The Real Christ and False Discipleship

Being a disciple of Christ is the life of one who loves, watches, learns and imitates Jesus by relationship through grace alone. They constantly see their existence as living in the presence of One who totally loves, accepts and forgives them. He also blesses them and empowers them freely because of that relationship.

They walk in the truth that it is no longer them but Christ and for them to live is Christ and to die is beneficial  because that would mean uninterrupted fellowship in heaven with Christ. We were chosen that we might be with him and there is summation of the Christian life.

Christ is all in all.

It is the burning focus of the disciple of Jesus Christ that they may know him intimately, dynamically and continually.

I am sad, that modern day discipleship is nothing more than proselytism in religion that plagiarizes the words of scripture and uses it for it’s own means. We read with joy the release of the slaves from Egypt by the final stroke of the blood of the Lamb. But we fail to see that Pharaoh and the priests of Egypt were skilled religionists and they made slaves out of  their citizens through their legalistic teachings, magic and powerful entertainment. The only thing that could set the people free was the blood of the spotless Lamb upon the doors of their houses as they waited for release wearing their travelling clothes.

The Jews of Christ’s day had such rigid rules based on the law they literally emptied the scriptures of their power and shut the doors of the kingdom of God with access into God’s blessings! It was only by Calvary’s Cross that the thick suffocating, unyielding veil of religion was torn and the heavens were opened to men and women. It was only by the precious body and blood of Christ that sin and the handwriting of ordinances which stood against us were taken out of the way. When the heavens were thrown open the publicans, harlots and outcasts were waiting with travelling clothes to force their way into the kingdom of heaven for forgiveness and salvation and freedom.

The mass religious marketing of today enslaves church people to a business mentality that sells church and Christianity as a product. They bash, threaten, arrest people for not keeping their principles with condemnation and hurt. They have many of us bamboozled. They take the whole joy out of living for Christ and walking with Jesus. They forget it is by knowing Christ personally and deeply people serve and change things. It is not by magic prayers, experts, books and instructional videos that we can be better Christians. It is being by loved by Christ.

When we took the preaching for the need for the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts revealing Jesus to us, we took the very transmission out of the heart of what it is to be a Christian.  We need to preach the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit, the refreshing with which he causes the weary to rest. We need to bring people back to Jesus, especially church people.

Get your coat and shoes on. Jesus has released you from the bondage to religion by his blood. Who can stop you now? Sin has been forgiven and religions magnetic pull has been broken. Don’t be afraid to love him and serve him in his freedom of acceptance and power.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Marked By God

He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.” (Ezekiel 9:4).

In reading this I agree with some commentators say that this mark was – literally, TAU the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

It was the first letter of the word Torah (the law of God) and being the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet is signified complete obedience.

TAU in it’s original form was that of a CROSS.

“Christians, noting the resemblance of this letter in its most ancient form to a cross, have seen herein a reference to the cross with which Christians were signed.” (Barnes).

This was a sign of signs and a mark of marks. In Exodus 12 we see the Passover event where the blood of the Lamb was sprinkled on the door jams and door posts of the Israelite homes as a notice to the destroying angel what house he should not destroy.

Now this saving sign the cross, has marked the minds and hearts of God’s people as the seal of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:22; 2 Tim. 2:19).

They grieve over the obscene detestable things done in this world because sin has no agreement with the temple of God, and they are his church who really worship God in the power of the Spirit.

We have the Only true Perfect Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who perfectly obeyed his Father and we have been sealed by his Holy Spirit. His Heavenly Father’s name has been placed in our foreheads (Rev. 7:3, 14;1).

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Clinically Proven

I have to rant and rave every once in a while; it is quite therapeutic for me.

There is no doubt that you have seen infomercials advertising products as “clinically proven.”   Clinically proven may mean any number of things and on the other hand, it can mean absolutely nothing.  You see, when you really want to sell something  just throw in that “clinically proven” statement  which is usually a vague claim that requires no hard evidence and isn’t easy to disprove. Most people do not realize that as long as the product has, “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA” disclaimer on the label, it’s not necessary to have evidence to back it up.

Scary.

My concern is for the “clinically proven” claims made by so called mega-churches, celebrity pastors and ministries.  These guys and gals are some of the best salespeople I have ever seen.  They advertise health, wealth and blessing through religious products. The anointing oil from Gethsemane, water from the Holy Land, a mustard seed in a necklace, at home communion sets, books, CD’s and DVD’s with the promise of blessing-all of this with a very generous love offering. Not convinced? You can watch the what testimonies of people who say they got it and it does everything from fixing their flat tire to paying off their mortgage.

Then there are the commercials. I have found it interesting that preaching has segments now. You even see it in church. Preaching is not enough so we throw a video in the mix.  Then the new breed of televangelists have interview formats, in the name of making Christianity more interesting and conversational.  The interviews even include celebrities who do not claim to be Christians but have tips on being successful. After a few minutes of preaching you have snippets of religious commericals advertising the message you are watching or future conferences and we even have pay-per-view preaching.

The emphasis of much Christianity today is all about results or being practical. Pastors and leaders are not immune from buying into the “clinically proven” church growth strategies from men who went from 40 to 4000 in a year or two. That is all that is pumped into the minds, conferences and groups of any denomination in the name of evangelism.

But who defines this?

You got it-the times and culture of the day redefine faith and religion in a whole new way.  Scripture is reinterpreted in line with the zeitgeist (a word meaning the “spirit of the age”).  The only problem is that such concepts of sin and atonement may become out of sync with the culture and so we have seen even Christianity  redefines God, sin and forgiveness and church in light of the world around them. They will spend time on issues such as practical living, family, marriage and health rather than on “doctrinal” issues in order to really “help people.”  That is their selling point and they say, “it works and you get results with our new religious product.”

It is all boulderdash!

Here is what matters to Christ-doing the will of God from your heart (Eph. 6:6).  It is God’s desire that we, “may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Col. 4:12).  That understanding of will of God is found in the clear teaching of the scriptures by gospel ministers in the meeting of the people called the church (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 14:26). No sales, no cheesy punch lines, no dramatics, just a determination to do the will of God. It is after we have been persistent in doing God’s will that we will receive the promise of heaven and eternal life (Heb 10:36). All of this worldly flim- flam religion cannot last under the times of molten trials and fiery testing that will come (1 Cor 3:10-15). John makes it clear: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17).

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Here Comes Christ the Warrior King!

“Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10NLT).

This psalm demonstrates clearly who is the rightful Owner, Ruler and Creator of the universe! The earth and all that is in it belongs rightfully to the thrice Holy God (24:1)!  We live our lives for the glory of God and the crown rights of King Jesus. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chr. 29:11). 

Jesus Christ is King of Glory is the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle seen in a human being (John 1:14). He only had clean hands and a pure heart. He only could ascend into God’s hill and stand in his holy place (24:3-4). He comes to open up gates that were barred to men and women since the fall of Adam. God was coming to earth in Christ opening up the gates that false religion and sin had closed. When John baptized Christ, “he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mk 1:10).  The Warrior King’s battle cry was, “Open for me the gates of righteousness. ” (Psa. 118:19).

Charles Spurgeon says, “We know the might of Jesus by the battles which he has fought, the victories which he has won over sin, and death, and hell…”  The disciples saw Christ the Warrior King and even touched his wounds after his death in battle yet who rose again for them victorious over death (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-26). You also see Christ the warrior King coming to you by the reading of scripture and witness of the Holy Spirit. There you see his wounds and scars proving that He is your King of Glory, your Lord strong and mighty, your Lord who is mighty in battle who says, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Rev 1:17-18).

What are these ancient doors? These gates are the everlasting doors, the eternal gates of heaven.  Like the old portcullis gate and doors as seen in this article, so the doors burst open wide and the gate was lifted for Jesus Christ the overwhelming Victor. Here comes Christ the Warrior King back from Mount Calvary’s bloody hill of battle, the silence of the borrowed tomb, the earth shattering power of his resurrection and then his triumphant ascension to heaven to take the highest seat in the universe that only the God-man could keep without being dethroned.  He went out weeping and he went to plant the precious seeds of Calvary but came back with singing as he returned with the harvest, bringing back in chains those who enslaved the souls of people and disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He publicly embarrassed them by his victory over them on the cross (Eph. 4:8; Col. 2:15). 

Your warrior King has opened up heaven for you.  Right now a door is standing open for you in heaven. Christ opened it up for you and left it ajar (Rev. 4:1). The heavens are opened for you and God is waiting. “These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there.” (Psa. 118:20).  Jesus says he is that door (John 10:9). Take his offer now, that door will not remain open forever.

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from. 

2012

It is my belief that the disease that has infected the churches of the United States of America is NOT fatal and can be cured.

That cure is still found in the remedy of God and his Gospel, flowing from the bloodstained hill called Calvary and administered by those who will DARE to preach it amid the disgust and revulsion of the religious empire disguised as the church.

Any soul that has been treated by the power of the Cross can attest, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now I am found twas blind but now I see!”

Jesus Christ the great Intercessor can save to the uttermost! He can still raise up the worst profligates and prodigals among men and women out of the miry pits of sin and abject lostness and bring the precious news of peace with God through Christ.

They may even today be lying in a gutter, homeless, living under a bridge and God can save and fill them with his power and raise up an Luther, Spurgeon, Whitfield among them.

There are in the worlds eyes among the exploited and abused, no- names who have already been recorded in heaven’s annals as among God’s own choice in the book of life, whose names cannot be blotted out.

They will sing and preach better than anything you may have ever heard. They will have an iron will in politics, unyielding to compromise. They will revolutionize the medical filed and discover cures for disease that were considered incurable. They will rebuildl the broken down walls of the family.

They will solve social ills that have plagued our country and will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless.  They will be missionaries they will break down the fortresses of gospel hardened nations and reach those who have never heard the name of Jesus.

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Those of you who know this gospel MUST GO out and reach them. Those who know their God will do exploits! Don’t waste your precious time, money and energy in religious slavery with those who love their agendas, programs, buildings and entertainment more than Christ.

Make this year a year that Calvary and the Gospel are lifted up higher than before! Immerse your minds and hearts in the scriptures and feast everyday and then serve the bread of Life so needed by those God is calling to himself.

 

Stuck on the Steeple

Recently two men were stuck at a height of 122 feet in a construction bucket which stopped working and lodged against a New Jersey church steeple for hours before they were rescued. These men were working on a restoration project, according to the church’s pastor. Not even the fire department could help them.  As surreal as it seems, the New Jersey State Police dispatched two helicopters to assist those men! After about three hours, the men were taken down by a basket hooked to a crane. The Pastor was thankful and even prayed with those that helped.

I wonder what it would be like to listen to these men tell the story to their friends and family about the day they were stuck on the steeple.

I am not here to blame the pastor for that nightmare, and the breakdown of equipment.  I am not against church repairs. But for the sake of illustration, I wonder about pastors who are more like religious business owners and whose focus is on how tall the “steeple” of the church more than the souls of their people.  There is a sermon  here in fact, it is very possible churches and church goers are stuck on the steeple. I am prompted to advise pastors with the scripture,

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds.” (Prov 27:23)

This passage encourages the pastor to know the faces or the state of his sheep, to put his heart into the condition of those that God has entrusted to his care. The pastor has a job to know the condition of the souls of the people he pastors, nothing else is more important. Soul work is hard work and all the work done in a church should flow the condition of people’s hearts.

Pastors today feel the lure of the new models of religious marketing and church growth. That shining serpent beckons to them and promises them freedom from “old religious ways”  and to attract more crowds to church in the name of love and healing. I am concerned that they may have forgotten their true call, to care for their sheep.  I have seen pastors and churches advertise and market programs and go light on preaching. When they do preach, they are sloppy on the gospel.

There is a possibility of involving people so much in “God’s Work” that they get end up in a dangerous situation. In seemingly thriving churches I have seen adultery, drug abuse and financial controversy. How could this happen? They are stuck on the steeple. Pastors may be putting people  in danger, because their agenda has become their gospel.  We shuld love helping the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry we should do it without a second thought but these things are NOT the gospel. Man cannot live on bread alone. Full stomachs can result in anorexic souls.

I have been part of churches where Sunday after Sunday they push small groups, leadership programs, denominational conferences so much that it becomes forced. It is like an arranged marriage to an ugly partner. The religious peer pressure kicks in and you either get left out or singled out.

The bottom line is not the project it is the condition of people souls! Their souls are more important than any agenda you may have. Is what you are doing, contributing to a dangerous situation for them spiritually?

Many of these pastors seem promote membership and Churchianity.  They preach with passion the importance of attendance and faithful tithing. If only they would preach the cross and exposit scripture with such fire! They quote Hebrews 10:25 and have the nerve to shake their finger at people for neglecting the fellowship. But I wonder, what is the sense of going to church when they nauseatingly preach a man centered message to a gospel hardened people?

I have heard messages that were not messages at all. I have heard pastors talking about sex until it bordered on soft porn. I have hjerad them use vulgarity when preaching. I have heard them preach on finances until you felt like you were going to work and they were about to sell you a new 401k plan. They act like stand up comedians who use the Bible as a punchline. Many look like slobs and act like slobs. They will show movies, plays and concerts in place of what used to be Sunday morning worship. This is a bad dream and “Ouch!” that pinch hurts when you realise you are wide awake.  It breaks my heart. When you confront these things all you hear from these same people is that you are “religious” “judgmental” or pharasaical! That gets old fast mainly because it is so unoriginal.

How many more churches and preachers must be exposed for their malpractice until they repent!  Some men see people problem and clear themselves of the blame saying it is this or that person’s fault. But they say that are praying for them. Oh you will pray for them? Ah, to little too late. 

Recently, the Michael Jackson wrongful death case was blazed in the media. Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty.  He gave drugs to this troubled man who was depressed, full of anxiety and despite all his success and charity was empty inside. The man that should have helped him heal, created the perfect storm in his body and killed him. We do not know all the wherewithal about this case still, but we know that a Doctor who was supposed to keep an oath to care for the welfare of his patient literally gave him the drip of death. We are aghast at this! Yet how much more those who give the drip of death to the soul.

You are being charged with malpractice by the Surgeon General of Souls! If you continue to go against the scripture or only use scripture as a garnish for the toxic candy you serve people God will remove your license to practice. The salt is in danger of losing its savor. Repent now, help those people stuck on the steeple you have made!

Imagine your people stranded to the point where the world has to come in and “rescue” them. We surrender our problematic people and flock to the programs of men, their philosophy, their psychology and counsel. We exalt the counsel of the wicked to help them and because we have laid aside God’s Word, his true grace, true love and true forgiveness. The repair of their souls cannot be found in the hands of those like Absalom who kiss them and steal their hearts from the Lord. People who call themselves Christians live dangerously close to the world and not for the gospel. I watch them dabble in all sorts of witchcraft, violence, idolatry of all kinds and I wonder what are they hearing in church? Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?

Stop using the pulpit for idiocy! You are endangering the souls of your people! Stop being an activities director, a marriage counselor or financial guru and start looking at the faces of your flock. Look at them burned out on the steeple, forced  to work in man-made vineyard and yet neglecting their own spiritual vintage. Start preaching and ministering to their hearts.  Look at your people, they are miserable, on the verge of spiritual collapse stuck on the steeple you sent them to repair. They trusted you as their pastor and you are more like a taskmaster.  Repent now, your candlestick is in danger of being removed!  Look to God’s Word for your guidance. He will show you the path and he will make it clear how to minister to your people. He loves them. He will rescue them. Let God’s glory and their spiritual welfare be your goal. Let God speak to them through you by his Word, and he will rescue them from being stuck on the steeple.

God is sending help to rescue these people from these taskmasters and their steeples. Just like in the Garden of Eden he will expose these lies for what they are and all your fig leaf suits and hiding behind your Bible won’t stop his presence from exposing it!

 (c) 2011 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Revival

“It is not surprising that the Puritan movement in England believed so firmly in revivals of religion as the great means by which the Church advances in the world…When the Holy Spirit is poured out in a day of power the result is bound to affect whole communities and even nations. Conviction of sin, an anxiety to possess the Word of God, and dependence upon those truths which glorify God in man’s salvation, are inevitable consequences….to the Christians of that era, however, the explanation was entirely different. They read in Scripture that when the Spirit is poured from on high then the wilderness becomes a fruitful field [Isaiah 32:15].

They read also, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts’ [Zechariah 4:6], and they attributed all the spiritual renewal of their age to the mercy of God. In taking this view they understood at once that all the successes of the Reformation were repeatable — as repeatable as the victories of the apostolic age — for Scripture places no limitation upon the Spirit’s work of glorifying Christ and extending His kingdom.

Thus there was recovered at the time of the Reformation belief in what may be called revival Christianity, and the attention which the Puritans who followed gave to this area of truth profoundly influenced the following centuries and gave to the English-speaking world what may be called the classic school of Protestant belief in revival.” (Ian Murray)

Some pastors teach that revival is not necessary since Christians are already alive in Christ.  But they forget that even Christians can very easily experience a decay in their passion for Christ that used to be like a great fire can become just smoking embers among the ashes of past experience. Their people are not There may be a great intermission or formality in the discharge of commanded duty. The mind, which once with delight and admiration, could meditate upon God and Christ, and the covenant, and things that are above, may come to lose its relish for these things, and to dote upon the transitory fading vanities of a present world. The common gifts of the Spirit, through carnal ease, and defect of employment, may be in a great measure blasted: and, which is worst of all, the saving graces, and fruits of the Spirit, may come to be woefully impaired as to their former degrees and acting. But now, this partial death of believers, again, is twofold: there is a deadness which is felt by God’s people, and a deadness which is not felt; “gray hairs are here and there upon them, sometimes, and they do not behold them.” The Lord was departed from Samson, and he wist not, Judg. 16:20. But then there is a deadness which is felt, when God’s people have a sense of their deadness, and are lamenting it. And it is an evidence of spiritual life, or of some revival, when the Lord’s people are beginning to cry out with the church, (Psa. 85:6:) “Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee? — Why hast thou hardened our heart from thy fear?” (Isa. 63:17).

 

 

The Trouble With Our Theology

pointing-finger

“After that four hundred years of stillness there came this amazing man, John the Baptist. He shocked their culture. He upset their theology.

Nobody’s going to church. Why? Their all going out to hear a man in the wilderness.

What’s he doing-raising the dead?

No, he isnt.

He’s raising hell.

Did he raise the dead? No he did not raise a dead man but he raised a dead nation. Dear Lord, we could do with a John the Baptist in every city of the nation tonight…

Oh, they loved to hear him because he believed in..but not only believed it but actually raised the dead.  The trouble with our theology, its all on the blackboard. Our theology is all in textbooks. It has no life, it has no breath, it has no power, it has no authority…

How in the world could Jesus stand in the middle of the crowd of angry vexed people? He’d antagonize them. He’d reveal their spiritual bankruptcy. They were just getting over the shock of John Baptist standing there in the wilderness. They couldn’t fathom it.

Why are people going?

Read the third chapter of Luke…even the Roman soldiers went…they were fascinated when they heard him.

Nothing like this in Rome, Caesar has nothing like this.

Here is a little strange man with a leather girdle wrapped around his loins and an old camel skin wrapped around his neck and people are swarming from everywhere…

He uses that nobody likes, “Repent…repent!” Not only confess your sin, forsake your sin, repent,  run away from it!

Then Jesus comes up afterwards…Don’t you think the next day after he turned water into wine that everywhere they were saying. “Didn’t you hear what he did? They ran out of wine last night and he turned water into wine.”

“This is the man that tosses people out of the synagogues…this is the man that kicks over the extortioners.

This is the man that says to learned men, “You are the enemies of God.”

Merciless.

We are preaching an acceptable gospel today, making it as painless as we can. All we do is give people a shot to put them to sleep so they’ll get to hell quicker. We need some hell fire preaching on repentance.

The was a portion of a video message preached by Leonard Ravenhill called, “Are We Longing For Repentance?”