The Gospel

The Gospel

Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh weh Oh....Walk like an Egyptian?

The apostle Paul sees a connection between the way a person lives (their walk) and what that person truly believes in their heart. In the last 3 verses of Philippians chapter 1, Paul urges the believers to life worthy of their citizenship.
As Christians, we are citizens not of our country but of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are strangers in this land. Our conduct should be worthy of the Kingdom and the King that we follow...King Jesus. The authenticity of our faith is not found in how many Christian CD's we own; how many books we read; or whether or not we come to church. The real measure of the heart change that only Christ can bring is the way we live.
Are we still walking like an Egyptian...or are we walking like Christ....
...oh weh oh...walk like a Christian

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Humility of...ME!

I have been introduced to Facebook. I am now a statistic.

I am sure the novelty will run out soon, but it is actually sort of interesting to see and hear from people from your past that you wondered what happened to or ...gulp...forgot about.

I am reminded as I see names of people from the bad of a friend I really am. You see, a good friend wouldn't forget names and faces...a good friend wouldn't lose contact so quickly....a good friend would rejoice with those friends when they rejoiced..and cried when they cried. After all these friends aren't just high school buds, they are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family.

I see pictures of me and...laugh...laugh at how I used to be...laugh at how I still look a lot like that today...

I was reminded of nearly catching the Chi-Chi's restaurant on my sweater went up in flames. I am reminded of being selfish to my friends...not putting them first, but me...I am humbled because as much as I loved those years...I am somewhat embarrassed as I look back today and how bad of a friend I was then...and yet by God's grace those people still called me a friend.

Friendship like that points me to Christ. An imperfect, sinful guy, who is immensely selfish...doesn't deserve a friend...much less the greatest FRIEND ever...

God never ceases to take me from my most proud moments to my most humblest, no doubt each time to direct me to Christ...Thank you Jesus for being my friend...and for giving me friends that point me to you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For the Love of God...Love the Church

Do you love God? I would imagine most of us would say YES.
Do you love Jesus? Of course, because he first loved me.
Do you love the Church? The building or the people....the building is nice...but the people get on my nerves...they are hypocrites...they are sinners...

Perhaps you have heard something like that...Perhaps you have said something like that.

In Philippians, the Apostle Paul spends so much time making a connection between love of Christ, the Gospel and our love for the brothers and sisters in Christ around us. Paul loved the church so much and was so concerned about their spiritual maturity that he would joyfully be willing to not go to heaven to be with his Savior. Wow. What love. He would rather remain for them. That does not sound like mere toleration. That is deep godly affection and love.

The place where we live out our love for Jesus is by loving the least of his brothers...Where else will you find the brothers of Christ than in the church. Get yourself connected to a local body. Live out the commands of scripture to "... one-another" the body.

If you love God you will obey His commands. And He commands you to love his church.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Anchor Holds...but not so firmly

Ray Boltz, in a recent article, wanted to tell the Christian community that he was in

The article, while mostly disturbing and unfortunate, makes some very interesting statements and observations about the text of scripture. In fact, whether intentionally or inadvertently, the scripture that Ray Boltz reads does not have much authority or certainty in it at all.

He doesn’t want to get into debates about scripture and has no plans to “go into First Baptist or an Assembly of God church and run in there and say, ‘I’m gay and you need to love me anyway.’”For him, the decision to come out is much more personal.“This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”

With scriptural logic and interpretation like that we run into all kinds of problems. Aren't some people made and have desires that lead to murder. I guess that would be ok since they have "desires" like that and God certainly wouldn't send them to hell if that is how they were created. What about someone who can help cheating on his or her spouse. Is it no longer sin because they can't help it because they have been made that way. Osama Bin Laden must be saying Amen in some cave in Afghanistan.

Living in sin never leads to a closer relationship with God. In fact, sin always leads to separation. We were created in Sin, those who inherited Adam's sin nature. But God is not concerned with letting us live out who we are or think we are. He is more concerned with seeing us image His Son. That is what God created us to be. Our sin prevents us from imaging our creator as we ought to. We need a new birth, something that will change us from the inside out. We need redemption from our sins and the Holy Spirit to conform us to Christ likeness.

God's word is clear and when our life does not line up with scripture, it is not scripture that needs to be changed but us.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Anti Brady Bunch

Last weekend, when the Patriots battled the Chiefs most people thought the game would be another boring blow out. And then...the scream...New Englanders held their collective breath...and the rest of the NFL world...well....they cheered. They celebrated...they rejoiced...

Brady, we are told, will be out for the year with a knee injury. There was a sense in which most people were very happy of the events that left Brady in pain. There was a sense of glee as he clutched his leg. In fact, some might have even been...(gulp)...praying for such a thing.

The Apostle Paul faced a similar response when he found himself in Jail. He wrote to the Philippians that some had been preaching the Gospel out of Rivalry and were no doubt a little happy when the prominent apostle meet his match in a Roman jail.

As Christians we aren't to find joy in the pain, trials and suffering in the lives of others, especially those who are fellow citizens of the Kingdom with us. We don't laugh and celebrate when our brothers and sisters in Christ face great pain and trial. That kind of response is anti-Christ. The Bible says that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. And all along our concern is to be whether or not the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going forth.

How can you support and undertake those who around you who are facing trials?

How can you encourage those who are facing great challenges?

How can you pray for those who are in tears over their life?

How can you show Christ to those who badly need Him?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Are You A "Lone Stranger" at your Church?

Have you grown tired of all the politics? I watched a lot of both conventions and found myself tired of hearing the same old things, the same old rhetoric, and the same old promises. Then something caught my ear. John McCain, in his acceptance speech at the RNC, said perhaps the most thought provoking thing thus far. Not because of its political ramifications but because of its Biblical ramifications.

Here is what he said:

On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam. I had not any worry I would not come back safe and sound. I thought I was tougher than anyone. I was pretty independent then, too. I liked to bend a few rules, and pick a few fights for the fun of it. But I did it for my own pleasure; my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause more important than me.

Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I was dumped in a dark cell, and left to die. I didn’t feel so tough anymore. When they discovered my father was an admiral, they took me to a hospital. They couldn’t set my bones properly, so they just slapped a cast on me. When I didn’t get better, and was down to about a hundred pounds, they put me in a cell with two other Americans. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence. Those men saved my life.

We are all inherently selfish people. We think that all we need is ourselves. But God knows our most deepest needs. We need someone to reconcile us to God. No amount of selfish pursuits can ever fix that problem. God has sent His Son Jesus to die as our substitute and to make us like Him. He also knows that we need people...relationships that will be part of the sanctification process. The "relationship" that He has given us is the church...the body of Christ.

Begin to learn the limits of your selfish of your selfish independence. Turn to Jesus. Trust in God's faithfulness and promises. Unite yourself with the body of Christ. Love the Church. And as you do, you will learn that you are also loving Christ.

The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)