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Wednesday
Aug162017

The Most Important Element In Our Day

I write a lot about the last days because I believe we are in them. Some of the categories we have discussed are:

Delusion

Deception

Propaganda

The Assault on God

Fake Christianity

And yet all of these themes play into the most dangerous aspect of our day. Oswald Chambers describes it best:

“It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus. A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him.” 

You can know everything about the Bible yet never come to know the author. It was never about what you know it has always been about whom you know.

For example many Christians have posted some ugly things about the neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists on Facebook. As true and disgusting as some of these hate groups are, we are to be better than to hate in return.  Have we forgot as believers that God still loves them? Or has our political correctness trumped the love of God? There is little civility anymore and I believe it’s because we have lost our hope in God. I find lots of posts on Facebook these days about the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend and most of them are about the disgusting people who were involved. As true as that may seem, how disgusted does a person have to become before God stops loving them? Does God love racists?  How about White Supremacists? Our world sees what it wants to sees and judges according to a politically correct grid. Yet God sees people a lot different. I am not suggesting that we overlook racism and bigotry, but as believers don’t we have a solution to what ails people like this? What about their eternity? Do we even care about people’s souls anymore?

The most important part of any discussion should be about what God thinks of this situation. If anyone is to blame for incidents like this it should be God, right? I mean people blame President Trump, but he didn’t create people - God did!  God is allowing us to see how ugly people really are without Him. How bad sin is and there is no cure for sin outside of Jesus Christ. God either allows the Charlottesville’s to happen or He could shut it down. What did He choose?  Of course we know He allowed it. Hatred is not of God, but hatred is the by- product of a heart that does not know Him. Many times I have questioned the posts on Facebook by believers I know who border on hateful remarks about our President. You may not agree with him, but you are compelled to love him and support him as scripture commands. We are told to support those who God puts in authority unless they go against a moral code of scripture. Or have we forgotten Romans 13:1?Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

Jesus told us to go into the world and teach the things He taught us. Would Jesus post the type of articles many of you have posted about Donald Trump?  Is this what He meant by going into the entire world?  I don’t think so, and we only weaken the voice of the gospel when we stoop to the level of people who don’t know God and then become like them.  It is time we upgrade our thinking and behavior to a level that is becoming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The most important role you play is not your political viewpoint or your self-righteous attitude in hating people you have disdain for and are disgusted over their hateful worldviews. Your role is to first know and love Jesus, and then go represent Him even to the vilest people imaginable that you now hate. I bet your Facebook posts would radically change.

David Wilkerson was a country preacher who thought this way and went to New York City to reach the gangs who were killing people. He decided to confront their hate with the love of God and the rest is history. That is the most important element we the church can do. Be more like Jesus rather than some radical conservative or liberal. Drop the baggage, Christian, and get back to your first love.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Tuesday
Aug152017

When Everything Becomes Propaganda

Franklin Graham has it right!

"Really, this boils down to evil in people's hearts. Satan is behind it all. He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred," Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan's Purse, declared in a Facebook post. "He's the enemy of peace and unity."

No matter where I look there is tension and disagreement about everything. It is a sign of the last days. The Apostle Paul also has it right here in the best description of what is happening in our world today.

Romans 1:22-25  “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 

25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

 So what we are facing is an all out assault on everything God has established and teaches in His Word by the “Propaganda Of The Devil.”

Just so we are clear on the concise definition of the word “Propaganda”:

Chiefly derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

It is misleading information that drives you to a wrong conclusion. That is the problem with our education, media, religion, and a host of other major influencers in society today. They mislead you to a wrong conclusion.

When I watch the news I see so much misleading information and certain people want this misleading to continue because it serves their purpose.

Let’s take the devil for example:

  1. He wants to mislead because it creates a parallel track to the truthHe wants to mislead because it creates confusion and causes people to question everything that has been in place for centuries.
     
  2. He wants to mislead because it serves his purpose to rob, steal and destroy the very nature of the God in the message of the gospel. 
     
  3. His misleading leads people away from God and to a conclusion that will usher them into hell.

That may be strong for some of you, but that is the conclusion of his misleading.  

Here is my conclusion as I view what I hear and see:

Most education has a propaganda element with views that do not support a godly worldview. The secular educational systems are definitely leading people away from any critical thinking that presents both sides of an issue. They want people to think only in one direction. To me this is not education it is propaganda! This includes Christian universities and colleges. Many of these so-called Christian educational institutions do not teach a Biblical worldview, they dabble in truth, but never nail it to the cross. Everything starts with how we are trained, educated, or associations we hang around. This educational component is extremely serious because many young Christian students entering a secular college are vulnerable to losing their faith within the first two years. This worldview shift will impact how they date, how they view their parents, and what they believe. I have seen this firsthand - loved ones who have make an about face in their lives based upon an education that focused on the wrong conclusion.

People all around me have a wrong conclusion. They just don’t think about how wrong their point of view is because it is supported every day in our media, in friendships, and in the workplace.

Let me be perfectly clear: “ANY CONCLUSION THAT DOES NOT MAKE JESUS CHRIST FIRST IN LIVING AND PURSUING LIFE IS THE WRONG CONCLUSION.”

Propaganda is the language of the last days. Its misleading people and giving them false hope in theories, politics, and religious teachings that are not based upon the God of the Bible.

Remember propaganda is the language of the devil and he is a master at spinning things in a direction that makes God look small and intolerant.

Just saying….

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

 

 

Monday
Aug142017

Why So Many Churches Are Dying

I ran into this article about why churches are dying and I felt it was worth sharing, at least in part.

They refuse to admit they are sick, very sick. I have worked with churches whose attendance has declined by over 80 percent. They have no gospel witness in the community. They have not seen a person come to Christ in two decades. But they say they are fine. They say nothing is wrong.

They are still waiting on the “magic bullet” pastor. They tell themselves, “If only we could find the right pastor, we would be fine”. But they bring in pastor after pastor. Each leaves after a short-term stint, frustrated that the congregation was so entrenched in its ways. So the church starts the search again for the magic bullet pastor.

They fail to accept responsibility. I recently met with the remaining members of a dying church. Their plight was the community’s fault. Those people should be coming to their church. It was the previous five pastors’ fault. Or it was the fault of culture. If everything returned to the Bible belt mentality of decades earlier, we would be fine.

They are not willing to change . . . at all. A friend asked me to meet with the remaining members of a dying church. These members were giddy with excitement. They viewed me as the great salvific hope for their congregation. But my blunt assessment was not pleasing to them, especially when I talked about change. Finally, one member asked if they would have to look at the words of a hymn on a screen instead of a hymnal if they made changes. I stood in stunned silence, and walked away from a church that would close its doors six months later.

Their “solutions” are all inwardly focused. They don’t want to talk about reaching the ethnically changing community. They want to know how they can make church more comfortable and palatable for the remnant of members.

They desire to return to 1985. Or 1972. Or 1965. Or 1959. Those were the good old days. If we could just do church like we did then, everything would be fine.

These churches are increasing in number. Culture indeed has little patience with a me-focused congregation, much less so than, say, 15 years ago.

Is there hope for these churches? Will these dying congregations indeed die?

I have seen God intervene a few times in such situations. But, in every case, the church has turned its face to Him, and forsaken all of their own preferences, desires, and human-centered traditions. But most dying churches will die.  –Thom S. Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.

Churches die because they are unwilling to change. They have become personal Bible studies for the already convinced Christian who views the church as a filling station not as a transformational change agent in culture. Churches are not radical in their preaching, practice, or purpose, so naturally as in the nature of aging, they die. Communities will change every ten years and those changes are brought about by people retiring, moving to a different city, or the decline or rise of economics in the area.  Churches are no different; nothing remains the same over time. It is in this changing environment that the Church finds itself and if it doesn’t relate to how the trends are shifting they will be caught in losing people and not replacing them.

This to me is a sign of the times. The gospel is too narrow to keep up with how people want to live. I watch the dynamics of today’s families, and it is difficult to counter the trends of culture. All ages are consumed with themselves, and their pastimes are spent pursuing satisfaction in drinking, concerts, sports events, and recreational pursues. I suppose someone would say: “What’s wrong with some of those?” Nothing, except God is ever a part of the equation for their life’s pursuit. Someone challenged me recently about the seven mountains of societal influence.

These are the seven mountains:

Religion

Family

Education

Government

Media

Arts & Entertainment

Business

The civilization of our modern world rests upon these seven mountains and more and more of these mountains are replacing God with their technology and pagan rituals. Every religion has many gods, and many do not honor the God of the Bible.  Today’s culture is devoid of God so why do we need a church? Many marketplace ministries have advocated that as Christians we need to infiltrate these mountains and be the salt and light of the gospel, but we have to ask the question, “are we succeeding?” Couple this with dying churches and American could be a gospel-less society in a matter of years. 

Matthew 24:37-39 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.”

Friends this blog is not designed to scare you, but to prepare you. We have entered a time in history like never before because we are nearing the return of Jesus Christ. The Bible predicted it, and we are now about to live it.

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K

Wednesday
Aug092017

Fake Christianity

I think Donald Trump was one of the first to popularize the term, “fake news,” and since then it has been used everywhere to identify things that are not true.

The last days are filled with fake news, fake people, fake truth, fake teachings, and fake Christianity. I do believe that God can use fake news as a reminder and a sign of the times that we are in. Remember, as Christians we are to test everything and hold to that which is good.

1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 “but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.”

 As Christians, many are vulnerable to believe things that are not true. It may be just a small error, but it paves the way for greater deception. We never want to place God on our level of understanding - in other words God’s ways and methods far exceed our expectations, and we want to believe in miracles. When pastors and Christian leaders write and speak about how some of the gifts of God have ceased, it makes me test that teaching against scripture. I have tested the teaching of “Cessationism” (the ceasing of some gifts) and found it to be in error.

In Christianity, cessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age. This is generally opposed to continuationism, which teaches that the Holy Spirit may bestow the spiritual gifts on persons other than the original twelve apostles at any time.

This is just one of many errors that people promote today. For instance, Prophets and Apostles are two of the gifts that are said to no longer function in the Church today.  This doctrine is much like the “Prosperity Gospel” where more is developed beyond what the scripture teaches. Prosperity is found in Christ but it has a different connotation that what is preached in many “faith” churches today. The same is true with “Cessationism”. They develop a whole doctrine on how certain gifts have ceased because they are no longer needed.

Paul tells us that God has given to the Church a five-fold ministry grid. My concern is that he never tells us that some on this grid will go away in time.

Ephesians 4:11-13

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

When we start to believe in teachings that are not rooted in the scripture it can turn our concept of God into a human invention, making Him into our image.

I am weary of people telling us to stick to the Bible, and then they add their own spin to what they read. This spin, or speculation as I have called it, is where we get into trouble in adding information about God that shouldn’t be added. (As I described earlier) To some degree this is a dumbing down of spiritual growth. Christian leaders have become more influential than the scripture and yet many times they will say things that cannot be verified by the Bible.

1 John 2:27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

I am not suggesting that teachers are not necessary - they are - but teachers must be people who are overly conscientious about rightfully dividing the Word of God.

2 Timothy 2:15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

Fake Christianity is real and we need to raise the bar on what we hear and accept as Biblical teaching. Make sure that whatever you question you do so with respect, but be firm and relentless in pursuing the truth.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Monday
Aug072017

When Technology Keeps Up With The Bible

This came into the news last week.

A Wisconsin company is offering to implant tiny radio-frequency chips in its employees – and it says they are lining up for the technology.

The idea is a controversial one, confronting issues at the intersection of ethics and technology by essentially turning bodies into bar codes. Three Square Market, also called 32M, says it is the first U.S. Company to provide the technology to its employees.

I was listening to a local morning talk show in the Twin Cities yesterday and this was their topic.  The hosts had every reason not to be chipped, but none of their reasons were religious. Even when their audience called in they never mentioned a reference to this kind of activity in the in the Bible.

Revelation 13:16-17

And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name.…

In a world that glorifies safety I would think that this kind of technology would be overwhelmingly accepted. You would know where your children are at all times, it would make air travel easy and fun again without the long lines at the TSA check points. You wouldn’t have to take identification with you nor any forms of cash or credit cards, everything would be scanned from your chip. The chip will also protect you against any identity thief that is so rampant today.

The Humane Society has been chipping animals for a decade or more as a means of identifying lost and abandoned pets. Chips will be as popular as cell phones and be sold as the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Makes sense doesn’t it? Yet the Bible is correct when it says that you will not be able to buy or sell unless you have the chip. The chip in those days will somehow be tied into an evil system of control that the Anti-Christ will usher in. The chip, while convenient, will pose problems with privacy issues because there will be no longer a privacy value in society. The benefits will outweigh the negatives, and it will be accepted around the world.

Today we have medical health groups and the public school system demanding that children get vaccinated or not attend school. What will happen when they demand that a child be chipped for their personal safety and if they refuse they will no longer be admitted to school. As parents what do we do then? With more and more commerce being conducted on the Internet what will you do if retailers online will only accept the chip as a form of payment? You will not be able to buy or sell. Soldiers will be chipped so there will never be any missing in action personnel again. Chips are here today and this technology will continue to revolutionize the way we live.

So what’s the big deal? It sounds as if this technology is the best thing since sliced bread. The problem lies in how it will be used, and by who controls it. If you are the government that controls how these chips are used and to whom they are granted, you could control the masses overnight. A chipped person will have much more value than someone who refuses to be chipped. They may get preference in obtaining health care or getting a mortgage. The Bible says that unless you take the mark of the beast, you will not be able to buy or sell. This system will also be used to sell people on the idea of world peace. With a better tracking system of people we will be able to track the undesirable within seconds, and anyone without a chip will be the first to be suspected of conspiracy against the State.

Here is the danger in all of this: we are not telling people about the hazards of the last days and this chipped technology as it relates to the global dictator called the Anti-Christ. We are preaching lullabies to our congregations and we are not preparing them for the world that is developing. The world is being prepared to accept lies as truth, and we don’t know the difference. It is a very short step away from accepting a lie about a system designed to bring you protection and safety to a full-blown deception in living for the convenience of that protection safety controlled by an Anti-Christ person. 

Ask your pastor to preach about this and see if it happens.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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