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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Slippery Slope and the Spirit of Darkness

As we approach this Halloween season I wanted to address a trend I have noticed in much of the Christian circles.  As many will celebrate with Trick-or-Treating and other parties, be sure you are leading your children and yourself in God-honoring way.  My hope is to lead us toward a Bible approach to what commonly referred to as "being IN the world, but now OF the world."  By the way, this phrase is not in Scripture, but I believe the principle is.  I'll explain below.

Through the years much of Christianity has attempted to move away from a Legalistic form of Faith, and have attempted to reject a Judgmental posture. In many regards this has been a healthy and necessary development in order to engage our world with the love and Good New of Jesus.   My concern is that many have stopped following Jesus, His Word, and the leading of His Spirit, and have rather embrace the American doctrine of Tolerance & Acceptance.  

The result is there is little difference between children of the light and the children of darkness.  Other than our attendance on Sunday mornings (even that is no longer a given), there is no difference in conviction, lifestyle, or spiritual discernment.  

I'm not talking about casting any stones at anyone else, but I am calling Christ Followers to examine their life.  It grieves me to hear many believers and their families involved in ungodly media that has no place in or around a believers life.  For example, the new movie "Ouija" hit the top spot in theaters this past weekend.  This is not a uncommon occurrence either.  There has been an unhealthy obsession with the spiritual underworld through demons, vampires, werewolf's, and the like.  
Ouija (2014) Poster Grace, Movie on DVD, Horror Movies, new movies, new movies on DVD Dracula Untold (2014) Poster
The Spirit of Darkness has entered into main-stream media.  When I see the highlights of Katy Perry's Dark Horse on the Grammy's stage, I am taken back by the demonic overtones integrated into the performance.  Mix this with the intrigue of books (now turning movie) like "50 Shade of Grey", and movies in the genre of "Sex Tape", there has been a slippery slope that tolerance and acceptance has moved us toward involvement.  

For this reason the Apostle Paul warned the 1st Century believers who lived in a culture not much unlike our own when it came to morality, "19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

By saying, "we are IN the world, but not OF the world," we are saying we are living according to another standard and live for a kingdom not of this world.  John 15:19, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world..."  

Let us take careful inventory of that which fills our minds, enters our home, and captures our souls. There is no such things as innocent entertainment, when it is in firm contrast to the Kingdom of God. 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God
Doctrines regarding the kingdom of God tend to err toward one of two extremes. One extreme assumes that the Kingdom accomplishes too little during the Church Age. The other maintains that the Kingdom accomplishes too much. Some emphasize the heavenly nature of the Kingdom, and expect little supernatural expression on earth. Since the fulfillment of the Kingdom is yet future, the Church may too quickly retreat from social and civic responsibility. Others locate the Kingdom primarily on earth. They claim that most of the supernatural power of the Kingdom is currently available to a militant Church and that the fulfillment of the Kingdom will occur during the Church Age. Both of these extremes must be avoided.


The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of Earth
The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world exist side by side at the present time. However, these kingdoms will not be one and the same until Christ returns and the kingdoms of this world become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). The kingdom of God may operate within, but is not to be identified with, any present political system. Believers take the gospel of the Kingdom into the world so that individuals may voluntarily choose the lordship of Jesus Christ.
While revealing that all human government is currently, to some extent, under the influence of the evil one (Daniel 10:13,20; John 12:31; 14:30; Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 5:19), the Bible nonetheless teaches that government is ordained by God to maintain order and punish evildoers (Romans 13:1–7). Governmental authorities are God’s servants (Romans 13:6) whether they recognize it or not. Ideals of justice and decency found in government and society are the legacy of God’s grace in the world (Romans 1:20; 2:14). Though they may be in rebellion, the kingdoms of the world are yet responsible to God and must be called to account for injustice and wickedness.
Although the kingdom of God is not a present political entity, the citizens of the Kingdom are responsible to exert a positive influence on their society. While the Bible does not give clear guidelines for Christian action in combating the social evils embedded in the structures of our society, and sincere believers will differ on the means to be employed, Christians clearly are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13,14). They are to be concerned about the needy (James 1:27; 2:16) and the oppressed (James 5:4–6). Filled with the Spirit, and given the opportunity to influence society, they are impelled to denounce unjust laws (Isaiah 10:1,2) and to seek justice and goodness (Amos 5:14,15; Micah 6:8).
At the same time, and without contradiction of their servant role, God’s children should be in the world, but not of it (John 17:11,14,16). The kingdom of God (God’s rule in our lives) is demonstrated in and through us by “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
The kingdom of God is not the blueprint for a radical cultural change based on some carnal theocratic or revolutionary agenda. Instead, it radically changes human personalities and lives. Through men and women who recognize its authority and live by its standards, the kingdom of God invades the stream of history. This process began with godly preflood humans, found early expression in theocratic Israel, drew near in the person of the Messiah, has been advancing through the Church, and will be completed in the dominion of Christ at the end of the age. 
Your Kingdom Come
Christ taught His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). The Kingdom is already among us in that it has invaded Satan’s domain and has assured final victory. The Kingdom comes in a measure whenever a person receives Christ as Savior, is healed or delivered, or is touched in any way by the divine. Yet the future consummation of the kingdom of God—the time when all evil and rebellion will be eliminated—is the fervent hope of the Christian. So with the disciples we pray, “Your kingdom come”—both now and when Christ returns.
The rapture of the Church, the coming of Christ for His own, will set in motion the events that lead to the consummation of the eternal Kingdom. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). With John the beloved revelator we say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). 

(Adapted from: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Kingdom_of_God.pdf) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HAITI: Day #3... Final Day


Today the team of 12 pastors from around the United States will be leaving together on an airplane to go back to the states.  However, the impact God spirit has made in our life will last a lifetime.

Behind me in this picture is the city of Port-au-Prince, the city hit hardest by the 2010, 7.0 magnitude earthquake. There were an estimated 220,000+ people that died (we saw the mass grave).  Currently in the city 86% of people are unemployed as well as living in slums like condition.  
The Hope for Haiti remains in the Lord! The power of darkness has been broken & the light of Jesus is shining forth. 

HAITI: Day #2

Today we were hands-on and touching the lives of literally hundreds of children.  We were able to feed 400 children at one orphanage/school alone the only hot meal they were have all day.

Below are pictures of some of the beds the kids sleep in, the schools that are educating them, the food that was fed, and the warehouse which Convoy of Hope distributes The greatest commodity of all… HOPE. You will see
their warehouse which provides the meals.

The need is great, BUT OUR GOD IS GREATER!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HAITI: Day #1

Those of you who are not aware, I'm currently on a trip with Convoy of Hope down to see their feeding programs and their agricultural programs in the nation of Haiti. I left for the airport at 3:30 AM this morning and flew out of BWI. We made it to Hades by way of the Miami airport. Upon arriving maybe we were picked up by national workers employed by the Convoy of Hope.

I am actually quite surprised by the depth of the need and the severity of the property across Haiti.  The pictures below are from the orphanage and school which Convoy of Hope has partnered with and feeds over 70 children a day in this one location alone.  But actually began sometime before the earthquake.

This is the orphanages story:  The lady that runs the orphanage was simply walking down the street wearing two young boys came up behind her stuck a gun in her back.  She asked, "what do you boys need."  They replied, "we just want some food."  She then asked the boys how many other children were just like them needing food.  Their reply is what started the orphanage… "there are many of us!"

Below are a few pictures of the result of one lady who heard God's call to take care of the "least of these."