This dude says to me, “Whoever wins the election, God will be glorified.”
What kind of sick theological perspective is that? Trying to do theology many times people become crazy folks, out of touch with simple logic and truth.
He might as well of said, “Praise God for Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and American slavery.”
The “God will be glorified” crowd, in essence, have a God who is in total control of a closed system (The whole closed system thing died long ago). Therefore, this controlling and causative God is responsible for EVERYTHING that happens everywhere, all the time. “It’s God’s sovereignty,” they proclaim.
Yep. They believe the sovereignty of God indicates that God intentionally and purposefully raised up Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and American slavery. God intended for the masses to be murdered and our black brothers enslaved, they believe. God, in fact wants babies aborted, children to have incurable cancer, and other children to starve. After all, in His sovereignty, God predetermines all things.
Just plain nuts.
I nearly fell out of my seat one day when one of these famous “Greater Glory for God” preachers said, “Christians should never help the non-elect poor. When you help the non-elect poor, you are fighting the judgement of God on their lives.”
Just plain nuts!
God, you see, needs greater glory and He needs it so desperately that He turns to causing evil in order to get this greater glory. If your kid contracts an incurable disease, you can rest in the fact that God designed, intended, and planned for this because He needs greater glory.
Knowing that this is craziness for any decent human being to believe, they throw down their “trump” card (Bwahaha), “It is for His greater glory.” “It is a mystery how God causes evil for His glory.” They say.
Just plain nuts!
This crowd actually defines God as the One and Only Sinner! How? In a closed system in which God alone is the first and only cause, He alone has responsibility for sin.
He is responsible for your election and salvation. If you aren’t elect, you are toast because it is a matter of intentional thought and determination by God. Your non-Christian Karma has been set by God. If, on the other hand, you are elect (I’m never quite sure what measure of pride enables this crowd to assume they are elect?) no amount of evil action on your part is a deal breaker with God, because He too uses evil for His purposes.
Just plain nuts!
Many folks in this crowd are very dear friends of mine. “Kent, I’ll never know why God foreordained my son’s drowning death at such a young age.” “I don’t know why God wanted me to have this cancer.” “Why do you think God intended me to have this painful divorce?”
To assume that God’s sovereignty requires causation is, in my understanding, a HUGE insult to the true character and sovereignty of God. To suggest that God’s heart includes the causation of evil is preposterous heresy.
“Haven’t you read Romans 13:1, you bozo pastor?” They ask. Much to their amazement, I have actually glanced at Romans a time or two.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Paul simply points out that all true authority is His. He has shared a small portion of His authority with systems of governance in man-made authority “blocks.”
If Putin has authority in the man-made governance system called Russia, that authority is from God. If Bashar al-Assad has authority in the man-made governance system called Syria, that authority is from God.
In NO WAY is Paul suggesting that governing authorities are always pleasing to God and that their decisions are part of God’s sovereign rule on the earth. In Paul’s mind, any authority that is rightfully in the stewardship of a person or government, is authority instituted by God. When you fight true authority, you fight God.
I’m fairly sure that Rome was a miserable place in which to be a Christian. Names like Caligula and Nero come to mind. Yuck! Scum of the earth type leaders. And these were the people governing our brothers and sisters to whom Paul was writing.
Paul, in my view, was saying, “Rome is a man-made space with borders drawn by human beings. Inside that man-made space called Rome there is the need for governance and authority. The governance and authority established there was established by God.”
Paul is NOT saying, “Nero was God’s choice to lead Rome.” He is saying, “God has established governance and authority in Rome and Nero has come to power.”
If Rome had been open to an election, I am thoroughly convinced Paul would have said, “Nero has seized governance and authority. Vote the bum out. #NeverNero.”
God’s sovereignty often flows through human choices.
God being glorified is not the issue at hand. The I Am will be just fine.
It matters who wins national elections. #Electionsmatter
To live otherwise is Just Plain Nuts.
Years ago a teenage girl said, “Pastor Kent, I can’t control my lustful thoughts and the Bible says that if you lust you have committed adultery already. Since I lust for my boy friend, I have sex with him too.”
Why would a teenage girl even talk to me about lust and sex? Because she was wanting my opinion about the abortion she had just scheduled.
Is lust a sin? YES!
Is fornication a sin? YES!
Is abortion a sin? YES!
My teenage friend’s huge theological error was in thinking that lust, fornication, and abortion are the same sin.
What kind of fair Judge would punish the sin of lust with the same sentence as abortion? God certainly doesn’t.
Speaking of sexual sin and the abortions that follow; It’s election time in the USA.
When you gather up all the sin of the United States of America and her people into a basket and place it on the right side of God’s moral scale, you discover the vast weightiness of our personal and corporate sin. Truly the United States of America and we the people of this nation are catastrophically sinful before God.
Now pull from the dregs of this basket the sin of abortion and place it on the left side of God’s moral scale. The sin of abortion outweighs all other national sins combined.
This is gigantic. Our nation and we the people have gargantuan sin almost too enormous to fathom. Sometimes it feels like we are the most sinful group ever to live on the planet simply because we have experienced the goodness of God and we know better. Intentional, methodical, and consistent sin is as bad as it gets.
My theology and understanding of God requires me to vote for life.
My vote for life is a personal repentance for the world’s greatest sin. It is a personal apology to the millions of humans who were never given an opportunity to breathe one breath.
My vote for life is in hope of replacing the wicked and sinful judges (for the Christian there is nothing Supreme about the top court in the USA) who have voted to approve and stand idly by, officially giving protection and oversight to the slaughter.
My vote for life is a vote for God. “For God so loved….that none (especially babies) should perish.”
My vote for life is a vote against Satan. “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.”
My vote for life is a vote for Jesus. “I have come that you may have life and that more abundantly.”
My vote for life is a vote for self-preservation. It is just a matter of time before the killing machine decides that Bible based Christians can not live.
In the end, I must stand before God with personal responsibility for my vote. Should the Lord tarry and give me strength, I plan to vote for the candidate that I hope has the greatest likelihood of being guided by the Holy Spirit to give life.
With enough of us voting, we can tip the scale!
Telescopes are wonderful devices that help us observe remote objects. There is much to learn from a Global Outreach telescope.
Microscopes are equally wonderful devices that help us view objects that are not in the resolution range of the normal eye. There is much to learn from a Global Outreach microscope.
By bringing far things near, telescopes make the world smaller.
By viewing things normally beyond the resolution range of the human eye, microscopes make the world larger.
“Is Your All Too Small?” is the Global Outreach question of the month.
When these “alls” are too small in your experience, your “alls” of going into all the world are too small too. Matthew 28:18-20
- Romans 8:28 “I don’t know how things would work out.”
- Philippians 4:13 “I don’t know how I would meet the challenges and needs.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6 “How would I handle all of the uncertainties?”
- Matthew 6:33 “Really? Make ministry my first priority?”
- Psalm 103:1-5 “I feel too sinful and besides, what if I get sick and have no strength?
Step One Firmly experience the truth that the “all” is in your “call.”
Step Two Is the American Dream your calling’s nightmare?
Step Three Inside your calling, dream big! Ephesians 3:20
Today, add the hands on ministry of the microscope to the perspectives seen in the telescope.
Listen – My Story
- Have you ever looked through a telescope (binoculars) or microscope? Do you have any interesting stories of what you saw?
- If God gave you a miraculous microscope, what in all of the universe of things and ideas would you want to look more closely?
- Please complete the following, “If I could speak the Good News of Jesus into a certain segment of the world or society, I would speak too
Lift – Prayer
- Thank God for giving you love for parts of His world.
- Please pray for miraculous provision of $45,000 for Pastor Mark and Val Burgess’ need for the foundation of the MCA Bristol Bay facility. God is Able!!!
- Ask God to increase your personal experience of the “all” passages from the weekend message.
- Please pray for Pastor Gary and Jael Cox. Jael is fighting a huge battle with cancer and is trusting God for healing.
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Read John 1:1-4, 14. Do you think it fair to say that John 1:1-4 emphasizes Jesus’ telescope ministry and John 1:14 emphasizes Jesus’ microscope ministry? In what part of the world or segment of society are you delivering “microscope” ministry? In other words, where are you the Gospel made flesh?
- The weekend message was filled with fantastic “All” Bible verses. Do you think the temptation of Eve gives any insight into possible reasons people live far below God’s all verses? Consider the first line of Satan’s temptation of Eve in Genesis 3:1. What was Satan trying to get Eve to doubt? Does the Evil One use the same tactics on people today?
- How might you activate the “all” verses of the Bible according to Psalm 1?
Life – Taking it Home
- In response to this teaching, what action steps do you need to make this week?
- Select one of the “all” verses from the weekend message and read it every day this week.
- Consider if the American Dream is hindering your calling for ministry.
How do I know the difference between what God said and what God is saying today?
The question we are asking today is, “What does God mean by His communications?” Psalm 91:4
We have the Spirit, the Word, and each other. The Spirit is the One responsible for the inspiration of the Word (2 Timothy 3:16) and also the One responsible for the illumination of the Word (Psalm 119:130).
We are learning that “What God has said and what God is saying today are best understood in community.”
The Bereans, in Acts 17:10-12, practiced community Bible interpretation. Interestingly, these Berean Jews are not Christians at the time of Paul and Silas’ arrival in Berea.
For our conversation today the key word is in verse 11, “They.”
- They received the word with all eagerness
- They were examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
- Many of them therefore believed.
Acts 15 is another tremendous example of developing an understanding of God’s communications in groups.
In attendance – Vs. 6 – The Apostles and Elders were gathered together to consider this matter. Peter, Barnabas, Paul, and James are mentioned by name.
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church…
“In Acts 15:1-35, the early church faced a challenge that could have easily split it down ethnic and interpretative lines. As a solution, the apostles could have simply made an executive decision based on their own understanding of Hebraic history and culture. But they were willing to do the hard work of listening to each other and to the Spirit. We would do well to model some of our decisions more closely on this framework.” http://leadershipconfessions.typepad.com/leadership_confessions/2011/05/work-ahead-community-hermenutics-in-action.html
“When they have come together they teach one another the divine Word and one asks the other: how do you understand this saying?” Ambrosius Spitelmeier, around 1527 AD
This is one of the MANY values of the Life Group lifestyle; understanding God’s communications in a healthy, Spirit led, community.
Remember the year when the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl with a large number of their starting players unable to play due to injury? As I watched them win, I thought, “Championship teams are flexible and enduring.”
Managing is the skill of placing people where their strengths can be effective for the organization. As the MCA Church key results, “God is glorified and people are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ,” become further defined, it is prudent to posture our team for maximum impact.
With this in mind, it is a delight to share the following Pastoral Staff realignments.
First, we thank God for the ministry of Michael Roux in leading the MCA Church Worship and the Arts ministry for the past seven years. Michael and Rachel add life, joy, and energy every where they go. Michael’s tenure as the Pastor of the MCA Worship and the Arts ministry is coming to a close as he moves to God’s next assignment for him.
Recently Michael stated, “It is time to make a change. God is moving me on.” If it weren’t for the confidence that God is all wise, we would argue against this decision. However, we are completely supportive of God’s will and plan.
The MCA Interim Youth Pastor, Jonathan Redfearn, will transfer on September 1, 2016, to the role of MCA Worship and the Arts Director. I look forward to watching all that the Lord intends for our Worship and the Arts ministry, including additional dramatic arts and choral opportunities.
In every venue we have room for the release of your worship and the arts ministry. Do you do graphic design? Write music? Poetry? Are you an actress or actor? Your skill set is in high demand at MCA Church!
Kelli Reed, MCA Young Adult Director, is planning a year away from the hustle and hurry of young adult ministry. Not to worry! She’ll be back highly energized, invigorated, full of new revelation. We love Kelli and are fired up about God’s plans for her.
I’ll miss Kelli’s quick scientific mind dropping quotes on us in staff meetings, but fully expect her to drop into our meetings from time to time with the latest discovery in string theory (Umbral Moonshine?). Hurry back to the action, Kelli.
Alejandro (Alex) Esteban has responded to the call of God to serve the students of South Central Alaska and the MCA Church network as the MCA Church Youth Director. EXCITING! Alex (from Guam) and Zyla (from Hawaii) add to the wonderful cultural diversity of our team.
Alex has resigned his supervisor position at NC Machinery to pursue God’s special calling to youth ministry. Prior to NC Machinery Alex worked (over six years) at Denali Family Services with students experiencing autism, ADD and ADHD, depression, severe emotional disturbance, emotional neglect, and physical or sexual abuse. His co-workers there speak exceptionally highly of Alex’ effectiveness with the students.
Additionally, Alex, knowing the call of God, has prepared for this calling by participating in classes at Far North Bible College and the Alaska School of Ministry. His ministry to students at MCA Island Revival and Revival Assembly has been effective and life changing for the teens.
Sorry, Green Bay Packers, you aren’t the only flexible and enduring championship team. :0)
We are designed and created for God’s abundant life. John 10:10
God’s communications are essential for experiencing, right here and now, this abundant life.
- The Psalmist’s current hope was in God’s word. Psalm 119:114
- In real time, right then and there, God’s word was a lamp and light. Psalm 119:105
- The wise men, in the birth of Jesus narrative, were guided by God’s communication. The details of God’s communication with these folks is still unknown.
- How did they learn that the birth of the King would be accompanied by a star?
- What motivated them to have the confidence to follow the star and bring gifts?
- Of all the kings at that time, why would they make great effort to worship this one?
- Consider God’s communications to Paul in Acts 16:6-10.
- How did the Holy Spirit forbid them to speak the word in Asia? Acts 16:6
- What all was involved in “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them”? Acts 16:7
- We do know that their decision to minister in Macedonia resulted from a vision God gave to Paul. Acts 16:9
What God had said in Deuteronomy He was saying again through Jesus to the tempter. Matthew 4:4
How do I know the difference between what God said and what God is saying today?
- Live (Abide) in the communications of God. John 15:4-7
- Learn the sound of God’s communications. John 10:27
- God’s communications are best understood in community.
- But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16
- The apostles and elders were gathered together to consider this matter. Acts 15:6
- For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us… Acts 15:28
- No prophecy comes from someone’s own 2 Peter 1:20
I invite you to join me each day this week.
- Read John 15
- Meditate on a verse of John 15 each day.
- Memorize John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
We were designed and created to have the life of God flowing through us.
The Judaism of Jesus’ day was 100% integrated with God’s communications. Even while in Mary’s womb, Jesus was fully integrated in God’s communications.
God’s command to “tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads (Deuteronomy 6:8) was viewed as an illustrative metaphor until the Jewish people returned from exile in Babylon. At that time, they began to interpret this literally. The “frontlet” is a small box in which four bible passages, each written on a small parchment paper, are placed. The four bible passages are:
- Exodus 12:2-10 (Commencement of Passover)
- Exodus 13:11-21 (Remembrance of the Exodus)
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Bible’s Greatest Verse)
- Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (Reminder that Life Must Be God’s Word Centric)
For Jesus, integrating God’s communication into every area of life, is true life. Matthew 4:1-10
- God created by speaking. Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God includes the other sources of food that God created by speaking.
- God sustains life, in addition to physical food, through His word.
- Humanity’s life is sustained by bread only If God so blesses.
- Humanity’s life is sustained without bread only if God so blesses.
As man, therefore, I will await divine supply, nothing doubting that at the fitting time it will arrive. Jameison-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Here we are taught, in imitation of Christ, always to maintain such an humble dependence on the divine blessing, as never to venture out of the way of it, be our necessity ever so urgent. Benson Commentary
Let’s give careful consideration to Jesus’ statement, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Tuning our lives to the frequency of God is true life. Since God’s word is coming from God’s mouth, God’s word must be coming from my mouth as well!
Let’s learn the lesson of Numbers 14:26-28 – “As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you…”
Personalize and Proclaim God’s Promise! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Happy cheerful young woman jumping in the air in the middle of golden meadow with high grass. Conceptual of enjoying life happiness and life spirit.
** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes
We were designed and created to have the life of God flowing through us.
- We see God breathing into man the breath of life – God’s life into mankind. Gen. 2:7
- Jesus offers abundant life. John 10:10
- It is the Spirit who gives life. John 6:63
We were designed and created for our lives to be powered by God’s life. Consider how poorly your automobile will operate with just one gallon of water in your gas tank. Your life “runs” even more poorly when your life tank has even a drop of non-God life in it.
Do you find John 7:38 to be true of your life today? “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Listen, in Shawn Johnson’s story, for the moment where the living water began to flow. “In that instant I felt the entire world lifted off of my shoulders. In that one instance I knew it was all going to be ok.”
Living water flows from the heart of the one who is hearing Father God’s communication.
Jesus reveals that his words are spirit and life. John 6:63
Notice the many different components to God’s communication in Psalm 119:57-64.
- Words. 57
- Promise. Vs. 58
- Testimonies. Vs. 59
- Commandments. Vs. 60
- Law. Vs. 61
- Righteous rules. 62
- Precepts. Vs. 63
- Statutes. 64
Embracing God’s communication is life-giving (Proverbs 4:20-23) because God and His communications are alive (Hebrews 4:12).
Repent Regret, with remorse, that you have met your desires on your own, apart from God, and proclaim that you will totally trust God to meet your deepest desires. Acts 3:19-20, Ezekiel 18:32,
Renounce Formally declare one’s abandonment of a claim, right, or possession. 2 Corinthians 4:2
Today’s text is 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2.
Earlier in 2 Corinthians Paul has been making powerful statements about the gloriousness of the ministry God has given to him and the people of the New Covenant.
It is because of this great ministry of the New Covenant that Paul does not lose heart. Vs. 1
Paul then points out that if one loses heart, the temptation is to move into shameful ways that one keeps secret (Vs. 2). Shame and guilt are brothers.
- Both shame and guilt are internal experiences resulting from a sense of violating the character of God.
- Guilt is judicial. I stand guilty before God, the Judge.
- Shame is relational. I stand traumatized before God with damage done to my self-identity.
After Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden they first hid from God (guilt) and then from each other (shame).
The first shameful way that Paul highlights is deception.
- In the original language deception is: unscrupulous cunning that stops at nothing to achieve a selfish
- From the Oxford Dictionary, to deceive is: cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage:
The second shameful way is distorting the word of God.
- To distort is to adulterate. Adulterate is: render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior one:
- To distort is to corrupt. Corrupt is: cause to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain:
- To distort is to hold out the worm concealing the hook (the original is related to the word bait).
Paul’s Spirit inspired solution? “But by the open statement of truth…” 2 Corinthians 4:2
The hedge of protection is the name given to God’s actions of limiting and restricting the Devil.
Two of God’s most known and celebrated characteristics are His love and Fatherhood. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us….” 1 John 3:1
For our conversation today: Love is the total commitment to do what is best for the one loved.
Father God, in love, initiates (causes to begin) the hedge of protection.
- Father God initiates creation. Genesis 1:1
- Father God initiates forming Genesis 1:27
- Father God initiates the garden of Eden and placing Adam there. Genesis 2:8
- Father God initiates the forming of Eve. Genesis 2:22
- Father God initiates the hedge of protection. Genesis 2:15-17
Father God, in love, initiates and sustains relationship under the hedge of protection.
- God causes to begin an amazing relationship with Abraham. Genesis 12:1
- God causes to begin an amazing future for Joseph. Genesis 37:5
- God causes to begin the deliverance of Israel from Egypt through Moses. Exodus 3:1-5
- God causes to begin his relationship with us today. Ephesians 1:3, 4
- God sustains all of the relationships He initiates. Isaiah 46:1-4
Fathers, love is the total commitment to do what is best for the one loved.
- To be a father is to initiate God pleasing spirituality for your family. Joshua 24:15
- Consider beginning with a conversation about your decision to initiate God pleasing spirituality with your family.
- Consider making God’s word your most common conversation theme with your family. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- Consider a non-negotiable commitment to participate every week in the Church by attendance at the Lord’s house. 1 Timothy 3:15
- To be a father is to initiate God pleasing relationship with your family.
- Consider beginning with a conversation about your decision to initiate God pleasing relationship with your family.
- Consider initiating the practice of blessing (appropriate meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching high value, picturing a special future, an active commitment).
- Consider initiating an ambiance of forgiveness with specific forgiveness actions.