Posts from the ‘Real Church’ Category

Then They Will…

“Moses answered the people, ‘Don’t be afraid! Stand still, and see what the Lord will do to save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again. The Lord is fighting for you! So be still!’ ” (Exodus 14:13-14 God’s Word Translation©)

Today these words came to mind. These Christians who, because of the pandemic, are defying the law, accusing government of blasphemy and challenging the police, claiming to be fighting for all Christians in defending institutional religious customs, need to be reminded of these words from God through Moses as the Hebrews stood trapped between the Reed Sea and the Egyptian army. If we want to change the mind of government we need to fall upon our knees in utter humility and pray that God will work something out. Then God will get the glory. If these congregations win their court cases they will feel they have won. That feeds pride, not proclamation of Good News.

“You are light for the world… let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14a, 16 God’s Word Translation©)

Repeat – “Then they will… praise your Father in heaven.”

Obvious?

If organized religion was faithful in serving Jesus they would not need public protest and media manipulation to replace their cultural irrelevance.

Note: [The evidence for faithfulness is love, and that is demonstrated by feeding the hungry, providing safe water for the thirsty, welcoming strangers, providing climate appropriate clothing to the naked, visiting those who are sick to provide for their needs and socializing with those in jail. (Matthew 25:35-36)]

Living for Jesus

Repeatedly I am confronted by people who claim to be disciples of Jesus, but all they want to talk about is their right to gather in a building and do their thing. Religion buildings do not come from God. The early Church did not build. The Roman Emperor Constantine (and his wife, and his Mother especially) started that in AD332. Buildings follow the pattern of his throne room, not heaven. The early Church believed what Jesus said, “Go and preach…teaching…” Paul made it clear that our bodies “are the temple of God”, not bricks and mortar. The cross, the centre of Christian living, has been displaced with religious rituals. Jesus died. Where is the life of sacrifice modelled by the Saviour? Jesus said, “Take up your cross every day…”, but in North America Christians take up their protest and placards and selfish interpretations of what is really important. When the early disciples said, “We must obey God rather than human regulations” it was because they were told to stop evangelizing, not gathering for religious worship! How does self-centred demands for personal traditions of worship teach God’s love or preach Good News that we can be forgiven and have eternal life?! Paul preached in the market place, beside the river (in Philippi), in prison (!!). Is it the poor and homeless and patients in ER with infections who are demanding their rights? No, it is those who live a life of privilege instead of the cross!! Do you want to be known as people who have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13), then start witnessing to the love and kindness of God, not whining about government rules that are designed to save lives. People of faith should not need a secular government to tell them to care more about others’ safety than personal dogma.

We Are Wrestling, But Against Whom?

10 Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. 11 Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. 12 This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world” (Ephesians 6:10-12 God’s Word Translation©).

Believers in Canada are fervent supporters of President Trump and contemptuous of Prime Minister Trudeau (or the reverse), slanderous of Pope Francis, blindly loyal to their own denomination, close-minded advocates of one economic system or another, and even emotional terrorists against those who defend different sectarian rules of belief…

Shake yourself and see the light. NONE of these things is eternal! None of these people or philosophies will get you into heaven, nor are they strong enough to keep you out of it.

There is only one loyalty that deserves your obedience, Jesus and the cross upon which you crucify all your personal opinions and allegiances and addictions.

When you rant for or against something that has its roots only on this earth and not in the heavenly realm can people tell you are a disciple of Jesus? Or do you just look like anybody with a chip on your shoulder or an impulsive bully? “After they found out that Peter and John had no education or special training, they were surprised to see how boldly they spoke. They realized that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 God’s Word Translation©).

Our enemy is the great deceiver, Apollyon/Abaddon (the destroyer), not a pope, politician or partisan pugilist.

If Satan feels glee there must be dancing in the palaces of evil at how much energy is wasted on false allegiances, and how much division and hatred and anti-Christian behaviour you display. Take up your cross everyday, not your soapbox. Offer comfort to believers, not conflict over ideology. “These are the people who cause divisions. They are concerned about physical things, not spiritual things” (Jude 19 God’s Word Translation©).

James clearly describes what believers can stoop to when they are driven, not by the cross, but self because “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” (James 4:1 God’s Word Translation©).

Speak boldly about who God is, not what you think!

Everyone Will Know

Many (most?) Christians express confidence in their loyalty to how they worship God, the congregation they belong to or the denomination they subscribe to or their self-righteous declaration of freedom from all gatherings of believers. Read more…

Church Signs

Lots of congregations put witty sayings on their sign boards. One I saw recently said, “For our many blessings we give thanks”. Read more…

Two Words

Reading this past summer I was inspired by the vision of the two Words from heaven. Read more…

Submit to Whom?

 

In this blog I make a distinction between religion and spirituality. Religion is a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (Emil Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life). Biblical spirituality is the real and personal encounter with the real and living Jesus. Read more…

No More

The daily devotional we read today was another in an array of similar writings on facing the trials of life. Read more…

This Is What God Says

The word of God came to me while I was asleep, and it awakened me. Read more…