Author: Christopher
•8:39 AM
We're all familiar with Jesus' statement from the Cross - "It is finished." With this one word, he proclaimed his victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. He also announced his fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies pertaining to his death. God's holy justice was satisfied, and the veil was torn away.

But did you know that these three words occur in another scripture?

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15)

When sin is finished it brings forth death. Death is separation. Death is final. Death is eternal.

Have you experienced the 'it is finished' of sin, but not the 'it is finished' of the Saviour?

Nobody beats death.

Except for Jesus!
Author: Christopher
•7:33 PM

I'm often amazed at the things that God shows me at church.

Tonight, after the message, the Pastor invited people to come forward for healing prayer. As several people walked to the front, the church leaders began to pray. Up on the platform, the song leader stretched his hand out toward someone who was being prayed for.

I actually thought, "He looks kinda silly with his arm stretched out that way. He would look so ridiculous to a nonbeliever."

And then I looked at Terry. Terry always looks like a king, especially when he prays. And then I looked at the song leader again. No longer ridiculous, he looked like a king, too! And so did Pastor. And so did John. And so did the fella behind me with his hands raised to heaven.

It hardly took any spiritual sight at all to see -- this was a gathering of kings! None of them poor, none of them feeble, all of them strong, sparkling, and beautiful beyond imagination. Robes of white righteousness. Shining gemstones reflecting unseen glory.

And joy! What joy was shining forth from the faces of these kings who had been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus!

When Christians gather together, we gather as KINGS!

After all, when Jesus walks in the midst of his churches, they are not just candlesticks, they're golden candlesticks.

Wow.
Author: Christopher
•10:06 AM

There are 2 kinds of people who ride roller coasters: those who throw their hands up in the air in total abandon trusting the safety harness to hold them in, and those whose hands are gripping the harness with white knuckles.

Neither one of them can fall out.

Both are perfectly safe.

However, one is experiencing every second with a huge grin on their face, and the other is experiencing a thrill not unlike extreme fear.

Eternal security holds us safe in the roller coaster of life. Therefore, live life to the full, throw your arms up in total surrender, and enjoy every moment in complete abandon to God.
Author: Christopher
•8:12 AM

Panic. I could hear it in her voice.

"She's only two years old! She's wearing a brown top and a leopard print skirt - her name is Avery! She's only two years old!"

We were at COSI, an immense hands-on science center in downtown Columbus. My family and I were waiting in line for our tickets. That's when I heard it -- the panic.

It's unmistakable. It floods your heart with images of strangers and "Have You Seen This Child?" posters. My breath caught in my throat, and my eyes searched the crowd of people.

"AVERY!"

Her voice rose in desperation above the din of the happy visitors. I saw that her eyes were wide and red with crying, her cheeks were flushed, a sense of hopelessness . . .

"AVERY!"

I turned to my wife, "I'll be right back." I ducked under the rope and stepped out of line. I saw that Avery's mother was heading to the right, so I also headed to the right, but off a little bit to the left, hoping to cover more ground. I searched the faces as fast as I could.

Did anyone look like an 'Avery'? Leopard print. I think she said, 'Leopard print.'

Was anyone carrying a crying little girl? Did anyone look out of place? My heart raced as I felt the desperation beginning to pound in my own heart.

Off to my right, I could hear Avery's mother. Her voice was still too high, too stressed; she hadn't found her yet.

"AVERY!" she cried, pleading with the open air, tears running down her face.

That's when I saw her. The long blond hair, the brown top, and the leopard print skirt. A nice lady was holding her by the hand and walking with her toward the information desk. Neither of them was crying. They looked like old friends.

"Is that Avery?" I asked hurriedly, running up to them. "Is that Avery?"

"Yes, I think it is."

I turned to the right. I could see Avery's mother; her head turning this way and that, eyes frantic. "She's over here!" I waved to her. "She's right here."

I must admit, I couldn't watch what took place next. The relief, the weeping, the joy - it was too personal and too intimate for me, a stranger, to watch. I had done my job. I'd helped bring Avery to her mother. I'd helped her get home. I played just a small part, but it felt awesome. The joy welled up inside of me, and a smile spread across my face.



This morning, on my way to work, I heard it again. The same panic. But this time it was a Father's voice. Desperate. The same intense love, seeking and searching for a lost child.

"PLEASE! You have to help me! I can't find them by myself!"

My heart began to pound again, just like before.

"PLEASE!" He cried, and I knew that it was with every ounce of strength in him. Tears rolled down his face. He was begging me.

My breath caught in my throat, and I began to look at their faces.
Author: Christopher
•1:02 PM

It seems to me that much confusion is caused by reading the New Testament without the proper understanding of true believers and false believers.

In Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8, the Lord Jesus gives us 'the parable of the sower' which I prefer to call 'the parable of the soils.' In this parable, there is one sower and one seed, but the seed is sown several different types of soils. The soils, of course, represent different types of men's hearts.
  1. First, there is the seed sown by the wayside. This seed lays out in the open, and the birds come and eat it. Satan takes away the Gospel from these hearts before it can take root and bear fruit.
  2. Next, there is the seed sown on stony, unreceptive ground. These hearts may have temporary gladness at hearing the word, but the Gospel never takes root here either. (Herod is a good example of this. He heard John "gladly" in Mark 6:20, but then had him beheaded rather than lose face in front of his own lords and captains.)
  3. The seed also falls among thorns, the cares of this world. This heart has so many cares that the Gospel can't bear its fruit of salvation.
  4. Finally, there is the good ground of a prepared heart. This is the only heart that experiences salvation.
At the end of this parable, Jesus says in Mark 4:13, "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?"

He was saying that there are two kinds of hearts, the receptive and the non-receptive. The receptive has three types (30-, 60,- and 100-fold), and the non-receptive has three types (wayside, stony and thorny). That is, there are those who are saved, and those who are lost. However, there also appear to be some who are saved but then become lost again.

Possessors and professors. Some possess true salvation, some just profess to.
Jesus says that this idea is the key to understanding "all parables."

  • In Matthew 13, the possessors are called "wheat" and the professors are called "tares." They look the same, both start as golden seeds. One is good and grows into wheat. The other is a tare, a poisonous wheat. They are allowed to grow together until the Harvest when they are finally separated from each other with the tares (i.e., the lost) being burned.
  • Also in Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable of the drawn net. The kingdom of heaven catches many kinds of fish. They are all in the net. However, at the time of fullness, the net is drawn to shore, and the wicked are separated from the just. The wicked fish are cast into the fire to be burned.
  • In Matthew 22, the Lord gives us the parable of the marriage. Many people are invited to a wedding, but they make excuses, treat his servants poorly, and refuse to come. These are clearly the lost. Then there are those who actually come to the wedding. Most have a wedding garment, but one fella did not have a wedding garment. This fella seems to be surprised ("speechless", v. 12) that he is not welcome. Like the wicked fish and false tares, he is also cast out, "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." ("Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:22-23)
  • In Matthew 25, ten virgins are waiting for the Bridegroom to come. Five represent true believers, having oil (i.e., the Spirit) in their lamps. The other five are waiting also, but they seem oblivious to their true condition. They have no oil in their lamps. When the Lord came, the marriage started, and those who were ready went right on inside. And the door was shut. The five oil-less virgins wanted inside, but the Lord says to them, "I know you not." This echoes the Lord's words of Matthew 7, "I never know you." They were never saved; they just thought they were.
This theme of the truly saved and apparently saved finds its way into the New Testament in other places as well. The entire book of Jude deals with this subject.

Jude is written to the truly saved, those who are "sanctified," "preserved," and "called." He tells these true believers that some of their congregation are NOT really saved. This is the context of the oft-misquoted admonition to "contend for the faith," which has nothing to do with endless quarreling over minor doctrinal points, and everything to do with making sure that every, single member of the local church is saved.

Jude makes a plain division between the saints and the "ungodly," between those who are "sensual, having not the Spirit" and those who pray "in the Holy Ghost." He gives the characteristics of these false brethren so that they can more easily be found out, and he tells how best to convert them.

Second Peter chapter two is almost a word-for-word reiteration of Jude. Here, Peter refers to these false brethren not as brethren who have 'lost' their salvation, but as "false prophets" and "false teachers." He calls these unsaved church goers "natural brute beasts," "spots" and "servants of corruption."

2 Peter 2:20 says, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." This is not a statement that the saved can lose their salvation, but rather is similar to the seed that finds its way among thorns. The cares of this world strangle and choke the word so that it can't bear the fruit of salvation. They sit in church, they hear the word, but they also hear the call of the world. They listen, but they do not receive the Gospel.

In 1st John 2:19, John also mentions 'false' conversions. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." John does not say that they went out from us, rejecting Christ and losing their salvation. He does say that their going out from us, their rejection of Christ, shows that they were never saved to begin with. Why is he so certain? Because, if they had been saved, they "no doubt" would have continued with us. The saved stay saved. The lost have their true colors revealed, sometimes even to themselves, when persecution arises. If not then, their true colors will be revealed when Christ returns.

Lack of proper teaching on this subject has given rise to the idea that Christians can lose their salvation, walk away from their salvation, etc. This however is just not the case.

Are you a possessor or merely a self-deceived professor? "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Author: Christopher
•7:00 AM

Okay, since I'm gonna go against the flow on this one, it's for my kids; I want them to understand why I don't believe in tithing.


I. Genesis 14

It's 6:30am. I woke up thinking about Abraham and Melchizedek. Abraham gave tithes to the priest/king Melchizedek in Genesis 14. This has been used as a foundational chapter for New Testament tithing since we are not under the Law, and since Abraham was tithing BEFORE the Law.

Let's look at Abraham's tithe. Let's ask some questions and make a few observations.

What is the context of Genesis 14? There was a battle between 5 kings and 4 kings. One of the kings was the king of Sodom, where Abraham's nephew Lot lived. Lot was taken captive along with the other inhabitants of Sodom. Somebody escaped and found Abraham. Abraham, along with his confederates (v. 13), pursued the army a great distance and eventually attacked them by night and won. Abraham brings back "all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (v. 16) When he gets back home, ALL the kings go out to meet him - remember, these are city kings, small kings - the king of Sodom is there, and the other kings, and a new king also comes. This is Melchizedek. He brings out bread and wine. He is not only the king of ancient Jerusalem, he is a priest as well. He blesses Abraham, and tells Abraham that God has blessed him. And then Abraham gives him tithes of all (v. 20). Melchizedek was apparently the BIG king of the area since he shows up at this gathering and none of the other kings says anything to him; he was the king of Jerusalem after all.

Basically, the teaching of this chapter is this - If a bully beats up your friend and takes his lunch money ($1), and you chase after the bully and beat him up, recovering the $1, then you should give God 10 cents.

Does that sound like NT tithing as taught today? Was Abraham tithing on his weekly paycheck or on the spoils of war? Was this a weekly payment or a one time incident? Was this a tithe on an increase, or on what he had already owned?

Here are some references showing that paying a tithe of the spoils of war was a COMMON practice back then:
"In the same manner the Greeks too, the Carthaginians, and the Romans devoted a tenth portion of the spoils of war to their deities." (On the Acquisition of Territory and Property by Right of Conquest Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"The Greek League against Persia, founded in 481 vows a tenth of the spoils of war to the shrine (7:132), and this happens, after Salamis and Plataea." (Herodotus on Greek Religion Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"During the twelfth century, evidence points clearly to the growing significance of warfare in the life of the towns, especially in Portugal, Leon, Castile and Aragon. Precise indications of this development are demonstrated in the increasing concern demonstrated by the makers of the municipal charters in three areas closely related to booty. The first is the royal demand to collect the one-fifth tax on the spoils of war, a tax the Christian rulers inherited from the Muslim practice of laying aside a portion of the gains of the jihad for Allah." (Spoils and Compensations Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"For his courageous role in helping to take the Volscian town of Corioli, Caius Marcius, declining to accept one-tenth of the spoils, was named Coriolanus" (Roman Expansion to 133 BC Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"In the days of Abu Bakr much wealth came to the state on account of the spoils of war. The movable property won as booty on the battlefield was known as "Ghanimah". Four-fifth of the spoils of war was immediately distributed among the soldiers who had taken part in the battle. The remaining one-fifth went to the State. The State's one-fifth share was further divided into three parts. One part went to the family of the Holy Prophet, one part went to the Caliph, and one part was spent for welfare purposes." (Political, Social, Economic and Military Organization Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"TITHES, a form of taxation, secular and ecclesiastical, usually, as the name implies, consisting of one-tenth of a man's property or produce. The tax probably originated in a tribute levied by a conqueror or ruler upon his subjects, and perhaps the custom of dedicating a tenth of the spoils of war to the gods led to the religious extension of the term, the original offerings to deity being "firstfruits."
The custom was almost universal in antiquity; for Greece and Rome see Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclop├Ądie, iv. 2306, 2423; for Babylon, M. Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 668; for China, J. Legge, Chinese Classics, i. 119; for Egypt, G. Maspero, Struggle of Nations, p. 312.f The general notion of tax or tribute often prevailed over that of "the tenth" part, so that in Dion Halicarnassus (i. 23) and Philo (Dc mutat. noin.~. 607) hirapxai and &thTat are synonymous, and in Mahommedan law the "tithe" is sometimes only -510th or ~f'eth." (1911 Encyclopedia Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"To maintain a warband a lord needed a constant supply of commodities to support the warriors and gold and silver to give out as gifts. There were two ways in which these could be obtained. If the warband were strong enough they could raid neighbouring regions and either force them to yield tribute or just carry off valuables. Cattle were a particular target of this activity, because of the relative ease of driving them from one area to another. Since raids would often lead to battles, another type of booty would be the wargear of vanquished opponents. The pillaging of the dead is frequently mentioned in poetry; Ongentheow's body is stripped of his sword and helmet (Beowulf line 2986) and a Viking warrior attacks Byrhtnoth with the intention of taking his sword, armour and rings (Battle of Maldon line 160). It is not clear how these spoils of war would be divided, but it is likely that the majority would have been distributed among the participants in the raid with a proportion being retained by the lord." (The Social Context of Warfare in Anglo-Saxon England Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"The inscription on the base reads: "The Messenians and Naupactians dedicated this to Olympian Zeus, a tithe from the spoils of war. Paionios of Mende made this, and was victor [in the competition] to make the akroteria for the temple"." (The Nike of Paionios Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"Through the spoils of war, Edward was able to refill the bankrupt treasury. Heavily ransomed prisoners, brought fortunes in gold coin to their noble captors--who, in turn, paid a handsome tithe to the King." (Edward III: King of Illusions Offsite Link, emphasis added)

"It was traditional to give the Byzantine Government a set percentage of the spoils of war." (Chapter III: Eastern Expansion Offsite Link, emphasis added)

II. Hebrews 7

Then there is always the NT reference to this event which is contained in Hebrews 7. Let's look at this passage in a more verse-by-verse manner. Before we do, remember that the context of Hebrews 7 is that "Christ is greater than..."

In Chapter 1, Christ is greater than the angels. In Chapter 3, Christ is greater than Moses. In both Chapters 5 & 6, Christ is said to be called of God "an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." (5:6, 10; 6:20) This leads to Hebrews 7, where the writer of Hebrews will be teaching that Melchizedek is greater than Levi, and hence, Christ is a greater High Priest than Aaron.

The context is NOT a dissertation on tithing; it is the GREATNESS of Christ.

With that in mind, let's look at Hebrews 7.

1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Observation: No mention is made of Melchizedek having received a commandment to "take tithes of the people" but the OT Levites did have a commandment to do so. Abraham's giving was voluntary not compulsory. Abraham's giving was a one time event not a pattern for life.

I have heard preachers try to play with the words associated with tithing. They say, "We are not paying tithes, we are giving tithes." No. No, what you are doing is taking tithes of the people. That's what the Bible says.

6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

Abraham paid tithes to someone who was, first, not a Levite, and who was, second, greater than himself.

8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Basically, Melchizedek is greater than Levi because Levi was mortal whereas Melchizedek was eternal.

9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

10For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

Watch this. Levi, the child of Abraham, was not yet born; he was still in his father's loins. Since Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, then Levi is counted to have given tithes to Melchizedek also! (We partake of Adam's sin in exactly the same way.)

11If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

The Law was given under the auspices of the Levitical priesthood; they are bound together. If perfection (being made righteous before God) was an outcome of the Levitical Law, then why change it? Why change the priesthood by calling Christ a priest "after the order of Melchizedek"?

13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

The Law was associated with the tribe of Levi, not the tribe of Judah. Christ came out of Judah. Moses never mentioned any priesthood in connection with Judah. This shows that God is changing the priesthood and the Law. He is doing away with one in order to implement another.

15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

But there is even greater evidence that God is changing the priesthood - He said that he was when he called Christ a PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek!

18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

NOTE: The Levitical law was done away with. Disannulled. Blotted out (Colossians 2). Abolished (Ephesians 2). This obviously includes the commandment to the Levitical priests to "take tithes of the people."

19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

The New Testament makes men perfect; the Old Testament, including the old priesthood and tithe, never did.

20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Under the Old Testament, men were made priests without an oath from God; under the New Testament, Christ is made a better priest by the oath of God.

23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Under the Old Testament, the high priest died; under the New Testament, Christ lives forever to make intercession for us.

26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

That is, Christ is a better high priest.

Observation: The Levitical priesthood was done away with. The Levitical law was done away with. The Levitical tithing system was done away with.

So why are we still quoting Malachi 3 in our New Testament churches???


III. Other Reasons

1. In Acts 15:20, the early Jewish church came to a decision regarding which parts of the Old Testament would still be applicable to the New Testament Gentile churches. Here is what they said,

"But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

The tithe is NOT mentioned.

2. The Lord Jesus was a carpenter by profession until he became a wandering teacher/preacher. Neither of these professions were required to tithe under the Law. The Corner Stone of the Church, the Lord himself, did not pay tithes.

3. Peter, James and John were fishermen. There was no law that said that fishermen had to pay tithes either. Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:23 explains that the tithe applied to farmers to shepherds, to seeds and cattle. It, therefore, did NOT apply to anyone else.

4. As a matter of fact, NONE of the Apostles would have paid tithes. Not one of them was a farmer or a shepherd. So, not only did the Corner Stone of the Church NOT pay tithes, but neither did the first foundation stones either.

5. When Peter caught the fish that had money in its mouth, he would NOT have tithed on it. Why not? No one ever paid tithes on money. They paid tithes on seed and cattle, but NOT on money. The fish money was to pay a tax, called tribute money, not a tithe.

6. Paul did NOT tithe. The apostle to the Gentiles was a tent maker. Tent makers did NOT have to tithe.

7. Jesus never taught his disciples about tithing. In Matthew 23 and Luke 11, the Lord Jesus is addressing the Pharisees when he says, "But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God..." The Lord was rebuking hypocritical religiousness of the Pharisees, not giving instructions to his disciples. And, then again, in his parable about the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18), the one who is justified before God is NOT the one who "gives tithes of all" he possesses. Jesus teaches that the repentant sinner who doesn't mention tithing is the one who is justified.

8. Under the Law, money was never used to tithe, only food was. In fact, when someone wanted to use money to bring the produce to Jerusalem, God required a 20% penalty to be added. God actually discouraged tithing money! Is that what your pastor teaches?

9. Under the Law, the tithe was given to the Levitical priesthood because they weren't allowed to get real jobs, own property, etc. The tithe was their portion. Is that the way it is with today's pastors? No.

10. The tithe was to be taken to one place, the Temple at Jerusalem. It could not be taken to the local synagogue. It had to go to the Temple. Why? It was to support the Levitical priesthood. It was not sent to the Temple. It was taken to the Temple. The owner of the field or herd brought the tithe; he wasn't allowed to mail it in. There is NO teaching in the New Testament that states the tithe now belongs to the local church. Calling the New Testament tithe by the term "storehouse tithing" is a thinly veiled attempt to use 1 Corinthians 16:2 to teach tithing. This verse says, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." It is clearly teaching that when Paul comes to collect money for the poor, he wants them to have the money already gathered so he doesn't have to waste time getting it all together. Why? Because he was coming to get money for the poor believers in Jerusalem ("collection for the saints," vs. 1) who were starving during a time of famine.

11. Under the Law, the tithe was taken by the Levites, not paid by the Levites. One of the silliest things to me is seeing a Pastor tithe. Why not just take a decrease in salary by 10% and call it even? Why the need to take a full paycheck, and then write back a check for 10%? The money still ends up in the church's bank account. Of course, the paper trail sure does look nice to others, doesn't it? And nothing is more awe-inspiring than the example of a Pastor reaching in his pocket while standing on the platform, reaching waaayy over and dropping his envelope into the plate just "as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matt. 6:2)

12. The Bible does NOT teach that the poor were to tithe. (Somebody needs to preach on this one!) The poor did not own fields or herds, so they had nothing to tithe off of. As a matter of fact, the poor and widows and strangers were to benefit from the tithe (Deut. 14:29); they were NOT to pay the tithe. Robbing widows and the poor in the name of God and Malachi 3 will certainly not bring the blessings of God upon any church.

13. Tithing is NOT fair. "If everybody pays 10%, then it's all the same to everybody." No, it's not. If the boss makes $100,000 each year, and gives $10,000 to the church, then he is giving out of his abundance. If the employee makes $10,000 each year, and gives $1,000, then he is giving out of his poverty. Jesus said that the widow who gave her mite was giving more than all the rich folks who gave out of their abundance. Why did he say this? Because he knew that giving out of poverty is ALWAYS sacrificial, a lesson that many pastors have yet to learn. (The widow was giving alms by the way, not tithing. Under the Law, the widows were to benefit from the tithe, not pay the tithe.)

And on and on, and et cetera.

I believe in giving. I believe in blessing others. But Proverbs 22:16 says, ". . . he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want. " And most churches today are just that - RICH.

Amen??
Author: Christopher
•8:05 AM


Eternal Security is the biblical doctrine that once a man is saved, he will never again, and can never again, be lost. Jesus taught that those who believe in him "shall never perish," but still some Christians continue to teach otherwise.

I recently had a lively discussion with a gentleman who does not believe in Eternal Security. He believes that while a Christian does not 'lose' his salvation, he can 'reject' it by an act of his will. He believes that salvation is a gift that can be returned.

I disagree with his thinking for several reasons. Mainly because "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance," and salvation is God's biggest, most "unspeakable gift." But also because accepting Christ has consequences that CANNOT be undone however vehemently you change your mind. Like jumping off a bridge, and then changing your mind half way down, you can't undo becoming part of the Body of Christ. You can't un-write your name from Lamb's Book of Life. You can't un-adopt yourself from God's family. You can't un-unite yourself with Christ's Spirit. You can't un-forgive your sins that have been washed away by the Blood of Christ. You can't switch your citizenship back to the kingdom of Satan. You just can't.

If salvation is impossible with man, how much more is the idea of un-salvation!

For my relevant friends: If Bella changes her mind AFTER Edward bites her, too bad, so sad! Bella's decision to become an immortal vampire can't be changed just because she gets tired of being hard as granite. Her very cellular structure and DNA have been altered by something beyond her. (Twilight Series by S. Meyer)

This should not come as a surprise to us; there are other decisions that are eternal and un-doable. Having a child, for example. Once that child is conceived, he/she will exist for eternity. What if you choose to 'change your mind' and reject the child after conception? As certain as the love of God, the child will still exist tomorrow. What about death? If you choose to commit suicide or murder, can the act be undone? No. Births and deaths are final. They cannot be undone.

Well, salvation is both a new birth, and a death. It is a new life with a new starting point. The old life is GONE, and can't be retrieved. It is a death -- a death to the world, to the flesh, and to self. Praise God! It cannot be undone!

What about John's infallible logic?

In 1 John 2:19, John tells us, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

He very plainly says that there are two, and only two, types of believers. There are those believers who continue with the church, and those 'believers' who depart from the church. Those who do NOT continue with us, John states that they left in order to SHOW ('make manifest') that they weren't really Christians to begin with. Those who do continue with us, are true believers.

Paraphrase: "Sure, they went out from us, BUT they weren't really of us anyway. How do I know? If they had really been of us, they would NO DOUBT have continued with us. You see, they walked away from the faith so that everyone would SEE that they weren't really Christ's to begin with."

This is the correct understanding of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It is NOT that believers must continue believing in order to be saved, but rather that TRUE believers are the ones who will persevere. Those who do not persevere were NEVER believers to begin with!

St. John's logic is indisputable. Once a believer is saved, he is, NO DOUBT!, forever saved. If he 'falls away' from the faith, 'rejects' Christ, and actually becomes antichrist (see the context); he was never saved to begin with. Like Daniel Everett, the 'missionary' who was converted by a tribe of Amazon Indians, his very rejection of Christ proves that he NEVER knew Christ.

Just about every parable of Christ dealt with Possessors and Professors. Possessors are those who are truly saved. Professors are those who profess to be saved, but aren't really. Whether it's a parable where some virgins possess oil in their lamps, and others don't, or a parable about wheat and tares, the parables of Christ address the same issue as 1 John 2:19.

So the question is not 'Can a believer reject Christ and lose his salvation?' The question is 'Are you truly saved?'

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor. 5:17
Author: Christopher
•7:15 PM


"Put aside the concept of knowing spiritual matters via the mind. Let the Spirit teach the spirit in you. After all, it is His responsibility." -Dan Stone


I am thinking that being taught by revelation is like being the film in a Polaroid camera. You can't teach the film to bear the image of Christ, but let the Light but shine a little upon the film, and without fail, as time passes, you'll see the image of Christ develop.

This goes back to a proper understanding of the word 'receive.' When the Bible says that we receive Christ Jesus, it does not mean to imply that we do something, that we take hold of him, and draw him to ourselves. These are all 'doing' words, and we can 'do' nothing in salvation; salvation is of the Lord.

Wax receives the imprint of the seal. It is a passive reception. We simply allow the Lord to do that which he wants to do to us. "To as many as received him, the them gave he power to become the sons of God." This means to those who allow him, the Father will manifest his great love toward them by saving them. That is salvation.

Sanctification is also a reception, not a work. It is not the result of obedience, but rather our obedience is the result of God's work in us. As we place ourselves in surrender before our Father, he changes us into the image of Christ. It is not a cause and effect that finds its foundation in our actions, but rather a change that occurs when we stand in the presence of God.

"And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Author: Christopher
•8:22 AM

I've always had a knee-jerk repulsiveness to the idea of a 'healing school.' Isn't healing God's business? How can you train somebody to do miracles when God is the one who is actually doing the miracles?

But what was Jesus doing for 3 1/2 years? Was he only teaching his disciples doctrine? Wasn't he also training them in the practical how-to's? Wasn't that 3 1/2 year period one very long healing revival?

Entire cities would come out to be healed by Jesus. And while the term 'cities' back then referred to maybe at most a few hundred people living close by each other for protection, wouldn't there have been long healing lines? Wouldn't it have taken several hours to pray over every person? To rebuke every devil? To answer the follow up questions? To give instruction? To meet other needs?

Do this: take a few of the healing miracles that are recorded in Scripture and multiply them by 50, and that was just a typical day for Jesus. He and his disciples lived at a healing revival 24/7!

I am not suggesting that we will see the 100% healing rate that Jesus had, but wouldn't we have more successes if we learned to do it God's way?

I can't remember where Jesus ever laid hands on someone and then prayed for their healing. Didn't he address the disease or demon with authority and command it to leave? Isn't that Peter's pattern also? And Paul's? Why then do we ignore the biblical example?

God moves when we exercise faith. Which shows more faith: to loudly address a person in public and call out their disease, or to quietly put a hand on someone's shoulder and whisper a prayer for them that ends with "...whatever you want, Lord; your will be done"?

Just this one example shows that we have not LEARNED to deal with sickness and demon possession as the Lord Jesus wants us to.

So . . . healing school? Yeah, I think it's not such a bad idea. As a matter of fact, I think it's one of the missing ingredients in today's churches. We have learned about God, we have the form of godliness, but we lack the power thereof.

Maybe because we were never trained?



p.s. Didn't Elijah have a school for prophets in the Old Testament? I know, I know, that was more of a Bible college. Or was it? Maybe it wasn't just a place to memorize doctrines, dates, and facts ad nauseum; maybe it was actually what the Bible says it was! A school for people, like Elijah, who had the gift of prophesy.

Think about it.
Author: Christopher
•2:30 PM

I thought I'd put these all in one place, a series of articles I wrote for Facebook.
I. Thoughts on Pastors (11/9/09)

Lately, I've been very burdened for my friends and family at FBC. I keep thinking about Pastor Tim moving to Georgia, and the flock that is being left behind. I am so glad that this isn't taking God by surprise! It's his plan. He's still in control. No worries.

But I still keep thinking about everybody, especially those who are younger in the faith. They will be called upon to 'vote' for a new pastor at some point in the future. And with that thought in mind, I thought I'd send out a few Notes from my heart about what a biblical pastor is and is not.

The Master Pastor is Jesus. He is the Head of the church. He is the Example of what a pastor should be. And so we turn to Psalm 23.

"The LORD is my shepherd" - The word "my" shows that he is mine. It's not so much about ownership as it is about a personal relationship. The pastor who is like Jesus will be personable, not high and lofty. He is a friend as well as a leader. The pastor values each and every member of the flock; they are all dear to him.

"I shall not want." - No single man can supply all of a church's needs, but he can point that church to the Savior every chance he gets. What need do you have? Christ is sufficient for that!

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:" - FOOD!! A sheep lying in a green pasture is like a fat boy at Denny's! A pastor after God's own heart will feed the flock of God (Acts 20:28) with the word of God. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us that young Christians need to feed on the Bible so that they can grow. If a pastor isn't feeding, he's not doing a good job at leading.

"he leadeth me beside the still waters." - A biblical pastor does not drive the flock from behind; he leads from the front. He is to be an example because he is a doer of the word, and not just a hearer. Beware the pastor who never leaves his study! Like the pharisees of old, they say and do not (Matt. 23). And a biblical pastor leads his flock to still waters - the waters of rest. Rest. The pastor who is not leading his flock into the 'rest that is in Christ Jesus,' who is not opening to them the wonders of grace, acceptance, and peace with God, is not doing it God's way. Just as we ought to beware the pastor who never leaves his study, we ought to beware the pastor who labors in the strength of the flesh, and not in the power of the Spirit.

"He restoreth my soul:" - Jesus is in the restoration business! He doesn't write off anybody! He is the God of 2nd chances, and 3rd chances, and 4th chances,...! A biblical pastor is a man of mercy. He sees the treasure in each church member. He doesn't give up on anyone.

"he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." - Sin is still sin, and it still destroys lives. We are to be relevant with the world, but we are not to walk with it. We are not to pitch our tents toward Sodom, like Lot, living carelessly in the presence of sin. A real pastor, a true shepherd, will protect his flock from the ravages of sin, self and Satan. He is not ignorant of Satan's devices. And he knows that the only path to JOY is holiness. (Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.)

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." - The pastor who walks after the example of Jesus does not sequester himself in the church building. He walks through this world of suffering with his flock. He 'weeps with those that weep.' He visits their sick. He buries their dead. Through the power of the Comforter, he comforts them in Jesus' name.

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:" - Celebration. It's a lost art in the church. Much of the church is tired and weary. A true pastor brings out the treasures of heaven and sets them in all their blinding glory before the members of his church. He causes their eyes to see that which is not, that they may rejoice with joy unspeakable. That they may celebrate, he prepares the feast before them, yes, even in the presence of the Enemy...and he leads them to rejoice with holy abandon, hearts singing unto the God who delivered them! the God who saved them!


" thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." - The anointing breaks the yoke of bondage. The anointing teaches us all things. The biblical pastor is not afraid of the things of the Spirit. He knows that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. He ministers the Spirit (Galatians 3) to hungry, longing souls. The Spirit is the strength when we are weak. He is the wisdom when we are uncertain. He is the stamp and seal of God upon a ministry. Beware the pastor who knows the letter, but not the Spirit. His words will hurt like thrown stones, but there will be no healing afterward...only brokenness. Is your cup running over? If not, then who will fill it for you?

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." - When the pastor is of God, the church will flourish. The members will want to be in church. They will brag about their church. They will see it as a place of goodness. They will see it as a place of mercy...both extended to others, and received themselves.


II. The Transgressions of Pastors (11/10/09)

There is a principle used in Bible study that is called the "Law of First Mention." Basically, you look for the first time that a word is used in the Bible to find out God's primary usage of that word. With that in mind, let us look at the word 'pastors.'

Jeremiah 2:8 "The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit."

OUCH!!

"The priests said not, Where is the LORD?" - The word 'LORD' is all capitalized. This is the word which translates the Hebrew word 'Jehovah' and means 'He who is and will be.' He is the 'I AM.' He is the Almighty, Self-Existent, Self-Sufficient GOD! But the priests did not ask, Where is the LORD? They had a form of godliness, but they lacked the power thereof. They were sufficient in their own selves, never looking to the LORD as their sufficiency. They leaned upon the arm of flesh not the Everlasting Arms of God. Beware the self-sufficient pastor! Rather, look for a man of God who is also a man of faith. A man who echoes the words of Paul, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;" (2 Cor 3).

"they that handle the law knew me not" - This is a very familiar theme in the Scriptures: men who know the Bible but not the God of the Bible. "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." Facts fill a man's head, but the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts the love of God. It is not enough to know the words of God, a pastor must also know God himself. How can you tell if a man knows God or doesn't know God? "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (I John 4) "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

"the pastors also transgressed" - "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written." (Romans 2) A man who would lead other men must first lead himself. If he cannot lead himself to walk with God, how will he lead another man to walk with God? As the saying goes, More is caught than taught. Just as children learn more by what daddy does than by what he says, so a church member learns more by what their pastor does than what he says. [And, to go a bit further down the road of Grace, the member will learn more by what a pastor IS than by what he does. But that is for another Note :)]

"the prophets prophesied by Baal" - Baal was a man of God who took money from the enemies of God in exchange for destroying the flock of God. Woe to the pastor who is "greedy of filthy lucre," whose master is 'mammon' and not the Lord, whose god is his belly. Praise God for the pastor who boldly stands before the children of God and proclaims, "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Praise God for the pastor who cares more about souls than salary! Praise God for the pastor who loves the redeemed more than riches! God give us pastors like Moses who 'esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt!' who have 'respect unto the recompence of the reward!'

"and walked after things that do not profit" - The final rebuke of the LORD is against the pastor who walks after those things that do not profit. He spins his wheels. He is busy with activity but not effective for God. His schedule is full of things to do, but his heart isn't full of God. He doesn't see the profit of walking after God. Beware the pastor who sees the advantage of material things but not profit of spiritual things. He is carnal, still a babe himself, and has need that one teach him "again which be the first principles of the oracles of God." He is Laodicean saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;" and knows not that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

These rebukes may be summed up: God wants spiritual pastors to lead his children. He rebukes the materialistic, carnal, self-sufficient man who takes upon himself the role of pastor, lacking even the realization that it is a spiritual role and outside the strength of any man. God's desire is a that his beloved children be fed with words mixed with faith that they may grow up into Him, into the image of Christ, unto the glory of God throughout all ages.
III. God's Gift to the Church: The Pastor (11/11/09)

I have a very heavy spirit about FBC lately. I feel almost compelled to write these little notes.

Ephesians 4 tells us, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. "

When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended up to heaven, he poured out the gift of the Spirit, the Promise of the Father. This Spirit anointed men. Some were anointed as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

Paul goes on to tell us why the Lord gave us these anointed men.

"For the perfecting of the saints," - Perfection is a little understood term nowadays. Some have taken it to mean maturity. That's close but not quite right. A young apple tree is 'perfectly' an apple tree; it is not even partially a cherry tree, or even a little bit a pear tree. This perfect little apple tree will continue to be a perfect apple tree as long as it lives, even though it is maturing for its entire lifetime. So it is not exactly maturity. More than that, it has to do with the NATURE of the thing. Even young believers may be 'perfect.' How so? By yielding themselves entirely to their Lord. Will they make mistakes? Will they make wrong choices? Certainly. They are young believers after all. But the question is: are they perfect? Are they sold out? Do they hold anything back from God? Do they reserve the right to veto God's will for their lives? Or have they climbed up on the altar of God and begged for him to make of them a burnt offering, sweet and savory in the nostrils of God? The perfecting of the saints, this bringing about of yielded-ness and surrender, is then the first job of a pastor. Not that the young apple trees or young believers will bear fruit in their first year, or even in their second. But when they are old enough, they will.

And that brings us to the next point:

"for the work of the ministry," - The pastor is not to be the sole minister of the church. He is to nurture and strengthen the flock of God so that THEY are fit to do the work of the ministry. Not only so, but by leading them into lives yielded to God, they will not only be fit for the work, but they will DESIRE to do the work. The pastor from God will be surrounded by those who are surrendered, and who are serving.

Which leads into the next point:

"for the edifying of the body of Christ:" - A church that is surrendered to the Lord will show forth the life of the Lord. It will not be them that live, but Christ who lives in them. And this will be a life of love. God is love, and love is of God. Love is what edifies (strengthens, firms up, settles) a Christian. As he learns to live in the grace and mercy of God, he will grow to edify others. Only those who KNOW they are forgiven can forgive others. Only those who have been given grace can extend grace. Only those who know that 'the Lord is my strength' can strengthen others.

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith," - Unity is the direct result of submission to God, and love for men. Tempers are eased. Love covers a multitude of sins. Joy is the order of the day. And the politics of religion are replaced by the unity of the faith.


"and of the knowledge of the Son of God," - And through each other, we learn more about Jesus. He moves through us as we forgive one another, serve one another, bless one another, and pray for one another. We see him. We hear him. We know him. Through each other.


"unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" - And we grow to be like him. In an ever upward circling arc, we bless and are blessed. We lift up and are lifted up. We encourage and are encouraged. The body edifying itself, lifting itself upward into the image of God's own Son.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" - The reality of Christ overshadows false doctrine. Truth is known because it is revealed by the Spirit. A circle if formed, a protective barrier, a shield of faith. The young believers are protected by the elder. The weaker by the stronger. Christ is all, and in all.

"But speaking the truth in love," - Truth is mixed with love. Justice tempered by mercy. We care enough to speak, we love enough to speak the truth.

"may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" - And again, the body grows. Like a sparkling city stretching up to heaven, higher and higher she climbs. More and more nobler are her people. Christ Jesus is the Light of the city, and the Temple thereof. God is the wall about her and the glory in the midst (Zech. 2).

"From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." - The body, the whole body is fitly joined together. None is left out, none is forgotten. Each participating, each drawing strength and life from the other.

Edifying itself in love. Founded about Christ Jesus and yet reaching forth unto Christ Jesus.


This is the job of a pastor. It is beyond the strength of any man. It is the Anointing of God.

IV. Chez Pastor: Fine Dining and a Show (11/12/09)

In Jeremiah 3:15 the Lord states,

"... I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. "


The word used here for 'pastors' is the exact same word used for 'feed.'

In other words, 'I will give you FEEDERS according to mine heart, which shall FEED you with knowledge and understanding.'

A pastor then is a feeder. A spiritual restaurant entrepreneur. And as such, he is to feed the people of God 'that they may grow thereby.'

He must provide an atmosphere suited for eating, warm and welcoming. The place must be clean, and the price affordable. The lighting not too bright, or too dark. The music must invite and encourage the patrons to stay... just a little bit longer.

But most importantly, the food must be good. It has to hit the spot, and stick to your ribs, and yet be light and delicate like a flaky crust. It must be nourishing, and spicy, and leave you wanting more.

The word here for 'knowledge' is a special word. De'ah means specifically the 'knowledge of God.'

Oh! Now that is tasty! Feed them with the knowledge of God, with words both intimate and familiar. With words high and majestic. With words that cannot be uttered. With words that are spiritual and full of life.

Unveil the platter of God's goodness. Reveal the deliciousness of an all-satisfying God. Set before them the mouth-watering truths of redemption dripping with copious amounts of grace.

And the people will come.

THAT is the job of a pastor.

V. The Shepherd and the Flock. More thoughts on Pastors. (11/21/09)

A church is a powerful thing. It has the power to 'vote' in a man as its pastor. Or not.

But the flock choosing the shepherd? What a novel thought!

Under ordinary circumstances, there are three ways that a shepherd can gain a flock:

1) He can purchase the flock.
2) He can gain the flock through inheritance.
3) Or he can receive the flock as a gift.

But the sheep choose the shepherd? No. Not really.

So, here is something to consider. If a pastor doesn't ordinarily purchase his church family, and if most pastors don't gain their church through inheritance, although a few have been passed from father to son, then most of the time the pastor receives his church as a gift.

Paul said that the Lord put him into the ministry counting him faithful. The Lord gave him the ministry, but he also gave the ministry to him.

When a man is faithful, when he is a good man (I Timothy 3), the Lord God gives to him a flock. This flock is a gift. It is both a reward for his faithfulness, and a gift of love from a Father's heart.

This flock is his family to be nurtured. It is his flock to be guided. It is his building to be edified. It is his children to be trained.

The church votes for the pastor? Yes, it's true. And through the overshadowing sovereignty of God, a gift is given to a man. The sheep vote for the shepherd even as God gives them to the him.

Dear flock, shine for your shepherd. You are his gift. Be precious to him. Delight him.

Not only because he watches over your souls to give an account.

But because you are God's gift to him.

VI. I Timothy 3 - The Qualifications of a Pastor (11/29/09)
Yep, still thinking about my friends at FBC. I was just listening to Pastor Tim's final sermon; it's just a THING! Good stuff. Even a new pastor for the church -- that's nothing for God. It's just another THING.

When a church is looking for a new pastor, what should they look for? A nice guy? A pal, a buddy, a friend? Perhaps a scholar with a Masters Degree?

What does the Bible say?

Chapter 3 of 1 Timothy gives God's views on the matter. Taking a step back and looking at the list, it can be summed up: He must be a good man.

Verse 1: "This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."

The first qualification is seen here. He must desire to be the pastor. It has to be in his heart to do it. Certainly, it is a calling, but he must willingly obey that calling. More than that, he must be passionate to perform the work of a pastor. First, his heart must be right. (The word 'bishop' means 'overseer' and is another title for 'pastor.')

Verse 2: "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"

Here Paul begins to write out a check list for Timothy. Because the pastor is the chief example to the flock, he MUST be blameless. He has to not just teach men how to live; he must show them how to live. More is caught than taught. This man will have to stand before men and speak for God. "The righteous are bold as a lion" and God wants a man who is bold to speak the truth, and bold to live the truth. Everything else is debatable, but not this point. He MUST be blameless.

He must be the husband of one wife. Not two wives. At the time, it was common for men to take more than one wife. But this cannot be so with a pastor. He is to show forth the love of Christ for his Bride. One man, one woman. That is God's declaration. Again, he is to be the example to the flock of how to live. His marriage life must be exemplary.

Vigilant. He has to have his eyes in his head. He is the Bishop, the overseer. He is a watchman guarding the flock of God. He cannot be lazy. He cannot let his attention wander. He must be alert to wolves and false doctrine, to sickness among the sheep, etc.

Sober. Simply put, he must not be a drunk. But applying that to all of his life, he must have a balanced outlook on life. He must be sober-minded. Not overly-serious, mind you. It's good to laugh. But he must know when to laugh, and when not to. He must not be addicted to anything of this world. His love must be for the Lord.

Of good behaviour. Example, example, example. Do you see it? Paul is repeating to Timothy the same thing over and over; the man must be a good example to the people. He must make right choices, and follow through on those choices. He must be a doer of the word; not just a reader. He must do good even when it hurts.

Given to hospitality. In another place, Paul says that he must be a lover of good men. Is he welcoming? Warm? He will be in the people-business.

Apt to teach. My favorite :) He is an example by his life, and he is a teacher by his words. He uses every facility at his command to communicate GOD to the people. He doesn't have to try to teach; he is apt to teach. Going to Cedar Point? Yeah, he's apt to teach about Jesus while standing in line. Going on a hayride? Again, he's apt to teach about Jesus there to. He is a revealer of the secrets of God, an illustrator of God's story book. He explains, expounds, and holds up the diamonds of Scripture so that even the poorest mind can delight in its riches.

The list goes on, and I'll probably do a Part 2 later. But I think the point is made. He must be a good man. An above average man. A blameless man.

Not everyone can be a pastor. The qualifications are very high.


Author: Christopher
•10:12 AM

Some believe that obedience and good works are necessary to make us more godly. But they have the cart before the horse. We are obedient and do good works BECAUSE we are godly, not in order to be more godly.

The truth is that we are like crystal-clear window panes that are still more or less dirty from the filth of the world. We are perfect by nature, created especially for the purpose of allowing the Sun to shine through us, but something outside of us still blocks the Light. There is nothing that anyone can do to me, or that I can do to myself, that will improve upon my ability to let Jesus shine; God has created me super-transparent, crystal clear, and unblemished. I am without blot or shadow, without stain or darkness. But I still have a dirty film that pretty much blocks out my new nature and belies my new creation.

Each time we allow Christ to line up our thoughts and actions with his own, a little more dirt is wiped off the window, and a little more Light shines through. It is not that obedience and good works make us more godly; they simply reveal the godliness that is already ours by virtue of the new birth. ... See More

As transparent window panes, we are NOT being made more and more transparent with each good deed, we are as transparent as we will ever be. But our natural transparency is hidden beneath the layer of dirt that we carry over from our old lives. As more dirt is removed, more over who I REALLY am comes to light. As more sin is removed, more Jesus shines through!

So let's apply the water of the Word by faith. Let us that ARE clean allow ourselves to be made clean, that Christ may shine more and more each day.
Author: Christopher
•11:16 AM

Just sitting here at work on a slow Wednesday. It's February and it's cold outside - not a very busy month for a roofing and siding business.

I'm bored. Almost.

I haven't been bored in a long time. Boredom is the one true sign that your life lacks a higher purpose. If you have a super huge goal or purpose for your life, then it will seep upwards through the cracks of your life, filling in the time gaps and assuring that you are never bored. If you have empty time on your hands, nothing to do, nobody to talk to, no phone calls to make, then you are lacking a higher purpose.

Which got me thinking about my granddad.

I'll never forget him as he sat in his too big lazy chair, his body thin from the cancer, a robe wrapped around him. "I only wish that I had done more for Jesus," he said pointing his finger at me, "Don't waste your life!"

This man who had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whose house was paid off, who had a good pension, who had lived a very healthy life (he mowed his own lawn into his 80's), told me that his one regret was not living for the Lord. As he was about to step out into eternity, he looked back over his shoulder and said, "Chris, don't waste your life."

He didn't tell me to start my own business or go back to college. He didn't tell me that he wished he would have traveled the world. He just wished that he would have done more for Jesus.

"I'm going to see Him soon," he said.

When I'm bored, and my life lacks purpose, I always think about my Granddad. I take a hard look at myself to see how I've spent my time. What should I have done differently? Where could I have changed a few things?

I don't do it because of my Granddad. I do it because I really love Jesus. I want to stand before him - like Paul did - having done everything that I could. I want him to know that when my life got quiet, my mind went to thoughts of Him . . . not to mundane, earthly, wasteful things.

I don't want to waste my life.