Thoughts to build communion with God, community with the church and help collide with darkness

My desire is to post my thoughts with the hope that God's people can benefit from them and be prepared to work harder and and fight better. Our enjoyment of God is at stake. Father is anything but a boring, no fun, stick in the mud who wants everyone to wear a tie. He is the creator of the universe and he will blow your mind!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Missing the text in fighting our flesh and the real answer to fighting our flesh!

Here is something I notice about man’s nature, even as followers of Christ is that when studying the bible and asking questions of the text such as, “what is the explicit instruction of the writer here to whom and why?” people have a tendency to raise their eyes from the text, look into the air (indicating that they are searching for the answer). See, there is the problem. What is wrong with that picture? You got it! They are looking into the air, indicating they are searching for the answer in their own mind. The answer is found in the text! The answer is not pulled from one’s own mind.

This absolutely amazes me. Is this a fallen tendency left over in man? Is this a funk brought upon God’s people by the evil one to keep them from seeing truth and learning that truth can and must be mined from the biblical text? Probably a little of both is right.

It’s this phenomenon that has led to one of the most putrid activities among Christians known to the church: legalism disguised as spiritual discipline.
First, I want to say that I believe in the exercise of spiritual disciplines, but not as actual means to ends. I believe they are effective as means to get us into the proper means that lead to the proper end. Notice I made end singular and not plural.

Here is what I mean. I hear, perhaps most often from people, that they have thrown out their televisions and cable because it is the source of filth and all despicable content and they do not want that in their homes. They then discover they have more time to do more things like read the bible and relate to their children.

Fair enough. If that is what you want to do, then do it. The problem comes when they begin to sell it as if it should be done by all and defend it as “the” thing to do.

The problem is Jesus! No, Jesus is not problem, but he is a problem to that mentality. Mark 7:21-23 21 “... For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Do you see it? What is the source of filth and despicable content? The heart! Not television. The problem is that we actually think that external actions can actually help us grow. They can’t! They never will. Obviously, if an activity causes one’s conscience to be bothered, then the text is clear, avoid said activity. But if the avoiding of that activity is a means to the end of being a better person for Jesus, it is vanity of vanities!
Why might a person think that such external activities will help them and their children be better? They have lifted their eyes from the text and are searching for answers in their own minds to combat problems that they are powerless to conquer. This ends in frustration and confusion. Why do I still do these things? Why do I still think these things? Why do I still desire these things?

Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke 11:37-54 that instead of washing the outside of the dish they should give as alms things that are within. Point? Externals will not fix the source of the filth. Only internals can fix the internals and then the externals will follow suit.

Again, Paul addresses this in Colossians 2 (whole chapter). Speaking of external attempts to gain control of the flesh he says, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

The point is to not let people trick you or force you through guilt to adopt externals as means to the end of getting rid of sin issues.

This begs the question(s): how do I fight sin issues? What is the end I’m striving for?

First, the end is simply stated in Ephesians 4 and alluded to Colossians 2. The end is that, through proper teaching, we grow up into Christ Jesus who is the head of the church to a mature manhood.

How do fight the sin issues that face me in order to grow up into Christ Jesus? Colossians 2:6ff states that as we received him continue to walk in him, rooted in him, established in him while abounding in thanksgiving. How did I receive Jesus? By faith. What does it mean to receive Jesus? Follow him, imitate him, learn from him and repent.

Here it is. Paul says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus (Col 2:3). In other words, bury yourself up in the person and work of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, Yahweh come, Holy Spirit proclaimed, cross centered Jesus and learn and grow into him. Read the bible that preaches Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. Ask questions of the text like “why?” “who?” “what?” “when?” “where?” and “how?”. Learn how to read the Old Testament with an eye to the cross. Saturate your mind with the Gospels. Learn from the instruction to the early church. Practice what you read and you will make one hell of a war on your fallen flesh. Tedashii says in a song called “Make War” “I beat my flesh to the death every breath like I beat my chest.” This is how one beats their flesh into submission. It is done with the person and work of Jesus Christ on the inside not simply on the outside.

Disciplines, whatever you choose, only serve to bring us more into Christ, who is the means, to bring us fully into Christ in maturity, who is the end.

This is not pragmatic as pragmatics go (pragmatics being the exercise of means absent of the transcendent reality of God in Jesus Christ produces as a discipline during the Enlightenment). It is practical as the biblical text goes. Often our problem is that as Christians we are pragmatic atheists. If I just blew you out of the water, go read "Eclipse of Heaven" by AJ Conyers. It should clear it up for you. Another blog post for another time.

So, if you are looking up from the text and trying to figure out how to beat back the flesh and you come up with some good old external trickery, don’t be deceived. Look down to the text, follow the instructions, and bury up in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit surgery, resist the evil one, love God, love your neighbor and go watch the game with him to the glory of God and the enjoyment of life and be salt and light to your neighbor not a stale breath of dead air condemning him for watching the game or in my case many games. God Dawgs! Go Falcons! Go Jesus! Thank you for the cross!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Link to Bakker renouncing The Prosperity Lie

I am posting this clip with the following caveat: I do not agree with everything Jim Bakker says. I do not agree with all that he does practically or with the philosophy behind it. However, I do admire and respect his humility following his imprisonment. I do admire his boldness in this clip to denounce the guys in the clip on the front end. I do not endorse anyone in this clip as representing my foundational beliefs or the foundational beliefs of TRCC or any organization I'm affiliated with.

My desire for all who would watch this is to take note of the teaching of prominent people on the world of televised Evangelical Christianity and take not of the rank filth that is propagated and believed by the masses who watch with admiration and without an ounce of discernment.

I would request that each who would watch this clip also listen to the Sunday morning talk at TRCC by yours truly on the teaching ministry of the church on 9/6/2009. This may be accessed on Itunes or the church website

With all that said, watch and prepare to be disgusted at the front. After all of the junk there is a lady with a blue screen who is right on in her assessment of these deceivers and then Bakker. Feel free to stop watching at the lady with the blue screen. The clip gets long and is not necessary for you to watch.

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