Monday, July 28, 2008

Why do many Christians fear or avoid discipline?

Why is discipline seen as a negative or as punishment for being disobedient?

How have you seen it and why?

Read Hebrews chapter 12,

A paraphrase, Discipline is our catalog or database for what God is doing and what He can do in our lives. It is a vehicle to the quality and result of our spiritual formation. This is not about being punished for being disobedient; rather, it is a call to be trained like an athlete being made ready for the game or as a child receiving nurture and correction to be a better person and to prepare for adulthood as a person and Christian. We can’t enter the race of life and faith without preparation through diligence, obedience, and submission. This is something we are to embrace and love, not fear or try to get out of. Our goal is to know and then serve Christ; it takes honest, hard work. Remember that God nurtures and encourages us and we should also welcome His discipline, for that helps us too. Just as a loving parent corrects a child and helps him or her on the path for betterment and future, so God does with us. Even though we do not like the discipline, it is best for us. Therefore, we have no reason to feel discouraged; rather, we can endure for His glory. So get a grip on life and faith—with your main grip on Christ as Lord. He will help you go in the right way—His way—and not flounder.

A key word,

Discipline. Means moral instruction, not corporal punishment. Here, it means education and the learning we gain by corrective and instructive training to know and grow. This comes from Christ and from what we have before us, as we partake of His Word so we can contextualize it to our lives to grow and mature. God’s discipline is always temporary to get us lined up to what is important. If he did not do this, we would certainly fall into a worse situation. God’s good discipline is always done in love; to those who are wicked and refuse to repent, the discipline is severe and eternal.

This is a warning about slacking off and not putting in the effort to do what God has called or what is right. This is apathy and laziness and God hates this attitude of I don't care! It shows that we care nothing about others, ministry, spiritual growth, or what God wants of us. It is the misconception or misapplication of the magnitude of His incredible gifts and His grace to us. And, as a result, we become lukewarm, disinterested, and non-committal! This is not about rest and vacations or taking a break. This is a life of purposeless and laziness that leads to rebellion and produces no faith, fruit, or righteousness (Isa. 13:7; 35:3-4; Jer. 47:3; 50:43; Ezek. 7: 17; 21:7; Hosea 13:6; Zeph. 3:16; Matt. 13:25-26; Rom. 13; Eph. 1:13-14; Heb. 3:13; James 5:11-20; 1 John 4: 7-8; Rev. 3:1-6; 14-18).

What does it mean to you that you are not alone in this journey of faith and life?

How can you better welcome both God’s nurture and discipline?

What do you need to do better in regard to your honest, hard work of faith and discipline?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is your Church Relational?

The bottom line is this; do you want your church healthy?

Then it is essential that we know that building healthy relationships is essential and vital and what our Church is here on earth is all about. First, developing and encouraging a personal relationship with Christ as Savior and Lord, teaching His precepts in an uncompromised Way and leading others to Him by our word and example through His Word, Example and Spirit. Then we will be able to get our relationship with ourselves as leaders healthy first, and then being able to commune with those around us with His Fruit. When we realize how important spiritual maturity on our part is as well as our relationships are and taking to heart that Jesus is there loving, equipping and empowering us, then we are able to carry on as He has called to those in our care. Subsequently, we can lead because we will be able to see where we need to go with Christ first. We can do this with wonder, confidence and without fear, even when we are not sure of the way, because we have His Way as a map with which to navigate our churches to righteousness and holiness. God knows the way. With His map in hand, we no longer see our relationships and path as mysterious or foreboding—if we choose to use the map God gives us and not the one we make for ourselves, or the cheap one with all the wrong directions we get from the world or some faulty trend. The map we are inclined to use in our harsh world is the map we make for ourselves from the ink of how we are treated by others or what we want from our desires, each will lead us in the wrong direction. But, God wants us to use His map from His Truth to lead our churches in His, right direction (Ezekiel 43:7-9; 48:35; John 8:34; 14:2, 23; 15; Colossians 1:24).

For more:

Why is this important?

Monday, July 07, 2008

What About the Rapture?

Rapture: Friend or Foe?

After a lot of careful, biblical, exegetical digging and research, I found out the scary story. The Rapture had gone from a campy hook used by evangelists to grab people’s attention to the Gospel to it perhaps becoming a threat to the Church. So many false teachers are gaining so much ground on this and inflecting their misguided influence upon average church members as well as prominent ministers of the Word. Too many people are being duped into false Eschatology, while real, biblical Eschatology is ignored. This has resulted in the local church having a skewed mentality, majoring on the minors and ignoring the majors.

I have found that a lot of Bible teachers on this subject have no credibility and/or ignore the very teaching of our Lord! They just quote others as fact and do not do the research or else they make grandiose statements without concern for the integrity of the Word. Many on this subject lift themselves up, saying they have a new teaching, when God’s Word remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! By the way; this is how it all started. While we start coming up with new doctrines not found in the Bible, there has come an assault from the academic world. The Bible has been at siege since the 19th century liberal moment, and now the siege is coming from inside the church, from ignoring truth and common sense in reading the text and seeing the clear meaning in its context. We must deal with attacks from the secular world, but I believe we should not have to deal with it from within.

So, let me lay this out for you: all you have to do, if you are honest and you know how to read is to read the Scriptures, pray, and see for yourself:

If you disagree with me on this subject, we are still friends. I suspect this will be controversial. But as brothers and sisters in Christ, we can agree to disagree on these minors; let’s focus on the majors such as sharing the gospel and building up our faith. By the way, I will not respond to any emails or letters on this; I do not have the time. I have laid out my thoughts, references, and arguments in the best way I can. You can post your thoughts here on my blog, where I will read them. But my answer is this to any replies: Just got to the Word and remember context, context, and context; and it helps to look up words we may not understand.

be blessed!