Posts Tagged ‘preaching’

As 2012 comes to a fast halt I was reminded of all the Good that God has poured out on me over the last 12 months.  Breath taking events that cause tears to well up inside of me because of the profound changes that has come my way. 

First and foremost is my Intimate Relationship with my Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  I am more in Love with Jesus now that ever before.  He has Lavished His Love upon me way more than I deserve.  He has Touched me in such ways that I will forever be changed, which is a good thing, because Jesus never wants me or anyone seeking Him to go backwards.  His Calling on my life to Proclaim the Gospel, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,  has increased exponentially and His Fire of Holy Passion for the Lost and spiritually hungry has stretched my heart.  One example is the Word of God  “like Fire shut up in my bones” to the point of exploding!  It is my first and Primary Love in my life!  

The second glorious thing that has happened to me is also a Gift from the Father, my wife.  We celebrated our 1 year anniversary December 30th and I must say, wow, what a year.  My love for Jesus is now so intertwined with my love for my wife.  We are one.  Jesus, my wife and me.  It is  awesome what God has done for me as a reflection of His Love.  To explain how He designed the Holy Union between my wife and I must be in words that He showed me.  Everything in my life before my wife was centered around preaching and teaching the Word of God.  I was and still am Resolved to know Nothing but Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected.  This was all I was interested in doing.  I emptied myself and prayed for the Holy Spirit to consume me totally because there are so many around me perishing.  In this process of spiritual purging through fasting and prayer sometimes for weeks I was often preaching in my sleep.  Then when God “pressed” my wife into my heart I realized I have not experienced the fulness of Love.  Let me explain.  God’s Love is always enough and always fulfilling.  I was not seeking a wife.  The only thing is God wanted me to experience the Love of a Godly woman.  God told me that He was twisting my wife around the Word of God dwelling in my heart.  Very profound how this happened.  Everything I now preach and teach concerning Jesus Christ is linked directly to my relationship with my wife.  This is God’s design.  I have a deeper love for God and a deeper love for mankind now that God has given me a wife!  To add to this awesome year I now have 3 children with their spouses and 11 grandchildren.  Talk about God stretching a mans heart, wow!  

These 2 events has transformed my life during 2012.  I will forever be Thankful to God for His Marvelous Gift of Jesus Christ and my wife!  I am so looking forward to the coming year.  I am sure 2013 will be filled with challenges, trials and Goodness!  If I had a goal or resolution for 2013 it would be;  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” All of which will be with the Help of the Holy Spirit and my wife!   My wife and I Pastor 2 Churches.  We have 2 worship services a week. Bible studies on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. All of which are streamed live through facebook and other web based programs like Twitter and youtube.   The Lord is using us to reach potentially thousands of people World-wide with His Transforming Message of Forgiveness and Eternal life through Faith in the Work of Jesus Christ!  Happy New Year! Image

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Many things are happening today that should cause Christians to pause and take note. The Church for instance. Just stop and ponder a moment about the changes that has come over the past 20 years. As I share a few thoughts and make a few observations, please pray concerning what you are reading. First thing I would like to do is define the word contemporary. 1. existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time. 2. of about the same age or date. 3. of the present time; modern: a lecture on the contemporary novel. For the task at hand, modern, will fit best for this devotion. It is obvious that modern Churches have some pros and cons. First the positives. Contemporary praise and worship songs can be very uplifting and Christ honoring. They seem to have a more upbeat tone than some of the traditional hymns which can stir some emotion into the worship. This is not to say that emotionalism is all good but does seem to honor Christ when He Commanded us to Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Modern Churches with modern worship services can be very Glorifying to Christ and can lead many to Christ as Savior.
Secondly the negatives. Contemporary praise and worship can become idiolatry just as traditional. If the worshiper is getting a high and is focused on the entertainment value, then to much emotion can certainly lead the worshiper to commit idiolatry by getting a boost of adrenaline instead of focusing on Glorifying God with their all!
Now lets look at Preaching the Word of God. Worship is important and preaching is part of that worship. The problem comes when Preaching contemporary messages. So many Churches have abandoned Rock solid Bible Preaching for some hybrid modern seeker friendly social club! Not offending anyone or making people feel comfortable seems to be the standard. I recently read an article about this very subject and would like to share. The title speaks volumes: Most Christians Cannot Explain their Faith, Says Apologist. Here is the article.
The faith of most Christians, even that of many pastors, will not stand up to intellectual scrutiny, according to renowned apologist Josh McDowell.
This is a concern because pastors’ inability to present biblical truth comprehensibly and relevantly has led to children from Christian families leaving the church, research has shown.
In the United States, the age at which nearly all such children leave church has decreased to 18 years.
Not even the children of many successful ministers are spared.
McDowell made his comments at a recent networking dinner among various men’s ministries organized recently by Men-in-Covenant. MiC is the men’s ministry of Covenant Evangelical Free Church.

He recalled speaking with the pastor of one of the largest U.S. churches, a man known for his expository preaching. Confiding in him, the pastor said their church was losing its youth right after high school graduation.
In his 50 years of ministry, McDowell has asked several thousand pastors and leaders how they could be certain Jesus Christ said “I am the truth” and not one of many truths or a truth.
“Not one person has ever given me an intelligent, biblically-based answer,” said the author of The New Evidence that Demands A Verdict.

During the past six years, he asked hundreds of Christians and leaders why they see themselves as Christians. Again no one gave him an “intelligent” answer. In the past 17 years, he has asked over 4,000 pastors, leaders and parents why they believe the Bible is true. A mere six “came close to giving an intelligent answer,” McDowell noted.
“If anything is based upon truth, it’s the Christian faith,” he said. “Christians who do not know why they have faith or believe have a very difficult time expressing themselves to others.
“The saddest thing is people come to me and say, ‘What’s the answer?’”
“I say, ‘There’s no answer… There are hundreds of answers.’”

Most Christians, even some pastors, don’t even know one. On the other hand, the apologist said he could give 50 reasons for his belief that the Bible is true. Ninety-five percent of Christians gave disappointing responses when asked why they believe Jesus is the Son of God.
Asked why the Bible is true and historically reliable, Christians replied that it was what they had been taught by their church or parents.

A common response that most Christians gave to both questions was that it is “what I believe.” McDowell responded: “That’s voodoo thinking. Where did we ever get that crazy idea that something is true just because we believe it?
“If that is true, then there will never be heresy. Everybody would be right.”
On one occasion, 13 youth pastors at a large convention were unable to reasonably answer the apologist’s question.

Finally one young person stood up, walked toward him and told him he knew the answer. The young man promptly held up his Bible and said, “Because I believe it.”
And to McDowell’s dismay, all the youth pastors applauded him.
McDowell said, “Young man, do you know the difference between you, me and the majority of Christians in the world?
“To you, it is true because you believe it. For me, I believe it because it is true.” Another response the apologist received was: Because I have faith.
He commented, “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that faith makes something true? That’s idiotic. That’s so unbiblical you can call it heresy.
“God doesn’t use faith to create truth. He uses truth through the Holy Spirit to create faith.”
Christians, the apologist stressed, are called to explain their faith when asked. They are set free by the faith in the truth, he expressed, referring to John 8:32.

Yet others say Christianity is true because Jesus changed their lives.
Even this will not stand up to intellectual scrutiny, McDowell argued.
“Lies change lives; cults change lives,” he said.
To make such an appeal is “not the essence of Christianity,” the author emphasized.
McDowell said: “We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our children, we owe it to our neighbors, we owe it to the lost, to tell them not just what we believe but why do we believe it.”

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