Posted in Christ, Commandment, Disciple, Faith, God, Hymn, Prayer, Psalm, Satan

Faith, An Acapella Thing

I know from previous writings, most of you don’t visit me for knowledge, for facts that is, but it is part of the gig. As students of Christ, we’re instructed to never stop learning. As disciples of Christ, we’re instructed to demonstrate Him in our behaviors and words; behaviors and words which teach others.  I promise, just a few “facts” before I ramble.

In the Old Testament (using the NIV today) the word faith is only mentioned 16 times the Old Testament; in the New Testament 254! What a shift of priority! My thought, God walked with His people in the Old Testament. They saw Him, in the Garden, the flaming bush, angels, splitting river, manna and many other ways. Physically, He was real to them. Even in the quiet times, when people could not see or hear Him, He was always walking with the faithful, like Enoch and Noah.

Enoch walked faithfully with God;   Gen 5:24

Noah was a righteous man, … he walked faithfully with God.    Gen 6:9

Jesus, while real baby, child and man for 33 years, after his crucifixion and resurrection, He was not real to the people (at large). He was a fulfillment, hope fulfilled. I hope we must proclaim!!

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Psalm 40:3

What is your song? What song aches within you? What stirs you? Does it make you stop and remind you that you are not doing what you want to be doing?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.     Romans 7:15

Does your song pull your heart into the feeling of a warm blanket where you feel safe and secure? Where it reminds you of the moment you were running to a neighbor, terrified of the mother’s boyfriend and they greeted you with open arms and a warm meal? Or the time you were terrified that your drunken parent was going to do it again so you ran away for awhile to hide, and the neighbor who knew you were there left lights off and didn’t tell? Or the time you cowered underneath a stairwell not knowing if another moment of breathing was worth it and suddenly a breath of fresh air comes over you and you meet God!  That is was It Is Well With My Soul does for me as well as Amazing Grace.

I pray that your faith, the well in your soul that fosters your foundation of strength, is deep and wide, that you know who keeps your thirst at bay and nourishes you. We’ll spend more time on faith. Tell us your faith story. I’ll be sharing more of mine.

Be Blessed

Posted in Christ, Disciple, God, Seek Christ

How Far?

Get out a piece of paper and write down on it the 10 people you would go the farthest for? I’m doing it too. I don’t know where we’re going with this, we’re on a ride here with the Holy Spirit. Don’t read on until you have 10 and ONLY 10.

Continue reading “How Far?”

Posted in Call, Christ, Disciple, Faith, God, Passion, Prayer, Seek Christ, Serve, Triune God, worship

Where is Church?

Why this question?

In looking around the blog world the other day, I stumbled on a blog by Michelle Lesley. It is well written and thought out but definitely not in line with how I interpret  the teachings within Timothy’s. No problem, 1 John 4:1 tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”.  I’m not saying Michelle is a false prophet. I am saying that I (we) are to test what we read and hear against God’s word. Not to challenge it or argue against it, but to ensure we are believing, following, sharing, teaching and preaching the right message.

Christ himself gave us an example of how we are to have this conversation in Acts 19:8 when he entered the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus: “Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things of the kingdom of God.”

In a nutshell she was discussing the role of women in the church, which is not what we’ll talk about today. In a brief exchange between us, I asked “If you believe 100% what you have written here, then you believe 100% what you have taught, proselytized, preached (different people will apply different words to what we bloggers do) here. How does your work here not go against what you have said the Bible does? ” Her response took me back, “The instruction is that women are not to preach to, teach Scripture to, or exercise authority over men in the church. A blog is not the church.”

What is Church?

I have written about this before (Where We Gather and Here & Now – Worship) as this question as well as what is worship are ones far too many of us do not understand or experience.

A quick survey of a variety of versions of the Bible show that the word church shows up a little over 100 times in the New Testament. When God talks about the church with us, He is not talking about the man made denominations we’ve created, He’s talking about His people. In the Old Testament, church did equal the Temple and people were expected to gather there for sacrifices and teachings (the men anyway). But in the New Testament, Christ changes this format. The Bible does give references to congregations, but those are congregations of cities or communities, not a physical institution. So, what is church?

For the purist among you, the word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia meaning ‘assembly’ or ‘called out ones’.

First of all, we need to understand that the church is Christ:

“He is also the head of the body, the church;”.   Col 1:24 (HCSB)

Then we need to understand that church is a place of gathering, but it is a place where two or more gather.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” Matt 18:20 (HCSB)

Some would argue that the Holy Spirit being present can be counted as one since He is a participant in prayer; I don’t think this supported biblically but can understand the argument when Christ gives us examples like the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Matt 26:36 (HCSB) also Mk 14:32

And when we’re instructed to privately talk with Abba, one-on-one; two are present.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.  Matt 6:5-6 (HCSB)

Christ first mentions the work of building a church in Matthew, but He is not talking about the confining walls of a building, but The Church (of Jesus Christ) full of people.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.  Matt 16:18 (HCSB)

To truly understand what the church is, we must go to the Book of Acts and recognize some major shifts in societal and physical behaviors. One of the largest is the clarity of the message that no one is excluded.

The Disciples were baptized by The Holy Spirit and received His power (Acts 1:8).
Women were included in acts and in gifts. (Acts 1:14, 2:17,18)
Pentecost brought the time of speaking in tongues so the Word of God would be heard by so many more. (Acts 2:4)
One expectation was laid out for followers, REPENT.  (Acts 2-38-40)
A picture of church is presented, people who devote themselves to learning, gathering, breaking of bread (eating) with a joyful and humble attitude, and praising. (Acts 2:42,46)

With all of this, we can now go to the question, are we on this blog, a church? Are we discussing, teaching, preaching, sharing, learning and supporting each other in the name of Christ? Are we asking questions to ensure what we learn is true? Does this technology allow us to find God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? I believe so and I believe I am responsible for each person who reads or shares this.

What I do not believe is that this makes me the head of a church or places me over any man who may be reading this. Just as women were including in the act of praying in the upper room, teaching in homes throughout Acts and receiving calls directly to guide others, they were not the head of their churches; they were answering God’s call to teach, proselytize, praise, whatever their gift was.

After Michelle and I chatted, I searched out many more blogs and websites hosted by women Christians and I was astonished at how many did not accept responsibility, most saying (in various ways), ‘I can not control who reads what I write’ and ‘if a man chooses to read my writings that is on him’. Really? How is ones accountability for what one shares with one gender any different than the other?

I stand in my conclusion that, I am a Disciple and it is my humble prayer that God uses me, through the Holy Spirit, to reach out to anyone who knows or does not know Him who saves us all, and provides either encouragement or hunger for their own walk with the Triune God. I know I am challenged when I sit down and do this blog for fear of false teachings [2 Peter 2:1]. I humbly pray if any of you ever feel I am guilty, you hold a conversation here with me so we all may grow.

FYI: Those of you that have followed me for a while know I use a multitude of versions of the Bible. I do this for two reasons; one, some versions have wording that is easier to understand and two, to help show that although the words may be in a different order, the meaning is the same. Currently I’m using The Apologetics Study Bible (Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)).

Posted in Call, Disciple, Gifts, God, worship

Pitch Perfect

Quick, whose the best singer ever?

Elvis Presley? Ella Fitzgerald? Frank Sinatra? Robert Planet? Aretha Franklin? Peter Gabriel? Miles Davis? Bruno Mars? The argument can go on forever. I mean, what is best? Style? Vocal range? Story telling? Entertainment style?

David is one of my favorites. David, from the bible. I have no idea what kind of voice he had but here’s what I know, he was always rejoicing or making a joyful noise or encouraging others to do the same. He called on people to blow their horns and shake the tambourines, literally and figuratively. Even when he was in his dark days and he struggled to find his way, he continued to make noise, to use this noise to reach others, just read the book of Psalms or the books of Samuel.

Of all his teachings that talk about using music in worship, 2 Samuel 6:22-23 (ESV) tells us how free we should be.

David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.”

So what’s my point? Especially if you can’t sing? The point is, sing anyway. We’re all called to make a joyful noise. (ESV)

… let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95:1
… let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Psalm 98:4
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King,  the Lord! Psalm 98:6
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Psalm 100:1

God’s hearing is perfect. His tuning ability, unbeatable. To him, every tone is right on, every tempo is the exact count, every strum has the right capo, and every brass has plenty of air.

God just wants us to give Him our praise, be it by singing, dancing, playing an instrument, clapping, praising, praying or celebrating Him. He wants us to give Him whatever our heart wants us to give Him.

Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (AMP)

Praise your God loudly and proudly!

Be blessed.

Posted in Christ, Disciple, God, Seek Christ

A Dog’s Life

Meet my dogs, Hershey and Lily.  Yes, this is their home and I borrow space in it. Obviously, I’m not talking Founding Father’s any longer, praying about, thinking about what to write, it seemed that was done for now, time to move on to something else.

Domesticated, and cared for, dogs have quite the life.  Who among us wouldn’t love to live the dogs life? Continue reading “A Dog’s Life”

Posted in Disciple, Faith, God, Lord, Seek Christ, Triune God

Missing the Point

Oh how blind we are.  Constantly looking with our eyes.  Seeing with our assumptions, our preconceived biases and prejudices. Judging without considering all the information.  Think carefully before you say, “Oh, not I” and walk away.

Think about your day thus far …. have you decided you are right and someone else was wrong? Have you looked at the person on the corner seeking change; did you see the person on the corner seeking change on the corner? Did you roll your eyes at another persons comments, maybe a spouse or parents, or child’s?

We are so quick to think we see and know it all we forget we don’t, and this includes those things concerning Triune God.

Continue reading “Missing the Point”

Posted in Advent, Call, Christ, Disciple, God, Lord, Passion, Seek Christ, Triune God

Therefore, Go …

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, —Matthew 28:19 NIV

Where are you going?

Today. Where are your feet taking you?  Where are the wheels of your car transporting you?  Where are the words you are going to speak or write or think, thus act on (or not), going to land?

Where are you rushing off to now that I’ve made you very uncomfortable?

If you’re not uncomfortable, good for you, maybe you’re on track.  Maybe I’m on track.  If you are uncomfortable, STOP!

I confess, I never know what words are going to go on this page until I have prayed.  I do believe they are from my heart, but inspired; that they are messages for someone, sometimes me, out there reading this someday.  Maybe it’s you today, so just stop for a moment.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, —Matthew 28:19 NIV

Every Sunday when I leave church I wonder how many really heard more than just the words and went through just the motions.  How many of my fellow ‘Christians’ are not just going through the habit of acting like they believe.  

When is the last time you’ve read, considered and accepted the words of Matthew 28:19?  When is the last time you spoke of Jesus with another person let alone a non-believer?  When is the last time you did more than let your neighbors let you see your home in your Sunday best going to that place those people go to instead of sleeping in?  When is the last time you explained the Triune God to anyone or even mentioned them to anyone?

I know, this is a scary thing to do.  I remember first stepping out and being excluded because people didn’t want to offend me.  So I went anyway and showed them I could be a Christian there too, and after a while, some of them came to me so I could disciple.

From here courage increased.  No, not everyone came and accepted, but that was okay, everyone isn’t my job, but someone was.  Next came the harder task, the person I was to get in their face about.  That was a near 10-year task.  Life by example at first, then gentle nibbles, then face-to-face, over drinks, hard conversations.  He didn’t turn into a rebel rousing preacher, but I don’t doubt his place in heaven.  I’m not telling these stories to brag, but to give you examples of where your feet could take you today, tomorrow and always.

Live as He desires you to live, others will see and ask, then answer.

Speak of Him, them, gently and unobtrusively.  When a heart is softened, it will seek to know more from you.

When your told to be a Paul and get assertive, say “Yes Sir”, pick up your Bible and whatever other tools you need and go.  It will hurt and be hard but oh the eternal payment will make it so worth it! Angels will be singing!

Remember, you’re not a denomination, you’re a Christian, a follower of Christ, the Son of God.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, —Matthew 28:19 NIV