Faith is NOT a Leap

leap of faith2It greatly disturbs my heart when someone uses irrational, confusing and contradictory statements that are borrowed from existentialism or eastern philosophies and applies them to the Christian faith. Most on Facebook and twitter who share or post these sayings are usually assuming they are promoting ‘deep’ or ‘spiritual’ affirmations of faith. However, they reveal a lack of biblical pursuit to worship the Lord with all of our “heart, soul, and MIND.” (Matt. 22:37) The gospel of Jesus Christ engages the totality of man’s being, including his faculties of reason, emotion, will and intellect.

The Christian faith does not hang with its feet planted firmly in mid-air like relativism.¹ Instead, it is grounded in the propositional truth of Scriptures and in the revelation of Jesus Christ through God’s grace. We must never adopt the ebb and flow of philosophical synthesis in our pursuit of reasonable truth and rational faith. God has spoken. He has spoken clearly. He has spoken in the Bible. And nothing makes more sense than to place our trust in the God who created us and sent His Son to redeem us from our sin.

One such statement is that saving faith or the embracing of biblical truth is a “leap of faith.” Most who would use this term fail to realize that it has its roots in the teachings of Immanuel Kant and Soren Kierrkegard. These two men were responsible for dividing knowledge between reason and non-reason, applying the later to religious conviction and faith, and stating that faith is outside of rational verification and pursuit, and thereby giving rise to what became known as existentialism in the philosophical world, and Barthianism or Neo-Orthodoxy in the theological world. Of course, those who promote these epistemological dangers fail to see that they have committed the error of using reason to discount and reject reason. (Self-defeating) Continue reading “Faith is NOT a Leap”

The Longest Bridge

Lake Pontchartrain CausewayI have personally traveled across the top three longest bridges in the United States. They are all in Louisiana. The longest is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge pictured in this article. In fact, it is the longest continuous bridge over a body of water in the world. The journey across it seems to never end with the ‘plank-plank’ of the tires across the concrete sections of this 24 mile long bridge. It has an eery sound which seems surreal and sobering at the same time. I always wonder at the ingenuity of man to be able to construct such a large bridge.

And yet, there is a bridge that is longer than this–the distant between the heart and the head. It seems to be traveled by few and maintained by even less. Here is a quote from Ravi Zacharias about that Bridge.

“…life has to find a bridge from the mind to the heart. It was a famed archbishop of Canterbury who said that the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart.” ¹

This bridge is a necessary part of building a confident faith and a Spirit-filled walk with Christ. If we only engage the head, it makes us cerebral and dry, giving answers without compassion or empathy. If we only Engage the heart, it makes us over emotional and volatile, giving pat answers without the substance of intellectual vigor. Both extremes create a freakish anomaly in the name of faith. Continue reading “The Longest Bridge”

Christianity: It’s Not Just About Doctrine!

aposlescreedHave you ever heard, “Well, his doctrine is correct.” or “He believes in a sound statement of faith.” These are two examples of  statements which are common among evangelicals in regards to community and fellowship. It is imperative that we understand that Christianity is not just about doctrine. A person can be correct on all the major points of theology and yet spiritually dead or heretical in practice. We can be as straight as a gun barrel and just as empty.

In many of our mainline churches, the Christian faith has been reduced to a set of doctrines which one must adhere to. That is good, if we do not stop there! Certainly, the historic faith of Christianity can and should be presented in the fashion of sound theological propositions. However, the ‘faith’ of Christianity is way more than just some accurately stated doctrines or correct mental belief. At its core, it is about an initimate and personal relationship with the risen Savior. And this relationship takes place through repentence and faith in the finished work of Christ at calvary.

There are many ‘professing’ believers who would tow the line on sound doctrine, but whose lives are still destined for hell because they have not entered a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Sound doctrine protects us from cultic/heretical representations and preversions of the Christian faith. Therefore, sound doctrine is essential for accurately presenting and holding to the biblical view of God, Man, Sin and Salvatiion. It is impossible for cults to flourish apart from erroneous doctrine, as false doctrine is the seed bed for strange and heretical views.  Continue reading “Christianity: It’s Not Just About Doctrine!”

Lord, Increase Our Faith

FaithLike every true believer, the disciples desired to walk in a deeper dimension of faith with Christ. They asked Him to explain how they could increase their faith. (Luke 17:5-10) What a wonderful request! However, when we examine the answer Jesus gave to them, we are surprised at His response. It is a great distance from what is usually taught today in Christian circles. How did Jesus answer this question? How does it apply for us if we want to increase our faith? Let’s look at this briefly.

* First Point – Jesus discusses how a ‘grain of faith the size of a mustard seed’ contains all the power necessary to perform His will. (v. 6)

Application – The faith given to every believer at the new birth in Christ is sufficient to accomplish God’s will if we use it! While we think in terms of enormity…the Lord thinks in terms of simplicity and potentiality. If we look to what we already have in Jesus, we will discover the power to do all He commands. (Eph. 3:20)

* Second Point – Jesus discusses the relationship between servant and master. (v. 7-8) Servant is an unfortunate translation. The Greek word for servant (doulos) is ‘slave.’ A Continue reading “Lord, Increase Our Faith”

New Book – Praying in the Spirit

Praying_in_the_Spiri_Cover_for_KindleMy latest book, “Praying in the Spirit” has just been published. It is a culmination of several years of work. I have had the privilege of praying with many believers from various backgrounds, and those who walked in spiritual authority and power all had one thing in common…praying in the Spirit. However, this subject is seldom, if ever, discussed in our discipleship and leadership training. And yet, prayer is to be the strength, power, momentum and basis for all our work and ministry. In this book, we will put the subject back on the table for discussion by looking through the Scriptures and hearing God’s call to pray in His strength and under His leadership. We must return to the leadership of the Holy Spirit if we are expecting to see our prayers avail with God’s promises and strength.

In this book, we look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through prayer. We will rescue this topic from the many misunderstandings about what it is, and will encourage all believers to learn to pray in power of the Spirit like the early church did. Praying in the Spirit is not about flexing our spiritual muscles but about letting the Holy Spirit flex His! We cover three main subjects:

    • What is it?
    • Who can do it?
    • How do we do it?

These three questions require us to walk through many areas of discussion. Some of them are: What is meditation? What is the difference between false and true meditation? What are the different kinds of prayer? What are the different seasons of prayer? What about praying with tongues? What about faith in prayer? What does it mean to pray “according to God’s will?” What is the deepest form of prayer? etc…

It is available in paperback from the Publisher. You can click 2T2 Publishing and purchase a copy of the paperback, and the book is also available for e-book readers in Kindle and Nook. It is also available in paperback from Amazon.

A Grandmother’s Prayer

MaryAliceI was three month’s old as I lay on the floor on a home made baby pallet. My grandmother, Mary Alice, was ironing clothes and watching over me and my older brother and sister. It was a delight for her to keep three of her grandchildren as my mother got away for some shopping. However, this was not an ordinary day…not for Mary Alice, and certainly not for me.

As my brother and sister played in the room, I simply kicked my legs, and pumped my arms the way infants do, slobbering and spitting. Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my grandmother. He said, “I have called him to preach.” It startled her, but as a deep believer in Christ, she was familiar with God’s voice. She looked at all three of us kids and asked, “Which one Lord?” As her eyes scanned from my brother, to my sister and finally settling on me, the Holy Spirit said, “I have called him.”

Mary Alice NEVER told me this. In fact, it was many years after her death that my mother’s older sister related this story to me. My grandmother had shared the story with her years after I responded to the Lord’s call into ministry. When my aunt shared this with me many things in my interactions with my grandmother added up. I always felt Mary Alice doted on me. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes whenever we talked, and I can still feel the special pinch she gave me on my cheeks whenever I got close to her. However, she kept the words spoken to her by the Holy Spirit hidden in her heart and only breathed them back to God in prayer.

As a young believer I really struggled with the call into ministry. I knew the sin of my heart and my various struggles with the flesh and I did not want to bring shame or disappointment to the Lord’s name or His work. One particular day I was standing alone Continue reading “A Grandmother’s Prayer”

I Want to be a Dog!

Recently we lost our 14 year old toy poodle to congestive heart failure. (His name was “Jacque Pierre de Orlean,” but we usually called him “Boo” or “Orlean.”) We woke up Sunday morning, August 19, to find that he had passed away in his bed. Our hearts are broken, as he was as much a part of our family as we are. In fact, we often joked that this was his home and he just allowed us to stay with him. I’m sure other pet owners will understand this.

Throughout reflecting upon the joy he brought into our family and the loyalty of his disposition, I became more and more convinced that he was more like a Christian than most of us. There were certain traits to his character which I see described in Scriptures for you and me. It got me to thinking; I want to be a dog!

He was loyal – Regardless of the situation he only had eyes for his family

He was forgiving – Regardless how we may have done something wrong he always sought to love us.

He was committed – Regardless how he felt when he was sick he always sought to be near us.

He was protective – Regardless of the impending danger he was willing to risk it all to protect us. Continue reading “I Want to be a Dog!”

The Strangest Question Jesus Asked

We do not know how long the man had been a blind beggar. Maybe since birth, or for a few short years. However, his story of meeting with Jesus brings out several important issues worth visiting. As Jesus was passing through his vicinity this blind man could hear the commotion of the crowd. He asked those nearby what was happening and was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He began crying out, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” (Luke 18:38) As some of the crowd attempted to quiet him down, the blind man only got louder. (Luke 18:39)

Finally, his crying out garnered the attention of Jesus and in the midst of this large crowd the Lord stopped. He commanded that the blind man be brought to Him. (v.40) I can’t imagine the excitement in his mind and heart as he realized that Christ had called for him. He knew this carpenter from Galilee was a healer. He must have wondered if his cry for mercy had moved the heart of Jesus to heal him. As others brought this blind beggar to Jesus and he stands before Him, the Lord asked what has to be the strangest question in all of the New Testament. Jesus looked at him and said,

“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:.41)

Are you kidding me? It was obvious the man could not see. The Lord even commanded Continue reading “The Strangest Question Jesus Asked”

The Good Physician…He Has Never Lost A Case

Preparing for suicide, I set the steering wheel for the bridge rail. The pain of brokenness had to stop, and this was the easiest way. Satan showed me my own funeral…all the flowers, the eulogies, the friends. All were coming to pay respects as they were saddened by my death in a car accident.

Only one thing was missing; Satan never showed me the eternal damnation I was facing. The pain of my young life had overwhelmed me. Everything around me seemed broken. I had broken the hearts of many friends, my own heart, the moral law, the social law, and my own expectations. I was only 18, yet my inward life was in shambles. It was time to ‘go out’ under the guise of an accident.

Then, as certain as the still small voice spoke to Elijah, the Lord spoke, piercing the deception of the enemy and the darkness of my heart. He convicted me of my sin and offered me hope and forgiveness at the same time. I cried out to Him…repenting of my sins and surrendering my whole heart and life to Him as my Lord and Savior. Continue reading “The Good Physician…He Has Never Lost A Case”

Broken Jars

One of the greatest beauties of Christianity is that the Lord uses weak and broken vessels to demonstrate the living gospel to others. Redemption is not for perfect people. It is only for those who know their own brokenness and depravity. I wrote an article sometime back on how the Lord uses the wrong kind of people. You can read it here. Let us never lose the sight of the beauty of mercy and grace.

I think sometimes we fail to clearly communicate the gospel with the full force of truth concerning our human need for salvation. We’ve ‘pop-psychologized’ the message of redemption. By this I mean we present the gospel as a help for the situation or problem people find themselves in. This literally turns Jesus into a bell-hop or personal dispensing machine to help make man better. It is not the gospel.

The gospel is that we are ‘really sinners.’ Not theoretically or just theologically, but really…with force. We are undone, unholy, broken to the core by original and personal sin and stand condemned before the justice of God. When this is woven into the fabric of Continue reading “Broken Jars”

Don’t Waste Your Sorrows

Suffering and affliction are inevitable in this life. It proves the truth of the Bible that we live in a fallen world. Sooner or later suffering will land on our doorsteps; it will visit our life. As Christians, we are not exempt from the valley of affliction and tears. They are common to our life as we wait for the redemption of our body at the Lord’s return. Though our spirit is reborn and brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ, we travel through the same vale of trouble as every man. In fact, we may experience more than the average man because we are a threat to the kingdom of darkness and are targets for the enemy’s attacks.

With the certainty of affliction firmly fixed through the teachings of the Scripture, let us briefly consider what our response should be. Our reaction to a valley of affliction will determine many things in regards to the darkness of the affliction. I do not remember where I heard this, but it has been said, “When you find yourself in a ditch, the first thing to do is throw down your shovel.” Our reaction to affliction can certainly be a continual digging; one which makes the situation worse. Or it can be better than that. It can yield to God’s work and bring about His desired transformation.

Life is part of God’s classroom to teach His children how to trust His sovereign and gentle hand. Without calling evil, good, we do know that regardless of the valley the Lord will work it together for good to those who love Him. (Rom. 8:28) Trials are actually the Love of God in action, designed to mature and call us out of our playpen level of faith. He is calling us to grow up. Continue reading “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows”

He Is Not Here, But Has Risen

These famous words flow down through Church history with power, devotion and deep meaning to every believer. (Luke 24:6) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock of our faith and the greatest event known to man. It was an  open declaration to all men that this lowly carpenter was who He said He was–the Son of God!

When the Angel spoke these words to the ladies who went to put spices on the body of Jesus, it was a shock to their cultural and religious understanding. As Hebrews, they believed in a resurrection, but it would not take place until the end of the age. They had no reference point to understand a resurrection before that time, and yet, this is what the Angel proclaimed.

With the desire of humanity to have a point of integration which defines the deepest meaning to life, it is easy to understand how the tomb of Jesus would become a shrine; a place of devotion to the miracle worker from Galilee. However, because of the resurrection, His body could not be worshipped and enshrined to satisfy this longing of mankind. We must meet Him by faith; it is the only way of fellowship with our resurrected King.

The tearful devotion of these women was interrupted by the angelic proclamation, “He is not here, but is risen.” God would not provide a natural or physical place of mediation between the natural and the spiritual world. He offered something greater! Continue reading “He Is Not Here, But Has Risen”