Thursday, August 26, 2010

“What faith?”

Faith - complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
So many times we are asked how strong our faith in God is. The tragic but beautiful story of Rachel Scott (Columbine High School shooting) is told and we’re asked “How about you? Would you give your life and claim the name of Christ?”. This is a very important message to hear and something every one of us should be ready to do. What i don’t understand is why we are not challenged about making the same stand on a daily basis.
Complete trust or confidence is a tall order. An order that i think many of us do not understand. I know, unfortunately, that we are not taught what “complete” covers. Complete, in todays Christian society, seems to have become an idea isolated to only the part of our lives that we ration out. 
Mark 8:34-38 (NLT)
 ........... “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
When are we going to give God our undivided attention. My last blog focused on the selfishness that keeps us from God. Obviously, we need to “give up our lives”  for the sake of Christ and the word of God. What i have come to see is that we need to address our Faith first. So many of us don’t trust God to take care of us. We have been taught and believe that God can only use what we have and can get, instead of believing the He is our provider and supplies for all of our needs. 
Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT)
  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
So what dominates your thoughts. Do you worry about things, maybe even your own selfish desires.  Ask yourself how you can do this and call yourself a Christian. How can you share the thoughts of unbelievers and claim the name of Christ? How can you claim to follow Christ, then ignore and even not believe the promises he has made to you? Where is your faith?
I have caught myself so many times saying “thank you God for your direction, i can’t wait to get on with your plan as soon as i get a few things in line.” What a load of crap!!! As soon as we bring ourselves or even our abilities into the mix, it throws faith right out the window. We have a God that has promised all of our needs. We need to claim this, believe it to be true and start being an example of a faith filled Christ Follower. Unless you turn from your selfish ways and take up your cross, you can not be a Christ follower. If you think anything other than this, YOU ARE WRONG.
Get in scripture and let the Spirit speak to you. Let the Spirit convict you and change you. Let God’s will for your life trump your own desires. What does your faith look like? Is your faith shriveled up, without growth, maybe even non-existent or is the foundation of your faith built on the promises of God and structure fashioned after the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Not only that, but we as believers have been blessed with the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us. Are you letting the Holy Spirit speak into your life? Are you letting the Holy Spirit work in and through you? Is the Holy spirit even a part of your life? What does your faith look like?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

‘What form of selfishness is keeping you from Christ?’

Matthew 19:21-22 (New Living Translation)
 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Alright people, these are words straight from Jesus’ lips. It seems more than clear that Jesus is saying “Forget about yourself and try thinking about somebody else for a change.”  Now you might say, “well Brent, in that verse Jesus is specifically talking to the young, rich man.”  And to that i say “yep”. But lets take a minute and think about who we are. Just for the simple fact that you are reading this, would mean that you are rich.
“Computer ownership is now at about 4-5% of the worlds population. However with many social projects putting computers in villages in developing countries between 12-14% of the worlds population have access to a computer. Approx. 3-5 % of the worlds population have internet access. To put this into context only about 25% of the worlds population sleep in their own bed at night and only about 30% of the worlds population are rich enough to have a bank account!”

We are very much rich. yet even i catch myself complaining about things as absolutely trivial as not having money to go out to a nice restaurant and instead have to stay home and eat something out of my full refrigerator or cupboards. I have complained that i didn’t like the job i had or my car wasn’t as nice as i would like it. i’ve complained that my closet full of clothes were just too old and weren’t stylish. i’ve complained that my high speed internet access is too slow. Anybody catching on here. 
I have made myself literally sick when thinking about the amount of selfishness we as Christians show. We drive our cars, from our homes, dressed in one of the many outfits we could piece together from our wardrobe, to our beautiful church building that we keep up with the utmost pride, talk to our friends and family, send our little ones off to class to learn and do crafts, and sit through some music and talking so that we can get on to sunday lunch. What makes me the most disgusted is that those few moments of sitting through some music and talking is the closest that most “Christians” get to God in a week.
I am going to say something now that will either convict you or really tick you off. YOU are selfish. I could very easily try to cushion this, but hows about we be real. Most of our lives, even the times we give to church are most of the time for selfish ambitions.
Malachi 1:6-14
Unworthy Sacrifices
 6 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!
   “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’
 7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.
   “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?[c]’
   “You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
 9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
 10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. 11 But my name is honored[d] by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer[e] sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the Lord,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the Lord.
 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!
Now ask yourself, If I were still under this covenant, would the sacrifices I make even come close to being good enough. At this point you may want to take a moment to thank Jesus for His perfect sacrifice that has covered you. 
Why do we think it is ok to put so much emphasis on self-betterment. All we do is think of ourselves from getting our hair done to working out to getting degree’s to retirement. All of these have become a form of masturbation, focusing only on self pleasure. Now as a small disclosure, before the comments come, i am not against any of those things previously mentioned, when we are doing them as necessity or to further  our ministry. We have sculpted out our lives that we go to school and then get a good job and then help our family do the same so that we can enjoy our retirement comfortable and quiet. I just want you to know that if this is your focus, you are sinning. Nowhere in that schedule is there a place for Jesus. 
But you say, Brent i help at the church all the time and i do my devotions and my family all love Jesus. But He calls you to do so much more than that.
Philippians 2:1-11 (New Living Translation)
Philippians 2
Have the Attitude of Christ
 1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
 6 Though he was God,[a]
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
      he took the humble position of a slave[c]
      and was born as a human being.
   When he appeared in human form,[d]
    8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
      and gave him the name above all other names,
 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus was our example of living a pure sacrifice. He gave up His “privileges”, so that He could be and show His obedience to God. This is what being a Christian is about. Are we willing to hand over all of our privileges to God so that we may become examples of Christ’s love and humility. 
I want to challenge everyone to reexamine what you think of as necessity and what you see as God’s work. Lets set our lives on Gods track and get rid of our plans all together. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Living by the Spirit

Galatians 5:16-26 (New Living Translation)
Living by the Spirit’s Power
 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Wow, where do i even start? I can’t tell you how many times i read this verse as i sat here and asked myself over and again where i stand here. Thank God for the conviction that the Spirit can bring to us through His word. This is the reason God blessed us with the Spirit. He gave us His Son to bring us Truth and be the example of what God intended for us in the first place, then blesses us with the Spirit that will live inside of us.
I know that we all love Jesus and i am not for one second trying to degrade the love and respect we have for Him, but why don’t we listen to what He said about the Holy Spirit. I know there are a lot of things that we don’t adhere to, but this one is crazy. We tend to act like somewhere in the Bible Jesus said that we should miss Him and be upset that we all missed out on seeing Him in person and we should just want to get to heaven to be with Him. The Bible says completely different.
Take a look at the first chapter of Acts and John fourteen. What does Jesus say there? He tells of what power the Spirit will give us. Jesus is saying that He was here to walk with and among us to give us the example of what God intended, but now God has blessed us with the Spirit that lives in us.
I constantly want to ask people why they call out to God to “be with them” or “come into this place”. Do you think the God forgot who you are or maybe just misplaced the directions to the church? Come on people. God is not only all around you, all the time, He is (if you are a Christian) most literally inside of you. We need to start giving recognition to the power that lives in us. Just imagine, if we took the time we put into these meaningless actions and spent them on building ministries, reaching those who are lost, helping those who are in need... how much more of an impact would we make. If we just stopped trying to get full of the Spirit for ourselves and maybe put some focus on sharing the Spirit that is already in us, what would be the outcome?
I think a major problem is that we think that the church or our Christian friends  are like a Holy Spirit gas station. They can fill us up when we need it. This is not the case. Those two things are Knowledge stations. With these we get to learn and study the Bible and get to know God better, but the Spirit Grows in us when we allow Him to use.... US! 
We have got to start evaluating our lives daily by the fruit of the Spirit. Every action we make and every word we speak. If you are a Christian, it is not at all how full of the Spirit you are, it is are you allowing the Spirit to work. We can not have just a little bit of the Spirit. If you do not evidence the fruit in you life, it is not because you are running low on the Spirit and just need to be filled back up. It is because you are hindering the Spirit and need to get out of the way.
I would encourage everyone to study the Spirit and see if there is evidence in you life that He is at work in you, or moreover if you are allowing the Spirit to work in you. A fabulous book on this subject is ‘Forgotten God’ by Francis Chan. God bless.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

“What does the Bible mean to Christians?”

2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
A major problem that we have in the church right now is people wanting to disregard scripture. This is very upsetting to me. I hear many people say that it is just Jesus that they want and need. Now when I hear them say this, i can’t help but agree with the words, but unfortunately the words do not accurately portray what is being said here. Somewhere along the way, people started believing that simply saying some words and being dunked in water was enough to lock in a place in heaven. Some even went as far as doing good deeds and even doing ministry. Now on the other hand, we had groups of Christians who thought they could better Gods word by adding rules and regulations to live by. All of this is wrong.
What happened here?  We became lazy in our faith. We accepted exactly what others told us and/or made excuses not to listen to God because it was accepted by our peers, and even our church. Come on people. We are not talking about some minor insignificant part of our lives. When we become Christians it is suppose to take over our lives. It is suppose to be our lives. I understand that ignorance can have much to do with this, but what makes us ignore and even attack truth......selfishness. We are so caught up on what our faith will take away from us and make us do that we shut it down. We look at the Bible, and only see work and suffering and change and and maybe most of all the end of “our” life, ignoring the beginning of His life in us and His promises and His love. I’ll say it again, Come on people.
All of my previous rant was to bring us to the question “what does the Bible means to Christians?”  2 Tim uses the word “all” when describing “what scripture” was inspired by God. The greek word used was “ta panta”, which literally means all. So when this was written, the writer was very much trying to say that “All Scripture is inspired by God”. When are we as Christians going to start living by the Bible. Jesus is not going to accept the excuse of ignorance. If we are going to claim the name of Christ, than we better know what He’s about. We better believe the words He lived by and professed to be true. 
Following Jesus is not a simple claim to be made. Being a Christian is not putting in your time. If you have not accepted Jesus’ sacrifice that he made for you, asked Him to forgive you of your sin, been baptized(made a public affirmation of your faith), and have been filled with the Holy Spirit - then get on your knees. 
We are going to be talking about a lot of the topics i have mentioned so i don’t want to go too deep into them yet, but i do want to stress the importance of scripture. This blog is founded on and will continue on the belief that the Bible is the word of God.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


        Well hey there. This blog is the evidence of the convictions, struggles, peace, love and all out confusion i have went through and continue to go through in my relationship with God and journey to get to know Him better. I want this blog to serve as a place we can all come and voice opinion, state facts and even vent a little if needed. 
I feel it is very important to constantly be looking to deepen our faith. Christianity IS NOT a get out of jail free card. There is no magic words or special trick you can do that will hold you a place in heaven. This makes my heart sink as i see churches passing on these and other empty practices. It is very important that we call these things out for what they are. It is important that we become CHRIST’s Church. 
It is imperative that we become a people who are unabashedly devoted to our Savior who made it clear that we are His friends, not His servants. Christ does not judge you on your denomination or how many times you go to church or what you do for your community, and i could go on and on, no He judges us on our hearts. Are we devoted to His teachings, do our hearts break at injustice, can we stop ourselves from having to reach out to the lost or helping those in need? Does God inhabit our entire being, or have we blocked Him out or even limited Him in certain parts of our lives or maybe entirely. 
We are going to explore principles of living lives for God and not ourselves. I will try to post a new blog two or three times a week. What i want all of us to do is state our opinion and facts and especially scripture. But most important enter these conversations expecting to learn something new. Whether it will bring you closer to God or just give you a better understanding of an issue or even a person, try and keep a mind set on God.
I am very excited to get going and have a few topics that i am already working on, but if there is something that you would like me to talk about please email me and let me know. 
God bless,