Bible Truth – If it is on the internet it must be true!

Eph 4:11-16 NKJV  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,  (12)  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,  (13)  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  (14)  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,  (15)  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— (16)  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

One of the challenges of being a pastor in this age of information is dealing with all the information that is out there.  One hundred years ago sharing a strange or heretical teaching was more difficult and time consuming than it is now.  Presently between Facebook, thousands of websites all spouting their brand of theology, and YouTube, Christians are being inundated with teachings that many are ill prepared to determine if they are true or not.  To further complicate the situation the general mindset of of laziness and not digging into what is heard or being taught.  I am not saying people are lazy, but we are definitely accustomed to getting things easy and quick.  This can lead to the hearing that tickles your ears that is incorrect or inaccurate leading to something you believe but never taking the time to study it out.  It guess worse when the person now feels they have become the expert and shares it with another ignorant person that does not take the time to study.

For a pastor and a teacher, it is challenging because what people come across on the internet can carry more weight than what a pastor or teacher that Jesus Christ has called to minister to them may teach. It is not just the internet, it includes radio and TV.  I am not saying everything they hear or see on these lines of communication are wrong, just that so many Christian take this information as coming from and expert and can begin to minimize the local ministry.  Christians can become glib and without knowing it can slide from a believer in the truth standing on the foundation of the Word and prayer, to becoming a “fan” supporting what someone is teaching without understanding what the Bible actually says.  Christian are to study and interact with the other believers the Lord has place around them.  Unfortunately, from here it gets worse.  A person can easily slide into the view that only the expert they have lined up with can understand the Bible and totally minimize their own ability to read and understand what God has shared in His Word.  This is dangerous ground for a Christian to stand on.

As a pastor of a small church, I realize most people want to take a mental shortcut and skip the study and prayer involved with understanding the Bible and they simply gravitate towards ministries with large numbers behind them.  A person can begin to trust in the numbers and not actually understanding the Word. The Bible’s teaching on numbers paint a dark picture. Mat 7:21-23 NKJV  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  (22)  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  (23)  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ and again Mat 7:13-14 NKJV  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  (14)  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Many begin believing Biblical Truth is based on the numbers. The more that attend a church, the more valid the ministry can replace how a ministry should be validated.  As a small church pastor this can be challenging.  Let us not forget those that have not studied the Bible yet thinks they are an expert because of what they have read or heard in a favorite book, internet, radio, TV, or favorite pastor.

I am fortunate that the saints I am a pastor for dig in and search the scriptures discussing with one another what is stated in the Bible and what it means.  This was not the case when I first became a pastor.  I tried many approaches to have a meaningful discussion with those that thought they were experts without taking the time to study.  The process I now use with people like this is simple and I think more effective.   I simply talk and ask questions and it goes like this:

  • I ask what it is they believe. I let them tell me what it is and I do not try to argue a point if I see it differently.  I let them talk.
  • I then ask if that is what the Bible says. Again, I let them talk and share what they believe the Bible says about the topic.
  • I them ask if that is fully what the Bible states and we check it out. (having the Bible on the smart phone is a great tool)
  • If I believe differently than they do I ask if they would “consider” a different take on the subject and study it out so we can talk about it in a day or so.

I have found allowing them to do most of the talking has allowed me to share a different view on a subject without them feeling they need to challenge it.  Many during the next time we get together admit they really had not studied the subject out and appreciate being able to get into the Word and study it out.  Slowly they grow in confidence in their knowledge of the Word and become less susceptible to falling for “every wind of doctrine”.

Why should I go to church?

“Why do I have to go to church?” This is a question my children asked me during their teen years.  It is also a question many adults think but do not verbalize. 

First let me clarify what a “church” is.  It can consist of a home group of less than 20 people, a church the size of the one I pastor of around 60 people, or number in the hundreds or even thousands.  The key is that you are attending with a group of believers that the Lord has placed you in.  Our Lord places us in a group that you can accomplish 3 things.

  • To be taught the Word and strengthened in your walk by those around you. To be discipled. To be in a place that you can truly grow in your relationship with our Lord where the preeminence of self is replaced by the preeminence and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.  To allow the Holy Spirit work in a person’s life and care enough to begin growth in the relationships with the other people the Lord has gathered around you in the body.  (Jn 13:34) This is important because it is these saints around you that you can trust to lean on during tough times and trust when questions arise that God’s wisdom is needed. (Gal 5:13)
  • To be in a place that you can help others grow and learn about our Lord. To be involved with those around you, helping when a person needs help, cheering when they have a victory.  Caring and loving them as Jesus commanded. (Rom 14:19, 1 Th 5:11)
  • To work together as a body to share the Gospel, minister to those the Lord brings in the path of the body, and fulfill the will of God by listening to Jesus Christ, the head who speaks to each member of His Body through His Holy Spirit. Together with each saint listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying we work together to accomplish the will of God.  To accomplish together what would not happen individually. (1 Cor 12:18-27, Eph 5:30)

Next let’s talk about what occurs when we gather together,  going to church.

  • We pray at church, mainly corporately and hopefully from our hearts and in many churches there really is no time allotted to individual prayer anymore. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools and gift that God has given us and yet it seems in we don’t trust in it to help a person grow in their relationship with the Lord so very little time is dedicated to it when we gather.
  • We sing songs and choruses and sometimes hymns during what is commonly called a praise and worship time. This has been a growing dimension in church gatherings.   People gravitate to music but unfortunately the Bible and its teachings can get lost when it becomes more important than Biblical truth and teaching.  Discipleship can get lost.  Smaller churches where relationships and discipleship are the backbone, begin trying to compete in “church growth” with Larger churches.  Church growth at times are based on the professionalism and quality of the music with Bible doctrines and truth taking a back seat, not to mention prayer.  The problem is that great music can be emotionally charging to be a part of, but it must be recognized as only a part of why we get together.  (Remember the 3 areas we discussed above)
  • We teach, preach and share the Gospel and the Word of God. We all love a good preacher and teacher especially one who has a pastor’s heart and brings the Word to life in a way that not only addresses individual growth but growth and effectiveness of the body under the direction of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
  • An area that has many times become superficial at church gatherings is in the interaction of saints with one another. This is the area I wish to expand on in this blog.

The list of scriptures that deal with how the saints, members of Christ’s Body, are to interact with one another is extensive.  These scriptures deal with love one for another, mercy, forgiveness, charity, edification, comfort, teaching, directions, preferring another over yourself, and the list goes on.  These scriptures and intended as directions and instructions for a group of people that interact together at a much deeper level than simply being an acquaintance.  The family of God is a family, with brothers and sisters, elders and a Father.  A family that fully interacts with one another at a much deeper level than a community service club like the Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis clubs.  Yet in many churches the members really do not know the person very well who sits behind them or on the other side of the church.  Many large churches recognize this issue is a real problem and promote small groups.

The fact remains, Christ is the Head of the Body, we are member fit together to function as His Body here on earth at this time, and we are to work together to accomplish His Will.  Only when the members of a church interact as Jesus has directed and His Spirit is active and directing each individual will the Christian church begin to achieve the great things the Lord wills us to do.  In the community I live in there are 10,000 people who live here.  Of the 10,000 about 7,000 would call themselves a Christian and around 4,000 attend churches regularly.  I have pondered this question; if there were 4,000 Kiwanis or Lions club members in this community, and they had a goal of dealing with a problem like drug abuse, family relationships, depression, would they have more impact in the community that the Christian body?  We often here a fellow Christian ask why the Christian church seems helpless and weak and they really don’t see God’s power at work on the big issues in a community.  Could it be the members of His Body are not or do not want to work together being submitted to the Holy Spirit?  We want to do it “my way”?

Now back to the question we started with on why should we go to church.  Yes, we should go to church to pray together.  Yes, we should gather together and worship our Lord and Savion corporately.  Yes, we should want to learn more about the Word and here what the Lord wishes us to hear through anointed preaching.  But I feel the greatest reason we should get together each week and place it as a top priority is to set aside time to spend with the other saints the Lord has called us to fellowship withJesus performed wonderful things while He walked this planet, as a man with a body.  Now we are His walking body and if we wish to be part of something in which the power of God flows and moves, we need to be an active, praying, and listening part of His Body, the church He has called you to.  It is critical that you, we take the time and assemble together with Jesus Christ in the center of all we do.

Final note:  The devil knows this and will do many things to make sure this does not occur.  More on this on a different blog.

John

Eternal life and the Roulette Table

 

All human beings know what life is and we all have to answer the question of what happens after death. Looking around and seeing how people address the issue of what happens after our last breath reminds me of placing bets at a roulette table.   Some place their bet that once our life ends we become nothing. Others place their bet on one of the many religions that populate the beliefs we find in this world. I am amazed at how many people spend about the same amount of time determining what they believe will occur upon their death as they would be making a ten-dollar bet at the roulette table.

At the roulette table, as long as the little black ball has not dropped there is time to place your bet or move your bet. Once the black ball drops it is too late and you will either lose the money you bet or take your winnings if you placed your bet on the right number and color.  If you guessed wrong and you still have some money left you can give it another try and hopefully win on your next bet.  Unfortunately, this is not true regarding your life.  If a person is breathing, it is as if the little black ball of the roulette table has not dropped and you can place your bet on what will occur upon you last breath.  When that little black ball drops, once you take your last breath, you will find out if what you believed and invested your life in was a winner or loser.  Unlike the roulette table in life you do not get a second chance.  The bet you place is your life, everything you have.  Once you die, you do not get a second life to give it another try.

My point in this thought is to encourage you to truly dig in and know what you believe and why you believe it.  So many people don’t spend a moment really thinking about this issue and not realizing they are actually placing a bet.  Most of these people are assuming there is life after death and everything will be fine, they will not really be held accountable for what they have done.  Others place their bet based on the area of the world they are a part of, the color of their skin, the traditions of their families or the beliefs they were raise in.  My message to all these people do not assume that what you are thinking is correct just because you are comfortable with it.  Please dig in for yourself.  Weigh the evidence that is out there.  The decision you make now while you are living will determine the reality of your life after death.  In the scope of life, it is the most serious decision you will make.

Some key items I had to answer while I was making my decision:

  • Did God create all that I see around me and how interconnected it all is or was it totally by chance?
  • If God did create all this, what was the purpose, is there a right and wrong?
  • Why am I here, for what purpose?
  • What about this sin issue, the Jesus Christ issue and payment for my sin and what happens if my sin is not paid for by the time I take my last breath?

God Bless and if I can help in your journey to find these answers please contact me by clicking on this link: PJ@rolcloquet

John

My Humble Thoughts…

Thanks for joining me! Over the 20 plus years I have been a pastor I have seen many things and  been through some challenges.  I am not a pastor of a large church and I do not have a doctorate in theology.  What I do have is a heart that has been given to our Lord Jesus Christ with the ability to listen to both other Godly men and women and the Holy Spirit.  This site contains my thoughts and views.

People change when they hurt enough that they have to change, learn enough that they want to change, receive enough that they are able to change.John Maxwell

Wheat_harvest

Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘ ” (Mat 13:30 NKJV)

Christianity today in America seems to to personify the Leodicean church.  “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”— (Rev 3:17 NKJV)

The world around us cannot seem to get along.  War both civil and with other countries, killing others because of differing political views, and money and the securing of it seeming to be at the heart of it.  Unfortunately this too often sounds like the church here in the United States.  It sure seems like the world had crept in.

My thoughts reflect what I have seen over the years and the need to get back to the basics.  My posts bounce around that idea.