Friday, February 26, 2010

Pyromaniacs: "Unquestioning Christians" and Atheistic Bluster

You will enjoy this post! I encourage you to go and read and even read more of what they have to say!

Pyromaniacs: "Unquestioning Christians" and Atheistic Bluster

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jesus Descended where? More...

Remember in Genesis 6 where we read that mysterious portion of Scripture about the sons of God who came into the daughters of men? Their prodigy were the Nephilim, mighty men of renown. Then in verse five Moses records that the Lord saw that the wickedness of men on the earth was great? So God commissions Noah to build an ark and save his family and the animals while God floods the earth destroying everyone.

What is that all about?

The Bible tells us that when Satan rebelled and God cast him out of heaven, God cast him to earth. At that time earth was uninhabitual for humans, but for demons, it was a perfect island prison in the cosmos. Satan, was granted some sort of ruling position over the earth, for we know that when he tempted Jesus, he told Jesus he would give him the kingdoms of the world and all their glory if Jesus would just bow down to him. Of course Jesus does not bow down to him.

Also, did you ever notice that in the gospels we see an awful lot of demon possession? Angels only show up occasionally at God's bidding, but Jesus is running into demons everywhere. And He always tells them to be quiet, when they say things like, "What do we have to do with You, Son the Most High?" The legion who got cast into the pigs said this,"Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Luke adds that they begged Him not to send them to the abyss. Where's that? What are they talking about?

I want you to go get your Bible and read these passages: 1 Peter 3:18-22; 2 Peter 2:4-5; and Jude 6.

All of this will come together.

More later...

Jesus Descended where?

Yesterday, as I preached from the text of Ephesians 4:7-13, I gave an honorable mention to verses 9-10, "Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also He Himself who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things." What does this text mean? Where did He go? Did Jesus go to Hell?

The text comes after verse 8, "Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.'" Paul is speaking of the gifting Jesus gives to His people whom He has led out of the slave market of sin and into His glorious Kingdom. Verses 9-10 are Paul's own commentary on the first part of verse 8, the "ascended" part.

For us to fully appreciate what Paul is talking about we have to understand that Jesus stomped the head of that serpent Satan. Remember God's prophetic proclamation to Satan in Genesis that the seed of the woman would smash the head of the serpent? Satan did not fully know WHO that "seed" would be, but he knew it would be someone special. We now know, as does Satan, that the seed would be Emmanuel, "God With Us."

Jesus has triumped over Satan and his demonic legions and He has empowered the church with His own Spirit to do great and mighty acts. Acts of seeing a group of sinful people come together and love one another, thus proving that we are His disciples. We are able to do this because you and I are gifted.

Our gifting falls into one of two categories: speaking and/or serving. We either speak the words of God as given to us in the Bible or we are serve one another at each other's deepest need.

Are you using your gift?

More later.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Growing a Church

How is your character?

Ephesians 4:1-3 says we are to walk with these five characteristics: humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance for one another in love, and unity through peace.

Humility - no you first, no I insist, you first!

Gentleness - I have carried your burden for a mile, may I take one more?

Patience - though the Lord sends storms and tries me, yet will I praise Him!

Love - No greater love is shown than to lay down your life for one another.

Unity - I have been saved according to the Bible, through grace, by my faith, in Jesus death and resurrection, for God's glory! You too? Let's do lunch.

These are expected characteristics for the children of God. Do you see them in your life? Do you see them in other believers you associate with?

God desires a pure bride for His Son. The church of Jesus Christ will be made up of believers who diligently work to display these characteristics into their lives.

The growing of the church is up to God. Our duty is to simply be obedient!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crazy and Darkness

What am I talking about? Two books God is really using to change lives.

First, is Francis Chan's "Crazy Love." I am reading it a second time after watching the transformation God has done in Rob Daniels life from reading it. When I read it the first time Tricia and I were blown away and really began to look at God in a more amazed way. Then, watching Rob read it and he and I would have conversations, I began to remember how awesome this little book was. So now, reading it a second time and a lot slower has been real nourishment to my soul. Pastor Chan has a wonderful writing skill of taking scripture and making it alive. In chapter two when he talks about the gentleman who died after delivering the eulogy of a friend is a really moving portrait.

The second book is "The Darkness and The Glory" by Greg Harris. It is much less known and I would never have found it had it not been given to me. I am only three chapters in and I am already awed at the cross of my Lord once more. When you think no one can write another book on the cross, God illuminates another faithful servant to write another fabulous book. This is it! Like a hard working expository Pastor he digs in to the text and blows you away at how the whole of Scripture is so unified in portraying our saving God. In the first two chapters he reveals why the cross was so bloody. It wasn't just because the Romans were really mean guys. They were really mean guys because the murderer from the beginning was behind it all, you know Satan. There is no heresy here, just TRUTH, clear and profound.

If you are looking for two good books to add to your shelf, these are worthy!