Church For the Big Screen TV

Church For The Big-Screen TV

There might be something wrong with pastors in America. But you could be doing some things that don’t help. And maybe, you could do something to make a difference.

In a recent post by Mario Maurillo Ministries about why American Preachers will not unify against the anti-God White House there were some thought-provoking points made about what seem to be some critical problems with the church in America.

Church For The Big-Screen TV

In brief, Pastor Maurillo mentioned what he thought were 7 specific reasons why church pastors in America shying away from standing boldly as a united front against the godless agenda that seems to be spewing out of the White House and the administration and plowing across so much of what the church holds precious. His 7 reasons, in brief, are these:

  • Fear of losing non-profit status – losing status means probably losing revenue;
  • Many do it because it is merely a paycheck – apparently, 50% of pastors would do something else if they could;
  • Some are as racist as those to whom they preach – self-explanatory, and sad but true.
  • Many do not value or even believe in the inspiration of scripture – many do not see the bible as “good news” so much as good advice; so the thorny issues might not be worth dealing with if we can’t even really know they are that big of a deal.
  • Many do not value that America is great because of the history of the church –  and if they don’t appreciate how America came to be great, they won’t recognize what will take her down.
  • Apathy, whether from exhaustion or from self-sufficiency – some feel it’s pointless; some feel there is no problem – we are just all golden children of God, no matter what.
  • Competition – sometimes pastors are not in it for God as much as they are in it for themselves.

It’s quite a list. There is a lot to think about there.

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fifty shades of grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

We All Know About Fifty Shades Of Grey. Maybe you haven’t thought about it like this before.

It is Sunday morning. Pastor Jones stands in the pulpit, his heart burning with a message about how important it is to be passionate about our relationship with God, and how much we must be consumed with a zeal for His heart.

Pastor Jones refers to King David and his psalms about following hard after God; how he rises up early in the morning to seek God’s face. And Pastor Jones says, “we must all be like David.”

The congregation, moved by his message, says, “Yes. Yes. We must all be like David.”

The next Sunday morning, Pastor Jones stands in the pulpit, his heart burning with a message about how important it is to be faithful in marriage; about how David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and what damage and chaos it brought in his life and the lives of those he touched with his infidelity and collusion to murder.

And Pastor Jones refers to the decieptfulness of sin and how much it destroys in our lives and our relationship with God, and says, “we must not be like David.”

The congregation, moved by his message. says, “No. No. We must not be like David.”

We All Fall Down

The scriptures have many records of generally good people who stumbled along the way. Abraham lied about his wife to save his neck; Samson was chosen as leader of his people, but gave into the wiles of a woman and lost so much. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and later had her husband killed to try to hide the evidence. Saul started out well, but as life went on, jealousy set in and he did many foolish and sinful things that destroyed the potential for God to use him. Some, like David, ended well. Others, like Saul, did not.

We all fall down sometimes. Like the lyric in the song says, “a saint is just a sinner who falls down, and gets up again.”

Micah 6:8 says

“He hath shown thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

We need to encourage each other to good works, always looking for a view of people as God sees them – looking at their potential to draw near, to repent of sin, to become more Christlike. “His anger is but for a moment; but his mercy endures to a thousand generations.” And remember that it ain’t over till it’s over.

Because, as much as we often want to see everything in black and white, the reality is that we are all just varying shades of grey.

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the devil wants you dead

The Devil Wants You Dead

The Devil Wants You Dead. And God does, too. They just want it for different reasons.

The devil wants you dead because he hates you and wants to destroy you. He hates that God loves you and that God wants you to reflect His glory in the earth and for you to be a part of God’s plan. Simply put, God loves you and the devil hates what God loves.

God wants you dead, too. He wants to crucify your old man so he can bring out of  you a reflection of the saviour, allowing you to walk into what His desire is for you. It’s what His desire really has been for all of humankind, even since before the fall – that we would walk with Him, and Him with us, able to enjoy each other’s company.

We Need To See Ourselves As God Sees Us

God is desperately looking for friends with whom he can share his heart. He wants to spend time with us. That self-will you hold on to – all that stuff where you don’t really believe Him when He says, “do this,” or “don’t do that,” is killing you, a little at a time. And the guilt, shame and self-loathing it causes you creates a barrier between you and God.

The devil loves that stuff. But God wants to crucify that sin nature and that self-will so we can enjoy spending our time with him. He wants to free us from guilt about the past, anxiety about the future, and feelings of inadequacy. But to get there, you have to “die.”

Don’t be limited by only seeing the failures of your past

You think you’ve messed up? Maybe you have. Maybe you have really messed up. But do you realize that not one, but two people denied Christ? As Kris Vallotton says, one hung himself; the other ended up being the head of the church.

The point is that there are many people in the bible who had failures in their lives. But those failures don’t have to define you; they don’t have to mark the limits of who you can become in Christ. King David had great moral failures in his life, but David was known as a man after God’s own heart.

The devil has a clever way of messing us up and keeping us locked in patterns of self destruction. It’s one of the ways he tries to kill us. When you’re struggling with your choices, and you’re wrestling with a temptation, he tells you before you do it that it’s not that big a deal. But after you’ve given into it, he uses the guilt to shame you into thinking you’ll never change. When you’ve fallen, you feel guilty. You make plans to do better. But when you fall into the same patterns, you convince yourself you can never change. Or you measure your “success” by how well you’ve done since the last time you fell. Until you fail again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don’t focus on that. That’s from the devil and he’s just trying to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

There is a part of us that wants to offer our own sacrifices to atone for our own sins. We can get into a trap where we believe that if we can just demonstrate that we’ve done enough “obedience” to outweigh our disobedience, then we can take ourselves seriously and somehow believe were are then worthy of the grace of God.

But that is a subtle form of pride. And that’s from the devil, and he’s just trying to kill you.

Peter’s remorse ran deep. For three days and nights after he denied Jesus, he had to live with who he really was. Jesus told him who he was. Peter thought that even if everyone else denied Jesus, he would stand firm. But Jesus told him he was very weak and that he would not be nearly as strong as he thought he was. We have to see who we really are. But we can’t stay there; that is only part of the story. Peter also had a promise from Jesus, in that Jesus told Peter He prayed for him:

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.(Luke 22:31-32)

The moral of the story is that you need to learn to “die to self” before you’re dead. To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil 1:21). “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). “He who keeps his life will lose it; he who loses his life for my sake will keep it” (Mark 8:35).

God does not see you merely in light of your past; he sees you also through the lens of eternity future, through the lens of your destiny. And so, as you learn to die to yourself, do it quickly. See yourself from your position in Christ.

Your bad decisions are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones

The difference has to do with pride; if you insist on seeing yourself as good enough, you will see a failure as “uncharacteristic” of you; it is a subtle trap from the devil, where he entices you to keep “trying” until you can see that you get it right. Your ratio of success and failure becomes the whole measure you use to determine your worth before God. But it’s still about you.

And focusing on YOU all the time is a trap of the devil. And the devil wants to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

If you simply acknowledge that you are not good enough, but you acknowledge that you need Jesus to do it in you, he will. The beautiful irony is that recognizing you are not “good enough” positions you to receive His grace. And when you surrender to Him, then He is able to see you as both beautiful and “good enough” – because it is his grace that is sufficient to cover your sins.

But this is the trick

The trick of the devil is that whether you spend time being proud of how Christlike you are, or spend time being humiliated by how sinful you are, you’re still spending your time focusing on you. Constantly beating yourself up about how you’ve failed again and that you’ll never change is a subtle form of pride (if you can hear that). Because it’s still about looking at you.

Just look at Jesus. Focus on Jesus. God wants you to learn to enjoy spending time with Jesus, focusing on his faithfulness, his love for you, his sufficiency for you. And as you spend time with Jesus, in prayer, in meditating in the word of God, He changes you. Jesus said, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you can ask for anything you wish and it will be granted” (John 15:7).

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)

It’s that as we spend time with him, we just naturally become like him. And as we spend time with him, becoming like him, the things He wants become the things we want. And then it becomes the Father’s good pleasure to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32), because you and God want the same things. And His greatest desire for you is that you fulfill your primary destiny of being conformed to the image of Jesus. As you spend time with him, you enter into an awareness of having been crucified with Christ and raised again from the dead. And you fall in love with that condition. And then, as you do, you bear the fruit that will last.

Agree with God – quickly – that you must die.

If you agree with God that your old man needs to die so that the life of Jesus can transform you into a new creation, then you’re in the safest place you can be. It is there that you learn to live as a dead man, brought back from the dead.

And the devil can’t hurt you when you walk in that. And, pardon the pun… but that just kills him.

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