Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for our Families

Children are a blessing from the Lord. This week, we look at parenting, priority and more on marriage.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for Our Marriage

Marriage. Every one has difficulty at one point or another. The problem in our world is that we've lost the Biblical idea of marriage and how one should function. Listen in this week as we discuss the Biblical idea of marriage.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for Consistency

Consistency is key. Whether in a restaurant or the Christian walk, consistency will draw more people in and inconsistency will push more people away. Listen in as we discuss this important topic.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Cut from the Same Cloth

I usually don't post political stuff. However, what I am about to write is political in nature, but only because I firmly believe there is a deception at work and Christians need to be aware. If I am wrong, I am wrong. However, as time passes, I am more and more convinced that I am unfortunately right.

Back in '07-'08, when Barak Obama was running for President, I really liked him. He was a great speaker and sounded like he was about to shake up the system like Americans wanted. However, something changed. I can't tell you exactly what, but I know as I looked and listened even more, I felt like there was something that was just not right about him. I couldn't place my finger on it, but I just knew. I had to stop listening to his speeches because of their seductive nature. Low and behold when he took office and I found out even more about him, I started learning of his background. Filtering the present through his past lens, I began to see that the change he was talking about and the change America wanted to see was different. He meant something much, much different than what we thought he was talking about. He's much more socialist in nature, big government, big control. He's fooled the masses and led our country even further from a biblically moral society.

Fast forward to '15-'16 when this year's campaign began. I was absolutely floored when Donald Trump said he was running for office. I said for years that a successful business man needs to be in the White House to straighten up this financial mess of a country we have. I started listening to Trump and I got carried away with his strong appeal to old fashioned American values and patriotism. But then it happened. I got the same feeling that I did with Obama. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something just wasn't right. As time has passed, I've seen things that I just don't believe. Initially, I thought Trump would wash out. I then realized that he might just be in the race to thwart the Republican race to help get Clinton elected, because, we all know that Trump is cut of the same cloth that Clinton is. In fact, he's supported her campaigns in the past. But he hung in there. He kept pressing forward and I couldn't believe it when the Republicans dropped like flies out of the race and Trump was winning all over the board...even gathering people from both the left and the right. I thought maybe he was the real deal. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right. As the headlines continue to come about his taxes, his foundation, his harsh words and misrepresentation of the past, I began to wonder why he's in the race. I know what he says...but is it the truth? What is this feeling that I just can't shake?!

One more time, it happened. I realized that my earlier thoughts were the key, "Trump is cut from the same cloth that Clinton is." Is it possible he is changing and is a Christian and embracing those values now? Yes. Entirely. No one is beyond the reach of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior (I am not questioning their salvation). However, stop and think for a moment. What if it's all an act? What if the purpose is for him to botch things up so bad just to get Clinton elected? But wait. What if the whole point is to put Trump up against someone who was so obviously corrupt that Trump couldn't lose? What if it didn't matter which one got elected, we'd get the same thing since they're both cut from the same cloth?

My friends, I am still not sure exactly what is going on. I just know something isn't right. But I do know that in the light of recent events, I've realized that the Bush's, Clinton's, Kennedy's, Trump's, Obama's, Rockefeller's, Soro's, Republican establishment & Democratic establishment and so on are all cut from same cloth. It's all about power and money. It's about keeping their interests in fair territory. It doesn't matter who gets elected and what happens with all of the other 'little people' in America, just as long as they get what they want. It's much easier to control the masses when they're divided. Who better to keep the division going than two people from the same cloth? What I am afraid people just don't see is that all of the racial divides, war on terrorism, economic issues, taxes, corruption, refugees, heated and extreme divides between Republicans and Democrats, etc. is all a mechanism to divert our attention away from the fact that the rich and elite are all simply trying to remain in power. Not only this, but they might even be working together. Crazy to think about, isn't it?! Remember, control is easier when there is division, real or manufactured.

If we all said enough is enough and elected someone like Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party, it would devastate the people in power. It's why Congress hasn't pushed for term limits, salary caps, and balanced budgets. Power. Money. Control.

The point of all this isn't to make people paranoid conspiracy theorists. I'm pointing out my observations. I could be wrong. I could be right. Either way, we, as the church, need our discernment now more than ever. We need to be solid in God's Word. We need to place our trust in God Almighty, not our country, government, or politicians. He has the ultimate control of all events on Earth and we must trust that no matter what happens, God's will is accomplished and He will seek and save the lost. By the way, the more things go downhill in our country, the more receptive to the Gospel people will be. And that's a good thing, even if our lives aren't as cushy as they are now.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dig In and Discover Truth

As I was studying for a sermon, I came across a passage that cannot be avoided. Highly debated and definitely a hot button topic in culture these days, in good faith, when Scripture speaks, I must address said Scripture. Ephesians 5:3,5 was the verse I ran across. In itself, it doesn't really define the words "sexually immoral"; it's kind of a broad based definition. So, I decided to see what else Scripture might define as "sexually immoral". This study led me to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Here, it is defined a bit better. Here it is defined as a broad based term and specifically in three manners, adultery, effeminate and sodomites.

In the best interest of eliminating presuppositions, I decided to dig a bit deeper into it to see exactly what these words meant. I wanted to see if homosexuality is really condemned in Scripture. Many these days are coming with all kinds of accusations against the Scriptures that speak on homosexuality...so digging deeper into this Scripture is necessary...I wanted to be sure about this for myself. With that said, adultery is literally having 'marital relations' with someone who is not your spouse. Effeminate is one side in a homosexual relationship. A sodomite is the other side in homosexual relationship. I noticed that it was interesting that effeminate and sodomites are paired together...some versions even lump them together in the same word, homosexuals. But I noticed something interesting about the word translated as sodomites too. Literally translated, the Greek word arsenokoites means "abuser (or defile) of (one's) self with mankind" *(Enhanced Strong's Lexicon #733). Abuser of self. I thought that was an interesting take on it. It really is referring to someone who lies with a male as with a female...a sodomite from the Old Testament Sodom & Gomorrah, where "their sin is extremely serious" (Gen 18:20), thus resulting in God destroying it. In that account in chapter 19, we see an example of their sin and depravity in homosexual behavior. But I turn back to the words 'abuser of self'.

It's also interesting to note that a good proportion of people (male or female) who are LGBT, have been survivors of abuse. With that said, LGBT behavior biblically defined is an abuse of one's self. My guess is that they engage in LGBT behavior as a result of comfort and normality...in some way to be able to cope with the abuse that happened to them, even if they don't realize it. If you really want to dissect it (biblically this is a stretch, but nonetheless it could be the case), you could even say that sexually immoral behavior period is a coping mechanism to some sort of abuse, no matter what type or kind. This isn't always the case I don't believe, but it just might explain the sexual depravity happening in our world.

Before you question my authority or qualifications on the matter, I admit that I am no professional counselor or psychologist. I know this. However, I counsel from a Biblical perspective as minister of God's Word. The depravity and sheer wickedness is beyond my comprehension. I just don't get it. However, in order to understand any sinful behavior, I know we must dig to the root of Scripture. It will provide answers as I believe I have found here this week. I wasn't necessarily looking for it either and that's usually when God throws those beautiful nuggets in front of us. I was actually looking to see if homosexuality is really condemned in Scripture, just to be sure I wasn't bringing presuppositions to the table. What I found was one of those huge 'ahha!' moments given by the Holy Spirit. So, I decided to share what I found because I honestly believe the root issue of LGBT behavior can be attributed as an 'abuse of self' as evidenced by Scripture. I know I'm not the first to discover this truth...I'm sure apologists and theology scholars have discovered this truth long before I did. Whether or not we choose to view the root of LGBT behavior as an 'abuse of self' is ultimately up to the individual...but Scripture is as plain as day here, and Scripture is the Word of God. When we see Scripture speak, we must make a choice to recognize the sin for what it is, or continue to deny that our behavior is sinful. Removing sin from our lives begins with recognizing the sin for what it is.

What this means for the Church is that we need to have compassion on those battling LGBT issues. We don't know what they've been through. They may very well be dealing with major life issues...we should bring them to Christ first, then allow God to not just convict them of their depraved behavior, but heal them and minister to their needs too. If what I've discovered really is the Truth, it means that the only way the LGBT behavior will go away is through healing of their past. And by the way...that applies for all sin, because we all need healing, which is why we all need Jesus as Lord & Savior.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The True Nature in Social Media

Social media. It has a way of working it's way into our lives. It dominates our time. We look more at our phones than we do those closest to us. And then, people who on the outside appear put together, well mannered, and socially well versed, click their social media apps and turn into argumentative trolls who enjoy creating drama. When people see this, it usually sends a shock through them; "I had no idea they ______." The shock waves tend to flip us upside down and truly change the way we look at them. The relationship changes and sometimes gets way worse...

Social media connects us with people like never before, yet can stir more drama and make relationships so disconnected and impersonal. We've never been more connected with people than we are in our current world. Yet, we have never been more disconnected in our relationships than we are now. However, social media also has a way of showing our true nature. Want to know how real a person is? Check social media and their activity on said social media sites. More times than not, you'll find out quickly just what lies underneath that well put together facade. People tend to say that what people do on social media isn't what they'd normally do. That's just not who they are. I, on the other hand, am arguing that what they are on social media is who they really are. What used to be hidden away from all others but God is usually now on full display for all to see...unashamedly.

The trouble is, people hide behind social media to air their dirty laundry, political and social views, and yes, even their religious views. Now, I'd rather be an advocate for God than to be airing dirty laundry and political/social drama. However, hiding behind social media to air combative religious views (or hiding behind the 'religion is private facade') is not right either. There's a question that one must ask themselves. "Is what I am about to post True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?" It's the T.H.I.N.K. principle. In other words, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (HCSB) "Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing." We are called to be encouragers...helping and steering people in the right direction. However, that does not mean engaging in endless debates, being rude, harsh or unloving. We are called to be humble, gentle and patient, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:2,15).

So now the question remains; who are you on social media? Are you combative? Passive? Quiet about your faith in Christ? Are you prideful and a bragger or an attention seeker? Are you a drama queen/king? What of your true colors are shining through on social media for all to see? Because let me tell you this, your true nature comes out in social media. If you're a believer in Christ, I want to challenge you to look through your history on social media. If you can see a change from who you used to be and it's improved, that's the Holy Spirit working in you my friend. Be encouraged, because we are being transformed into the image of Christ day by day (Romans 8:28 & 12:2). If you're not a believer and don't like who you are, and trust me, before I believed in Christ as Lord and Savior, I didn't like who I was either (I still am fighting against those thoughts, but that's another discussion), let me tell you there's hope in Jesus Christ. You don't have to live like this any more. There is hope and peace to be found in Him...He offered Himself for your sins and if you'll accept Him as Lord & Savior, He'll wash you as white as the new fallen snow. When we repent, confess, believe and are baptized, we receive the Holy Spirit as a down payment of things to come. He guides believers into the newness and renewal of life...to serve others while loving on them. My friends, there is no time like the present to give yourself to Him, because you'll never be 'right where you need to be in life' moreso than you are right now. Only through Jesus can you have the salvation, hope and peace you're looking for.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for Our Strength

Strength is something we all lack at times. Life gets to where it wears us down. This week, we look at the idea of drawing strength from Jesus.