Will God answer your prayer to make life easier?

Only 2 times in New Testament (that I know of) did someone ask God to make life easier…both times God said NO!

The first and primary example is of Jesus. Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” The Lord Jesus Christ asks God the Father if there is another way to fulfill His Will right before he is betrayed by Judas and captured to be crucified for our sins. There was no other way. The cup would not pass from Christ.

The second example is of Paul. In 2 Cor. 12, Paul explains how he asked God to remove a thorn from his side three times. Yet, God said no. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

In American culture we are determined to get what we want when we want it. We are determined to pray for our the easiest life possible. This is not always what God wants.

Christian Isolation

It is true as McRaney states on page 198 that, “the highest level of motivation for evangelism is love for God.”

Unfortunately, this (along with many other statistics) shows that Christians in America lack the passion to be godly and love God as they should.

We have lost sight of proper priorities in life. God calls us to “love the Lord your God with all of our Heart, soul, and mind.” (mt. 22:37)

My personal problem is isolation… I am calling it a problem not a barrier, because it is my own fault. Labeling it a barrier, to me seems like pushing the blame on uncontrolables. I know better than that, because I know that I can do something in my life to address this problem.

I am glad and humbled that McRaney straight-forwardly calls me out by saying that Isolation is my selfishness. I am selfish and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. There is nothing wrong with that in of itself, but when we are blocking our own movement from growth it is a problem. We should spend some of this “fellowship” time together sharing the Gospel together, through servant evangelism, door-to-door evangelism, inviting non-Christians to join us in our fellowship at home or church…so that they see the love of Christ with us.

When I shelter myself from the world, I am disconnected. Some of the best experiences I have ever had with other Christians and with God have been the times of brokenness and challenge. Times when I had a passion to reach the lost and I was being challenged daily to share my faith with other Christians.

Accountability in evangelism is one the best tools to avoid isolation. Two or three guys or gals should meet together regularly not only for Bible study but also for sharing the Gospel. Talk about and pray for the oppurtunities in real life, but also make oppurtunities intentionally whether you are going door-to-door or if you simply just have a get-together at your home and invite your lost friends there.

We need a passion for God and a passion to be godly. Amen.

Scary statistics

Some upsetting statistics from my Seminary Evangelism class. I do not recall the exact source but I believe these numbers are from Barna Research Group and the Southern Baptist Convention :

USA total population increased 11% in last ten years; church membership declined 9.5%

Church attendance is declining 10% over the past 7 years

Evangelical Church failed to gain additional 2% of population in the past 50 years.

No county in America has a greater percentage of churched people since a decade ago.

Half of all churches in America last year did not add one new member via conversion.

Churches are closing their doors….

1900 -27 churches for every 10,000

1950- 17 to 10,000

2004- 11 for every 10,000

We lose 72 churches per week or 10.27 per day

Gain 24 churches a week, 3.4 a day

Net loss of 48 week and 6.85/ day

USA is the Largest post-Christian nation.

It is the 3rd largest unchurched nation.

USA Lead world in all crime categories

North America is only continent where Christianity is not growing, in fact other Countries have sent Christian missionaries to us, when we once sent Christian missionaries to them!

13th (some ranked us even as high as 4th) highest receptor of missions nation

Fastest growing affiliation is “not religious”

(Canada + US) is only 3 t o5% truly evangelical

Bill Easum-estimates that in American churches 60% median age of 60 or higher

Men: Dominating what mattters

Men:
Let us Dominate what matters!

We have become so good at dominating what does not matter:
1. Video games
2. Being lazy
3. Eating a lot of food
4. Showing off our “guns”
5. Beating each other up

But like I said none of this stuff really matters

What would it look like if we took control over the stuff that does matter:

Let’s Dominate:
1. Our Spiritual lives
2. Assertiveness
3. Showing true Romance to our loved ones
4. Chores
5. Showing Real Love of Jesus

Something to think about
ALEX

Blurb from Love your God with all your Mind

“We should have good reasons for thinking that Christianity is true before dedicating our entire lives to it. We should have solid evidence that our understanding of a passage is correct before applying it to our lives. we should be training other Christians on how to think carefully about their faith. Apologetics should be a regular part of discipleship.”

This is a paraphrase of JP Moreland from Love your God with all your Mind

What sticks out to me is the difficulty and just how uncommon this concept is.
I wish that apologetics were a normal part of training. Moreland shares a story and explains how we apply passages to our lives based on vague feelings and not by doing the hard work of study.

explanatory power

Christians…
if we believe we have the answers (which we really do), then we have explanatory power…
If we have explanatory power, then why are we not using it?

One of the big problems is ignorance. Many “Christians” are not well versed, taught enough. They do not understand their faith completely.

Another problem is lack of faith. Some believes just do not believe that we have all the answers.

Maybe another problem is the lack of effort. Some Christians know that we have God on our side and know that we have the answers. They trust God and all, but they are not disciplined enough or serious enough about studying the Word of God and being ready at any moment to answer such questions.

Micro and Macro "evolution"

It is not “Evolution” that Christians struggle with, but rather Darwinism

It is important that people understand the major differences between Macro-evolution and
Micro-evolution.

While not ALL Christians will agree with me here, I think the majority (on one level or another) will agree that God allows for adaptations, in His own creation. This kind of “micro-evolution,” both Atheistic Darwinist and Christian scientists both will typically agree does occur in real life.
The Darwinists take these adaptions and make them into something much bigger than they really are. They claim that the adaptions are actually mutations and they are good mutations because through the course of natural selection…these are the mutations are essential for survuval. Survival of the fittest.

Where Christians will differ largly is that these adaptions are natural and a part of God’s plan. He made each and every animal unqice and special. Some would survive and others not.

The biggest difference between Christians and Darwins is the begining of all Creation. Christians believe that the world was created by God.

But even Darwinism did not claim an absolute “origin of all life.” Despite the obvious play on words – the tilte of Charlse Darwin’s book.

The biggest mistake Christians claim from within Darwinism is the origin of ALL beings from a one cell being. This type of macro-evolution, you will not find in Christian belief. God created each being unique and seperate from each other.

While Darwins try to find and exagerate the similarities between all beings. Christians find beauty in the differences. We stand in awe and wonder in how each and every being/species were created by God.

While Darwins stand in wonder of how each and every species developed from a one-cell being.
Christians stand in wonder of how each and every species developed from one being, Almighty God.

The most dangerous thing …

…a Christian can do in this day and age is to live in a Christian bubble, with only Christian friends and never develop real relationships with the lost.

This has been my observation as have been studying evangelism, the post-modern culture, and the church.

You see the culture is more relativistic. They are less likely to be concerned with any theory that claims to be the one true way. They are more skeptical of any type of theory or logic, in general. They have questions but they are not sure what type of answer they want. They enjoy the journey of life.

What they value and want is real relationship. They want someone to love them, listen to them. 1. Becuase all humans desire this. 2. Becuase there is a higher value on this in the post-modern society. Community and social connection. People want to share ideas and blend the relative ideas together. They are extremely acceptable and tolerant of pretty much any belief system, as long as it does not claim to be the “One true way.”

Missional churches have placed a lot of time and creatively into the methods of evangelism. Let me tell you, these creative ways of sharing the Gospel, some of them are pretty effictive. But the biggest thing I have learned and like about most of these missional expiriments is this: the foundation of the outreach is a relationship.

Live out your faith, live out Jesus in your life. Build a real relationship with your lost friends and do not base the relationship on if they go to church with you or not. Do not base it on if they accept Jesus or not. Just be real with them. Be honest with them. Love them. DO invite them to church with you, but do not try to force anything on them.

The most dangerous thing a Christian cna do is to not have any non-Christian frineds, not share his faith, live in a Christian bubble. This is dangerous and bad for all Christians for several reasons!

It portrays a selfish “fat baby” Christian and Christinity. We have portrayed Christianity in a negative light and outsiders have a negative (false) perception of what Christianity is and what we are about long enough! It is time to demonstrate the Gospel and live as Jesus did!

It is not responsible way to live. God has called us to share our faith with others.

It shows lack of maturity, shallowness , and misplacement of priorities. Is Jesus Christ your first love? Prove it.

Intentional Christianity.

the tithe today

Recently I read a theory that the tithe is a Old Testament law that is not required. McConnilve says that it is not necessary for Christians to give ten percent of their earnings as specified in the Old Testament. According to his theory, it is completely up to the individual on the issue of giving money or not and how much money they should give.

I have heard opposite theories where Christians are required to give 10% at the least and the more they give the more they are blessed. And they relate to the story of J. C. Penny. when Penny opened his first story he started giving 10% to his church. And as he began making money he continued to give more and more money to his church, eventually he gave God 90% and he was living off 10% and as the story goes J.C. Penny was blessed and today, his stores are still profiting as a corporation.

Whether you think that the tithe law is is absolute or obsolete, I think we can agree:

The old covenant required 10 percent. The new covenant does not specify a percentage, and since we do not have a clear command from Scripture, we cannot press a command for a precise percentage. However, the new covenant admonishes people to give what they can, and tithing still provides an instructive comparison.
And God will bless you for completing your duty to give back what is his to Him.