Design of the Week – Crossover Blog – Sinner

November 25, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is a part of the Crossover blog. The design comes from Ha Ha’s Shirt Shop. It’s called Sinner. It may seem like a simple design. But there is a lot to it if you get to thinking about it. Continue Reading Design of the Week – Crossover Blog – Sinner…

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Thankful

November 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This Thursday, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. I can only wonder how many will actually know that it is a Christian holiday. I am guessing that the numbers are few because most people are thinking about being with family and watching football. Then, they will get up at some unGodly time in order to be the first to have some new-fangled device that they don’t need and probably can’t afford. They will gorge themselves on food and then take naps before their favorite teams play.
 
Our nation owes everything to the God of the Bible. The Christian God is the source of everything that this nation is and has. When the people came over here so that they could worship Him the way they desired (instead of the way the king – and church – said) He protected them. When they fought for their freedom against the tyrannical power of the British throne, He saw them through. When they came together to be united States and founded the country on clearly Biblical principles, He prospered them. The founding fathers feared God and gave thanks to Him because they knew He was worthy. If our country would let go of its pride, self-righteousness, and arrogance and begin to give thanks to the Almighty God who created the universe, things would change. If Americans feared God again, and understood what He has done for them, they would rejoice to see the moral fabric renewed.
  Continue Reading Thankful…

The purpose of the church

November 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about this for awhile, but it becomes more apparent the more I study the scriptures. I’ve studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 John, and now I’m doing a study on the spiritual gifts. In every study, I’ve seen a picture of the church, and when I compare the picture I see in the scriptures with the one that I see in America, they don’t match. It seems like the church in America (and other countries) no longer understands its purpose. No one seems to know what the church is about and this leads to a lot of busyness with nothing substantial to show for it. There are numerous churches who have many ministries and events but to what end? Certain churches are growing and the numbers are increasing but is this a proper gauge? When did it become all about the quantity of “Christians” in the church instead of the quality of the Christians as shown by the way they live their lives?
 
So, what is the purpose of the church? Well, first, you have to understand what the word church means. The word church is found only in the New Testament. It is the Greek word ekklesia and it means: church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers, a riotous mob, but usually to a Christian assembly, a church: as a totality or in a specific locale. In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place. So what does this mean? It means that the church is not the building you meet in whether it’s an actual church building or someone’s house. Instead, a church is the group of believers that meet in that building. Nowadays, it seems like people are more concerned about the state of the building than the state of the people meeting there. It is important to understand that it’s not just anyone who meets, it is the believers who meet. Those who are not believers are not part of the church.
 
Now that we have a simple understand of what the church is, what is its purpose? There are a few things that the church was designed for. The main purpose of the church is to glorify God. Many people would say that it is seeking the lost, but I disagree. As believing individuals, our main purpose in life is to glorify God. Why would that change when we gather together? If we do not glorify God, then it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing does it? There are other important purposes for the churches existence as well. A few of these can be found in Ephesians 4:11-13.
 
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists,
and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs
to the fullness of Christ.
There are some interesting things to note here. First, there are specific reasons why God gave the spiritual gifts and none of them have to do with someone becoming rich and famous. It’s not the point of this blog to go into whether or not some of these gifts still exist or not (I believe they do) so I’ll leave that for another time. Second, the church is for the equipping of the saints. It is not for sinners. That may sound harsh or unorthodox now, but it’s the truth. The church and its purposes completely revolve around born-again believers. But, today this is not what we see. So many churches have gone to “church growth methods” like the ones at Willow Creek or Saddleback in order to get numbers. In doing so, they’ve gone out to the non-Christians to ask them why they don’t come to church and then tailored their “churches” to suit those who are lost. It seems to be a very weak and very dangerous substitute for evangelism. Instead of going out into all the world to preach the gospel, many try to lure them in with wordly entertainments preach the precepts of men as the doctrine of God.
 
The fact that the church is for believers becomes even more specific though. There are many churches who are filled with believers, but they are still not fitting the purpose that God intended. Why? Because the saints are being entertained instead of being equipped. The churchgoers come to service on Sunday and hear a sermon series on the summer blockbuster movies or popular music icons (like U2) instead of hearing the unadulterated Word of God. They don’t hear the truth or how they can apply it to their lives so that they can grow in holiness. They don’t get the scriptures they need to defend the faith and fight the good fight. The sad thing about all of this is that it is now commonplace. If things don’t go this way, it is an anomaly.
 
The purpose gets still more specific though. The saints are to be equipped for the work of service. What service? Simple. Going out to preach the gospel to all creation, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teach them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us. The equipping of the saints also facilitates the building up of the body of Christ so that we are unified in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God. This too has not happened. There are numerous denominations and each one of them is going to heaven while the rest are going to hell. We are obviously not unified in our faith. Thousands of Christian brothers and sisters are spurned and treated unbiblically because they don’t fit in the right clique. They are not able to exercise their gifts to glorify God because they aren’t related to someone in charge or because they don’t have the right kind of clothes, the right salary, or the right kind of car. Not only are we not unified in our faith, we’re not unified in our knowledge of the Son of God! There are many people who claim to be Christians who have a false view of Jesus or the gospel. They don’t believe that God is in control, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or that the Trinity exists. Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God! And these are supposed to be BELIEVERS! Many churches have tossed aside what scripture says in order to embrace a man-made system that provides them the money, power, and prestige they want while neglecting the needs of the church and the lost!
 
From what I see in scripture, this is not how it’s supposed to be. The church is supposed to be like this. You are saved and you become part of a local church. The pastor-teacher teaches you the truth and shows you how to apply it to your life so that you can glorify God and grow in holiness. You are taught about the spiritual gift(s) that you have from scripture (not man made doctrine!).You then begin to use these gifts to glorify God. The church also makes it possible for you to learn how to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. You do this either by becoming an evangelist (if that’s your gift!) and traveling the world preaching the truth or by taking the opportunities presented to you daily as you go about your life. When someone responds to the gospel in repentence and faith, they become part of the church and the cycle continues. There is nothing about entertaining the lost at church. There is nothing about catering to those who hate God, but this is what is happening.
 
Part of the reason our country (and world) is in the condition it is in is because the church has left its purpose in order to pursue worldly things. Many “pastors” today seem to hope that the one or two lines they sneak in about Jesus in the middle of their sermon series on the Spice Girls will somehow be absorbed by osmosis. They seem to think (erroneously) that it’s enough. It’s not enough. Until the church gets back to fulfilling its God-given purpose and loses all of the other things that it has taken up in hopes of inflating its membership, it will never accomplish what it is supposed to…

Veterans

November 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This Wednesday America will celebrate Veteran’s Day. With what recently happened in Fort Hood, it brought to mind some things that I just wanted to share. When I heard about the shootings in Texas, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that it could happen on a military base. Of all of the places where someone should be safe, you would think it would be there. One of the first things found out about the shooter was that he was a Muslim. I can honestly say that I wasn’t shocked at all to hear this. More and more I’m finding it harder to tolerate all of the people in this country who talk about Islam being a religion of peace. Sure, the Islamic groups in this country have spoken out against the attack in Texas and even went so far as to call the man a coward. But, I can’t help but wonder if they would call all the other Muslims who have violently and aggressively attacked non-Muslims cowards? If so, then they either haven’t read the Quran or they haven’t been truthful. Those who are naive enough to believe that just because Muslims say that Islam is the religion of peace that means it’s true may be the same people who voted for the current president because they believed what he said to them.
 
Islam is not the religion of peace and I’ve talked about this in other blogs on this site. Anyone who has spent any time reading the Quran can see that peace through submission is only a paper thin facade for all out holy war against all non-Muslims (and sometimes even other Muslims who disagree). What I don’t understand is why people are still buying into the lie and trying to promote peace between Muslims and other religions when Muslims don’t want it? What really irritates me is when it is Christians who promote the ecumenism. Don’t they realize that Muslims don’t believe that Jesus is God? How can there be any common ground? The tragedy in Fort Hood is a direct result of the post-modern moralism that has taken over our country. And unless something is done to change it, things will only get worse… Continue Reading Veterans…

Design of the Week – Leaves Change

November 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
This week’s design is called Leaves Change. At this time of year all over America, the leaves on the trees are changing from green to a variety of reds, oranges, and yellows. The dazzling array of colors is mind boggling and draws many admirers as the temperatures cool down. For those that are interested, the colors that you see on the leaves during the autumn season are the actual colors of the leaves themselves. During the spring and summer, the leaves have a green color due to the amount of chlorophyll that the leaves have to help the tree produce food. When autumn comes, the leaves are closed off from the branches and the chlorophyll stops working. This causes the green to fade and allows the leaf’s true color to come out.
 
Unlike the changing colors of the season, God does not change. He makes that very clear (Malachi 3:6). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). This too is comforting, but for a different reason. The changing of the leaves brings awe and admiration because it is appealing to the eyes. The fact that God does not change brings awe and adoration because it means that we can trust God no matter what is going on around us. The fact that God is the same in every situation brings comfort to those who are His. We know that He will always do what is right and that we can seek shelter in Him when we are troubled.
 
God’s immutability also has another side. Because God doesn’t change, He still sees sin the same way that He did in Bible times. Regardless of what so many of the churches today seem to be saying, sin is still an abomination to the Lord and will receive the same punishment. Anything that God calls a sin (lying, stealing, adultery, lust, fornication, homosexuality, idolatry, hatred, murder, etc…) is still a sin. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. That still applies today. People die because of sin. Death is not the only punishment for sin. Hell is the eternal judgment of sin and will be the final destination of anyone who does not repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ before they die (there’s no such thing as purgatory). If you haven’t repented of your sins, you must do so while there is still time. The Bible says that none of us is guaranteed another day. Today may be your last chance. If you do repent and receive God’s free gift of salvation, you can know that the unchanging God who created the universe will protect you through the trials of life.
 
The leaves of autumn are beautiful to watch and have inspired an untold number of people, but it is the unchanging God who continues to inspire both in and through the lives of those who are His.

The Proverbs 31 Man

November 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The type of woman that I expected to marry when I was younger (and unsaved) is completely different from what I would look for today. After I got saved, any time someone brought up the subject of marriage, the “proverbs 31” woman was the template of the type of woman that Christian men should look for. The problem is they’re really hard to find. One reason for this is that many women (and men) who are in the church aren’t saved. They can’t be the “proverbs 31” woman because they don’t have the source of her strength. The second reason that “proverbs 31” is hard to find is because I don’t know that we’re supposed to be looking for her. While it would be amazing to find someone like this, the truth is that they are maturing and are at different levels in their spiritual walk and to try and fit them into the “mold” isn’t fair to them.

I thought about this and something struck me. All the focus seems to always be placed on the woman. While she has an important part in the family, she’s not the only one. The majority of verses found in Proverbs 31 do focus on the woman and the amazing things that she does for her family. But, there are some verses that have to do with the husband and they are often overlooked and usually aren’t talked about. Looking at scripture, the woman isn’t the only part of the family and it is important that Christians not only realize this but live it out.

So, let’s look at the few verses that mention the husband:

Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.

The husband of the Proverbs 31 woman has a heart that trusts in her. He shows her grace and knows that she will do what is best for her and her family. Because he trusts his wife, he can focus on the things that he needs to do to support his family. Because of their deep, trusting relationship, the husband carries that deep love they share and it helps drive him on.

Pro 31:12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.

While this just mentions the husband in passing, it still speaks some important things. The man has a wife who does him good. This can only happen when the man fulfills his duties as a husband and treats his wife like a woman of God. Their relationship is lasting because she will do her husband good all the days of her life. There is no wavering in the love they have for one another and it shows in how they act and react to everything that happens.

Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

The gates were where all the important business of the city took place. The judges passed sentence on criminals. They decided the minutest disputes with wisdom and honor; and this husband was a part of all of the business. He displayed wisdom and this allowed him to sit among the elders. This is not something that happened lightly (unlike today).

Pro 31:28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”

Here is one thing that I feel safe in saying many husbands don’t do much of. The husband of the woman praises her. Just like her work and love carry him in trials, so his praises carry her. Regardless of anything, his love for her causes him to tell her that while many other wives have been good to their husbands, she has done so much more than they and he wants her to know that. Because of the husband’s treatment of his wife, the children they have together follow his lead and bless their mother for the person that she is.

The portrayal of the husband that is found in Proverbs 31 (if it’s looked for) shows some things that many people overlook. I hope that the husbands who name the name of Christ strive to look like the man found in Proverbs 31. I hope that they treat their wives like this man does and the women strive to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. The men and women who belong to Christ need to live out the truth of marriage in front of their families, their churches, and those in the world. It shows them all how Christ loves His bride and rejuvenates fellow believers by reminding of this love so they can endure.

Is this how your marriage looks? Are you the husband of Proverbs 31 (or 1 Peter, or Ephesians, or Colossians)? If not, let me encourage you to love your wives like Christ loves the church. Are you the wife of Proverbs 31? Are you striving to take care of your family? I’m not talking about making extra money. I’m talking about raising your kids and nurturing them. I’m talking about raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If not, let me encourage you to strive to be more like the bride of Christ and live in truth.


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