At Church Today

1490886476337I was looking forward to going to church this Sunday. Church is good.  We got there on time, but the guest preacher ran over, so we waited as the prior service ended. The people came out, most with blank or sad faces on.  I thought they should have told this guy that running over might negate anything he could have possibly said or done.  We found a seat, then suffered through announcements.  Aren’t there enough advertisements on TV, billboards, and the radio that we could skip ads in church.  At one time announcements at church were prayer needs, so and so is sick, someone’s house burned, so and so were married, died, baptized, etc.  Then the leaders decided these items could be put on paper to let people know. However, the important stuff gets real-time attention, come to this and that program we are having.  This is the influence of society, the first things you get when the service starts.  Then the musicians take over and attempt to lead us into worship.  A fast song to get everyone awake, standing and then taking the offering.

I was really in a judgmental frame of mind at this point.  I realized it and knew it was not good. However, the preacher started to introduce the guest speaker, an Evangelist, with a true gift of the Holy Spirit.  Our normal pastor said, “He will share very simply the message of the gospel and the Spirit will draw people to God.”  This grabbed my attention.  We were actually going to experience a manifestation of a gift of the Holy Spirit described in scripture.  This evangelist, now 81 years old, had spent his life traveling from church to church sharing the gospel.

He opened with some humor and preached as though he was having a conversation with the audience about his observations on salvation and the barriers thereto, including natural human inclinations and the devil.  I really liked his approach and of course he kept enough humor in his talk to be likeable, but he frequently referred to the point where he would be asking people to respond to God’s invitation. He spoke a lot on baptism, not theologically about it, but simply what restrained believers from being baptized.  Eventually, he gave the invitation, the musicians began an appropriate song and he looked out scanning the audience. He said, what would you do if you faced God today, are you in the right condition?  Are you ready?

In my mind, I answered this question, Yes. I so much want to see Yeshua.  As we sang I had a mental picture of Yeshua standing at the front and center of the stage.  He didn’t say anything, but the power of His presence was overwhelming to everyone in the church.  He was here and that changed everything and everyone.  All needs, distractions, plans, judgment, or critical thinking, was set aside for the one supreme person in all the universe, Yeshua Messiah.  My only thought was how good this is; how like the rays of the sun shining in, dispelling the darkness; how every believer in the room was in surrender and praise, delighted and loved so completely in an instant, through Yeshua’s presence alone.  The picture in my mind faded and I longed to capture it, to stay before Him in His presence.

Several people responded and the singers began to sing erratically in their emotion, off-key, echoing choruses, ad-libbing words to supplement the verse.  Perhaps they felt the presence of the Lord as I did or maybe it was just hyperbole, I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.  The invitation was renewed a few times, urging people not to miss this opportunity and eventually the service ended.

I do believe this man was an Evangelist.  Moreover, I believe God can work in spite of very imperfect people, distraction, poor musicians, hype, emotion, even worldly behavior and influences.  It is God who does the saving of souls.  It is the Holy Spirit that convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16: 8).  Yeshua, paid the price that we owed and we have been bought, purchased by His blood. (Acts 20:28).  God knows those who are His. (2 Tim. 2:19).  “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10: 28-29).  I believe every word of God is true and it is to me.  “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20).

God’s Sovereign Mercy

GettyImages-84740181-56f6a7855f9b582986673cd3Who restrains evil, evil men and spiritual forces of evil?  God restrains them all.  Why and how? Because He is concerned that they may harm His chosen people by their wickedness.  Yet, He also uses the wicked as instruments of His providence, consider Esther and Haman. Moreover, in His forbearing love, He sets limits on the evil, out of his great mercy by allowing them to reap a harvest of pain and suffering from the evil they sow, and desist therefrom.  In their ignorance Eastern religions have distorted this principle of sowing and reaping into karma, which suggests, falsely, that good and evil are in an equal struggle and if he tries man can do enough good Read More »

Father God’s Discipline

2015024018dis“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son?  It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share Read More »

Harvest of Souls

Unknown“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.  Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, ‘Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’  So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.” (Rev. 14: 14-16).  In this vision, the Son of man, who Yeshua most often referred to himself, had a sickle in his hand.  At the appointed time He swung it and harvested the earth.

Of what did the harvest consist?  Yeshua appointed seventy-two people Read More »

Sufferings

1001070045_univ_lsr_lgBrother Lawrence observed in worshipping God, “He requires no great matters of us: a little remembrance of Him from time to time; a little adoration; sometimes to pray for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, and sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you, and still gives you, in the midst of your troubles, and to console yourself with Him the oftenest you can.”

What does he mean by, “…offering Him our sufferings…”?

The Lord said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and Read More »

Relationship with the Eternal

8befcc085953890a5349efb70aed16ad--brother-lawrence-vanities“God, says He, has infinite treasure to bestow, and we take up with a little sensible devotion, which passes in a moment.  Blind as we are, we hinder God and stop the current of His graces.  But when He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it graces and favors plentifully; there they flow like a torrent which, after being forcibly stopped against its ordinary course, when it has found a passage, spreads itself with impetuosity and abundance.”  This is from “The Practice of the Presence of God”, by Brother Lawrence.  This was written in 1666, so the Catholic church was essentially the only church in most places, and it is not Catholic in any sense of doctrine.  In fact, you may find it to be the true essence of charisma.  Pardon one aside, but it shows how poorly educated we are almost 400 years later.  Impetuosity Read More »

What Shall We Do?

16d75e91406c01ee228f382ed323a303--watch-kingGod’s people are attacked, oppressed, threatened, accused, slandered, mistreated and harassed by the enemy of our souls.  We are well acquainted with our weaknesses.  We seek and desire innocence, peace, truth, quiet gentleness, humility and unselfishness.  We are not practiced in the ways of the world – craftiness, manipulation and deception.  However, we are in a battle, a Spiritual battle, for the souls of our friends and families. We are not unacquainted with the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  There is no possibility of a negotiated peace, this battle is to be won, and our King Yeshua Messiah has already guaranteed Read More »

Great Faith Rewarded

5342049b17344f98a670368940ccf65f--bible-promises-gods-promisesIt is very easy for us to question and doubt another’s faith in God.  In the past ordinary people shared their testimony of God’s goodness and mercy in the congregation of believers.  I believe it is doubt that ended the practice; doubt that God had done such thing and doubt that prevented God from doing such a thing.

It was God’s idea for a couple that were a hundred years old to give birth.  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body Read More »

Considering Life

f4e0c0d1ce501cce64555b51034afabeProblems and trials large and small confront us in this life, how are we to consider and respond?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4).  Our faith must be tested, it runs counter to this world system and our fallen nature, so we know that we are on the right path toward heaven.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come Read More »

Heaven’s Society

170205-rewards-heavenPeople in heaven will have different blessings and rewards.  It will not be like the British aristocracy or India’s class society, but there will be many distinctions.  Being closer to Yeshua will be a greater honor.  Being a martyr will carry special honor. The past things of this world will be forgotten completely. (Rev. 21:4). There will be no semblance to any worldly hierarchy.  There will be no pride, vanity, jealousy, class, envy, selfishness or independence.  However, there will be positions, but they will have been prepared for everyone and perfect in all respects.  When the mother of two disciples asked that her sons could sit on His right and left, Yeshua explained that it was not even up to Him to make that decision, but it would Read More »

Believing Truth

unpopular-bully-friends-lonelyMuch sadness and hurt in this world derives from the belief that we are not loved.  I say “belief” because the facts are often uncertain and our beliefs usually overrule the evidence, facts, and truth.  As little children we became afraid of things, for example, a monster under our bed.  This was supported by nothing more than a suggestion, darkness, or scary stories.  As adolescents we may feel or be isolated by our peers and extrapolate this into rejection, self loathing, or much worse. Being unwelcomed or even put down by the cool kids is not rejection.  For anyone to reject you they must first know Read More »

One Solitary Life

christ_empty_tombNearly two thousand years ago in an obscure village, a child was born of a peasant woman.  He grew up in another village where He worked as a carpenter until he was thirty.  Then for three years He became an itinerant preacher.

This Man never went to college or seminary. He never wrote a book. He never held a public office.  He never had a family nor owned a home. He never put His foot inside a big city nor traveled even 200 miles from His birthplace.  And though he never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness, throngs of people followed Him.  He had no Read More »

God’s Heart

Gods-Word-is-love-never-fails-400x272We may not think of God having a heart like we do, but the Bible tells us He does.  Just as we feel things deeply in our heart, so does God.  After the creation we see that His heart was troubled with regret.

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart Read More »

Rend Your Heart

Joe2.12” ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13)

This is a clarion call from Father God to all believers to return to the Lord with all your heart.  This is not just for those who are held captive in the enemy’s snare or those who have been waylaid in this world’s Vanity Fair, nor even some who have surrendered to the temptress of self.  This is for each of us Read More »

Preaching Reason

jesus-with-children-1211I have heard it said, “I don’t like baths, who wants to sit in a tub in dirty water.”  This is one of those statements that sounds right and makes the speaker seem witty.  I think a comedian may have popularized it.  In fact, this statement is inaccurate.  Have you ever rinsed a bowl or plate only to observe that the food waste was too sticky to be rinsed off, so you left it in the sink to soak?  In the same way a bath
soaks into your skin pores to provide a deeper cleansing. Moreover, the more complete warmth relaxes your muscles and provides a longer therapeutic Read More »

A Word of Encouragement

UnknownThis was shared at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting, author unknown.

I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed”.  I have Holy Spirit Power.  he dye has been cast.  I’ve stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.  I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.  My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure.  I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tameRead More »

Sitting on a Cloud

jesussickle215The world mocks God by suggesting that everyone in Heaven sits around on clouds playing harps. Their suggestion is that it is more fun to carouse, get drunk and participate in sexual debauchery.  In the movie, “Monty Pythons Search For the Holy Grail”, they depict a very silly and impotent God situated in the clouds.  However, we do have this cloud image in scripture, “I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.  Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”  So he who Read More »

Do I Harbor Anger

jonah4God chose Jonah to carry His message to a particular people.  Jonah ran from God.  Today the proper technique is to ignore God and keep right on with what you are doing.  God was merciful to Jonah and got his attention and surrender to God’s will, but it took a giant fish/whale and three days in the digestive process.  Jonah obeyed God, but He was not pleased with the outcome – those who heard his message repented whole-heartedly to God. (Jonah 1:1-17).

For some reason I can relate to Jonah as he was interested in accomplishing things, if he said something he believed it was true.  He didn’t pretend Read More »

A Prayer From/To God

juanes_stefanus_gestenigd_grt.jpgGod is beyond our understanding in what He does.  He accomplishes the impossible. What is more unfathomable and impossible than taking a killer who is opposed to God and making a devout believer of him.  It requires transformation, making a new creation.  This is part of the reason that we do not judge others.  It is not over until the Lord says so and we leave this world.  The Lord wants us to forgive our enemies and it may be that this act of forgiving grace releases the power of God.  As Stephen was being stoned he asked the Lord to forgive those who were doing it; Saul was there and approved his stoning.   Also, it is the creative nature of the Lord to take nothing and make Read More »

Dilemma Solved

UnknownGod demands perfection.  There is little dispute with this premise, it seems to be self-validated.  It is certainly taught by all major religions, apparently a God with lower standards would simply not be worthy of any religious service.  This brings us to a human response – reject God altogether, promote existentialism, science, and equate theory to fact.  This is a trifecta solution, no demands of perfection, no religious duty, and exaltation of self.  When we were in college, my friend had a more straight-forward approach he called it, “The God of what’s happening now.  If it feels good do it.”  I think he was far more honest than the atheist.  Even so, there are multitudes that reject the God of the BibleRead More »

Speaking By Holy Spirit

imagesWhat language does God speak?  You may say that of the hearer, but what many bystanders heard as God spoke to Yeshua and Paul was thunder or unintelligible sound. (John 12:29; Acts 9:7).  What language do we speak to God?  Our own, you may say, but scriptures says God knows want we will say before we say it. (Matt. 6:8).  We are told repeatedly to ask and pray, to make petition and supplication to Him, to cry out. Scriptures says that God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit. (John 4: 24). “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through Read More »

Leaders Good and Evil

n-protest-b-20150831Real leaders have insight, they stand up for the right and they can discern right from wrong. They are passionate and maintain self-control, which means they show emotion, but they are not controlled by it.  They demonstrate humility and wisdom, without guile, real leaders need no politics.  They have convictions and a foundation of faith in God.  In the early years of this nation, an atheist could not hold public office.  This was not simply the enforcement of Christianity upon everyone.  This nation was founded on Judeo/Christian principles, denying their truth and wisdom would be inconsistent for an American leader.  Moreover, what is the moral and social compass of a devout atheist. A leader Read More »

Everyday With Yeshua

Col3.3The Holy Spirit is with us, but what does that mean in the natural and in the Spirit.  God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth.  Praising God is right. God is worthy of all praise, therefore, praising Him is entirely appropriate.( Ps. 33:1).  All creation praises Him. ( Ps. 150:6).  All the heavenly host praise and worship Him. (Ps. 148:2).  This is a natural response for the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit.  To praise God in truth is to do so in reality.  We are in process and pilgrimage.  We are seeking the Lord with all our heart and soul.  We desire to enter into His presence, to communicate Read More »

A Balanced Position

Who is the Holy Spirit?I just started reading a book and it opened with a topic that I have heard many sermons on.  The author describes one group of people who ignore the Holy Spirit and are focused on doctrine, proclaiming their interpretation on all points as correct.  He characterizes the other group as people who ignore the Word and seek to experience the full range of supernatural experience in every gathering.  He concludes that balance between these two extremes is the best.  I have heard versions of this sermon many times.  Balance is always recommended as the wise conclusion.  A balanced diet might make sense, unless ones diet includes poison, then no amount of poison would be acceptable.  The reasoning is that if we move away from extreme positions we will find a proper balance in the middle.  This is only true Read More »

Draw of the Law

Martin+Luther.+Law+vs+GraceIf you get interested in Israel, what God is doing there today, and have a love for Israel, be careful that you don’t go overboard.  We all have practiced the saying, “If a little is good, a lot must be better.”  I’ve seen this in regard to Israel where people can’t get enough Judaica and even begin to believe there is great virtue, even righteousness in practicing a form of Judaism. They choose what they like, such as, eating a form of kosher food, i.e. not eating pork, observing the Jewish feasts, wearing various types of clothing, observing a variety of Jewish traditions, speaking a little Hebrew, etc.  These are harmless and may have some minor benefits, but they may also be a great snare and trap.  If you think God loves you more Read More »