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Archive for April, 2008

Rapture?

Take a look at these videos posted HERE.

I have been wrestling with this view for some time now. At my church when I mention Rapture or Dispensationlism they laugh. I must admit I am beginning to see why. Don’t hold me to a position yet but check out this video. I am always amazed out how truth can seem to be blurred with our presuppositions or what we previously were taught. God bless

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I am currently working through the book of Numbers (I have to go back sometimes because I missed something the day before) for some time now. I am doing it in conjunction with our church going through the Book of Exodus which is a lovely book and is quickly becoming one of my favorites as it is one of the easiest to practice typology on. As I have studied one things becomes blatantly obvious. Israel complains a lot. Thus the focus of this short exhortation.

We see the people fed by God, guided by God and protected by God. Israel’s response to this special work of God? Complain! They complain because they have no meat, they complain when they  are thirsty, they complain when the opposition looks undefeatable (word?), Miriam complains about Moses authority, Israel complains about Moses authority, Korah complains about Moses authority and then the people complain about the Lord’s judgment of Korah and his family (don’t think sin doesn’t effect your entire family or church Numbers contradicts that at least 20 times).

What is funny about this is that Moses is only an outlet. Reading Exodus and Numbers together is quite a blessing as you see them say in Exodus 20 Israel says “all that you say we will do” and the outworking of this Covenant (which they agreed to) is complaining and rejecting the very things they agreed to do. I am blown away by the fact that their beef isn’t with Moses and Aaron, though they are the visible scapegoats, no they are complaining against YAHWEH Himself!

So what we see is God delivers them from bondage (which they cried to Him) saves them by venue of the Red Sea, becomes personal with them and gives His Law, promises to take them in the land flowing with Milk and Honey, gives them daily provision (they are fed by the hand of God), promises to conquer all of their enemies and they say “I would rather be in oppression to Egypt”. Thank God for Moses who consistently show us a picture of Christ by interceding and making atonement for the people instead of stepping aside and letting God pour out His wrath on a stiff-neck people.

Whats funny about this is Paul uses these events to warn the Corinthians about testing not YAHWEH but Christ (Trinity defense anyone?). Here is what he says:

10:1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

You see this was not a complaint against Moses and Aaron but this was a complaint against Jesus which in all fairness was a rejection of Jesus Christ who was the cloud, the pillar of fire, the bread, and the rock from which the water flowed from. So what does that say to our complaining? Before I answer that let me provide a short verse.

 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

This verse is found in Philippians 2 and it really begins in verse 12 which contains the “therefore” the therefore is an explanation of the verses that proceed which starts verse 4-11 which is Christ’s humility in His incarnation (entering the physical world). So back to the question; what does our complaining exhibit?

1. It is a rejection of Christ. As He gives us what we don’t deserve (eternal life) and withholds what we do (eternal damnation) when we complain about any circumstance we find ourselves saying “Christ you haven’t done enough”

2. It is a distrust of the Sovereign Lord. God promises that “all things work to our good”. When we complain it tells God “you are a liar” and haven’t come through on your promises. Thus this sound similar to Exodus through Joshua and the people of Israel?

3. It tells God “hey you don’t know what you are doing”. This compromises God’s attributes on every level. If God saved us to walk in the good works that He created us in (Ephesians 2:1-10) then wherever we find ourselves God places us there. Sort of what Paul was conveying in Acts 17 when he says “He has set the boundaries”!

4. It tells the listener God isn’t faithful and He shouldn’t be trusted. As the sojourner walked with Israel and they complained what would they say about Israel’s God? Not only that Israel was saved out of Egypt to testify of His goodness and in response they complained. We too are saved to be Salt and Light to God’s ambassadors as we complain it taints the faithfulness of God and thus compromises His greatness. One thing that God is serious about is His “name”. He says “my name will be great amongst the nations” Israel and we (when we complain) are defaming His great name.

5. Finally it compromises Christ work on the Cross. As they complained they rejected their Messiah and as we complain we reject our only hope. If we find ourselves consistently complaining we must ask ourselves “am I trusting in the finish work of Christ” or in other words “am I really a Christian”? This is where self examination begins.

In closing if we too test the Lord as a consistent pattern of behavior and find ourselves murmurring and complaining as did the nonbelieveing Israelites we too must ask am I truely regenerate. We can’t shake our fist at our soverign King (regardless of the Hardships, remember Job’s statement) and truely say we trust Him. Entering the physical promise land is a picture of Salvation and those who complained about possessing didn’t enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 4) we too must trust God to enter into His rest and if we see ourselves mirroring Israel in distrust and complaining we have to say “do I desire to enter His true rest which is found in Christ Jesus”.

 

 

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biggie

In a culture of all different types of Pseudo-Christian people who whole heartily deceive themselves into thinking they are the real thing we have to be extra cautious to separate ourselves from this infectious deception. Similar to the picture listed above many church go-ers have a wicked heart and mouth to match but consider themselves “BORN AGAIN” and Christian. I owe my all to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because He and He alone rescued me from this subtle deception. As we delve into the reality of our condition from a Biblical perspective; please dig into the reality of the depths we have in Christ and search your heart to see if you belong to the Good Shepherd.

I deal with people daily on the job, within my family, and in my every day dealings. They say they are Christians but their lifestyle says something totally contrary to their profession. What is a Pseudo-Christian and do you know any of them or are you that one I am speaking about? A Pseudo-Christian is a individual who follows the beliefs of the Christian church but fails to apply them in his or her daily actions. Also can be defined as one who sincerely believes he or she is Christian and even has a level of “righteousness” in their actions but is really motivated by their own selfish interpretation of the Holy scriptures. The selfishness is deep rooted and they honestly don’t see it. Christianity is more than a profession and this is clearly seen in scripture. Many hold to Romans 10:9 as the true conversion but simply this is just one of the many first steps.

Matthew 12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

My heart sinks when I think of the reality of an eternal Hell in which the worm does not die and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth not for an age but forever. This should partly be our motivation and as we see in the scriptures Christ spoke more of Hell than He did Heaven. Heaven and Hell; we have never seen anything like it in this age. We are in this discombobulated world and we can maybe catch a glimpse of Heaven when we see a sunrise or sunset but regularly all we see are the effects of sin. I see Christians always talking about Heaven and no-one talks about judgment. Talking about getting crowns of glory but no-one mentioning condemnation for the wicked. Can you imagine Noah in his day warning the people about the coming judgment in which no-one had ever witnessed before. Do we not have the same task that he had but only with more tools and proof upon proof? Christ is coming back one day to separate His sheep from the goats and we have the foreknowledge of this truth that has been written for us in His Word.

Why then, do we call out names and give warnings about the false teachings? Well the answer is two-fold.

1) We are following our forefathers going back to Deuteronomy 13 and 18 in which Moses wrote and also the Apostles teaching that we have in the New Covenant.

2) We embody the love of Christ. In the Bible we always see love accompanied with truth (John 17), they go hand and hand like peanut butter and jelly, Joel Osteen and bad preaching, Creflo Dollar and prosperity, TD Jakes and emotion, or Rick Warren and ecumenicalism. Look at the intro in the book of Jude the brother of Jesus the Christ.

Jude 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude wanted to just write about the joys we have in Christ but because of the culture they were in he had to warn them about this false teaching. Why? If he did not warn them about the heresy; could he have really said he loved them? Of course not just like if you had a friend who was driving to his demise off of a cliff you would in the same way tell him urgently about his forthcoming disaster. How much more should we feel about souls that will spend an eternity in Hell? I would like for you to analyze your faith as Paul emphasized more than once.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.

Let me ask all of the Christians a question. You give birth to a beautiful baby boy and he is the most joyful being in your life. Months and years go by and the baby still remains as adorable as he was when he was born but you see a major problem. The problem is he is not growing at all even though he eats like normal and has no apparent health problems. What do you do? I would hope that you would take him to get checked out to see if he is OK. So why will you not do the same thing for your professing only Christian(not really) brother or sister? Would you be worried about what they would think of you? Or maybe you might offend them. No of course not!! You see you are propelled by your love for them and should be even more when it comes to eternal affairs.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

You see salvation is a progressive thing. Yes we are saved once and once only but Christ chastens those he loves as the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 12:5-6 until the perfect comes again. In our journey as a Christian we are to daily strive for the likeness of Christ.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

I ask you again, “Do you know Him and does He know you?” Do not take the grace of our God fro granted or use it as a license to sin. The Truth the Bible has conveyed leaves us without an excuse and we will stand one day before a Righteous, Holy, and Infinite God and be either commended for trusting Jesus for the only acceptable propitiation or be indicted for our wickedness. I leave you with this passage from 2 Peter 3, but answer he question “Do you know Him and does He know you?”

2 Peter 3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

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Above is a picture of my youngest son Caleb Christian.  My greatest desire for his life is for him to treasure Christ above all but the outworking of such a desire I find very challenging. Why? Because there are other things that I want for him also but those things are neither bad nor good in and of themselves but can impede the Gospel very easily. Things such as; college education, a nice family, a good paying job are neither bad nor good but can become idols in a blink of an eye.

Then there is safety. But this to can become impeding. Just as I want to protect him from a hot stove, or sticking something in a socket, or falling off a table, or even getting hit by a car from dashing in the street after a ball.  I want to protect him socially and economincally. We are in the suburbs for safety (an illusion of safety anyway) I protect him from certain forms of entertainment or at least the vulgar ones. There are certain family members who he will not stay all night with because of their lifestyles. But in all of these he can mistake suburban life with Christianity like many of our evangelical brothers and sisters. He can mistake morality for Christianity and thus the Gospel will never have an opportunity to take root in his heart. He can mistake a good family for a Godly family and I don’t want that either.

Then there is the challenge of raising him within the context of what we call race. Nationality distinctions are huge in America so this poses another challenge. Back in my pro-black days I read a book called “The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys“. I still think it is as relevant today as it was then. I want to show him Roots, Rosewood, talk about the social injustices but within a Christian framework in which I mean in a redemptive framework. First understanding that slavery, Jim Crow, and the current social and economic injustices are an outworking of Adam’s sin as he is our Federal Representative. That because of sin and a fallen world people engage in all types of wickedness and that through Christ and the Gospel we can continue to shed light and spread salt in this broken world.

As it relates to morality I want to be able to love on sinners as Christ does. There is a great post by my good friend Charles P on dealing with Drug Addicts and loving them in spite of their addiction. I want him to see those who are broken by sin and offer them life changing power of the Good News of Christ. I don’t want him to turn his nose up at the wicked but understand apart from God’s grace he would easily be counted in the number. I want him to understand that Mom and Dad aren’t good enough and that our trust isn’t in our morality but in the work of Christ. But at the same time I don’t want to put him in harms way. There is a thin line and it causes much tension in my life. My eldest son Lionel Jr. Has given in to many of these pressures and some of that can be due to an over exposure by his mom but I don’t know.

Finally I want him to understand the scripture and the meta narrative of redemption through Christ. I don’t want him to be confused by Veggie Tales and nice Moral stories of Noah’s Ark or David and Goliath or Sampson and the Phillistines or the Red Sea, or Jonah. I want him to see God’s judgement on sin in each of these and the way these stories point to the Lord Jesus. I don’t want him to have a Christian baseball team, or a Christian Basketball team, or a special Christian table at school where there is this subculture in which instead of engaging the culture he retreats.

So how is this to be done? By much prayer because the role of a Christian father is difficult and impossible apart from the Holy Spirit giving me a supernatural work of Grace. I want to discipline with Godly motives, I want to love him without making him an idol, I want to expose him without feeding him to the sharks and I want him to love others without becoming humanistic in his theology. So I know I can’t do this and that only by the regenerating work of the Spirit will God do this. I want him to remain a virgin and good grades and not be involved in criminal activity, but only God can provide such guidance and wisdom. I realize that Proverbs are good wisdom and not promises. I also understand my responsibility in all of these things and that’s what is scary.

So I ask for prayers for both of my sons Lionel and Caleb. I pray that I will raise a man who is conscience of his ethnicity while simultaneously not allowing it to have any bearing on his Christianity, knowing that there is no Jew nor Greek but also realizing that John saw people of all nations worshipping the Lamb. I want to raise a moral man with integrity but not one who has mistaken it for genuine conversion. Finally I want to raise a man who believes in the power of the Gospel that causes him to love his wife, neighbor and his world while not allowing them to infringe upon the proclamation of the Gospel. So I covet your prayers as this is one of many things that keep me up late at night.

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This is a post for Kieth Talbot over at In Submission to Sovereignty. A good brother in the Lord out of Hotlanta. I thought about this and would love to dialogue more about it. The question is “do we really believe that God could save the false prophet? Our answer should be yes. I once said we shouldn’t pray for them and after applying my head knowledge (theology) to my heart (the Regenerated heart the seedbed of emotions where theology is applied to make actions) I had to say God saves bad people throughout history including myself. I am pretty sure those who saw me as a teenager prayed for God’s mercy on me while I destroyed their neighborhoods by ambitiously engaging in the entrepreneurship endeavor of the Dope Game. I appreciate their prayers and intercession for me so in light of God’s mercy I too shall pray for the “worst” (how highly we think of ourselves) of men. Who knows as Kieth says “it could happen”

 

Renouncing Their Pimp Card

Here’s one for the readers. I often wonder, of all the “Pulpit Pimps” out there, who is the most likely to see the light? Which of them is most likely to recant their false teachings, forsake their vast fortunes and start preaching the Gospel?

I realize this is the height of wishful thinking; but let us not forget that God called a former persecutor of the church and made him the Apostle to the gentiles and author of two-thirds of the New Testament. The bottom-line is . . . no one is beyond the power of God to redeem. NOBODY.

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I have been waiting for this day for awhile (mostly so I can visit his blog after a sermon and rake him over th coals LOL). Dhati Lewis my current pastor but near future pastor of Issachar Fellowship (I love the name) in Atlanta, GA. The Blog is Thoughts Along the Way and should make for a good read though Dhati claims he is not much of a writer. Pastor Lewis has been influential in my life these last 3 plus years I have known him though this has been done mostly through the pulpit. I want to welcome him (finally) to the blog world and hope to interact with him soon. Here are so things to be aware of.

1. He is a Lakers fan and because of this he shouldn’t be anywhere near this blog.

2. A famous quote that always sticks with me is this: “Love God, Love your neighbor as yourself and then do anything you want to do”

3. He is a beast athletically but can’t stop my low post game!

4. 24 is his favorite show so if you are a terrorist be very afraid

5. I think the Lord through him has created the most bangin’ college ministry the world has seen and it goes by the name of Plumbline

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