — look it up; it’s in Romans 1. The good news is that the Holy Spirit has given you the power to walk away and when you submit and obey the Spirit, it will be easy and the load will be light. It’s a promise of God!

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:16-18)

Be revived

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