Could God call you here?

If you have no interest in the mission of the Gospel or to see people saved, or even care about the death and resurrection of Jesus then I wouldn’t bother watch this video. If you do then don’t underestimate where God might call you =)

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A High Calling: A Medical Surgeon or a Preacher?

 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

James 3:1

Preaching and teaching is equally a danger as it is a blessing to be called by God to do. Perhaps for many reasons including one of which that is the danger of pride. In our culture today we usually categorize teachers as the ones who are above the students. The teachers are not only socially higher and more important then the student but because of their socioeconomic possession they are more valuable to society.

This may well be true and fine but this is not a Christian worldview and is not consistent with what the Bible teaches. Therefore, it should not be applied nor brought into the Church despite our inability to separate the secular from the House of God.

I hope this does not exist in any Church but preaching and teaching is not a call of attaining some higher status with God. The type of status measured by points on a graph or how big your congregation is. Preaching and teaching is a calling in which everyone who is called must understand that the people you preach and teach to are more significant then yourself. It is the point of knowing that in the Church those sitting in the pews will be elevated above the one who is preaching or teaching. A preacher does not preach, and a teacher does not teach because God will love them more and recognize their piety, they preach and teach because God has called them to preach and teach.

If anyone has this calling, it is a calling of knowing that God will humble you in the Kingdom of Heaven and exalt those who have humbled themselves on Earth. What about Jesus? It is not easy to compare sinners to one who had no sin, but despite the fact that Jesus was in fact God, in Philippians Paul wrote that Jesus did not count it equality with God even though he is God.

Lets look closer into the life of Jesus and see how he humbled himself and gave up all his rights. The King of Kings, and the Name above all Names, there is no Kingdom greater on earth, across the galaxy, and in Heaven that is greater then the one he left to step down from his high throne to become like the people he came to save. He even clothed himself in the same kind of humility it took to bear the worst punishment for a crime that he did not commit. Jesus was on the highest stage but he walked down and sat in lowest seat of the pews to become like the ones he was teaching and preaching to.

Preaching and teaching is a calling to come off the high horse, to leave the oval office, the big desk and to lead in a way that meets people where they are in order to win souls for Christ even if at the cost of your own life. Jesus saved all of mankind because he gave up his own life for criminals. That is the blessing of the calling.

The danger is underestimating the high calling. There is no calling on earth then to be a preacher or teacher of God’s Word because of the significance these people have in securing peoples soul eternally in Christ if one fails to preach the gospel completely and faithfully. A Chief Medical Surgeon has to take a seat in comparison to the calling and seriousness of being a preacher or teacher of God’s Holy Word. Surgeons give physical life; Preachers and Teachers by God’s grace give people eternal life.

This is the danger and if you are a teacher and preacher be encouraged. But if you pretend to be a teacher or preacher be afraid and do not step behind the context of a teacher or preacher until you recognize the seriousness of this calling. There is perhaps nothing more offensive to God then to abuse His own sacred Word that came down to us from the throne of God who is  Jesus incarnate (John 1). It is one thing that someone who does not believe in God abuse Jesus’ name however it is significantly worse if you are a Christian and then abuse the very authority in which you seek to elevate.

 

 

 

Abortion and Syria

Below is a great article from Desiring God about how America is morally and hypocritically wrong to claim the “high ground” on what is right and what is wrong.

Protect the Children from Chemical Weapons

By: John Knight from Desiring God

“Dear Mr. President,

I am joining the unknown numbers around the world who are praying for wisdom for you as you confront this present evil of chemical weapons in Syria. God has promised to provide wisdom to those who trust in him (James 1:5). I do not offer this cynically. I want God to help you and hope you would welcome his help.

As the pictures of children who died stream across our screens, you are right to declare it unacceptable in our world. Earlier, Secretary Kerry called it a “moral obscenity,” and Vice President Biden noted that these weapons were used “against defenseless men, women, and children.” The desire for justice and peace rises within us for those who have been attacked this way.

What About Our Own Children?

I am grateful for such a clear statement against evil from you and your senior leaders.

But I fear that America is guilty of hypocrisy on this issue of how chemicals are used against defenseless children. You reminded us that Syria and the Nazis used chemicals to kill people; but today it will happen in America. We have no right to claim the moral high ground.

In 2008 alone, almost 200,000 children were killed through chemical or medical abortions in the United States, according to the Jones and Kooistra report. Because of cost and ease of administration, the number of chemical abortions today is likely even higher, though the overall abortion rate has dropped since 2008.

Children with Nowhere to Run

And it is a violent end; when administered “correctly,” mifepristone cuts off the production of a necessary hormone for pregnancies to continue. The baby’s source of life is cut off. Another drug, misoprostol, is then administered to force contractions, expelling the child from her mother’s womb.

Even when the drugs are not effective in “ending the pregnancy,” Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers require that a surgical abortion be performed to finish the task.

These victims have nowhere to run or hide. Their doctors are not about to provide comfort or care.

A Tragic Inconsistency

This makes no sense in a nation with a Federal Unborn Victims of Violence law that prosecutes people for violence against unborn children.

A man recently plead guilty in a Florida courtroom to other crimes as part of a deal to avoid being prosecuted under the Unborn Victims of Violence law because he was afraid he would end up in prison for the rest of his life. His crime: tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking Cytotec, the second drug of the chemical abortion cocktail that kills unborn children.

He was going to be rightfully prosecuted for harming an unborn child using the very drug that is administered every day in abortion clinics and doctors offices across the United States.

Women Harmed As Well

And women are being harmed as well. Though marketed as a safe and less expensive alternative to surgical abortion, the FDA reported in 2011 that since mifepristone was approved in 2000, more than 2200 “adverse events” happened to women, and 14 women have died from using this drug.

Mr. President, you are rightly bringing the issue of chemical violence before the entire world.

You said in your speech that “with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run . . . .”

Be the Children’s Voice

Please, make that modest effort, and take that risk for children in your own country who are dying through chemical abortions. Please use your unique position as the leader of the free world to say this violence must stop against unborn children. Use your political pulpit to proclaim that chemicals must not be developed, marketed, sold, or administered for the sole purpose of killing defenseless people. It is outrageous in Syria, and it is outrageous here.

They literally have no voice, sir. You can be that voice, end the charges of hypocrisy against you, and truly take a moral high ground on this issue for the whole world to see.”

 

Works Cited:

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/protect-the-children-from-chemical-weapons

Working out Biblically

“5 more to go!”

Sign . . .

Its that time of year again. Time to get back in shape. There is something incredibly interesting about building muscles. Whether one is going from good shape to great shape or couch potato to ironman many of us are familiar with the pains and aches the first couple of weeks when we have been away from the gym.

I have heard a few testimonies’ of men and women completely changing their lives when one day they decided they didn’t like the way things were going. All I have to do is search through the commercials and almost immediately I’ll see how a woman dropped 80 pounds in a year. Or some commercial that shows a man swimming in his pants that were 7 sizes big a few months ago.

The stories are all the same.

“I want to be around for my kids” or “I was told by my doctors that I only had a few months to live unless I made serious change in my life.” Then we see the hard work they had to put in to get to that BMI number or that dress to fit in. And maybe for the first time in their lives they feel like they are in control.

Those stories always amaze me. Men and women determined to do anything and at whatever cost to get to these goals that they thought they never could do. It is not easy to leave that comfortable couch and get the body into motion. The first weeks seem like they were designed to wean out those who are not truly serious about their goal. That is because it hurts! It is simple physics like the commercial says, “A body in motion stays in motion.” And when you lift those first weights, run those first steps, turn the pedals your body is in shock.

Many of us have been there. The body is crying out in pain through the sweat drops pouring down from all over the skin like Angel Falls. That is because the body is literally breaking down your muscles and burning energy at an insane rate to compensate for the radical change that is occurring (at-least that is how I understand it).

After a few weeks the pain slowly begins to diminish after each workout and your results are going through the roof. The arms are getting bigger; you can climb that set of stairs easier without running out losing breath. And you feel great. Every result from yesterdays workout is encouragement for tomorrows workout but still you push play, you get up early, and you never miss a workout.

Before I knew Christ I was a slob. Not physically, not emotionally, finically, but inwardly and spiritually. I was a real spiritual couch potato. When I heard the Gospel and saw that my life was on the line my affections were moved. I didn’t say no. Yes Lord, yes Lord. The first few weeks were great because I knew I was “working” for a better means.

But Christ doesn’t call us to change our minds. Becoming a Christian is not a makeover or a different way you view the world through the Bible. Because guess what? Makeup comes off. Your thoughts and feelings change in the ocean of emotion. There is no anchor, and no hope for those who think they can “work” for this kind of radical life change.

Yeah spiritually speaking I was more aware of my sins. But I was more aware of other peoples sins then my own. I called a spade a spade. Even though my brothers in Christ had the speck in their eyes I missed the log in my own. But I was blind.

You cannot build muscles unless they are broken. The military takes a bad kid from High School, breaks him down, and transforms him into a mean green beret. Jesus says that He is the only way. And for everyone in this world Jesus is not like anyone who has ever walked the Earth. Jesus doesn’t just ask for your worship or your love He wants your life and the only way he can fully take it from us is if we are willing to be broken. God cannot use a man who still wants the things in this world. Why should God use someone who doesn’t truly love Him? No one can have two masters as Jesus said.

Be broken like Christ was broken. So that Christ can build you up in the ways that He has called you according to his purpose (Eph.2: 10). That in the life to come you know that you will also be exalted with Christ.

Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let me ask you reader, who is the most exalted in heaven? Jesus is! He is sitting at the right hand of God. There is no name greater then His. There is no kingdom established across the galaxy and on all the earth greater then the Kingdom of the one who dwells in it Jesus Christ. That is because he died the worse death possible. And I am not talking physically. Jesus Christ literally became the object of all God’s wrath that was deserved for all mankind. Even thou he was equal with the Father he did not count equality with Him it says in Philippians. He paid off the Kings unfathomable debt that not even a 1,000 life times and more could pay off. Jesus is so high and lifted up and we are so little but God demonstrated his love for us in order that this great high priest could be in a relationship with everyone who is willing to surrender their lives completely to the King of all Kings!

The choice is simple. Weakness is not something the world praises. Humility is laughed at and submission for Christ sake is foolishness. Listen to the world and die with the world or pursue Christ and live life eternal with an infinite all satisfying God who loves you!

The Necessity of Bearing Fruit!

There is something terribly distressing about how we continue to fall back into sin. How is it day after day we frequently forget that we serve a God who is not limited to what the world tells us? The world tells us the same lie that the devil told Eve in the Garden, “You surely shall not die.” And yet many of us sit back and say amen and amen as if the God was saying that himself and deceiving humanity.

The reality is that God is holy. The opposite of holiness is sin, even the small insignificant sins are all punishable by eternal separation from God. Jesus also commands us to be perfect as his heavenly father is perfect on the Sermon on the Mount. But how can such a wretched people ever stand before God with so much filth?

The beautiful thing about the authorship of Matthew is that before one even reads the Sermon on the Mount the reader has been given the answer to Jesus’ command at the end of Matthew 5:48 (You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.) The answer is found in Matthew chapter 3 verses 7-10.

God does not promise us happiness in this life, even a good life, financial freedom, or good health, nowhere in the Bible does He promise us that. He does however, promise everyone eternal life whomever repents and believes in Him. Implying all that Christ has said concerning that he is the only way into heaven, the truth and the light (John 14:6). Including but not limited to obeying his word and bearing fruit in what he commands us to do.

In Matthew chapter 3 John the Baptist is preparing the way for Christ and he is presumably standing by the Jordan when the Pharisees come to see his ministry. Now remember the Pharisees are one of the most respected people in Judea. Today, many of us in the Church quickly make a hasty generalization that does not entirely represent the Pharisees. They have seriously been given a bad rap. The Pharisees were the hero’s of the day. Everyone looked up to them and everyone wanted to be like them. It is the 21st century equivalent of a celebrity. However the Pharisees were strictly legalistic and emphasized more on orthopraxy then orthodoxy. Holding close to the Talmud equal with Scripture they tied endless and unnecessary traditions to the Old Testament as a result of the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian exile.

Despite that, what is interesting is what John the Baptist has to say to these Pharisees and lets imagine for a moment being in his shoes. I know if I were John the Baptist I might try and impress them and hopefully intrigue them at best. I might even have a fancy speech to make their ears ring. Well fortunately I was not John the Baptist. What he says to the Pharisees is completely opposite of what I (and I bet many of us) would say, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come (3:7)?”

No one ever talked to the Pharisees like this! This was a serious insult. It has been 400 years of complete silence between intertestaments and John being a simple man has commanded all of Judea’s attentions and they are now coming out to him to be baptized in the wilderness. John the Baptist clearly has the respect of the people but after this assault on the Pharisees, John was quickly becoming an enigma to this God forgotten culture.

“How dare he?”

It is said that John was a voice crying out in the wilderness. Think of the courage it took John to break all social norms of that day to fulfill the calling that God placed on his life. Today there are millions of Christians who can’t even overcome an awkward silence and share their faith with another Christian. John the Baptist was the only Christian in his day (despite the embodiment of all Christianity, Jesus Christ). He refused to keep quiet and he refused to accept anything less then the truth.

He was the type of person who took the road less traveled on. The narrow way that leads to eternal life. John the Baptist was so Christ like, it looked abnormal to the culture. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 that there has been no one greater born of the womb then John the Baptist. (I am going to write a blog about the other half of that verse coming soon).

The question still remains though, what does this man of God tell us about attaining the high calling that Jesus commands from all of us?

The answer is in the next verse.

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance (3:8).”

John’s ministry up to this verse tells us enough about what it means to be like Christ. His life exemplifies the Christian walk. That is why Paul exhorts in Romans chapter 12. “We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind . . . ” And how does one become transformed day after day one might ask Paul? Well one of those ways is bearing fruit in repentance.

The Christian walk is a call to a continual act of putting off the old self and to put on the new self by being “renewed in the spirit of your mind (Eph. 4:21-24).” That verse is clearly implying that even when we repent and trust in Christ atoning work on the cross we still sin. John the Baptist is saying you are not a true disciple if you do not continue to seek God’s repentance. That is equivalent to saying you will not attain eternal life. You will never see God. You will never enjoy any of God’s promises. What John the Baptist was saying to these Pharisees is that if you do not bear fruit in repentance then in  he says, “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (3:10).”

We are saved by grace through faith and not by works (Eph. 2:8). I agree completely and every new creature in Christ will show fruit of their repentance to testify of the work that Christ has done in their heart. James even says that faith without works is dead. Our works are salvific? On the contrary! Only God’s grace is which overflows in our lives to advance the kingdom of heaven with out mouths, our hands, and our feet to testify of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, our sins will lead to death despite the lies the world tell us. If Christians do not bear continual fruit in repentance they will die. That is a spiritual death, the excommunication from God’s kingdom. We are not perfect and as believers in Christ we fall everyday. Daily repentance tells God that we are sinners and insures that we never think we can live a minute of our lives without God’s grace. It humbles us and cries out to God, “Have mercy on me a Sinner! I am so weak and need your daily bread of life. I need you Jesus Christ! I love you! I am entirely dependent on you.” This can only come from a truly repented heart. A heart that has agreed to God’s terms and shows that the blood of Christ has propitiated for your sins and washes you clean! This can only come if we repent daily and trust in him!