Posts Tagged With: evangelical

Identity Crisis

Picture courtesy of chabad.org

God’s timing is perfect!!!

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, this passage for me (and I have no doubt for some of you) has come at just the right time. Let me explain.

Simply put, for some time I have been experiencing something of identity crisis. I have been haunted by this one question:

“Where do I fit?”

When it comes to this whole Christian scene, our contemporary Christian culture, at the risk of sounding overly maudlin—a great word that means self-pitying, tearfully sentimental—I honestly don’t know where I fit anymore.

Well, thanks to Peter, that’s not true any more!!!

I now know exactly where I fit. And soon, so shall you!!!

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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No Wonder They Hated Him, and We LOVE Him

the_promiseOK. So I’ve got to tell you that I find this entire series of events that we will be discussing in this PODCAST

 

All of which I will remind you took place in less than 36 hours…

This entire series of events that took place in just one day in the life of Jesus… I find to be remarkably REFRESHING, while at the same time to followers of Jesus’ faith utterly unsettling…

Absolutely REVOLUTIONARY to me, while at the same time to the leading rabbis of Jesus’ day disgustingly revolting…

Undeniably IRRESISTIBLE to me, while at the same time to the Torah-teachers of Jesus’ day scorchingly scandalous.

So unsettling, revolting, and scandalous that they hated Him for it. Yet so refreshing, revolutionary, and irresistible that we love Him for it!

It’s been quite a ride, really, this journey that we’re on together. Two years ago, we began our ongoing study of Jesus in High Definition. The stated purpose of which is to rediscover afresh who Jesus really is, and what Jesus is really like.

Much to my surprise and our delight, the biblical picture of Jesus that is continuously emerging EVERY SINGLE WEEK is that of a GENTLE Jesus.

A gentle Jesus who did some of the most delightfully surprising things.

A gentle Jesus who said some of the most surprisingly delightful things.

A gentle Jesus who is every sense of the word irresistible.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

Please, please, please share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

And THANK YOU, from my heart to yours, for making this journey with me.

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Take Heart! (Jesus Said It Would Be So…)

00003294OK… So… I am rarely one to say “I told you so.”

But sometimes I just can’t help myself.

As you will hear on this week’s PODCAST, my dear friends, I told you so. All courtesy of Jesus. All centered upon a #MostSignificantParable.

One of a duet of parables, actually. The first having been discussed at length last week. The second to be discussed here and now.

Get ready to think. Be prepared to process. Buckle yourself in as we once again (thanks to Jesus) shift a paradigm.

In short, get ready to view the world differently.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen!

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#Oh.My.Word

prostituteWe could give this PODCAST a variety of titles.

The Ballad of the Broken and Battered Woman.

The Indignation of the Idolatrously “Holy” Man.

I prefer the title, Oh.My.Word, for reasons that you will soon hear.

We have come to a tipping point in the life and ministry of Jesus. After this encounter with a broken woman and a “holy” man, things will never again be the same for Jesus.

The full fury of the religious leaders will come to full flower as a result of this one meal that Jesus shared with this one man and one woman.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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Spiritual Abuse (Part 1) — You be the Judge (or then again, maybe not!)

Jesus made this remarkable statement in Matthew 7:1-6 (NLT):

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

In response to which I can only say, “Welcome to one of the most ignored or blatantly disobeyed passages in all of Bible.” Ignored or blatantly disobeyed to the needless and unspeakable hurt of so many of us.

May I, in this brief five-part blog, bare my soul as Jesus bared His in Matthew 7?

Believe it or not, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed what was then, and what is today, one of the most common spiritual practices — one that I will be bold enough to identify for what it is: an unconscionable spiritual abuse — that was taking place in so many of the synagogues of Jesus’ day, and is taking place in so many of our evangelical churches today.

And trust me: I don’t use those words, Spiritual Abuse, lightly.

Honestly, if people would simply take Jesus’ words to heart, as He expressed them in Matthew 7, they would absolutely transform our Christian experiences #ForTheBetter, because #ThisIsHuge.

Let’s talk about this!

For the life of me, I do not understand Why.Oh.Why so many “Christians” either do not understand Jesus’ words here in the Sermon on the Mount. Or if they do understand them, deliberately choose to reject them.

Jesus categorically states, “Do not judge others.” How much clearer could He be.

5.0.2Four times in the first two verses of Matthew 7, Jesus invokes that word “judge.” And He even goes so far as to identify those who do judge others as “Hypocrites.”

Would someone tell me please (he asks rhetorically) what in the world is so hard to understand about that phrase, “Do not judge others”?

And please note that Jesus did not qualify that phrase. He did not say, Do not judge others unless…; Do not judge others if…; Do not judge others when… He simply and pointedly said, “Do not judge others.”

And why not? What’s the basis of this prohibition? We are never to judge others because — Are you ready? — we are each equally sinful. It’s all about a speck and log.

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite!

Do you see it? The speck and log are the same sin, different perspective. You hold a speck at arm’s length, as if to place it in someone else’s eye, it looks like a speck. Bring it right up to your own eye, and the speck now looks like a log. Same sin, different perspective.

shd10-speck-and-logJesus’ point? How dare we judge someone else when we are equally sinful!

The operative word, “Judge,” krino, is a courtroom term. Krino in this context refers to someone who exalts him or herself over another by assuming the position of a “judge” who renders a verdict on another’s behavior. That definition bears repeating:

Krino in this context refers someone who exalts him or herself over another by assuming the position of a judge who renders a verdict on another’s behavior.

In Matthew 7, a krino is a “judge” who assumes the authority to question and/or confront someone else’s behavior or character. Jesus used the word “judge” as a pejorative since it carries with it an implied arrogance on part of an individual who would dare to set him or herself up above another as their self-appointed “judge.” Someone who takes it upon him or herself to rebuke another, to confront another, to correct another for the way he or she lives.

In short, if I may be blunt, Krino as Jesus used the term refers to someone who refuses to mind their own business by placing him or herself in the position of God. Yes, you read that right. Someone who refuses to mind their own business by placing him or herself in the position of God. God, who is our only judge.

This is nothing less that spiritual pride run amok. All done under guise of “holding others accountable.”

An important phrase, that, about which I will have much more to say in this blog space tomorrow. But simply for now, judging others, exalting oneself over another as their self-appointed krino, is nothing less that spiritual pride run amok. All done under guise of “holding others accountable.” Thus giving themselves license to freely condemn others for the way they live their lives. A most important thought, one that I will develop much more fully tomorrow in Part 2 of this blog.

This whole, entire “judging” thing finds its justification in one insidious, all-too-common, non-biblical phrase: “holding others accountable.”

You think on that. And we’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

Or if you simply cannot wait, you can hear the entire message — voice inflections, pregnant pauses, et al — by clicking here:

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Straight Talk About Spiritual Abuse — What it is, Why it happens, and What we can do to guard ourselves and our loved ones from it

Stop-spiritual-abuseSpiritual Abuse is a much-neglected, but all-too-common condition in our Christian circles. So let the conversation begin!

What Spiritual Abuse is, why it happens, and how we can guard ourselves and our friends from its devastation. I don’t often beg. But I am begging you now: PLEASE Listen, and then PLEASE “Share” this message with your friends.

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An “Open Letter” to Us All…

While I wish that the writer who quotes Tozer did not make this personal by invoking the name of a prominent pastor, I believe that there is much here for us to consider…

aw-tozer

“An Open Letter to John MacArthur From A.W. Tozer: He Being Dead Yet Speaketh”

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from God’s Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer and used by permission of WingSpread Publishers.

That every Christian can be and should be filled with the Holy Spirit would hardly seem to be a matter for debate among Christians. … I want here boldly to assert that it is my happy belief that every Christian can have a copious outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a measure far beyond that received at conversion, and I might also say, far beyond that enjoyed by the rank and file of orthodox believers today.

It is important that we get this straight, for until doubts are removed, faith is impossible. God will not surprise a doubting heart with an effusion of the Holy Spirit, nor will He fill anyone who has doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled.

In light of this, it will be seen how empty and meaningless is the average church service today. All the means are in evidence; the one ominous weakness is the absence of the Spirit’s power. … The power from on high is neither known nor desired by pastor or people. This is nothing less than tragic, and all the more so because it falls within the field of religion, where the eternal destinies of men are involved.

Fundamentalism has stood aloof from the liberal in self-conscious superiority and has on its own part fallen into error, the error of textualism, which is simply orthodoxy without the Holy Ghost. Everywhere among conservatives we find persons who are Bible-taught but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind.

If a man holds to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, he is thought to possess divine truth. But it does not follow. There is no truth apart from the Spirit. The most brilliant intellect may be imbecilic when confronted with the mysteries of God. For a man to understand revealed truth requires an act of God equal to the original act which inspired the text. … “Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given us of God.”

For the textualism of our times is based upon the same premise as the old line rationalism, that is, the belief that the human mind is the supreme authority in the judgment of truth. Or otherwise stated, it is confidence in the ability of the human mind to do that which the Bible declares it was never created to do and consequently is wholly incapable of doing. Philosophical rationalism is honest enough to reject the Bible flatly. Theological rationalism rejects it while pretending to accept it and in so doing puts out its own eyes.

Few there are who without restraint will open their whole heart to the blessed Comforter. He has been and is so widely misunderstood that the very mention of His name in some circles is enough to frighten many people into resistance.

It is no use to deny that Christ was crucified by persons who would today be called fundamentalists. This should prove to be disquieting if not downright distressing to us who pride ourselves on our orthodoxy. An unblessed soul filled with the letter of truth may actually be worse off than a pagan kneeling before a fetish. We are saved only when our intellects are indwelt by the loving fire that came at Pentecost. For the Holy Spirit is not a luxury, not something added now and again to produce a deluxe type of Christian once in a generation. No. He is for every child of God a vital necessity, and that He fill and indwell His people is more than a languid hope. It is rather an inescapable imperative.

Now the Bible teaches that there is something in God which is like emotion. … God has said certain things about Himself, and these furnish all the grounds we require. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zeph. 3:17). This is but one verse among thousands which serve to form our rational picture of what God is like, and tell us plainly that God feels something like our love, like our joy, and what He feels makes Him act very much as we would in a similar situation; He rejoices over His loved ones with joy and singing.

Here is emotion on as high a plain as it can ever be seen, emotion flowing out of the heart of God Himself. Feeling, then, is not the degenerate son of unbelief that is often painted by some of our Bible teachers. Our ability to feel is one of the marks of our divine origin. We need not be ashamed of either tears or laughter. The Christian stoic who has crushed his feelings is only two-thirds of a man; an important third part has been repudiated. Holy feeling had an important place in the life of our Lord. “For the joy that was set before Him” He endured the cross and despised its shame. He pictured Himself crying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.”

The work of the Holy Spirit is, among other things, to rescue the redeemed man’s emotions, to restring his harp and open again the wells of sacred joy which have been stopped up by sin.

Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897–May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor and spiritual mentor.

Reprinted from God’s Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer, copyright © 1950, 1978 by Lowell Tozer. Previously titled The Divine Conquest and The Pursuit of Man. Used by permission of WingSpread Publishers, a division of Zur Ltd., 800.884.4571.

God’s Pursuit of Man is protected by copyright and may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, translated, transmitted or distributed in any way.

The actual article can be found by clicking on this link: http://alturl.com/m3h2s.

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