Category Archives: Daily Word

How Superstition Has Crept into the Church

1932769_10152302758534887_2049324636_oRELIGIOUS SUPERSTITION strips away the whole concept of relationship.

With superstition, God is no longer your father, and you are not his child. Instead, God is a magician.  You have to say the right recipe prayer and it will unlock some secret door of heaven and all of the sudden YOU will get what you want.  People often read the Bible from a selfish perspective as if the end objective or Goal is about you. As if the story is about you.

Here are 3 areas that I believe superstition has crept into the church.  After I describe them, I will give my thoughts on the truth of the Gospel. Click here to hear my sermon on the topic.

1.  Power of Tongue (good or bad) or the Power of your Speech

I actually read this phrase on church website last week.  It summarizes the belief of the “Power of the Tongue”  -

“What you say is what you have! The sum of where you are today, good or bad, is the sum of what you have been saying.”

People that believe this statement have taken a few scriptures and turned them into a superstitious ritual of getting what YOU want out of life.

Just a quick question before we go any further: If everything that comes out of your mouth is immediately becoming fact, then who is God? You.  Whatever God speaks happens. Therefore, if whatever you speaks happens then you are God.

  Read the rest of this entry

Why Do We Watch Movies?

animated_slideMy thoughts on Movies

We are currently in a sermon series where we are using animated movies as parables.  We are taking the storyline and seeing how it can be used to preach the gospel and illustrating where the storyline deviates from the authentic message of scripture.  Why?  Why not just stick to other storylines?  Well, millions of people are shaped by movies. Movies seems to be the mainstream voice of the culture today.  Instead of just ‘preaching against’ movies, I think it is very eye-opening to see ‘innocent’ movies picked apart and illustrate how the message makes a difference.  The biggest risk is that we take the message of redemption (almost all box office hits are stories of redemption) from movies and apply them to scriptures.  We often get a tainted or skewed picture of Jesus’ gospel if we use modern cultures version of redemption.

Here are some bulleted thoughts I have on watching movies:

  • Movies can cause us to sin immediately. Porn and even mainstream movies could lead to you to actual/literal sin.
  • Movies show us what we are entertained by.  You can step back from a movie and say, “that disgusted me. I don’t want to watch that type of movie.”  You can step back and say I liked to be entertained by that. Wholesome movies are encouraging.  However, it should be convicting to you if the entertainment came from activities that nailed Jesus to the cross.  In other words, if you are entertained (amused or thrilled) by sinful activities, then that reveals where your heart might be or might be headed…a bad place.
  • Movies can show us the gospel AND what is not the gospel if we go into the viewing with a firm grip on what the gospel really is.  We can be entertained and at the same time learn and distinguish what is correct and not correct about the storyline of the movie.

How do I determine what movie I will watch?

Erica and I have set up boundaries to help our movie watching decisions.  It is laborious to review movies one by one and find out if the movie will violate our conscious or cause us to sin.  It is a waste of time/money to begin watching a movie that disgusts us and we eventually turn it off or leave the theater (we go to theaters some).  A very easy way to get a quick, easy review is www.kidsinmind.com.  This website reviews movies on 3 criteria: sexual content, violence/gore, and language.  It gives a number rating for each of these categories.  Depending on your background and culture, you should determine what movies are appropriate for you and your family. As for our house hold, our general max rating in these categories are: sexual content 3, violence/gore 7, and Language 4.  There are exceptions to these boundaries on rare occations.  For example, sometimes we watch movies for educational purposes in order to learn a sub-culture.  We have to sit through things mostly language and violence that we wouldn’t normally sit through.  An example of this would be: The Passion of the Christ.

What are your thoughts? How do you determine what you watch?

Why Are We Obedient?

People from my religious tradition are very weary to believe that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’.  Even though we know that scripture is in the Bible and we recite the fact that we are not saved by our works, we are reluctant to freely jump into the waters of ‘no matter what you do, Jesus still loves you’.

Why?

I believe we are afraid (and I have heard it taught) that if people believe that concept, they will begin to sin wildly because there are no consequences to the action.  If we believe that we will start sinning because there are no consequences to the sin, then we are identifying our wrong motivation for good works.  We are acting virtuous because we are either fearful of the consequences of not doing it or we are prideful and enjoy the credit we get for good works.  Both Pride and Fear are motivating factors and can be used to achieve the desired goal.  However, both have a very short shelf life.  We forget the consequence and find ourselves delving into the wrong activity.

Jonathan Edwards said this about ‘true virtue’:

What is true virtue?  It is when you are honest not because it profits you or makes you feel better, but because you are smitten with the beauty of the God who is all truth and sincerity and faithfulness…True virtue comes when you see Christ dying for you, keeping a promise He made despite the infinite suffering it brought him.  On the one hand that destroys pride: he had to do this for us, because we were so lost.  On the other hand it also destroys fear: because if he’d do this for us while we were his enemies, then he values us infinitely, and nothing we can do will wear out his love.  Consequently, our hearts are not just restrained but changed.  Their fundamental orientation is transformed.

 

We want our hearts changed.  We do not want to continue to pursue good works because it is the avenue to a right relationship with God.  Jesus said we would be identified by our fruit.  Fruit is most definitely the final product of the plant.  The outward sign or ‘works’ of the plant.  We want the same for ourselves.  Our good works should be the final product generated from a deep devotion and love of God.  If we put the works in front of the relationship as if they earn us the right to know God, then we are putting the cart before the horse.

Let Everything Happen To Me

In Luke 1, the angel of the Lord proposes to Mary.  Will you birth the savior of the world?  Mary answers, “Be it unto me according to your word, oh Lord.”  The NLT says, “Let everything happen to me just as you have said.”

Only time would tell just what that meant.  ‘Let everything happen to me’

Many of us have responded in the exact same way. “Yes, Lord, I will follow you.  Please use me for your purpose.”  With this agreement, we release persecution upon our life that would not be there if we would have said, “No, Lord, I won’t follow you.”

Mary faced the physical pains of the natural birthing process.  She also unleashed the wrath of a society that believed she was in sin for conceiving a baby out of wedlock.  After this waned, she faced the struggle of her adult son traveling the region preaching, teaching with no home and no means of survival.  He eventually is tortured and sacrificed on the cross in front of her face.  Her own son.

“Be it unto me” threw heavy punches to the young nazarite virgin.

Many of us have been impregnated with the purpose of God and He is wanting us to give birth to ministry that will further his Kingdom.  As we carry that ministry to term and then live with it in adulthood, it takes a toll.  We look for solutions to deal with the wounds and the pressure.  Since Mary’s solution was her baby (Jesus), we are tempted to think that our solution is our baby (our ministry).  Therefore, when struggle comes, we work harder.  We try to catch people that leave us.  We think one more service, one more sermon, one more encouraging word and one more conversion will help our hurt.  When this happens we continue to dig ourselves into a hole that we can never get out of.  If we are looking to ministry to heal our hurt, then we will always hurt.

The mission field is inexhaustible.    There is always one more Sunday to plan for. There is always one more sinner to save.  We chase joy forever, if we think it is found in the grasp of our ministry.

We do not find our hope in the birth of our ministry or our work.  We find our hope in Mary’s baby.  Jesus was born once and it was enough for eternity.

Personal connection with Jesus is the only way we will find healing for our ministry wounds.  We will continue to chase after sinners, hunt down demons, plan weekends, and get really creative with technique.  However, we will stop the rat race of thinking that heals us.

Jesus, you are our source.  You are our source for help and healing.

Thank You

This letter needs no explanation. So thankful that she sent it to me.

Thank You

 

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