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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making Disciples, Pt. 1 by Ed Stetzer

This video link is mainly for my friends at the ABC group but I encourage you all to watch it. It is a two part video. Scroll down to find part Two. Ed Stetzer is going to help leaders see their errors in motivating the body of Christ in living a "missional life". Good stuff. It is worth it for you to invest ten minutes to watch this.

Thanks for watching, part two is below. The Lord bless you all.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come - Reidhead

This is an INCREDIBLY moving clip. Please take the time to view it. What Mr. Reidhead Illustrates in this can change your life. Plus it is a wonderful story.

I want to take just a moment and teach on Expiation. “A moment on expi-whaty,” you may say. Read on, you may be learning a new thing and it may set you free.
If the Church in America could understand this one thing, then all of the “self help”, “self esteem”, “self actuating” books that make it to the “Best Seller” list could be burned and the redeemed could instead begin spending our money on the poor and the needy and the gospel.
Christ bought us, to set us free.
He's already FULLY paid the price of your deliverance from His punishment.
Let’s first define the word EXPIATION, or to expiate by looking at what it is NOT. There are many groups out there that are taught that they must expiate their own sins. That means, that in some way or another they believe that they are to pay and work and do and suffer et al for their own sins or God will punish them until He is satisfied with their sufferings.
First of all, this sort of action does not describe the God of the Bible. The idea of self expiation does not demonstrate Godly righteousness, it surely is not Godly love and it displays no mercy and absolutely no grace and these are all things that we love about God, His compassion towards undeserving man kind. The thought that we can pay for our own sins takes God’s standards and trashes them, it presumes that we are able to first number and account for our sins before we can begin to expiate for them. Poppycock! This would cause the human mind to go insane. Example, if everything that is not of faith is sin (Rm 14:23) then we can have no idea of how frequently we sin against Him.
Secondly, “auto expiation” means that God will accept our flawed, selfish, self soothing works as payment for our selfish, self satisfying sins. Remember, God resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble. We are humans; everything we do has a measure of pride and self satisfaction in it. I honestly believe that no living soul has ever done anything “good” without some measure of self gratification as part of their motives, no soul other than Christ Jesus. God will not accept sin as payment for sin; it just won’t satisfy His righteousness and justice.
Thirdly, it takes the “finished work of the cross” and throws it out. All of those scriptures that tell us that Jesus was offered once for sin, become noting if we must pay for our own sin. It would take   Jesus' final phrase on the cross , “it is finished” and dump it on the ground like it had no meaning. I won’t go into the Greek here because this is already longer that I had expected, but when He said finished, He meant it.
And finally, for this article anyway, self expiation means that Jesus’ death in your place was not enough. It is like saying He didn’t die hard enough. His Blood wasn’t pure enough. The Father didn’t pour out His fiery wrath and indignation on Him hard enough on the cross. That when God the Father made Jesus our sins, some of them leaked out His spear pierced side and there is more for us to pay for. Self expiation says that what Jesus did was not enough for God to be pleased and satisfied. Remember in the video, the man paid twice as much as any other auction at that place to buy this poor woman, and that is supposed to impress us. When, for us, God gave His one and only Son, God made Jesus’ soul an offering for our sins, the Creator of life was given as a payment for you, in comparison the doubled price for that slave woman is nothing.
Let’s now take a look at what Expiation is. This is the Webster’s definition: Expiation, The act of atoning for a crime; the act of making satisfaction for an offense, by which the guilt is done away, and the obligation of the offended person to punish the crime is canceled; atonement; satisfaction.
Did you get that? The obligation of the offended person to punish the crimes is cancelled!
Christ bought us, to set us free.
He's already FULLY paid the full price of your deliverance from His punishment.
We have offended God, we are sin against Him. He, in His long suffering and mercy overlooked the sins of the past, but at the fullness of time He sent His Beloved Son to be the Expiator of all our sins, to completely satisfy any obligation God has to punish us, so now He is gladly obliged to *save us. It is as if, that cup that Jesus prayed to be taken from Him, that when He was on the cross He rejected the sponge of gall and instead He drank down all that was in God’s cup of wrath. As if that cup were a mile wide and five miles deep, yet He drank it down until it was wiped clean and turned on its head.
He was offered up for our offenses and raised up for our justification.
Our guilt is done away with! The guilt of the past, the present and the future, all guilt is gone. And since Jesus is restored to the Father, we are justified, that is a righteous declaration from God about His redeemed people, just as if none of this happened, no sin, no death and no judgment. Sadly that is how many act even in the churches. They “claim” Christ but act like nothing happened. There is little or no fruit of love towards God in their lives. What could this mean?
Notice, I didn’t say that He is gladly obliged to love us, but to *save us. God never changes, if He created something in Love, He will continue to love His creation. He is not obliged to love us, He is perfection and He is love and He will always continue to love every person He has ever made, every one. Even those He rightly punishes for all of eternity in Hell. What a heart ache for God. Even though He has done all of this for mankind, most will reject Him. With all this considered, all He has done for them, there are still many who will never, in this life, bow their knee to Him, as He deserves, even though they will call themselves Christians and call Him Lord, Lord.
Are you deeply in love with Jesus because of what He has done for you? Is He the prevailing thought on your mind through out the day? The command is to love Him with all you have, and that should be easy considering what He has done for you. Recall what the freed slave woman did. How humiliating to bow down and grovel at the feet of this man, yet to her it was a great honor. She had been freed and saved. The debt that she owed was gone. She understood what her future was. she had been a slave before to another vile man who abused her so, and when he couldn’t stand to see her any longer because of the soul torturing guilt he had from what he had done to her, he did all he could do, get rid of her. She, sadly with experience was expecting to be in hell, again, yet when she was set free by the compassion and full payment of another she could only give herself in humbling gratitude. No pride. So many today have come to Jesus on their terms. They have come to Him to get a better life or to get over a difficult hill. Let me tell you and warn you friend, unless you come to Him as one who has been set free from a sure hell and come to Him agreeing to His unconditional surrender on your part, you are most likely holding your own eternity in your own hands. If that is the case, I hope you can feel it burning as you read this because what you are holding is a sure ticket to hell. Repent. Run from your pride. Flee from your self sufficiency! As long as you have it, you don’t have Christ.
Please, do not let modern preaching deceive you, Jesus didn't save you because He saw something special in you, He saved you out of deep, painful pity for you. He saved you in spite of everything “good” you have done; even your good works are a damning thing compared to His Perfections. Our best works are like filthy rags to Him. How would you respond if a sewage covered monster of a man were to see you with mud on your face and then came to you to do a good work and offer you a rotting rag of human blood and bile to clean your face. That is our good works before God, He will not accept them. The Devil has a hand full of lies, and they are good ones. Probably his most used deception is that he doesn’t exist, but second to this is that God will judge our good deeds and bad deeds and do accordingly. It is possibly the most preposterous thought for a person to think that God will weigh our good works against our bad and measure out our punishment or our reward according to the balance of a scale, yet many, even in the churches believe this way. This thought process has no grasp on reality, God’s righteousness or our depravity. This kind of thinking totally circumnavigates the Cross and Jesus died and rose again in vain.
When Jesus was on the cross, it is as if the Father crushed Him so powerfully, that one of the side effects of that explosive tumult of wrath was the destruction of your sins. You see, He did have you on His mind but this monumental event that all of eternity hangs upon was between the Father and the Son. It is not about you, It was and is about the Perfect standard of God being met by the Perfect Son of God in a Perfect manner. A demonstration that was and is so Perfect that it can even atone for a wretch like me.
Christ paid infinitely more for you and me and all who will come to Him than all of us are worth, combined…because of His worth. He didn't see a spark of goodness in you. You were filth compared to Him. He did all of this for His Glory, not yours.
Fall in love with this savior. See yourself as He does. Eternally needy and if redeemed, eternally blessed, forgiven, seated and saved. Know that you have been set free from sin, its punishment and its hold, and if you have truly repented towards God and put your trust in the Savior, Jesus, then know that…
Christ has bought you, to set you free.
With all of this, we should be ecstatic to be
Expended for His glory
Jason Getzin

Saturday, November 27, 2010

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE - Carter Conlon

By the grace of God, may we be those who run into the conflict. In all honesty, there is so much conflict against the gospel and against biblical Christianity and against the biblical Jesus. Yet we, as His people so rarely run head on with the opposition as Jesus did. I ask, are we going with them? If any man loves the world or the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Compare that with Jesus, who at all times beheld the Father, who always did the Father's will. Who when He was reviled, reviled not in return but committed Himself to Him who judges rightly and now compare that with yourself. Are we running from temptation and youthful lusts? Are we running into the battle as Jonathon and his armor bearer did or are we back in the camp with Saul, starving ourselves from the sweet honey and the victory that God has for us when we strive for the victors crown, play by the rules and overcome this world by faith? We, the redeemed have that which overcomes, it is our faith. We, the blood bought saints have the same power dwelling in us that rose Christ from the dead, God's Holy Spirit. We, the transformed have His word as a light to our paths and a lamp unto our feet. We, the Elect have the calling, the direct command from our Savior to Go. There is not a call to retreat. We are told to stand, we are told to go but God takes no pleasure in those who draw back, for those who draw back do not have faith and it is by our faith that we overcome. God is ready to make you an over comer. An over comer, who lives not in the fear of man but in the fear of the Lord. To openly confess Him when given the opportunity, for he who denies Jesus, the same will deny him before His Father. To live a life that is expended to the Glory of God, as our dear Savior did.

We have been so marginalized. The vibrant colors of truth and right and wrong have been so blurred to make everything grey. I personally believe that is one of the lessons we are to learn from Revelation 6. The rider of the white horse is wearing a perishable crown and he comes with a bow and no arrow. He is not coming to make war as we have known it for the last six thousand years of history. This character is not Christ; Jesus will come with a royal diadem, a crown that will not perish in Chapter 19. No this fellow is the peace treaty bringer and he is like the Fabian Socialist. He comes to make war by evolution and not revolution. The bible tells us, “he went out conquering and to conquer.” The Greek word for conquer is “nikao”, like Nike. The word means to subdue. I have an older brother; I know what it feels like to be subdued. Unable to do what you want to do, held back, restrained, but remember he has no arrow. Look it up in your Websters, to subdue can be to remove the spiritual vivacity from someone. I believe this rider and the spirit that is behind him, namely the spirit of Antichrist that John introduces us to is subduing faithful men of God and keeping them from being the valiant men that they desire to be.

It is no wonder that the end times church is described as “Luke warm” and they are vomited out of Jesus’ mouth. They are lukewarm. They are grey. They are subdued by a force that brings them out of the fruit filled realm where Jesus dwells. These one time disciples are drawn away from simply abiding in Him. And this mysterious force that draws them away is none other than love, but it is no longer a love for Christ that exceeds all of their fleshly desires, it is that they have become lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God. They will allow themselves to be marginalized and compromised because they will forsake the first and greatest commandment. Then they will not go and they will not fight. After all, why should they risk their flesh which they love more than they love Jesus?

It ought not to be so brethren. Wake up! Contend for the faith! Be zealous and repent. Let your laughter be turned to sorrow and weep for the somber, selfish state that has over come you. Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded, draw near to God and He will draw near to you. He is our life, He can revive us, He is all that we need.

Now, be broken to pieces and gird up your loins, be broken to pieces and gird up your loins. Do something radical to change your state. Be on fire for Jesus. Not a mad man but a man who is mad at mediocrity. Cry out to Him, "here I am LORD, send me". Abide in Jesus and labor to have His words abide in you. Walk with Him by faith. Put to death the deeds of the flesh and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill it’s lust. Take every thought captive and turn those thoughts to the pure thoughts of Jesus and what He has accomplished for you on Calvary.

Go…..find a place to meet with Jesus, open His word, cry out to Him and I guarantee, He will do the rest.

Be expended to His glory


Friday, November 26, 2010

Go - Pullinger

Jackie Pullinger starts this video by saying "The prinicpal of the gospel is this, The gospel always brings life to the receiver and death to the giver....if the gospel brought death to Jesus Christ why would we think that that in preaching the gospel it would be any less in us"

Powerful words and a true principal. How has God changed you by the gospel? Has He brought you life? What are you doing with it?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I actually made a blog

This is so cool!  I have so much to say and this is a way that I can imagine that others care about what I say!  It has been a while since my last "Evangelism Update" email.  I have been busy.  I hate that excuse because it is the one we all use to not do the excellent things but instead to do the necessary things.  Remember that the excellent is always waiting for you to step into it.  It is as if the wardrobe stands waiting, dusty and alone in a room that you know well yet visit seldom.  You know that if you open the doors and step inside you may find Narnia and again you may just find coats.  Perhaps that is the reason we fail to stop all of the necessary and do the excellent, we fear we won't find Him there.  Let us all be expended in our tasks, redeeming time that we may find ourselves with intention waiting on Him in the quiet place, in the secret place of the Most High God and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.

Evangelism update Oct. 22, 2010

Evangelism at the Pateros football game
We always hope to have listeners to the gospel who are intent, who are focused on the words and are listening as if their heart had ears.  Well that was not the case tonight, but the gospel did go out.  
The hardness of heart that I have been encountering has led me to pen another personal commentary entitled   

Please pray for Pedro, a very nice 25 year old that was up from Wenatchee to watch the Homecoming game at his alma mater.  If anyone deserves to be called a saint it was this guy but his hope for heaven wasn’t fully in Jesus but in his own goodness.
I also attempted to share with a group of twenty something young men who were my best buds until I mentioned Jesus.  This sort of thing breaks my heart.   When young folks blame the deaths of their friends and all of the worlds troubles on Jesus, I wish they knew what He has done for them.  I tried to gently avoid religion and bring it to Jesus but in their intoxicated state they knew better than I did.
Another conversation that ended with “ I know where this is going and I don’t want to talk about it” was with a very fine gentleman named Joe, he was raised in a legalistic Jehovah’s witness home and he used the word hate a couple of times about that experience.  I told him Jesus wasn’t into religion either and to not let the content of this conversation go to waste, that God isn’t about being rule keepers but instead He has waiting for you a wonderful gift of grace.  He dismissed me politely.
One other conversation I had was cut short because of a cell phone and other things the fella had to do.  This guy was as clean cut and spiky haired as I am so I thought we would have a match but he never let his guard down.  Interesting though, in a nut shell, he claimed all of the Christian things we are all supposed to say but he claimed to be a very good person and wasn’t claiming his righteousness came from Jesus and the cross and faith in Him.  I hope, some day I get to meet the pastors who are teaching being a good person and works based salvation and not teaching Christ crucified but doing so under the full on umbrella of Christianity.

Most of them got a gospel track, so when they are ready possibly they will read.

Blessings and good night

Evangelism update Nov. 3 2010

Evangelism update Nov. 3 2010

Thanks again for your prayers.
    The corn feed went well, the corn was great and the conversations were good but I possibly attempted to get too much done around the yard. I really wanted to have it ready and accommodating for our guests.  Or I could just say that I chickened out about sharing my testimony.  I’m not feeling condemned about it, just sharing the truth.  There was just too much going on in serving and visiting for me to prep myself.  I often overstep my abilities and God shows me just how much I need Him.  Remember when Korah in his rebellion said to Moses and Aaron “you take too much upon yourselves” Num. 16, this is probably true of me, I just want to get the gospel out to folks who don’t know Jesus and sometimes there are just too many things involved in it. I will chock it up as a learning experience.  On the bright side the yard is clean and organized and I got to work on some relationships with folks I don’t know too well yet.

Halloween night
    This went well but not without issues.  The family got around the table and filled ziplocks with festive colored paper, gospel tracks and candy to hand out to kids in Chelan.
                  Preparing gospel treat bags

Then on the way to hand out the bags on the street corner in Chelan, poor little Lillie our 5 month old began to throw up, repetativly.  The sweet little gal looked at us like “this is new, is this ok?” We stopped and got everything better and were under way again towards our goal.   Billie waited with Lillie in the car while the big girls and I went out to do the work.

My girls did a great job and all of the tracks were gone in just a short time.  This means that little kids on a sugar high are going to be demanding that mommy or daddy be reading this nice bright colored comic to them which is actually a gospel presentation.  I hope they will hear the truth, both child and adult alike.

Future Evangelism
At this point it looks like I will be at Brewster again for their last home game of the season.  I am kinda excited about this because of the good response to the gospel i had last Friday in Brewster and that there may be some young Christians who would like to join me and and as Paul wrote in Philemon 6, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ”.  The thought of young believers having a full understanding of every good thing that they have in Christ is just as exciting as sharing the Gospel.

Thanks again for your prayers.


Evangelism Update Nov. 5 2010

Evangelism Update Nov. 5 2010   The commentary that goes with this update is 
"Seek and sow, reap and break, till He comes"  it can be found here somwehere

I was tired and didn’t really want to leave the house tonight to evangelize, but since I had “advertised” that I was a gonna, I just had to go.  God of course changed my attitude as I went, kinda like the leapers who Jesus healed as they went.

Again, I was in Brewster as I was last Friday.  It is interesting how folks act the next time they see you after you have shared Jesus with them, almost like conviction is in their hearts.

I ran into lots of teens who remembered me, some waved and others said hi.   They are not at all bothered by the Jesus guy; they often want to talk more.  One young man who I apparently shared with last week began to point out other young men who needed a talking to because they were, as he said, “going down the wrong path”.  I asked him if he had gotten right with God yet, he replied that he hadn’t but he knew he needed to.

A very polite young man named Chase opened up after a little prying.  He was sure he was going to heaven but wasn’t sharing with me where his confidence was.  Of course he was attesting to being a good person so we talked about that for a while until he understood that he wasn’t good compared to Jesus and if Jesus is God’s standard of righteousness, he clearly was in trouble with God.  As we talked he shared that what he had learned had come from the LDS.  I really try not to attack any person’s group or religion; that just builds walls.  We must continue to reveal by the word of God Just how perfect Jesus is and how far we have all fallen short of His perfect example and that there is no amount of “good works” that could ever fix our predicament.  The trouble we have created for ourselves through our autonomy, sin and self will is infinitely depraved compared to Jesus, God’s perfect standard and example.   Often when someone claims to have done good works, I will teach them about Jesus and the way He lived His life; raising the dead, healing the sick, cleansing the leaper and feeding the multitudes by miraculous faith and then remind them that only Jesus has the testimony of God declaring Him to be His only Son.  Once they see that their good works are a vapor compared to Jesus, I often tell them that they will be judged by Jesus’ words (Jn 12:48), like the sermon on the mount and to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, etc..  This usually prepares them to admit that they are in trouble with God and then we can plant some seeds, or possibly water the seed someone else has planted.  As for Chase, we can only pray that it all sink in past the “Other gospel” that has been taught him.
I also had a good long conversation with a great guy named Zach.  He may be saved already but needed some encouragement to leave the world behind.
Thank you all again for your prayers, God seems to be opening doors and I haven’t gotten beat up yet.                                                                             

Seek and sow, reap and break, till He comes

Hosea 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

The second week in a row evangelizing in the same place, it can feel awkward.  People hear what you are saying; they listen in and wonder why you would do this.  They talk about you when you leave but more than that, I believe the Holy Spirit talks to them and that is why they stare.  Do you remember the stories of the prophets of old?  They would walk into a town and the people would get a little uneasy, saying “here comes the prophet of God” or “here comes that one who troubles Israel”.  Now I am not comparing myself to a prophet and the message that we bring is not one of judgment and destruction of our city and the warning of captivity but one of God’s amazing grace.   I also want to say that I am not boasting.  Please don’t think that, I want to encourage and even convict some into sharing their faith more and that is why I write to you tonight.
           The evangelist of today, he is, in a very literal sense an Elijah, attempting to turn the hearts of the people to God.  He is also a Jeremiah or Isaiah, warning that if those whom the message is for do not turn to God, that they will stay in bondage and that destruction does await them.   We are very much an Ezekiel, prophesying to dry bones, to dead men and hoping by faith that God will breathe His Breath into them and open their hearts and make them alive!
           I use the testimony of tonight’s evangelism encounters to illustrate what I believe God desires of His Church.   Young men, not yet believing in Jesus but recognizing that their friends need to hear the gospel too, pointing out the most wayward of the crew, they themselves personally experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit, restraining them from their sins at least for a time.  From a distance, others seeing the “evangelist” who spent time with them the week prior and wanting to learn more about God from him.
           Paul said that one sows and another waters but God brings the increase.     What if you began to water what I had sown, I believe God to be faithful to bring in the increase of a saved soul.
           What if we began to plow and plow and break up the fallow ground of people’s hearts?  What if God’s Bride were to continually sow in righteousness?  Exposing people’s sin and comparing it to Jesus’ perfection.  Teaching people about the perfect righteousness of God, dispelling the myth that if a sinner asks for forgiveness, God must just forgive.  Did that confuse you? 1 john 1:9 is for the Saint, not the sinner, God is just, He doesn’t just forgive, there must be a full payment for the penalty, there must be a full atonement for the sins that have been committed against Him and there must be faith in the one who paid the penalty.
     Reap in mercy, Jude says “And on some have compassion, making a distinction;
but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by
the flesh.”   Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, with great hearts of mercy, sow in
truth and wait for God to reap in His harvest.  Laboring, loving and languishing for the
gospel.  If you want to have a heart of mercy, share the gospel.  God prepares your heart
and makes it yearn for even strangers to come to Him.  True mercy towards man was
born out of the gospel.   Sow in Righteousness and Reap in Mercy.

     Break up fallow ground.  This is the hard work of the gospel preacher.  This is where we must trust the Spirit and swallow our pride.   Yielding God’s commands and probing deep into a person’s heart and exposing to them the rebellious dark sins that they love but that God hates, exposing the sins that are producing wrath for the day of wrath and righteous judgment against them from God.   Why do you think that the moral law, the Ten Commandments has been removed from so many places?  Why do you think that the most popular verse in America is “judge not lest you be judged?”  It is because men love darkness and love to keep their sins deeply hidden in their heart.  But that is not the call from the Bible, we are to use the Law, lawfully, to open every eye and to shut every mouth, to leave every person speechless in their guilt before God.  If we continue to allow antinomianism to be the standard operation of all people a very grievous result will multiply worse than it is today, it will be a destructive, damning loss of love towards God.

Mat 24:12  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

At such a vital time in our nation, we need one thing more and more and that is a love towards God.  Our politicians can’t bring it, unless that is; they begin to preach the gospel.   Yes you can legislate morality; you just can’t get people to obey it.   But if we teach them about God and His love through Christ Jesus and His impossible standard of righteousness and we trust that the Holy Spirit is drawing them to the Son.  Then morality will become a God given desire.  We must break up the fallow ground.

If we are doing this, we will be seeking the Lord.  This can’t be done without first seeking God, waiting on Him and at least attempting to abide in Him.

           Again, what if the Bride of Christ did this; sow and reap and break up and seek until He came.  He will come, five virgins will have oil in their lamps and five will not, but all of them were caught off guard.
     If you and I, and the Christian next door and the one down the street were to all continue on in this.  If we all were to live by this decree…. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2Co 5:14-15
I cannot profess to say I know what God’s plan is for this country, but if His spotless Bride were to; sow and reap and break up and seek until He came I am willing to trust in His ability to accomplish what He promises.  I truly trust that He will rain down righteousness on us.

Joh 12:32  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

Men, women, all of those who are called by the name of Christ:
Be expended to His glory


Where is the Bride?

We so need a move of God’s Holy Spirit.  If you are sharing the gospel with people, you know what I mean, such incredible indifference to the gospel.  So many people have such hardness to the love that God displayed for us in the Cross and a frighteningly high view of their own self righteousness and good works.  In desperation I also cry out as the psalmist, “ Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Psalm 85:6

      I so long for God to send another great awakening to this country, to revive His Church and send Her out into the lives of wayward sinners, to point them to that hill where our dear Savior died.  To paint for them, in full view Golgotha and the cross and the Perfect Son of Glory, the only One in whom the Father was well pleased, point for them to Jesus who has borne the iniquity of us all and after becoming our sins and paying it all in my place, this Jesus raised from the dead.  This means we are not alone in this work dear church, Christ is with us as we go…but where is the Church?
           The Church of Jesus Christ, His spotless and chaste virgin, where is she?  This Bride that has been created from a people who were not a people was created to be His eternal companion and prize.  She is spotless and blameless before Him.  He cannot and will not take His blazing eyes off of her; He esteems her as perfectly precious and beautiful.  Made up of every tongue and tribe and people and nation, she is seated with Him in the Heavenlies and worshipping before the throne as His wonderful trophy of His amazing grace.  I believe we can safely say from the scriptures that the Church is the most dazzling and fantastic of all the institutions that God has created, clothed in His righteousness and as pure as the driven snow.  But where is she?  She was not created by Him to be cloistered away, not yet anyway, that time will come.  But this blood bought beauty was created In Him to be more than a thing to be adored and loved by the God who birthed her; she has been given a commission.  We were, in our own flesh and self, so unsavory, so unworthy, so unattractive, yet for His glory He came down, He paid the price, He shed His blood, He reached down into the mire, He dug deep, past the vileness, the bile the excrement that was my life, and He reached down and found me.  Now He has made me part of this Bride and for this time here on earth He has given us the great commission.
           I write this because of what I see in the news; this world is so very evil.  I rarely take the paper but when I do I am appalled by what I read, this world is so heartless and selfish, and doing such evil, it must just break the heart of our God.  I also write this because of what I see when I go and talk with everyday people on the street.  There are just so many winds of doctrine, so many schisms and isms, so much deceit and so many lies that the enemy has crafted to deceive a person from the truth.  Not only that but the hurt, the anger the pain that people have in them from this world and much of it from some form of religion that takes people for what it can get and spits them out when they have no more time or money to give to their “church” to earn their way to “heaven”.  There is so much hurt and pain and deception.  But here sits the perfect bride of Christ….didn’t He purchase us that we may proclaim the praises of Him who brought us out of darkness and into His marvelous light?  Aren’t we to persuade people and to plead with people to be reconciled to Him?  Take a moment and read second Corinthians 5, verses 10-21 and listen to the tone that Paul cries out in this passage of scripture.
    You see, in one place, Heaven, sits the Bride and in another place sits all of the illness that plagues all of humanity, this world.  What if this Bride were to see that this white gown she wears cannot be tarnished by the mire or the corruption that used to spot and defile her, what if she realized that the Love of Jesus is upon her and in her and that she, the very Bride of Christ,  has the cure for all of the world’s woes and she is called to dive deep into the heart of it and find those who are gasping for life?  The men of the world have tried all of their cures and tactics, all of their politics, potions and plans, but the world will be fuller tomorrow than it is today with sorrows and sinners who are still in need of the cure. Social justice will just re distribute the wealth but there will still be sad, hurting needy people going to bed tonight without hope, without love, without salvation, without Jesus.  Yet the Bride has the cure.  We have the cure!  Christian, let me ask you, when was the last time you wanted to do harm to another?  How about letting money rule your life?  Has Jesus tamed that cruel task master for you?  How many young girls have you solicited?  None!  That is because you are now the Bride of Christ; He has abolished not only sin and death but the vile passions of this world that destroy people.  Abolished, gone, done away with are the wicked passions of the flesh, oh they may still haunt you but to act out on them is a thing of a past life, you have been made free in Jesus.  What about the drug dealer or the pimp?  How about the violent dad who drinks a bit too much and beats his kids?  Oh sure he hates it but still, he does it.  Do you think that the gospel might change their lives?  Well who is gonna tell them?  It will have to be the Bride, you see we have the cure.  What would you think of a pharmaceutical company who had a cure that with just one taste of the serum, millions could be healed but “big pharma” kept it back from those who are ill?  We have the cure, we must begin to live as Christ did, not religious but living a life of dying.  We are the Bride, we are the administers of God’s cure for this world.
But first, I believe we must all be personally revived.  Brought to a place in humility that the only words that can describe why we want to do this are, “the love of Christ constrains me”.  We need to be filled with love and with power to go to the lepers of this world so that Christ might make them clean, to forsake our own comforts, to turn away from our pharisaical tendencies and gladly be the least.  How badly do we want this?  How badly does God want it?  Are we willing to change how we live?  Are we willing to change how we look at people groups, like gays or gangs, like republicans or democrats or any other group out there that has the breath of life in them that needs to know Jesus? The enemy has encamped around us, he has encircled the walls, he has set up his barricades, deep trenches are dug and that serpent of old stands at the door of so many with a battering ram ready to smash their every hope and joy and make them think they are too bad to be saved, and we have the cure.
     Pray of a move of God, humble yourselves, wait on the Lord, purify your heart and your minds, abide in Jesus and you will bear much fruit.  Go, for Jesus sake, go.

Be expended to His glory

"Be Expended to His Glory", The Story Behind the Phrase

"Fulfill your ministry"
 A long awaited commentary on what God is doing in me.
What could that possibly mean?  I mean I know I am called to teach and pastor ‘cause that is what I am doing now but when a long time, respected buddy and pastor calls you up out of the blue and says to you  “Fulfill your ministry”, what does that mean.
As men we all have a biblical list of God’s will for our lives and possibly some time I will expound to the point of conviction and hopefully contrition on each of these points but for now let me just list them:
  • We are first disciples, so ministering unto the Lord
  • Be the husband my wife needs, so minister to or serve my wife.
  • Train my kids, all day long, rising, sitting, along the way etc.
  • In the work place, even if your boss is a slave driver; be the best employee ever for you do not work for man but for God.
  • Gospel Ministry….whatever that may be, either building up the saints or preaching the gospel to the lost, through words backed up with a self rejecting, others serving lifestyle.

These are the basic, biblical, God given ministries that all men are called to, but what about knowing what God has specifically made each of us for?  After all, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.  Bezaleel was specifically gifted by God to build the Tabernacle, and God has gifted each one of us.  Plus I had been crying out for years for God to use me for His glory and to provide me with a ministry to be a steward over.  Once men are fulfilling the four top ministries, shouldn’t we be striving to fulfill the fifth?  Once we have transformed our minds with His word shouldn’t it be natural for God’s good perfect and pleasing will to be manifested to us.  I believe that is what the bible tells us.  “Fulfill your ministry”?  What exactly is that? For each of us it is different and it is specially appointed to you by God and you are spiritually equipped by God’s Spirit to fulfill it.  Here is mine.
After I hung up the phone where I had been lovingly exhorted to “fulfill my ministry” It took about as much time for me to remember what my “ministry” is as it takes for an overly hungry 9 year old to say his lunch time prayers before he devours his bologna and chip sandwich.  Something I knew but was not living out fully.  And it was eating me up.
To be expended to His glory

My Ministry…I was hiding out in the basement meditating on a bible passage and there in my mind was a faint imagination or a vision, what ever it was I saw an action in my minds eye.  I am not claiming “God said to me” and definitely not claiming to have special revelation nor that I am hyper spiritual, I am just conveying what events have brought me to the place I am in now.  (Please don’t label me an heretic until you hear what I believe and teach, maybe you are the apostate one ;)
This is what I “saw”.  Nothing profound or exciting, it was just a pen, writing.     
Now, at this point in my walk I was keeping a prayer list of the folks I had shared the gospel with.  I was praying to be broken and used of God.  I was a youth pastor and doing the work of an evangelist.  It was a time of growth for me, and God helped to give me direction in my ministry.
           What did this mean?  With all that was going on in my life and the things of Christ that I was desiring after I had a pretty good idea that it was about the gospel.  After pondering what I saw I came up with a single line definition and goal, it goes like this;
To Be Expended to His Glory.
When an artist picks up a pen to draw, he never is concerned for the pen.  He doesn’t begin his drawing reluctantly worried that he will run out of ink and that the pen will be tired after pouring out what it had inside to be useful to the artist.  A writer doesn’t hold in his thoughts, keeping them from paper for fear of the pen’s feelings about being expended in the production of a great story. 

Here is how I express it in print form.  And this is my “logo”
I had been working construction and used a pencil every day, all day and even though I may be marking out lines to cut in concrete and my pencil had to be sharpened every few inches because of the rough surface I was scribing on, I would just get out my knife and wittle a new edge.  The pencil was designed for this purpose.  I never hesitated thinking I was wasting graphite.  I rarely, if ever contemplated the world’s reserves of pencil lead.  I used the pencil for the job at hand and the pencil, if sharp, aided the work I did by drawing a true and straight line and scribing a correct measurement.  With about fourty years of pencil use, I can’t recall a once that my pencil complained or attempted to receive a compliment for how well it drew, not once.
     In a nut shell this is what I saw in the eye of my mind.  God wanting to use me to set forth the line of His perfection, to measure out His righteous standard before men and to do so without worrying about running out of lead.  I was to offer myself to God as an instrument to write the gospel before men, to be expended for His awesome glory.  I wept.
     So wonderful a thought that the One who needs nothing is asking for one who is in need of everything, “come to Me, abide in Me, in Me you will bear much fruit.  I will be your God and I will do more than you could ever ask or imagine.”  Why, o why would the Great King recruit me into His awesome service? to be a front line soldier and ambassador of His Eternal Grace and Glory.  I know I am not worthy and most of the time I am not faithful.  I am so weak and often weary, wearied not from bearing my cross but foolishly bearing my own burdens.  I am an untrained and uneducated man; I am neither eloquent nor smooth.  I talk too fast; I loose my train of thought.  I can’t focus to study for more that fifteen minutes at a time.  To this world I am an unimportant failure, and that may be the very reason that God has chosen for me to be a mouth piece for Him; so that He may receive all, all, I mean all the glory…I weep again.
     What about you friend?  Do you know Jesus?  Are you in love with Him and His Grace?  Do you marvel at the incredible exchange that happened there on the cross of Calvary, there in you the day you repented and placed your faith in the Eternal Lord of Glory?  Do you know why he did this unmatchable act of mercy?  Love, yes love, but I believe there is so much more.  You see, the very second that God saved you, He made you an ambassador of the Kingdom to which you now belong.  He transformed you from a minister of the flesh to a royal priest unto Him, His own special people and He has a ministry for you that He ordained before the foundation of the world.  Yup, just for you.  This is a really big thing with God.  Jesus told us about the unfaithful servant who took his one talent and buried it and at the return of the master that unprofitable servant is “cast into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  I have personally feared hearing those words.  Jesus has given me so much and I am so unfaithful and feel so very unprofitable to Him, yet He is so good to me.  How about you?  I personally don’t think God is looking for another tele-evangelist, there are too many of those already.  He isn’t looking for powerful people to preach, not the eloquent, He is looking for folks like Peter, just a simple fisherman who followed Jesus, and Jesus made him into an apostle and a fisher of men.  He is looking for men and women who when they share are scared to near death, just as Paul came and preached with fear and much trembling.  He is looking for people who are meek, and lowly, folks that are humble and broken, these are the ones that God can use to turn lives around, to turn your neighborhood around, your town and even this nation around to Jesus.  All through folks who first love God, love their families, love the Body of Christ and then go, in the same manner as Jesus and love the lost and share with them the wonderful things that God has done for man.  He wants to use you, you who are just lowly vessels of His grace, we who are trophies of what He has accomplished there on Calvary in defeating sin and owning it in His own body while still remaining perfect and untarnished from it.  He wants to use the lowly so that He gets all of the credit that He so rightly deserves, now Go.  Go out to the highways and the byways, bring in the broken and rejected, bring in the wealthy and proud.  Bring in all who are willing to bow the knee to the Lord and in bringing in the elect, you will be accomplishing the greater reason that God calls and equips the weak and willing, you will be bringing the Savior of our souls, the glory He deserves….now go.  Go!
Go for the King and “Be Expended to His Glory.”