Freedom to You…Freedom from You

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen believers get serious about walking in the Spirit and following the Lord’s call for their life, they face one of the most dangerous places of their life. That place is not in obeying the Lord, but in how to communicate with those who are called differently or in another direction. We all want freedom and encouragement from others to follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership to us, but it is easy to demean or put down others not called to the same work. We must learn the principle of freedom to you…freedom from you!

If we want others to give us the liberty to respond to the call of Christ upon our life, we must give them the same liberty. If we do not, we will become legalistically assertive with our ‘vision’ and seek to impose it as a standard for all. Our communication will become coercive and over-authoritarian, and fail to display the liberty Christ has given to every believer.

If someone has a call to obey the Lord to do a particular ministry, and it does not violate the truth or standard of Scriptures, then praise the Lord. It does not matter if we agree with the how, when or whats of their calling, that is between them and the Lord. We must grant them this freedom and pray for them as they seek to obey their call with honest hearts and commitment. Every genuine believer is the Lord’s servant, not man’s.  Continue reading “Freedom to You…Freedom from You”

Why I Boycott Boycotts

I do not like boycotts. In fact, the only thing I boycott is boycotts. Why? Because to me it seems that boycotts violate the very call to take the gospel to all men. I just cannot wrap my head or heart around the image of seeing Jesus, or Paul for that matter, leading a picket line or social demonstration to force morality upon others. I can sum up my problems with boycotts with 10 simple questions.

1) Isn’t the Gospel for all?

2) How can we reach people by boycotting them? 

3) How can we love people when we are standing aloof and boycotting their business?

4) How can we communicate their need for Christ while refusing to enter their work space?

5) Why offend with boycotting the very people I’m called to reach?

6) How can I reach them and demonstrate the gospel if I fail to enter their everyday life?

7) Why make social mores or public laws the dividing line for who gets respect and who does not?  Continue reading “Why I Boycott Boycotts”

Has the American Church Missed it?

Statistics show a steady decline in the membership of mainline Protestant churches over the past several decades. Also, it is easy to see the hostile and anti-christian bashing which takes place among the social and media elites. What is going on? Is there something simple and systemically amiss with us? Has the American Church missed it?

Several issues could be mentioned in regards to the answers for the questions I raise. However, one area is becoming more and more clear as we watch American politics and fundraising among American Churches. Here is the issue at hand: We have failed to recognize the difference between culture and the Church.

In America, preachers and “christian celebrities” are always discussing social issues to a lost and un-regenerated culture. After all, book and DVD marketing finds more clients among the consumer driven economy by targeting the largest audience. Therefore, our message has lost the clear dividing line between culture and Church. Here are three issues we need to revisit for developing a mission toward the lost to regain the biblical focus of a New Testament Church.

Continue reading “Has the American Church Missed it?”

Leaven of the Pharisees

In a previous post, we looked at the legalism which comes from much of what is called ‘Messianic Christianity.’ You can read that here. Now let’s look at another aspect of the damaging work of legalism through other so-called branches of Christianity. You get the emails and comments from time to time from these self appointed protectors of the faith who have a thimble full of truth with ocean sized mouths. Jesus faced them, you face them and I face them. Let us not let our focus get off on them, as they feed off of being the center of attention.

Jesus addressed these types of legalists in His day. They hounded Him every where He went. The book of Acts reveals that these same legalists followed and persecuted the Apostle Paul as he took the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about them and then discuss the earmarks of this type of legalism.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…'” (Matt. 16:6)

One of the truths which ‘leaven’ symbolized was sin. Jesus used this image to describe the dynamics of how sin works. Like leaven, sin works secretly, silently, certainly and from within. The leaven/sin of the Pharisees works the same way. It is a scourge upon the body of Christ and, many times, it comes from surprising quarters. Let’s take a brief look at this. Continue reading “Leaven of the Pharisees”

Restored Legalism – The Danger of Messianic Christianity

There is a legalistic wind blowing among many circles within the Christian faith. That wind is the attempt by natural minded men to restore or mix the Christian faith with Old Testament Law — usually called Messianic Christianity. It produces bondage to carnal ordinances and perverts the grace of God. It demotes Jesus Christ from Lord to a Rabbi and keeper of the law, and ultimately attacks the liberating message He announced during His earthly ministry. Those whose embrace and attempt to bring the Torah (Mosaic Law) into the Gospel of Jesus, are actually abandoning the message of Jesus and the Apostles in order to make disciples of men instead of disciples of Christ.

Here are some ‘catch words’ and ‘actions’ which should alert us. If you are around a friend or person who frequently adopts these words/phrases or actions, be careful…they are Continue reading “Restored Legalism – The Danger of Messianic Christianity”