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Tuesday
Jul182017

Always Ask Three Questions

As I have said many times over the years in my blog writings, I have made a career out of asking one question:  “What is missing?”  This question is not asked in a negative application, it is asked in my quest to find answers to what may be missing and therefore assist in making suggestions more insightful rather than speculative.

It has served me well over the years; however the other question I have irritated people with is the simple question of “Why”?  I have had more people get mad at me for asking that question than any other question I’ve ever asked. Why?  Because the why question brings the discussion to a point of accountability.  Why someone believes something from the Bible is very important because if they are teaching from the Bible for example, it will affect many people who hear it.

There is a second part to the why question, and that is proving it. Here is why this is important.  I was asked recently how much of what is preached today is speculation. I myself can only speculate because I can’t really find any data on this, but I would say based upon my experience, about 20-25% of sermons are based on speculation. Speculation is what is taught as truth and it is based upon a personal opinion or personal belief, but scripture does not support it.

Some speculation is better than others, such as the subject of the rapture of the Church. Scripture does teach that the Lord will “snatch away” or “we will be caught up” to meet the Lord in the air, and that is a Biblical fact. However, it is speculation on exactly when it will happen. I am of the opinion that it will happen before the tribulation period, but that is my opinion and belief, but it is still speculation – not fact. 

Why is it speculation?  Jesus said no one knows the hour of His return, only the Father has that date and time picked out. The Bible is clear we don’t know the hour or the day. That is true of the rapture as well.  We can make all kinds of serious attempts to prove our theories on when it will happen, but at the end of the day, the Lord says, “just be ready.” He does not give us the timetable of when, and there is a reason for it. It’s the why question again!  Why? Because He said I will come like a thief in the night, I want you to be ready. Live your life as if I will come at any moment and stop trying to figure out when that will be. Why? Because we have a job to do and He does not want us to get preoccupied with an event that might sideline some people to sitting and just waiting for it to happen. That is not the right course of action.  So can we know the season? Yes, I think we can look at the signs of our day and see that the Bible predicts that we are closer than ever before, but at the end of the day we still don’t know the day or the hour. We all speculate from time to time because we all have personal opinions on things we read in the Bible, but for the sake of being honest, just say, this is my personal belief, and God may have a different plan. Don’t box yourself in with drawing lines in the sand when you do not know what God is going to do. It is a big ugly mistake.  

So let’s look at what I have said so far:

  • In light of doing ministry the question is: “What is missing?”  Once we discover what is missing, then go and fulfill the need.
  • Always ask the question ‘Why?’  Why? Because why is an accountability word, it forces the question into a different discussion. That new discussion then, is, does it honor God, is it what the Bible teaches, and where does the scripture support it throughout the Bible? Many strange doctrines are founded upon a one-verse interpretation, and that is never a good sign of clear understanding. 
  • Follow up the question of why with:  “Prove it!”
    People love to speculate on scripture and some modern so-called prophets see things that they teach as scripture, when it is only personal intuition and speculation. The phrase, “the Lord showed me!” Well good for you. You go and do what God has shown you, because it was for you and only you. Don’t try to incorporate the rest of us into your personal revelations and make it out to be a new direction for His Church. The bottom line question should be, "is God behind it?"
    We need to make sure we have a good understanding of God’s Word and when I say to people prove it, then the burden is on them to make the case that the scripture is clearly teaching what is in question.

I have found that this little triad of words will help to prevent the mistakes many Christians make by following speculation and personal intuition of people who are teaching things that may not be spiritually healthy. 

So how do I prove what I am saying today? 

1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast 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.

Acts 17:11 “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K

 

Sunday
Jul162017

A Nation of Regurgitation

Regurgitation means: bring (swallowed food) up again to the mouth or repeat (information) without analyzing or comprehending it.

 

Talk radio is notorious for regurgitating issues and so are the news outlets. Over and over and over again we hear the same stories that never conclude.

It reminds me of the soap opera, “As the World Turns” it was on the air for 54 years regurgitating the same old themes. This is what our media outlets have turned into, a classic case of regurgitating endless stories about nothing. Congress is just as bad; their job is no longer to govern on behalf of the American people, but rather be journalists and prosecutors. They love to waste taxpayer money on investigations into corruption that never produce any results. Does anybody think this is a good way for the representatives of Congress to spend their time? The current Russian investigation will be no different than Benghazi and will only garner a huge waste of time and money.

The cost of the Benghazi investigation is over 11 million dollars, and they have been investigating over three years. What has been the conclusion?  Good question! I don’t know and you probably don’t either. However, we have regurgitated this investigation in Congress for more than three years and nothing ever comes to a conclusion. If our representatives were concerned about America they would spend more time on issues that would help people, rather than trying to waste such time on these investigations.

Here is something Congress could send more time thinking about:

In 2013, UNICEF found that the relative child poverty rate in the United States was 20 percent. It has been reported that nearly 44 million Americans live in poverty.

Now that could use some congressional investigation.

Forget the “Wall” Mister President, let’s put up some signs at the border indicating America has a dirty secret about poverty that we are failing to address as it continues to worsen. Maybe those coming across the border will think twice about the ‘land of promise’.  

America is struggling to understand itself because we have an identity crisis, yet we spend so much time and money on non-essential issues rather than trying to do what is best for our country. I think the way we are allowing our system of government to destroy itself is a crime against our founders. Nothing ever comes out of all these investigations in Washington and we hear nothing new from our representatives - all they do is regurgitate the same old tired ideas and charges.

I am like so many Americans who have stopped listening and watching network news and even listening to the conservative talk stations. In my opinion they are no different than our ‘do nothing’ government. They regurgitate the same old problems, are irate and even passionate about them, yet no one can seemingly solve those problems and then break the mold and move on to the ideas that made America great.

America has always had new ideas to foster her economy and make life more sustainable for our citizens. We did it so well we even exported our ideas to other countries to help them rekindle their way of life. Our ideas placed America at the top of the heap when it comes to assisting other nations in disaster relief and it has been our ideas that have kept this world safe from dictators and despots. We still have good ideas in this country, but our politicians and our media just want to stay stuck in the same ol’ stories of regurgitation.

When I think of what the Bible says about God and His mercy, I can’t help but think how lucky we are to serve such a wonderful God. He is always moving us on to a new day with hope and the assurance that He is faithful to every promise He gives to us in His Word. Sure beats the regurgitation we hear every day.

 Lamentations 3:22-23

 

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Sunday
Jul092017

One of the Subtlest Sins of the Last Days

There are many words that would describe what the Bible calls the last days:

  • Deception
  • Delusion
  • Heresy
  • Bad being called good

These along with many more such words have one common foundation: they are all based upon a lie. One of the most devious words among them is the word “cmpromise.”  This is a word that God hates because it is this concept that God uses in Revelation 3 when He talks about the Laodicea church:

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

Several times in the last few months we are seeing pastors apologizing on videos to the gay community for how they have treated them in sermons and calling their lifestyle sin. This is the second such video:

https://www.facebook.com/christianstalk/videos/485351431808403/

Here is the earlier video on the same theme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-tDOq7JS9k

There are several other videos that take the same stand towards compromising the sin issue of homosexuality.  What I find hypocritical in all of these video apologies is that these same pastors aren’t apologizing for their attitudes toward pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and extra marital affairs. All of these sexual sins are mentioned as wrong in the Bible, yet it is only the sexual sin of homosexuality that we are sorry for being wrong about.

As you watch these pastors pour out their hearts for a compassionate plea to embrace the gay community and accept the sin homosexuals so blatantly flaunt, you have to ask the question, “who are these pastors trying to impress?”  Are they serving the God they claim to know, or are they trying to have a good public relations campaign ‘based on grace’ toward the gay community? The one thing I do know about these videos and all the Christian leaders who are in them, THEY ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG!

These videos are subtle ways to convince other Christians that any stand against homosexuality is wrong and they need to change. This is the sin of compromise - the most deadly form of deception or delusion that will play a huge role in the last days. Compromise basically says that you can know God, believe in His Word, go to church and still embrace culture with all its deadly sins.

This starts for most Christians when we compromise on the meaning of grace. We like to think that grace has an overarching forgiveness that nothing done will ever condemn us. That is true when it is appropriately applied. Yet you have to understand grace in the intended use, which is to forgive sin once it is confessed and forsaken.  That is called repentance, a turning away and never coming back to a sinful act or behavior. Grace has both truth and love in its DNA as a word. Today we use love as the one qualifier as to whether we are in right standing with God’s standards and values. Yet, truth must be a part of that equation in order to balance love out. You can love the homosexual community because God does, but truth still says the gay lifestyle is wrong and is condemned by God. When the sin of compromise is fully entrenched in a person’s mind and heart, they are extremely difficult to reach.  They buy in to the groupthink that any approach other than their own is out of touch with reality and the God they have chosen to invent.

Compromise not only changes the meaning of values, its most condemning course of action is to invent a God that can be tolerated by all people. The Biblical God is too narrow, too Jewish, and too conservative. The God of the Bible expects us to tell people about their sin and the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ, and how these attitudes will condemn them and their fate will be an eternity without God once they face Him in judgment.

I feel sorry for the pastors who make these videos, because they will be held to a stricter standard when it comes to judgment. (James 3) We are always called to love, forgive, and restore relationships (reconcile) but we can never compromise the truth along the way.  Love, forgiveness, and restoration must be done God’s way, otherwise we fall into the sin of Satan: “we want to do it our way.”

Compromise is a sin that will entice us with emotion, reason, and compassion, but in the end it still is a sin against God and His Word.  Compromise is Satan’s middle name, if he was to have one, and at the end of the day he is a liar and a compromiser.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Thursday
Jul062017

Lamb Chops

10:1-3 The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.

Don’t kid yourself; our day is just as filled with wolves as it was when Jesus said these words. Wolves are everywhere and in most cases they are a protected species. Wolves come in all kinds of disguises and in most cases we aren’t even aware of their presence. My neighbor is a hunter and he tells me that wolves have keen eyesight, and have a heightened sense of smell. Not only are wolves suspicious, they also can’t be trusted. They lie in wait for a vulnerable moment when they strike.  It should  remind us of another predator.

2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

There are wolves that look and sound like perfect examples of what it means to follow Christ. However what I have found is that there are mean people in the Kingdom and they, like the tares in Christ’s parable, grow beside the good wheat. They remain because they are too entwined with the sincere and faithful, and destroying them would also uproot the good seed among us. So God allows the wolves to remain, and so you encounter them every day. When wolves are in the wild they hunt in packs looking for the vulnerable to devour.  In Northern Minnesota I am told, you don’t let your dog out after dark because you run the risk of losing him to the pack. Jesus knew about wolves and the vulnerable.  He wasn’t sending a lion out among the wolves He was sending a vulnerable lamb out among the pack. This sending was not a risk free experience. It was not safe, to say the least, but it illustrates the point that Christianity was never a safe experience. For many years I was solely planted in Christian media, and among Christian leaders who would not go beyond the safe zone in making everything palatable. Their philosophy is multiplied today in many forms of communication, including the pulpits of many churches.  If Christ sends us as a lamb among a pack of wolves why do we live in such fear?  We have Islamic terrorists who aren’t afraid to stand up in a world of non-believers and blow themselves up for the cause of their god and yet our leaders are blinded by culture and too afraid to make waves.

As a lamb the power to be at risk is on Christ, not me.  He sends us out as a vulnerable lamb apparently to see if the wolves frighten us. Have we failed the test of the wolves?  The scriptures tell us that there is coming a day when believers will rule and reign with Him, so what kind of rulers will we be if we are afraid of wolves?

I have said this many times before, but it is time we stop living in our little risk free zones and start pushing back the wolves in our midst.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

Thursday
Jul062017

Whatever Happened To Sin?

Whatever Became of Sin? Dr Karl Menninger, one of the founders of the famed Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, wrote a book about this theme in 1973.

The Christian faith has always taught that you need to realize what sin was, repent from it, and surrender your life to Jesus for salvation.

I like the way author William Bradshaw puts it: “For nearly two centuries the mainstream Protestant Churches and the Roman Catholic Church taught that man was guilty of sin and needed to repent. In the second quarter of the 20th century, liberal Protestantism began putting less emphasis on sin and the negatives of the Christian Faith and concentrating on the positives.”

Recently I reviewed a video presentation from a local ministry that accents on transforming communities by teaching them a different value system and accenting on the positives of the Christian faith. There is nothing wrong with this approach at first glance, but at the end of the day the results are mixed. One of the main reasons to keep the name of Jesus out of such presentations is because we want donors to feel free to give to such a program without the connections to a religious entity. Yet, it has been my conviction that the reason people change or are transformed isn’t because we have such good programs, it is because God does it.

Life long change happens because Jesus makes the difference in the lives of people and when He is missing from the core of any presentation that claims transformation, I have to ask why?  You cannot have life long change without a God connection because it is the God connection that deals with the sin issue. Modern methods are failing the church because we are using more of our own ingenuity to bring about change. Transformational success in a Biblical sense can only come about as sin is acknowledged, repentance is experienced, and Jesus Christ becomes Lord. Simple!!

As the author above mentioned, our modern Christianity has spent the better half the of the last century trying to focus on the positives of Christian thought and teaching. One man said so appropriately: "much of what happens in the church today can happen without God." Motivational speaking is not ministry unless it comes to the cross. Now you may disagree with me, but when I review what Jesus said about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church I cannot come to any other conclusion.

John 16:8-11 “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgmentThe world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.”

The ministry of the Holy Spirit:

  1. He will convict the world of Sin
  2. He will convict the world of God’s righteousness (Jesus Christ)
  3. He will convict the world of the Day of Judgment

The Word “CONVICT” is an aggressive word.  In fact in a “risk free and safe world” that many people promote, it would be an “unsafe” word to use.   Here is why:

Convict as a verb: To declare (someone) to be guilty of a criminal offense by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.

Nobody today wants to go to a church where conviction is being preached?  So we have systematically changed the ministry of the Holy Spirit into a positive motivational message and have abandoned the concept of conviction all together.

Yet if you are a Christian your allegiance isn’t to the systems of any church that abandons the Word of God, or compromises terms that define what The Holy Spirit has come to do. Remember, He has come to convict, to pass God’s judgment, or His ruling on sin, the way of salvation, and judgment. His ministry guides us and convicts us and when we lose this element in our Christian ministries, I think its time we change our name.

We should now be called: “Motivational Believers” following the dictates of our god “Motivation.”  Christian is a term that describes those who follow Christ and His Word and do not compromise on terms like “conviction.”

I know motivation is an important part of getting people to think differently and keep them challenged to maintain something.  However, motivation is the easiest to lose, because without conviction on why you are motivated you will have a tendency in time to forget why you are motivated. (Example diets)

Sin is an issue many have abandoned in their ministry menu's, yet in a modern world its theme is more relevant than ever before.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

 

 

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