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Archive for February, 2015

When I saw the picture (below) of the 21 Egyptian Martyrs, I had this thought: Will the American Church allow God to at least use this horrific tragedy to lead us to the place where we will really live out the sacrificial lives He has already called us to in Rom. 12:1-2?

Martyrs of the Egyptian Church

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Will the American Church live out God’s call to us in Rev. 12:11? “They overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives, even when faced with death.”

It seems that Sunday after Sunday, our church services have sermon series focusing on “How To Have Better Relationships” — and the American Church continues to grow weaker, with very little substance, very little power.

Where is the zeal?  Where is the power of the Holy Spirit?  Where is the devotion to Him and to His Word?  Why is there such stark prayerlessness among so many followers of Christ?  Where is the passion — the real passion to live for Jesus in every regard and to make Him known in word, thought and action?

It is impossible to live any of these things out as long as we continue to live like practical atheists — loving the world instead of Him, devoting ourselves to too many worldly pursuits, instead of the Eternal Pursuit — Him.

So, who among us will cry out to Him and live out Rom. 12:1-2?  Pastors?  Leaders?  What will YOU do?

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Sound theology is a beautiful thing! Whether we realize it or not, we are all “theologians” at some level, because technically, the word “theology” is a “word about God.”

Sometimes we realize it and sometimes we don’t, but we’re always thinking about God, and how we think about Him will always determine what we think, how we think and how we live.

It used to be that some Christians took theology seriously, but it seems very few do today. In fact, I find many who are intimidated even at the mention of the word!

In a previous generation of Christians, many fell into thinking about God only with their minds; their faith was merely intellectual. Hence, they didn’t have much of a relationship with Him and could do very little to inspire others toward the same.

In this current generation – led by feelings and emotions – an opposite error comes into play: people are moved by the latest persuasive and appealing teacher or teaching. But there is no substance in that and it ultimately leads to emptiness and theological error.

So, how does the Bible call us to think about God? Let us keep this in mind when thinking about Him and our faith: there is a “theology of the head,” which, with no heart, will only exhibit itself in pride (1 Cor. 8:1): “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”

There is also a “theology of the heart,” but feelings and emotions alone will eventually lead to ruin (Eph. 4:14): “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”

Instead, there is a “both/and” approach to the beauty and power of theology: We must always strive toward God’s balance of both!

 

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Hello friends, I want to share something new and exciting!  I’ll explain about the picture (below) in just a moment. Laptop Pictures for Kenya As many of you know, I have a teaching and pastoral ministry to 32 pastors and 18 church leaders in a remote part of Kenya, along with my best friend from seminary days (1988-1992) at Regent University — Danny Gilbert.

In effect, we take seminary to these pastors and leaders who otherwise have no opportunity to receive biblical training. This Feb. 18-March 1 will be my third trip back there (in Siaya County) in one year.  My goal is to go back twice per year.

Danny and I teach, train and mentor eight hours per day for one week to these 50 men and women; we split the time in half each day (and we preach at the churches of the pastors). On my first trip (Jan/Feb., 2014), I taught the leaders sound principles of biblical interpretation from the Parables of Jesus — not always easy to interpret or understand, but one-third of His teachings were in parables!

On my second trip (Aug/Sept, 2014), I took them through almost all of Ephesians. This time, my focus will be on more of the parables, with a primary concentration on Jesus’ teaching on prayer (I’ll also be taking them through the Lord’s Pattern of Prayer).

This group of 50 is called Christ Minister’s Fellowship; they come together for mutual accountability and encouragement and are led by five senior pastors.  What’s new about this trip is that I’ve been able to secure three laptops and two tablets for these five leaders, so that Danny and I can teach them all-year long!

So, all of this leads me to the reason for the picture at the beginning of this blog: These are the men who got me the laptops: James Zoland and John O’ Keefe. I have all of my published commentaries loaded onto the laptops, as well as my teachings on Suffering, the Parables, Theology, Church History, Heaven, and other docs.

Another friend — Ajit Ninan — has secured the tablets and is doing video teaching of me for the pastors as well!  I’ll send a picture of Ajit and me later. What I love about the five leaders is that they are HUNGRY for God and to know all they can about His Word.  So now, our ministry can be effective to the entire group all-year around and we and the wonderful people who partner with us in prayer and financially are having a tangible effect on the Church in Siaya, Kenya! Kenya Feb 2014 Group And I can tell you; these Christians are quite poor, compared to Americans — but they are RICH spiritually.  And yet, the leaders battle heresies, false teachers and cults that are shocking in amount and extent.  Stay tuned for more!

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