Archives For salvation

Hello and welcome back!

How is winter treating you where you live?  You know – I have experienced three seasons in just as many days.

How?

By living in New Mexico!  New Mexico is a state where if you don’t like the weather today, hang around until tomorrow.  It is sure to change!

In fact, the only sure thing about the weather in New Mexico is that it will be different tomorrow!

Change can be good though, can’t it?

Think about your life before you found Jesus!  Oh.  You haven’t found Jesus yet?

Ok.

Hang with us while I discuss with those who have already found Him about how good change can be as a Christian.  Those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior realize that our lives before finding Him were pretty bad, right everyone?

I mean, walking on the pathway of sin was a normal occurrence for most of us back in the day.  One day, we were truckin’ along – doing our thing – when Jesus found us.

Everything changed!  We went from death and entered into life!

Now, ff you are still in your sins, if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and if you really don’t know what it is I am talking about, let me tell you a story.

” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Time: 1st century A.D.

Location: Outside the city of Jerusalem.

Scene:  A hill called Mount Calvary.

30–36 AD     

A Man named Jesus of Nazareth is being nailed upon a Roman cross, after being charged with crimes He didn’t commit.

Those driving nails into His flesh are cursing Him, are spitting on Him, and are causing pain in His already abused body which has been scourged (whipped and ripped almost to the point of death).

Why was this man, Jesus, being treated in such a manner?

Let’s take a look at what the Bible, God’s holy word, says on the subject:

Isaiah 53: 1:12

Who has believed what we have heard?
And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to?
He grew up before Him like a young plant
and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form
or majesty that we should look at Him,
no appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
He did not open His mouth.
He was taken away because of oppression and judgment;
and who considered His fate?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
He was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
They made His grave with the wicked
and with a rich man at His death,
although He had done no violence
and had not spoken deceitfully.

10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him severely.
When You make Him a restitution offering,
He will see His seed, He will prolong His days,
and by His hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 He will see it out of His anguish,
and He will be satisfied with His knowledge.
My righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion,

and He will receive the mighty as spoil,
because He submitted Himself to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet He bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels.

(This description of the Messiah was written through prophesy, according to most scholars, between 701 B.C. and 681 B.C.  This is more than 700 years before Jesus actually appeared on earth).

What we have just read is the prophet Isaiah proclaiming God’s word of the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ and the reason for His crucifixion.  He died in our place to redeem us from the wages of sin – death.

“I’m a good person!  Why am I condemned?  There’s worse people than me!”

Romans 6:23 – 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s love for the people groups of the earth was such that He gave His own Son to die upon a Roman cross for sins He did not commit so that we might live.

John 3:16-18 –  For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God [emphasis mine].

Condemned of what? You might be thinking, “I’m a good person!  Why am I condemned”!  There’s worse people than me!

“Just what are all people who are not in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the Messiah – the living Son of God – guilty of?  I know I am better than many people who attend church!”

Disobedience to God, unbelief in God, unbelief in His Son, Jesus Christ – through the breaking of His Divine Law – the 10 Commandments is what creates the guilt before Him.

Are you familiar with the 10 Commandments of God?   Here they are below:

Exodus 20:1-17 – Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Do not have other gods besides Me.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 Do not murder.
14 Do not commit adultery.
15 Do not steal.
16 Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What we come to understand through the words of God in His holy word is the nature of God Himself.  God is Righteous, all holy (meaning set apart) and totally unable to abide sin.  He is perfect goodness.  He is love.  He is truth.

Any sin that is not confessed with the mouth, repented of, and salvation be asked for and obtained, ends in spiritual death and eternal punishment in Hell, the place where unforgiven sinners are destined.

“Have you ever told a lie?  Just one?”

Knowing this nature of God, we must understand that any sin at all, even breaking just one of the 10 Commandments only one time in our entire lives earns the wages of sin, which is death (See Romans 6:23 above).

Have you ever worshiped a false idol?  You have if you have ever put anything in your life above God Himself?  If so, that is what a false idol is today.  Anything you pay more attention to than God.

Have you ever told a lie?  Just one?  The wages of unpaid for sin – is spiritual death (Romans 6:23).  The only way to obtain forgiveness is to accept the precious gift of forgiveness and grace that comes only through Jesus (See Romans 10:9 below):

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Jesus died so that you might live!  Read the Scripture below:  I Cor. 15:2-5:

 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

Jesus says to believe in who sent Him (the Father) and to believe in Him.  He is the way to God and eternal life.  Check out John 10:8-10 below:

All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The above Scripture tells us that Jesus is the only way back in fellowship with God.  There IS no other way.

None.

Psalm 118:22:

22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

Acts 4:11-13:

 This Jesus is

the stone rejected by you builders,
which has become the cornerstone.[a][b]

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

That said, can you understand the guilt of all humanity?  That all have sinned and unable to earn their way?  Below is what God says about it in Romans 3:22-24:

22 —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Christians, send an email link to those who you know have not found Jesus.  Post this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+.  These are the words of the Gospel that lead to eternal life.

To you, the unsaved, I pray that you will read the above again, pray to God for the Holy Spirit to show you the way, find a Bible teaching church, and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Need Prayer?  Contact me on Facebook!

Please, pass this along for those who are dying in their sin and need Jesus in their lives!

Until next time!

Blessings,

Zach

QUESTION:  If you are saved, would you give your testimony so others can be encouraged!

On a lonely, wind-swept hill, Jesus willingly died in your place.  Not only did he die for you, he died at your own hand.  Yes, we are all guilty of killing Jesus.

Are you completely aware just what it is that Jesus did?  This is the truth of the Gospel of Christ.  This is the good news of the kingdom of God.  Let the truth of God sweep over you and cleanse your soul as you read along.

God Himself, took on human flesh, making Himself a little lower than the angels and suffered the death of a criminal in your place.

Why?

Because He died for you while you were still dead in your sins.  He granted you opportunity to return to the original fellowship with Him that was had in the Garden experience before sin entered into the picture.

Understand this, the first Adam infected humanity with the virus of sin that leads to spiritual and physical death.  The second Adam, Jesus Christ, paid the price of ransom for us and lifted that sin debt off your shoulders and onto His own.

His punishment was undeserved.  We deserved to suffer it but he suffered for us because we could never find favor with the Almighty Father on our own.  The Almighty Father accepted His Son’s death as payment-in-full for our sins.  When we believe on His name (Jesus), we are set free from the debt of sin – which is death.

When those who do not credit what Jesus did on the cross as being all sufficient in our salvation and claim that we have to earn our way, just remember this:

  1. You are now a child of God, justified by Jesus’ blood, and an heir with Him.
  2. You have victory over spiritual death because of His work on the cross.
  3. You are victorious with Christ over sin and death.
  4. You once were dead in sin but you are now alive and filled with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Eternal security is yours through the precious blood of Christ!

When you are confronted with the lies of the devil that threaten your eternal security in Jesus Christ, forgive them for they no not what they are doing.  Do not allow their judgement against your liberty in Jesus to cause you to feel condemned.

John 3:18 (AMP)
18  He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

 Don’t buy into the false doctrine of losing your salvation if you are truly saved!  Don’t allow them to steal your joy!  Don’t walk in the fear of lost liberty in Jesus to be judged by a mortal man!  Rejoice as did the Apostles!  It is God who justifies, not man!

If you have truly believed in He who died for you, confessed that you are a sinner, and believed in your heart that Jesus is the Lord of all, you can rest in the following passage:

Romans 8:1-3 (AMP)
1  THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.
3  For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],

 God bless you!

Until next time,

Zach

QUESTION:  Are you truly saved?  Comment about your testimony!  

Hello and welcome back!  Thanks for stopping by.

I can’t believe that it will soon be Thanksgiving and then — blink twice —Christmas wraps you in tinsel and another year is gone!  Speaking of years passing, I have seen 60+ of them flow by.

According to my calculations, there are less ahead than those visible in my rearview mirror on this one-way road to eternity.

Regrets?  Some.

Thankfulness?  Lots.

Reflecting on Christmas Past, I have “Tiny Tim” memories of my 5th Christmas.  I remember lying awake, trying to visualize the wonders under that tree and then trying to fall asleep so the night would end and I could jump out of bed and — Carpe diem!  It would be time to seize that wonderful day!

That 5th Christmas was in the 50’s.  Either you personally remember the 50’s or you have heard or read about it.  I lived it.

It was a time of innocence.

It was a time of the restoration of our nation.

The 2nd World War had ended, I was one of the first of the baby boomers, and life was good.  If fact, it was grand!

A brand new and shiny red Schwinn 22″ bike with a large, bright white bow was patiently pawing the floor awaiting my early morning resurrection into a new world of mobility!

I remember another Christmas a wee bit later in the fifties but 956 miles from that earlier Christmas.  It took place just after the birth of my younger brother and only sibling in 1954.

It was a joyous time!

It was a celebration of family time!

It was a Knights of the Round Table and King Author time as I excitedly ripped the wrappings off my shinning new sword and shield – making me Sir Lancelot of Camelot!

Ahhh – those were never-ending days of youth –somehow ending when my back was turned.  Hazy days of youth never to be revisited although lovingly contemplated into the twilight of my remaining time here on earth.

Speaking of my time here on earth and my reflections back over the years, coming to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior outshines any present that I ever received at any time in my life.  He granted me knowledge of God’s holy love for me, a sinner.

The gift He bestowed on me didn’t come wrapped up in shiny, bright tinsel but steeped in His blood – dripping from his body and running down the wooden, Roman cross of His humiliation and disgrace.  Humiliation and disgrace undeserved by him and meant for me. I was washed white as snow in that righteous, crimson flow!

Oh glory!  Praise God on high!  That gift, surpassing all other gifts,  was one of eternal life and fellowship with Almighty God that completely restored me through God’s grace.  Grace that was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ about 33 years after that first and miraculous Christmas when Christ was born.

“…When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”

–1st Cor. 13:11

The angels who visited the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem as mentioned in Luke 2:8-14 (HCSB) below:

8  In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock.
9  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10  But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:
11  Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.
12  This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
13  Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14  Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!

Notice what the angels said in verse 14.  The people that God favors on earth will have peace.  Peace?  What kind of peace?  Would those favored by God have peace with one another?  Would countries that God favored have peace with one another?

Would all wars end?

What did the angels mean by that word peace?

Let’s look at Romans 5:8-10 (HCSB):

 
8  But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
9  Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.
10  For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, ⌊then how⌋ much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

Check out what Paul is saying to the Romans in verse 10.  Notice the two words, enemies and reconciled?  Paul is saying here that before we accepted Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we were enemies of God.

He goes on to say that we were reconciled.  What does he mean by reconciled?  Reconciled to God.  Enemies of God now at peace with God.

How?

We were changed from being enemies of God to being reconciled to God through the death of Jesus!  We are saved by His life!

How are we saved by His life?  By believing in Him and confessing all our sin, we repent (turning away) from that sin – put aside our will (self) – let Him live through us by the power of the Holy Spirit and follow Him!

Wow!  I remember that first Christmas after hearing the gospel and being convicted by the Holy Spirit that I could not save myself and that I was going to hell without Jesus!

What a wonderful blessing Jesus is!  What a wonderful present!

Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 (HCSB):

 
11  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.

When I was a child and experiencing those wonderful 50’s Christmas gifts, I had no idea of what awaited me in Christ.  Everlasting life with Him.  Without Him, I would have had everlasting death…separated from Him forever in hell.  I have long sense put down the sword of Sir Lancelot and picked up the sword of the Holy Spirit!

Now I am no longer an enemy (out of fellowship) of God but a friend of God, a child of God and rightful heir with Christ!

Are you still an enemy of God?  You are if you don’t have a personal relationship with His son, Jesus Christ!

Give your life to Jesus.  Let His will be done in your life rather than your sinful will.  Only He has the answers.   Only He has eternal life for you.

Carpe diem!  Seize the day!  The Bible, the word of God says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 (HCSB):

 
2  For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation. Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.

God bless you, everyone!

Until next time,

Zach

QUESTION: Where are you in your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Please comment and share this post.  Help me keep this redemption message alive and before the world this Christmas season!

Living In God’s Rest

February 17, 2013

Hello Everyone!

I pray you are all well and have had a wonderful weekend and a restful and enlightening Sunday!  Speaking of restful Sunday, I am so excited and honored to be able to introduce you to a new book that will bring new focus on a subject as old as history.

A good friend of mine, Nancy LaPointe—who is a Christian counselor and an author — has a recently published her new book entitled, Living In God’s Rest: At Peace In A Chaotic World.  Rather than rush right into this book review, I would like to present what I perceive to be an intense experience in discovering God’s rest and peace for the author.  This experience can be yours also!

I personally met Nancy and her husband for the first time through a mutual friend.  Nancy and her husband came to our mission church on the Mescalero Apache reservation in SE New Mexico to offer their gift of service during a revival we were holding.  The second time that we worked together revolved around her providing Christian counseling for one of my church members.

She is the real deal and her main purpose for writing this book is in obedience of her call from God to do so.  That being said — let us take a look at what I call a very Spirit-filled and spiritually enlightening experience.  Yes, that’s right.  I said a spiritually enlightening experience, not just a great read from a great book.

Nancy has a way of making God’s truths come alive.  Her writing style is one of lively communication, a — from her to you — verbalization in written form that expands your thinking about God’s word while lifting you to new heights of understanding and application of God’s truths.   In other words, her new book is an experience of meeting God face-to-face as you lose yourself in its pages.

Nancy’s book is organized into 16 delightful chapters that take you on a journey of understanding, desiring, and finding God’s rest.  It is full of biblical Scripture references that provide contextual truths as sign posts on your journey of discovery.   God’s rest for yourself and those you love can be found within its pages.  You will find extremely comforting and beneficial meditations on Scripture that provide the living water from the well of Jesus’ love.

This book paints a picture, in well chosen and thoughtful prose, revealing the Chaos in the world and God’s answer to it.  With stunning narrative and talented story-telling, Nancy paints that picture in multi-colored dimensions that not only make her words come alive but allow her words to sink deep down inside — providing  a warmth of understanding that you can’t bear to put down.

This is one book that provides a three-dimensional look at the many aspects of resting in God.  Unlike other books that touch on this subject, the reader comes away from the experience with a deep and abiding desire to have a closer walk with Christ.  Learning how to live in God’s rest allows you to see yourself in perspective, to notice the anxiety that comes from running from crisis to crisis — depending on self.  You discover and gain experience putting your faith and trust in Him.

Nancy describes the experience of putting on Christ and His righteousness and seeing yourself and the world in like-mindedness with Him.  Nothing can grow your faith better than seeing things through His eyes.  The medical profession has known for decades that rest for the body is one of the best medications one can have for physical illnesses.  Nancy provides a worldview from God’s plan for us.   She provides guidance in discovering your path to living in God’s rest for healing damaged emotions and the damaging effects of depression.  We are vividly shown how to recognize positive change, how to prevent satanic deception, and to be humble and accepting of God’s sovereignty in our lives.

This book also tackles the subject of suffering in the lives of Christians and sheds truth on this subject in a way that opens the heart and provides understanding.  The last two chapters of Living In God’s Rest wrap this package of the pearls of wisdom that are found between its covers.  I choose to allow you to discover these blessings, like a child opening its long-awaited presents, because the joy is in the discovery!  Happy discoveries!

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question:  What would it look like for you to find God’s rest in your life?

I love libraries and book stores!  Don’t get me wrong, now!  I also love digital books.  I own two different kindles, three different tablets, two laptops, and a desktop.  I’m a book app fanatic!  However, when the last cut is finished and the party is over—give me a book to bury my nose into and just let me breathe in that wonderfully satisfying scent of–ink!  There is just something about it that cannot be replaced.  Is anyone with me on this?

As luck would have it, my wife Rhonda and I had an appointment in Roswell, NM a few weeks ago.  I had some time to kill so it was the Hardback Café for me and a perusal of the books in Hastings afterwards.  Roaming the isles, sniffing a book or two—one over here, one over there—I spied this book cover that spoke out to me (not an audible voice but I heard it nevertheless!)

It was a book by Mark Buchanan entitled, Your Church Is Too Safe.  Well, if you knew me personally, you would understand that that was one book that was going to get looked over, after I smelled it deeply, of course.  I always go straight to the index because, well, that’s just me!  What I found was 18 chapters, each one with a captivating heading and, again, that unbelievable smell of ink!

“I mean, no matter how hungry or thirsty you might get, the book just refuses to release you so that you can put it down.”

That decided it!  That decided it right then and there!  No electronic book for me!  Nope!  I was purchasing this baby and not even peeping between its covers until I got it back home in Ruidoso and found myself settled into my reading chair, blankey up to my neck, and nothing but time to read without any disturbances.

After Rhonda’s appointment was over, we grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road back to the old hacienda.  Rhonda was driving and I was going over in my mind a couple phrases that I remembered reading on the front flap of the dust cover (and what an attention-grabbing dust cover it is).

“Old preachers used to say the gospel should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.  Mark Buchanan believes there is a visible gap between the life Jesus offered to us and the life we’re living between the church Jesus envisioned and the church we see today…”

The entire book is one of those that you can’t put down.  I mean, no matter how hungry or thirsty you might get, the book just refuses to release you so that you can put it down.  One particular chapter that just captured me totally is Chapter 9.  Chapter nine is entitled In-Between places.  I walk a tight line here.  I am in a type of in-between place with desire to tell you exactly what this chapter is about and just revealing enough to whet your appetite.  I choose the latter.

Chapter 9 reveals the in-between places.  Suffice it to say that many of us are more familiar with these in-between places that we know.  Buchanan opens the door and allows us to get a three-dimensional look at these places and to set our course to be wary of them.  I cannot say anymore about these places without ruining this chapter for you, a wrong that you would probably have to strain in order to forgive me so I don’t want to place undue burden on you!

Stephen Smith, author of The Lazarus Life, says, “Mark Buchanan has been in the foxhole of church ministry for more than 20 years.  He knows the landscape of the church and the kingdom.  His new book, Your Church Is Too Safe, is a clarion call for the rest of us to wake up before it’s too late.

Artistically written, beautifully told, arresting to the heart, jarring to the soul, yet filled with hope and promise.  You’ll love Mark’s invitation to join him in the foxholes for kingdom causes.”

Another chapter stood out and called to me as I began to read it.  That chapter is chapter 17.  Chapter 17 is entitled, Break Walls and Build Them.  In the beginning of this chapter, Buchanan writes,

 “There are two walls in the Bible.  One is standing.  It is high and thick and foreboding.  It is impregnable.  It must come down if the kingdom is to move forward.  The other has fallen.  It is ruined, burnt, and unimpressive.  It keeps nothing out.  It must be rebuilt if the kingdom is to move forward.”

Mark Buchanan is a pastor, an award-winning author, and a father of three who lives with his wife, Cheryl, on the west coast of Canada.  He was educated at the University of British Columbia and Regent college, and his work has been published in numerous periodicals including Christianity Today, Books and culture, Leadership, and discipleship Magazine.  He is also the author of six books:  Your God Is Too Safe, Things Unseen, The Holy Wild, The Rest of God, Hidden in Plain Sight, and Spiritual Rhythm.

If you are like me, love a good read, and have had your curiosity peeked by this book critique–you will enjoy reading, Your Church Is Too Safe.

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question: Do you turn the world upside down by dying to self and allowing God’s Spirit to work in you?

How To End Christianity!

February 3, 2013

Is it just me, or do people seem to go crazy around Super Bowl time!  Maybe it is just me, but I was just on my iPad mini and all I see on the social media sites is Super Bowl this n’ Super bowl that.  Don’t get me wrong, I am interested in the Super Bowl.  What red-blooded American isn’t!  However, let’s get real here!

I remember going to those old revival meetings that didn’t have time limits on them.  People came and went but the revivalist keep at it.  The old camp meetings, anyone remember how they used to be.  The smell of campfire cooking, the music, the shouts of Hallelujah ringing in the air, people coming to Jesus by the droves—bring it back, Lord, bring it back.

Sigh.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could rally ‘round a 21st century national revival with even half the gusto we expend once a year for the Super Bowl?  What do you think that would look like?  Christians, all over the country, gathering to worship the Lord, hear the gospel together and praising God when the friends and loved ones they brought with them humbly accepted Jesus Christ and became new disciples in God’s army!

Churches being filled with new disciples, volunteers, and faithful witnessing!

All over the USA, families gathering ‘round the wide screen, watching with neighbors and loved ones, listening, talking about Jesus, and breaking out in excited praises when one of the unsaved among them asked how they, too, could receive Christ!

Well, guess what?  There has not been a national revival in the West since the middle of the 19th century.   Christianity appears to be sinking in the western horizon and sinking in Western society at an ever increasing pace.

It appears that, unlike the 1st century church that turned the entire world upside down for Jesus, the 21st century church is being turned upside down by the world!  Why is that?  Can it all be blamed upon the paganism (humanism) that runs rampant in society?  That is certainly a contributing factor.

But what was it about 1st century Christianity that differs from 21st century Christianity?  Paganism and persecution was all around them!  What seems to be the deal breaker today when it comes to revival?

“Some will get their hackles up and say, ‘Such a simplistic message!  What Christian doesn’t already know this!'” 

The 1st century church abundantly used two spiritual weapons that are still available to us today but are underused—prayer and the message of the Good News of the kingdom.  Let’s take a look at each of these spiritual weapons:

  • Prayer – You see, Jesus provided His church with a miraculous tool when He ripped the veil.  For the first time since the fall, through Him, mankind had access to the Father.  The 1st century church utilized this.  When Peter was locked up in Acts 12, the church prayed unceasingly.

 

  • The Gospel – The Gospel, powered by God’s Spirit within each born again Christian, broke through strongholds of Satan and presented the liberating message of Christ.  Where is that Gospel today?  How many churches today have effective outreach programs compared to the ones who do not?  How can the Gospel be heard by a dying world if it is not proclaimed, without compromise?

Where are you today in your prayer life?

Where is your church in community prayer?

Where are you today in following the command of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to go and make disciples?

 Where is your church in its outreach program?

The Bible says that prayer is the foundation that the Gospel should be preached from.  Let’s join together in spreading this message, this simple message that we all know but have laid aside.

Let’s proclaim the Gospel to the lost and pray for Holy Spirit conviction that can soften the hardened hearts of our 21st century culture.  In other words, let’s decide, once again, to follow Jesus.

We all know Christians the rest of us do not.  We can do what that 1st century church did.  Christians passed the word by mouth to other Christians to gather and pray.  Christians reminded one another to tell others about Jesus.

Some will get their hackles up and say, “Such a simplistic message!  What Christian doesn’t already know this!”  I’m not saying Christians don’t know this.  I’m saying many of them need reminding of this.

Please send this to other Christians you know.  This is a simple message to remind.  It’s nothing ground breaking.  It is getting back to basics.

Let’s do it. 

Let’s follow Jesus!

Pray with me for obedience in the body of Christ.

Until next time…

Zach

 

Question:  Why are 21st century Christians reluctant to witness to the lost?