"After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves."
"And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James and John..."
Have you ever wondered why in the Church Institution as a whole, we have catered towards the worlds marketing plans? I know, because I bought into this for several years. I was so caught up in the amount of men that I reached in my Men's Ministry, that I lost sight of what Jesus portrayed in his own life. Jesus showed us the ultimate marketing plan in that if we put our focus on a few and disciple them the way that He commanded, then they will turn around and do the same. Jesus poured into the twelve disciples, but took even more emphasis with Peter, James, and John.
Unfortunately in church buildings all over the world; ministers, pastors, missionaries, elders, deacons, etc. have bought into the "American Way" of marketing. Many have chosen the path of blitzing the masses with a shotgun approach of liturgy, whereas others have idly sat back and let it zing right over their heads. Television and print commercials are designed to lay out a product in hopes that somebody will stumble across that specific media path. I feel that God's way is a little more acute and fine tuned then that.
"...He will Convict the world concerning Sin, Righteousness, and Judgement."
Humans do not have the power or ability to convict someone of their sin, only God who works through his Word, Creation, and Holy Spirit has that power. We are never to presume that we have the authority to convict or forgive somebody of their sin and rotten heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to express and Show the Galatians 5 "Fruit of the Spirit" in our lives, that Jesus might exude from every corner of our being.
I have been leading a Sunday School class in the month of March at church. A couple of weeks ago there were several people that forgot to set their clocks forward an hour, and thus did not show up to class. The leader of the class apologized for not having a "Full" class for me to teach. I told my dear friend that I am no longer about the numbers, and the masses. I was quite content speaking to the 10 that were there, rather than the 30 on a normal Sunday. We have to get to a point of not looking at a congregation of 500 and asking what might "I/We" do to grow it to 1,000. God is the one and only who has the ability to GROW His CHURCH!!! I am not talking about a congregation with people, but the CHURCH as the Bride and Body of Christ.
I grew up going to Michigan for summer vacations. One thing that I learned at an early age is that the fish at the top of the lake swim in multitudes. They are comfortable just nibbling here and there on your hook. Some might get a taste, but they never really latch on. the smaller the hook that you use, the smaller the fish that will nibble. However, the bigger the hook and the deeper I fished, the fewer fish would I find. The more depth in fishing results in the greater catch when strategically placed.
My prayer is that each of us does our part in devoting our lives to Jesus as sold out Jesus Freaks! We must be so in love with Him that we abhor sin! Then we have to make ourselves available to His calling in not only our lives, but others. When we do that, we will not be just casting seeds on rocky and thorny soil (Luke 8:4-8), but rather on fertile soil that has been tilled and prepared by His Holy Spirit.
Think Backwards when it comes to Christ. He is not of the things of this world and what we have been sold. Reach a Few, and go Deeper with them in the Lord!!!
II Timothy 4:3
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
It never ceases to amaze me how people always find others to agree with them. My wife Amy has always been a sound voice of reason to me. She does not always tell me what I want to hear, but rather shares the truth in the fashion that I Need to hear.
Politics can be much the same way. We tend to have discussions on these topics with like-minded people, but it does not always mean that your stance is the correct one. If you are as conservative as can be, you don't discuss politics with liberals for fun. I don't know about you, but I am absolutely fed up with career politicians that exist for no other reason than to run for re-election. I am all for term limits, but that is a topic for another blog. The point being that sometimes we can get so caught up in our own opinions that we forget to observe the truth around us. Oh, and if you think that there are no absolute truths in life, you are living under a halo of deception.
This brings me to the II Timothy passage. It seems like all around us we are putting people in positions of authority and leadership that are telling us what we want to hear. It is not what we need to hear or should hear, but rather what soothes our wants and desires at that moment. Washington D.C. is full of these types of politicians. Washington has turned into a bunch of men and women in suits that are run by special interest groups. Guess what??? Churches are full of them as well. I have seen many a pastor hired that was controlled like a puppet by the Deacons/Elders. They are too afraid to make the necessary changes and to speak the inerrant Word of God in fear of offending somebody. I praise God that my pastor is not one of these men, but is subjected to the Holy Spirit's calling in his life. He is not afraid to preach the Word without fear of offending the masses, with the possibility of encouraging the few.
It is unfortunate that we have become a society that just drinks in the vinegar from the news in hopes that it will appease our unrest. It is absolute blasphemy that we have adopted an apostasy of the Gospel in this televangelist society that preaches that it is all about how you feel and what you can accomplish in life. May we stop buying into the myths as a result of turning away from the TRUTH of God. May you personally study the Bible so as not to fall into this insiduous snare that satan has set out for the masses.
May His SHEEP be separated from the Goats in these last days!!!
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
"...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Most of us know the "Great Commission" in Matthew 28. This is the command that Jesus gave us just prior to the Resurrection. However, there is a very important piece that is missing. Somehow through the years we have decided that it would be much easier if we just ommitted verse 20. The two can't be separated, and one without the other is incomplete.
"Pop Christianity" has told us that all we have to do is to live our best life now. It is all about our happiness, and not about sacrifice and surrender. The truth is that a life as a Christian will not and should not be a bed or roses. Buildings with steeples on them are filled with goats and sheep. The goats are stubborn and have not given their lives over to their creator, and are comfortable just living their life the way they deem appropriate. Sheep on the other hand are at the mercy of their shepherd. They succumb to His will and direction in their life, and willingly accept a prod and poke from time to time. The "Church" is only made up of sheep, as they are His followers.
In order to go and make disciples, we must first be a disciple. So in order to GO and make disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, we must first BE a disciple. What does this look like? Verse 20 holds the key. We must already be obeying everything that He has commanded of us. OBEDIENCE IS NOT OPTIONAL, IF YOU ARE A SHEEP!!! I can't stress that enough. If you are not willing to succumb to the Holy Spirit's direction and correcting in your life, then you are not a Christian. No, this is not me being judgemental or harsh, but rather what Jesus said.
The end of Verse 20 gives us assurance that He will be with us always!!! That is comforting for me to know that Jesus through His Holy Spirit will never leave me. Remember that in order to BE a Disciple, we must understand Mark 1:4. John the Baptist came "Preaching a Baptism of Repentance for the Forgiveness of Sins." It is not sufficient to come to Jesus without repentance, and without asking for forgiveness.
I am fully aware that I have touched on about 3-4 topics in this Blog that would each make great separate blogs in and of themselves. In the mean time, don't ommit Verse 20.