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It Matters What We Preach

In 1965, mainline denominations claimed around 50 percent of the American population, today they have fallen to 9 percent. So, it matters what you preach. Furthermore, author Howard Hendricks says we remember 10% of what we hear, and Rick Warren says we forget 95% of what we hear after 72 hours. So, it matters what is preached, and it matters what we remember. Mainline Churches lost their focus because of what they preached, and the key to remembering is to practice what we hear. When we hear a Gospel-based sermon, take notes. Study those notes to transform the hearing into the doing. Be more than a hearer of the Word … be a doer of the Word.

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The Great Reversal

God has a unique reward system in His Kingdom. Some who are least important now, will be greatly important then, and those who are greatest now, will be least then. So, does that mean the billionaires, the powerful politicians, the famous entertainers and superstar athletes will not have the same status then as they do now? Probably not. People who place importance on profit, power, and recognition, will face a different value system with God … His importance is placed on sacrifice. Jesus said that anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields, whatever because of Him will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal … many of the first ending up last, and the last first.

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White Stone

Culture has become an idol in some people’s lives. Ethnic culture, American culture, Christian culture, Tribal culture … everyone comes from somewhere with some kind of cultural story. Culture reminds us from where we came, and that’s a history lesson. Yet, as Christians, we move from where we have come from to where we are going, into the Kingdom of the Son. The Kingdom is made from all the tongues from cultural nations, but our new names are written on a White Stone (Revelation 2:17) won’t reflect the old culture, it will reflect the new Kingdom. Be careful on the amount of time you spend on uplifting your earthly culture and focus on the White Stone of His Kingdom.  (Colossians 3:2)

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Vultures

The signs of the age Jesus said are like vultures. When you see vultures circling an area, you know a dead body is nearby. The same is true for signs. When you see the signs, know the end is near. The days of Noah was another reminder that Jesus said would replay itself in the last days. Noah’s generation was totally consumed with their lives, and that is what is playing out in our generation. Ungodly generations, unaware, and not knowing God. Noah’s day faced the flood, and our generation will face the wrath of God as revealed in the Book of Revelation. Today, the signs of His coming are like the vultures, they are circling indicating the end is in sight.

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Having a Month

As children we learned at an early age a lesson for life. In school if you were given a treat, you were not the only child that got a treat, all children were eligible and were treated the same. Yet, as an adult, we single out various groups for a month-long celebration, at the exclusion of others. February is Black History month, but there is no Hispanic month, or Native American month? So many ethnic groups have no month. June is Gay Pride month, yet there is no heterosexual month or family month? It seems to me that groups that have a month are the special children who get the treats, and the rest of us are left to ask, “what is wrong with us, that we have no month?” Seems odd to me.

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Box People

In society there are two kinds of thinkers. In the box, and outside the box. Most of us use the education we were taught from the box. It is safe, it is known, it is acceptable. But what about those outside the box? There are no rules, no measurements, or predictions. They rely on the language of the gut and intuition. Most of us like the box, because we know what to expect. Those outside box face the unknown, they are the visionaries. The box people love the sound of church bells, but the out of the box people like the challenge of the mission, yards from the gates of Hell. Jesus instructs us to get out of the box and “go into all the world.” 

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Excuses

There is a story Jesus told about a banquet where people were invited to attend, and all the invitees gave excuses not to attend. Some had business dealings, others were investing, chasing their dream, while others were getting married. However, at the end of the day, all made excuses as to why they could not attend. Jesus used this story to illustrate that many have been invited into His Kingdom, but few choose to come. God is still inviting people and He is still getting excuses from His invites.  All of us make excuses for ourselves, but there is one excuse that could cost you eternity. No matter what your life is doing, when the invitation is given, by all means, do not make an excuse.

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Saltiness

Jesus said, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” If we, the church is like salt, what happens when we lose or change our message? Jesus said, “if you lose your saltiness, you get thrown away.” I recently read about some Christians representing a group called “Progressive Christianity.”  Here in part is what they believe. “They value compassion, justice, mercy, and tolerance, often through political activism. Often Progressive Christians will refer to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as horrific or unnecessary.” I believe we face two kinds of churches, one a true salty church, and one worthy to be discarded.  The gospel is salty, it was designed to stay that way. 

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Circumstances

“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” (Eccles 7:14) Now that is something that is not in our theology thinking today. This is one of those insightful wisdom verses that tells the prosperity gospel people that God cannot be manipulated to only prosper you. King Solomon goes on to say, “remember that nothing is certain in this life.” So, in short, God teaches us lessons in both prosperity and in the hard times, because God has created them both. Paul says, “I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” It’s not the circumstances, it is the Christ in those circumstances that matters.

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Theology

Theology is important, I get that, however, some theology has become so important to people, that it has become an idol. It reminds me of how people treated the Sabbath in Jesus day: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27) Sabbath was important, but it became so important it became an object of worship. Some theology is critically important, Soteriology, Pneumatology, and Eschatology, all have a place in the believer’s playbook of belief, but there is other theology that I would question. Calvinism, Supercessionism, Cessationism, Prosperity and Dominion theologies are all Biblically questionable and they have become more important than even the Lord Himself. In my latter years, the Bible is all I need, theology can get confusing.

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Kindness

Annie Johnson was 101 years old when I first met her. She was physically weak, but her mind was strong. She lived through some of the most astounding events in history. World wars, inventions of the automobile, telephone, radio, tv, internet. So, I asked her what she had concluded about life in living so long. I thought I would get an answer like, “I was amazed at how advanced we had become.” Instead, what she said to me I will never forget. “I am amazed at how unkind and mean we have become to each other.” Wise words that echo’s God’s Word. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)   Kindness never goes out of style.

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Closets

We have seen a rash of high-profile clergy resign recently over moral failure. It is a good reminder that no one is beyond sin. One of the lessons we learn early in following Jesus is that everything is a temptation. Just because you are a successful pastor does not mean you’re beyond temptation. Given the right circumstances, and the wrong frame of mind, anyone can be seduced into sin. How about the skeletons in your closet? Everyone has a past and I am convinced all closets have skeletons. However, there is mercy for the sinner, repentance for the contrite, and the grace of God for those willing to face their closet. Remember, confession is always forgiven, and it is the best way to clean a closet.

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God Loves and Values You

The Psalmist wrote asking God to search his heart to expose any offensive way in him. In other words, “expose me to myself.” How can you know what you are really like unless God shows you?  Self-awareness is one of the hardest values to develop. Most of us have a fragile sense of self-worth that we protect by layers of self-deception and pride. The Holy Spirit, who does the searching, wants us to find our self-worth in God, knowing we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So, if we are His workmanship as Paul writes, let’s begin to value what God values by replacing a low self-worth to loving yourself as God does. Self-awareness begins by knowing God loves and values you.

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Posturing

There is a term that has always annoyed me. Posturing is often referred to as a position of worshipping, but more recently it is being used to indicate we are not talking a position on something … we are posturing, or stepping back to see how things shake out. Why is this annoying to me? It opposes engagement. The modern church has been notorious for its silence on issues they need to stand up for and speak out about. Church leaders are afraid to lose their nickels and noses if they cross lines of violating the politically correct issues in our day. If the culture crosses a moral line, the church should step up, and not step back. The only moral voice the culture has today is the church. If we take a stand not to create waves, we will end up with no wind in our sails, we then have just become irrelevant.

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You Own It

You own it. We can’t always control or manage what happens to us, but we own how we react. You own your past, regardless how many excuses exonerates you, you still own it. You own your hurt, your own your pain, you own your anger, you own your unforgiveness, and you own your reactions. Today, people don’t want to own anything, it’s never my fault, nor my responsibility. The admonition today is to own who you are and what you have done. Stop making excuses and bring it all to God. Remember, you own it, take responsibility, and then let God restore it through His Grace. Own it, and give it to God.

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Eternity

John the Baptist said, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” Profound words spoken from the wilderness. The greatest revelation humans must realize is that we are not that important, but Jesus is. Jesus is important because He is the difference between heaven and hell. All people are terminal, our diagnosis is all the same, we all face the grave, but the grave is not final.  God is final. You live, you die, and you face God. This is the definition of final … you face God. Facing God knowing Jesus, is a welcome home ... without Jesus, now that is another matter. 

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God's Benefits

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.” When people ask me why God is so important to me, my response is, “Because His benefits are incredible." The Psalmist said, “He forgives all my sins, heals all my diseases, He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” Now think about that for a moment, who rescues you, protects you, forgives you, heals you, redeems you from death, and crowns you with His love and mercy? What more could be said? God is good, kind, and He comes with benefits, and He never reneges on either His promises or His benefits.

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Popularity

Popularity, it is a condition of being liked. Some search for it all their lives, however, popularity is not what God has called us to seek. In fact, if you follow Jesus, you will experience quite the opposite … you will be hated. Why? They hated Him. The truth is not popular because it has the tendency to call out liars, cheats, immorality, hypocrisy, demons, haters, deceivers, murderers, thieves, adulterers, pimps, and the dishonest. Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” Popularity is fleeting … truth is forever.

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Perfect Conditions

King Solomon said, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” When decisions need to be made, there are never perfect conditions. What you sow today, will provide a harvest tomorrow. If you wait to sow, you will deny the harvest. If we say someday I will go, be, and do, we will never see that day come. Fear keeps circumstances from changing, and fear keeps us looking for the right time to act. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Call to Me and I will answer you,” for this is your assurance of never being afraid to act. 

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God Hates Religion

I am convinced that God hates religion. In His day, Jesus was no fan of religion either. His harshest criticism was to the religious leaders. The prophets Jeremiah and Hosea, had scathing remarks for the priests and prophets in their day, because they were leading people away from the Lord. Today is no different. Tradition, doctrine, denominationalism … all define God in their image, convincing many that their version is correct. God does not establish religion … we do. His desire is simple. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Establishing this simple truth in your life makes God once again God … and not a religion.

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Jesus Ruling

Reading through the Christian news services, I was amazed that the reporting was so prophetically poignant in what the Scriptures say will happen. Zechariah tells us that all nations will come against Israel, no nation will support her.  Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians that there will be a great falling away and rebellion against God. The Bible is 28% prophecy, which means God is gracious to warn us before it happens. Wondering where this world is going? The Bible tells us that the kingdoms of this world will end up being ruled by Jesus. Now you know the end of the story. Watch and pray as we progress toward His rule. 

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Perspective

The Proverb writer says, “Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Good judgment is because our perspective does not belong to us alone …  it is filtered through God’s Word. The more the world twists and turns, I need to rely on Him for perspective. I don’t want to stick my head in the sand as things unravel in the world. My assurance, however, is in knowing His plan is falling into place. Every morning my prayer is the same. “Lord, give me your perspective, teach me your word, and help me to honor you with my day.” Simple prayer, with powerful results. Good judgment comes from allowing God access to your life. Trust is a big thing, and God is waiting for your trust to be in Him. 

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Centered In God 

The prophet Habakkuk said, “And their own strength is their God.”  Habakkuk went on to say, “The law in the land had become paralyzed, there was no justice in the courts, and the wicked outnumbered the righteous." The Prophet Jeremiah echoes the same sentiment. “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” So much of what we hear today in motivational speeches is, “find yourself.”  However God says, "Find Me, and you will find yourself." We were created to find our center in God, and not in ourselves. Doing what is right is not centered in me, it is centered in Him. Without Him, doing what is right is nearly impossible. That was the message of the prophets.

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Greatest

What does the word greatest mean? It means above the norm or average. This is how the Apostle Paul defined the greatest. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind." And "Love your neighbor as yourself.” Then Jesus defined who was the greatest among us, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” When God defines greatness, He looks for the character of love and servanthood for His definition. Greatness comes from the heart not in abilities.

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Forgiveness and Confession

We are people of confession. Of all things Christians should be known for, is confession and forgiveness.  Confession tells me there is little ego or pride to wade through. The heart is honest about the sinfulness, the shortcomings, and the dishonesty in our lives. We know that God tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive. Living out our lives in this manner is such a freedom. I don’t have to pretend I am anything, I don’t have to prove anything, I simply live by confession and forgiveness. Boom!

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The Bride

Judgment must begin at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) I love the Church because it is Christ’s bride, but at times I am ashamed of the behavior of this bride. The Church has become so narcissistic and is totally unaware.  How do I know? Listen carefully to what is said. “I go to Pastor so and so’s Church.” “I love the worship at my Church.” “We’re not one of those woke Churches, we preach the truth.” First, it's Christ’s Church … not the pastors. The worship is about giving God honor … not the style of music. The outreach of the Church should be to the woke community. The bride is full of herself and fails to see we are one Church focused on one person … period. Isn’t that what a bride does?

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Doctrine Differences

“But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) Yet it is our doctrinal differences that separate us, putting us at odds with each other. Fellowship should only be broken over serious heretical beliefs, and not the petty differences of interpretation. Seriously, if you want to continue to grieve the Holy Spirit, allow your doctrines to violate the quoted Verse. Sharing the same spirit means you are family even if you don’t agree. We are not each other’s enemies, so let’s pay attention to who our enemy is and unite our gifts. 

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Knees and Tongues

Philippians tells us that all creation will one day bend a knee to Christ and all tongues will confess Him as Lord. Have you ever wondered what would convince all of humanity to do this, both the living and the dead? God doesn’t force people to do anything, if He did, He would force people to believe because He wants none to perish. It will be our choice to do so, but what will convince humanity to yield both knee and tongue? I think it is because He shows us the glory of God. We understand His glory now by faith, but then we shall see it and all eyes will be opened to the magnificence of the Almighty. That sight alone will bend the knee and the tongue to confess.

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Willful Blindness

Eric Metaxas talks about the “willful blindness” of the German Church during WWII in his book, “Letter to the American Church.” The church ignored the signs of Jewish genocide. This kind of blindness as we now know is unacceptable for the church. Yet, week after week, many of our pulpits are willfully blind to the seduction of our age. That seduction results in the silence from our pulpits. The prophet-watchman-pastor should call for repentance because of our lukewarm hearts for God. One preacher said, “Without repentance, there is no revival.” Jesus was clear that repentance was required for their willful blindness in being successful. Think about that one for a bit. Willful blindness needs to be eradicated from our pulpits ... it’s time for the watchman once again.

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The Watchman

God gave the watchman the responsibility to warn of impending danger to God’s people. Often life is so fast and complicated, we fail to pause and take note of what is happening around us. If Ezekiel 33 can be translated into the Church age, the Church is the watchman in our day. If the Church is asleep, then we will not be aware of the dangers in our day. Discernment is often dead in many Churches, and believers are left clueless of what will happen in the days ahead. 

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is what defines Christianity. If you were to define Christ in one word, it would have to be forgiveness. I would go as far as to say that love must exercise forgiveness, if it is real love. Forgiveness is the hardest part of the Christian life. You can give up drugs, the immoral lifestyle, and the need to be first, but to forgive is another matter altogether. The emotional hurt of being betrayed, or if you experienced a great loss, or have a feeling of being abandoned is so emotional, it is nearly impossible to forgive. Yet, forgiveness is a reset God created that releases the emotions of resentment and bitterness. Jesus said, we are forgiven in the same manner we forgive. Hold on to nothing and forgive everything.

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The Sermon on the Mount

I love the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed will be those who acknowledge their need for Him, those who mourn, those who are humble, those who hunger for justice, those who are merciful, those who are pure, those who work for peace, and those who are persecuted for doing what is right. All of them are character traits of a Godly person. The character of mourning is often overlooked, yet it is as critical as any of them. To mourn over our personal sin is always a perquisite for repentance. This is a great reminder that repentance isn’t a one-time admission of sin, it is a characteristic of what a Godly person does to keep a right relationship with God. This character of mourning is in keeping with our modern day idea of being self-aware. 

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A Table Turning Moment

There are few times in the Gospels where Jesus was demonstrative. One time He turned over the tables in the temple. The marketplace of selling animals for sacrificing was exorbitant. Temple merchants lost their sense of worship for profit. For Jesus, the zeal for God's house got Him animated, and over went the tables. So, how animated would He be today? Would He turn over pulpits because they don’t represent a Biblical perspective? Would He say we have turned His house into a den of thieves by how we ignore God by our silence on the truth? Remember, it was God who called His people a prostitute in Hosea 4, because they left God for other interests. Other interests? It was another table turning moment. 

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The Sorcery of Wealth

Bible prophecy helps us know God is just. The wealth of this world will one day be gone in a moment. As we know, wealth is the end game of human trafficking, illicit drugs, and corporations that use their financial power to promote evil. Wealth plays on human weaknesses, and exploits those weaknesses for wealth. Bible prophecy calls the wealth of the world sorcery, with acts of great deception. No wonder the love of wealth is the root of all evil. What is even more despicable is when the Gospel is perverted by the sorcery of wealth, it even calls the poor cursed. The sorcery of wealth will be judged by God in a moment because wealth deceived the nations. (Revelation 18)

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Race Fighting Against Race

I heard a Bible commentator say, that one of the issues in the last days will be race fighting against race. He used the verse in Matthew 24 that says nations will rise against nations. He mentioned that the Greek for nation was ethnos, an ethnic group, meaning race, culture, and people. In America, we do have a race issue and we talk about it all the time. God has no race issue. His creativity in creation is seen in all of us, yet we choose to define each other by a racial distinctive. I am into solutions and in God’s world, the solution is one race, all have sinned, and all need a Savior. The sins of ethnicity were nailed to a Cross, so disagree if you want, but God settled the issue.

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Buffalos Don’t Run From the Storm

My son loves buffalos. His fascination with them is because when a storm approaches, buffalos don’t run from the storm … they run into it. They know, instinctively that going into the storm means they will get passed the storm more quickly. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” He knew that no one lives in a state of perpetual good times and storms will come, but how you react to them may be critical to your recovery. Facing adversity is never easy, but don’t  run away, run to face it. Why?  Jesus said, “He has overcome the world.” Adversity is the world, but you can go through the storms with the one who has overcome it.

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Deny the Busyness

We live in a culture that values busyness. The busier you are, the more you feel valued. I sat in Church asking myself this question, “How much of me is still in me?” Most people suffer from narcissism, which feeds on being busy. Religion can create behavior with the tendencies of narcissism … it is just packaged around helping people. Some of the most narcissistic people I have known had a pulpit. Allow me to paraphrase the words of Jesus, “Deny the busyness that feeds self, learn to sacrifice your importance, and follow Me in obedience.” I am convinced our self-importance is directly connected to our busyness. Just sayin’

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Fight the Good Fight

King Solomon said: “Finishing is better than starting.” Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” The Apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” There is something special about people who endure hardships and come away successful, all because they didn’t quit. Quitting does not produce hope … it kills it. Hope is what helps us to finish, to endure, and to remain faithful. Wisdom says to finish. Salvation says don’t quit. The teacher says remain faithful. In the end, you will look back and see the success … all because you finished, you endured, and you were faithful.

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Be Nice, Nice is Godly

I get it, we need to be nice. Nice is Godly and people like nice. Yet, have you ever read these words, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Not nice! Paul said, “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” That is not a nice piece of advice. God calls His people a prostitute in Hosea 4, that’s not nice to call someone a whore. John says that if we don’t obey God and say we do, we are liars. Today, nice gets translated “don’t offend anyone.” Yet, Paul says by just sharing the Gospel you are offensive, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)  How about being bold, honest, and truthful about the Gospel … now that’s nice.

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A False Church and a True Church

The parable of the wheat and the tares parallels the message preached by David Wilkerson revealing a false church and a true Church in the last days. Satan always counterfeits what God does, even to the point that he masquerades as the truth. This false church is a different gospel, it marries Jesus to agendas that support their causes. Jesus is Palestinian, Jesus is prosperity, Jesus is social justice, Jesus is whatever we want Him to be … other than the Jesus the Bible defines. Denying your life, picking up your cross and following Him means, you have NO other agenda, but God’s will be done. The false church, like the tares, will grow alongside the real Church until Jesus returns. Beware!

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Lead with Prayer

Author Ryan Skoog mentions in his book, “Lead with Prayer,” about a survey by the MacLellan Foundation, that discovered that pastors don’t pray. Now, I don’t want to indict anyone but myself for not praying. Much of my pastoral life was lived out in my own strength and ability. Prayer was optional, and study was required. Ministry can play tricks on you, making you think you are doing God’s will, when in essence the only will that is being done is yours. I don’t project this on anyone but myself. My failure to pray, was my failure to surrender. Prayer is a discipline that surrenders to God, and prayerless believers are starving their faith and their relationship with God. 

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Cheap Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor, theologian, martyr, spy was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the Church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power. His firm answer, “It was the teaching of cheap grace. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

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He is Our Coach

I always start my day with Scripture and a short prayer. I’ve changed that up a bit. It has helped me focus more on my day. Now, I pray simple prayers to involve the Holy Spirit in everything I do in my day. The Holy Spirit likes it when we invite Him along. He is our Coach, and the field of life is where He is at His best. So, I pray in the morning, and it goes something like this … “Lord, today let me see your perspective. Lord, today teach me your word as I live out this day. Lord, let me be your light to all I meet, and allow me to walk in mercy, forgiveness, and truth.” The Holy Spirit leads us in truth from the inside, knowing the outside will be the challenge in our day.

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The Great Take Over

I love to ask this question. “Why is Jesus coming back?” And the answer is quite simple, “To take over.” His mission will be to administer the wrath of God, eradicate all evil, judge the living and the dead, and bring about a new heaven and earth. There, I just summarized the Book of Revelation. However, people are intrigued about this “taking over” piece. In Church language it is not described that way, but that’s what will happen. He is coming to depose the culprits who rule this world. This is why we need to rethink how we define His coming. “It is the great takeover.” He is coming to take back what belongs to Him. When people ask you, “How are you doing?” you can say, “I am waiting for the great take over.” This should create some great questions.

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Jesus is Dangerous

I told the group that Jesus is dangerous. They were shocked. Dangerous? Really? Well, everything Jesus said is dangerous to our world, because He tells the truth. Most revolutionaries who have spoken against the status quo were jailed or killed. Jesus was dangerous to the religious world because He spoke against their hypocrisy. He is still dangerous today because He is asking people to abandon the kingdoms of this world, for His Kingdom that is to come. His Words believed can defeat evil, change lives, and give do-overs for all who ask. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 “Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” On judgment day, Jesus sits on the Great White Throne to make those judgements. Dangerous? I think so. Ultimately Revelation 11:15 tells us Jesus returns to take over and that’s dangerous to those who do not know Him.

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I Hate Religion

Recently I was called, “religious.” I bristled. I hate religion. Not only do I hate religion, but God hates it too! Now, I had their attention. You will find God saying often in the Bible, “You don’t know Me.” Why? One big reason is that religiosity will replace God through theology and tradition. God becomes a subject but not the object of worship. God wants to be known personally, not a set of doctrinal teachings that are identifiable as a denomination. Religion messes up God’s image, His reputation, and His ultimate objective for us to be His light to the world. One of the side benefits of Jesus coming is when you see Jesus, you see God. Jesus didn’t call people to a Church … He called them to Himself. The Church is just a gathering of those who believe in Him.

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My Greatest Cheer Leader

These last two weeks with my Coach (Holy Spirit) started because I wanted to know Him in a personal way. I asked Him to coach me through my short comings. I learned a lot about Him. He is kind, He listens well, and He makes suggestions without a lot of words. He is very firm in what He says, but He talks to me as if He really, really, likes me. In the past, I figured Him out to be a tad bit stoic, stern, and always watching. In fact, He is very inspirational, He is my greatest cheer leader. The Coach always wants us to be our best. For now, He has agreed to help me as I tackle my seven areas of change:

1. My reactions

2. My lack of mercy

3. My letting go of things

4. My lack of patience

5. My need to watch and pray

6. My awareness of seduction

7. My surrender to obedience.

I love my kind, well spoken, and value driven Coach, even when He is tough on me.

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King Solomon

My Coach reminded me of King Solomon. He said wisdom does not trump obedience. Solomon thought his wisdom would overpower any temptation he faced. He was wrong. My Coach reminded me that I treat ministry like Solomon did wisdom, God looks to the one who is obedient over the one who is talented and is gifted. Our gifts  may get attention and accolades among men, but God’s accolades go to the obedient. This is a tough one. I like to think I comply, but obedience isn’t a single act, it is a lifestyle. Getting schooled again.

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Really? Seduction?

The Coach made me take a memory test this morning. The test was on what I needed to change:

1. My reactions

2. My low score on mercy

3. My letting go of offenses

4. My patience must increase

5. I need vigilance in watching and praying.

Then He hits me with seduction. Really? Seduction? The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life … all seduction. Then He begins to remind me of how I have been seduced. I am not listing any of it, so don’t look for it. Let it be said that seduction is the era we live in, and culture is the master of seducing people to think and act in ways that my Coach disapproves. Okay number 6, seduction. I love my Coach but gee whiz this is tougher than boot camp.

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A Dream of Fear

Last night I had a dream. My Coach gave me a dream. Strange, because I have not known my Coach to speak to me in this manner. It was a dream of fear. Fear ruled the world in this dream. We all know faith is the opposite of fear, and faith was dead in this dream. They had killed God in the minds of people, they taught their children not to hope so there would be no disappointment. Satan has no hope … his world is fear. Remove hope, and you end up with fear. My Coach (Holy Spirit) is so good, He gives me a dream, and when I wake up, what do you think He says?  “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) This coaching stuff is quite unique.

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Words Can Be Like the Weather

Monday morning, the Coach arrived earlier than usual, asking this question. “How were your words this weekend?” What words did I use that were not necessary, were harmful, full self-pity, or were critical? Words can be like the weather, sometimes sunny, and other times stormy. My Coach was persistent, “How were your words this weekend?”  He then opened his coaching manual and read, “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.”  (Matthew 12:36) Now, that is a real coaching drill. My first week of developing my relationship with my Coach, (the Holy Spirit) is now complete. His coaching revealed five areas I need to develop … reactions, mercy, letting go, patience and now words. He is a good Coach, tough at times, but I need it. 

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This Isn’t a Grocery List

I am sitting waiting. The Holy Spirit is silent. Doesn’t He know I have a Facebook post to do? Why can’t He rattle off how I need to change, so I can post it? Then He responds, “This isn’t a grocery list … this is major construction.” Okay, I get it, He was silent because I needed to discover how impatient I am. He is right, it is my timing, it is always about what I what, and I am important.  Yeah, major construction. It is true, I can do a grocery list for an audience, but real change must start with Him. I never realized how personal and honest the Holy Spirit can be, until I decided to pursue Him. Change is not easy, but I really like His coaching.

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A Hard Time Letting Things Go

Do you have a hard time letting things go?  I do, and that was the third challenge the Holy Spirit encouraged me to change. Letting go of disappointments, expectations, heartfelt losses, betrayal in friendships, and the unforgiveness that lingers longer than it should. Letting go of unkind words, criticisms, unfair results, feeling unloved … wounds that are hard to let go. The Holy Spirit asked me to be a “let go” person and find His healing from these wounds. He said, “If you hold on to these things at the expense of knowing Me, you lose out on what I offer. Your choice: “your wounds, or Me!”  But I asked, “What about the scars from these wounds?” He said, “They are reminders of what you don’t want to become.”  Holy Spirit Mic drop.

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My Judgments

I am learning to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit so I can define Him in my life. The process is to ask Him how to change my life and He responded, first in challenging my reactions, now its mercy. My life has been filled with judgments, and the last thing God wants from me is my judgments. I realized that I have spent far too many years judging people rather than seeing them through the eyes of mercy. The Holy Spirit reminded me God sees through mercy. He referred me to His writings in James 2:13 and Matthew 9:13, where mercy reaches out in a lesson of love. Holy Spirit teach me mercy, help me see as You do.

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Reactions

Okay, as you know I have a 30-day challenge to make the Holy Spirit my BFF. So, for me to know Him better I must be open to Him.  I asked Him (the Holy Spirit) how should I change my life? My hope is that through this process, I will develop a relationship with Him, that I can define in a personal way. So, here is His first response, He was firm but kind.  James 1:19 “Dear brothers, don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry.” Okay, the first change is about my reactions which are usually swift, and I do without thinking. It has been said that a person’s reaction reveals more about a person than their beliefs. Holy Spirit help me to change how I react.

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My BFF

I went to two churches Sunday. (I need it) Both reminded me of how important it is to know the Holy Spirit. I get the idea about having a relationship with Jesus, but what does it look like when applied to the Holy Spirit? I usually relate to Him by reading His Authorship of the Bible, but when asked to describe my personal relationship with Him, I was blank. So, here is what I decided to do to grow my relationship with Him. I am asking Him to tell me how I NEED to change. What do you think? Having a 30-day conversation with the Holy Spirit with my serious ask, will definitely define a relationship with Him. My BFF, the Holy Spirit. I am excited.

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Hang On to Your Hat

Thanks to everyone who reads these postings. I know most Facebook folks do pictures, humor, family outings, which is all great stuff, but my purpose is to simply remind people that Jesus has something to offer everyone. One friend accused me recently of being religious, and I want to say clearly, I hate religion. It subtracts from purpose of God, which is to do relationships, it means God becomes real, and not just the words on a page in the Bible. Stop the religion, and realize religion doesn’t get you to heaven, only Jesus can do that. So, introduce yourself to Jesus and ask Him to help you know God. Then hang on to your hat.

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Waves Everywhere

How easy it is for the Church to become neutral. We don’t want to create waves, don’t oversell anything. Yet, when you read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, waves were everywhere. For example, teachings were often backed up with miracles, healings, casting out demons. Check it out. That is what created the waves. People were coming to see the miracles, and it made the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles more believable. Think about it. How many miracles follow our words? It could be a game changer for all of us in the Church who preach Jesus, and experience signs and wonders as a result. (Romans 15:19)

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The Divine Educator

The Divine Educator came on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came to educate truth into our lives and lead us to be powerful in the perspectives of God. He educates us so He can empower us to be light in our world. Too often we substitute doctrines into His education process and call it His leading. It has been my experience, that many doctrines have a bias and do not represent Him. The Holy Spirit educates us on Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment. (John 16:8) It is simple, the Holy Spirit makes disciples, that is His job. The Cross made Jesus the Savior. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus the Lord over your life.

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God’s Perspective

What’s next after the Easter Revolution? What’s next is the Divine Educator is sent. He puts God’s perspective as the course of study for all believers and enables them to live out the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, believers ignore Him most of the time. The result is disastrous. If you take out the Divine Educator, you are left with your own instruction. That instruction has made Churches irrelevant and unproductive for God. How so? Pew Research came out with data that states the “Nones” (those whose religion is nothing in particular) are the largest group, surpassing both Protestants and Catholics in number. Ignore the Divine Educator, and you get the “Nones” in return.

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A Celebration or a Revolution? 

So, it’s over. The Easter Celebration is over for another year, now, let’s get on with life. Is that what this revolution was about? Easter is not only a celebration, it is a revolution. Celebrations last a short while, while a revolution is a life change. This revolution is the freedom we all need, death, sin, and evil are now under the feet of Jesus, and we are released to tell His story of victory. My advice, look at your definition of Easter again, is it a celebration or a revolution?  If you conclude it’s a revolution, then it’s time to join the ranks of the revolutionaries who are going into all the world with a radical message of the Gospel.

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Not a Good Day to End a Coup

It has been three days. Jewish tradition says it takes three days for the body to prove its death. It also was the Sabbath, not a good day to end a coup. So, Sunday is our day, the three-day coup that dismantled death, sin, and evil is now complete. The Word became flesh to take away the sins of the world, and upon Him no sin was left out. Death could not hold Him, and evil could not overcome Him. Yes, it was only three days, but now it’s done. The power of His resurrection gave birth to the era of grace, and the beginning of His kingdom.  He is risen, and the future belongs to Him.

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Equity

Equity:  the quality of being fair and impartial. This is today’s big buzz word, right? However, equity for GOD is simple. “For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) Since we all share this sin equity, He extends equity to us in a Savior. A Savior of forgiveness. Good Friday judged death, sin, and evil, it was God’s way to bring equity to the whole world. It is Friday, but Sunday is coming. It is That Simple.

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Blindsided!

But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. (1 Corinthians 2:8) Death, sin, and evil got blindsided, by Easter! Easter put into place the beginning of the end, it transformed a Savior on a Cross into a King who will judge the living and the dead. Don’t miss this. There was a coup for three days against death, sin and evil, but on the third day, it was over. Death, sin, and evil were no longer in control, the Easter Revolution was complete. God unleashed the power of His Grace into history, and all that is left to say is, “Hallelujah, He is risen.”

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The Easter Revolution

Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system. The Easter Revolution is simple, God overthrew the current ruler of this world, and ushered in a new era of grace for all mankind. That grace revolution fulfills the Law and the prophets of old, and in its place, an icon of a Cross. This revolution replaces darkness with light, and the shouts of a defeated evil world are still being heard today. The Bible told of this day, and on Good Friday the revolution begins. It was a three-day coup … God is so great.

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I Am Real ... God

Someone once said to me, “Why didn’t God just plaster the sky with the words, I am real … GOD.” Well, I said, He did something even better, He walked out of the tomb alive. Easter is a sign that God is real. A real God came, He lived, He died, and He arose from the dead. Death is real too, and is a painful reminder we can’t fix death … until Easter. Easter proclaims, I am God, and my name is Jesus, and my empty tomb is your sign to know that God is real.

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The Warrior

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:14) The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is His name! (Exodus 15:3) Once in a while, I need a little reprieve from all the safe things we say about God. I need to know there is a warrior on the wall, and He is committed to defend me against my enemy of evil. My Warrior delivers me from the evil one and He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. (Psalm 144:1) “Is God safe? No, but He is good.” ~Aslan the Lion

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Idolatry

Idolatry is one of those themes not often exposed, yet Paul said in Colossians 3:5b: “Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” Fairly clear, right? Most of us think about idolatry as something bad, but there is an idolatry that makes good things worshiped. The first commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” but it doesn’t specify what is prioritized before God is either good or bad, could it be both? Family, doctrine, church, knowledge, are all good things, but if they remove God from the top spot on the priority list, they just might be idols. What do you think?

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Fickle at Heart

Fickle: changing frequently, especially as regards one's loyalties, interests, or affection. The Apostle Paul’s ministry was one that caused either a riot, or a revival, and in the case of Acts 14, the crowd was worshipping him, and then suddenly the crowd was stoning him. The same was true with Jesus, they were waving palm branches crying “Hosanna in the highest,” (save us) and one week later they were crying, “Crucify Him.” As a Christian sharing your faith, you will find the same crowd is still among us today. Courageous Christianity will face the fickle crowds, but beware, they stoned Paul and crucified Jesus: Christianity is not for the faint or fickle at heart.

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He is the Answer to My Prayer

In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. (Jeremiah 29:12-13) Is it enough for you to know when you pray, He hears you, or do you need a reply? He does reply, “I will be found by you, says the Lord.” Often, when I need direction, I want the answer to my prayer more than anything, including Him. However, in finding Him, I will have my answer, and what happens next will be as it should be, God first in all things, including finding Him as the answer to my prayer.

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Character and Obedience

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:15) In our culture, we celebrate the gift and the talent. The gift can be so celebrated that we do not distinguish between the gift and character. Character, like obedience, must be the controlling factor in how the gift is used. Solomon was an example of how his gift of wisdom failed him, and he refused to live in obedience.  Satan’s gift of beauty and talent was not controlled by character, and Solomon believed his lies. What about your gift, is it controlled by character and obedience?

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What Has Won Over Your Heart? 

What has won over your heart?  There is always a romance going on in our culture to win your heart. It is all tailored toward how you are wired. The romance is to draw you in, seduce your emotions, passions, and interests … all geared to turn the romance into real love. God has always wanted you to be romanced toward Him. He uses grace, mercy, and forgiveness to romance you to fall in love with Him … and only Him. The seduction of culture will only use you, God will always provide for you, and will never leave you. Jesus came to seek for you, it was His way of telling you He loves you.  (Luke 19:10) What has won over your heart? 

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All People Were His Target

The Prophet Joel first told us about the Holy Spirit, and then it was fulfilled in Acts 2. He poured out His Spirit on all people, sons and daughters will prophesy, young men will see visions, and old men will dream dreams. All people were His target. When I listen to the Church, I listen for the truth against sin, I listen for the righteousness of God’s grace, and I listen for the warnings about His judgment. This was the message of His ministry according to John 16:8. What has been poured into you, is what you use to pour into others. Holy Spirit, make us aware of your presence in our lives today, guide us into all truth.

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Politics

Politics … how volatile it can become. I am afraid this presidential season will prove to be an unprecedented season of people hating each other over their candidates. The potential of a rerun of Biden and Trump will make us pause to think, pray and keep moving forward. Remember, no matter who is in the White House, it will not stop the plan of God moving forward. I know it is hard to listen to our leaders when they slide pass the truth on issues, but it’s not the final score. The Psalmist gives some good advice for the day after the State of the Union address. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. (Psalm 73:17)

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The Banquet

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6) Many of my mentors in an era gone by would talk about a false church. A church where they traded the narrow gate leading to God’s Kingdom for a false gate leading to destruction. The false church uses the King’s name to appear real and right, but they preach a gospel that is a lie, a different gospel. In Matthew 22:11-14, the King discovers a member of this false church among the guests at His banquet, he wasn’t adorned with a garment of righteousness. The false church sounds right and appears to belong to God, but fails to belong to Christ. You cannot enter His Kingdom without being born again and wearing the robe of righteousness purchased at the Cross. (Isaiah 61:10)

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Pursue Me

Have you ever thought about starting your day with a question? God, how can I PLEASE you today? Now, the answer to this question will be tailored to you, but if you are serious about it, it could change your life. One morning after asking this question, I heard Him say to me, “Pursue Me in the same manner I pursue you.” God’s priority has always been on pursuing us to know Him. Now, He was asking, “Pursue Me as your priority in the same manner I have pursued you.” A simple prayer with a powerful return.

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Even if You Call it Christianity

Jesus did not come to start a new religion. He came to seek and to save the lost. God is not interested in religion; in fact, I would say He hates it. Why? Jesus spoke to the religion in His day, telling them their religion was about following the devil. (John 8) Following Jesus isn’t about the title Christian, it is about knowing Him, and loving His message in sharing it. Religion competes with Jesus as the Ephesian Church did in Revelation 2. As good as religion can be, if it leaves our first love of Jesus, it means nothing to God, even if you call it Christianity.

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Pushing Back

In our day, some would say just preach the Gospel and love everyone. Yet, Jesus said something quite the opposite, “The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.” (John 7:7)  Did you catch that?  He, Jesus, confronts evil and is hated for it. Everyone wants to be liked, so we often will not push back on the issues in our day. However, Jesus was not hated for the miracles, the healings, the raising people from the dead, He was hated, because He pushed back on evil. Puts another spin on wanting to be like Jesus, doesn’t it?

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The Truth Will Set You Free

Reading through the Book of Esther, I realized that 75,000 of the enemies of the Jews were allowed to be killed by the Jews in self-defense. Funny how history repeats itself in our modern day. Concepts from this world. Equivocate: To use ambiguous language to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself. Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim's mind. Concepts from His Kingdom. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8;31-31) Knowing the truth is so much better than knowing how to conceal and manipulate it. 

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Gates of the City

Have you ever wondered why so many Christian leaders fall? The devastation that it brings to people is incalculable. The major reason failure happens, is the wall around our lives is breached.  But now I said to them, you know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. (Nehemiah 2:17) The city has no defense; the gates of the city have been removed and the city is attacked.  Those gates to the city are much like your heart. Leaving your heart open to attack, the probability is high you will fall. We must maintain the gates in our lives by prayer and God’s Word.  The Bible teaches the last days will be days when there will be many breaches in society and in the church. Breaches happen, because we are not paying attention. Keep yourself watching and praying.

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Prophecy

David Wilkerson once said, “History is cyclical, and sin is consistent. Therefore, prophecy spoken to Israel yesterday, can also be applied to our day.” God’s Word in prophecy is recycled to every generation, it never changes. My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children. (Hosea 4:6) Sobering thought for all generations.

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Conviction

Conviction defined: A firmly held belief or opinion. The Bible is many things to us, it informs us, inspires us, challenges us, and comforts us. The Bible also convicts us. It ultimately is a Book of conviction. The Holy Spirit was given as a counselor of conviction. And when he comes, he will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8) As a believer I need to hold fast to my convictions, because many who are indifferent have left the Holy Spirits conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Jesus said that the day of His return will be like the days of Noah … a day of no conviction.

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Who Is the Most Dangerous Person of All Time?

Christianity is the most dangerous belief system on earth and is run by the most dangerous person who ever walked on the face of the earth. There are five reasons why this person has the title of the most dangerous person:

1. His words cannot be rivaled by anyone past, present or future.

2. His life was on a mission to destroy evil in the world.

3. His life is the basis for truth and in Him there are no lies.

4. He promised to change the world by replacing it with His kingdom.

5. He has the power to change lives, forgive mistakes, and offer everlasting life.

Would you say this is a dangerous person? I would, that’s why He is hated.

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Let’s Chart a New Course

I love words. I learned two new words this week.

1. Doxophobia: The fear of expressing opinions.

2. Allodoxaphobia: The fear of other people's opinions.

Big words but packed with meaning. One of the primary words in each of these definitions is “opinions.” Fearing other people’s opinions or fearing to state your own opinion can result in the same result, silence. I imagine, many of us suffer in silence. However, the other primary word is “fear.” God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, so with His help we can overcome the fear of expressing our opinions and rid ourselves of the fear of what others think. Let’s chart a new course. No fear to speak God’s Word, and no fear of what people think.  Yah.

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Elasticity

I am fascinated with Luke’s version of Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees complained bitterly to His disciples, why do you eat and drink with such scum. (Luke 5:30) That says a lot about the religious folks of His day. Religion often does that, puts people into categories. We all can lose some elasticity over time in how we see people. We just don’t stretch as we once did. However, Jesus showed us there are no scum, just people to hang with, and have dinner. Jesus made it look simple … because it is!

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Petty Disagreements

What saddens me more than the people in Washington arguing and hating each other, is when the Church does it. What is wrong with us, arguing about doctrine, calling each other heretical, and unbiblical. Pastors who can’t have fellowship with other pastors because they don’t see eye to eye on theology. Listen friend, there is no time for our petty disagreements, what is important is right in front of the Church. It is a world without Christ. So, let’s get on with the work He has called us to do.

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Self-Awareness

I love the concept of self-awareness. For a recovering narcissist as myself, it helps to keep me from becoming a problem to you. Paul had a version of self-awareness. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. (1 Timothy 4:16) Life in its simplest form is about meaning, significance, and honor, all of which is never about you.  Keep a close watch on that self-awareness! It is that simple.

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Reminders

I love reminders … the older I get, the more I need them. Here are three I need every day. Compromise: the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16) Confession: the opportunity to be forgiven by God when we confess. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9) Commission: the call for all believers to be of service to God. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) Father, help me to stand against temptation, be quick to confess my sin, and be purposeful in using my life to serve you. Amen.

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Stick to His Word

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. (Matthew 15:8-9) Jesus had His hands full with the religious crowd of His day, and I am sure it’s not much different today. One of my colleagues talks about “the God of our imagination,” the art of presenting our thoughts as Gods. A few years ago, I purged much of my theology, because it was tainted by what I was taught, or what I thought was from God. Much of it was my personal bias and the bias from pastors, churches, and denominations. It was refreshing to stick to His Word.

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Bread and Fish

Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” (Matthew 15:34) God uses the small things to make big changes. God told Elijah that He could be found in the still small voice and the prophet Zechariah said, “Do not despise the day of small beginnings, God is happy when the work has begun.” Out of the small things in your life, can come great results. Your world is filled with small things that God can use to make a difference. A smile, a gesture of honor, an encouraging word … are all fish and bread in the hands of God. So, no matter who you are, no matter how small you feel today, God can use you like the bread and the fish.

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A Relationship with God

I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6) This was the heart cry of God from cover to cover in the Bible. I want you to know Me. Jesus said at three separate times to people who said they knew Him to depart, I don’t know you! People say I know God, I have a relationship with Him and yet many can’t define what that looks like. A relationship with God, starts with surrender, and ends in obedience. It is that simple.

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The Image of His Story

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Matthew 9:11-12) Images are important, they rule the advertising world today. Jesus also left us an image. It was not an image of religious piety, but one of relationship. He found His image was best served when hanging with people who were considered lost and despised. However, there is a risk when we hang with the wrong people. Yet, Jesus took that risk, because His image wasn’t about how Godly He appeared, He just saw people who needed Him. Image does tell a story. Jesus lived out the image of His story through relationship, because it has the influence to bring about change. 

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The Log in Your Eye

Jesus turned first to His Disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, their hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1) I must admit, hypocrisy is main frailty of all humans. However, it is especially hard to accept when it is comes from religious folk. Jesus was not afraid to address it. He addressed the religious, and He gave it as a warning. I admit I am a hypocrite, how about you? My goal to is change that, yet without becoming self-righteous. The first step of any change is to admit it, then you can deal with it.  Oh, and for those of you who want to inspect the log in Alister Begg’s eye, I would suggest you first start the log inspection in the mirror.

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The Concept of Hell

In the midst of all the positive life coaching messages heard in the Church today, a concept comes to mind from the past. It is a concept that was used many years ago to inspire the people of God to be concerned about sharing Jesus. It is called the concept of Hell. Oh, I know the topic of Hell hasn’t hit the top 10 best sermons of the year list, but at one time in the Church, it was the impetus to do evangelism. It is like spanking our kids, today we have found a better way for course correction than what brings fear and trauma. Yet, it was Jesus who spoke of Hell more than anyone else in the Bible. I was always taught if something is said more than once, pay attention to what is said. Why did He speak more about Hell than anyone else in Scripture?  He is the One who will judge the world of their unbelief in Him, and sentence them to spend eternity in Hell. Jesus spoke of Hell more than anyone else because He is merciful, and wants not to perish. It is that simple.

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Grace Belongs to God

Adrian Rogers once said, “Grace exclusively belongs to Jesus Christ.” He went on to say, that all other religions in the world operate on a works basis for their religious perks, and only Christianity says, “God does it for us.” Works-based religions have no guarantee their works will be enough, but the grace-based relationship with Jesus Christ says, “God’s grace is more than enough.” When you compare what is offered in the market of religion, nothing compares to the truth we find in the grace of God.  I am so thankful for Jesus; nothing compares to His offer of salvation.  Nothing! For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

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Spiritual Influence

I have been accused of being too hard on leaders, but as I reviewed the Scriptures, they are too. From the prophets to Jesus, they all knew if the spiritual influence is not connected to Him … they lead people astray. Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 30:8-11) David Wilkerson once said that in the last days, the Church would not accept repentance as a message for their day … they say this by ignoring it. It is that simple.

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The Line of No Return

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time. (Revelation 12:12) Since 1960, I have witnessed the assault of Satan on the vulnerable and the innocent.

• Free love movement assault on family cohesion

• The innocence of the preborn and the hatred for new life, abortion

• The drug addiction epidemic on the vulnerable and the hurting

• Homosexuality and the aids epidemic

• Racial hate has grown steadily.

• Transgender and the confusion of children

• Pedophilia and the epidemic of Human Trafficking

• COVID-19 and the epidemic of viral disease for all ages

• AI and the rise of a new god

Our world has crossed a line of no return. We are headed toward the day of the Lord when His judgment will begin. They traded the truth about God for a lie. (Romans 1:25) It is not a day for our leaders to away from knowing the season we are entering, there is no turning back the clock, the clock is ticking toward God’s judgment coming. Is your house ready?

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