“As we are approaching the end of this age, we will come to see that those things which are to be shaken shall be removed and only those things which are not to be shaken shall remain. May we therefore seek for things unshakable which come through the spirit of wisdom and revelation.”[i]
Recently we began an all Church Bible Study called Experience Life by Pete Briscoe. In the week two study, we are challenged to develop and deepen our relationship with Jesus by committing ourselves to spending time with Him, becoming more the person He desires us to be. “Discipleship requires Discipline” “We have a new life in Christ – a relationship with our living Lord!” Just as when we meet a new friend, we want to get to know them better, we do this by spending time with them – talking, learning about them, their past, their likes, their dislikes, etc. “For the Christian, isn’t that what spiritual growth really is – getting to know Jesus better, communicating with Him, learning what He likes and doesn’t like, and adapting our lives to His?” Continue reading
Kingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken Nation by Tony Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“The news is filled with stories of violence, division, and despair. American politics have become polarized. Effective leadership is in short supply. Change may seem outside our reach. And Christians struggle to understand their role in reversing the downward spiral of our nation.
Dr. Tony Evans offers a healthy dose of hope: the solution to our nation’s problems and unrest isn’t out of reach. The solution is here—and each one of us as Kingdom Citizens has a vital role to play.
Be assured that our God is greater than any challenge—and He has promised to equip His people. In Kingdom Citizen, you’ll discover how to respond in faith, in spite of a country and culture in decline.
Here is a powerful call to action for concerned Christians. Here is a call for unity and restoration. And here is strong assurance that each of us has the ability to walk justly, to seek truth, and to stand in the gap for our land.”
Does God Really Forgive Our Sins? And if He does then why do we keep taking them back?
So a few weeks back, I was having a sweet chat with a dear friend and she said to me, “Do you believe that God really forgives our sins?” Without hesitation, I said yes I do.
She went on to tell me that sometimes she feels like no matter how many times she asks forgiveness, she feels like He doesn’t hear her. She doesn’t feel forgiven; thoughts of that particular sin seem to plague her.
There are dozens of Scriptures that talk about repentance and God’s forgiveness in the Bible, here are just a few that I shared with my dear friend.
Transforming Presence: How the Holy Spirit Changes Everything-From the Inside Out by Daniel Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Why did Jesus say it would be better for Him to go? He said the coming of the Helper – the Holy Spirit – was that important. And that the Spirit who so powerfully turned bumbling disciples into unstoppable world changers is alive in us. But misunderstandings, confusion and contention are keeping us from the abundant, satisfying life God has for us in Him.”
Transforming Presence by Daniel Hendersonis an eye–opening book on the subject of Holy Spirit. The author reminds and teaches us that He is not just a “member” of the Trinity. He is God. “Because Holy Spirit is a person, He can be intimately known deeply loved, and clearly understood. Because He is God, we relate to Him in abandoned worship, unquestioned obedience and full surrender.” (Page 84) And as such we have the gift of the indwelling presence of Holy Spirit in each of us; our role is to let His presence invade not just our life and the life of our churches as well.
Praying God’s Promises: The Life-Changing Power of Praying the Scriptures by Linda Evans Shepherd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Prayer changes things. Praying God’s promises changes everything. The Scriptures tell us that when we pray the will of God, he delights to answer our prayers. But what is God’s will in any given situation? How can we know it? And if we don’t know it, how can we pray it?
In this inspiring book, Linda Evans Shepherd reveals that God’s will is not a mystery–it’s clearly laid out in his Word through his many promises. Through stories, practical application, examples of prayers, and guided reflection, she leads you toward a more powerful prayer life. Arranged by topic for ease of use, this book shows how to pray God’s promises of peace, for health, for relationships, for our children, and so much more.” Continue reading
This article is reprinted in it’s entirety with the permission of the Author – Ethan Renoe
The other day I was in a coffee shop in the mountains, seated near the counter. A guy in his early 20s walked in wearing a TOOL shirt and a long ponytail. I could overhear his conversation as he approached the barista and they began chatting. Somehow it came up that she attends a Christian university and he clearly didn’t approve.
“Do they incorporate religion into all the classes there?” he asked. “Even the science classes? How does that work?”
She valiantly began explaining how they pray before every class and teach from a Christian worldview, but it soon became evident that she was being crushed in this conversation. He was well-schooled in the writings of Dawkins, Hitchens and Nye, and began doling out the punishment.
I use the word punishment because this poor barista has herself been punished by a church system which, for the past 200 years, has begun discarding intelligence in favor of emotion, conversion experiences and passion. Ask most American Christians today any question deeper than “Does God love everyone?” and you’re bound to get some sort of response suggesting that that sort of discourse should be reserved for theological universities.
The other day, a friend of mine said he sees no merit in understanding Calvinism or Arminianism because he just wants to love God and love people. And it seems that the ball stops there for most Christians today. No need to know any more than that.
Note: This article is reprinted in it’s entirety with the express permission of the author, Reverend Nolan Harkness. For more information about Reverend Harkness Ministry please go to: www.verticalsound.org .
A Crossless Christianity Is the Real Issue
By Rev. Nolan J Harkness
I was sitting on the beautiful St. Lawrence River in a small rowboat fishing just as the sun was setting over Canada. A vibrant mix of reds and oranges with scattered patches of various shades of sky blue created a breathtakingly magnificent sky scape to my North. Majestic mountains of great white and grey thunderhead cloud formations towered to the south over Goose Bay. Just as I felt I was going to be raptured out of there in a Heavenly experience, the sun broke through the fresh rain mix, creating a full seven colored rainbow, reaching out what seemed like miles from end to end. As I was in the middle of praising God for the beauty of his handiwork, His still small voice interrupted in a clear and somber tone and said to my heart: “Nolan, unless the cross of Jesus Christ becomes the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, you will never complete all that I have called you to do!” My head and heart dropped in immediate repentance saying, “Yes, Lord by your grace may it one day be!”
Hanging on the wall of my home are several crosses, from different acquisitions at separate times in my life. My favorite is one I just call “The Old Wooden Cross”. Soon after I rededicated my life to the Lord in my early twenties the Holy Spirit began to clean up my life. I had in my season away from God been a bartender and a bouncer in a nightclub near Williamsport, Pa. From there I moved to Jacksonville Florida in 1979. One night at Diamond Head Night Club in Jacksonville, I met the sister of a member from a internationally known rock band. We dated for about six months. It was during the highs and lows of that relationship that I finally came to the end of myself. It was while I was struggling with suicidal thoughts that I gave my life fully to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In addition, I was also very powerfully filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
A few days ago, I was sitting on our little patio enjoying the fresh air and morning sunshine while working on part two of False Preachers, Teacher’s and Prophets. I began on a writing frenzy about how we, as mere lay people, can’t always know the truth of the Word of God if we don’t know how to read, study, and understand it to begin with.
I headed inside for a coffee refill; I felt led to my bookcases in search of a reference book or two to help me with this article. I sort through a stack of “TableTalk” Magazines[i] – on the top of the stack is the February 2018 “Doing Theology”. I opened and read the short article just inside the front cover entitled, “Doers, Not Hearers Only” by Burk Parsons. My first thought… Thank You Holy Spirit for confirming yet another article.
Throughout many of my articles, and in some stories in my Book, I make the statement “I am not a Theologian”. After reading this short article, I must now stop doing that. What first leapt off the page I read was, “…everyone is a theologian — the question is whether or not we are good theologians. The fundamental problem in our day is that many professing Christian don’t think they need to study theology, while many others don’t seem to care about theology or are simply too lazy to study it. Christians, however must care about theology. How could we not, when it tells us about the One that saves our souls?”[ii]
This is in continuation of the previous couple articles about false teachers, preachers and prophets. I think in my own mind I am trying still to answer the question of why it is so easy for false teachers and preachers to take hold and deceive the Church with their lies. Why doesn’t the Church recognize it?
I did some research and here was some enlightening information.
In a 2017 Gallup survey, 75% of Americans claim to be Christian, yet only 24% of them believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. “Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” similar to the 26% who view it as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”
Why are so many denying the Word of God? Why are so many denying the TRUTHS of the Bible – the creation, the fall of man, the flood of Noah, the Ten Commandants, God’s covenant with Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, Israel enters the promised land, Saul, David, Solomon builds the temple, Jesus is born and baptized, Jesus begins his three year ministry, the sermon on the mount, the transfiguration, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus’ ascension, Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, Saul’s conversion, John’s revelation of Jesus’ return for His church… and that just names a few of the hundreds of Biblical TRUTHS.
This is part two – in continuation of last week article “The TRUTH of False Teacher, Preachers and Prophets”
We all want to think that the preacher we sit under is an anointed man of God and he is there to teach and speak the TRUTHS of the Word of God. But sometimes things happen and that person (man or woman) stumbles or falls. Somehow they begin following the wrong path. Perhaps it is greed, the allure of notoriety, the attention, or the perceived worship of an entire congregation of folks wanting to hear what they alone have to say… perhaps it is arrogance or pride… whatever it is; sometimes our leaders fall. Sometimes they take on the mantle of being the singular authority in all things Biblical. Their interpretation and understanding becomes TRUTH; and while it is acceptable and palatable to those listening, it may not be the TRUTH of the Bible.
Accurate and sound doctrine is fundamental to our salvation and increase in spiritual development. God warns us many times in the Scriptures to be alert and watchful of false teaching. As Christians, we need to be able to identify counterfeit teachers in order to know when we are being led down a wrong path. As an individual, we should be already in tune with the urgings, or promptings of Holy Spirit. Call it intuition if you want, but you know when something just isn’t right. You recognize the small voice inside telling you to be warned. When that feeling deep in you starts to stir, what then?
2 Peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”