Caught L.U.I.S.

Ephesians 5:18, …be filled with the Spirit….

Do you know someone who has been in an accident due to the influence of alcoholic beverages? According to one website, around 11,000 people die every year in DUI (driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages) relateprayer11d accidents (www.drinkinganddriving.org). That is a sad number for sure. Perhaps you know someone in that number.

But do you know someone who lives under the influence of the Spirit of God? We could call those people L.U.I.S. – Living Under the Influence of the Spirit. According to the apostle Paul, believers are to be Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled, Spirit-influenced people. This plays out in many different ways, as Ephesians 5 continues, but the main point is that the Spirit of God is to rule over the life of the believer, including his words, his attitudes, his thoughts, his actions, his ministry, his responses to life, and so much more. This is part of what constitutes true spirituality.

Perhaps a prayer for today, and each day, in this regard could be something like the following:

God, help me today to yield myself to the influence of the Holy Spirit in my life. Grant me grace to walk in the Spirit, so that I will not fulfill the sinful desires of my flesh. May I be willing, because of the influence of Your Spirit through Your Word, to minister to others in the way that you would like me to. Amen.

May we, as the people of God, be caught L.U.I.S. for the glory of God.

“Christian” Persecution?

The label “Christian” gets placed on many different people today. Are we a “Christian nation” simply because we are not ruled by Sharia law, or some kind of monarchy? Is a person a Christian simply because he attends a place of worship that is not Jewish or Muslim? Can we call ourselves Christians by virtue of our family background, religious affiliation, political persuasion, or moral code of conduct?2589-57598987.220w.tn

Christianity must be properly defined if it is to retain its important meaning and significance. The first use of this word in the Bible is in Acts 11:26 when believers were first called Christians in Antioch. This word is used only two other times in the NT. In Acts 26:28 King Agrippa said he was almost persuaded to become a Christian through the words of the apostle Paul. Then Peter used it in 1 Peter 4:16 about suffering as a Christian.

The word is christianos, and it essentially means to be a follower of Christ. Every time it is used in the NT, it refers to a person who believes in the true identity of Jesus Christ, follows the true teachings of Jesus Christ, and has been converted to follow Jesus Christ. It is not used to refer to someone who is familiar with Jesus Christ, or who merely affirms the truth of Jesus Christ.

The demons affirm the truth of Jesus Christ; they know and believe exactly in who he is and what he taught during his earthly ministry. They believe in the creation, and Creator. They know about eternal judgment and condemnation. Yet they cannot rightly be called Christians.

King Agrippa in Acts 26 had some learning regarding the Jewish prophets and prophesied Messiah, yet he was not a Christian.

So what is a Christian? A Christian is a person who not only knows about Jesus Christ, but has yielded his very soul to Jesus Christ in repentant faith. He believes that his own salvation is by no merits of his own in any way, shape, or form. He realizes that apart from Jesus Christ, he is a condemned soul, eternally damned to hell. His life has been transformed from works of darkness to works of righteousness, not as a means of procuring salvation, but as a proof of the salvation which has already taken place in his soul.

A Christian is one who is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. There is nothing more to be added or done; Jesus Christ accomplished all that is necessary for salvation through his sinless life and substitutionary death.

To refer, then, to people outside of the true meaning of the word “Christian” is to profane the word itself. When people are put underneath the umbrella of “Christianity” who are not in fact, true Christians, it confuses the meaning of the word, and it also confuses the true identity of the person/group.

We must be careful to distinguish true Christians, in the biblical sense, from those who are not. Christianity must mean something more than simply not being a Jew or a Muslim. While many have hi-jacked the term for their own religious benefit, True Christianity is unique, and cannot rightly encompass Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, the Orthodox Church, or other religious groups which may claim knowledge of Christ, but reject the truth of salvation in Christ alone through faith alone by grace alone. True Christians cannot confuse the issue to unbelievers in this area, but must remain loyal to biblical terminology.

Religious persecution is a reality that seems to more rampant today. However, not all of it is true “Christian” persecution. My heart is saddened by what is going on around the world. People are being brutally killed because of their religious beliefs. Religious persecution in other countries provides true Christians to evaluate their own faith, and whether they would stand true for Christ in the face of persecution that might come our way. Let’s be careful to not label all religious persecution as being “Christian” persecution. I am a Christian, and I believe the truth, meaning, and significance of that name must be conserved and communicated with clarity.

Five Ways Husbands Can Show Love to their Wives

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day when many husbands rush to get their wives some kind of expression of their love. It could be a piece of jewelry, some flowers, chocolates, or a card. While those things are nice, they will all be thrown away, will break, or disappear. Here are five ways husbands can show love to their wives in such a way that is more meaningful than any tangible object found at the store.valentines-day-wallpaper

1. Have a heart and life that demonstrate ultimate love for God. Since this is the first and greatest commandment in all the Bible, it makes sense that this is the best way you as a husband can tell your wife that you love her. Growing in your supreme love for God will not take away your affection for your wife, but only enhance it. Any godly husband will realize that his love for God must be top priority in his heart and life.

2. Be a man of purity. Let’s face it men, this world is no friend of purity. From Fifty Shades of Grey, to Gray’s Anatomy, the philosophy of the ungodly culture around us is one of fleshliness, sensuality, and impurity. As men, one important way of showing love to our wives is by continually cultivating a life of purity. We must strive for purity in our hearts, in our minds, in our entertainment and in our relationships. Purity will tell your wife that you love her and her only, and therefore have shunned all others.

3. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. Your daily habits of Christian living will formulate your love for God, and therefore help to dictate what kind of life you will live for God’s glory. The more spiritually disciplined you are, the more love this will demonstrate to your wife. She needs a man who is a strong spiritual leader, not one who flies by the seat of his spiritual pants. Cultivate the spiritual disciplines; it will show that you care for the spiritual well being of your marriage and your home.

4.  Be a servant. Too many men sit idly by expecting or even demanding their wives to do all the work around the house. If you truly love your wife, you will not wait to be asked to help, but instead you will look for ways to be a blessing to your wife. This will demonstrate a great heart of selfless love to your wife.

5.  Be humble and willing to admit fault. Humility has been called the queen of the Christian virtues. Humility brings with it the grace of God and will also communicate a heart of love to your wife. Be willing to take loving correction from your wife. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong; admit it and seek forgiveness.

These are just five of the many ways we as husbands can show love to our wives, not only one day a year, but every day of every year. Doing so is part of being a godly man, who strives to be the kind of husband that glorifies God.

Pastoral Perspective of the Super Bowl

This past Sunday was the Lord’s Day. It has had that designation for over 1900 years. The Lord’s day holds a special place in my own heart and ministry. It is the day upon which God’s people are called together to worship Him corporately. We gather to sing, give, pray, proclaim God’s Word, and minister to the body of Christ. It is a glorious day for us. Though I look forward to every Lord’s Day, this past Lord’s Day was also our regular remembrance of the Lord’s ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Supper, which makes the day even more anticipated for us.

Our modern culture has also referred to one Sunday a year as “Super Bowl Sunday” a designation that is no more than 50 years old. This past Sunday, about 114 million people watched the Seahawks play the Patriots. It was the most watched television show in history. I, being a lifelong Seahawks fan, was able to watch the game at a friend’s house through his DVR (the best way ever to watch the game). And even though the Seahawks lost, it was an outstanding game to watch nonetheless.

My perspective on the game, though, has more to do with other aspects of it, besides the game itself. For instance, While I realize that many churches today have done away with their Sunday evening service altogether, I cringe at the thought of those churches who may have made some adjustments to cater to the Super Bowl hype. Here is an example of this, and here.

A church that moves its regularly scheduled service times in order to facilitate the Super Bowl has committed idolatry. Any Christian who chose to skip their normal evening service, or to attend an earlier evening service at another church in order to watch the game also committed an act of idolatry. God’s glory cannot be set aside for just one Sunday. He is due exclusive glory, a glory that no football game deserves.

This is not a rant against the Super Bowl game itself. I watched the game and enjoyed it. But as a pastor, I did not mention the game or anything associated with the game in our services; it had no place there. I do not want to mix the profane with the holy.

My concern is with the general state of the church as a whole. God’s people are imbibing the ungodliness of Canaan, and doing so under the guise of grace. God’s grace will never lead a Christian to place football above God. God’s Spirit will not persuade a Christian that it is permissible to miss “just one” Sunday night service in order to watch the game. While the church is very distinct from Israel, it is also mimicking in many ways the errors of Israel. They failed to be holy as God was holy; they failed to distinguish themselves from the world around them; they failed to worship Jehovah, and Him only.

I realize this is only one aspect of a deeper issue, but it is reflective of the greater need of the church that is expressed in places like Romans 13.

Romans 13:11-14, Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

May we as God’s people repent of our idolatrous ways, and put on Christ Himself, for the glory of God.