Welcome to REAL Men RoCK

This blog is about the issues men face and things I have experienced.

I hope you will be encouraged, challenged, and stirred to take action.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)

17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another

REAL Men RoCK

R
ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 

Men 

R
ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Accident reshapes life

I hope you find this story encouraging and inpsiring.

Accident reshapes life

(Lindsey Bauman/The Hutchinson News) A year after a motorcycle accident left 35-year-old Brandon Hildebrand paralyzed, he continues to work at becoming stronger. Hildebrand attributes the progress he has made in the past 12 months to his wife, Wendy. 

Accident reshapes life
PAIN AND PROGRESS
By Kathy HAnks - The Hutchinson News - khanks@hutchnews.com 

Brandon and Wendy Hildebrand made lots of plans in their four years of marriage. 

But, one thing they never planned was that when they headed off on a Memorial Day weekend trip last May, Brandon would return a paraplegic. 

But, that's what happened. In a matter of seconds their lives were changed forever.

Now a year after the motorcycle accident that left the 35-year-old Brandon paralyzed, he continues to work at becoming stronger. And since then the couple has learned even the best laid plans often lead in a different direction. 

Read the full story at The Hutchinson News

Friday, May 28, 2010

What is an Accountability Group?

Before explaining what accountability is I want to share some history about accountability and why I believe accountability is needed apart from church attendance.

Let me first talk about "Why is accountability needed apart from church attendance?" It has been my experience that men do not serve at church often because of low confidence, not knowing their spiritual gifting but most of all because of hidden sin or life controlling habits. Often men do not want to go to their pastor or other leaders out of fear of rejection and separation.

I found the following in "Character Counts" by Rod Handley concerning some history about accountability. "I was surprised in my research on accountability to discover that during the mid-1700's John Wesley developed an accountability model. Wesley influenced thousands of people into Christian discipleship and growth. He said, '"Preaching like an apostle without joining together those that are awakened and training them in the way of God is only begetting children for the murderer."' Wesley established his converts and leaders in small cell groups for mutual care and discipling. The following are some guidelines he established for those cells. Keep in mind that these were to be followed in the spirit of the law not the letter of the law:

"In obedience tot he command of God, by St. James and by the advice of Peter Bohler (Moravian Missionary), it is agreed by us,

1. That we will meet together once a week to confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another that we may be healed.

2. To come punctually at the hour appointed without some extraordinary reason.

3. To begin, (those of us present), exactly at the hour, with singing and prayer.

4. To speak each of us in order, freely and plainly, the true state of our souls, with the faults we have committed in thought, word, or deed, and the temptations we have felt since our last meeting."

Wesley believed that every member should be responsible for every other member. The style of life they sought to share with each other was characterized by openness, transparency, a caring community and submission.

Accountability means "Submission". In Ephesians 5: 21 we are called to be submitted to each other. In James 5: 16 we are told to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that we may be healed.

My personal belief is most men RUN from accountability because they do not want to be beat up for the things they do wrong. They fear losing respect and acceptance. My personal view of accountability is it must be centered in love. Jesus set the example for us as He moved from town to town healing and talking to people. He showed respect to the individuals He healed and those He confronted about their sin. To me that is how we should do accountability. Unlike Jesus though we must always keep in mind that the person confessing their sins to us is confessing to a fellow sinner who is also in need of the covering Jesus provides. The job of accountability is two fold: 1. admit we have faults and weaknesses and 2. pray for one another. It is being a source of encouragement not being a source of beating up on each other. 

What I have personally experienced in a group that was patterned on Ephesians 5: 21 and James 5: 16 was men looked forward to attending the group because they found support and encouragement from the other men. Instead of RUNNING from accountability these men RAN TO accountability. They did not overcome their sins instantly but little by little they won the battles and over time developed the ability to rely on the Holy Spirit as they fought through the temptations they faced.

I suggest you purchase Rod Handley's book "Character Counts" which you can get at Character that Counts

Here are other resources for accountability:

Men of Integrity

Discipleship Tools

Men Who Win

I encourage you to follow Wesley's example and find someone you can be accountable to. Choose the person carefully and prayerfully. Then RUN to Accountability and experience what God will do in your life because you trusted Him by submitting to another man or woman.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I just saw a Brooks and Dunn special and heard the following song and then wrote a post at A Community Chaplain. Interesting how God got me to write two different posts with similar titles during the same weekend. I think He is doing something and I am excited to find out what it is.

I BELIEVE!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Believe!

I know very few of the people who read this blog but I do know that every now and then someone who reads this blog is struggling with life issues that overwhelms them. With this post I want to encourage you to click the song below and sit with your eyes closed and listen to the words. Let God speak to you and let His Holy Spirit wrap His arms around you.

I believe someone needs to hear this song.



Now here are the words and I suggest you sing along with Matt and feel the Holy Spirit as He comforts you.

Come to me now
And lay Your hands over me
Will You find me tonight
Say it will be alright
And I will believe

Broken in two
I know You’re on to me
That I only come home
When I’m so all alone
But I do believe

That not everything I gonna be
The way you think it ought to be
It seems like everytime I try and make it right
It all comes down on me
Please say honestly You won’t give up on me
And I shall believe

Open the door
And show me Your face tonight
I know it’s true
No one heals me like You
And You hold the key

Never again will I turn away from You
I’m so heavy tonight
But Your love is alright
And I do believe

I believe God just healed someone today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Almost Bankrupted

I recently commented about a post about the movie “The Blind Side” on facebook: When Kat and I saw this movie I cried because what the mom did the church should be doing. Good question for the church, "What is your business?" "How's business?" I would expect most churches if they answered honestly would have to say they were almost bankrupt.

I received a response from an individual who agreed that the church should be doing what the movie was about but they disagreed with the rest of my statement. With this post I want to show why I made that statement and I will use several different resources to prove my case.

Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith – The Barna Group

According to Tom Ambrose THE CHURCH IN AMERICA: IMPOTENT & IRRELEVENT

Observations on the State of the Church in America by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

The sad state of today’s church in America By thefallenworld

The Blind Beggar exploring the missional paradigm

Church attendance

Christian hurt by church by The Barna Group

What is the business of the church? I am not talking about pastors and teachers but the church (people). Let’s look at what Jesus instructed us to do through His teachings.


Matthew 28: 16-20 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. 

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Matthew 25: 34- 40 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: 

  I was hungry and you fed me, 
  I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, 
  I was homeless and you gave me a room, 
  I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 
  I was sick and you stopped to visit, 
  I was in prison and you came to me.' 

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Just from these two passages we see that the commission of the church is to make disciples and to care for those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, in need, sick and in prison. I could list more scriptures that include other responsibilities but let’s just focus on these in explaining how most of the church is almost bankrupt.

If you read the supporting material you will find that the church in America is on the decline not the increase. If your finances were in decline you would say you were drawing close to being bankrupt.

According to another Barna survey Survey Reveals the Life Christians Desire

Adults who define themselves as Christian but are not born again constitute about half of the population that embraces the "Christian" label. This group, known as Notional Christians, had different interests compared to their evangelical and non-evangelical born again counterparts, especially in relation to faith. Notional Christians were less than half as likely to say that being active in a church was very desirable (32%), were one-third less likely to list having a close personal relationship with God as very desirable (65%), and were only half as likely to portray being deeply committed to the Christian faith as very desirable (46%).

Notional adults were also less likely to include living with a high degree of integrity (81%), having one marriage partner for life (75%) and having a clear purpose for life (72%) among their most desirable future conditions. They were slightly less likely to identify making a difference in the world as personally compelling (54%). The only outcome that Notionals deemed to be more highly desirable than did the two born again segments was owning the latest household technology and equipment.

This is why I say the American church on the most part is failing in it’s calling and has gotten off track trying to please people instead of lead people. I know that most pastors would disagree with this because it implicates they have failed to do their duties. It is time pastors lay down their pride and admit the church is in need of being lead back to doing what Jesus instructed the church to do.

From the material I have read and the experiences I have had I stand by my original comment.

“Good question for the church, "What is your business?" "How's business?" I would expect most churches if they answered honestly would have to say they were almost bankrupt.”

44% of Americans attend church. In the United States, 83% of all adults label themselves “Christian. If 83% of Americans consider themselves Christian but only 44% of Americans attend church each week what does that tell us about the state of the church in America? In my mind this tells me the church is not doing business very well and business is not good. 
Here is the fact that keeps most pastors from admitting this truth: They are employed by the church and I am not. I have nothing to lose by proclaiming the truth but they do. Sure by telling things like they are I get labeled as a trouble maker or a radical but then again I am in good company because Jesus lead the way in radical opinions about the established church of His day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Its Not About Us!

   Several years ago I went through some training in Theophostic Ministry. Theo which means God and Phos which means light is a divinely powerful and thoroughly biblical approach in ministry. Emotionally hurting people from all walks of life, with all manner of emotional woundedness have experienced accelerated healing as truth replaces lies, freeing them from life long emotional pain. 
   What I like about this ministry is the fact that it relies entirely on the Holy Spirit revealing the lies that caused the woundedness and revealing the truth that replaces the lie thus leading to healing of the wound.
   To be honest I only went through the beginning training of this ministry and used the technique only once but with amazing results. With this post I want to share that experience. One day I received a call from a friend who had a friend who they knew was wounded and controlled by something from the past. I called the person (Art - not his real name) and arranged to meet with them. I also called a friend of mine (Zach - not his real name) who I was going through the Vineyard Leadership Institute classes with. Zach had hot gone through the training but I needed someone to take notes during the session which we would give to Art and also to witness whatever took place.
   The evening of the session I dropped by Zach's house and on the drive over to the house we were going to meet in I filled him in on what to expect. When we walked into the house and met Art we were sort of taken back because he was wheelchair bounded, bent over and barely looked at us. Zach had met Art before at the place Art worked but I had not met Art although I had seen him from a distance once or twice.
   The following is how the session went.
   The three of us sat facing each other. I began by telling Art that this would be a simple session and that I expected that the Holy Spirit would reveal truth and begin the process of healing.
   My first question was: "Art what brings us together this evening?" "Why are we here?"
Art responded that he wanted to find out why he seemed angry most of the time.
   My next question was: "Are you willing to turn over to God whatever we discover and let Him carry it?" Art answered hesitantly, yes.
   I explained to Art that what we would do three things: 1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of his anger, 2. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and 3. Ask the Holy Spirit to begin healing the wound.
   Then I asked Art and Zach to bow their heads as I prayed. My prayer went something like this: "Father, we come before you to ask you to reveal to Art the root of his anger. In Jesus name amen" I then just let Art hear from the Holy Spirit and after about five minutes Art asked if he could speak and I said yes. He bent his head to one side looking at us and said he knew exactly when he first got angry and what the source of his anger is. He then shared that with us.
   After he was done I asked him if he was willing to give that day over to God and forgive the person who caused him the wound? He answered yes.
   I asked him to bow his head and I said this prayer, "Father, we asked you to take this off of Art's shoulders and reveal to him the truth. In Jesus name amen."
   I again sat there silently letting the Holy Spirit speak to Art. This time the answer came almost immediately. Art began to weap and Zach and I were stunned as he straightened up in his wheelchair and looked us straight in the eyes and told us that the Holy Spirit revealed how much the Father loves him just as he is.
   Except for some passing comments that was our session. Today Art is still bound to a wheelchair but he sits up straighter and looks people in the eyes. He still gets angry at times but not like he use to and he has found purpose in the life that he has.
   Here is what I learned from this event:
   1. Bringing healing into another's life is not about me, it is about the Holy Spirit being involved          in their life.
   2. I do not reveal truth to others, the Holy Spirit does.
   3. We do not have to live by the lies that others have planted in our lives and if we are willing to        turn them over to God He will remove them from us.
   Are you being held captive by lies others have told you?
   Are you wounded from the events in your life?
   Would you like to be set free and have those lies replaced with the truth?
   If so the Holy Spirit is waiting to get involved with you and replace those lies with the truth and heal your wounds. Here is the good news: "It is not about you or some specialist working it out." It is all about God. He reveals the source of your woundedness, He reveals truth to you and He brings the healing. 
   God often uses another person in this process but He is not required to do that. The reason He uses other people is for relationships to be built. Although He already knows your wound the beginning of the process is to share it with Him. He will then either lead you to the person He wants you to build a relationship with or He will begin the process of healing. 
   It is all about God not us! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ask and You Shall Receive Wealth!

Luke 11: 9-13 "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing—you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?"

Most pastors when giving a sermon using these verses focus on "Ask for what you need." They preach that God will give you whatever you ask. If you want a BMW then get to work and ask God to provide it. If you want a bigger house then start building and trust God to give you that 10,000 square foot house. If you want a yacht learn to navigate and ask God for it. The wealth touting group would use this scripture to convince you that if you just ask God for more and more stuff as you sow more and more seeds in their ministries you will get what you ask for. 

Mark Warner, the lead pastor at the Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS, moved us into this scripture and focused on the end of the passages rather than the first. Getting stuff is not what this scripture is about. It is about getting the Holy Spirit, the true wealth of the Kingdom.

Mark explained that Jesus did nothing unless He asked the Holy Spirit to be involved. Every miracle and every healing came as a direct result of Jesus not because of Himself but of the power of the Holy Spirit. 

He encouraged us to seek more of that power and with that power working in our lives we could do the ministry of Jesus found in Luke 4: 16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!"


I believe that if you are a follower of Jesus you can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel, or help release the captives, or bring healing to the sick or to help those burdened and battered.

What greater wealth could we ask for?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Going on a Treasure Hunt

Do you have a desire to be challenged and inspired to take risks and realize the Great Commission in an exciting way? Over the next few posts I will share with you some ideas on how to go on "The Ultimate Treasure Hunt." I will be sharing from a book with the same name written by Kevin Dedmon. Hopefully in the next few weeks you will be sharing with me stories of how the Holy Spirit led you to a specific person who He wanted to have an encounter with. If you take up this challenge you will not only be a part of life changing experiences but have fun doing so.

I encourage you to purchase your own copy of the book, "The Ultimate Treasure Hunt."
It is a guide to Supernatural Evangelism through Supernatural encounters. The Ultimate Treasure Hunt is about supernatural encounters. It is about learning to live a naturally supernatural Kingdom lifestyle, in which miracles, physical healing, the prophetic, and setting people free are normal occurrences, as we release the presence and power of the Kingdom of God to the people we know and meet every day.
As a pastor one of my key jobs is to equip, empower, and releasing believers to live a naturally supernatural lifestyle using their gifts in service to others. I will be using this book to share with you how you can engage the Holy Spirit in your life and touch the lives of people He wants to through you.
This book is not about arguing someone into confessing Jesus. It is not about coming up with the right answers to convince someone to agree with your particular doctrine. It is simple a tool to be used in helping you be the hands and feet of Jesus as He draws someone to the Father.
Skeptical?  You should be! If you are like me you have watched men and women stand on stages proclaiming that they are God's instruments of healing. This is not what we will be doing. We are going to simply ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us key things to look for in searching for the person (the Treasure) He wants to encounter. The important thing to remember is searching for the Treasure is not about you but about God and what He wants to do in someone else's life. If you have accepted Jesus as your savior and King then He wants to use you in touching the lives of others. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU! IT IS ABOUT HIM!
If you are interested in being involved in finding lost treasure you will be involved in what Luke describes in Luke 15: 8-10 Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbors: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' Count on it—that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God."
I encourage you to pray about this and ask the Holy Spirit to first show you if you should try this. I believe He will give you a supernatural answer through some form of encouragement. Come back several times this week and I will have new posts on getting started.
I am expecting God to move in a mighty way in your community because you risked being involved in the Great Commission. A Treasure is waiting for you to find it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

BIG Trash Pick UP

This past Saturday was Big Trash pick up day. My wife, Kat, and I worked for several hours hauling our stuff to the curb. We watched as the truck pulled up at 7:30am and the two men picked up the items we had put out for them. One item was a large hotel dresser which weighed about 300 pounds or at least it seemed that heavy when I pushed it out to the curb.

The two men struggled picking it up but they got it off the ground and into the back of the trash truck and then the compacting door came down on the dresser and it snapped as if it were a twig. At that very moment I thought of this post.

You and I have garbage, BIG Trash, old baggage, that is cluttering up our lives. It might not weigh 300 pounds but sometimes when we are facing a situation similar to what caused the trash in the first place it seems like we have 300 pounds sitting on our shoulders.

Our trash, garbage, and old baggage will keep us from doing the things that God would have us do. It will paralize us from moving towards God. It will keep us from having the relationships that will benefit us. It will keep us from our desires and dreams.

Matthew 11: 28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, wants to pull His trash truck up to your life and take your BIG trash away. All you have to do is ask Him to haul it away.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Love will hold us together

To sum up the last two post I want to share this song by Matt Maher.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mind or Heart?

When Jesus walked the earth what was His main focus? What was more important to Him, Knowledge or Heart?

If we look at just a few scriptures we will find that Jesus taught and demonstrated how we should live and that He criticised some things about how we should not.

Let's look at who He criticised the most. 

Matthew 23: 1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer. 

 4-7 "Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.' 

 8-10 "Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. 

 11-12 "Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

 13 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either. 

 15 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. 

 16-22 "You're hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, 'If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that's nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that's serious.' What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: 'If you shake hands on a promise, that's nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that's serious'? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless. 

 23-24 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? 

 25-26 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something. 

 27-28 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds. 

 29-32 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You're cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count. 

 33-34 "Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It's on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse. 

 35-36 "You can't squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah's son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I'm telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.

Do you kind of get the feeling that Jesus did not have a lot of respect for what the Pharisees knew? 

Now let's look at what caught Jesus attention.

Matthew 15: 29-31 After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus' feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them.

Matthew 17: 14-16 At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, "Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him." 

 17-18 Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here." He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well.

Mark 6: 32- 34 So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.

John 4:7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, "Would you give me a drink of water?" (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.) 

 9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, "How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" (Jews in those days wouldn't be caught dead talking to Samaritans.) 

 10 Jesus answered, "If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water." 

 11-12 The woman said, "Sir, you don't even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this 'living water'? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?"

In these passages we see that Jesus went out of His way to find the lost, the lonely, the sick, the wounded, the demon possessed and the hungry. He had compassion on them and took care of their needs. I get the feeling from these passages that the religious of Jesus' day looked down on these lowly uneducated sinners. But from these passages I see that Jesus had compassion for those who hungered for a closer relationship with Him.

It is clear from the teachings of Jesus that it is important to know the scriptures but it is even more important to apply them by impacting the lives of others.

Knowing the Bible is a good thing but it will not save you. Doing good deeds is a good thing but it will not save you. In Romans 6: 23 we are told that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. and in Romans 10: 13 we are told that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

So then what good is knowledge and deeds? Both of these actually flow from the Holy Spirit and what He gives to us we are to share with a dying world by sharing the Good News with them and touching their lives physically. We do not read the Bible or do good works for salvation but because of salvation.

God is more concerned with how our mind and heart communicate with each other. He gave us compassion so that out of the knowledge He provides to us we can act with mercy and grace to those apart from Him.  

Which is more important? Mind or Heart? Neither! I believe they go hand in hand. Unless we know Jesus, the Word, we cannot act from the heart. Unless we act from the heart we cannot validate what the Word says.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What if God built a church?


This is a post I made at A Community Chaplain

This past weekend our little town of Louisburg, Kansas had the annual auto and bike shows.


As I walked around looking at the old trucks, cars and then motor cycles I wondered what would Jesus be doing on this beautiful Sunday. We had heard a sermon earlier in the day by Rick Olmstead, lead pastor of the Vineyard in Fort Collins, Colorado titled, "What if God built a church? The sermon was centered around Jesus speaking to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, which was a place Jews did not go to because of  its association with ancient Syrian Baal worship and a cave that was known as the "Gate to Hell".

Matthew 16: 13 When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets." 15 He pressed them, "And how about you? Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter said, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God." 

 17-18 Jesus came back, "God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn't get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

First, we need to know that "If God Built a Church" it would not be subject to death and decay.
Second, it would be a Biblical church. It would be based on and doing the meat (Word of God) of in the streets. 
Third, It would be a Loving church. It would be a church that knew that each of us need all of the rest of the church.
Forth, It would be a Worshipping church. It would be a church that had its worship focused on God not on itself. Everything it did concerning worship, which is found in living, would bring glory to God.
Fifth, It would be Devoted to Prayer.
Sixth, It would be a church Engaged a Naturally Supernatural way. 
Seventh, It would be a generous church. 
It would be a church that uses each of the above to impact those outside. The church that God wants begins with the lives of each person that makes up the church.

I believe if Jesus was walking the streets of Louisburg this past Sunday He would have skipped most services in our community and headed down to the American Legion park to mingle with the bikers and then walked the 7 blocks to downtown to look at the old cars and trucks. He would have taken time to talk to the person who looked the most out of place or lonely. He would have talked to the biker who was struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. He would have shared the hope of life tha tis found in Him. He would have takent he time to touched the hurting, the addicited, the rejected and the sick. 
As I walked our streets that day with my wife, my daughter and my grandkids I wondered why the churches of Louisburg were not there doing what Jesus did.
I long for and believe that Jesus will raise up a church that is biblically founded, that loves everyone within and without, that worships Him through their lives, that is devoted to praying for everyone in our community, that is engaged in the supernatural in a naturally supernatural way, that is generous with its time, gifts and money. I believe Jesus is going to raise up a church that makes a long lasting positive impact in the area around Louisburg, KS.


1 Peter 2: 4-5 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. 


Acts 2: 42-47 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.  Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

The question for you and me is: "Are we made of the right stuff and are we being the church that does what Jesus did?"