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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Preach the Word

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:1-4 NASB

Paul told Timothy, a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. Clearly, we are living in those days. I often hear people say, preachers included, “We don’t need doctrine, we just need Jesus.” How do we know we need Jesus apart from the biblical doctrine that teaches us of our need of Jesus? Doctrine is simply biblical teaching. Jesus Himself commissioned the church to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Jesus didn’t tell us to only baptize the nations, which is important and indicates their clear need of Jesus, but also to make disciples, followers of Jesus, and teach them. What do we teach? We teach the Word of God, “all that I commanded you.”

To preach simply means to proclaim or make known. Clearly the pastor on Sunday morning preaches to the congregation, however, preaching should not be limited to this time nor is it only the pastor’s responsibility. We find Steven, who was just appointed as a deacon, preaching to the Jewish leaders in Acts seven. Clearly, the proclamation of God’s word doesn’t have to be directed to a large gathering of people either. Philip proclaimed God’s Word to the Ethiopian Eunuch while Paul and Silas shared God’s Word with the Philippian jailer.

I believe every Christian is responsible for the proclamation of God’s Word. I also believe the reason we have such moral decay in our world today is the direct lack of sound biblical teaching and preaching. I’m not saying there isn’t good solid preaching from the pulpit today. Clearly there is. However, every Christian is responsible to carry that good solid word to their families, their communities, and their world. Whether we are teaching our children around our dinner tables within our homes or conducting a bible study, with and individual or with a group, while on break at word, we should be proclaiming God’s Word.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Jesus, with evangelism in mind said Go therefore. To evangelize is to share the gospel for the purpose of compelling someone to put their faith in Jesus. When Jesus said Go therefore, He was literally saying as you go. As you go about your everyday routine of life evangelize in the name of Jesus. We need to make a point to plant gospel seeds everywhere we have had a presence.

Imagine for a moment if every Christian began proclaiming God’s Word throughout this world and standing firm upon their biblical convictions. This world would quickly be changed for God’s glory. I know you are full of excuses as to why you can’t do this. You don’t know God’s Word well enough right? Do you own a bible? Yes? Then you have your solution. Pick it up and start studying it. You’re not bold enough right? Then pray for boldness as the church did in Acts four and God will give it to you just as He did them. As a matter of fact, if we trust in the Lord, He will give us everything we need, all He requires of us is faithfulness and obedience.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Can I Believe the Bible?

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” II Peter 1:20-21 NASB

As Christians we are faced many with choices. For instance, are we going to chose to believe God’s Word as an accurate and dependable document that has been handed down as an act of God from generation to generation?  The evidence is overwhelming of how perfectly accurate the Word of God has been preserved. Even honest historians who are avid atheist admit this truth. Many wise men, such as Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, who were determined atheist, set out to disprove the Word of God, only to find that it couldn’t be done.

Can we believe all of God’s Word, or just certain selections? I find it amazing that the bible is sixty six separate books compiled together, written by over forty authors, written in different parts of the world, and over a period of about sixteen hundred years. Yet, it is in perfect sync and consistency as a whole. How can this be? Because, these men “moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Therefore, if I have to question any of God’s Word I will have to question all of it. If God isn’t big enough to accurately preserve His Word, is He then a trustworthy God? He has, therefore, He is!

Today, Christians are often ridiculed because they believe God created. Christians are told they reject science and are therefore fools. First of all evolution isn’t science. It is an unproven theory, a philosophy. True science takes observation. There is nothing to observe when it comes to evolution. Just ask an evolutionist where natural laws come from. Or, ask them to show you an evolving specimen that is half reptile and half mammal. There isn’t any. You would think after all the years of research and excavation they would have found something, anything, but they haven’t. However, they build entire skeletons proving their theory that are based off of a single tooth or a bone fragment. This is called grasping at straws.

So why do so many people believe this philosophy? If you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it. Every so called proof of evolution has been disproven time and again. Due to the blatant lack of proof of evolution, I believe it takes more faith to believe evolution than it does to believe in creation.

Do I believe God literally created in six literal days? Absolutely! Why? Because that is the abundantly clear teachings of God’s Word. Any other belief is not founded in God’s Word and therefore rejects God’s Word. Again, if I have to question any of God’s Word I have to question it all. To be clear, there are Christians that have placed their faith in Jesus atoning grace that believe in evolution, or a prolonged form of creation. However, their conviction does not come from the Word of God. It comes from outside sources.

How then do we explain a mature earth? Was Adam a man or a baby when God created him? He was a man. Likewise, the tree’s that were in the Garden of Eden were in full bloom bearing fruit. God created a mature earth ready to sustain the life of a mature man and his mature wife. In John 2 we see Jesus turning water into wine. When the headwaiter, not know what Jesus just did, tasted this wine, he asked why they saved the good wine for last. The wine Jesus just created out of water was the good wine. It was the best wine. What makes good wine good? Age. The wine Jesus just created moments before was perfectly aged. I find it amazing of how God’s Word always complements itself, and never contradicts itself.

Is the history of God’s Word reliable? Absolutely! Take the Book of Daniel as an example. The Book of Daniel is a history book of the four major world empires, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman, giving accurate and precise information of each one. Interestingly enough the Book of Daniel was written during the Babylonian Empire-the first empire. With this same precision the Old Testament prophets precisely described the first coming of the Messiah. Jesus perfectly fulfilled them all. Yes, the Word of God is an accurate historical document that has been proven true time and time again.

II Peter 3:3 says, “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” We see this prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes today. What do we do in the midst of their scoffing? We stand up in defense of our faith upholding the truths of God’s Word in hopes of winning over some. What about those who reject, scoff, mock, and ridicule? We turn the other cheek, love and pray for our enemy, be at peace with all men so far as it depends upon us, while being steadfast and immovable in our faith.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Let Your Light Shine

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 NASB

When the apostle John introduced Jesus in his gospel he said, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4). While speaking to Nicodemus Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19). Again Jesus said of Himself in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus clearly said that the world is in darkness. They are in darkness because they have rejected the Light of life-Jesus. They are blindly walking towards their demise yet they are clueless of the destruction just before them. They are in darkness and therefore cannot see.

Jesus came to shine the Light of life into this dark world to save those who would turn away from the darkness and walk into the light. However, Jesus said in John12:35-36, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

Why did Jesus say that they would only have the light for a little while? Jesus time on earth was temporary. He came for a specific purpose, to redeem all mankind, and once that purpose was fulfilled through His death, burial, and resurrection He was lifted up to be at the right hand of the Father. Jesus has not forsaken us. Those who have believed on Him and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior now have, as Jesus said, the Light of life.” Jesus is still in this world. However, He has chosen to be in this world through His followers.

The moment we become a Christian God places His light, Jesus, into our lives. Just as in Jesus day the world is still in darkness. Our duty to God as Christians is to allow our light to shine in this darkness so people will be saved from the darkness and turn to the light-Jesus. Had Jesus not come into this world all mankind would stand eternally doomed, blindly walking in darkness to their eternal destruction. We are included in that number. If we as Christians choose not to let our light shine, today’s world will remain in that same darkness awaiting their eternal doom. I believe this is the highest form of greed.

We are to let our light shine so our Father will be glorified. He is glorified when people turn to Him and trust in Him for eternal salvation. If we choose to live a life of self-centeredness and self-gratification, we have placed our lamp under a basket. How foolish is that? We are the city set on a hill. We are the lamp God has chosen to use. Therefore, we need to place ourselves on a lamp stand for the world to see. Not for our glory. Not even to where people see us. We are to let our light shine so the world living in darkness will see Jesus, the light within you.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Need More Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Matthew 5:13

Why is the world so tasteless? It needs more salt. In Matthew 5-7, we find Jesus Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon Jesus is telling His followers how to be kingdom minded. Although the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, within the hearts of believers, and not a physical kingdom, the citizens of God’s spiritual kingdom are clearly expected to have influence and impact upon this physical world. Therefore, when the world becomes tasteless, tacky, and immoral, we recognize the fact that the world needs more salt. If you are a citizen of the kingdom of God, you are the salt of the earth.

Salt serves two major purposes. It’s most important purpose in Jesus day was its ability to preserve meat and prevent it from decay. One of the major themes in Jesus Sermon on the Mount was morality-righteousness. The bible clearly teaches that true morality-righteousness can only be obtained through a relationship with Jesus. As Christians we are expected to live in accordance to the righteous standards of our holy God. Not a self righteousness as of the Pharisees, but a righteousness obtained only through faith in Christ. As we live out our faith before this world, upholding God’s righteous standards, we are being God’s salt upon this earth. God’s preserving agents of morality and righteousness preventing the decay of sin from taking over and destroying.

The second major purpose of salt is to add flavor. Being from South East Louisiana I love flavorful food. I try to avoid bland foods but find well flavored food hard to resist. As citizens of God’s kingdom we are expected to be the flavor of God to this world. If we are faithful representatives of the kingdom we will present the flavor of God to this world as being desirable drawing in those who are dissatisfied with the tastelessness of this world. If we are bland or even distasteful we will not attract people to the kingdom; we may even become guilty of turning people away.

The fact is pure salt cannot lose its saltiness. However, when improperly cared for it can become mixed with impurities that will cause it to lose its flavor making it useless. In Jesus day impure salt had only one purpose. If thrown into the field it would cause the soil to become infertile ruining the field. Its only purpose was to be thrown into the road where it would then be trampled under foot by men.

If we as citizens of the kingdom of God allow impurities to infiltrate us, and/or our churches, we will become useless to the kingdom of God. Our impurities will also become a stumbling block to the fields God wishes to harvest for His kingdom making the fields unfertile. However, we can rejoice over the grace of God, for if we chose to repent God will forgive us, remove our impurities, and restore us to righteousness. (I John 1:9). If we chose not to repent we are of no more value than the dust of the road that is trampled under foot by men.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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What is True Revival?

“Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” II Chronicles 7:1-3 NASB

In II Chronicles 6 we see all of Israel gathered together in Jerusalem for the dedication of the newly built Temple. In this same chapter King Solomon prayed a prayer of dedication of the Temple to the Lord. God was obviously pleased with the Temple and its dedication. However, Solomon and the nation of Israel was not there simply dedicating a building to the Lord, they were also dedicating themselves to the Lord.

As a sign of God’s pleasure with their dedication God consumed the offering with a mighty fire from heaven and filled the Temple with His glory. The priests were there anxiously waiting to fulfill their priestly duties. However, the glory of God filled the house of the Lord so mightily that the priest could not enter. That is true revival. When God shows up and takes over.

When the people saw the glory of God fall from heaven they were compelled to worship. They didn’t have to be coerced through emotional means; they were moved by the presence of an almighty God. I would imagine it would have been impossible not to have worshiped God upon that day. They were not moved by song or sermon-only the glory of God.

True revival is when God’s glory falls down, takes over, and consumes. The song filled with skilful tunes and tones nor the most intellectual words of wisdom through sermon can bring about revival. Are those things vital and important? Absolutely. However, the glory of God, and only the glory of God, brings about true revival.

A pastor trying to motivate the members to move from the pew to the mission field in their own community and beyond can become greatly frustrated, likewise, a soul winner sharing the gospel with an individual with a hardened heart. He cannot move them through his own motivating efforts regardless of how passionate or knowledgeable he is. Only the glory of God can move them. Should he not compel them through sermon? Absolutely, he should. However, at the same time, he should prayerfully seek the presence of God to fall down upon the congregation and move them through His glory. Only God can move the masses, lost or saved. Let us then join together and pray for revival by praying for the glory of God to fall down upon us and consume us and for God to move the masses, lost and saved through His glory.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Spiritual Drought

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people.” II Chronicles 7:13 NASB

Just after Solomon dedicated the Temple to the Lord God told him, “I have heard your prayer.” Not only did God say that He heard Solomon’s prayer, He also said that He would hear all of the prayers that were offered up in the Temple. However, the hand of God’s blessing was conditional. The condition was Israel’s faithfulness to the Lord.

God told Solomon to pay attention to the signs around him. We must understand that the physical signs of drought, devastation, and pestilence are merely signs that God’s hand of blessing has been removed. We must also understand that in the Old Testament God dealt with His people in a physical way. Today through the New Covenant that is found only in Christ God deals with His people in the spirit. (John 4:24). In the Old Testament God’s people went into physical war. Today we are in a spiritual war. Nonetheless, we see physical results of this spiritual war. Today, America is in a deep spiritual drought. Our churches are dry and void of life, passion and power, which open the door wide for the devourer, the devil, to come in and destroy churches, families and entire communities.

The community where I pastor has had years of church fights and splits that have left a spiritual void opening the door wide for the devourer to come in and destroy. Today our community is full of the pestilence of drugs, violence, and sexuality that is just as much if not more devastating than any physical pestilence this world has ever seen. These are all physical evidences of spiritual battles. They are all signs that something has gone drastically wrong.

As I look at the church today I see signs of spiritual drought that is drowning our world in spiritual devastation. We have allowed the devourer to come in and bring devastating pestilence upon the very world God created and loves. We see it in preachers with no passion, deacons who are not dedicated, congregations clutching for control, churches who won’t console the contrite and the Word of God wavered by the ways of man.

So many of our churches have become lodges and social clubs with privileged membership unwelcoming to the stranger where pastors have become hirelings to do the work that no one else is willing to do, “after all that’s what we pay the preacher for.” The pulpit has become a place where a polluted gospel is preached as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Dare we say that we are sinners and there is a place called hell reserved for those who refuse to repent?  If the preacher were to preach the truths of hell would it really matter? Even if we know our neighbor is hell-bound, do we really care or at least care enough to actually do anything about it?

We fuss and complain of the wickedness of the world yet we hold the very keys to loose the power of God into this world. We have not lost that power; we have surrendered that power to the fleshly desires of man seeking glory for self rather than for God. The signs of spiritual drought are crying out before us yet, God has given us the solution. God told Solomon if you see these signs of drought, devastation, and pestilence among you, “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14).

I do not at all intend to lump every church into the category stated above. There are many dynamic churches within our land. However, I would dare say, the majority of our churches fit into this category in one way or the other. Nor do I say this with a spirit of judgment; only one with a heart of compassion calling on our churches to repent and seek the Lord for revival. The world will not, and cannot get right, until the church gets right. My heart cry to the Lord is that we as the church of the living God would seek Him, wholeheartedly, for revival, and that God would end this spiritual drought in our land, opening the windows of heaven with a flood of revival.

Portions of this were taken from, Reclaiming the Land: God’s Formula for Revival.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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