Home Improvement or New Construction?
Jesus said, "No one can see the Kingdom of Heaven unless he is BORN AGAIN," (Jn 3:3). A born again disciple is one who has, literally, been given a new lease on life. He or she gets to start over, sins forgiven. We become new creatures, the old is gone, the new has come, (2 Cor 5:17). The Holy Spirit, the promised parakletos (comforter, in Greek), now dwells within each of us who are disciples of Christ. We are His home. Yes, God... the One who made both Heaven and earth... chooses to live THROUGH those who claim Jesus as Lord so that He can advance His Kingdom THROUGH them. Yes, we become His home but for Kingdom purposes, not for our own benefit.
Many are under the false impression that, as a disciple, our relationship with God simply makes us "better" people. A sort of "we're-in-the-club-and-you're-not" syndrome often sets in. WRONG! We're not BETTER people... we're NEW people! (It's been said that some folks are nicer by nature than Christians are by grace.) We're called "Believers." That means we are to BELIEVE what Scripture says. I believe Jesus told us to go make more disciples, Matthew 28:18-20. Yes, we're now in God's family, but for a definite purpose.
How can this be? Remember, we're spirit-beings having an earthly experience. These bodies will die and our spirit will live forever... somewhere. Heaven or Hell, it's our choice. God Himself wants to co-labor with us to bring others into His Kingdom way of living. So that they can attain REAL life. Often, when someone proudly claims to be a Christian, one cannot help but wonder if they have Life. REAL Life. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life...," (Jn 14:6). The question then is, "Do they have Jesus?" Do we?
Sadly, many non-Christians are under the impression that we THINK we're better than they are. This "holier than thou" perception has led them to describe God's kids as judgmental, hypocritical and boring, among other things.
The words of Christ are what brings about the desired effects in our lives. Too many of us are all too aware that, frankly, since our supposed salvation experience, not only have we not changed one iota, but many of us have done worse things SINCE we were "saved" than we did before! How can this be? Who are we kidding? Many altar workers at large-scale evangelical crusades can attest to the many re-curring "salvation" cards received by those responding to the "altar call." Those organizations that keep good records can verify the vast numbers of "recommitments" that come to the altar year after year, either to be "saved" (apparently hoping it really"sticks" this time) or because they know in their heart that nothing changed after experiencing what they thought was a life-changing moment last time.
The problem is at the root. Our typical idea of salvation is that of one's sins being forgiven, complete with a guarantee of a mansion in heaven in the sweet by 'n by. Unfortunately, this was not what Jesus taught at all.
Jesus focused on the here 'n now, and the manner in which we were to conduct our lives in this new and living way to which He introduced. He even modeled it for us, setting the standard. He taught that we should 1) Repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, 2) deny ourselves, 3) take up our cross daily, 4) give up everything, and 5) over 30 times mentioned some form of the phrase, 'follow Me.' It stands to reason that, as we make disciples, we should teach that being such is about following the example of Jesus Christ, doing His works and submitting to the Kingdom of God. Multitudes have a twisted sense of forgiveness without lifestyle change... and call it 'grace'... when, in fact, discipleship is about denying self and glorifying God. We cannot claim citizenship in God's Kingdom and remain chummy with this world's system. If we attempt to do so, yet claim to be saved, we're deceived. Satan loves it when we feel secure about our salvation without also having to reject sin and carnality. He loves it even MORE when we perpetuate this lie from pulpits, in commentaries, Sunday Schools, seminaries, and the Christian media. Are we teaching Eternal Security or Infernal Certainty?
Over the years, I have personally prayed with hundreds of people to receive Christ... the Roman Road, Four Spiritual Laws, ABC's of salvation, Professions of Faith. Then, one day, I stopped. Today, I'm more inclined to "take it away" from one who thinks they want to become a Christian, to have them go home and consult their pillow, count the cost, and call me when they're ready. I've been asked, "What if they die on the way home? You should at least pray a sinner's prayer! After all, Romans 10:9-10 says to 'confess with your mouth'... ."
Frankly, God knows their hearts. They shouldn't have to utter a sound. Is the person with laryngitis, or a mute, forbidden to go to Heaven because they didn't pray a repeated prayer? Manmade doctrines and traditions strike again. Another sacred cow bites the dust.
By way of example, I once asked a group to whom I'd been teaching the Scriptures in the workplace, if everyone there considered themselves to be a Christian. All but one, a young Hispanic woman, claimed to be Christian. The next day, as I was walking toward the elevator, that same woman, walking out of the elevator, grabbed my arm, wheeled me around and said, "Michael, I want to be saved!" Two years later, she's still under my discipleship via eMail and phone. Folks, when the fruit is ready for harvest, it practically falls into our hands. No coaxing necessary.
Was the soil of her spirit prepared through the studies? Yes, but she was inspired to ATTEND the studies by the Christian presence she'd observed in the workplace. The following Sunday night, I met her at work and she followed me in her car to a home meeting where she was lovingly welcomedinto the fold by other Christians for discipleship. Particularly from godly women. Incidentally, within days of this experience, she was in a terrible auto accident which almost cost her her life. She nearly lost her arm which was terribly mangled. She'd been adequately prepared, however. Satan was not happy. The last thing she remembered before the accident? She was talking to her passenger about God.
Why not hold a crusade and tell the masses what Jesus told His potential disciples? Imagine hearing the following message over the PA system in a stadium:"Six times He warned that the world will hate you. Your family and friends will turn against you. He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword that would divide families. You will suffer persecution. You may die. Now, go home and think about giving up your life and all that is dear to you to follow this person called Jesus Christ." I wonder how many would return the next night of the crusade??
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name's sake, will receive a hundred-fold, and inherit eternal life. But many will that are first will be last, and the last first," (Matt 19:29-30).
Typically, we try to lure people into joining this institution we call "the Church" based upon promises of peace, joy, love, unity, and prosperity. Try to sell THAT rubbish to a Sudanese pastor whose had acid poured all over his hands, in front of his congregation, by Muslim soldiers.
Or the Pakistani village whose Christian members were physically mutilated by radical Muslims.
Or a Chinese evangelist who never sleeps more than a few nights in the same bed for fear of being turned in, even by family members and informers infiltrating his own congregation, while Americans "buy" the Chinese propaganda that there's freedom of religion there.
The common method of Western discipleship is in training new converts to sit, carry a Bible, take a few notes, say 'Amen,' get indoctrinated with non-biblical manmade doctrines, learn new rituals, the chain-of-command, and become "good" at this routine... even "professional." Man, are we ever missing the boat!
No, nothing will change a person like God's Word. These are not "bolt-on" tips for living. Nor are they warm, fuzzy spiritual "thoughts for the day." The Words of Christ are foundational... the only thing on which our new lives can built. And maintained. Use them. Filter every other teaching you've ever heard... or are currently hearing... THROUGH HIS WORDS, even those teachings that come from within the pages of Scripture themselves!
"Therefore everyone who hears these Words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock," (Matthew 7:24-25)
Doesn't it make logical sense that, in order to be a Christian (meaning, literally, an anointed one; a Junior Jesus), one must follow the teachings of THE Christ? To those desiring to live this new way, as new creations, Jesus asked (perhaps He STILL does),
"Why do you call Me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?"
"If you continue in My Word, then you are truly My disciples...," (Jn 8:31,32; 15:7)
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life," (Jn 12:25).
Need pastoral counseling and prayer? Write or IM me at email@example.com
Pastor Michael broadcasts an e-Mail message of Discipleship and Encouragement to Christians across the planet each week, reaching millions from many various Chrsitian denominations. This e-Mail ministry has been impacting the lives of multitudes of people since 1999.
Advertising by textad.biz
Go Ahead, click an ad, you know you want to.
What Does Jesus Expect?
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. --ROMANS 5:8Expectations create conditional love.
The Gnostics and Essenes
THE GNOSTICS, ESSENES AND THE 'OCCULT':Throughout this book I have made reference to esoteric groups or knowledge. I have done a book called The Occult: Uses and Abuses which has twice as many words as this; but I hope this one covers enough of the issues related to the abuse of spiritual knowledge by the elites.
Do You Have Hot Buttons?
You may ask, "What are hot buttons anyway?"Hot buttons are those that, when people push, you turn red and out comes the anger, resentment, insecurity, and other negative emotions you wish weren't a part of your life.Remember the last time your boss made a comment about the project you completed? For some reason, his assessment just sent you through the roof.
Acknowledgement of our need of God and reliance upon Him will not always rid us of life's pressures, will not always remove from us the difficult situations, the dark cage within which we sometimes find ourselves trapped. We shall not always escape the pressures of life and the dark situations which they bring.
Mankinds Ten Worst Enemies: #4 Malice
Malice is a great enemy to mankind. It is evil and wicked.
Instructions... Guess Work or Gods Work?
I can't boast about my culinary skill, because I just don't have the natural ability to get around in a kitchen and "whip" something up. I am one of those people who lacks the imagination to throw something together.
Acknowledging the Existence of Your Soul
Talking about your "soul" and the deeper things in life is so frequently considered as spun out or weird in modern, take-away-eating, order-it-on-the-internet life, but if you are one of these people, you'll find that letting go of socialistic trends like these will free you in a way that you simply cannot be freed in a materialists world.The end result is inner peace that no material possession could ever come close to.
Working With The Light
I do not want curiosity seekers, who come for a novel experience. There is a phrase that has been used down through the ages for such people.
In God's world, everything can be used as an anology to His Word. I'm using this small unassuming small leak in my tire as an example of how if it is let go, can cause a spiritual wreck.
How Psychic Are You?
To find out how psychic you are, try answering the following questions.? Have you been attracted to the occult ever since you were a child?? Do you often complete other people's sentences for them?? Do you always buy the perfect birthday gift or Christmas present even though they haven't told you what they wanted?? Have you ever thought about something that you wanted and then miraculously had it pop into your life the next day? This could be something very simple such as the desire for a certain kind of Chinese food or a pair of shoes.
How many of you out there have ever wondered if a life of faith is worth it? Don't shy away from me, because you know there have been instances in your life when the bad guys won. The world is not fair, and the concept that good always triumphs can seem like fiction when you look around and see deceit running rampant.
You Lookin At Me?
It's human nature to point a finger when we think someone else is guilty of something but yet we don't stop to consider that we too may be guilty of the very same thing we are accusing others of. Why is it so easy to turn a blind eye and overlook our own faults and yet so easy to see these faults in someone else? For some reason, we take pleasure in judging, condemning and criticizing others.
I come face to face with self whenever you come into my life and I want to thank you.I always maintain that I am writing these articles, my books and creating the website for myself.
Angelic Art - Alternative & Spiritual Healing Therapy
As more and more alternative and spiritual healings are being studied and documented they are finding that all forms of upliftment heals the body, mind and spirit. Angelic art falls within this category by uplifting the spirit.
Anamchara - The Value of Ritual
Let me explain my approach to the practice of ritual. For me ritual is an act of presence.
Creating A Tithe Account
Almost every spiritual and religious teaching exhorts its followers to donate a portion of their income to the support of the community and the common good, both as a way of ensuring (and insuring) the community's ability to care for its own and as a way to allow the tither to realize the extent of and to express gratitude for their own success. Although each religion and sect has its own idea of what constitutes a proper tithe (usually around 10% of the participant's earnings), the concept of tithing is a wise and long-standing tradition - one that each of us should be encouraged to add to our lives.
Do Feng Shui Remedies Really Work?
THE PREMISEFeng Shui is an ancient Chinese art that has been practised for thousands of years. It is based on the idea that there should be a "balance" or harmony in the world.
How To Change Your Attitudes
What type of person grabs your attention and motivates you? Usually it's a person who is very passionate about what he or she is doing. She's on fire and her excitement floods the room she is in.
Path to Healing
It is within us to explore and draw upon our inner resources to heal. Some wounds are embedded so deeply that no amount of professional expertise can cure, much less heal.
The Power of Myth - The Celtic Way
"Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
|home | site map|