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Archive for August, 2014

To those of us who have grown up in ‘church’, have you ever felt that you needed to know all the answers?

When a non-believer questions your faith, or asks something about the bible, do you feel you have to know the answer and be able to explain it to them?

I know I have always felt that way. Although the more I think about it, and the more I run into people who have all sorts of questions, I have come to realize that I don’t have all the answers.

Even my wife and I talk and have questions we can’t answer. We’ve come to realize that God is too big for us to have Him all figured out. If we don’t have all the answers for ourselves, how could we have all the answers for everyone else?

Basically, questioning is not wrong. I think we’ve been taught that we shouldn’t question the pastor, the bible, our faith, even God, but God isn’t afraid of our questions. What is wrong with us saying ‘I don’t know’?

Do not know

Admitting that you don’t know does not mean you aren’t a good ‘christian’. Admitting that you don’t know doesn’t mean your faith is shallow or we don’t believe God.

If we knew everything, what kind of a God would we be serving anyway? The Spirit will be teaching us during our entire life here on earth, and we still won’t begin to know it all.

While Jesus was on earth, he basically told stories and parables. A lot of the time, he did not give a direct answer. He usually asked another question rather than give a direct, set answer. I suppose if he gave a direct answer, we would have made it a basic doctrine by now anyway.

Don’t be afraid to question. That is the best way to learn. God is perfectly capable of guiding us to the truth in His timing.

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I wanted to again state what the purpose of this website and my writings are about. I will borrow the words from Mick Mooney, which he wrote in his new book ‘An Outsider’s Guide to the Gospel’ to explain:

 

“I guess all this is my little disclaimer. I want to clarify that I’m not writing in the hope I can somehow teach you something. I’m sharing, that’s it. I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences. If they help you, great. If not, no problem. These words I’m writing are just that. Just words. Take them with a grain of salt.

You know who you should trust? Trust the Spirit within you, that’s who. Let him lead you into all truth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to seek answers, and to discover the abundant life along the way”.

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Is it our job as Christians to convert the unsaved?

Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God?

My answer would be no. It is our job to follow Christ and love others, and the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead people to the Father.

We cannot convert others; we cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

Jesus said in 1 John 3:23 that we are to accept Him and love others. Apart from that, we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us.

LoveGodandothers

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as ‘a professed follower of Christ’. We are to be there to encourage and help one another into maturity in our fellowship with Him.

We are also told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel being the good news that God loves us, He has provided freedom from our sinful nature and has restored fellowship with us. Again, this is done by loving God and loving others not by being judgmental, pointing fingers, threatening and other means we sometimes use to force others to accept Christ.

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are people will be be drawn to Christ easier than through condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences, but we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him we should do the same.

In love, tell the good news to those you meet that God loves them, encourage and make disciples out of those who know Christ and stop trying to force salvation on non-believers through ‘holier than thou’ attitudes, guilt and condemnation. Love is the answer. God is love.

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The word connection brings to mind being connected with others. I think of a circle of friends, or group of people who have similar interests.

In our walk with God, it is those we meet together with for fellowship. We may have a similar interest within the fellowship such as men’s group, youth group, prayer meeting, bible study. It could be a Christian singles group, homeless ministry, prison ministry or such.

Outside of our Christian friends, connecting with others can be a million different interests and activities where people connect with similar interests.

Connecting with others in our daily walk is one of the best ways of showing the love of Christ to those with whom we share our lives. The trouble with connecting through similar interests comes down to what happens when those interests change?

If our connecting with others only relies on our interests, we truly don’t connect. We only have similar interests but not a lasting connection. Over time, interests change, people move on, and our groups of connections seem to constantly change.

For my wife and me, we feel that true connection can only happen when it is grounded on Christ. He is the only connection that is constant and does not change. When our interests in things change, he is still there, loving us and loving others.

In Christ, our connections can be true, sincere and lasting, all because we have a common lifestyle of following Christ and loving our father.

Earthly connections come and go as our interests change. Spiritual connections in Christ can truly be lasting connections. Build your connections on the love of God and walking with Christ each day. Then when the earthly connections change, we will still have the common connection through Christ with our brothers and sisters.

________

This article was part of the August Synchroblog (http://synchroblog.wordpress.com). Here is the list of contributors this month. Go read them all and leave a comment!

Jerry Wirtley – Connection
Sara Quezada – Can You Really Know Someone In A Different Language?
Ford – Interindependence
Minnow – Our Dis-Connect
Justin Steckbauer – Connection in Love, it’s what Life is all about!
Carol Kuniholm – Disengagement and Connection
Wesley Rostoll – Finding Jesus In Different Places
Doreen A Mannion – A bunny, a fawn and some geese walk into a bar …
Leah Sophia – Touch of Life
Karen “Charity” Aldrich – Wuv True Wuv
Abbie Watters – Connection – Addicted to the Buzz
Liz Dyer – Human Connection and the Power of Empathy

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Marriage is an institution that’s been around since the very beginning.

Adam and Eve were married, although not in the traditional way we think of marriage. God joined them together and they became one. No ceremony, no pastor, no license.

Marriage was given as a representation of what God intended for His Church….humans becoming one with God.

Yes, God is not out there somewhere. He is right here, right now. When we accept His gift of grace through Christ, we become one with Him.

Just like the couples who unite in marriage become one, the Church, which means the people, become one with God. We aren’t talking about a building, but those who unite with God through faith in Christ. The true Church is not a building made by hands, but those of us who have had the old sin nature crucified with Christ. We have been raised up with Him as new creatures, and are now one with Him.

God isn’t up in heaven sitting on a big throne looking down on us. No, He is right here within us through the Spirit.

Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17 asking that we might be one just as He and the Father are one. Through the work Jesus did on the cross, we have become the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ lives within us and we have become one with God.

That doesn’t mean we are God, but His Spirit is within us. The Kingdom of God is within us.

We should focus each day on the fact the God is within us. We don’t have to go somewhere and hope He shows up. We don’t have to wait until we die to be with Him. He loves us and lives within us each and every day. We are living in the kingdom right now, daily in His presence.

In this world, it is by faith that we live the spiritual life, but when this earthly life is done, we will see naturally what is already taking place in the spirit.

Thank God for marriage and the joy we have in this world. Even better than that is the wonderful marriage between the Lamb of God and us, the Church, united as one.

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