Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ten things the Church needs

So many of us forget to live our lives to their fullest potential. In a world that is constantly berating us for not living  up to its impossible ideals, its becomes easy to believe  we have nothing to offer those whom live around us.
 And that is completely false. 
 Here are a few things that the world absolutely, unequivocally needs more of from you. 

1. Your passion

The church needs a little bit more of whatever makes your pulse race and your eyes glow and your thoughts speed up to a thousand miles an hour. 
We need more people who are fully, intensely animated,  because they fight the hardest and love the strongest and accomplish the absolute most. 
The profitable servant received this accolade. 
"Enter into the joy of thy lord ... you have been faithful" ... 
he was faithful because they were passionate about what he was doing. 
We excel when we are doingwhatever it is that brings joy to our lives... 
what ever brings joy to your life is your lord ( small L ) it's also the greatest source of your passion. 

2. Your nerve

The church is sourly lacking in risk takers. We need more people who go out on limbs, who aim for their dreams, who fight for what they believe in with a sense of unabashed recklessness; people who stand up for the changes they want to see happen without fear of getting shot down or rejected. 
The world needs a bit more of your nerve because nothing extraordinary has ever been achieved by anyone playing it safe.
Jesus asked nicodemus  "Do you have the courage to be born again? "  
Without nerve your passion is a wasted idle day dream. 

3. Your humor

The church needs more of whatever it is about you that dwells in the absurd. It needs more of your quirks, more of your quandaries, more of your absolutely illogical ponderings. 
We need to be reminded that it’s humor that makes the impossible bearable, so tell us how your humor saved you while you were simply treading water to keep from drowning. 
 That you have found a way to lighten the darkness and that it we can make it too, if we can find this path that you found. 

4. Your vulnerability

The church needs more people who will share their experiences honestly and candidly, regardless of how they are perceived; more people who show up, open up and admit to the realities of the lives that they’re living so that others can learn to do the same. 
We need a greater sense of humanity in the church and we need your vulnerability to do it.
Super hero's  only live in comic books ... the rest of us are made from dirt and are animated by the masters breath. 

5. Your decisiveness

The church doesn’t need another person who cannot decide who they are or what they want or whether or not they deserve the life they’re living. 
The world needs more people who are unafraid to say, “I’m here. This is who I am. And this is how I’m going to live my life.” 
We need more of your bold, unapologetic nature when it comes to the big choices you’re making.
Especially in regards to your faith ... the world needs what we have ... don't be apologetic nor hang your head .  

6. Your compassion

The church needs more of your understanding. 
In a world that sometimes seems to be falling apart at the seams, we need more people who are kind. And honest. And caring. 
People who love rather than hate, giving compassion rather than scorn, and listen rather than preach.
Human kindness costs nothing, but to those who are in need of its, it's value cannot be quantified. 

7. Your intensity

The church  needs more of your focus, your depth and your unwavering concentration on what matters. 
Nobody is going to benefit from a watered-down half-hearted version of you – we need you at your strongest, at your fullest, at your absolute most intense self. 

8. Your exploration

The church needs more of your wonder. It is such a rare thing to reach adulthood and retain a sense of curiosity – a desire to keep exploring and growing beyond the person you are. 
We need more of your unstoppable desire to see more, do more, experience more than everyone else tells you is possible.
When other say it's impossible they are talking about themselves ... you can do it if you'll dare. 
Acts 2:17
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Part of the divine restoration of His Glory was come come through the lives of those young and old who still dream, imaging and wonder. 

9. Your participation

The church needs more people who show up to their everyday lives and live hard, love hard, try hard, and sometimes fail hard. 
The house of faith is just that, a house of faith.  But participation is what drives an idea from its home of hope to its destination of reality ... if you believe it , water it with your careful care and labor until it blooms into existence. 

10. Your spirit

The church needs more of whatever it is that makes you you – we do not need another Apostle Paul, Peter nor John the Revalator. 
You were uniquely crafted by the masters hand to accomplish something Great ... God will not anoint a fraud so God will not bless you while you try to channel another's calling, personality nor gifting. 
So be yourself and trust God to bless what you are. That's right just be unapologetically you 
10 things the church needs more of all of them start with you. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Seven Ways to Avoid Worshipping Your Christmas Tree

Thus saith the LORD, learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. (Jeremiah 10:2–5, KJV)

Right here in Scripture we see a clear condemnation of the abominable practice of decorating Christmas trees. 

With that in mind, and with Scripture as our guide, here are seven principles you can use to continue decorating your tree, while preventing yourself from inadvertently worshipping it.

1. Know where your tree comes from.
The Bible specifically warned about one who “cutteth a tree out of the forest.” Therefore, you must obtain your tree elsewhere.
You certainly can’t risk buying one from a store. Who knows where those came from?
It’s probably best to just find a tree growing by the side of the road or in your back yard-far from a forest-and cut it down.

2. Cut it down the correct way.
The Bible also talks about pagans cutting down their trees “with the axe.” 

We must eschew this detestable instrument of demolition.

Stick with safer tools like chainsaws or bow-saw. 

Alternatively, you may avoid both of the pitfalls above by simply buying a fake tree.

3. Get a tree that talks and/or moves.
There is yet another advantage to purchasing a fake tree. Some of them come with a built-in speaker, allowing them to “sing” or “talk.” 

This would counteract the warning that trees “speak not.”

Other fake trees are mounted on a base that rotates, thus invalidating the warnings about their being unable to “move” or “go.”

4. Be careful how you mount it.
This is one of the more important warnings. When the pagans get a Christmas tree, “they fasten it with nails and with hammers.” 

We must not do likewise.
Instead of hammers and nails, try using duct tape, glue sticks, or zip ties.

5. Mount it in the correct position.
The tools you use to mount your tree aren’t the only things that matter. The position of the mounted tree is also vitally important.

The Bible warns about trees that are as “upright as the palm tree.” Therefore, your tree should at the very least be mounted at a distinct angle.

But just to be safe, we’d advise mounting it completely sideways from a wall.

6. Decorate it properly.
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice, but it is extremely important. Whatever you do, do not place any gold or silver decorations on your tree!

All other colors should be fine, but there had better not be a scrap of silver tinsel on there!

7. Place presents carefully.
One final obstacle will stand in your way. When placing a present under the tree, you run the risk of accidentally bowing to it. This would be an unacceptable act of pagan worship!
Your best bet is to order presents online. Then, when delivery men show up, have them place the packages directly under the tree themselves. Thus, they will act as scapegoats, averting any wrath away from your own household.
However, you may at times have to place the packages yourself. If that is the case, I would advise holding the present behind you going backward to the tree with it... 

These are the 7 tongue in cheek ways that my family celebrates the Christmas holiday with out violating the letter or the spirit of the text. 😳😱😇😜

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The power of the Gospel in the lives of women.

The hostile anti-Christianity stance of the Women's movement and the recent attention brought by the influx of Islamic cultures has caused me to look at the role of Christianity upon women.

Some feminists charge that Christianity, the Bible, and the Church are anti-female and horribly oppressive to women. Does God really hate women? Did the apostle Paul disrespect them in his New Testament writings? 

In this blog post we’ll be looking at why "Christianity is the best thing that ever happened to women!"

“What would be the status of women in the Western world today had Jesus Christ never entered the human arena? One way to answer this question, is to look at the status of women in most present-day Islamic countries. 

Here women are still denied many rights that are available to men, and when they appear in public, they must be veiled. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women are even barred from driving an automobile or going to school. Recently one young girls shocking tale came across the airwaves as she was marked for death and narrowly escaped multiple assignation attempts for wanting a high-school education.  Whether in Saudi Arabia or in many other Arab countries where the Islamic religion is adhered to strongly, a man has the right to beat and sexually be unfaithful to his wife, all with the full support of the Koran. . . .

This command is the polar opposite of what the New Testament says regarding a man’s relationship with his wife. Paul told the Christians in Ephesus, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.’ And he added, ‘He who loves his wife loves himself.’

Jesus loved women and treated them with great respect and dignity. The New Testament’s writings on women developed His perspective even more. The value of women that permeates the New Testament isn’t found in the Greco-Roman culture or the cultures of other societies.

In ancient Greece, a respectable woman was not allowed to leave the house unless she was accompanied by a trustworthy male escort. A wife was not permitted to eat or interact with male guests in her husband’s home; she had to retire to her "woman’s quarters". Men kept their wives under lock and key, and women had the social status of a slave. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and when they grew up they were not allowed to speak in public. Women were considered inferior to men.

The status of Roman women was also very low. Roman law placed a wife under the absolute control of her husband, who had ownership of her and all her possessions. He could divorce her if she went out in public without a veil. A husband had the power of life and death over his wife, just as he did his children. As with the Greeks, women were not allowed to speak in public.

Jewish women, as well, were barred from public speaking. The oral law prohibited women from reading the Torah out loud. Synagogue worship was segregated, with a women never allowed to be heard. No one thought it out of Character when Lot offered his daughter to be abused by the men of Soddom, or when Abraham slept with Hagar, and then stole her child to be raised by himself and Sarah. They were property to be used and dispense as the man saw fit. 

Jesus and Women

Jesus’ treatment of women was very different

The extremely low status that the Greek, Roman, and Jewish woman had for centuries was radically affected by the appearance of Jesus Christ. His actions and teachings raised the status of women to new heights, often to the consternation and dismay of his friends and enemies.

By word and deed, he went against the ancient, taken-for-granted beliefs and practices that defined woman as socially, intellectually, and spiritually inferior.

The humane and respectful way Jesus treated and responded to the Samaritan woman [at the well] (John 4) may not appear unusual to readers in today’s Western culture. Yet what he did was extremely unusual, even radical. He ignored the Jewish anti-Samaritan prejudices along with prevailing view that saw women as inferior beings.

He started a conversation with her—a Samaritan, a woman—and in public.

So we can understand why his disciples were amazed to find him talking to a woman in public. Can we even imagine how it must have stunned this woman for the Messiah to reach out to her and offer her living water for her thirsty soul?

Among Jesus’ closest friends were Mary, Martha and Lazarus, who entertained him at their home. Martha assumed the traditional female role of preparing a meal for Jesus, her guest, while her sister Mary did what only men were allowed to do, sit at Jesus feet and learn from Jesus’ teachings. 

Mary was culturally out of step,  but so was Jesus, because he violated the rabbinic law of his day [speaking to women and educating women].”

When Lazarus died, Jesus comforted Martha with this promise containing the heart of the Christian gospel: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) These remarkable words were spoken to a woman! “To teach a woman was bad enough, but Jesus did more than that. He called for a verbal response from Martha. Once more, he went against the social/religious custom by teaching a woman and by having her publicly respond to him, a man.”

All three of the Synoptic Gospels note that women followed Jesus, a highly unusual phenomenon in first-century Palestine. . . . This behavior may not seem unusual today, but in Jesus’ day it was highly unusual as they were not typically allowed to travel un-chaperoned.   

The first people Jesus chose to appear to after his resurrection were women; not only that, but he instructed them to tell his disciples that he was alive (Matt. 28, John 20). In a culture where a woman’s testimony was worthless because she was worthless, Jesus elevated the value of women beyond anything the world had seen. And he intentionally did it to His male disciples. 

Message sent...!

Paul, Peter, and Women

Jesus gave women status and respect equal to men. Not only did he break with the anti-female culture of his era, but he set a standard for Christ-followers. Peter and Paul both rose to the challenge in what they wrote in the New Testament.

In a culture that feared the power of a woman’s external beauty and feminine influence, Peter encouraged women to see themselves as valuable because God saw them as valuable. His call to aspire to the inner beauty of a trusting and tranquil spirit is staggeringly counter-cultural, even today.

He writes, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”

Equally staggering is his call to men to elevate their wives with respect and understanding: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Right standing with God was dependent upon a man being, consideration, respectful, as their wives were fellow heirs. 

These concepts sound good to us, but they were unheard of in the first century!

Paul's teaching are often targeted as being hateful towards women.  But Paul’s teachings on women reflect the creation order and high value God places on women as creatures made in his image. Paul’s commands for husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 provided a completely new way to look at marriage: as an earthbound illustration of the spiritual mystery of the union of Christ and His bride, the church.

He calls wives to not only submit to their husbands as to the Lord, but he calls husbands to submit to Christ also. (1 Cor. 11:3). He calls men to love their wives in the self-sacrificing way Christ loves the church. In a culture where a wife was property, and a disrespected piece of property at that, Paul elevates women to a position of honor previously unknown in the world.

Paul also provided highly countercultural direction for the New Testament church. In the Jewish synagogue, women had no place and no voice in worship. The church, on the other hand, was a place for women to pray and prophecy out loud (1 Cor. 11:5). The spiritual gifts—supernatural enablings to build God’s church—are given to women as well as men. Older women are commanded to teach younger ones. The invitation to women to participate in worship of Jesus was unthinkable—but true

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there had never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never devaluated them, who  never ignored them, who never made them feel like a object for male dominance and sexual gratification, who took them as he found them and left them completely unselfconscious.

This is the truth of the Gospel, Jesus loves women. 

Effects of Christianity on Culture

As Christianity spread throughout the world, its redemptive effects elevated women and set them free in many ways. The Christian ethic declared equal worth and value for both men and women. Husbands were commanded to love their wives and not provoke their children. These principles were in direct conflict with ancient institution of male dominance, which gave a man absolute power of life and death over his family, including his wife. 

The biblical view of husbands and wives as equal partners caused a sea change in marriage as well. Christian women started marrying later, and they married men of their own choosing. This eroded the ancient practice of men marrying child brides against their will, often as young as eleven or twelve years old. 

This practice is still the "Norm" in Cultures that have rejected the tenets of the gospel. 

Today, a Western woman is not compelled to marry someone she does not want, nor can she legally be married as a child bride. 

Another effect of Christianity was its impact on the common practice of polygamy, which demeans women. Many men, including biblical heroes, have had multiple wives, but Jesus made clear this was never God’s intention. Whenever he spoke about marriage, it was always in the context of monogamy. He said, “The two [not three or four] will become one flesh.” As Christianity spread, God’s intention of monogamous marriages became the norm.

As a result of Jesus Christ and His teachings, women in much of the world today, especially in the West, enjoy more privileges and rights than at any other time in history. 

Next time you hear Hilary or the militant feminist, talk about the repression of the Gospel,  take a cursory mental trip to an Arab nation or to a Third World country to see how little freedom women have in countries where Christianity has had little or no influence. 

The Gospel is the the best thing that ever happened to a man or a women.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

A jealous man is an ineffective man

We are told by God in the Ten Commandments not to covet (or be jealous of) what other people have. Not harboring jealousy is a crucial part of our walk with the Lord, because when we are jealous of others, we do not fully trust in Him.

Jealousy ruins more friendships and relationships than anything else I can think of. When you look closely at the word jealousy there's something vital that stands out.

The feeling of jealousy makes you feel 'lousy'. It is the inability to be happy for someone else's success or blessings in life because of personal insecurities.

Jealousy is an emotion resulting from the belief that another person’s happiness somehow diminishes your own. It's a fear that you might not have or get to experience what someone else has - the fear that there is only a limited quantity of happiness. Thus you must be threatened when good thing happen to others .

An Abundance Mentality maintains that there is "more than enough", and adopts the Win-Win mindset where "we can all achieve more together", and "there's plenty to go around and everyone can enjoy the plenty that we've been given."

Stephen R. Covey explains it well here in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People":

The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.

People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit - even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people - even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates. It's almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.

Although they may verbally express happiness for others' success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out. Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else's success, to some degree, means their failure. Only so many people can be "A" students; only one person can be "number one". To "win" simply means to "beat.

...It's difficult for people with a scarcity mentality to be members of a complimentary team. They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty.

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.

The Abundance Mentality takes...personal joy, satisfaction and fulfillment...and turns it outward, appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive nature of others. It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development, creating new Third Alternatives.

Public Victory does not mean victory over other people. It means success in effective interaction that brings mutually beneficial results to everyone involved. ...

Public Victory is an outgrowth of the Abundance Mentality paradigm.

A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the Abundance Mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique, or lack of it, in human interaction."

Reference: Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, pp. 219-230. copyright 2004

If you look at the world from a place of abundance instead of scarcity, it’s actually difficult to become envious.

Jealousy is very ego-based. Those that have feelings of jealousy must first adopt a scarcity mindset that suggests they're in competition with others. If they get something you have wanted then somehow they won and you lost.

True love is never competitive ...

Competition is always based on a limited supply. Win - loose.

You cannot be in competition and in love at the same time.

Love is by definition is limitless

"Love is patient, and kind;

Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

it does not insist on its own way; it is not irratable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth."

"Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties"

"Jealousy contains more of self-love than of love".

"If one of two lovers is loyal, and the other jealous and false, how may their friendship last, for Love is slain!"

"He that is jealous is not in love".

Sometimes it seeps into romantic relationships. The fear of losing that person is so great that it paralyzes the relationship and does not let it become authentic and true. "What if's" go through your mind and suddenly knowing that person's every move becomes important because you might be able to stop something terrible from happening, like say them meeting someone else. In the end, it never serves anyone well-it alienates and smothers the person you are trying to keep and hold dear.

Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretense of keeping it alive.

The same happens in friendships too. Often it comes out in the form of judging and analyzing someones motives and becoming suspicious. All of a sudden you're an expert on why they did and said X.... . This can often lead to the dissolution of friendships.

The knives of jealousy are honed on details.

What most don't realize is that jealousy itself is often the root of anger. There are many frustrated people angrily shaking their fists to the heavens because things aren't going as they would like, as they may have planned. They harbor resentment of what another has, and cannot understand why it has not been given to them too.

For those who are interested in a spiritual perspective, God reveals through the Bible that:

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
~Proverbs 14:30 KJBV

"Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" ~Proverbs 27:4 NIV

"And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
~Ecclesiastes 4:4 NIV

James 3:16 says, "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing."

From this wisdom, we learn that wrong thinking produces wrong living. When we have thoughts of jealousy or feelings of envy, our lives will be characterized by confusion, disorder, and worthlessness. Nothing good comes from an evil and jealous spirit. Dealing with jealousy is essential!

We were all meant to have different experiences and blessings in life, and were not meant to all be imitations of one another in appearance, experiences or possessions. I truly believe that we will only be given greater things and opportunities when we can first be satisfied with not only what we have today, but can also rejoice in someone else's blessings. When the people around us are happy and fulfilled, they’ll naturally spread those feelings to those around them. This is something that we should embrace, not avoid. It is far better to be surrounded by people who are doing better than ourselves in some way than by those who are unhappy.
One of the best questions to ask yourself when experiencing such thoughts is, "What am I really afraid of?"

If your the brightest bulb in the room your in the wrong room ... Scarcity mindset can never abide to have another outshine them, thus all true growth must be stifled

"Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love." Have you ever noticed those who are envious are also relentless? You move on and they continue to follow from afar, hurling insults and questioning your every action. Jealousy is a relentless mistress.

A jealous man is a man fighting only himself, never arriving at the place of his destiny or calling.

The freedom and release a person can experience by embracing an Abundance Mentality and perspective on life and work and relationships can be incredible. The rewards can be incredible.

I leave you with a few more quotes:
"The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves."

"To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter."

"Jealousy is the fear of comparison."

"Jealousy... is a mental cancer."

"The jealous are possessed by a mad devil and a dull spirit at the same time."

"As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion"

"The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause."

"Sometimes people in your life will try to expose what’s wrong with you because they can’t handle what’s right with you!"

"People would say bad things about you, because it is the only way their insignificant self can feel better than you. "

"A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity."

"Chances are that when someone is hating on you, it’s not about you at all. It’s about them. It’s their fear, their jealously, their boredom, and their insecurity. "


"Jealousy is a terrible disease…Get well soon!"

I would encourage you to consider this concept as you go about your work and personal life, and be observant of the change an Abundance Mentality brings to you and those around you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad