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One of the big "buzz-words" the latest years has been the word "grace", and I would like to state right from the start that I am VERY PRO-GRACE; actually I would be utterly and completely lost without it.
However, there have been some preachers claiming to preach grace, who, in an attempt to make grace amazing, end up distorting it, turning people from a diligent pursue of God to an lukewarm Christianity. They might seem on fire but I would rather say it's fervent lukewarmness.
Grace does not mean that you don't have to put any effort into your spiritual growth; it means that you are getting something you were not able to attain by your own strength. Grace is getting something you don't deserve because you are not worthy.
WHO SAID YOU DID NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING?
Some might say: "Well, did Paul not say that we are saved by grace and not by the works of the law?" Yes, Paul was preaching salvation by grace and not by the works of the law, but he was in no way promoting a lazy attitude towards living the Christian life.
Some days ago I posted a post here on FaceBook regarding fellowship between Catholics and Protestants and somebody replied to my post by sending me a link to Kris Vallotton's blog, where he talks about his meeting with the Pope. So I read the link and want to give a more extended reply.
First of all I try to form my own opinions and not just believe what other preachers say I should believe. That does not mean that I don't listen to other preachers or only like the preachers I fully agree with. I believe true fellowship is not based upon agreeing about theology but love for Jesus.
Some will maybe get provoked that I don't join his admiration for the pope, but for myself I chose not to only be friends with those who believe as I do.
Why should I admire the Pope?
I would like to answer this like Jesus often answered people asking him questions; by asking you a question.
Would you admire him if it was not for his title? If so, what would be the things you admired him for?
Or I might ask you another question.
I found an interesting article in The Telegraph about how the attentions span have dropped since the year 2000 (around the time the mobile revolution began), and here is a short quote from the article:
Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms. The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to 8 seconds. Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of 9 seconds.
This made me think about how this probably have affected the average Christians devotional life; and when our devotional life crumbles our spiritual life suffers.
As long as I remember I have heard that the key to revival is prayer; and I believe that is true. However, it’s funny (or maybe sad) to see Christian leaders still talk about how prayer is the key to both church growth and revival. Why is this funny (or sad)? Because still so many Christians would rather spend hours on FaceBook than in prayer.
Yes, of course we look at inspirational things, but in-between all the inspirational stuff there are Facebook post about gossip, immorality, profanity, and so on. So we mix in all kinds of thoughts as we seek inspiration.
I am writing just as much to my self, because the last year I have more and more started to have a conscious attitude to how much time and how I use social media. I feel God is calling His people back to a simple devotion to Him; a devotion where all the noise is filtered out.
The challenge is that when peoples attention span is reduced to that of a Goldfish, it becomes hard to filter out the noise. It just feels so strange to just sit and be with God. Not needing to have music in the background. Not needing to check your Facebook or Twitter account. Putting away your phone and just spend some quality time with your Heavenly Father.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). Don’t let the devil use modern technology to destroy your ability to have quality time with God. After all, quality time is all about giving someone your undivided attention.
Questioning people’s salvation is not particularly popular, but in my opinion today it is actually an important question to ask. Why do I think so? It is because much of today’s preaching has a very superficial attitude towards repentance.
It is true that God loves the world, He has a fantastic plan for your life and He wants to give you a future and a hope. However, if these truths are built on a foundation where repentance is not central, you can quickly get a very egocentric faith.
Is it possible to preach the Gospel without focusing on God’s love? I am sure many will say no and refer to John 3:16, but what does the Bible itself say?
God is a loving God, full of mercy and slow to anger (Psalm 145:8) so my wish is not to present Him as somebody else. God is the same as the Bible depicts Him, and the same is true about the Gospel, the message we are called to preach.
If I choose to modify the message in order to make it more receptive, I have to be aware that it is God’s own message that I allow myself to change. Unfortunately today the message which is often presented as the Gospel is very different from the message the first Christians preached and from what the Bible says directly about the Gospel. What did Jesus ask the disciples to preach? At the end of the Gospels we see that Jesus is preparing His disciples for the fact that He will leave them and just before His ascension we can read in the Gospel of Luke that He explains to His disciples what they should preach.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Some people are concerned that the rendering in the different gospels is not the same, but I do not think they are supposed to be the same; I think their purpose is to complement one another. Matthew focuses on how they should reach the world – by making disciples. Mark concentrates on the supernatural power they should get to do the task; it is the power to heal the sick, cast out demons and walk in supernatural protection. Luke focuses on the message they should preach, namely forgiveness of sins.
When Peter brings the Gospel to the heathens for the first time, we can read his direct rendering of what Jesus asked them to preach.
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Many are not aware of the enormous impact our everyday life has on our future. We divide our life into important events and days, and then we live our "everyday lives" just looking forward to the great events awaiting us in the future or thinking back on the great moments that have passed. However, the great moments of the past did not just happen, and the golden opportunities in the future will slip right by you if you are not prepared.
It is said that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and I believe this to be very true. Often we look back at the great men in history who have achieved wonderful things, thinking that they must have been blessed with some special gift of greatness. However, truth be told, there are no special people; there are just ordinary ones. Some just try a little harder, endure a little longer, survive a few more failures, and when an opportunity arrives, they are ready.
Mountains can be climbed if you have the patience to climb them step by step, but if you sit at the bottom of the mountain, waiting for a magical moment that will enable you to get from the bottom to the top in one jump, you will have to wait for a long time.
Most people live from one day to another, not realizing that the only thing that separates them from their dream is just a little focused effort every day.
David is writing in one of his psalms: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalms 90:12). Wisdom is learning to count every day as important and not just squander it on meaningless activities. Make a decision today to view every day and hour as important. Make sure that when opportunity knocks at your door, you are prepared.
Whether you like it or not you are in a spiritual battle, and though your enemies can not be seen with your physical eyes they are very real. But we don’t need to be afraid, because God has in His word provided us with what we need to withstand the attacks of the enemy. Paul calls it the armor of God, but it may not be as spiritual as you might think.
Because some minds are so focused on what they can see with their physical eyes they take no heed to the spiritual battle that is happening around them; needless to say that if you don’t pay attention in a war situation you are going to become a victim.
In Ephesian chapter six we see that Paul is telling us that God has actually provided us with His own armor; an armor that will make us able to withstand all the attacks of the enemy. But what is this armor? Well, Paul explains it very clearly.
Paul was not talking about putting on a physical armor, and often we make the armor of God more complicated than it is, because we “spiritualise” it. The concepts that Paul is referring to when using a roman armor as an illustration are:
When we walk in these things we have clothed us with the armor of God and can withstand all the attacks of the enemy. Seeking to walk in truth, righteousness, peace and so on, is to put on the armor.
God has trough His word revealed to us the areas where we need to make sure to bring focus to in our lives. Because these are the areas that will make us well protected, living in a world that is in a constant battle between good and evil.
Today during my devotion time I was reading in 2. Corinthians and one of the verses that I felt the Spirit was highlighting to me was 2. Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The later years there has been a great awakening for the need of educated leadership within the church; and this is good. Especially within the pentecostal/charismatic circles there has been a lot of problems caused by a lack of leadership skills.
I believe that good leadership within the church should not help bring the people into a simple and pure devotion to Christ; but all to often the focus on educated leaders has created an “professionalism” that makes church life far from simple. This I believe is sad, because I don't believe that there should be a big gap between church life and a persons devotion to Christ; after all the church is the body of Christ here on earth.
In building the church I believe the goal of a leader is to provide an simple and easily multipliable fellowship that makes it easy for people to maintain a simple and pure devotion to Christ.
I believe in well educated leaders, but I don’t believe in a professionalism that creates a barrier between the church leaders and the lay people; and I do believe there is a difference here. Lets keep our devotion to Christ, pure, sincere and simple.
Hej! Så er vi startet på år 2015 og vi er spændt på hvad Gud har planlagt for det år, vi er gået ind i. Vi er også utrolig taknemlige for at vi kan gå ind i det nye år og vide at vi har venner, som står sammen med os i vores tjeneste.
MISSION TO AFRICA
December 2014 var en anderledes og indholdsrig måned, hvor vi virkelig fik strække os lidt længere end vi plejer. Vores hovedfokus har altid været Europa, men i december sidste år rejste jeg og et lille team fra Norge/Danmark til Kenya for at have en ungdoms konference der.
For many Christians repentance is connected with weeping and almost pulling out one’s hair. To some extent this is correct, because godly repentance is a result of godly sorrow that in the end leads to life (2. Cor. 7:10).
When David sinned, the cry of his heart was “…take not thy Holy Spirit from me…” (Psalm 51:11). When Saul had sinned, he repented in front of Samuel, but thought more about his position and what others might think of him (1. Sam. 15:24,31).
The result was that we don’t read about David having another affair with any other woman, but we see Saul again and again breaking God’s commandments.
David’s sin was no minor mistake, but when God confronted him, he did not make any excuses nor did he try to save face. When he asked forgiveness, he understood that the most important thing that was on stake there was his relationship with God. So he cried out to God “…against you and you only have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4)
The sad fact is the most Christians don’t really repent. They just try to convince themselves how bad they really are; and then they try to gather together all the will power they’ve got because they don’t want to go to hell. They strive for holiness out of fear of God and not out of love for God.
I do believe that the fear of God is a good and right attitude to have. But there is a fear of God that makes you run away from God; like Adam and Eve in the garden. And there is a fear of God that makes you run away from sin; like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with him. Proverbs 8:13 says that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil - not punishment.
The reason why many Christians are falling into the same sins again and again is because they don’t have the right kind of “fear of God”. They don’t really fear God, what they fear is punishment.
It’s like someone who gets pulled over by the police because they have been driving too fast. When they roll down the window, there is humility and repentance in the air. But this repentance usually doesn’t last so long. But if they ever see a police car, then no matter how slowly they are driving they still slow down, check that their seatbelt is fastened and that the lights are on. What happened? The fear of punishment kicked in.
Developing a relationship with God, so real that it’s almost tangible, is a great way of defeating sinful habits. When you then fall, your fear is not the punishment, but losing the relationship you have developed with God. Sin will also lose its attractiveness because the more God is revealed to you, the more all other pleasures fade away.