Observations

Separation of Church & Church

Posted by richieg on October 09, 2013
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th  The Street Corner was abuzz about current events and whose responsibility is whose and what should this group do and what should that group do.   The conversation eventually drifted to the role of the church in the community.  There are those who believe that the church today is doing the best it can to help all people, but there were those who believe the church to be canny and careful, which is to say a bit overly cautious.  Others believe that the church is wishy-washy.  But what resonated within the conversation was the mention of the church as being nothing more than folderol, something that is just showy with no real worth, kinda like cheap jewelry.  It was then noted that most people are concerned with doing what is right in their own eyes anyway.

In an attempt to get to the root of these opinions it was inquired what everyone thought the strength of the church is and how the church could be more effective in the community.  One opinion of particular note was the mention that the church has to take itself seriously and understand the power God has given it.  This insight brought out the fact that the Bible says the church is to continue the work of Christ on earth by preaching the gospel and declaring God’s will to mankind.  It was said that the strength of this call could be more effective if the churches had more unity.

A conversation developed about what the churches strategy should be.  An interesting view was mentioned that whenever church people are doing something in the community they themselves and others, always  ask the question “what church are you from,” instead of the central point of the deed at hand.  This idea was expanded on by the agreement that unity, wherever it is found, is a key ingredient to success.  It was then asked why the churches usually stay apart from one another, instead of working more closely as a single unit, and the point was made that the church is actually “the body of Christ,” which is all believers’.

The most important issue of all was then brought into focus.  The issues of the churches is not an internal issue but rather, a question of the existence of Christianity in our community and our country.  This insight brought to light the paramount concern then is reaching the lost.  If the churches would be joined in unity for this common purpose, then the effect in the community will be that of the power of the influence of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of people.  Then we would all see God at work in our community and our country.  This is the mission many churches have sorely neglected.  Instead of seeking to externalize the gospel they have hidden their lights under a basket.  But its not too late!  Joining of the churches makes for a true community.

Fuzzy Thinking

Posted by richieg on September 28, 2013
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thCAGXVXIQ  How many believers get into conversations about demons, tongues, the unpardonable sin, the after life, various religions, traditions, Theism, what was Paul’s thorn in the flesh, debating Legalism, are Christians obligated to tithe, does God ever change His mind, did Jesus really have brothers and sisters, is the Church historical or is it an institution, The Council of Trent, The Great Schism, The Gap Theory, Philosophy, Syllabus of Errors issued by Pope Pius IX, and the Coronation of Charlemagne  (Charlie the Great) and of course the Roman Empire and of course again the Holy Roman Empire.  All  play important roles in history, but really, it’s just stuff if we have an inkling about eternity.

And we have to make sure to get our terms straight, like:  Apostasy, Atheism, Proselyte, Gnostic, Agnostic, Dogmatic, Divination, Reformed, and Eschatology.   Just in case someone might ask what they mean, we wouldn’t want to look like a fool.  I mean, heaven forbid our image gets tarnished.

Around and around we go just trying to get “things” straight.  Along the way do we develop “fuzzy thinking” about what really matters?  Why not put a smart bomb down Satan’s chimney by making sure we get the most important thing of all straight and that is “Jesus Christ.”  Christianity is not about religion at all or any other stuff, it is about the person of Jesus Christ, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.

Once our focus is lined up with the main theme of Scripture, namely, eternal life, then we must live out what we claim to believe, namely, the body of Christ developing a strategy to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost so they can hear with their own ears and see with their own eyes what God’s Word says about the gift of eternal life.

We work in unity, we never let each other down.  Nothing “fuzzy” about that.

Confident in the Father

Posted by richieg on September 04, 2013
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thCA007UYL  If you’ll celebrate a marriage anniversary alone this year, God speaks to you.

If your child made it to heaven before making it to kindergarten, He speaks to you.

If your dreams were buried as they lowered the casket, God speaks to you.

He speaks to all of us who have stood or will stand in the soft dirt near an open grave.  And to us he gives this confident word:  “I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those are who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him all the Christians who have died.”  –  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Max Lucado, Grace for the Moment

Cruise Control Or Power From On High?

Posted by richieg on August 26, 2013
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cruisecontrolAs a believer, have you ever started your day by telling yourself that your going to be kind to everyone you meet.  Then on the way to work someone cuts you off, nearly causing an accident.  You yell and wave your fist at the other driver.  That’s the end of your “kind day” and you didn’t even get to work yet!   The fact is that none of us are very successful in changing our behavior, are we?  As long as we are trying to do it in our own strength, we will eventually fail.  We have good intentions, but our sinful nature wins the day all too often.

Our strength lies in what the Apostle Paul said:  “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

When we are comfortable doing things the old way, our lives are much more difficult and much less effective for the kingdom of God than they otherwise could be.  You may ask: “Haven’t I been baptized in the Holy Spirit when I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and shouldn’t the Holy Spirit be taking over automatically?”  When we become saved it’s not a matter of “cruise conrtol.”  Sure, we can cruise all the way to heaven if we desire, because believers received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and were baptized into the body of Christ; but how about a Spirit filled life that’s makes a difference for the kingdom of God?

Being filled by the Holy Spirit is as simple as asking and receiving.  You can do that now, right where you are.  Ask Jesus, our wonderful Lord and Savior, to baptize you in he Holy Spirit right now.  This act releases within believers the supernatural empowerment to do all that God calls us to do.  Remember “believers” were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), with Philip in Samaria (Acts 8), and in the apostle Paul’s ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19.)

I am God’s favorite!

Posted by richieg on August 09, 2013
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thCAM7ZSIO  Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and declare boldly, “Because of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross, I am righteous by His blood, and I am greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved! I expect good things to come my way, I expect good success and I have a confident expectation of good!”

Joseph Prince,  100 Days of Favor

The Power Of The Law

Posted by richieg on August 07, 2013
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cross02“I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law…Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion.  I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary (its most powerful weapon) when you have set aside the Law.

You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ…They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law.  Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.”   – Charles Spurgeon

One More Revival

Posted by richieg on July 30, 2013
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“Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.  She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.”   –  Ezekiel 16:49-60

Billy Graham recalls a time when his wife Ruth, commenting on the downward spiral of morality in our nation, exclaimed, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

America:  The country who’s people expect “entitlement.”

“Entertain us. It’s all about us.”   

I believe that our nation has two choices before us:  One is judgment.  The other is revival.  Judgment is coming, that is clear.  But my prayer is there will be at least one more revival before this happens, so we can cry out to God in prayer and reach as many as we possibly can with the Gospel.     (Greg Lourie)

The Sheep and the Goats

Posted by richieg on July 22, 2013
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thCA0WB321  “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”  The teaching of The Olivet Discourse is about the events of the Church Age leading up to the Tribulation Period and teaches that goats mingle with the sheep and Jesus is saying that in the church there are sheep and goats.  Many in the church do not know the difference between the two.

This parable tells us that the sheep and goats will be divided based upon what they did or did not do.  The key understanding is how believers act toward other members of the body of Christ because it reflects our attitude toward Jesus himself.

Who are the “least of these”?  The least of these are fellow believers and especially Evangelists and Missionaries who spread the Christian message.  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40)

Are we saved by doing good works such as how we respond to Jesus’ followers who are charged with spreading the gospel and do so in the face of hunger, thirst, illness and imprisonment?  No, we are not saved because we do works; rather our good works are the result of our transformation through Christ.  Jesus Christ reminds us that there are eternal consequences for our actions.

Is the body of Christ willing to let go of our resources to help those on the front lines?  Are we accumulating instead of investing in eternal things?  The body of Christ is called to help our family of believers knowing that our time on earth is just a moment.  Knowing the judgment is coming should change the way we live and should change the way we use resources God has given us.

Source: Dr. Mark Strauss,
The Parables of Jesus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The Spotlight

Posted by richieg on July 06, 2013
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http-inlinethumb38.webshots.com-41125-2681508500102347975S600x600Q85 God’s unmerited favor towards me puts me in the spotlight and makes clear the fact that I could never provide forgiveness of sins and eternal life for myself.

I am in violation of the law and in a desperate situation.  The spotlight is on the consequences of the disease of sin in my life and turns me to hunger for a cure.

What is left is to put the spotlight on the gospel of God’s grace, God’offering me His gift of forgiveness and eternal life by the finished work of His Son Jesus.

The spotloght is now on my need for a Savior.  By believing in the gift of God’s Son Jesus Christ that He became flesh, went to the cross, shed His blood, and died for my sins and that He rose from the dead saves me from the eternal wrath of God.

A thought while standing on the street corner…

Posted by richieg on July 03, 2013
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images Ever stand on a street corner and just take in all in, I mean pondering what we see.  Looking up into God’s majestic sky, the trees and grass and a gentle breeze makes me feel that I am a part of something that is really special.  I mean this earth just suspended out there in space and me just standing here without a thing to say about how it all works.  And then I ponder man’s contribution; He made all the buildings I see, the streets and all the cars too.  And then I think of all of man’s accomplishments and I am really amazed at all he has achieved.  But then my mind drifts back to that simple tree I see before me, and I know man could never be it’s maker.  You can learn quite a bit by just standing on the street corner and pondering what you see without even one word spoken….