Archive for March, 2012

Words Mean Something (7)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 by nmpreach

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led  astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.  But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. 2 Tim 3:1-8 ESV

Are we in the last days?

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Words Mean Something (6)

Posted in Words on March 28, 2012 by nmpreach

Here’s another chance to do some thinking and then let me know what you think.

What is the Gospel?  I know the easy answer is “good news.”  But what does that mean?

Do we believe portions of the Gospel  ie. grace and not believe the rest ie. personal responsibility?  Is one the Gospel while the other is just secondary?

I’d be interested in what you think the good news is and how has the definition changed over the last few decades.

Freedom

Posted in Community, Discipleship, Jesus on March 21, 2012 by nmpreach

Have we redefined freedom?  As Americans, we appreciate our freedom – especially during the month of July or when reminded of the sacrifice soldiers have made on our behalf.  But I ask again, have we redefined freedom?

Once outside the patriotic theme, freedom is defined subjectively.  Freedom has come to mean one is free to do whatever they want.  Postmodern thought tells us “If it feels good, do it.  You’re free to make your own choices.  Don’t be hemmed in by what society tells you is right or wrong.”

But is that freedom?  Civilized societies believe (no time/space for debate here) that if one uses his/her freedom to the detriment of others, they forego their right to freedom.  They’re kept away from society and their freedom is greatly limited.  In the worst cases, the chance for freedom is taken away for the balance of their physical life.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (5:13)

If freedom is about me and only me, it’s not freedom at all.  It’s self-serving and leads to what Paul calls to consuming one another.  Freedom is about sacrifice – sacrifice for others.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – Jesus

 

Words Mean Something (5)

Posted in Words on March 13, 2012 by nmpreach

With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused.  Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.  They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways…

The Apostle Paul (Eph 4:17-19 NLT)

KISS(ing) In The Church

Posted in Discipleship on March 9, 2012 by nmpreach

It’s interesting how God works.  That may be the most elementary statement that you read for a long time.  After all, God is extremely interesting.  But sometimes, we need to be reminded.  Over the last few days, I’ve had some things happen that remind me of how God works.  Let me share.  And then feel free to tell me your experiences and/or thoughts (including agreement or disagreement).

We’re all aware of the KISS method.  Keep It Simple Stupid.  It’s something we’re introduced to early in life and comes up again and again throughout life.  In fact, I remember sitting in a preaching class and the professor lecturing for what seemed like too long on the KISS method.  Obviously, he thought it important enough to spend the entire class on something we had known.  But again, we need to be reminded.

The professor’s goal was to teach preachers first and foremost to know the audience.  When a speaker knows the audience, whatever is shared should be simple enough for most to understand and challenging enough that half (or most) should have to think at length about what is being said.

But after pastoring for a decade, I sense that some/most in the Church want everything to remain simple.  Please understand: I realize the Gospel is simple in some respects.  I’m a sinner in need of a savior.  The only thing that can save me is a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus came and died for me and wants me to live forever.  That’s a pretty simple way to understand the Gospel.

On the other hand, maturity means that simplicity cannot continue to be simple.  Paul uses the analogy of a baby growing to the point that milk is no longer sufficient.  Milk no longer satisfies.  It’s time to move to solid food.  Discipleship – news flash! it’s what we’re called to – means growing.  What once satisfied me no longer does so.

In John 6, Jesus speaks of eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  Up to that point, the crowds were growing larger by the day and maybe even the hour.  But when He began to speak that way, the Bible says they began to complain, “This is no longer simple.  I can’t understand.  This is no longer the milk.  What’s He doing?  Doesn’t He know we’re simple people?”  Of course Jesus knew them.  And He knew what they needed!  And He wasn’t satisfied leaving them simple.

It’s time to rediscover discipleship!  It’s time to not settle for the simple stuff.  I’m not arguing for intellectualism.  But I am arguing for a hunger and thirst for more.  And we’re told when we get hungry and thirsty spiritually, God shows up in new ways.  So what are we waiting for?!?