I once lived in a world similar to the world of Bethel, Elevation, and Hillsong United. Fortunately, God has delivered me from the heretical teachings of these groups. However, much of the music in the church today comes from these very organizations. While the music is often benign, I've grown to see it as the musical candy luring unsuspecting people into the van of heresy.
But if the music is benign, why does it matter? Does it matter where your church sources their music?
The Bible's lessons on respecting governmental authority can be tough to swallow in our current culture of excessive freedom (and yes, that freedom is a grace from God), but this doesn't negate the Bible's words on the topic. The Bible says that all government is God ordained. If it was true in Nero's time, we have no excuse to deny the same truth today. How doe we respond as Christians to the Biblical truths regarding government?
It is popular in the modern church to go on and on about how lucky we are that we are friends of God, but was this the disciples' focus? There are actually very few scriptures that say we are friends of God, but there are many that point out our slavery to Christ. What is a bondservant (or servant), and how does this word represent the true nature of our position to Christ as God's children?
Many people think that they can simply live good lives and that will be enough of a witness to others, but the Bible doesn't agree with this. The Bible says that it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation, even though it is an offense as well. We must be willing to share the full gospel with others, which includes acknowledging people's sin. If one doesn't know he has sinned against God, he will not realize that he needs to repent and turn from sin in receiving salvation.
It's so easy to complain. It's human nature and prevalent in the world around us. God, however, has called us to a better way. We need to realize that the Bible says that when we grumble, we are really grumbling against the Lord. Would we still complain if we honestly believed that God was sovereign in all things?
Inspired by a Jack Hayford podcast, this entry discusses the importance of recognizing our weaknesses within ourselves and our dependence on Christ. It's too easy to substitute true growth and trust in Jesus with confidence in our formulas/programs or faith in our self-perceived knowledge of the Word. It's also possible to simply give up with a defeatist view regarding our circumstances, or to avoid the truth of things with an unfounded positive view of what could possibly happen to us as Christians.
Many in the church today are trying to follow worldly self-improvement teachings and ideologies. But is this what the Bible calls us to do, or is this man's thinking? Having recently taken a Ministry by Strengths course based on Tom Rath's book, Strengths Finder 2.0, I question the wisdom of this model. Following a leadership pattern set out by someone who doesn't even claim to be a Christian may result in a well-run, prosperous church, but will it be God's Church, or man's facsimile?
Many Christians see the Bible as a list of things not to do. While this is an aspect of Christianity, not doing things can leave us empty, doing nothing. This is not profitable to our faith. True Christianity calls us to do the righteous works of God, replacing the "NOTs" we used to do with the good works we are called to do.
"If Bush is not reelected, the world will end as we know it, and if God is in control, he will win!" -When he was not reelected, "God is still in control, and this isn't the end of the world."
At a prayer meeting when Clinton was president, hearing "If Clinton doesn't immediately turn and do (something), strike him dead to remove him from office."
Hearing of a native Russian in 1993 speaking about removing Lenin's statues in Russia, "I don't think they should take him down... Because he's a part of our history... The Bible says we are to respect the government, and he was our government too."
What are the circumstances that should drive our voting? Our protesting? Our going to war? Our fighting against other humans who are made in God's image? Or is our battle a spiritual one, and are we doing it all wrong?
Having looked at Jesus' teachings regarding money and prosperity, this fourth entry in our series on prosperity looks at the New Testament teachings on the subject. Are we to simply "be rich" because we are Christians? How does the Bible describe our labors and earnings in Christ?
This is the third entry in a series on Biblical prosperity. This article looks at what prosperity meant concerning Abraham and to how prosperity was addressed by Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus had quite a bit to say about money. Was one of those things, "Seek ye first financial blessing, that you may bless others in my name?"
This is the first in a four-part series on what the Bible says about prosperity. This first part deals with prosperity in the Old Testament, and looks at some of the Hebrew words and verses used to describe the prosperity of God's people.
God's view of ambition is different than our own. Consider the request of James and John. It was their desire to sit at Jesus' right hand and left hand in the Kingdom, but Jesus spoke of "his cup" and what we may have to bear in following him. The path to greatness in God's Kingdom is through service.
Do we show mercy? While God will certainly give justice to the wicked, he will also extend mercy to anyone who comes to him. We should seek God's mercy for others who are outside of his grace, just as Abraham did with Sodom.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. -Philippians 2:3-4.
The Bible says a lot about humility and what our attitude should be like. We must learn to humble ourselves, or God will humble us, which may be the more painful route.
Not everything in life goes as we hope or plan. In these times, it is easy to ask, "What am I doing wrong? Am I truly following Christ? Is he even the one?" John the Baptist faced rough circumstances after having spent so much of himself on Christ, and so he asks these questions. How did Jesus answer him?
We are all one in Christ, and we are called to "get along." While we may disagree with others, if those disagreements aren't about core tenants of Christianity, then we still need to recognize that many of those we disagree with are our brothers. None of us are perfect in what we know, so we need to be gracious. We all can learn something, and we should be open to what others have to say.
Of course, if a core doctrine of Christianity is being maligned, then yes, we need to speak out and mark such doctrines and teachers as false.