January 22, 2019
One of the major failures of the church today is to downplay the place of Christ when we come together to worship. Yes, you heard right. We, hopefully unknowingly, often relegate Christ to the back pew or the second chair. And who do we elevate in His place? Usually the pastor or, often, the worship leader.
And when we come together as a church we have a tendency to preach on the "what's" and "why's" of the Scripture and seldom the "how's". Think about it. We know we are commanded to "present our bodies as a living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1-2), but are never told exactly how to do that. Did you ever wonder why?
We are commanded to "walk according to the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16), yet are never instructed on how to do that. We know what it means and why it's important. But for some reason, our pastors fail to take our hands and show us exactly how to accomplish this command. Why?
Is it because practical Christianity is not in vogue today? Or could it be we have become a church made up of those who can tell us what to do but have never experienced it themselves? Are we more like cowboys driving cattle from the rear than a shepherd leading from the front?
What are we to do?
Seven Things the Church Failed to Teach Me
Recently I was reading a blog that shared these seven things the author said the church never taught him. And I couldn't agree more. Consider the following:
- How to practically live by the Christ who dwells inside me.
- How to practically learn how to hear the Lord’s voice beyond “pray and read your Bible.”
- That church-as-we-know-it is drastically different from church-as-God-would-have-it.
- What the gospel of the kingdom is and how radically it can alter a human life.
- How deep the tentacles of the world system go and how to break free from them.
- That God’s presence is extremely subtle most of the time.
- How to find Christ in the Scriptures, including the entire Old Testament.
So in 2019, I have committed to teach the church I pastor the "how's" of the Christian faith and to answer these, and other, practical questions about living for Him. Will you join with me as we explore the breathtaking view of our Lord together?
The following is a study on the Breathtaking View of Christ found in Colossians 1:15-19 and 2 Colossians 2:9-10.
July 10, 2017
We will not all be equal in heaven. Now we're not talking about salvation, but of rewards. All of us are equal in regards to salvation because it is a gift given freely to those who believe. In this, there is no question. But what we do with our salvation is another matter. And we will be rewarded for our faithfulness to Him in this life. Consider the following:
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with (1) gold, silver, precious stones, (2) wood, hay, straw, each one’s (personal) work will become clear; (how) for the Day will declare it, (how) because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s (personal) work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures (gold, silver, precious stones), he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned (wood, hay, straw), he will suffer loss (of reward); but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Charles Stanley also spoke of this in his book, Eternal Security. He said, “Some believers will be entrusted with certain privileges; others will not. Some will reign with Christ; others will not (2 Timothy 2:12). Some will be rich in the kingdom of God; others will be poor (Luke 12:21, 33). Some will be given true riches; others will not. Some will be given heavenly treasures of their own; others will not. Some will rule and reign with Christ; others will not. Privilege in the kingdom of God is determined by one’s faithfulness in this life. It is true that there will be equality in terms of our inclusion in the kingdom of God, but not in our rank and privilege.”
Does this sound troubling to you? Maybe confusing? If so, keep listening to learn more.
The following is a study on the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Ceremony of the Lamb.
April 30, 2017
If you'll take the time, you'll find the core message of Jesus was about the kingdom of God. Over and over again we find summary verses like this one:
Matthew 4:23 - And Jesus went about all Galilee, (1) teaching in their synagogues, (2) preaching the gospel of (what) the kingdom, and (3) healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
In fact, Jesus said the object of the gospel He preached, and commanded us to preach, is the kingdom of God. Consider what Jesus said in His olivet discourse:
Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of (what) the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
There are also certain kingdom characteristics in the lives of believers that the Scriptures point out to us as signs of His kingdom. In essence, when believers manifest certain characteristics of the kingdom in their lives, we can know the kingdom of God is present. And, conversely, when a believer doesn't manifest these kingdom characteristics, we can also safely assume the kingdom of God is far from them.
This is a sobering thought. Character, holiness, and sanctification matter. Do you want to discover more about the signs of life in the kingdom? Then keep listening.
The following is a study of Acts 4:32-5:16.
March 9, 2017
If we were honest, we'd have to admit that the picture of life in the church as revealed in Scripture and our own personal church experience are not always the same. In fact, they often seem like polar opposites, like night and day. Consider what Paul said about life in the church:
Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works (where) in us, to Him be glory (where) in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
And yet, knowing this, we still struggle with trying to find the answer to the questions that trouble us the most.
Why can’t we keep our children involved in church?
Why can’t our children hold to Biblical morals?
Why can’t our children make Godly decisions?
Why can’t the church make a noticeable difference in our nation, culture and family?
Why can’t we get victory over our own sins?
Why can’t we see Jesus move in our lives like He did in the past?
Is there an answer to these questions? Is what we're experiencing in church, Sunday after Sunday, all there is? Or is there something missing? And if so, what is it? How do I find it? What can I do?
If you want to know the answer to these important questions, then keep listening.
The following is a study on life in the kingdom of God.
January 15, 2017
Have you ever wondered why we don't see the healings and miracles today like they did in the times of the New Testament? Has it left you longing for what obviously the early church had that we, somehow, seem to have lost? Or could it be something else?
We have listened to a litany of theologians try to sell us on the fact that God doesn't do the cool stuff anymore because we have the completed New Testament in our hands. Or He only did the stuff back then to authenticate the apostles' preaching and, for some strange reason, our preaching today doesn't need authenticating. Really? Could've fooled me.
But what if the Bible truly means what it says? What if God still does today what He proudly and publicly did back then? What if miracles really happen today, but they are just hiding from us, waiting for us to seek them out? What if the difference between the church in 2017 and the church in the book of Acts is not the way God moves, but the way we believe? What if things could be different?
Are you interested in finding out where miracles hide? Good. Then keep listening.
The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:10.
December 12, 2016
Often we are confused concerning the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Questions still linger: Are all the gifts for today? Or, were some of them only for the time of the apostles? And, if they are for today, what does the exercise of these gifts look like? How are they manifested in the church today?
In order to understand the truth behind these questions, we must begin with a simple, seven letter word: another. There are two Greek words translated "another" in this passage. The first is allos, which means "another of the same kind." And then there is heteros, which means "another of a different kind." Now, look at the passage in question:
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 - For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another (allos) the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (heteros) faith by the same Spirit, to another (allos) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another (allos) the working of miracles, to another (allos) prophecy, to another (allos) discerning of spirits, to another (heteros) different kinds of tongues, to another (allos) the interpretation of tongues.
Now we have three groups of gifts each divided by the word heteros - or "another of a different kind."
Word of wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Gifts of Healings
Working of Miracles
Discerning of Spirits
Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues
Do you see how logically the Lord has presented this confusing passage about the gifts of the Spirit? Do you see what He is trying to teach us? If you want to know more, then keep listening.
The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.
November 21, 2016
In the final few words in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul leaves them with some heartfelt, bullet-point warnings and admonitions that speak to living in the Kingdom. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 he said,
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
If you look closer, you will see this is another classic, life-changing if / then passage. If we do the first three, then we won't experience the last. Or, if we don't do the first three, then the last, quenching the Spirit, is ours as a consequence of the first three. And who in their right mind wants to willingly quench the Spirit of God in our life. But there is so much more to be found here. Interested? Then keep listening.
The following is a study on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.
November 6, 2016
For those who live in the Kingdom of Heaven, this question is of profound importance. What gifts of the Spirit are manifested in your life? (1 Cor. 12:7).
We know the gifts of the Spirit are listed in at least four places in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11.
Admittedly, some of these gifts we readily embrace today. Gifts such as teaching, showing mercy or administration we affirm as necessary and present in the church. But those of healing, prophecy or the distinguishing between spirits? That's a completely different issue.
But where does the truth lie? Are spiritual gifts for the church today? And, if so, which ones? All of them? Or is it just a select few? And if a few, which ones make the cut? And why? By what merits?
These are just a few of the questions we are going to look at today. Are you intrigued? Then keep listening.
The following is a study on Spiritual Gifts, specifically 1 Corinthians 12:4-12.
October 11, 2016
Jesus spent much of His Sermon on the Mount preaching about the Kingdom. What's the Kingdom like? What are the unique realities that belong only to those in the Kingdom? Are there promises to those who live in the Kingdom? And, if so, what are they? How does one receive the Kingdom and, more importantly, how does one enter into the Kingdom?
The key is found in Mark 10:15: “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Did you catch that? Receiving must precede entering when it comes to the Kingdom. Do you want to know more? Then keep listening.
The following is a study on Matthew 5:19.
June 5, 2016
Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). And a few verses later He adds, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10).
Which raises a few questions:
What is the "kingdom of heaven"?
Is it the same as the "kingdom of God"?
And, if not, how is it different?
Why is Matthew the only Gospel writer that uses this phrase?
And how does this all apply to me today?
You will find the answer to these questions will change the way you live your life from this day forward. It will have a profound impact on your future and your eternity.
Are you intrigued? Interested? Maybe a little curious? Good. Then keep listening.
The following is a study on Matthew 5:3,10 about the Kingdom of Heaven.