Saturday, July 7, 2018

Your Highest Calling

What is your highest calling? A calling is a  conviction that comes from God. We might have several calls throughout our lives, but there is only one highest calling.

Jesus said that we needed to become like children to enter the kingdom of God (Mat. 18:1-4). We're called to receive the kingdom of God like a child (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16-17).

The Apostle Paul  preached Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead to non-believers in Athens; people that worshiped many gods, and even set up an altar that they dedicated to an "unknown god."  Paul called these non-believers, children of God (Acts 17:28-29). This is our highest calling; to live in the reality of what it means to be children of God.

Why does Jesus tell us to receive the kingdom of God as a child? Because we are children of God. We receive the kingdom of God in lowliness, or humility, like a child. Little children spend maybe ten to fifteen years of their lives looking up at adults. We're reminded from children to put others above ourselves - to receive the kingdom in lowliness.

In order to reach our highest calling, we must become lowly, live in humility and put others above ourselves. It's an oxymoron, and seems contradictory, because God's world is upside down to the natural mind. That's why in order for us to fulfill our highest calling, we must call upon Jesus to live his victorious, resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within us.

Watch my latest video, "Your Highest Calling."






Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Great Commission Revisited

Jesus gave his apostles several mandates. The first was to be witnesses (martyrs) of Jesus life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 21-26, 2:32). The second, was for  Jesus' disciples to love one another, as Jesus loved them (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:11, 14; 4:7-12). The third mandate, is for the apostles to make disciples of all nations (people) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were commanded to teach these new students of Jesus to obey whatsoever Jesus' commanded them (Mat 28:16-20). Therefore, we follow the apostle's teachings, and continue to teach others (Acts 2:42).  

Notice, Jesus rebuked those who did not believe; those who had seen him after he had risen from the dead (Mark 16:14; John 20:24-27). We are called to believe the gospel, or good news of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit (Acts 2:22-39; 1 John 3:23; 4:2, 14-15; 5:1).  Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, and he has been raised from the dead! Secondly, we are called to be baptized (Mark 16:15-16). Additionally, believers are called to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).  Remember, John baptized with water, but Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16: Acts 1:5, 11:16).

The apostle Paul taught that people should believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16). To the Jews the apostle Paul proclaimed Jesus as the Christ (Acts 17:2-3). To Jews and Gentiles, Paul preached Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:17-18). He told the people of Athens that God was the creator of the world, and Lord of heaven and earth. He said that God did not dwell in buildings. The God that Paul proclaimed doesn't need anything. He is the life-giver. In God we all live, move, and exist. All people are God's children. God has declared that all of his children should change their minds about him. For he is the one that will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:19-31).   

The apostle Peter preached that we should believe in Jesus, who is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42-43). The apostle Paul preached that Jesus will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). The apostle John records a time for the dead to be judged (Rev. 11:18; 20:12-13). The Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed also confirm that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead. 

God loves us. In Christ Jesus, everyone is included in the love and grace of God. No one is without God, except in their own minds. We are called to believe that Jesus is the resurrected Christ. We are called to be baptized in water, and receive the Holy Spirit. We are called to love one another, and to share this good news with all people. 

Watch my latest video on, "The Great Commission Revisited."





Friday, June 15, 2018

Heaven Or Iowa?

In the movie, "Field of Dreams," Ray Kinsella builds a baseball field in the middle of his corn fields after hearing a voice that tells him, "If you build it, he will come." Soon deceased baseball players, raised from the dead as young men, come out of Ray's cornfields. One of the players is Ray's father, John Kinella. While Ray and John are renewing their relationship, John asks  Ray, "Is this heaven?" Ray replies, "It's Iowa," and then asks John, "Is there a heaven?"  John says, "Oh yeah, it's the place dreams come true."

The book of Genesis says that God called the "expanse," heaven (Gen. 1:8). The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that God is in heaven (Eccl. 5:2). Jesus said, heaven is the throne of God (Mat. 5:34). God the Father is in heaven (Mark 11:25-26). The Holy Spirit descended from heaven as a dove, and rested upon Jesus (John 1:32).  Jesus said, no one has ascended to heaven, except the Son of Man, the Bread of God, who has descended from heaven (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 41). Therefore, if we want to know about heaven, we have one source of information, and that's from the one who has descended from heaven, Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus was having a conversation with Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. The Pharisees rejected Jesus, and his testimony.  He told Nicodemus that a person had to be born again, or born of the spirit,  to see, and enter into the kingdom of  God (or kingdom of heaven). He then went on to say that being born of the spirit, has to do with believing in the Son of God, Jesus (John 3:1-21).

We have placed so much emphasis on heaven being a place that we go to after we die, and little  emphasis on the relationship that we have with God in Christ Jesus. Heaven is a metaphor for salvation and eternal life. It is a present, and future reality. It's a relationship that we have with God. We have been brought into this relationship in Christ, because of who he is, and because of what he has done. Jesus said, "This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). It's necessary to believe in Jesus, to trust him, to "eat the bread of God," so that he lives within us, and so that we fully experience the life that he has already given us, for this is the will of the Father (John 6:40, 50-51). 

Jesus made these bold statements:

I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35). 

I am the Light of the World (John 8:12).

I am the Door (John 10:9). 

I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). 

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). 

I am the True Vine (John 15:1).

I am, the Alpha and the Omega, the First, and the Last, the Beginning, and the End (Rev. 22:13).

Jesus is our life! In him we experience heaven. Salvation is a person, Jesus. Just like Jesus said, "I am...". 

The apostle Paul said, "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory (Col. 3:4 my emphasis). When Christ is revealed, we will experience the fullness of heaven in our new, glorified bodies. We have borne the image of the man from earth [Adam], and we  will also bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus] (1 Cor. 15:47-49). 

We are [already] seated with him in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:5-6). We're seated with him, because we are one with him in his person.

The present heaven, and the present earth will both pass away (Luke 21:33).  But the good news is, Jesus is the pioneer of the new creation - the new earth, and new heaven (Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:1-5).

Watch my latest video on heaven.













Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pentecost

Jesus directed his apostles to be witnesses of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension (Acts 1:8). These men ate, drank, slept, and lived with Jesus for three or so years. They experienced the miracles of Jesus. They witnessed his crucifixion. Most importantly, they were first hand witnesses of his resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:22-24, 32).

The word witness, is translated from the Greek word martys. Jesus said that the day will come when people will be deceived into believing that they are serving God by killing Jesus' disciples (John 16:2). 

"And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore witness to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly astounded" (Rev. 17:6 MOUNCE). 

When Jesus was taken by the chief priests, what did his apostles do? They were fearful and ran (Mark 14:50)! Afterward, Peter denied Jesus three times (Mark 14:66-72). Jesus' apostles (those sent by Jesus with a mission) were timid, weak, and unbelieving (Luke 24:36-38, 41). But through the Holy Spirit, Jesus began to live his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within them. 

The sending of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus (Luke 24:49; John 16:5-11, 13-15; Acts 1:1-8). Jesus said that he would ask the Father, and the Father would send another (Comforter, Helper, Counselor, Teacher, Advocate, Holy Spirit,) to his apostles (John 14:16-17, 26). Jesus followed up on his promise (Acts 2:1-4, 14-18, 32-33). The apostles were witnesses, and enabled to speak with power through the Spirit (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 32, 36). 

The Holy Spirit was sent to "en-courage," or to supply courage for Jesus' martyrs! Tradition tells us that all of the apostles, aside from John, were murdered. They proclaimed the good news of Jesus to their death, and therefore we believe! 

What about for us today? 

The Holy Spirit is not a payment, it's a gift from God (Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom. 6:23). The Spirit is referred to as the power of God, (note - “power from on high,”) and the fire of God (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4). The writer of Hebrews tells us that "God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). 

The Holy Spirit was sent not only to the church but upon all flesh (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-17). The Apostle Peter preached: 

"but this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour forth my spirit on all mankind;" (Acts 2:16-17 first part, emphasis is mine). 

We're called to have a change of mind, turn to God, and receive the gospel (Acts 2:38, 41; 3:19; 26:19-20). We're not witnesses in the same way as Jesus' apostles. However, by the Holy Spirit we share in the life of God, and we can share our faith and experience of God with others. When Jesus lives his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19-20; Gal. 2:20), he does so by the Holy Spirit. To non-believers in Athens, the Apostle Paul proclaimed what Stephen had also proclaimed - that God does not dwell in temples made by human hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24). We are the temple of the Consuming Fire God (Heb. 12:29). When we yield to the Spirit, we bear fruit to God (Gal. 5:22-23). 

Pentecost represents something incredibly wonderful - new creation, and new life! God didn't come to change us, or to help us live. He came in the person of Christ Jesus to give us new life (John 10:10; 2 Cor. 5:16-21). The gospel is a great mystery. Somehow we are united to God in Christ Jesus, and somehow we live out of his life (John 14:20). He is a life giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).

Watch my video on Pentecost: 







Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Ascension of Jesus Christ


Happy Ascension Day, friends! 

Many people actually celebrate this day without fully realizing what the day means. The good news of Jesus is in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit.

When Joshua took the children of Israel into the Promised Land in the fortieth year after the Exodus (Josh 4:19), he foreshadowed what Jesus was to do. In the forty days after his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples, then he entered bodily into the holy of holies, the Promised Land, and we too entered in him. Jesus himself is our Promised Land. He is our salvation! 

Jesus didn't just float up into the sky, he was raised bodily, and ascended bodily into heaven. Luke tells us that the resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples with many convincing proofs over a period of forty days. After blessing them, he was taken up into heaven (Acts 1:1-3, 9). In Luke 24 we read that his disciples: did not find the body of the Lord Jesus (vs. 3, 22-23); he had risen [from the dead, bodily] (vs. 6); Peter entered the tomb where Jesus was buried and saw only the burial clothing that was placed on Jesus’ body after he had died, but did not see Jesus (vs. 12, 24); [Jesus] entered into his glory [in a glorified human body] (vs. 26); he vanished from their sight (vs. 31); [Jesus said] see my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have (vs. 39); he showed them his hands and his feet (vs. 40); he ate a piece of broiled fish [to convince his disciples that he was still the same Jesus - still human] (vs. 42-43). Jesus fulfilled (filled to the full) the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms and he opened their minds to understand the scriptures (vs. 44-45). Jesus appeared to the women, to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to five hundred believers at one time. He appeared to James, and lastly he appeared to the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus entered another dimension in a transformed body (imperishable, glorified, in power, spiritual body, bearing the likeness of the man from heaven, immortal – yet still human) (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 49-54). 

Jesus entered into the holy of holies once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own precious blood, having obtained eternal redemption (see Hebrews 9:11-12, 26; 10:4, 10-12, 14). He is both the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and our High Priest (Heb. 7). He made purification of sins, and then sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high (Heb 1:1-3; 8:1). 

Jesus ascension pictures what is already reality. Jesus is the head over every power and authority - God is King over heaven and all the kingdoms of this world (Eph. 1:21-22; Col. 2:10). Ascension pictures Reality. Jesus is in his rightful position of authority in the heavenly realm, on his heavenly throne, above all power and authority as King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

The great theologian, Thomas F. Torrance says, the ascension means man has been exalted into the life of God, and onto the throne of God. 

The apostle Paul tells us that the Pioneer, Jesus Christ, has brought us with him into the heavenly realm. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ [two early manuscripts have in Christ, not with Christ] (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:5-6 NASB). 

God has decided not to live without us. In the transformed and ascended Lord we are united with him forever. We share in his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life. 

Watch my latest video on the ascension: 



Saturday, January 6, 2018

The New Reformation

In case you are missing it, the "New Reformation" is underway. At the forefront of this reformation, the church is moving from a self-centric focus, sin-centric focus,  and prophet-centric focus, to a Christo-centric focus. 

Those who believe in taking the self-centric focus, and sin-centric focus, often say that Jesus came to help us live the Christian life, and we follow him. That is, we ask, "What would Jesus do?" and then we try, with God's help to do the same thing. The problem with this approach is that it places all, or most of the emphasis on self, sin, and Old Covenant teachings, instead of on Christ, and what he has accomplished for us, and as us.¹


Experiential Reality or Experiential Lie

There are two lies that the devil has propagated. The first lie, is that we must work to get sin out of our lives, and to become holy. It's the lie that was told from the beginning. The lie that says you need to partake of certain knowledge, and embark on a journey to become like God. But this is a false paradigm. The reality is that from the beginning God created us in his image, and in his likeness.²  

The gospel is the good news of Jesus. It isn't a path to a successful life. We are deceived into thinking that similar to achieving the American dream, our own efforts, combined with God's help, will allow us to achieve salvation. So under the old paradigm, believers incorporate the same philosophy that they have about achieving the American dream into the gospel. They believe that it's mostly about being smart, working hard, and being diligent. They say the more diligent we are in praying, studying, attending church services, etc., the more successful we will be at becoming like God. But that's a lie. Nothing we do can make us become like God. Nothing we do can make us holy. God alone has made us in his image, and in his likeness. God alone makes us holy. Jesus came to remind us of who we already  are in him, to give us abundant life, and to bring us back into relationship with the Father, through the Spirit.³

The second lie is believing that since God alone makes us holy, we can live outside of the truth as a dead man and not live as the resurrected son or daughter that God has made us to be. We are deceiving ourselves or just neglecting our salvation. We are called to live in the reality of who we are as the sons and daughters of the Living God,⁴ not as captives held in bondage by the father of lies.⁵      

Those who believe in the New Reformation, are Christ followers, who by the grace of God, have come to acknowledge that Christ is the only one who can live the Christ life⁶, and it's Jesus who lives his life within us.They believe that it's Christ who has saved us in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit.⁸ That when he said, "It is finished," he actually meant it. The difference between a believer, and a non-believer, is that the believer believes it, and makes a conscious decision to yield to Christ, and the unbeliever has not yet had his eyes opened to the "Way, the Truth, and the Life." 

Those who believe in the New Reformation, are Christo-centric, or Christ-centered. They believe that we are all children of God. There's no way of being "in him," without being in Christ. For being "in him," means being in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.⁹ Those who go off into a far country are still sons and daughters. The prodigal was living outside of his true self as a son. He didn't lose his identity when he lived outside of it. He may have been lost, and living as a dead man, but in reality, just like you and I, he was always a child of his loving Father.¹º 

Watch my latest You Tube video, "Reality, Can You Handle the Truth?"



¹ Those who believe in the New Reformation take a highly Christocentric view of the gospel. They believe that Jesus is our life, and they place more weight on him, the resurrected, last Adam, than on the dead, first Adam.  

²Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created themGod saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good  (Gen 1:26 first part-27, 31 first part NASB).

³The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 10:10; 17:3 KJV).


⁴The Psalmist wrote:  I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High (Ps.82:6). When Jesus quoted the Psalmist he knew that his listeners would be familiar with the entire Psalm, so he quoted only the beginning of it, and said, “Has it not been written in your Law, said, you are gods’? (John 10:34 NASB). The Apostle Paul wrote: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Rom. 8:14 NASB). The Apostle John wrote: See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:1-2, 10 NASB). The devil is a created being, a fallen angel, and in reality isn't the father of anyone. What the Apostle John meant, is that although everyone is a child of God, some knowingly, or unknowingly, live in captivity, in the lies of the devil. Thus they are living as though they were his children, and not in the reality of who they really are. 

⁵Jesus speaking to the Jews who rejected him, and his teachings: You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 NASB).


⁶When Christ, who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:4 NASB).

⁷I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20 KJV).

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (2 Tim 1:9-10 NASB).

⁹The Apostle Paul preaching to the idol worshiping Athenians said, for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’  Being then the children of God…(Acts 17:28-29 NASB).

¹ºBut when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;  for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate (Luke 15:17-24 NASB).


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Prayer of Lamentation After the Las Vegas Murders

Lord, how have we forgotten you? We worship false gods that cause us to hate one another. They are really no gods at all, but rather demons, and even the devil himself. We walk in darkness, and in fear, not knowing that we are all your children. We are all brothers, and sisters created by our loving God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lord, on behalf of this people, your children, I turn to you, and I surrender to you. 

Deliver us Lord from darkness, fear, and false gods. Prince of Peace reign over us. Prince of Peace deliver us. You alone Lord, are worthy of praise, glory, and honor. You alone Lord, are God. Save us Lord! Open our eyes that we may see, and our ears that we may hear. Open our hearts that we may know you. Deliver us Lord! Be our Lord. Be our King. Be our God! Thank you Lord!


Use this link to learn how to become a believer in the the True God. 
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