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Join Francis Chan and David Platt via the Verge 2013free webcast beginning Friday, March 1 during Main Session 1 The Priority of Disciple Making: There is No Plan B. The theme of the conference centers around making disciples. Learn from, and be challenged by, various church leaders on topics covering not only the theological foundation, but also the practical outworking of disciple-making.

Watch this video for more information about Verge, and the conference.

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discipleship10111

When most of us think of ways to help others grow in their faith in Christ, we think primarily in terms of what we have to offer to them. Discipleship for many of us has been primarily a one way street of information imparted from us to them.  And this is good, as well as necessary. Jesus often stands up and preaches in the synagogue or to the crowd. Paul taught all night in Acts 20. But what if the people we desire to grow more into the image of Christ need more than for us to impart information? Certainly not less than imparting information! But what if they also need for us to enter into conversation with them through asking good questions?

I’m convinced that asking good questions is the soil for Christian growth. Notice that questions neither give the growth, nor are they the growth themselves. Rather, questions are the soil in which…

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A Bill of Rights: What do you think about the Second Amendment & gun control?

A Bill of Rights: What do you think about the Second Amendment & gun control?

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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The only and obvious point of the Second Amendment, as my powerful conservative voiced friend states in this RedState article, is in it’s intention to ensure that the free State is secure-from both foreign and domestic threats. The WELL REGULATED MILITIA is in fact what we call the National Guard; it is the oldest military institution in this country comprised initially of the male colonists to protect their states. Today, it is a state and federal component, made up of volunteer citizen-Soldiers. Now, in the case that the federal government decided to infringe upon the freedoms and liberties of the people, the state would have the right to take necessary action against the federal government, as the Governor maintains command and control of the militia or National Guard. This action, as the amendment suggests, should be well-regulated action, commanded by commissioned officers, trained in basic and advanced combat strategies and skills; not by farmer Bob.

I as always, preface my agenda as one that is not primarily concerned with the temporal affairs of this dark world. It is ultimately our adversary, Satan, who entices and infects the minds of human beings to commit heinous crimes against one another, not limited to but to include mass shootings. When these things occur and the people, our neighbors, feel threatened and afraid for their safety, their children’s safety…the nation’s safety-some desire to have a little control over these tools of injustice. It is he who First Peter 5:8 refers to that provokes citizens to rise up in anger and hate (even good Christian folk’) and threaten anyone who dares attempt restrict their right to 90-Round magazines! It’s he that loves to see people fighting-Christians fighting-over nothing! As a loving follower of Christ, can we not see how we should maybe view this? Maybe trust God to be our protection as He has so promised? Maybe love our neighbors enough to consider their safety and allow the professionals (sworn peace officers and military personnel) to protect our cities, states and nation? No one is saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to own guns and certainly protect ourselves; their asking for control. Since when is that a negative word?

[S/N: Americans hate self-control.]

It’s funny, I’m pretty sure that still to this day, less than one percent of our fellow countrymen are actually stepping-up and serving the country-protecting it and its citizens’ freedoms. I know because I was a recruiter for two and a half years and I saw it first hand; however, this NPR article has the statistical data to back my assertion.  I’m not belittling anyone for not desiring to or even being able to serve, though it is many of these who lobby for 50 caliber machine guns in their back yards that aren’t willing to take it to Afghanistan. Regardless, I love them all the same. I’d go back to Iraq or to Afghanistan and lay my life on the line again for each and every one of them, even if they won’t go with me.

I have now laid my life on the line for Christ Jesus. I die to myself daily that I might save others for eternity. There are times that we must give up things we love for things we love more. I love the military. I loved serving and I love guns. The first personal weapon I ever purchased was an M-4 type Carbine. The last I bought was a Kimber .45 (top-notch for those who don’t know). I honestly would love to own a 50 CAL. I’ve thought a few times how nice it would be to mount it atop my car and use it at 5:00 p.m. during rush hour (joke-but road rage will do that to you) :-D.

As a follower of Christ, we know that this temporal life is short and saving souls is far more important than feeling the need to mow people down with assault rifles. It is our duty to snatch those who might do us harm out of the fire (Jude 23). Let’s do so in love and grace-when possible of course-and have these conversations in the same manner, as the unified family that we are.

In Christ,

 

Dear Church Leader

Dear Church Leader

Dear Church Leader,

You know, the Church seems to be attempting to rob my paychecks. The choir members are probably having gay sex, and the Pastor keeps manipulating the hurting  women!

He even keeps trying to “pimp” them hope books as if God don’t know how broke looks (and telling me that I’m going to reap a million bucks if I sow [into his scandalous ministry]).

 I already know ol’ girl a freak so why on earth is she singin a solo at church!? I walked in the church wit a snapback (baseball cap) and they tellin me that that’s a “no-no”!? That’s backwards, and I lack words for these actors called pastors.

All these folks is hypocrites and that’s why I ain’t at church! Truthfully I’m just doing me and I don’t want to face no scrutiny. As long as the church keep wildin’ out, I can justify all of my foolish deeds-smoking weed and [getting drunk!]

Who knows though, maybe I’m meant to change the world but this porn on my laptop got me stuck! Yeah I know whats right from wrong but that there ain’t gon sell a song.

I’d rather sell my soul than save it…if that’s what make my money long.

It better not be no real God, with real hope, that heals hearts, that shows me that I ain’t livin’ up to all the things that He [created me] for. It better not be no real church or real saints, who pray hard and let me rock my snapback with the 501s and the J’s on!

It better not be no real folk, who don’t think that they better than you-straight or gay, drunk or high-they walk through the cold weather with you!!!

Nah we don’t wanna see that because that might mean “life change.” That might mean I’m worth more than money, cars, sex, and pipe dreams. It better not be no real Jesus, real forgiveness, for hurt folks…

If God gon take me as I am-I guess I already got on my Church Clothes… [1]

Lecrae’s lyrics speak to the situation that we now face in the 21st century church and we absolutely must take heed. If we are going to reach this Millennial Generation, whether you feel we should have to or not, the Church must consider their doubts, concerns and skepticisms…food for thought…

Sometimes we give up things we love for things we love more, i.e. “church clothes.” I love the souls of every man, woman and child on this earth and desire to see each and every one united in the Spirit in the bond of peace, sealed to live in an eternity with God. That being said, I’ll do anything it takes to save these souls-apart from sinning and/ or disrespecting God.

Are you ready to do what it takes to carry out the Great Commission?

[1] Lecrae-Church Clothes (slightly adapted)

Critical Life Lessons

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To pee, or not to pee? That is the question. Everyone who has ever gone to a movie knows this predicament- whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of painfully watching a movie when you have to relieve yourself, or to take arms against a sea of porcelain and miss a few minutes of a movie you’ve paid to see. To help you determine the best possible time to pee during a movie, I’ve created this flowchart.

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Jesus said to GO & make disciples, so I don’t want to SIT & make excuses.
-Francis Chan

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discipleship10111

“Conquering evangelism” is not something most of us would feel comfortable saying for numerous theological and practical reasons. Practically speaking, if trusting God, and being fervent in prayer for the salvation of non-believers is difficult for the average Christian, evangelism seems impossible! That is why so many Christians have turned over the responsibility of evangelism solely to their local church. Now, it is not a bad thing for the local church to be engaged in evangelism in different ways. In fact, it is quite necessary. But when the local church becomes our excuse to disengage the countless people that God has placed us in personal relationships with, who do not know Jesus and will not come to a local church, then we have a problem.

Yes it feels easier to just bring our non-believing co-workers, friends, and family to a church service, expose them to great music, and a good speaker, and then hope…

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Sleeping on the Job

Sleeping on the Job

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“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” (Mark 13:32-37)

Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:4-41)

Will you be waiting, watching and praying or will you be sleeping on the job?  When Jesus comes back…or better yet, when the Father looks down and is ready to bring home the elect so that he may bring judgment upon the Earth, will our job be complete?

Or, will we be found sleeping…sitting on our hands, not “pressing towards the mark”….not carrying out the Missio Dei to which we have been called…not saving souls, not going out and inviting the sick and the lost to the wedding feast of the Lamb!? (Luke 12; Rev. 19)

Has his wife made herself ready yet!?!?!?!? Brothers and sisters are we READY!? (Rev. 19:7) Truly, the Bible informs us that he is coming back for a [bride] without spot or blemish….are we that beautiful bride? Do you feel worthy? I know I don’t…I know I never will-not until we reach glory.

We have, though, been redeemed and made righteous in His sight- justified by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and through Him, we truly are worthy, even now! That is not just good news but great news. I think about the loving grace that our Abba Father has bestowed upon us and my spirit rejoices.

Therefore, we have a job to do and have been equipped with His Spirit. We have been given the proper armament to carry out the mission and need not grieve or quench Him. Stay on task. Keep the mission uppermost in your mind. Keep the main thing the main thing: saving souls.

One Up, One Down-Keep Watch Together

As sojourners in this world together, fellow Christian soldiers, we should be able to lean and depend on one another. In the military, we stressed unit cohesion.  When we had a security detail, so to stay vigilant, we would often go “one up, one down” meaning one rests while the other keeps watch. Galatians 3:28 says [that no matter who you are, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Methodist, Baptist, Church of Christ, or Christian Church], “we are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Lord, how long will it take us to at least come closer to the unity of the faith? We know that you are the “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in [us] all” (Eph. 4:6), yet why can’t we seem to work together? Our own egotism has caused us to allow Satan’s divisive attacks to govern how we live out our faith and how we perform our duties as part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. We are snoozing!

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:1-5).

Therefore be…ready… Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up (Matthew 24:44).

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (I Th. 5:5-6).

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them

(Luke 12:37).

I know the flesh is weak-but is your Spirit willing? Church, this is your wake up call.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Mary: God’s “Baby Mama”

Nativity

So, it’s Christmas time and around the world people will celebrate a holiday that many don’t totally understand; especially the whole thing about the one and only God being “born” (because that seems possible) to a virgin…mmm, hmmm…

Let’s get/ keep one thing str8…there is only one God. He exists in three parts or persons; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son, in whom we celebrate this season, actually existed before His incarnation (big word) through birth on Earth. He created the world with The Father and the Holy Spirit; God created the heavens and the Earth.

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

…[and] While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;

They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

Matthew 1:18-23, The Message

Now…short, sweet and simple: God impregnated Mary through The Holy Spirit (not like Greek mythology when they actually sleep with the humans) and nine months later, we have a baby story.

Joseph did in fact have every right to put Mary out on front street as a…”you know what”…but didn’t. He was a good man and wasn’t going to call her out. He was, however, going to tell her to “holla back,” but the LORD told him what was up and he chilled out-Plus, him and the Baby Daddy was coo’…

*This has been another 60 second Bible Lesson

 

Heaven, Hell, Life and Death: What’s it all about

Heaven, Hell, Life and Death: What’s it all about

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Give me 60 seconds…GO:

There is a God. Not a fact (those things get disproven) but a TRUTH.

He created EVERYTHING…the entire universe, you and me.

He loves us (AMAZING because we don’t deserve it) and He wants more than ANYTHING for us to love Him (even more amazing).

Adam and Eve, yeah, they are real, they lived and they “jacked” it all up for all of us.

God sent Jesus, His one and only Son (but yet He was God himself, yeah, confusing-we can talk about it later) to be beaten, die and be resurrected to save us (God requires sacrifice/ blood to pay for being “jacked up”).

On the third day, Jesus rose and defeated once and for all what the Devil (please believe-he is real) had tricked mankind into doing, being separated from God.

Now, the one and only thing we have to do (regardless of still being “jacked up”) is believe this crazy story, realize that we are in fact “jacked up” and say, “I believe that Jesus is the son of God, He is God, and He died, was buried and was resurrected for my sins (my being “jacked up”) and I want to return God’s love with my love.

There is this life we are living and there is an eternal, never-ending life. If we accept these TRUTHS and believe and trust in Jesus, we will spend it with God; Heaven. If we don’t, we will spend it with Satan in never-ending torment and torture; Hell. These are hard to comprehend or even want to believe, but we only have a short 78 years to do so (for some-less). I’m begging for you not to ignore this crucial issue. It is the most important of your LIFE.

Like NIKE, Just Do It.

BELIEVE