Faith Without Works – A Look at James and Paul

You may have heard it said that faith without works is dead. This is often used as a way to push on the church that salvation is based on our works, rather than the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Some folks struggle to believe that Jesus covered everything for us, and the cross was enough, and instead live their lives trying to justify themselves to God so they can have Him in their debt for their good works. Continue reading “Faith Without Works – A Look at James and Paul”

Halloween – What Does the Bible Say?

Many of our holidays like Christmas and Halloween are a culmination of various traditions and customs from a melting pot of cultures over the centuries. Many festivals are set around the change of seasons, the movements of the sun and moon to mark the seasons for planting and harvesting like Halloween. Much like anything else, the devil has done his best to pervert our celebrations in an attempt take yet another thing away from us. Continue reading “Halloween – What Does the Bible Say?”

Your Sin Is Bigger Than Mine

When it comes to sin and what we consider sin, we are never completely honest with ourselves. We project our issues onto others and we blame our issues things, rather than looking at our hearts and changing how we think. We create levels of sin, so that we can justify our sin as “lesser sins” than another sin to try and make ourselves more righteous than another fellow “bigger sinner”. We are quick to chastise a homosexual, while we ourselves are gluttons, filled with pride and self-righteousness. Continue reading “Your Sin Is Bigger Than Mine”

The Friends We Keep

I read a social media post where a person said they had deleted “certain people” from their friends list because they followed Jesus and their friends were a reflection of who they were. This person was absolutely right, your friends are a reflection of who your are in Christ. Think then who was Jesus friends with and remember that Jesus was criticized by the religious for the types of friend he kept. Continue reading “The Friends We Keep”

Heart of The Giver

I recently got into a discussion about tithing under the new covenant, and whether tithing is even Biblical now that we are free from the law. The problem with this line of thinking is it neglects the heart behind giving and what giving is all about to God. This article is a brief look at the heart of the giver and what we are to give. Continue reading “Heart of The Giver”

Father’s Love

The other day we went on an overnight trip with the Christian World staff to Houston in order to participate in a conference at Lakewood. My wife and I have yet leave our three-year-old son Avery overnight with anybody outside our parents, so it meant that on this trip Avery would be coming with us. For those of you without kids, this means having a three-year-old over energetic boy stay quiet and behaved for at least 6 hours. One might have more luck getting a vegan to eat bacon or my brother Jacob to eat vegetables. This is not to say Avery is a bad kid, but he is three and a boy. Continue reading “Father’s Love”

What Is Sin?

What is sin? Have you ever every truly thought about what God considers sin? There are many misconceptions as to what sin is, often because what is considered sin is heavily prejudiced by our upbringing, traditions and religious standards, rather than what sin is according to God. I believe that what we perceive as sin and how we deal sin, is heavily biased by our sociological, ethnocentric ideologies. Wow, that’s a mouthful, but don’t worry I’ll explain as we go. Continue reading “What Is Sin?”

Reconciled and Our Debt Paid Through the Cross

A friend of mine and I had a friendly discussion regarding Matthew 5:17-19 where Jesus explains explain how He came to fulfill the law of Moses and not abolish it. The question is then how can we live by grace if Jesus and have freedom in Christ if He did not come to abolish the law? Understanding this is the key to interpreting the Sermon on the Mount and the ministry of Jesus. Continue reading “Reconciled and Our Debt Paid Through the Cross”

Living Defeated or Living Victorious

Growing up in church, we were taught to fear everything, and we gave a lot of things to the devil. We gave certain styles of music, rhythms and melodies to the devil because we thought they belonged to the devil and could not be used to worship Jesus. As a musician and worship leader I found this difficult to understand, considering all music was created for Jesus, by Jesus, and how could anyone decide how somebody’s personal expressions of worship to Jesus sound? I also did not understand how we could just let the devil take our music, or how could certain rhythms, chords or melodies be more or less sanctified than others? Continue reading “Living Defeated or Living Victorious”

Love Without A Contract

Jesus spoke often of love through patience, forgiveness, selflessness and understanding. He shared with people how to LOVE through parables such as the prodigal son, who despite his shortcomings the father still took him back, forgave and loved him. He showed how the Pharisees, despite their attempts at keeping their laws that without LOVE, all their attempts at self-justification meant nothing to God. Continue reading “Love Without A Contract”

Accept All Substitutes

I really hope I don’t offend anybody with this article, I am really do mean this very tongue-and-cheek. Lets face it, for those of us who grew up in these environments, we have all asked the same questions at one time or another. The point of this article is to show that creating a law against a vice to manage a heart issue, does nothing to change the heart because our nature is to simply find another vice as an outlet for our issue. True change is only by changing the heart through the power of the cross and having the faith that Jesus can change your heart. Continue reading “Accept All Substitutes”

Man In The Mirror

We live in a society where passing the blame for something we did or do is commonplace. We blame our parents for our upbringing, we blame food for our over eating problems or somebody else for making us angry, resulting in our reacting poorly or sinfully. We keep ourselves from moving forward, letting go and letting God work it out. We are often too afraid to take a look in the mirror and be honest with the real reason for the problem…us. Continue reading “Man In The Mirror”

Reflecting on Cows

I was driving to work this morning, minding my own business, not worrying about anything; actually I was zoned out in autopilot drinking my Cinnamon Dulce Latte with soy, no whip. I saw some cows on the side of the road and thought “they have it easy, no cares or worries, their master provides everything”. I saw them walking around carefree, not anxious about their lives or what tomorrow might bring. Continue reading “Reflecting on Cows”

Is The Cross Enough?

There is a danger with pushing for “crazy praise” in our worship. Why? Because pushing performance based worship, meaning, “what I can do”, rather than “what He can do”, puts the focus on self rather than the cross. I am not saying lets not worship and praise God joyfully with all of our heart and all of our might, but let us use wisdom and not use the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues as excuse to go nuts to satisfy our flesh. Continue reading “Is The Cross Enough?”

The Scapegoat

Do you really believe in the redeeming power of Christ’s blood, the cross and His grace? Do you truly believe that Jesus Christ can change your heart and save you, or are you trying to be your own savior and manage your own sins? In the Old Testament sin was dealt with through sacrifices and the use of a scapegoat to bear the sins of the people. Continue reading “The Scapegoat”

The Breakthrough

For a while now the idea of a “breakthrough” has bothered me. I have always heard: “I had a breakthrough“, “they had a breakthrough“, “he/she finally broke through“. I thought to myself, what is this constant need for a breakthrough from the saints who have been church all of their lives, and what are we breaking through? Bear with me I am going somewhere with this, I promise.

Here is my trouble with “the breakthrough”. Aren’t we supposed to be living for Christ daily and not just on church days, so why do we need to start over every service? Shouldn’t we be living consistently for Him, rather than from breakthrough-to-breakthrough?

I believe that this is more than an issue of spiritual consistency. What I see is a myriad of issues with the idea of waiting for Sunday’s breakthrough. One is seeking to impress Jesus with our works, “look at how good I have been Jesus, so bless me”. Another is the lack of faith in God’s love unless everyone around us was tearing the church apart and God is knocking us off our feet. Yet another is the offering of pride and self-indulgence (article for another time – I am referring to Cain and Able). I am not saying that this all that a breakthrough service is about, I am just saying (myself included) that we have all been guilty of this way of thinking at one time or another; let’s be honest.

I grew up in an environment focused on the level physical and emotional manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Now before you freak out, I love great church, tongues and a great move of the spirit. Again, please bear with me; this is not an article bashing the move of the spirit, only a closer look at the heart behind our worship and praise offering.

This way of thinking lead me to believe that there was more of God in the big moves of the spirit, and what we were pushing for was “good church“, thus we were trying to reach a spiritual climax to get more of God. Our faith was in the physical manifestation of God’s presence rather than a spiritual unseen God. The problem with this is that often the big moves of God were typically at conferences, youth camps and big churches with great music where the best musicians played and the best preachers preached.

Growing up in a small church, we didn’t have the best musicians, there was no praise team, just a minister who often sang off key, forgot the words and only sang from the dreaded “red hymn book”. Growing up my walk with God was often seasonal at best because I waited until I could feel Him in a “big service” before I could have my relationship with Jesus or my breakthrough. As a young man, in my mind, my little church didn’t have good enough music, a good enough song leader, a fiery enough preacher and the church wasn’t spiritual enough to impress God and warrant His presence with a breakthrough service.

If we break this way of thinking down, we find that our faith and worship really isn’t based in faith in God, but rather is based in what we can feel, see, hear and can experience in the physical. What we are really worshiping is the excellence of music, and a man’s ability to stir us with his words. When we obtain our breakthrough service we feel God has finally been gracious enough to manifest Himself because we have somehow merited His love with enough tongues, singing, worship, praise and our goodness.

This is not faith; this is waiting on physical evidence of God to believe He is with us. Let’s reflect on the following questions:

  • Are we then doubting that God loves us until we blow the doors off the church?
  • Is having a breakthrough and speaking in tongues the only way we can feel God and have a relationship with Him?
  • Are we seeking to have our lives justified with a breakthrough, by pushing through a shout out blow out service?
  • Are we waiting for a preacher to tickle our ears and hit our hot buttons to get us going?
  • Have we stopped reading and studying our Bible because it is boring and it doesn’t have the same flare as the fiery conference preacher?
  • Without all the physical “stuff” to move us, are we then limiting our relationship with Jesus Christ to the breakthrough service?

1Co 2:4-5
and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Eph 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

God’s love and grace is a gift, we can’t earn it. An outpouring of His spirit is because of His greatness and mercy, not our own. We should have faith that God is with us and loves us whether there is a massive outpouring, a quiet peace or just a simple teaching of His word in our homes or church.

1Co 14:6
Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

1Co 14:19
Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

When we praise, worship and rejoice it should be to lift up Jesus Christ and not to lift ourselves up so that He can pour out His spirit because we are worthy of His presence. Our praise should be to lift Him up because we love Him for His grace and mercy.

Rom 5:2-4
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope

In closing, our walk with God should not be measured or limited to the amount of “church” we can have, but expanded to a daily ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us trust Him by faith that He loves us and is with us even if we can’t feel it like fire shut up in our bones and nobody is running the isles. I pray we continue to have awesome breakthrough services and we blow the doors off the church. I also pray that we keep our hearts in the right place when we render up our offering of praise and worship to Jesus. Let us not seek to do this because we are worthy, or out of self-indulgence, or as a quick fix for a lack of a relationship with Jesus, but out of gratitude and love for our God.

The New Buzzword: Church Community

I have been reading various articles on the word church and its original meaning. Some articles have bashed the modern concept of church as a departure from the original Acts concept of church, while others have addressed some of the problems of the modern church ideology. I thought I would share my two cents and my perspective about the buzzword “ecclesia” or “community”. You may think I am jumping on the “ecclesia” bandwagon, but I am just sharing my thoughts and my heart. Continue reading “The New Buzzword: Church Community”

Biblical Authority and Headship

It is our goal as Christians is to grow up into Jesus Christ, seek after His will and to please Him. We should desire to get closer to Him and Him alone with regards to growing spiritually. It is not our commission to get closer to our church, our pastor or seek to be connected to Christ through a church or pastor. Our ministry and gifts should be unto Jesus Christ and Him alone. Men will fail us, churches will pass, but Jesus Christ and His love will endure forever. Continue reading “Biblical Authority and Headship”