Theology is for Everyone

To most Christians, the idea of learning “Theology” is an overwhelming and daunting suggestion. “I’m not a scholar,” or “I’m not interested in working for a Ph.D” is a very common thought process that shuts the door on the subject.

However, Theology is NOT just a scholar’s domain. The learning and the application of Theology to our own heart, mind, and daily life is of the utmost godly value!

“Theology”—though it does include some branches with extremely deep waters—is basically the study of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with humanity. Every believer who is committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior needs to know as much as they can from the scriptures about their God.

As attenders of [good] churches, we have a tremendous number of opportunities to grow in our knowledge about God (“Theology”) so that we can also grow in knowing Him personally. Faulty thinking about who God is and how He interacts with humanity leaves us very, VERY susceptible to failures and deceptions.

The writer to the Hebrews (most consider this author to be the Apostle Paul, as do I) was teaching and developing their understanding of God and their walking through life in the Spirit of Jesus. Here is what he summarizes as being the foundation or elementary teachings [of Theology] that every believer SHOULD have well established so they can build and grow the rest of their life.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”‭‭

( Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-2 )

Unfortunately, there are too many believers who have had their faith in Christ for 10, 20, or 30 years, but their maturity in truly knowing the things of God and living a godly life are at an “elementary” level. Using a school analogy, by now they should be graduates, instead they are repeating the 1st Grade over and over, not having grasped the basics and not yet demonstrated a practical proficiency in godly knowledge, wisdom, and behavior.

To be clear, though I used a school analogy, growing in Theology is not necessarily about formal academics. It is about growing in the personal study of God’s scripture, and the prayerful application of the scriptures to personal and daily life.

“Let us go on to perfection” means to grow in maturity. It means to shed more and more imperfection, and to draw closer and closer to Christ and the perfection He represents.
Most of us will never be “Theologians” in an academic setting with a Ph.D next to our name, but each of us should be growing in our Theology of God. Anything less than our constant growth in our knowledge of God is not part of God’s great plan for our life. Let’s be sure, every day, that we progressively “go on to perfection” in Him.

See you at the altar of Christ as we read the scriptures, pray, and build each other up in the Theology of our great God.

#PastorsTip

Walking in The Holy Spirit

A Daily Thought Provoker Quote
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
Online Publications of David J. Hall

During our times of Public Discourse, let us be mindful of our partnership with The Holy Spirit:

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: … hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy… and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”‭‭

( Galatians‬ ‭5:19-26‬ )

#PastorsTip #DTP

Anointed Musicians & Inspired Music

While still a young lad, the shepherd boy David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel and was concurrently anointed with power by the Holy Spirit. His future coronation as King was prophetically established, though he certainly had quite a few adventures to go through before he would reach that day.

“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him… and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…”

‭‭( 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:13 )‬

David also became known as a great musician who was called into the service of King Saul. The Spirit of God had departed King Saul because of his unfaithfulness to God, and in that vacancy an evil spirit took up residence to torment Saul. It was thought that music would help sooth the king, and that is where David was recruited into the king’s service.

“Whenever the evil spirit… came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”

( 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:23‬ )

This is an interesting view into the spirit realm. David, a young man anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, played music that was likely inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the result was the evil spirit that was demonizing and tormenting King Saul would be driven away. The passage implies that when David was no longer ministering in music, the evil spirit would later return to Saul to start tormenting him again.

Holy Spirit anointed musicians playing Holy Spirit inspired music are powerful weapons for clearing out the spirit realm of a room and for establishing deliverance for the demonized and the tormented. No wonder we experience so much of God’s presence and power in a genuine worship service.

The church does not need any more generic song leaders that lead everyone in a sing-along of “If you are happy and you know it…”. We need men and women, youth and adults, who have been selected by God, anointed with power by the Holy Spirit, and inspired by the Holy Spirit in creating music for worship that will fill the atmosphere with anointed and Christ-authoritative music. This is the kind of church service where God is exalted not only in words, but in deeds: the evil spirits are driven away and the Holy Spirit is fully embraced.

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#PastorsTip

The Key to Personal Happiness

“These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

~ ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬

Generally speaking, the key to unlock the heart-gates for personal happiness is the Personal Choice to be a happy person. Without this key, even the sum total of all the blessings from God, family, and friends cannot force open the heart-gates and compel a person to be happy.

When we consider the above statement for our own lives, we may have a hundred exceptions come to mind. Things like: What about those who have chemical imbalances of the brain? Or, what about those who are in the middle of a traumatic event? Or, what if a person was born with a genetic predisposition to sadness?

While each question probably has an answer, let each one of us be transparent, honest, and sincere with ourselves, prayerfully considering whether we are holding on to any exception as an excuse for why we are not responsible for our own personal happiness.

Jesus taught [in the first half of the above scripture verse] that He inspires Peace in our life. Then in the second half of the verse He inferred that the tribulations in life inspire personal sadness (the opposite of good cheer). His solution to this state of personal sadness: choose to be inspired by Him for personal happiness instead of inspired by tribulations for personal sadness.

“Be of good cheer” is a call to action: to exert oneself, to put forth effort, to use energy to accomplish. Thankfully, the choice to become and to remain a happy person can be accomplished in partnership with the Holy Spirit. He always does His part, providing what we need by way of guidance, wisdom, and power. But, the key to our personal happiness remains in our own hand: our Personal Choice.

Choosing to be a happy person is not about being a fake or a phony. The choice for Personal Happiness that is spoken of here is one that involves the entire heart and soul. It’s a choice to change the tone and the tune of our life-song that we sing, both outwardly and inwardly.

Sometimes we have to sing a song out loud before we will feel it on the inside. Just as our singing worship songs outwardly begins to minister to us inwardly, so it is with being a happy person. Being happy outwardly will influence our happiness inwardly, and being happy inwardly will influence our happiness outwardly. It is a journey of effort and change, but it can start only after we turn the key, after we make the Personal Choice to become a happy person.

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#PastorsTip #John16 #Happiness #Choice #KeyToHappiness

The Priceless Hunger

“Appetite is an incentive to work;
hunger makes you work all the harder.”

Proverbs 16:26 (The Message)

I noticed a small, non-profit ad the other day for a food bank, it simply stated: “When you are hungry, nothing else really matters.”

That phrase rushed into my heart and soul like a river of refreshing water.  From there the gentleness of the Holy Spirit began to minister to me in ways that were then beyond the realm of words and sentences.  There was a deep, resounding earthquake within my heart that was like a love song that beckoned me to draw near to Him.

I soon noticed that my hunger for God’s Presence had suffered in recent months.  No, I had not walked away, per se, nor had I become lost.  I was still joyful, still filled with the Peace that Jesus Christ offers His friends, and very much devoted to Him.  But, I had allowed my hunger for Him to go unfed, and hunger unfed for long enough can dull the drive of the hunger pains.

As the above passage from Proverbs intimates, our hunger is a priceless gift that fuels our drive to fulfill our hunger.  The right hunger is a good thing!  Hunger for God is Priceless!

If your hunger for God has lost its drive in your soul, all is not lost.  Hunger can be restored, and the best way to re-ignite our hunger is to eat an appetizer.  Great chefs prepare multi-course meals with a very special first plate.  An appetizer!  It is not designed to satisfy hunger, it is designed to trigger it.  It is designed to ignite all of the physical and chemical processes within the body that prepare it not only for the consumption of food, but to enjoy and relish the experience of consuming it.

The Word of God, the Scriptures, the Bread of life, the reading and consuming of His Word while within His Presence, this is our appetizer!  And, just as every great meal experience is enhanced triple-fold by the company and the conversation that surrounds the meal, so also is the consuming of God’s Word multiplied in its richness as we converse with Him.

We have the potential to hunger for many things, but there is only one kind of hunger that leads to a priceless finale.  Nurture the hunger for God, and starve out the hunger for the things of this world.

Man, I’m hungry.  Want to go catch a bite to eat?  See you at the altar, with His Word in hand, and fully engulfed in His Presence.

 

Are You Snorkeling in the Sand, or Deep Sea Diving?

Wow, the Scriptures have such incredible depth! I feel like I could “deep sea dive” into the Word, and never arrive at the bottom or the end.

I have found that if I am reading the Word, and I am being bored, the fault is not the Scriptures’. The problem is my own. I am not “deep sea diving,” I am just snorkeling… in the sand of the beach!

Our primary teacher of God’s Word is… God! Specifically, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. When I am not making progress in my reading of The Word in my devotional life, my first step is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me with understanding the revelation of the Scriptures.

When I take the step to pray and ask, this is tantamount to moving from snorkeling on the beach to skin diving in the water. The Holy Spirit is our “dive partner,” and our instructor. He enjoys teaching us and mentoring us, all in accordance with the Scriptures.

In the Book of Acts, the Christians in Berea are highlighted and pointed to as good examples because they diligently studied the Scriptures as part of their personal discipleship practice.

It is imperative that the Holy Spirit be our teacher and mentor in the Scriptures. Yes, God has given to us, “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, to train [us] the people” (Ephesians 4:11-12), but just as the Holy Spirit is to be THEIR primary teacher, so the Spirit is to be OUR primary teacher, followed by (in a secondary role) these others who have been called and anointed-for-ministry.

Thank you for reading, my friend. I pray that the Holy Spirit will answer your prayer… the prayer where you ask Him to join you as your instructor in “deep sea diving” into the limitless depths of the Scriptures, the Word of God.

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