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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Why Jesus Taught Not as the Religious Leaders Did It

retipster.com
UNSEEN GOSPEL. When Jesus taught the people, it wasn't like how the religious leaders did it. He taught differently. He taught new things and it was with authority. All the religious leaders had was their old, musty and ineffective human theology and doctrines.

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law...What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him. [Mark 1. 22 and 27]
It wasn't just that his teachings were sound and bible (Old Testament) based. First and foremost, his teachings were new. Yes, it was solidly Old-Testament based, but it was in tune to the minute developments in the Kingdom of God. Freshly Kingdomly.

Second, it had power. It wasn't just inspiring or motivational, as most preaching styles today are---amusing and entertaining but powerless. Modern, seminary-inspired speaking styles intrigue the mind but not the spirit. 

With Genuine Authority

And it wasn't power in the sense that he shouted a lot. That's how most church people today see "powerful preaching"---loud and noisy. Well, a pleasantly loud voice sometimes does help. But the power in Jesus' teaching was genuine signs and wonders.

The devil possessing the man in the synagogue came out "violently" and "with a shriek" at Jesus' short and simple command. All he said was practically, "Sshh! Shut up! Out!" That was it. It was genuine. 

Unlike today, most pastors have difficulty getting rid of one tiny demon. They have to shout loudly, issue dozens of commands, do lots of rituals, need back up from the worship team and prayer warriors, and yet produce little effect, if any.

Worse, others just dismiss the possibility of demon possession and demons showing themselves in weird forms, saying they aren't real. Truth is, they really don't know what to do because all they know is their human theology.

Yes, Jesus started his preaching ministry inside a traditional synagogue, but his ways were far from what you regularly and traditionally saw in synagogues. For starters, he did the miracle there on a Sabbath, which was a definite no-no because it was against all sound theology at the time.

Second, he wasn't a member of the Judaism religion and so had no right to use the synagogue. His ways were clearly non-Judaist. 

Weirdly New

I'm sure the law teachers and Pharisees also derived their teachings from the Old Testament as Jesus did. And yet, when Jesus taught it, everything came out "new." No one's ever heard about it until then. It was not "another teaching," but it was "a new teaching." It was a new development straight from God's very own Kingdom at that very moment. It was the latest and hottest headline from heaven's newspaper. 

It was the Gospel. It was the power of God in human form. Never had anything like it ever seen on planet earth. 

The religious teachers only got shallow meanings, barely scratching even the shadow of things to come, because they weren't sons. All they extracted from the Word were weak materials good only for human theology and doctrines.

But Jesus, as the Son, got the mind of the Father and the creative thinking of the Holy Spirit. And with Jesus Himself 100 percent living in true sons and daughters of God today, they should get the same results. 

Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. [Romans 8.17]
So, why did Jesus teach differently, making sure he was worlds apart from the teaching styles of the highly educated law teachers? Answer---because Jesus wanted to make sure that only sons and daughters were able to catch his Kingdom messages. 

Here's the secret---Jesus taught in unorthodox fashion so that the wise in this world would not get anything from it. They are doomed to prefer only what derives from their human traditions, human theology and denominational doctrines. They are doomed to appreciate only what amuses and entertains.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. [1 Corinthians 1.27-29]

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19,26-17]

Monday, April 25, 2016

Seriously, I'm Looking for These People

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Really, I'm tired of churchy talks and especially about churchy ministries.

I've been looking for people who talk about church and ministry as Jesus did. I've been looking around. Honestly--and unfortunately--I haven't seen any. I admit, I've been frustrated about this. I've been wishing to connect and have fellowship with them but I can't find any.

There are lots of good pastors and church leaders out there, but I haven't met one who talks of ministry as Jesus did.

Church people always talk about their church denomination--how many churches and members they have, what they did, what they accomplished, how many more they aim to have. It's always "our" this and that (admitting it's their empire) and "how many."

David counted his troops one day and the Lord's wrath fell on him. Nebuchadnezzar talked about his empire to himself one day, marveling about it, and God sent him to the wilds to live like an animal.

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. [1 John 2.16 NLT]
They think of the universal church or body of Christ only in terms of their sect or denomination. They may form temporary alliances or joint fellowships with other denominations now and then but that's as far as it goes. They go back again to their parochial denominational thinking. Anything they do is confined to their church membership.

Jesus was different. He always talked about "whosoever" or "anyone." It always involved believers the world over regardless of race, gender, culture, speech, country, planet or whatever. "Whoever believes in him should not perish." It doesn't say, "members of this church denomination who believe in him should not perish."

He never said anything about Jews or Greeks or Romans or Pharisees or Sadducees who believed in him. It was always all inclusive--they, you, anyone, whoever, anybody, all.

One time, he said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." It wasn't about a certain church denomination or sect that listened to his voice. It was his sheep. And "sheep" meant whoever followed him.

Anywhere you go you hear the same thing. When I was still actively attending church conferences, the speakers often talked well. But then their messages were meant only for their own ilk. Baptist speakers couldn't cater to Pentecostals, for instance, and vice versa. And the same thing with other church denominations.

Sometimes, some conferences do cater to all denominations so that you see pastors and church people from different denominations gathering in one place. They seem as one. But that's only temporary. After the conference, they go back to their partisan character.

When Jesus addressed a crowd, he saw them as people, not denominational members. He talked about the Kingdom as one Kingdom, God's one dominion, without partisanship or separate doctrines or divisions or sects.

When churches today talk about God's Kingdom, they always imagine it as something you enter through the gates of their denominations. You belong to God's Kingdom only if you belong to their denomination. But when Jesus talked about the Kingdom, he meant one Kingdom that you entered through Him alone. You didn't need to be this or that. You didn't need affiliations or memberships.

You go to a conference today and the first thing they ask you is what church you belong to. In Jesus' "conferences" in the Gospel, he never asked anything like that.

I'm looking for believers who talk like that--who talk like Jesus--who are interested only in the King and His Kingdom and in the one glorious church of Jesus, whose main and sole interests are only the greatness and accomplishment of God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who know the Kingdom's ins and outs, who roam around its courts, grounds, premises and gardens, and are familiar with its chambers and secret passages.

Those who know God's Secret Place.

People whose first tendency or instinct is to talk about Jesus, his humility, person, character, virtues, works, accomplishments and greatness. Folks whose mindset is Jesus, first and last. People who barely mention about their ministries and do so only in passing (redirecting the conversation at once to Jesus) and who always say something like, "It's not my ministry. It's God's. He just lent it to me for a while. And whatever accomplishments it has is solely God's doing and effort. I have nothing to do with it."

Do you know people who are like that? Please refer them to me. I want to hear them talk about my Jesus.

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19,26-17]

Sunday, April 17, 2016

In Him is No Darkness at All


In Christ is no darkness at all, but that's after he takes you to his darkness. 

Before light, he makes you spend time in God's darkness, like what he did with Paul. Paul was blinded by God so that he remained seeing God's darkness for three days. In the same way, the Israelites spent days in the desert facing Sinai so they could see the dark clouds on top of the mountain before they could proceed deeper into the wilderness and cross the Jordan.

There's something about God's darkness that makes you see light more, and something about it to dispel the darkness in this world. After meeting God's darkness, you experience no darkness in Him at all. No wonder most men of God go through a dark phase in their lives---not the darkness of wickedness and sin but the darkness of uncertainty and hard trials---to break the earthen vessel they are in and come out shining as bright as Jesus the Light of the world.

Jesus himself entered that darkness before being promoted to the glory of resurrection. The darkness was such that he shouted, "My God, why abandon me?" 

The Word says God made Him to be sin who knew no sin. Can you imagine how dark that was? And God also sometimes makes you suffer wrong while being in righteousness---to make you tough. Secondly, so that God may have a basis how to judge people who do you wrong. 

These last days are days of martyrs in Christ, those who suffer while in righteousness, to get more of God's life and power. Some believers get more material riches but some get more of God's life and power.

No, God's Darkness does not promote poverty. We are all rich in Christ, the very reason why he opted to be poor, though rich. We may all be rich materially, as God chooses. But what we should be more excited about is getting God's riches in Christ. It is the treasure we should all desperately pursue after. 

And such riches cannot be ours unless we spend time with God in his darkness. God's darkness refines and purifies our hearts and souls so when the time comes for us to take hold of God's gold, we won't sell it for a bowl of soup as Esau did. Then, after God's darkness purifies you, then in God is no darkness at all.

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19,26-17]

Why True Ministry is Talking about Jesus, Not Talking about Ministry

www.atzmut.com
A lot of church people take this for granted---that true ministry is really talking about Jesus Christ, from beginning to end, nothing more nothing less. How engrossed are you in Christ? Do you love him so much that you can spend hours just talking about Him?

It's like this---when talking of their ministries and ministry plans, most pastors can say a lot. But when talking of Jesus, most of them can't say much. Yes, they can preach about Jesus at length, but during private moments, they seem to know nothing else except how He died for us. Even pagans and idol worshipers and cults know about that. They can't say much.

Some of them even feel awkward talking of Jesus. Others feel they're wasting time if the conversation isn't about how to grow their ministries.

Worse, there are those who cannot share anything about Jesus but their denominational doctrines about Him.

Talking of Jesus Like a Real Jesus Lover

I often watch and observe what pastors or church people say when they talk to me. Sadly, almost all of them never talk about Jesus. They talk about what they do in church or what they should do to get more members. But they can't talk about Jesus the way a real lover does or the way a real expert does.

Have you ever seen how a businessman talks about his business passionately in private? Or how a man crazily in love with a woman talks about her? You'd always see the fiery emotion and the mastery about details. You'd see them always eager to talk about their favorite subject matter.

Honestly, I don't see a lot of church people doing that about their Master. All they talk about is church.

One day, Jesus and his disciples roamed around Caesarea. After that, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Notice how he didn't ask: "What do people say about our ministry?"

What's important to God is what people say about the I Am and what they think about Him, not what people do in church.

Where People Talk of Nothing But Jesus

Power comes not when you talk about church and ministry. It comes when two or three are gathered in HIS Name. When even just two individuals talk about Jesus, He promises to be there. Talking about church and ministry will never have the same effect. Jesus never promised anything in that regard.

Worse are people who talk about themselves in church and call that preaching or fellowship.

But some would ask---what would happen if all we do is talk about Jesus? How will the church grow in number? How will more people be reached?

It's not our problem if the church grows or not. The Father alone decides that. What we're called to do is share the Gospel---talk about Jesus. And the promise is that Jesus will be there. What could be more important?

Another thing is, if we prioritize Jesus, everything else will be added to us---including church growth. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. And "His Kingdom" is not the denominational church ministries church people do (they're nothing but man's kingdoms). His Kingdom is any place where Jesus really is present---and that is where two or three gather in His Name.

Can you passionately talk about Jesus, His Kingdom and His righteousness, with people?

Inventing Talks about Jesus

There are folks who claim to love talking about Jesus, but what they really do is merely invent stories. They love talking about how they see Jesus in person and talk to him directly as a friend. That's all they talk about. But they know so little about the Jesus Christ in the bible.

There are people who really see God's visions and hear Him talk audibly, but these people also master the Word of God in the bible.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. [Isaiah 8.20]
What I mean is authentically talking about Jesus in-depth using the spoken Word in the bible relating to Him.

Theologians

Neither am I talking about theologians who merely act as propagandists for their denominations. All they know about are what past theologians debated about. They are stuck there. They're confined to what mere humans understand. Even after 20 or 50 years, they're still talking about what past theologians argued about.

How saints and angels talk about Jesus in heaven is how we should talk about Him today---if we really know Him and His Word---"not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words," [1 Corinthians 2.13]

A Jesus Specialist

Specialists are often so passionate about their field of expertise. No matter what you talk about, they manage turn the conversation around so you'd end up talking about his profession. Most insurance agents are like that.

Jesus specialists are like that.

Like this guy I know. We sit and enjoy a cool drink and talk about life in general for a while. Then he shifts gear and starts talking casually about Jesus. Something like this:

First, we talk about career. "So, you were connected to this company for 4 years?" he asks, always interested about you than talking about himself.

"Yup, I was training and marketing director there but I decided to work online at home," I said.

"Freelance work, huh? It's good to be able to work freely like that. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Working online must then be God's will for you!" he started. "Whatever you do, if it frees you as an individual---frees your thoughts, spirit, soul, time, and finances---then it's God's will."

He continued: "Jesus' career didn't seem much when he started it. But he was a totally free individual doing it. It says, he did nothing in his 'chosen career' initially except grow up before the Father like a tender shoot (he was referring to Isaiah 53.2). It didn't seem much, but he loved doing it. He was a "freelancer" so to speak!"

We both laughed. 

"Can you imagine a life like that?" he went on. "Doing nothing but merely '(growing) up before him like a tender shoot.' " He took a careful sip at his drink and then looked intently at me, emphasizing: "He just grew up before the Father! It's all very simple and practical. He did nothing churchy or religious. A lot of folks do a lot of things in church today but they never grow up before Him!"

I looked afar and considered it a while. Indeed, Jesus was tasked with a very difficult job---save souls by dying for them---and yet his preparation and training was so simple. He just grew up before the Father.

"And what does 'like a tender shoot' mean? " I asked. 

Readily he replied (as if he knew I was going to ask it), "It means Jesus grew up before the Father obediently, his heart was tender and teachable to the Father, easily directed like a tender shoot. A lot of us have stubborn branches already. If God tries to redirect our ways even a bit, we'd snap and break easily."

It was fun and insightful talking of Jesus casually like that. We loved it so much we could have done it the whole day.

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19,26-17]

Saturday, April 16, 2016

When You're Active in Church But Living in Sin

ourdailybread.org
They're everywhere---church people who actively "serve God" in their churches yet continue to live in sin. Somehow, they feel that serving God covers up for their sins. Or probably, this is the result of the famous lines in preaching today---that God accepts you as you are and nobody is perfect.

But what happens when you actively serve God but continue to enjoy sin?

When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. [Romans 7.5]
Let's look at it from another version:

For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

First, when you still enjoy sin and study the bible, God's Word (the Law) merely "aroused evil desires" in you. The law (or Word of God) triggers sinful passions if you're still in sin. Imagine yourself leading bible studies or teaching in Sunday school, and each time you prepare your lessons evil desires are aroused in you. And imagine what that would do when you teach people the Word.

The Word rebukes and enlightens you if you seek for truth and live it out. God knows if you are meditating the Word for holiness. But it produces death if you just use it for religious purposes, especially if you still sin all you want.

Second, you just "produce a harvest of sinful deeds" that "results in death." You teach or preach good, even with sound, correct and bible-based theology, and yet in the spirit, what you do produces nothing but a harvest of sinful deeds that leads to death. 

It only produces death in your hearers---death in you, death in your hearers. And they still go on doing "sinful deeds" in their private lives or when they're not in church.

You gain nothing when you are actively "Serving God" in church and yet continue to live in sin. You're not supposed to be serving God in church in the first place, but should be sitting down in the pew listening intently to the Word and letting it radically change you.

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! [Job 19,26-17]

Truth Versus Experience

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