Fashionable Christian Spirituality

The church seems to be led by the Holy Spirit through decade-long (decadal) seasons of topical emphasis. For example:

🔸The 1980’s seems to have been “Purification of Church Leadership” (multiple high profile ministers had their sin exposed);

🔸The 1990’s seems to have been “Calling the Church to Prayer” (multiple prayer movements and hot spots of revival that emphasized both group and individual prayer as a ministry of each church);

🔸The 2000’s seems to have been “Let The Worship Arise” (multiple churches had their fresh worship music permeate the global church);

🔸The 2010’s have multiple streams of emphasis that are gaining momentum.

It is exciting when the Holy Spirit moves the church in refreshing emphases and these subjects should always be recognized and emphasized. Each subject may have a season of emphasis, but just because a transition is made to a new emphasis does not mean that we can now neglect the previous ones. Each emphasis should be incorporated into our corporate and personal lifestyle.

There is a danger that we as Americans need to be aware of, and it is this: We are so fashion minded in everything that we wear, drive, listen to, watch, eat, etc. that we can easily treat the movements of the Holy Spirit like a fashion that appears and then we can throw it out or remodel for the next approaching fashion season.

The seasons of the Holy Spirit’s emphasis are not fashion statements. We should never hear someone mention “purity” or “prayer” or “worship” and respond with a “that is so out dated” and “we have moved on.” Neither should we get stuck in one season for the rest of our lives because “that season was real revival!”

Should we emphasize what the Spirit is saying or doing? Absolutely! Each season should be allowed to have its fullest impact upon our lives, and we should fully integrate them into our core being. What we should not do is run around looking for the “latest thing” just for the purpose of excitement, or for the adulation from some of the “slower folks” who aren’t “fashion-conscious” of spiritual things.

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop, some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

~ Mark 4:20

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#PastorsTip #Mark4 #Fashion #Spiritual #Christian #Revival #Emphasis #Prayer #Worship #Purification

When God’s Grace Isn’t Sufficient After All…

The Apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” which was never directly identified for us in scripture, but whatever it was it involved suffering and embarrassment, a humbling of his pride.

“… Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.‘ …for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God said His grace would be sufficient for Paul, and no doubt this message was for us too when our trials are not solved right away; God’s grace will be sufficient for us in our trials, but what is happening when we are convinced that His grace really isn’t being enough for us?

In my own life I have had a whole-body pain and fatigue condition that was diagnosed over 15 years ago, and has continued to increase over time. I am currently in bed about 18 hours every day, and some weeks I am unable to leave the house. There is no treatment for symptoms, there are no answers for medicinal or naturopathic healing, and traditional prescription pain medicine doesn’t work at this time (due to my body chemistry, since birth I have always been partially immune to most anesthetics and analgesics).

There are days when the pain is almost worthy of a scream, the fatigue feels like I have a ton on my shoulders, and my world has become very, very small because I am usually unable to socialize. I miss Pastoring a local church, and I miss preaching, counseling, and visiting the sick. I believe in Divine healing through the Name of Jesus Christ, and yet… here I remain.

So what about the grace of God? What about those who are convinced that God’s grace isn’t being sufficient for them? The problem isn’t with God, it’s with our perspective.

“Let God be true, and every human being a liar…”

~ Romans 3:4

It would be easy for me to think that God’s grace has failed me if I consider only certain outcomes to be the only proof of God’s grace being sufficient for me. But, I have learned that God’s grace really is sufficient for me if I allow Him to choose what kind of grace.

For those who are suffering in trials and are convinced that God has left them out in the cold, they need to realize that God’s grace is provided to us for journeying through the trial, not just to end the trial. In my situation, if my measure of God’s grace is only compared with how far my pain goes down, I will be sorely disappointed. God’s grace doesn’t take my pain away (yet), His grace gives to me an internal fortitude and joy for continuing through life’s journey while in pain!

If you are a believer in Christ and in the scriptures, there are specific things we know about God that are certain and factual, and one of those certainties is His faithfulness to His children to bring them through any storm that might come upon them. When we look around at our situation and we doubt God’s presence and participation in our circumstances, the problem is not with God, it is with our own perspective.

God’s grace is sufficient for you in your trials, just allow Him to choose how His grace will benefit you. If His grace for you is miraculous healing, great! If His grace for you is medicinal healing, great! If His grace for you is endurance with an ability to suffer long and hard with a bright countenance of joy and peace… great!! Let God choose the form for His grace, and you choose to accept His brand of grace regardless of what that means.

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#PastorsTip #2Corinthians12 #Romans3 #Suffering #Trials #Pain #Endurance #Perseverance #GodsGrace #Grace #Perspective

The Purpose for Science & Technology

A Christian’s perspective on the purpose for Science and Technology is to discover the incredible wisdom and creative works of God in nature, and to broadcast and disseminate on a global scale His message of love and salvation from sin’s death penalty.

Science is the observation, explanation, and prediction of real world phenomena. In its early development, scientists were referred to as Natural Philosophers; the term Scientist was later coined in the 19th century. Science was embraced by many as a means for discovering and studying the nature of God’s creation.

Technology for communication had its first breakout when stylus and papyrus was developed for writing, storing, and retrieving information. The next major leap in communication technology was when the printing press was invented and refined, the first mechanical movable type press could “mass produce” (albeit very slowly by today’s standards) the printed page. The first book to be printed was the Bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible, named after the inventor of the moveable type press. The third giant leap in communications technology was the Internet, an era in which we are still seeing major advances in the technology and utilization for communication.

Science has also afforded great advances in medical diagnostics and treatments. The practice of medicine is compassion in action, providing an avenue for showing and demonstrating the love and compassion of God. God heals in more than one manner, He heals using both the miraculous and the medicinal methods, sometimes one exclusively or a combination of the two.

One of the uses of science and medicine is the discovery and study of God’s beautiful and intricate design and creation of the human body, both male and female. A passage that expresses the wonder at humanity’s capacity to conceive, gestate, and give birth to other human beings is in the Book of Psalms:

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

~ Psalm 139:13-14

As with any tool and with any body of knowledge there can be misuse and misunderstanding, either purposefully or through ignorance. Science can be and has been contorted by many scientists into an anti-God system of study and theoretical publications. Communications technology has been utilized by many entrepreneurs and zealots alike for ungodly purposes and to promote anti-Christ propaganda.

Some Christians, with pure motives but poor wisdom, have completely withdrawn from the science and technology arenas because of the misuse by others. However, each arena needs the salt of Christians to be present and active. Salt is a preservative that slows down the decay process of food and other natural materials. Likewise, Christian involvement slows down the decay by the misuse of science and technology by utilizing them for God’s purposes and His glory.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out…

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~ Matthew 5:13-16

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#PastorsTip #Psalm139 #Science #Technology #Nature #Creation #Evolution #Internet #Printing #Publishing #Communication

Relationship Love Signals

The encoding, broadcast, transmission, reception, and decoding of the love signals from one person to another is fraught with interference problems at every stage of our communication of love due to our imperfect humanity, our cultural norms, and our environment. It is a wonder that we can ever receive (and thus enjoy) in our hearts the love that another person broadcasts to us.

God Himself, perfect in every way, has His own broadcasted signals sometimes intercepted and corrupted by an enemy or an environment so that we don’t receive as clear of a picture as He originally sent. The psalmist even asked for clarification and a confirmation of the love signals he had received so far:

“Show us Your unfailing love, Lord, and grants us Your salvation.”

~ Psalm 85:7

In the marriage relationship there can be two people who love each other dearly and would even die for the other’s security, yet they can doubt the amount of love they have for each other. Each can think that they are broadcasting the message of their love, but the other isn’t receiving the clear picture.

Personality disorders, differing cultural traditions, differing language definitions, all can really distort the love signals, both coming and going.

This calls for faith and patience on our part. Faith that our spouse loves us, and patience in the broadcasting and receiving of love signals. An unaffectionate spouse has not necessarily “fallen” out of love, a distracted and non-verbal spouse too. Let’s be patient with each other and understand that the absent or distorted broadcast, transmission, and reception of the love signals does not automatically mean the absence of love. Let’s trust in our spouse’s love they have for us until we receive a clear and confirmed message that specifically states otherwise. (Even then, let’s have a love for them that is Christ-like: unconditional!).

This also is why it is important for us to believe that God loves us completely, regardless of our circumstances or feelings. We won’t always receive a clear signal of His love (though His broadcasted love signals are perfect), there are factors in our spiritual and natural environments and within our own humanity that distort and even cancel out the signals and communication of His love. Trust in God’s love, He always DOES love us.

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#PastorsTip #Psalm85 #Encoding #Broadcast #Transmission #Reception #Decoding #Love #Signals #Trust #ClearSignal