Saturday, September 08, 2007
With all the ridicule and abuse the name of Jesus gets, some newspaper guy publishes this cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohamed as a Dog in his paper in Sweden and the Islamics go nuts.
So, at the risk of losing my head, I hereby republish the cartoon. We must take a stand.
Let's see, Jesus or Mohamed? Who is greater? We must make the world see the evil that is fundamentalist Islam once and for all. If rubbing the nose of the nuts in this accomplishes it then let's do it.
After all just yesterday Osama Bin Laden (or his body double) invited all Americans to convert to ISLAM. I just thought a little truth in packaging is in order before we all sign up. Of course in typical Euro-cowardice the Swedish government is trying hard to smooth things over. You can't smooth things over with nutcases.
Read all the passages referenced and we are talking biblical salvation. John 3:16-17. Jesus didn't talk in terms of his impending death and resurrection. He talked about true GOSPEL salvation. Yet most of the church preaches salvation from sin. Certainly that's a first step but only the first step. The reason so many in the church are so lost and confused is they don't grasp the fullness of the great salvation provided them.
Look at this diagram. You will see that a person sinks in sin, comes to a place of repentance and then after looking to the cross is built up in faith and redemption until they reach the fullness of their salvation on this side of the age or the other.
That's where the badly taught story of the Prodigal comes in. We (I have too so don't holler) preach it as the love of God receiving in a sinner bent for hell. Certainly that's an application that can fill an altar, but it's not the application Jesus made. HE was trying to explain the fullness of the Good News (Gospel) by illustrating that the son, no matter what he did, was always his son, the fullness of his salvation was always his, he needed to come back to the father to enter into it. Not heaven, enter into protection, provision, healing, restoration, and all the other facets we never preach on when we preach the Prodigal. Once a christian saved by grace and returned to the Father, we can then work out our salvation with fear and trembling and looking to the full expression of it all in our lives. That's what's not being taught.
We are too busy preaching folks into hell and then grasping them back. I'm for that. I hate cheap grace. But, let's then help them understand everything wrapped up in the fullness of his salvation. Sozo. Soteria.
Read Ezekiel 36. There is a pretty clear picture of the Fathers salvation and his intent. He doesn't do it for OUR sake. He does it for the sake of his name. He IS salvation. His name is Jeshuah (OT Joshua). God is Salvation.
Let's just suppose you could preach on just ONE of those other facets of full Salvation. Could you exhaust that little partial piece of the full subject of salvation in one Sunday? I don't think so.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read.
17 And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],
19 To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.
20 Then He rolled up the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing [attentively] at Him.
21 And He began to speak to them: Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing.
Notice that Jesus NEVER talks about going to heaven, forgiveness of sins or the rituals we must or should observe. He declares the good news, The Gospel is that he is the anointed one, the messiah, and as such that the poor don't have to be in poverty any more, that those bound up by anything can be freed, that blindness spiritual and physical can be reversed, that those oppressed by situations can be delivered, those bruised can be healed, those crushed by calamity can be restored. He proclaims that a year of Jubilee has been proclaimed over us, the favor of God is given to us profusely.
That dear reader IS the Gospel.
While to most people it's that Jesus died for your sins. That's how the Gospel has been released but it's not the full Gospel.
I suggest that if you are a pastor and you preach or teach others you might ask yourself today, Am I preaching the Gospel of Hope, Freedom and Deliverance or am I placing people further in bondage?
If Jesus did it, maybe we should too. Preach the Gospel.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Here's what they say I am:
|1.||Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)|
|2.||Orthodox Quaker (95%)|
|3.||Seventh Day Adventist (94%)|
|4.||Eastern Orthodox (90%)|
|5.||Roman Catholic (90%)|
|6.||Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (65%)|
|7.||Orthodox Judaism (55%)|
|10.||Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (46%)|
|11.||Jehovah's Witness (44%)|
|12.||Bahá'í Faith (43%)|
|13.||Liberal Quakers (42%)|
|15.||Unitarian Universalism (35%)|
|16.||Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (34%)|
|17.||Mahayana Buddhism (33%)|
|19.||Theravada Buddhism (32%)|
|20.||Reform Judaism (29%)|
|22.||New Thought (23%)|
|23.||New Age (20%)|
|26.||Secular Humanism (13%)|
Like Homer would say, Duh-o
Scribe Fire allows you to create a wysiwyg comment with links and pix and then drop them whole using the html button into a comment field. It's really neat.
What are you waiting for?
Monday, September 03, 2007
Level One -- Head Knowledge and Emotions
A person becomes a new believer. He is excited. He tells everyone he knows. He's a witness. Other new believers come on board. They form a new believers group. They love it. They love each other. They decide to get aggressive in finding others to become part of their group. There are churches who are full of the passion and enthusiasm of new believers but who are not yet taught or stable. The door revolves as people become disappointed and go looking for more.
Level Two -- Hands of Doers of the word
Level Three -- Heart Knowledge, Loving Jesus
Level Four -- Feet for ministry
Here is a church with good believer flow, followers of Jesus and good discipleship. The people are ministered to by the staff. They love their pastor. Unfortunately many churches get stuck here too because the idea that only the minister, called man of God or leaders can do ministry. This creates a cult of personality. Not that they do a bad job as much as they do, but they are not what those dear people need. They need someone to come along side as a mature person. In most churches that mature Christian is not present in quantity or quality because the focus is on the professionals on staff. This is the pattern we see in many good churches but it still isn't the highest calling of God. People can live here for a long time but if they grow in maturity they will want even MORE.
Level Five -- The Master Builders using Knowledge, Hearts, Hands in Ministry
They want to be part of an equipping and sending church. When church leadership really grasps that it's highest call is to serve all 5 levels at all times they come close. I know some churches like this. Faith Center in Rockford is very close. The focus is to equip people for ministry. The church should be a place that builds apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and preachers and then become intentional in finding a place to engage their gift in and out of the church building. That is that is the kind of church a person will settle in for a long time. Become a part of and then be sent from to do the work of the ministry and replicate themselves.
It's a tough balance to achieve. This can be the stuff of Church Splits. As people become equipped they start searching for ways to be used of God in the Body of Christ and not just keep a pew warm. They want to go from being a disciple to making disciples and then to equip them for the ministry and eventually release the 5 fold gifts they have. These people become driven by the great commission.
- We need to feel like we are saved and secure as a believer
- Then we need to be busy doing something as a Christ Follower
- Then we need to feel the intimacy in relationship as a disciple
- Then we need to be focused on ministering to others. Many Churches are stuck on this with a strong leader who carries the gifts he does. He becomes the answer man.
- Ultimately deep inside we need to be contributing to all ministry in our gift. We becomes Body of Christ focused. We become equippers.
If you have a church full of baby believers they will be immature and unstable. And they will replicate themselves. The church will be full of baby Christians forever.
Jesus had the same situation.
Jesus had lots of people who believed in him. Who came to him with needs. They believed he could heal.
He had many followers who followed him around for a long time. They loved his teaching.
He had a large number of disciples. More than the 12. He sent out 72. They wanted to do the works like he did and be close to him. Intimate.
But he was careful to select out only 12 in whom he would invest himself so they could do the equipping to do the ministry later. And one of them didn't make it.
You can't impart what you don't possess. 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Sunday, September 02, 2007
This from the same person who was singing high praise of Bin Laden last year about this time.
Read the whole thing, comments and all.