• QUOTE FOR TODAY

    "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…Therefore let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose."
    -- John Piper

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  • James 2:14-17

    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

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Focus on Worship — Are we amazed?

I came across a song titled Amazed by Jared Anderson.  The lyrics really got me to thinking again on how we enter the presence of our HOLY God.  Take a look:
 
You dance over me,
While I am unaware.
You sing all around,
But I never hear the sound.
 
Lord I’m amazed by You.
Lord I’m amazed by You.
Lord I’m amazed by You.
How You love me.
 
How wide
How deep
How great
Is your love for me
 
My perspective these days is this:  One single sin separates us from God.  The simple fact of the matter is that when God sees the sin in our lives, he sees that his law has been broken.  The payment for breaking God’s law is death….eternal death.  Yet, when we trust in the blood of Christ poured out over our hearts and God sees our sin, instead of pouring out death on us, he is SATISFIED with the SACRIFICE of his perfect, sinless Son.  The payment for sin is poured out on him instead of us.  Read that again:  The payment for sin is poured out on JESUS INSTEAD OF US!!!!!  Somehow, this doesn’t overwhelm us like it should.  It doesn’t amaze us anymore.  Why it is that knowing that ALL OF GOD’S WRATH was poured out on JESUS CHRIST AND NOT YOU AND ME doesn’t knock our legs out from under us to where we have no choice but to fall on our face before him in worship?  Why doesn’t God’s love AMAZE us anymore?  Why Doesn’t Jesus’ sacrifice AMAZE us anymore?
 
Seriously, folks, do you think that Jesus sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane in anticipation of the cross, or the flogging, or the nails?   Not a chance.  That torment was the direct result of anticipating ALL OF GOD’S WRATH being poured out on HIM!    This was the final sacrifice.  No ‘do overs’ with another lamb next month…no priests interceding again and again.  This was the final sacrifice.  Remember Jesus’  last words?  IT IS FINISHED.  (For some background go read Leviticus 16 and then read Hebrews 9)
 
GRACE, LOVE, and MERCY cannot just be something we pay lip-service to.  Very simply, we have been called (in part) to worship him.   For us, it is imperative that God’s grace, love, and mercy are hidden in our hearts and evident on our faces as we stand amazed before him. 

The Rise of Extreme Tolerance

A new friend of mine over at The Battle Cry posted an excerpt of an article he found at Crosswalk.  The article is titled: The Rise of Extreme Tolerance.  It gets into some great detail about the church’s growing reluctance to take a definitive stand on any issue.

One paragraph starts out like this:  “Some Christians unwittingly began following suit several years ago. That has opened the door for a whole generation in the church to embrace postmodern relativism openly and deliberately. They don’t want the truth presented with stark black-and-white clarity anymore. They prefer having issues of right and wrong, true and false, good and bad deliberately painted in shades of gray.”

Folks, you know where I stand:  There is no gray.  This article serves to further our discussion on Truth or Tolerance.  I would encourage you to read it.  While you are at it, stop by the The Battle Cry.  I think you will find tremendous wisdom there, as well.

God Bless

Tolerance or Truth an analogy

Let me try to illustrate my last post with a little analogy.  I know this is open to all kinds of interpretation, but I will try nonetheless.

  Let’s say my friends and I go out to dinner and  I order a Ceasar salad.  Throughout dinner I rave about how good it is.  One of my friends, intrigued by my obvious enjoyment asks what is in the salad.  I describe the seasoned crutons, and crispy Romaine lettuce.  I talk about how cold it is since they served it in a chilled bowl.  Finally I describe the savory Caesar dressing with anchovy paste. 

 At this point my friend is not sure he will like the  salad because of the anchovy thing, but decides the chilly bowl and crispy lettuce sounds pretty good.  So, he orders his own Caesar salad but sternly tells the waiter that he doesn’t want any of that anchovy dressing. 

 Is the waiter being intolerant when he explains to my friend that what he ordered is not a Caesar salad, but rather a bowl of Romaine and crutons?  Am I being intolerant when I join with the waiter and suggest that without the dressing, the salad will be bland and pointless?  

Let’s say we convince him to get the salad with the dressing and he totally and completely hates it.  Wouldn’t it be better to have him experience the whole salad in it’s intended form?  What if he just gets the lettuce and crutons and absolutely loves it.  What happens when tells all of his friends about this awesome salad he had, when all he had was a bowl of lettuce?  What happens when they go to the same restuarant and order the Caesar salad and it’s not what they expcted based on my friends description of the lettuce, crutons and bowl.  Is it fair for them to call the chef out and tell him how lousy the salad is based on an errant description?  I’m just asking!

I understand that this is a really loose analogy, but the point I am trying to make is this: 

There are certain principles of being a Christ follower and calling yourself a Christian.  Frankly, some of them are difficult.  (Like repentance).  You must believe that Jesus died to take those sins.  You must know that God’s grace is bigger than any of those sins.  And you must acknowledge (and turn away from) your sins.   Following Christ is not about any good works you do.  It’s not about going to church every Sunday.  It’s about your heart and ultimately, only God knows your heart.

 God Bless you in this day

Tolerance or Truth?

I came across a blog recently that asked ‘non-Christians’ what would happen if Christianity taught tolerance.  You can read the post here   

This seemed like a good time to ask Christians the same thing.  Before we get too far into this I think we have to define ‘Christian’ I know there are bunches of competing definitions lately, but as I understand Christian defined in the Bible, You must:

Acknowledge your sin and sinful nature.

Repent of your sin.

Understand that “if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9) 

Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross as payment for sins and rose again on the third day to obtain victory over death and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. 

Know that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

Earnestly pursue holiness and obedience to God’s Word.

Earnestly pursue a relationship with God through prayer, scripture, and waiting before Him. 

So, what would happen?  What would happen if we taught tolerance?

What happens if we never talk about sin or atonement?  What happens if we never say God’s word is clear?  What happens if we never remind anyone that there is only one Risen Savior?  What happens if all we preach is a watered down “Gospel Light” version of God’s word.  What happens if we welcome everybody in love with open arms, but never tell them the truth?  Would we be “tolerant Christians?”  Do you want to be a ‘tolerant Christian”?

I want to see people experience God’s Love through believers across the globe.  I want to see people re-united with God here on Earth and Heaven above.  I want to see people in Heaven.  I want to know that they can stand before God with Jesus at their side, a huge smile on their face, and hear Jesus tell the Father that He knows them intimately by name.  I want to hear God tell them “well done, good and faithful servant” 

Folks, if you are going to ‘water Christianity down’ to make it more palatable….do me a favor and just don’t talk.   If you are going to tell your friends and neighbors that their sin is OK….just be quiet.  If you are going to invite your co-worker to church and then be embarrassed that they heard a message on sin and it’s consequences….keep your invitation.  If you are going to proclaim to everyone you know that you are a FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, and then you live in direct opposition to His Word…please, lose the label.

So, let’s talk.  What would happen if Christ-followers were more tolerant?  For me, I will take truth over tolerance any day.

Please, please don’t take this as “all judgment and no love.”  You must follow God’s words on loving Him and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.   Part of that love has to include the whole truth about following Christ.  Otherwise there is no point.