Why Join a Church

Northside-65-crowdMany believers ask this question.  They do so because they see no benefit or reason in it. There are reasons for work and for play, for attending weddings and funerals, even for going to church on certain religious holidays, but joining a church seems to make very little sense to many in our day.  Does the church bear any responsibility for this looming uncertainty?  Is it a generational issue, where churches are organized by and for the waning generations?  Has the church become an organization like others with programs, promotions, events, and functions that represent their theme of the day, month or year? If so, are such programs of interest and essential to membership?  Clearly, church leaders are more concerned with this indecision than anyone, since growth and numbers often seem to be the one unifying objective of many Pastors.  Even nonevangelical churches are concerned by declining membership and attendance.

For believers, the alternative is to be an occasional attender or simply disconnected with no substantial involvement in any one church.  I was raised in a legalistic church and they frequently quoted, “Do not forsake the assembly of yourselves together,” (Heb. 10: 25) as a law suggesting one may fail to go to heaven for failing to attend faithfully. Legalism is wrong, but the scripture is right, having no association or fellowship with other believers is detrimental to our faith and spiritual journey.

The  church gathering is not just for us, but rather to partake in communion, physically and spiritually.  When the members of the Body of Messiah come together to worship God, it is for communion with Yeshua, remembering His death and resurrection with each other in the presence of the Lord.  He said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt. 18: 20).  In this moment, there is great spiritual power for all of the various purposes of the Lord.  This cannot be contrived by worship leaders, nor by ministers, but is by faith and the Holy Spirit.  Also, there is a place and time for corporate prayer.  Yeshua said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 18: 19).  

Some churches have excellent children’s ministries and considering most people come to faith as a child, this is critical.  “Some people say they don’t want to influence or prejudice their children to believe in Christ, but would rather let their child decide on their own.” However, this is faulty worldly  reasoning – would a parent say the same thing about any other important matter?  For example, would they say, “I don’t want to prejudice my child to go to school, or eat heathy food, or not play in a busy street.”  No way!  Parents are to teach and admonish their children in the Lord.

Worldly thinking thwarts and confuses many believers in making right decisions. Scripture says that believer’s are to fellowship with other believers, rather than unbelievers.  “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ?  Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’  Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ ” (2 Cor. 6: 14-17).  

The believer who thinks he can associate exclusively and closely with worldly people and not become weakened in their spiritual journey and faith is deceived.  Joining a church is a decision to unite with other believers under the spiritual covering and kingdom authority of God Almighty.  Yeshua Messiah is the Lord and King over every true church and He is fully able to guard and fulfill everything we commit to Him for our good.

Perspective

jw_12A bird has a sense of equilibrium in their head that enables the bird to maintain its head in a fixed position irrespective of the bird’s body, wings, tail and feet.  This is necessary as the bird flies by moving and positioning it’s wings and tail separately. We are made to travel with feet fixed to the ground, so our equilibrium is referenced to the ground rather than the air.  Of course we can fly, swim, dive, roll, climb and move in almost any manner with the devices and instrumentation that we have invented.  We were made by God to rule over all the creatures of the earth.  The animals have a distinct fear of man accordingly.  There is no animal that lives off humans as its prey. The closest

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Liberty

shutterstock_56386615Liberty is that state of freedom in which a person may harness his destiny in God’s providence or wreck himself upon the rocks of self-centerness.  It was Yeshua who bought freedom for Mankind by His shed blood on the cross.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal.  5: 1).  The Pilgrims left Europe seeking a country where they could worship God in freedom, free from persecution and doctrines of men.  They came to America by His grace and favor.  This foundation of religious freedom is the first principle in our Constitution and clear in the declaration of 

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Your God

UnknownOne after another young women scream, “Oh my God,” when they see their redesigned house on the various house “fixer up” TV shows.  It’s likely just an expression without any real meaning, but it points to a portrayal of God that is becoming more common place on TV, an Idol god.  Pagans in Bible times and today worship idols and false gods in order to motivate their god to help them win victory over others, amass plunder or get what they want.  Their idolatry is based on what their god can do for them.  The world seeks fame, wealth, power, and pleasure.  It always has and will until the King of Kings returns and establishes God’s Kingdom and rule.  Until that time it is important to recognize and understand the world

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A View of the Heart

samuel-david-300x194But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things we do.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16: 7).  People consider what they can see on the outside, they judge by looks with their eyes.  They say, “Seeing is believing,” but their eyes are easily deceived and the outer appearance is not a true reflection of the person’s heart.  We say, “A book is not judged by its cover,”  because it is the story within that 

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Awe and Fear

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-meThey were leaders in the church and community, from respected families, married to prominent people, doctors and leaders themselves in the church, but they were committed to fraud.  They found a place secluded, hidden and were having adulterous homosexual sex.  Months later after everything had been settled, resignations accepted, families wrecked in divorce, reputations ruined, without any acknowledgement of wrong, remorse or repentance, the exposure of providence was explained.

He was driving along the interstate highway for an overnight business trip in a distant city.  He began to have a strong impression that he should take the next exit.  Nothing seemed wrong with the car, there was plenty of gas, but the sense was increasing and now seemed urgent.  A rest stop was just ahead, so he exited 

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Spiritual Exercise

maxresdefaultytiI was waiting on the waffle iron to get hot, as I was waiting on my wife to get up, while waiting one hour before eating, after taking my medication.  It was a perfect time to meditate on the Lord, so I began with His attributes: love, abundance, faithfulness, mercy, justice, wisdom and knowledge.  My thought was to pick just one, but each one was deep enough for hours.  I settled on one, mercy, because it is my constant prayer to Him.  Today, I saw that everything we experience is God’s mercy, even things we consider a trial or difficulty, or even an inconvenience like waiting.  It is God’s mercy 

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The Value of Instruction

Proverbs_9-10Someone in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Yeshua replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’ ”    (Luke 11: 27-28). The Angel told Mary, Yeshua’s mother, she was blessed, but hearing and obeying the word of God is the imperative.  “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Prov. 8: 10-11).Read More »

Not So Sweet Dreams

6c90bc8e691dcbdd9ddcf76c244d920aI woke up exhausted this morning, not because I didn’t get enough sleep or was awakened during the night, but by the dream I had.  It was a very detailed story of business and investment in a flower growing venture.  Everyone I knew was in this business and had gathered considerable wealth as a consequence. However, a fungus or mold had been attacking the crops lately with devastating effect.  It was discovered that a mere foot print or touch near the growing plant could set loose the pathogen and killing disease.  There was much more to the dream, but that is the gist.

I’m perplexed as to why such a dream would leave me so exhausted.  Turning to the Word of God, I read, “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding

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Yeshua Before Creation

in-the-beginning-title-slide-message-series-950x712-1God was complete and in union with His one and only Son before creation.  The Holy Spirit as well, Genesis records “The Spirit moved over the waters”.  But let’s consider the Messiah now, particularly given the incarnation, meaning God becoming man in the flesh.  This inquiry started as I read, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, …”. (Titus 1: 2).  Where is the reference of God promising eternal life to people before creation.  I went to Genesis and found that Adam and Eve were initially immortal and died only after they disobeyed, but no mention of a promise.  It is clearly God’s intention that man should live eternally as he was made immortal and had

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Searching For Love

Jesus-Christ-christianity-17724137-768-512There in the dark, late at night, it was  midsummer and I was running for exercise, but really for much more.  I was lonely in this small town in the middle of no where.  I reached a small sign marking the city limits, exhausted, I paused and walked in a circle before returning.  There I poured out my need and yearning for all I was unable to articulate, or express in words – fears, unfulfilled hopes, isolation, aloneness, love, and a future that was as unclear as the night around me.  I had reached another place marking the limits of my self-sufficiency.  Unable to bear my burden any longer, I cast all my anxiety upon Him, the Lord of all.  In surrender it was clear that He alone was the source of all supply, of lasting hope and a future.  In that moment, He affirmed His deep undying love for me, far from anyone or anything that 

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Light and Sovereignty

sovereignty-image.pngTwo things have been on my mind, 1) the presence of the Lord, and 2) God’s Sovereignty over all, all things, all events, all creatures and all people, in heaven and on earth.  These are related most definitely, the first assures us of the second.  When Moses met with God in the tent of meeting, he came out and his face was shining.  He covered his face as the light was fading.  “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?…We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face 

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What God Desires

Do-JusticeThis is the thinking that fuels all religion, that personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices for a greater power to whom service and worship is made.  With the knowledge of Creator God so obvious and instinctively known in every human heart, it evokes a response.  Pagan religions were ancient practices that involve the most barbaric practices and sacrifice, to both satisfy the pagan God and cause it/them to grant power to the pagan.  Hindu, Buddhism and ancestor worship are Eastern religions that seem to be more spirit based, but seek perfection 

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Remembered By God

psalms-112-6We were talking about vacations and someone remarked, “You weren’t on that trip.” They had forgotten that I was there.  I made no reply, but it hurt to be forgotten, ignored or overlooked.  All of us forget things, even important matters occasionally.  It is a cliché for men who forget their wedding anniversary, to be in the dog house.  As believers we are part of Israel, grafted into the living growing fruitful olive tree of God’s children. (Rom. 11: 11-18). We share in the citizenship of Israel as children of God to and through whom God’s promises are fulfilled. (Eph. 2: 12; Rom. 9: 6-8).  However, that was not enough.  God knew that we would feel abandoned and affirmed that He will never forget us, “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’  ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may 

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Sustained Forgiveness

50e3f7c73cfd4c88069d675b33c14241There is much written on forgiveness, including my own references to the blessings that flow to us as we forgive those who mistreated us.  One of the most astounding statements ever uttered and lived out by Yeshua was, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6: 35).  This statement confounded the world, it convicted the state of fallen man, and it opened the pathway to Father God.  This is truly love defined and Yeshua fulfilled this in His brief life on earth.  He arose from the dead and has no equal. He was, is and remains the Son of the Living God Almighty.

We know the truth of the Word and by His grace believer’s have a measure of faith.  In this world we have ample opportunity to forgive, bless and pray 

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The Defense of Marriage

gen2_24Congress passed a law with this title and purpose.  The Supreme Court set it aside, concluding Marriage between a man and a woman was not protected by the constitution. In the beginning God established marriage.  “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” [1]The Bible records that people were participating in marriage before Noah’s time. [2]Marriage between a man and woman is commendable as per the Bible.  “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” [3]Part of the reason for this is because marriage promotes the family and healthy godly children. [4]There are many benefits of marriage to both society and individuals.  Marriage is used as an illustration of the bond between Yeshua, Messiah and the Church. [5]Nevertheless, Marriage is limited to life on earth and does not extend into eternity.  “When 

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A Free Flowing Fountain

john-7-out-of-his-heart-will-flow-rivers-of-living-waterGod the Lord is an unending source and flow of goodness to the righteous.  We may go to the fountain of life and drink deeply to our hearts content.  Every true believer is a child of God and has been reckoned righteous, granted righteousness as the direct result of Yeshua’s substitutionary death on a Roman cross approximately 2018 years ago in Jerusalem, Israel.  Yeshua is the Messiah, Son of Father God, who lived a perfect sinless life and paid the spiritual price as ransom for all who believe on Him.  The testimony, evidence, and assurance we have for this great gift of life eternal is in the Hebrew prophetic scriptures recorded over thousands of years, but fulfilled in minute detail during the life of Yeshua as recorded by faithful witnesses in the Bible. Secondly, Yeshua proved all he said 

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Maturity In Yeshua

pentecostesThe Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and started talking about Yeshua and the one true God. Ephesus was predominately pagan and their idol was called, Artemis.  Paul found a few disciples of Yeshua and asked them, ” ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’  They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’  ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.  Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed 

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Be Ready

BHM_Eblast_ReceivetheMightyPower_668x400Time tricks us and confuses what is really  important.  We think our time is very valuable, but it is what we do that gives it worth.  We consider God a subject of time as are we, but He moves with infinite speed, in the future and the past, a thousand years is as a blink of the eye.  However, amid all our longing, yearning, wanting, and manipulation there is His  promise – He has prepared good works in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10).  Instead of seeking the breeze that cools our brow and thrills our senses, we can focus on the promise we are set to do.  We can be certain that it will be good, because God

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Incomprehensible

ClMr788WkAAX7pwIt was asserted that Sigmund Freud didn’t attempt to cure his neurotic patients through psychoanalysis, but merely help them to accept the world as it is.  He was not a believer – an agnostic, but he properly assessed the capability of man.  To heal is the work of God, which He accomplishes through doctors, right living, and his miraculous intervention. Just because He uses men in His work, the cure does not cease being His.  Just as the prophetic word (1 Cor. 14: 24-25), preaching, acts of lovingkindness, or teaching may be used of God in His work – salvation is through God alone. Read More »

God’s Way of Peace

John-14-271There are many who seek peace today, and peace is good, but at what cost and will the actions taken actually bring about peace?  While we may not be in open war there is hostility on many levels.  The major media corporations promote a secular humanistic world view that foments division in politics, ethnicity, religion, social values, social norms, and the American culture.  Hostility in the Middle East and Eastern Asia, together with threats and terrorism all produce tension, fear, and a desire for true peace. Read More »

Blessings Flow

image-1 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen

This hymn is well supported in scripture.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1 :17).  God is all about blessing His people and even those who scarcely deserve it, but really no one deserves anything.  Love flows from God as seen in our provision, our relationships, our very life.

Are you constantly strapped for money?  Does it seem Read More »

A Plan For Man

UnknownAnyone would be wrong to think that he could comprehend God’s full plan. (Ecclesiastes 3:11). However, we can see part of His purposes from what He tells us in scripture.  We know that God placed two trees in the garden of Eden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; fruit of the later was forbidden to eat.  The fall of man happened as Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and ate the forbidden fruit.  They became self-aware knowing good from evil and were banished from the garden and no longer had access to the tree of life and God’s direct presence. (Gen. 3:22-24; Gen. 3:8).

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A Charge For Today

1_26_Paul_ordaining_Timothy-478-x-500When younger men are given authority by their Fathers, Elders, and predecessors, it is right to charge them with the responsibility they are assuming together with such authority.  It takes humility to advance in one’s career and life calling, so Fathers should be called upon to join in this charge and properly establish a sound foundation at the start.  Colleges do this at graduation ceremonies in a very impersonal mass process, but it is something, at least.  Other organizations do this including the church.  Paul the Apostle does it best with Titus, his spiritual son.  After he articulates, in brief, the power of the gospel message, he concludes, “These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.” (Titus 2:15).Read More »

Does God Repeat Himself?

simeonWith all respect, I ask because it has a bearing on whether, or more specifically, to what extent we rely on Him.  This is more than whether He says the same thing twice.  I think the scripture repeats many essential themes numerous times in various ways in order to convey a more full and deep understanding of what the Lord is communicating. We have four different accounts of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Yeshua. Mankind has repeatedly committed the same failings, rebellion, wickedness and unbelief, to which our patient Father God has graciously restated and demonstrated His love again to each generation.  We usually associate a negative view of repetition, but is often the only way we actually learn and understand.  It was God’s design to have day and night repeating themselves endlessly.  But what about the nature and character of God Himself, can we conclude rightly that if God did a certain thing to reveal His nature in ages long past, might He do the same or similar thing in our day?  The scriptures say that God does not change, that He is the same. (James 1:17). 
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