Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Challenge

Hi church leaders and Pastors,

Please consider adding us and or our ministry to your churches missionary prayer and or support roster... we are currently training over 20,000 pastors and equipping many, many more and we are in great need! We need your partnership to continue our efforts to receive what Christ gives by His work empowering our work for His glory.

We are in a bit of a bind and need some help.

Some concerned friends and board members urged me to share this with you…As you know, we do not ask for money, but now we feel we need to…So, I am not soliciting, rather sharing the situation we are in…

The good news is, our ministry, Into Thy Word and our affiliates are doing great! Even with our funding woes and many partners like Gospel Communications closing their doors, we are continuing. This is because of you, thank-you! We in fact had a fantastic ministry year. We held three fundraising banquets for our thirtieth, launched a new popular blog and a website that is becoming a significant force for the church the world over (, our overseas work is exploding, just to name a couple of things. I sit back and I am utterly amazed on what God is doing and the people that are connected with us. It is very humbling and yet daunting.

So this leaves us with a challenge, more here:

Be Blessed!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Immanuel God is with Us

Matthew 1: 18-25

Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus is of One who is different from any human being who ever has or ever will exist. A person is normally conceived by two human parents who are born in sin and without divine intervention. Christ was not just born; He came into our world as a man—as a baby, no less! He was brought into this world as any baby would be, with the extreme exception that Mary did not have normal sexual relations to conceive Him! Jesus was conceived by the Spirit, He was pre-existent, and He was sinless. He has the title and name of Immanuel, meaning "God with us,” inferring that He is our salvation. For us, this means that Jesus is with us, because as God, He was, and is able to take our sins upon Himself and appease God's wrath because of our sin. He is "God with us,” because He walked, lived, worked, and existed in all aspects as any human ever has. He became identified as one of us while still remaining God, the Creator of us! Jesus is both God and man; He is not a hybrid like Hercules, nor a percentage of one over the other; He is fully God and fully human. He was birthed into history and into this world, yet, He was not from it!

This passage is also about the humanity and struggles of Jesus' human mother and adoptive father. A scandalous beginning and great struggle for a new marriage and family, it fulfilled prophecy even while countering cultural ideals. Mary was dealing with personal shame and at the same time the wonders of giving birth—the birth of our Lord, no less. Joseph was dealing with family and cultural dishonor, but decided to obey God and trust in Him, not his cultural peer pressure. This passage is also a picture of how God provides us with opportunities and situations to better ourselves, but we may not see them because we are either not looking or we are so consumed by our past experiences, expectations, or hurts that we refuse to look or strive.

Jesus is Transcendent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent. Although He is Sovereign, at the same time, He tells us that He is Immanuel, which means "God is with us." Name is also His nature; God is with us, for He is God indeed! Jesus was born into the world, yet was not from it. That is, He did not come from it (since He created it), nor is He corrupted by it, lest He be corrupted by sin. Jesus Christ is God incarnate!

Jesus must also be born/formed into you (John 3:7; Gal. 2:20; 4:19)! Have you allowed Jesus into all aspects of your life? Are you surrendered and poured out to be His Bethlehem? For Him to be in you, you must yield all of your rights and will to Him! Then Christ can use you to "form” others around you. We cannot do the work of God unless we are the people of God, as Christ is formed in us!

This describes God in the most powerful and profound language the Jews have and/or that we have: God, THE God who walks besides us and holds us, what is better than that! His name, Immanuel, is also His attribute and nature, for He is God and is fully able to save us by substituting Himself in our place, living a sinless life, and taking God's wrath upon Himself so we would not be lost forever. He is a God who indeed carries us through both the trials of life and through our jubilations, too (Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 24:7-8; Prov. 1; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1-3,14; 4:9-10; 8:56-59; 17:5; Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:17-18).

In Matthew 22: 42, Jesus asks "Who do you say I am?” is answer to us is Immanuel which also means that Christ was birthed in history; by so doing, He must also be birthed into you and evident in you! His Immanuel means He is touching you, discipling you so He is fully engaged in your heart and mind, and so He is Supreme in you, too. Your transformation and Fruit are the evidences of Christ carrying you.

For Him to carry you, He must be evident in you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The King has Come!

Matthew 1:1-17

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ that births our King! Jesus is the One whom all of humanity needed and longed for, who all of Judaism expected and the Scriptures pointed to, and this is the proof.

Joy to the world, let us receive our King!

Matthew starts his gospel with a seemingly dry and boring discourse to which we may say, "What's up with this string of names?” We do not even give a thought or a glance to what personal or ecclesiastical benefit can be had here or what spiritual insight can be gleaned. However, this is a list of people—people like us who testify to how God works through the ages, through various people and through circumstances. This even tells us how God redeems and works with and through not only the people we may expect Him to, but also the unlikely people we would perhaps never consider as worthy. Jesus comes from an incredible line of diverse people, such as Patriarchs and kings whom we might expect; in addition, listed beside Him are righteous people as well as those who were improbable, dubious, and even wicked, such as captives, the obscure, and the insignificant—even traders, prisoners, adulterers, murderers, and harlots.

Matthew 1:1-17 is a pedigree seemingly unfit for a champion K-9, yet fit for the Ultimate LORD, Savior, and King of the Universe. It is a testimony and a testament of how God keeps His great promises, and shows Christ's right to the Kingship of the world through the lineage of David. Jesus is the King! And, the King has arrived! He is birthed, humble and supernatural. Spurgeon gives this passage and Book of Matthew the title, "The King Has Come,” to which we must respond, my God and my King! This is the anticipation from the very beginnings of God's introduction into humanity, through Adam and Eve's failure and sin, and God's promises to bring redemption through their descendants—a Savior to save us from our fall into sin. Here is that list (Gen. 3).

What can we learn today from an obscure list of ancient names, of which only a few may be familiar? These names are all born of promise and purpose, with mixed character and maturity, who struggled with carnality and life. None of these people were perfect; even David was an adulterer and murderer. All of them made both good and bad decisions, struggling with following their own will or being surrendered over to God. Some glorified God and some lived to themselves, just as we do personally and collectively as people today. Even Christian leaders and pastors have the same standards and call to be of faith and to obey. God works it all out for His glory as stated in Romans, chapter eight. God is indeed a friend to all who will call Him Lord. He is a friend to sinners, the obscure, the poor, and the friendless—His hand is always reaching out. Perhaps, this passage is a small glance into the mystery and wonder of God's Grace and incarnation, and how He intercedes and loves. It all points us to Christ, the One who saved us and the One whom we worship and trust as Lord over all—with our lives too!

Take this key point to heart and into the streets of your life: God is the God of promises. God made promises, and God keeps His promises! This means for you too! We all have hope beyond all hope, reason, and purpose! We have faith that is deeper and wider than we could ever imagine, a gift that we did not earn or deserve. Jesus the King, who was also the son of David and the son of Abraham, fulfilled that promise and demonstrated this faith! In addition, when you accepted Him, you became part of the promise and faith fulfilled.
Faith is not inherited! We cannot get it from our parents or our church, even though our lineage may be passed down for generations. Faith is personal and relational to Christ for each individual person who is in community with the Church, and it is to be real! As parents, we are responsible for bringing our children up in His light and character, but we are also responsible for receiving His grace and modeling His faith!

• We can have the faith and confidence that God does keep His word!

• We can trust Him with all of our needs, worries, and problems, even if we do not understand what God is doing!

• God transcends time. Therefore, when we are going though trials and tribulations, He is there—before, during, and after—carrying us through! Likewise, we can emulate Christ by keeping our promises to our faith, and our behaviors toward others around us!
• We are reminded of God's mercy!

Jesus is the ultimate humbler; He humbled Himself by taking on the likeness of a mere man; He was still also fully God when He came to this earth. He is God, Messiah, the Lord who was foretold and who has come, our Lord, our Savior and the King (Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:9-18)!

More here:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Is there Fraud in your Church?

Look at John 7:1-24, see how the crowd and the leaders reacted to the Truth of our Lord. Now how do we react to this Truth? How is it practiced in our quite times and then taught in our churches?

Jesus was avoiding the pious, fraudulent, Jewish leaders who were seeking to kill him, so He could focus on training His Disciples. Then He goes to a Feast and challenges the people and leadership: Then Jesus told them, I do not teach you my ideas and doctrine; rather plainly state what God, who sent me, tells me to say. If you are doing the will of God, then you should know I am for real. If not, you just want praise for yourself and do not care about Truth; therefore, all of you are disobeying God and His precepts. Why are you trying to kill me? This caused the crowd to react negatively, saying he was demon possessed, as they sought to please their leaders. Jesus defended His actions and chastised their lack of faith, false teachings, and character.

How would they receive God’s great news? Would it be with contempt, a fear of conviction, or an acceptance by faith? What about us, what about you? How will His Truth lead you and your church?

Usually, real true Truth is met by our “Whispering” the seeking of one’s own view first and disregards the purpose and veracity of God’s Word and precepts. This is also the formula for power plays in the church. People want their way, their vision, and their direction and issues placed first; these all converge into conflict as each one’s will is put to the test against another’s. Ironically, each may think he/she is doing the right thing, but in fact, the more likely result is dysfunction and missing the point of worship and church. In so doing, self-will placed first will prevent one from truly seeking how to honor Christ, which is what Church is supposed to be about.

This is also a form of our lack of faith, even unbelief! Unbelief, for the Christian may not be a disbelief in Christ and what He did, but a lack to acknowledge His call or Will. This is usually a symptom of a deeper issue like a refusal to give up one’s will and mindset, or a person who likes to be in control and thus will not acknowledge the One who really is in control. People, even us Christian leaders and pastors do not want conviction or to be moved from our complacency. Jesus’ mission for His children is for us to move our rears off the pew, to get us to stop hiding behind the pulpit and into the engagement of life, faith, and reason. He calls the non-Christian to know and trust Him. He then calls the Christian to grow deeper in Him, and lead others with conviction and confidence so that our daily schedules and mindsets display Him, so our churches will do too. If we do not know and teach the Truth of Christ from His Word and instead proselytize our own truth and vision, we commit fraud! Teaching real true Truth and living it out is how we must lead our faith, families and fellowship! If not, we are the pious frauds and make the Pharisees, fair as it seems!

Questions to Ponder

1. How do you see pastors today promoting God? How should they?

2. What happens when church leaders spend their energies on prompting themselves for pride sake?

3. How can your church better convince and model to its people the seeking of truth as opposed to self-seeking?

4. What happens when Christian leaders do not care about truth?

5. What should a church do if her leaders or pastor wanted praise for themselves? How does this dishonor our Lord? What can you and your church do about this?