one of the toughest things about the state of discipleship in America right now:

Time:

Discipleship is a process, it takes time. It is not meant to be transformation quickly. (2 years, 40 days, 12 weeks, etc)

Our Spiritual formation and relationship with God is on-going and matures slowly. We are to be investing our lives into learning more about God.

Churches that are becoming more effective in discipleship have 2 or 3 year processes of learning the general worldview of Christianity, they also encourage and hold other classes for more mature Christians who want more training…(which all this is fine and great)

On one hand, it is difficult to but all of the Christian worldview in a 2 or 3 year program.
On the other hand, American Christians today need some sort of structure:

because we (as Christians) are losing out in discipleship and in spiritual formation and our Christian worldview. Americans have prioritized everything else in conquering their American dreams and have lost their worldview. They have lost their faith to secular world.

So I am encouraging these two-year processes but I am also saying that is not the end! Do not stop when the program is over because our faith is a process. It is a relationship of maturity. We continue learning more and more about God and being transformed more and more every day.

But even these “weak” and shallow structured programs are not enough. Because Christians will not make time for them The problem is no the program, this is a starting block.

The problem is in priorities. Christians say they have a time problem, but I beg to differ. They have a love problem and are not making time for their first love. 😦

Practicing His Presence

Ok
so you probably have heard this term before, “practicing His Presence”

But I had not heard of it until today when my pastor mentioned it to me….

It is a good process of thinking. Basically, you practice God’s presence in your life when you

acknowledge that He is present and there in your life.

Once you acknowledge that God is present in your life

you inevitably would live differently. Imagine God is watching your every move…

This way of thinking is an interesting one and a good one.

It should change sinful behavior.

Anyways, just a thought.

Are you a walking miracle?

The truth is that God has done many miracles!
Every single one of us is a gift from God.
We are all special and created in His image.
God loves us so much.
He has brought us through so much.
And he has done miracles in all of our lives.

I just want to praise God!
I just wish to let you and myself reflect on the goodness of God.
Take some time today and recall the miracles of God.

Where does reason come from?

Reason relies on faith. Reason requires faith. “Reason Alone!” A defense of reason by reason is circular argument and worthless.

When it comes down to it reason came from one of two places:

A. Preexisting intelligence by faith

B. mindless matter by faith

Why by faith?

Materialism as we have seen cannot contradicts all scientific observation. You cannot give what you haven’t got. Yet Darwinists believe that dead, unintelligent matter has produced intelligent life.

It makes much more sense to believe that human minds were created by The Great Mind- God. Materialism is not sufficient. Cannot explain reason. Materialism is not reasonable.

The Pushy Christian

This is a reflection and call to action about chapter 4 of UnChristian by David Kinnaman. This is a book every Christian should read, in my opinion. And I will soon have a reflection from each chapter up shortly.

This chapter is called “Get Saved!” It addresses the perception that Christians are insincere and concerned only with getting converts.

In today’s post-modern mindset, the journey of life is stressed as more important that the destination. The process over the product! So with that said there is a lot of skeptism about any religion, far more about which religion is right!

Outsiders sometimes relate Christians to salesmen. Not only are outsiders skeptical about which message is correct, but they also question Christian motive and intention for sharing and being pushy about sharing the Gospel mesage.

Thinking about the reading, here are some thoughts that stick out about what is happening and what we should be doing:

Instead of converting the masses, focus on the relationships.

Don’t do risky things. Be a good steward of the Gospel and remeber that how you choose to share the Gospel is as important as actaully doing it!

Respect people. Do not offend someone in order to share the Gospel!

The logical barrier is not the only one. In fact most people come to know Christ for emotional reasons, rather than logical ones. The point is let the Holy Spirit do the convincing and do not focus just on the logical reasonings.

Keep in mind a lot of people think they are “Christian” (becuase they live in America, their parents were, they went to church when they were young, or they truly have gotten off track…)
so be respectful of their pasts, get to know them. Talk through the issues. Where do they stand with Jesus Christ? Is it a shallow superfical belief or is there something really there?

Others have truly had a real expireince with the church. It might have been a negative expireince and they have left the church completely. They have formed conclusions are really skeptical of anything you are going to say. They were searching and did not find the truth or anything worthwhile at church. This should be a wake-up call to the church!
If we are missing these oppurtunities, then how well are we truly loving and sharing God’s love?

It is time to stop living self-righteously as a church. Time to stop. Open up the doors to the outsiders and listen to them!

It should not be about a mere conversion, but about full transformation. Not just a “get out of Hell free,” but discipleship and growth in lifestyle.

Think, Love, Listen.
Let outsiders think about the Gospel. Love them. Listen to them. Build a real relationship and not just a conversion. Make visible the invisible, God and his love!

Social justice…and politics

How does this relate to Dominion theology and what are the concerns (pros and cons?)
How does this relate to our political stance?
Should a conservative and/or liberal Christian work together for social justice?
How does fighting for social justice relate to post-modern society?

So if we are Christians fighting for social justice, does that make us extremists?
Do people have a reason for concern when they call us out for believing in Dominion theology?
Should we be followers of Dominion Theology?

I believe that we do not have to be extremists. I believe that we should not take an incredibly extreme belief in Dominion theology. Sure at one level we do have a responsibility to take care of the earth. God has in fact put man at the highest level and given us that responsibility.
But we do not have to try to rule the world through politics and we do not have to follow New World Order Conspiracies. We should not put all our eggs in one basket, especially if you are basing the own Dominion theology around one verse of the Bible. There is a healthy responsibility God has placed on man to rule over the earth and take care of it, but not necessarily force everyone into Christianity.

If we are fighting for social justice will we come across as liberal Christians? should we join the democratic party in order to get some of these social justices?

Forget politics. This should not be about politics. If you are conservative, liberal ,Democratic, or Republican – you can agree that we have a duty to fight for social justice, it is Biblical, not politial. We will not come across as ‘liberal’ Christians, if we are fighting for the right things and doing what is the right thing. For example, if we are fighting poverty, yes we give money and food to the poor, but (this is key) we also have the oppurtunity to share God’s love and the Gospel message with the people we are ministering to. If we are “making the Main thing, the main thing,” then we will not be fighting social injustice to fight social injustice, but we will be showing and telling God’s love. Iti s about sharing the Gospel and fighting injustice. Not just one or the other. And the amazing thinkg is that we can work together on this! Calvinist, Arministist, Obama, McCain, anyone who truely claims to be a Christian! It is time to stop fighting about petty in0-church doctrines and truely live it out in the real world, with people who have never heard any doctrine!

How does this relate to our post-modern world?

Agian, we have to keep the Main Thing (Jesus Christ) the main thing. In a society of relativism, it seems likely that people will want us to join their campaigns for justice. And outsiders of Christianity might want to join our campaign for justice. Both of these situations are great. We can and should work with non-Christians in our fight for justice. But we cannot loose sight of what is most important, the Gospel. We as Christians do have a doctrine that we cannot forget about, that is the message of Christ’s love for us at Calvary. We need to be clear that we believe in doing what is just but we also have to be clear about why we are doing it! That is to show God’s love, to be God’s light. Present the Gospel as well as minister for justice!

Social justice…and church today

I wanted to continue the discussion from a post I made a week or two ago. I promised to open up some questions I left unanswered….here are some of those questions:

Does the NT also address social justice/issues the same way the Old Testament does?
How does this relate to us today in modern world?
Why should you care?
What social justices should we be concerned for/ fighting for?

The OT addresses social justice. I think that is clear in the Deuteronomic law as well as in the prophets. For example, caring for the poor and needy widows and children. Does the NT continue to address these topics?
Yes, indeed it does! Who did Jesus minister too? He lived among the poor.

Look at James:
“Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field” (1:9-10).

“But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like” (1:22-24).

“My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please,’ while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there,’ or ‘Sit at my feet,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (2:1-4).

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply these bodily needs, what is the good of that?” (2:14-16).

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one who does not resist you” (5:1-6).

We should care about this because the Bible tells us to. Because we should follow Jesus’ example. And because there are real issues of social justice that need to be dealt with today.

Here in America, we have it all. And we are well off!
And we are well aware of the issues at hand around the world.
We know that we are wealthy and we know that not everyone else in the world has all the luxuries and toys the we have.

God is calling us to not be complacent and to share our wealth with those in need world wide.

Complacency has a way of creeping up on us all. Those of us in America live our lives in comfort, free–for the most part–of concern for the rest of the world.
Just as in Amos’ time,
the scene in Israel during a time of prosperity (mid-8th century BC). On the surface, things probably looked great. Religious services were well attended. Unfortunately, God’s message wasn’t getting through. The heartfelt relationship to God had grown cold.

It is like that in America. This is why we should care and be concerned!

What issues can we deal with?

Criminal Justice

Economic Justice

Environmental Justice

Health and Family Justice

International Human Rights and Justice

International Peace and Conflict

Racial Justice

*disclaimer: I copied this list from http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/issues/index.php
And I do not agree with all their solutions listed in their hyperlinks….
The list is a great tool and for my use is to show you that Christians need to take a stand and put action to our words and God’s Words!

I leave you with lyrics to Tree63 song “The Revolution”:
Who will feed the hungry if we don’t?
There’s people losing their lives ‘cos we won’t
If we believe but we still do not follow
Then maybe we don’t believe

If we could only love this world like we’ve been loved
Then all the world would know what love is really made of
We live in plenty, there is more than enough
For what the world needs, but not for our greed

Another world is possible yeah
Another world is possible yeah
The revolution’s far from over – it’s not over, it’s not over

Once upon a time a small seed
Died in the soil and became a small tree
Now it’s a forest still growing silently
And waterless earth turns green

Another world…

Full stomachs and both parents
and a church that acts like it
really believes that the Good News
is is good news for everybody everywhere…