Monday, September 24, 2007

One-Sided Relationships

There are several things people long for the most. One of these things is having a great friendship with someone.

Jesus had friends, but Peter, James and John, I believe, were his closest friends. I believe John was his best friend. Jesus tells John to take care of His mother while hanging on the cross.

I think we all have "church friends" with which we like to "hang out;" friends like those with whom we blog (I think that is really a cool thing now that I am a blogger). But, we also have those friends that we love that are close to us. They mean a lot. We admire them. They are the ones whom we have gone to with our problems and, at times, our advice. It may be a spouse, friend from high school or even a former or current colleague.

What if the relationship is one-sided though? What if you realize that you are the only one who makes the effort? What if you are the only one who makes the sacrifices? What if you are the only one who calls or e-mails? What if you are the only one who remembers birthdays and anniversaries? What if you are the only one who tries to take the initiative? Is there a point where you should say enough is enough?

So, what if we believe in God, but never talk to Him? What if we receive His blessings but never thank Him? What if we go to church, but never really give our hearts over to Him? What if he gave His son to die, but we never really belong to Him? Do you think He might feel like a human feels when a relationship becomes one-sided?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When We Get To Heaven

I have been thinking about heaven lately. The questions I have: Will we really care when we get there? What will our focus and attention be? I believe our attention is going to be on God and worshiping Him. We aren't going to be concerned with who is there or not. If, I knew who was absent there would be sorrow and God tells us in Revelation, 21: 4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." I don't think our human minds can begin to comprehend heaven. So, God in Revelation 21 uses the things we treasure most in this life to say, that is what he paves the streets with; it is nothing. I think it is going to be a place of love, because God is love. I think it is going to be a place where we worship, because God is worthy of it. All the questions that we have for God on that day, will be gone. All the concerns of this life will vanish. All the pain. All the stress. All the trials. All the hardships of this world. It will all be wiped away into eternal bliss as we spend eternity with God our Father.
So, What do you think haven is going to be like?
What do picture it? Have you ever just sat and thought about eternity with God or without God? What that would be like? Have you ever thought what we or you would do in heaven?

Share your thoughts.
What do you think.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lectureship, God's Blessings For Your Life

First, I would like to say, this year I am not going to be going to the ACU Lectureships. I know it is sad. I wish I could, but I have responsibilities here that I must take care of and get done. Wife and boys going to school, and my health still has its limits as I am still recovering and dealing with pain and fatigue. I definitely don't want a relapse. The link if you would like more information about the ACU lectureships is:

I think I might buy Wade Hodges speech if I hear it is any good.
That is the only one I really wanted to hear anyway. So, if you get the chance to hear it let me know if it is worth the cost of a CD.

I want you to know that as Christians, God wants to bless our lives. Isn't that wonderful news? Listen to these encouraging verses from His word:

"Praise be to the God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us ever spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be his holy people - people without blame before him." Ephesians 1:3-4.

"The same Lord is the Lord of all and gives many blessings to all who trust him, as Scripture says, "Anyone who calls one the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:12-13.

"Every good action and perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows." James 1:17

Think about it for a moment what God has done for you:
He has provided for your needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
He has protected you from harm (Psalms 139:5).
He has adopted us as his children (Ephesians 1:5).
He has given you his name (1 John 3:1).

Countless blessing. We tend to forget all the blessings that we have in Christ Jesus and what God has done for us. So, what has God done for you lately? What blessings have you received? Do we see the blessings in our lives or do we think they come from our own achievements and accomplishments in life? Do we give God the thanks that He deserves?

My, challenge for us as Christians is for us to see the blessings before us and be greatful and thankful. Count your blessings especially during the difficult times in your life. See what God is doing and how much he loves you.

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Does The Koran Promote Terror On Those Who Disbelieve In Allah?

I can't believe that it has already been 6 years since the 9/11 attacks. I remember where I was, and I am sure you do as well, when I heard about the towers. Why don't we hear more Muslim clerics saying we are a peaceful, loving religion? Why don't we hear more Muslim clerics denouncing these or any terror attack that takes place in the world today? What does the Koran ( alternately, Quran) say about loving Christians or other religions? Does the Koran promote terror on those who don't believe in Allah?

Listen to the following verses from the Koran:
8:12 "When you Lord revealed the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. I will strike off their heads and strike off the finger tips of them."
3:151 "We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up against Allah for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust."
59:2 "But Allah came to them whence they did not expect, and cast terror into their hearts; they demolished their houses with their own hands and the hands of the believes; therefore take a lesson, O you who have eyes!"
58:5 Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be crumbled to dust, as were those before them; for we have already sent down clear signs and the unbelievers will have a humiliating penalty."
9:29: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah."
9:123 "O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness and know that Allah is with those who guard."
4:74 "Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sells this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward."
9:5 "Then when the forbidden moths are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem."
5.51. " O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever against you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." ( I could have mentioned other verses but for the sake and length of this post I will not do so.)

When I preached in a prison, it was the fastest growing religion among violent inmates. It is also one of the fastest growing religions in the world today? Why?

You don't have to change. You're violent. That's okay. We will take you like you are if you will believe in Allah or ?.......... Suffer like those Christians in Sudan. How about taking hostages and make a deal with South Korea that no Christian missionaries will be sent into Afganistan.

As a Chrisitan minister I would denounce any act of violence or act of terror done in the name of God or His son Jesus Christ (ie: bombing abortion clinics to the Crusades or any "Holy War").

The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:16 that "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him."
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but save the world through him."
Jesus tells us in Luke 6:27, "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If some strikies you on one cheek, turn to him the other also."
The center of Christianity is love. Jesus himself gives to us commands based on love found in Matthew 22:37-40 as it reads, "Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments."

So, on 9/11 let us as Christians let the world know who we are by showing our love to the world. Let our love overflow into our hearts, lives, homes, cars, workplace, stores, neighborhood, in the projects, to the homeless, across the border. May God's love and grace overflow and be made known. Let's remember the lives of those loving others.

So, can you love a Muslim?

God change our hearts.

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jesus, The First Change Agent

I don't know about you, but I hear about those in the brotherhood attacking preachers who have ideas that might change many of the traditions with which we are familiar. Those who protest often think these traditions are perfect and should not be "messed with" even if those ideas for change might cause growth, grace, love and mercy in the body of Christ.

I believe attacking preachers for having new, scriptural ideas causes dissension within the body of Christ. We need to remember that God hates dissension and divisions. He wants us to love each other as Christians. The world will know us by our love. We need to understand that Jesus Christ Himself was the very first "change agent."

He changed the lives of the twelve men that he chose to be his disciples.

In "The Sermon on the Mount," Jesus "changes" the law adding heart to it. For example, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28. NIV
What a change that was for the culture to hear.

Jesus changed the Sabbath as He and His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.

Jesus changed countless lives as He healed during the three years of His ministry. Not only that, but offering many of those who needed healing, freedom from demon possession and forgiveness from sin as well.

He changed the life of an adulteress woman at the well and a woman caught in the act of adultery as He offers them forgiveness and a new life.

He changed the life of a man named Paul.

He was willing to go the to the cross, died and rose on the third day. Now the entire world has been changed because of what Jesus has done.

He changes hearts.

Ephesians 2:1-9: "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been save through faith- and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast. "

The Christians and churches who use these words "change agent,are those who love to cause fights, dissension and discord within the body of Christ. These people who use the words "change agent" seem to think think they are perfect, needing no change whatsoever in their churches, lives, and are extremely judgemental towards churches that preach grace, mercy, love, hope to the world who needs Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we should always be growing in our faith and relationship with God. We should always be changing and growing in our faith. If you examine your faith it shouldn't be the same as when you became a Christian initially.

If a seedling sprouts, but never grows beyond its small size, what good is it? It will never produce the fruit which it was intended to produce. If it stays small, it will soon wither and die because it is not using the nutrients in the soil around it. So too are those who assume change is always a bad thing. Growth requires change.

Rather than labeling any change as negative, let's examine it against scripture before we toss it out and along with it, the people who dared to speak up.

So, what do you think when you hear the words "change agent"? Did you ever think of Jesus as a "change agent"? Do you think the people who use the words "change agent" are trying to cause fights within the church? Why or why not? Can we ignore the words "change agent" by understanding that they cause divisions? How can we strive for unity within the church by understanding our individual role as "change agents" within the world just as Jesus has called us? How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus was the first "change agent"? How has Jesus changed your life?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.