gospel

Throw out your race card

Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONs…


One of the biggest lies you will ever believe in your life is that you are part of an ‘experience’ unique to your culture that no one outside that culture could ever understand or could ever be qualified to address. Jesus sent a bunch of Jewish guys to evangelize the world.

Paul went to the Greeks and Romans. Thomas went to India, and to this day, missionaries are sent by God to speak truth to people who don’t look like them.
You don’t have a black experience, a white experience, a Latin experience, an asian experience… What DO you have, then?

The ‘I got hoodwinked by satan’ experience, of which we have all been partakers. No matter what your culture, the root of every problem you face is SIN. There is good, and evil, the holy and the profane, the unclean and the clean. Everything we think is unique because of culture is just window dressing. Whether the poisoned ice cream you eat is vanilla, chocolate, or rocky road, it’s not the flavor that’s going to kill you, is it?

The cure is always the same. There is no remedy unique to your ‘experience.’
The answer is always Christ, and Him crucified.

Part of the hustle is fooling you into believing that your experience is SO unique, and this deception gives you a compelling excuse to reject any truth that isn’t validated by your particular race card. This keeps us confused, bound, divided, and easy to control by those who would capitalize on this bondage.

Are you ready to break free?

Loud sounding gong? A Word on ‘harsh’ prophecies

Delivering a prophecy that seems harsh to our modern sensibilities doesn’t make you a loud-sounding gong without love, contrary to the absolute tripe being taught today.

There was once a prophet who said things like:

Generation of vipers! (Matt. 12:34)
Though you are exalted to heaven, you shall be brought down to hell. (Luke 10:15)
I will profess to them ‘Depart from me, ye who work iniquity, for I never knew you.’ (Matt. 7:23)

He also cursed a defenseless tree for not having fruit.

Who was this mean old ogre of a prophet?

JESUS.

Today’s teaching on how the prophetic must always be uplifiting would condemn JESUS as not having love.

The truth is that we often fail to understand what the Bible teaches because we read it the way it’s been erroneously preached to us. Prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort, but this does not mean it will always be comfortable.

In the US Marine Corps, my Drill Sergeants edified me, getting me into the greatest shape I’ve ever been in. They exhorted with tremendous intensity. Their training is now a comfort when there’s an emergency or danger of any kind.

Some may argue that we’re still supposed to be gentle, but not all situations call for what we now regard as gentle.

Feel free to call me harsh.

The lake of fire is harsher than anything I could possibly say to you.

Am I your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Faith vs. Presumption

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:16)

What do you really believe about God?

An honest answer to that question will tell you a great deal about where your faith is and it will also reveal the ‘why’ behind so much of your life and how you’ve handled it.For many of us, our perception of God becomes distorted or even corrupted by negative experiences because somewhere along the line we began to believe that faith means believing that God has to give us whatever we want.

Everything about the life of the believer comes through and by Christ, and so we must understand that if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), God is only obligated to finish what He started. For so many of us, resolving a crisis of faith must begin with recognizing where we have exercised faith and where we have simply walked in presumption.

Once you can recognize the difference, frustration, confusion, despair, and every other thing that comes with a troubled faith walk must flee.

Are YOU willing today to own up to where you didn’t believe, but just presumed?

What is the Gospel?

The gospel, in a nutshell is:

The world, and man were created by an infinitely wise, loving and righteous God. Man, through the disobedience of Adam became bound by sin to a mortal life of rebellion against the justice of God.

Because God will not lay aside His justice, sin must be met with wrath, and so Man who dies in his sin must thereby be damned. Just as God’s love is infinite and absolute, so also is His justice, and because He is the source of all life, which He created for His own good pleasure, to live in sin is to commit the greatest of crimes, for in so doing we offend the very Maker of all that exists.

God, in His mercy, however, chose to satisfy the demands of His justice by becoming a man sent to redeem the world by His own blood. Through Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin and restoration to fellowship with God were made available to us, if we confess and believe that Jesus is LORD and that God raised Him from the dead.

If indeed we believe this to be so, we must then also believe that we have lived against God’s law, and the only rational response is to REPENT, that is, to turn away from our sin and toward God in a total surrender to the Lordship of Christ. (Acts 2:38) The baptism mentioned in Acts is a ceremonial washing for consecration to the priesthood of God, which marks us as no longer our own, and longer the servants of sin, but as having been redeemed, consecrated to the service of God.

It is this surrender that brings the Holy Spirit into the life of the believer to comfort, accompany, strengthen, and guide the believer in all truth, and to preserve him in the faith until Christ returns or the believer after death is gathered unto Him in everlasting life.

Should the Gospel Reach or Convict?


So many people today believe that we should do whatever it takes to engage people, even if it means not preaching the gospel itself. One preacher even went so far as to say we need to stop talking about Jesus! Let’s talk about what the BIBLE says about God, the gospel, and how it’s supposed to be preached.

Old Testament vs. New testament

Very often I hear people say ‘that’s Old Testament,’ usually in an effort to dismiss some measure of Biblical accountability that they don’t like. However, how did the early apostles of the church view what WE call the Old Testament?

First, they called it ‘the Law and the Prophets.’ While Paul made it clear that we are not under the Law, he was also clear that it was our schoolmaster (Galatians 3). Consider this: Did you forget how to read when you got out of school?

Second we must note that the early apostles taught ONLY from what we call the Old Testament. NONE of the NT had been written at the time of the beginning of the church, and Revelation, for example, was written after most of the apostles were dead.

Third, when Paul wrote ‘All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,’ (2 Tim 3:16-17), he was talking about what we call the Old Testament.

Therefore,

ALL of it is profitable for doctrine. Therefore we ought to use it both to teach and as a measure for the standards of conduct, character, and protocol. Deut. 18:22, for example is something false prophets just won’t teach from. Look it up, and you will see why.

ALL of it is profitable for reproof. It is to be the basis upon which we judge character and conduct so that we know when a rebuke is necessary, and it is the basis upon which reproof is administered.

ALL of it is profitable for correction. It’s not enough to merely rebuke, but we must also show people the right way, and it is the Scriptures that give us the standards by which we must correct.

ALL of it is profitable for instruction in righteousness. If we attempt to teach righteousness from the NT scriptures without the OT, we will inevitably distort the doctrine of grace. Remember, the apostles taught ONLY from what we call the OT.

It is impossible to fully understand and rightly explain the NT writings without an understanding of the Law and the Prophets. Without the OT, we ignore the intention of what was written in the NT.

Is the Prophet ‘better’ than the teacher?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The very first reason why God inspired apostles and prophets to write scripture is DOCTRINE, also known as teaching.

Thus we must understand prophetic is not ‘better’ or more important than teaching Yes, the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation of the church, but remember this: they are sent to preach the gospel and to TEACH people the ways of God. Think about this for a moment.

To even be a prophet, at some point someone had to TEACH you how to speak. Someone taught you to write, to communicate, and so on. How would you recognize the word of the Lord if you’d never learned to speak?

When a prophet comes with a warning, for example, like Jonah did, the people who heard the warning LEARNED that God was displeased, and that judgment was coming if they did not repent. Thus very often the prophet teaches, even if he’s not expressly a teacher.

Remember also that Jesus taught more than he preached, and in the end preaching teaches, because it often introduces new information to those hearing it. Thus teaching is inseparable from the apostolic and prophetic office.

Now, let’s also understand something about someone who is a teacher, but neither apostle nor prophet nor evangelist nor pastor. They are not ‘lesser’ than the others. Do not despise the teacher, and learn not to look at the prophetic office some somehow more desireable. Yes, we ought to desire to prophesy, but when Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 14:39, he taught this in the context of pursuing the gifts in the context of exercising the love of God, which is never selfish, and too often when we look to the prophetic as more desirable not because of its kingdom function and purpose, but because of our ego and the vain desire for recognition.

I challenge you today to examine yourself and your perspective of the prophetic.

Do you preach for men, or for Christ?

Oh, preachers, when will you CEASE to present Christ as a fire escape in a humanistic appeal which reduces God to a mere means of achieving human happiness and fulfillment?
If only you would present the might, majesty, splendor, righteousness, holiness and glory of the True and Living GOD who sent his Son for a world worthy only of His utter condemnation, men would realize the enormity of their sin, the magnitude of their crime in rebelling against so great and holy a Creator.
Do not preach to men because they need Jesus, but rather preach JESUS because the LAMB is WORTHY to lay claim to all the souls of men.

What we must understand is that Jesus did not come so that we could be saved and happy, but rather that he came for this  reason:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3).

‪#‎FeelingThePresenceofGod‬

Never use God’s Sovereignty as an excuse

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

–Revelation 20: 12-13

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Turnover in the Kingdom: Fruit that doesn’t remain.

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

–Hebrews 5:12-14

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Rob Bell and the Gospel without Convictions

Rob Bell has now told Christians to ‘adapt or die.’ Now, I don’t like the term ‘evangelical,’ since it is now almost exclusively used instead of ‘Christian,’ and for good reason, and even in the rising debate concerning morality and homosexuality in the context of Christianity, this very distinction has gone entirely unnoticed. While many are freaking out over Bell’s latest departure from sound doctrine, they fail to notice that as a whole, even we who are of a more conservative bent have already given up so much ground just in the acceptance of the term blanket term ‘evangelical,’ which I believe is a strong indicator of where we are in our stand for the cause of the gospel.

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Treasures in the Earthen Vessels around you.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.”
Isaiah 45:3

You won’t find treasures in secret places while living and operating in a superficial way. While most of us are just hoping this means money, it also applies to the more valuable assets of business, ministry and everyday life: people. There are resources, rare and precious, which God has placed in people who are sometimes hiding in plain sight, but which go unnoticed because our interaction with and ministry to them has been superficial at best.

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Church, or Christ?

“No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
-John 6:44

Leaders, we sometimes come up with a great number of reasons why people leave our churches, or why they just don’t come in the first place. I charge you today to lay aside your light shows, dance troops, Youth Disco Nights, and whatever else you’ve concocted to try to be ‘relevant,’ and come to the realization that what the unsaved soul needs is not Madison Avenue tactics or Seeker Friendly services and a pretty barista at the coffee lounge, but a genuine REVELATION of Christ that can only come when you stop being a better you and start surrendering your opinions, ideas, ambitions, and strategies in favor of a consecration that will unveil the Father to a world blinded by sin and draw them not to your church, but to the Son who paid the price for their redemption.

I’m climbing on this train. Are you?

#Lead4Real #apostleship

Prophetic Maturity – An introduction

The prophet, and the prophetic are often greatly misunderstood in the church world. In the churches we attended while I was a child, it was commonly believed that John the Baptist was the very last of the prophets, and that therefore it was impossible for anyone in this present era to be a prophet. As I grew older, asking why the book of Acts referred to Paul, Silas, Agabus, and others as being prophets years after John had been executed was a sure recipe for trouble.

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The new depravity…

“And constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
-1 Timothy 6:5-8

God can and does bless people, but we are not to see a relationship with him as a means of acquiring wealth. In this passage we are told that those who do so are _depraved_ and deprived of truth. Once our perspective is skewed to believe that the gospel is about ‘prosperity’ or ‘power to get wealth,’ we have twisted our very perception of God. Our thoughts determine who we are (Proverbs 23:7), and so, a corrupted perception of God will inevitably contaminate everything that we do. Consider that much of church leadership today preaches endlessly about prosperity but remains entirely silent on some of the glaring signs of the times. The pursuit of financial status has become the main focus of the gospel, with some self-help philosophy thrown in, making for a gospel which is self-serving and self-centered, one that does not resemble the gospel of self-denial that Christ Himself preached…

This in turn has led to an exodus of the truth from the ministry of the Word. It is now standard practice in mainstream ministry to avoid expository preaching and teaching in favor of topical preaching, so that subjects which may offend people can be sidestepped. Sin, morality, a deeper work of the cross in the life of the believer, holiness, consecration, and the relational protocols of scripture which require us to never condone or tolerate habitual sin among the saints are truths of which congregations are now largely deprived. thus sin rus rampant in the churches, and the emerging generations are rising without an absolute sense of ethics, morality, or of separation from the world and its carnality.

Even on the subject of prosperity very little is said that is not entirely defined and pursued in the world’s terms and exclusively within its system. God’s people are told to go after wealth and buy the poorly-built stick frame houses that have a useful lifespan of 40 years and will require extensive maintenance, instead of seeking out, or even creating alternative housing which is much more durable, sustainable, and affordable. Alternatives is exist in abundance, and in many cases these alternative are so much more affordable that families could own their home outright with no debt within a few years, or even build them with no debt at all. Consider this, and then take some time to think of every mode of ‘prosperity’ of which we commonly speak, and examine these ‘blessings’ in terms of whether they are conducive to a dependency on the world system. If there is a good deal of that dependency, then we must consider the possibility that these may not be the avenues we are to pursue if we are to be as free from the world’s systems as much as is possible.

The challenge: recommit to Biblical perspectives, pursue godliness, and think outside the box of how the world defines prosperity and how we ought to embrace it.