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Posts Tagged ‘trinity’

Day 69: The Power of Abstinence

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 18, 2011


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The Post Office is in financial trouble because people don’t want to waste the time sending “snail mail” when “e-mail” and “texting” is so much faster.

We live in a culture born in hyperspace with the hyper drives fully engaged. We are constantly looking for faster and faster ways of doing what we do so that we can fit in more stuff to do.

You would think that if we freed up time, we’d take the time to rest, but it just isn’t the case. We have such an addiction to speed and busyness that we are killing any chance to make room in life for things that really matter.

Who has time to play with their kids, read books, sit on a porch swing, pray, quietly meditate upon God, look at the stars when we have all this “stuff” going on in our lives.

Not only are we busy, but even when we slow down, we have TVs and radios going on in the background because we just can’t do the silence.  We just can’t seem to break the “busyness habit”.

This is where the power of abstinence comes in.  We just simply need to go cold-turkey, and stop some of the things that bring useless clutter, vain noise and non-value added busyness to our lives.  Here are just a few of the myriad of ways we can bring some calm back into our lives and give room to celebrate those things that really matter:

  • Use your phone only to call people
  • Eliminate (at least for a time) Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and other “social networking” apps
  • Keep the TV off
  • Keep the radio off if just using it to fill the quiet, especially in the car
  • Try praying or singing to the Lord (no music) while driving instead of blaring the radio and yelling at other drivers

I hope you get the point.  Abstain from things for a season that create “noise” in your life, and don’t fill the void with more noise that is meaningless. Take that new found freedom and read God’s word; spend quality time with the kids listening to them; pray and worship God like He matters to you.

Begin a process of resetting your life. It will not be easy at first, but it will be rewarding as you discover that you are not as busy as you once thought.

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Day 68: Worship Lite Syndrome

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 17, 2011


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Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When was the last time you lifted your hands in worship in a public setting? or even a private setting?
  • When was the last time you were speechless because of the presence of God?
  • When was the last time you cried before the Lord, not because you needed something, but just because you couldn’t find the words to show how much you loved him?
  • When was the last time you danced before the Lord?
  • When was the last time you sang to the Lord without a tape, CD or song leader?
  • When was the last time you fell down prostrate before the Lord?

If you have not done any of the above in a while or have never done some or any of them, you could be suffering from a syndrome known as “Worship Lite”.

You know, the primary words we translate as “worship” in Scripture mean to fall down prostrate, to bow, to kiss the hand, to fear, to tremble, to confess, to profess, to exalt, to lift up, to abase oneself, and to bless.

Worship Lite Syndrome is diagnosed through its symptoms. Thoughts like, “I’m content with my worship experience”, “I don’t want people to think I’m weird”, “Lifting hands is something kids do”, “My worship experience is limited to the 20 minutes we sing on a Sunday morning” are all early signs the the syndrome is taking hold.

Worship is always a “verb”.  It reflects your understanding, attitude, feelings and emotions in the presence of an awesome God.  Worship has no limits. The worship experience never ceases. It is only bound by the limitations of our pride.

Treatments for Worship Lite Syndrome are available through “times set aside each day for worship”, “singing to the Lord in the shower”, “lifting those sweaty hands in a Sunday morning service”, “falling on your face before God because he is God and we are not”. Understanding who He is and what we are in comparison to Him is the first step to a cure.

So go ahead and take a leap. Stretch your worship experience into more than a 20 minute orchestrated experience on a Sunday morning. Break out of the old habits and break into unabridged worship.  You might just find the cure you aren’t even aware you need.

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Day 67: Buildings and God

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 16, 2011


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For years, I have been very perplexed at what we spend money on in the church.  Over the years, I have been very forthcoming to people that if they want to give to an organization that helps the poor, the widows and the orphans, they should give to another organization other than the church that specializes in those areas.

What bothers me most is, “Why is this the case?”

We actually have a direct calling in the scriptures, both OT and NT to take care of the windows and orphans (Deut 14:29-31 and 1 Tim 5:3. In fact, we have one definition for “religion” in the Bible and this is it…

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So I direct this question to church leaders, elders, deac0ns and pastors alike, “How much money do you spend on widows and orphans versus the money you spend on your buildings?”

No place in the NT will you find a call to build buildings.  You will especially not find a single passage that says, “Spend 60, 70 or 80% of your budget on buildings, grounds keeping, maintenance, utilities, cleaning services, fire hydrant fees, church steeples, stained glass, projectors, 5” thick padded chairs and laser lights.

As Stephen cried out just before the religious people of his day stoned him, “The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. (Acts 7:48)”

God’s temple is in the heart of men and women, but we all know this, so why then do we invest so much in something that is going to burn up, does not save people, does not make disciples, does not go to live with Christ for eternity, but does keep eating our resources day after day taking money away from reaching the lost, feeding the poor and helping the widows and orphans?

I’m just asking.

 

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Day 66: My Top 10 – No. 1

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 21, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 2.

Revelation 21:1-5

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I have actually a top five Bible chapter favorites, and this whole chapter tops that list. There are a plethora of reasons, here are just a few:
  1. This chapter tells us where believers will spend eternity, and it is not in heaven.
  2. This chapter tells us where God will spend eternity, and it is not in heaven.
  3. This chapter tells us where the streets are paved with gold and the gates are made of pearl, and it is not heaven’s.
  4. This chapter shows the only thing in existence today that will never be destroyed, and it is not heaven.
  5. This chapter shows a glimpse into a future where the sun is not required  to light the earth and all laws that govern the universe today are nullified.
  6. This chapter shows us a glimpse into the future where the oceans are not required.
  7. This chapter shows a God, in all his wonderful fullness, who gets to finally be with the people he created.
  8. This chapter shows a time when sickness is dead and death is gone.
  9. This is the chapter that shows a final list of all things that keep one from eternity with God.
  10. This is the chapter that solidifies the very hope every believer has in Christ… That He is Lord of all and will reign forever!

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Day 65: My Top 10 – No. 2

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 15, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 2.

Psalm 56:11

11 in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can man do to me?

“In God we trust”. Printed on every dollar… ironically.  Maybe it should say, “In the god of money we trust” since we decided to write it on our money.

Trusting God is more than a fancy slogan to pacifies those living lives secure in their prosperity.  Trusting God is evidenced when the people find their contentment in God’s plan and discover the peace that comes with it.  They then live out their “trust” by surrendering their will to the will of God.

God’s plan is huge to say the least and spans far beyond our existence and even our universe.

God was here for an eternity before the world even began; do you think he was twiddling his thumbs for eternity before we got here?

No, His plan was already in effect, and anytime we play a part in that plan in any way, we are so blessed.

The true area of trust means that we trust that God is true, righteous, faithful, loving, holy, powerful, mighty and just plain awesome! And whether we live or die, proper in this world or that prosperity is held back until the next world, those that trust in God trust in Him alone. They don’t trust in God just so it will go well with them; they trust in God because He is God.

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Day 64: My Top 10 – No. 3

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 1, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 3.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Some scriptures are quoted so often, that the risk of losing sight of the true meaning of the passage increases exponentially.  John 3:16 is chief among those Scriptures.

Jesus is having a conversation with a Pharisee and teacher of the law in the Jewish religious community.  You can hear in the man’s voice the sincerity and Jesus answers his questions very clearly.

Starting with the concept of being “born again”, Jesus walks the teacher through the most concise description of the plan of God recorded in Scripture.

  1. Unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God
  2. Being born again is a spiritual birth that occurs after your are physically born.  It is a birth by choice unlike physical birth, the one being born chooses to be born again.
  3. I (Jesus) am from heaven
  4. I (Jesus) must be lifted up like the snake on a pole in the desert
  5. If you believe in me (Jesus), you will have eternal life
  6. God loves the whole world
  7. God gave Jesus and Jesus is the Son of God
  8. So that if you believe in him you will not die, but have everlasting life
  9. I (Jesus) did not come this time to condemn the world, but to save it
  10. Everyone that rejects stands condemned by their own choice

It isn’t politically correct, but then again, God has never been correct in the eyes of the world.  Jesus is an absolute truth that intervened in our world bringing hope to the hopeless and life to a dead world, and we all must be born again.

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Day 63: My Top 10 – No. 4

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 31, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 4.

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This verse contains some of the last things Jesus told his disciples before ascending into heaven.

He promised earlier that after he leaves, which he must do, he would send the Holy Spirit who can then live in each believer.  As awesome as Jesus was on earth, he was confined to one physical body; however, the Holy Spirit is not limited by the robes of human flesh.  His form is specifically designed to dwell in temples not made by human hands.

The best part of this scripture is that Jesus promises us that what he calls us to do, namely win souls, he will not make us do without empowering us to do it.

The Holy Spirit’s number one job is to embolden the believer to witness.  Other aspects of his work is to make us more like Christ, birth in us fruits, give gifts as he sees fit, etc. However, the one work of the Spirit that we all share in is the “power” of God dwelling in us.

So you might ask, “Why do we not all act as if God lives in us?”  That question has a simple yet very tough answer… we just don’t act like we want the Holy Spirit’s help.

We do not need to be an anemic church because we have the power of God working in each believer, yet far too many walk around weak, holding on to the past, unable to forgive, living dual lives and not giving any room for God to do what God would like to do in our lives.  We are all guilty of this tragedy and it can only be overcome through true repentance… a concept that, sad to say, has been archived on the shelves of Christianity in lieu of more digestible teachings like “You are a good person”.

We are not “good”… only God is good.  We need that power of God to make us “good”.  We need the Holy Spirit actively working in each of us and the church as a whole in order to overcome the shallow, anemic, weak, shell of a church that we are quickly becoming.

Let me be blunt… unless we earnestly seek God’s face, repent massively for our ways and allow him back into our churches and individual lives as the head he is supposed to be, we in America will become like the dead, lifeless churches throughout Europe.

There is hope in the power of the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ and the will of the Father who commanded us to “go!”  Let’s get out of the buildings where we seek our own interest and go to where the needy are and bring them into the Kingdom of God where there is life everlasting!

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Day 62: My Top 10 – No. 5

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 30, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 5.

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Motives are everything, but motivation is necessary.

There is a difference between making it to eternity with God and eternal rewards.  The scriptures are quite plain throughout – though you may gain eternal life, not everyone will receive the same reward.

The motive for serving must be because, (a) You love God, and (b) You love people.  While this is important to keep as a primary focus, there is nothing at all wrong with having a motivation for eternal rewards.

God promises around 40 times throughout the scripture of rewards for those that obey, serve, work, give, pray, fast and meet the needs of the widows and orphans.  These rewards are not rewards you receive in this life.  They are held until Christ’s return and the final chapter (Revelation 22).

So work hard for the Kingdom of God.  Do it for the Love of God and the Love of People, and know that your hard work will be rewarded.

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Day 61: My Top 10 – No. 6

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 18, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 6.

Joshua 14:10-12

10 “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me [Caleb] alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Forty-five years before Caleb uttered these words, he and the man he was talking to, Joshua, were the only two spies that believed God would give Israel the Promised Land.  They were the only men older than 20 years old in all of Israel to leave Egypt and walk the Promised land.

What faith it took for an 85 year old man to believe God. All the more that God would hold true to his promises and give Caleb the land.  What amazes me most… it took 45 years for the promise to be fulfilled.

We in America think that everything should happen now or soon, but we never take into account God’s clock.  We think that if he delays, he doesn’t care or we don’t have faith.

When you read the “faith chapter” (Hebrews 11) you see a list of people that showed great faith.  However, the interesting point to the chapter is not their faith so much as that not one of them saw the fulfillment of their faith before they died.  We don’t realize that God’s plan doesn’t operate on our schedule.

So next time you are ready to “trust” God or “declare his promises for your life”, make sure you understand that God is sovereign and that He may meet you at your point of faith now, or in a hundred years. Either way he chooses to do it, just hold true to the promise and have faith.

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Day 60: My Top 10 – No. 7

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 17, 2011


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Top ten Scriptures for me. Number 7.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This passage is a great promise. The promise is based on shifting our priorities. WE CAN ACTUALLY BUILD ETERNAL REWARDS FROM OUR LIFE ON EARTH
I didn’t mean to shout, but this concept has two main elements to it based on this and other scriptures:
  1. Some things we do here on earth effect our eternal dwelling place.
  2. We can only lay up treasures either here or there, but not both at the same time.
Things that we do here that bring us riches, glory, praise, etc. do not translate eternally.  You can’t take anything with you. Even if you pray, and people praise you for your beautiful prayers, Jesus says that you have already received your reward (Matthew 6:5).
If you give and you tell people that you you gave, you don’t get reward for that either (Matthew 6:2).
Even if you do the most holy thing like fasting and prayer and make a big deal out of it, you may just jeopardize the very thing you are chasing (Matthew 6:16).
So remember to do what you need to do to build eternal rewards, but do it in secret so as to be only seen by God.

 

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