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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

After being on Facebook for some time and following articles and comments on social media, it does not take long to realize everyone has an opinion. There is nothing wrong with that, it is quite normal. Yet when people start trying to force their opinion on others it becomes a problem.

FacebookOpinionsI have found it best to listen to others opinions but not to dwell on them. We all have an opinion on life issues, a way of interpreting the bible and views on living for God but very seldom do we agree on things.

We each need to follow the leading of the Spirit within us and stick with what we feel is right for us. Obviously this does not mean we are always right, but at the time it is best to go with what you feel is the correct way until the Spirit leads you to a different view.

Do not take the view of any person as gospel, do not let any person guilt you or shame you into seeing things their way. Listen to others opinions and respect them, but listen more for the soft, quiet voice of the Spirit to teach you the truth. Always be open to changing your personal views according to what the Spirit teaches.

So often we read an article that says one thing on a particular subject, then find another article that says just the opposite. It is not long until a heated argument begins in the comments and things can get ugly. Name calling and getting mad because of differences of opinion and interpretation is just not the way it should be. We need to learn to accept that we all have different views and we can all be wrong at times.

Sometimes people argue over bible doctrine or subjects that are highly controversial in our world today. We seem to think we have to defend our view and prove our point or we are not being faithful to God. I personally think God can take care of himself and we do not need to defend our interpretations. We are not called to convert people to our way of thinking, we are only called to love them.

In the christian world today, one of the major areas of arguments and differences of opinion seems to be in regard to marriage equality and gay people.

Many christian people seem so hateful toward people who are gay. I am not sure why we tend to make gay people our enemy. I know many gay people who love God and want to follow Jesus. To say they cannot be christian because they are gay is just plain wrong. Yet whether christian or not, gay or straight Jesus calls us to love all people.

Christian people will say being gay is a choice, yet I never remember making the choice to be straight. I was born that way. Is it not the same with people who are gay?

I think so often people only look at the label and do not see the human being. The fact is there is no difference between straight and gay people other than the people we are attracted too. We all want to find that one special person to love and to enjoy life together.

Rather than forcing our opinions on others whether they are gay or straight, christian or atheist, muslim or jew, black or white, republican or democrat, male or female we should be able to show the love of Christ to everyone and accept them as our fellow human beings who want the same things as everyone else. We all want to be happy, enjoy life and be accepted and loved.

It is fine to have our individual opinions, yet we need to remember that not everyone will see things the same way. We are all entitled to have our views and opinions without having love and acceptance being withheld.

BeKind

Jesus said to love God and love one another. He never said to love only certain people or only people who believes the same. We can have our different opinions yet we can love and respect each other even in those differences.

Once we can get past insisting our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong, it will be easier to accept others. When we realize none of us have it all together and we are all learning, then we can accept people with different views and opinions without the hatred and condemnation.

No matter what interpretation, opinion or view you have, we should be able to believe what we feel is right and still accept the differences of others and love one another with the love of God.

A few verses on loving one another:

Mark 12:30-32 — and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:36,37 — Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, the one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise.

John 13:34 — A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Galatians 5:14 — For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

1 John 4:20 — If someone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

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What do you think of when you hear the word atheist, gay, transgender, muslim, jew, christian, black, white or a host of other labels we put on people?

Usually we think of something specific and usually something we have been taught or heard over the years. It depends on where you heard it or who taught you but a lot of times what we think is negative in one way or another.

With all the prejudices, fear, hate and misunderstanding among people it is sad that we forget behind each one of these labels there is a human being.

labelsonpeople

I know that not all people believe there is a God or they believe in different gods and I do not want to argue on that point. None of us can actually prove one way or another as to what we believe about God or life after death. It is basically a matter of belief or faith or scientific understanding. Yet as a christian I personally believe there is a God and He created each person in His image. He loves each and every one of us no matter what label humanity has put upon us.

Each of us deserves love, respect, acceptance and the basic human rights we all should enjoy.

Just because we accept one another and respect each other does not mean we always agree or always condone the actions of another, but we should be able to treat each other in kindness and respect even in our disagreements.

Rather than profile people into a particular group based on the label we use, we should remember the individual person behind the label. Even if there are a few bad apples in each particular group it does not mean everyone is the same.

As human beings each of us wants to live a happy, satisfying life. Each of us has worries, bills and every day obligations. Each of us wants to love and be loved, each of us wants to be accepted and happy.

We will not all see things the same way. Each of us has our own personality, belief system, lifestyle, desires and things we enjoy and that make us happy. We cannot expect everyone to be the same or believe the same or interpret things the same. We are each uniquely made and we each have our own path to walk throughout this life.

I know many in the christian world will not agree on this outlook on life. Many feel it is our job to point out the mistakes and sins of others as a way to witness to the love of God. I do not see it that way. In the bible we are told the Spirit will convict the world of sin, so I do not believe it is our job to convict others of sin. Besides, what is sin to one person may not be to another. It is not our job to be judging others. We are called to love one another even in our differences.

donotcondemn

Jesus came as the Son of God to show us what the Father is like and Jesus was not a condemning person. He loved and associated with many people who the religious crowd wanted nothing to do with. Sure Jesus said go and sin no more but he never condemned. He could say the same thing to each of us because we all sin. Jesus was perfect and never sinned so he had the right to condemn people and tell them how bad their mistakes were yet he never did.

The bible says Jesus came to proclaim the good news, yet when we only condemn and point out the mistakes of others that does not seem like very good news. Sure there are times when love needs to be tough and things need to be done that are hard. At the moment these actions may not seem very loving. We all know that we can be tough when needed because we do care for the other person and we are doing what we feel is the best for them, but we still love them even when things are not going so good.

As a christian I believe that God loves each of us and wants each of us to follow him by the Spirit. Even when we do not always make the best choices he still loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. As his followers I feel that is the same we should be doing to everyone we have contact with each day. Love God, love others and seek God’s leading each day. Look past the labels society has placed on people and see the human being that God created and loves.

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When we hear someone talk about the Kingdom of God, usually our first thought is a place in the distant future. A place we go when we die and leave this earth. It is where God lives somewhere way up in the sky, a place where we will live with Him forever.

Yet, when reading about the Kingdom of God in the bible, it sounds to me it is not some far away, future place. It is right now, and right here. A place where we live daily with our Father. Jesus said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”. To me, if God has made his home with us, then we are certainly living in the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of God 3

Jesus mentioned that the Kingdom of God is within us. He said that we were to ask that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

The following excerpt from the article ‘Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God’ found on colsoncenter.org website is a brief explanation of the Kingdom of God:

The Hebrew word for kingdom is malkut and its Greek counterpart is basileia. Both terms primarily mean “rule” or “reign.” Only secondarily do they denote a realm, sphere, or territory over which a rule or reign is exercised. Both terms have a dynamic or active meaning, and refer to the exercise of God’s power, dominion, or sovereignty.

So then, we see that the expression “Kingdom of God” does not refer to heaven or the church or the heart or to moral reform or to a future realm. Rather it refers to the active, dynamic exercise of God’s rule, authority, dominion, and power in the world!

So when John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand, he meant that God’s rule was just about to break into the world through the Messiah. When Jesus Christ Himself preached and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, He meant that in and by Himself, God was exercising His power and authority in a redemptive way against all the evil in the world!

In short, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God manifested in Christ to bring redemption to the earth. No wonder the Kingdom is the central theme of the New Testament! …

Another good point is made on the web site thegospelcoalition.org, stating: Jesus is the kingdom. Where the king is, there is the kingdom. This is precisely why Jesus says to the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21)…

 

Kingdom of God 1

I have come to believe more and more that the Kingdom of God is not necessarily talking about the coming heavenly kingdom, but it is our life with God right here and now. Our old, earthly man was crucified with Christ on the cross and a new man was raised up with Christ. Jesus is our king, and we are living with him in his kingdom every day.

 

Another interesting perspective on the Kingdom of God entitled ‘What is the Kingdom of God about?’ and written by Susanne Schuberth, can be found at the following link:

https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-about/

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As Christians, we have been told that it is our duty to go into the world and preach the gospel.

For my wife and me, that has always meant we were to go to other countries and tell the gospel message to those who have never heard the good news.

We began to feel if we did not go on a mission trip to some other part of the world, we were not fulfilling the command to preach the gospel in all the world.

Yet, we never had a real desire or felt a ‘calling’ to go to another country. At first we felt a little guilty, like we were not doing our part.

After thinking and praying about it, we came to realize that not everyone is called to go to other countries to preach the gospel. Personally, I believe we are all to be ready to give an account of our belief and hope in God to anyone who asks. Yet I do not believe all of us are called to go to other countries, or participate in mission trips.

AllMissionaries

After getting involved with a local ministry at a major college in our town, we came to find a way that felt good to us to help reach the ‘world’ with the gospel. It is called International Friendships. I imagine most major colleges across the United States has this ministry to the international students. It is a Christian based ministry that gets other Christians involved with the international students coming here to attend college. They also provide home groups to learn about faith in God and a Friday night meeting when all groups join together for food and fellowship.

My wife and I got involved and thought it was a great program. International students come here to attend college, get hooked up with Christian friends, they hear the gospel message, then go back to their home countries and tell the gospel message to their own people.

For us this was a more meaningful way than trying to go to a foreign land and talk to people about Christ. We certainly have no problem with those who feel called to go on mission trips and give the gospel message. We also know that not everyone is called to do so.

On my job, I go into homes every day I work and see conditions that could be considered third world living conditions. It is hard to believe, but here in the United States, there are many who have not heard the true gospel message. They may have heard that we should attend a church, give our money, do good things and they have heard we are not do a list of many things. Yet, to hear about and actually see God’s love in action, they really do not know anything about it.

For us, we would actually feel bad if we paid a lot of money and gave our time to go to another country and tell others of the love of God when we know for a fact there are just as many right here in our home town that need to hear the same gospel message.

We are so thankful for people who are called to go to other countries and preach the gospel. Yet for us, we do not have that calling and we are content to stay right here and do the same thing by showing God’s love to all those we meet.

If any of you feel called to go on a mission trip to another part of the country or to a different country all together…..go. If you do not feel the calling to go on a mission trip, please, do not feel guilty. Jesus is building his church out of living stones, us, and each of us has a different calling and purpose to fulfill. Do not feel bad if your calling is different from another’s calling. Each of us are equally important parts of the body of Christ with a job to do. Not a job to earn our way, but a job that Christ will do through us to further his purpose and show the love of God.

YouareHere

Whether your mission field is in some far away land, or if it is your daily routine where you live and work, God lives within us and will touch others with his love. Be ready to give an answer of the hope within you when asked. Show the love of God to everyone you meet during your day, wherever you are at the time.

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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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Matthew 9: 11,12
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

When I read these verses, it always makes me think of how a lot of Christian people are today. They think of themselves as good, moral Christians, avoiding things that are ‘bad’, keeping away from people who aren’t religious and who don’t do the ‘right’ things.

Yet Jesus, while here on earth, hung out with ‘those’ people all the time. People who were involved in the wrong things, people who no one really wanted to be around or associate with, it was those people you would find Jesus spending time and communicating.

Obviously, we aren’t to participate in and do things that are wrong, but we should not avoid the people who do them. These are the ones who need friendship, and who need to be shown the love of God.

When we think we are better than others, and keep away from those who are different, we are just playing the part of the pharisees of Jesus day. We need to show the love of God to all those we come in contact, and take the medicine of the good news of the Gospel to those who are sick in sin.

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Although my wife and I no longer attend a traditional church, when I used to say I “go to church”, what exactly was it that I meant.

When we mention church today, most people think of an organized religious service that takes place on a certain day, at a certain time, in a set place. This is further divided into various denominations or independent organizations. In this sense, church is a man-made religion made up of various types of organized services, various interpretations of the Bible, and man-made doctrines that we are expected to follow and obey if we are to be ‘good’ Christians.

Is the modern-day church what God intended church to be? Unfortunately it is not. When we have so many different denominations and so much arguing over whose doctrine is correct, which Bible version is the right one, how we should dress, what rules to follow, what we should do, what we should not do etc. Can this be what God intended? Not when we read that ‘they will know us by the love we have for one another’. Chip Brogden, in his book ‘The Church in the Wilderness’ stated that it was said of the early disciples…. people could look at the disciples of Jesus and would notice that they had been with Jesus. Now we look at religious folk dressed up and going out to eat lunch on Sunday and all we can say of them is that they have been to church.

The true meaning of the Church is….people, each believer in Christ who has accepted the free gift of salvation by faith through His grace. No matter which organized religious building you attend or don’t attend, if you are a believer you are part of the Church.

When I said I go to church, I mean I go to a building where other believers gather for a Christian meeting. I look at it as a Christian social event, and what better place to be than with other believers. Going to church is not going to God’s house. God, through the Holy Spirit, lives in each of His followers. We are His house.

When I went to church, I didn’t necessarily go for fellowship. Fellowship is something that takes place on a personal basis in smaller groups of people. This can happen anytime through the week, whether it is in a building, a house, a park, or anywhere that 2 or 3 or more believers come together and talk, discuss their faith, pray, spend time together getting to know one another. This can’t take place in a Sunday morning church setting when we gather with hundreds or thousands of people for a set program and one person doing all the talking.

When I went to church, I enjoyed hearing a message that was relevant for today. A message that the speaker had spent some time in prayer and fellowship with God to get. We need to realize that we heard a brother or sister speaking their opinion or interpretation of the message. There is nothing wrong with listening to others who are truly trying to speak God’s truth, but let’s not put our focus on them. We are to put our focus on the Holy Spirit, who is our guide and teacher of all truth. It seems a lot of us Christians today are to lazy to spend time in prayer, meditation and fellowship with God, listening for the voice and leading of the Spirit. We would rather go listen to someone else give us what they have learned and then get on with our day. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him lead us and teach us, and not go only by what someone else says.

When I went to church, I didn’t go specifically to get prayed for, or to worship God. That happens at church services, but to think that you have to be in church for it to happen is a mistake. Prayer, worship and fellowship all happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t have to wait until Sunday to get prayed for or to worship God. We do this daily, 24/7.

When I went to church and gave money, it wasn’t giving to God. All the money we have is God’s money and we are to be good stewards of His money every day. We should be ready to give of the money we have anytime, anywhere and to anyone that God leads us to give. If I gave at church, it was to support the organization. It helped pay the pastor’s salary, the mortgage on the building, the utilities and some of the outreach programs that were done.

So it is a bad thing to go to church? Of course not. What is better than spending time with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Of course I truthfully think there are better ways to do this than sitting in a service looking at the back of someone’s head and listening to someone else do all the talking.

The main point is to realize that church is not the end goal, it is not where we go to meet God or to do all our learning. We don’t go to church to wait on God to show up. He is always with us. We can stay away from the organized religious service and yet be in as close of fellowship with our Father as anyone else.

Our fellowship with God depends on our daily walk with Him. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and God is within us. If we aren’t having prayer, praise, worship and fellowship with God on a daily basis, then going to a church building on Sunday isn’t going to make it any better.

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