.........................."We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." - John Stott

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Open Letter from the Afghan Christian Community to the Body of Christ Worldwide

The letter was written on June 8, 2010 by Afghan Christians "who are currently living in exile from their beloved homeland because they were forced to flee their country in order to save their lives and the lives of their families, due to orders of execution issued against them by the Afghan government for choosing to convert to Christianity."

The full text of the letter follows.

"To the Body of Christ:

"This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.

"We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime, Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.

"We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.

"The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.

"Mr. Mujajdi, the Chairman Of Afghan Senate, said that if the Afghan Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard. The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations have been closed. As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced."

The letter-writers,
"(Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan" request you to:

"Pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation. Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 - 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. "This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.

"We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.

"We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus' commandment to love Him and our neighbor?"

The letter concludes:
"So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death."

Recent Anti-Christian Outcry Highlights 'Institutionalized Danger' To Converts In Afghanistan

CSW, a UK-based human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, working on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all, has expressed its concern at the situation Afghan believers are facing.

In a media release, CSW says it is "gravely concerned that the ongoing rise in threats to the lives of Christians in Afghanistan is evidence of the 'institutionalized danger' to converts.

"Recent weeks have seen calls from high-level leaders within the country for the immediate arrest and execution of converts to Christianity. According to sources in the region, over twenty Afghan Christians had been arrested as of last week. Non-Christians known to be associated with Westerners are also being targeted for interrogation."

CSW says the current situation was triggered in late May when a private television station aired photos of Afghans being baptized. Since that time, protest groups in four provinces have called for the execution of apostates, President Karzai has ordered a full investigation into the matter, two Christian humanitarian aid organizations (NGOs) are under scrutiny.

CSW explained:
"Afghanistan is one of ten Muslim-majority countries officially declared as Islamic nations. In matters with which the Afghan Constitution does not deal explicitly, Islamic Shari’a Law applies. This includes the question of apostasy, for which the death sentence is prescribed. Afghanistan has however ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which protects the individual’s 'freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.'"

CSW’s Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said:
"Christian converts in Afghanistan have long faced extreme obstacles and threats but recent events have brought to light the institutionalised nature of the danger. Groups continue to flee the country and an urgent plea for help from Afghan Christians in Delhi has been circulated among Christians around the world. We call upon the international political community to act for the security of Afghan Christians and to urge the Government of Afghanistan to adhere to their obligations under international law."

Crisis in Afghanistan Prompts Evangelical Response

The Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA RLC) is also deeply disturbed over the recent developments in Afghanistan, calling for the death of converts from Islam to other religions.

The group says the anti-Christian reaction followed the airing of a controversial television documentary on May 27, 2010, on 'Afghan Christian Converts' by a local television station in Afghanistan wherein they revealed the identities of a some supposed Afghan Christian converts.

In a media release, WEA RLC says it is also
"deeply troubled by the statements made by Afghanistan Officials including the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Hamid Karzai. It is reported that the President has instructed government officials and the Afghan intelligence agency to take immediate and serious action to prevent further conversions from Islam."

WEA RLC says the events of the past few weeks where Afghan Officials suspended two church based aid organizations on alleged charges of proselytizing and the crack down on converts from Islam are "further disturbing developments which signify a non tolerant attitude toward religious freedom."

An Afghan Christian leader who fled to safety, in an appeal to the WEA RLC, stated: "We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes while thousands of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing danger to their lives, death, torture, persecuted and called criminals."

WEA RLC calls on the worldwide church to pray for Afghanistan that there will be respect for the freedom of religion and that the government of Afghanistan will take a all necessary action to safeguard the lives and the rights of all Afghans and expatriates working in Afghanistan.

“It is a cause of serious concern that the mere accusation of converting from Islam has resulted in such strong and violent reactions by the Afghan authorities and the public. While we recognize the challenges faced by the Afghan government in rebuilding and restoring peace in Afghanistan after decades of war and division, we urge the Afghan government to take urgent and immediate action to protect the lives of all Afghans,” said Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the WEA RLC.

World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.


For further information from Christian Solidarity Worldwide or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 020 8329 0045, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

World Evangelical Alliance Contacts:
Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director – Religious Liberty Commission; wearlc@sltnet.lk
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff – WEA; sylvia@worldevangelicals.org
Reprinted from Assist News Stories

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Women, Children and Elderly Being Slaughtered!

Where is our President? How come he's not spoken about this?  Where is Hillary Clinton? How come she hasn't spoken out against this?  Where is the Main Stream Media?  Are we going let another Rawanda happen without any concern? 

Turkish World Outreached

The founder of Turkish World Outreached received a distressing letter from his Russian contact in Kyrgyzstan, seeking for aid and detailing desperate situations, including slaughtering of woman, children and the elderly.

Steve Hagerman, the U.S. director of Turkish World Outreach received the following message on June 15, 2010:
"We are in the center of a war in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. It is impossible to imagine the horror of the situation here!! The news is only reporting a small portion of what is actually going on. It is ethnic cleansing if you can call it that. Whole blocks of Uzbek homes have been torched and burned.

Women and children are being mercilessly killed. Many bodies and injured people are lying in the streets without anyone to help. Kyrgyz youth under the influence of alcohol and drugs are running wild in the streets killing anyone and burning whatever lies in their paths.

This ethnic tension (between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks) has existed under the surface for many years but recently has been stirred up for political purposes.

Because of this, it appears that authorities are doing nothing to stop the conflict and are silent. It seems that the whole situation was planned out in advance and that no one planned to put a stop to it.

One of my relatives went out today at great risk to get groceries for his household. On his way he saw an old man badly injured who was lying in the street. He wanted to help him and turned him over onto his back.

Immediately a group of young men ran up and started kicking the old man fiercely.

My relative heard one of these youths say, “He’s Kyrgyz” Another said, “No he’s Uzbek, let’s set him on fire.”

When my relative returned the old man lay burned to death.

Officially the government has issued an order to shoot to kill anyone with a weapon but in reality no one is carrying out this order.
These horrendous acts are continuing to take place. Police and soldiers are patrolling the streets but doing nothing to stop the violence.
Last night bandits broke into an army storage facility where weapons, helicopters, tanks, etc were stored.

We couldn’t imagine where these simple people had obtained so many weapons before and now they have even more weapons, plus army equipment! On top of all of this there is a shortage of food as the stores have been vandalized. When our food supply runs out we will go hungry.

The news is reporting that humanitarian aid is getting in but the supply is very limited. Not long ago bread was given out but for some reason they refused to give it to the Russians. We are not concerned about humanitarian aid, we simply want to live! Some news reports are saying that things are getting more stable but the truth is it is getting worse.

My goal in writing this is to the get word out to the world about what is actually happening here. We are afraid that we will be forgotten and alone in this crisis with no one coming to our aid. Presently they are not coming against us as Russians but we believe it is only a matter of time before they turn on us.

People have “tasted blood” with no consequences and will not stop the killing. We are living in a state of fear. Please send this information out to as many people as possible. This is our urgent plea for help." 
 - Please - ask your church to pray for the people of Kyrgyzstan, and contact your Congressional Delegation TODAY and ask them to urge President Obama as well as Secretary Clinton to stand up and help these people!  Federal Government Contact Information

Permission to reprint this letter granted by Steve Hagerman, with Christian Today's blessing, June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shush and Obey

I was tired of arguing with one of the kids today, and when it was over and he had finally gone to bed, I wondered again if I did right.

See - I was so tired of arguing.  Always an arguement from this particular child. So I told the person just to go to bed. I'm done. I don't want to argue. Go to bed.  I had to say it more than a few times. Finally, he went, but only because I'd threatened to ground him.

After everything quieted and I was by myself again, frustrated, I went back to what I had been doing in my office. I resumed my tasks at the computer, but all the while, still thinking about what just happened.

And then I saw a tweet by Randy Alcorn -
"Job stops arguing with God.  Job 42:2-6. It is when he surrenders to God that he finds comfort."
Ok. I had to look that up. What is Job 42: 1-6?
1 Then Job replied to the LORD :
2 'I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?" Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 You said, "Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me."
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.'

This is what struck me immediately...

After years of having to maintain total control while my husband was drinking, I worked at letting go, shushing up, and letting God guide my husband's decisions after we became Christians. During this period of time, I even wore a scarf. - not for legalistic reasons - but to remind myself to back off and be quiet and listen to what my husband had to say.

It was hard!  Hard for me to let go of the reins, but also, surprisingly, hard for my husband to pick them up and take control. For a little while there, he actually got mad at me if I wouldn't say what we should do next. So one of the pastors told me to give Roland options, discuss the issue, but then still back off from the final decision. (Kind of a tight rope)

And of course my husband made mistakes. Kind of like a child learning to walk. One of his first major decisions was the phones for our Medicab - and he signed us into a terrible contract.  But we all make mistakes. Making the correct decision all the time wasn't the point. The point was for me to rest and let him do it - and trust God, not necessarily him.  In other words, if my husband made a mistake,  it was okay, because I was trusting God to make things work in the long run.

Anyway, my stepping back and his stepping forward helped us both, and we grew.  Neither of us were perfect, but we did get to a point where we were both much better. We were also much more comfortable with things this way. I really did find myself enjoying that certain things were no longer 'my' problem and stepped back with relief that I didn't have to worry about certain issues anymore.

Which is, I think, what I was trying to express to some of kids when they were teenagers; telling them to just tell friends at school that certain decisions were out of their hands. Tell them that their mother was a mean decision maker, and that I would kill them if they tried drugs or alcohol. I had hoped my kids would find comfort in not having to make certain decisions - kind of like I had found comfort in letting someone else be in control. "See," I told them, "the decision has already been made - you aren't allowed to do what they were asking you to do.  You can rest in that decision"

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Most of my older kids didn't embrace that teaching. Maybe it was in the delivery. 

Anyway, so I've been trying to teach some of the younger kids with an even simpler - maybe gentler - certainly more tired - version of that concept. 
"Let me be the boss.  Let go.  Simply quit arguing and do as I ask. Really. Things are a lot easier that way. For everyone. Yup."
In some ways, it's getting through a little better. Perhaps more because the younger can see the troubles older siblings had gotten into and know that if 'such and such' rules had simply been listened to, those sibs wouldn't have gotten into those troubles. At any rate, motivation aside, the younger ones seem to be listening a little better.
Sure, I will make mistakes, too, just as we all do.  But in the big picture, it doesn't matter.  Does it matter today that my husband, who passed away 6-years ago, put us into a bad contract 17-years ago?  No. No one but me even remembers the contract, and it is totally irrelevant to me or to anything happening today. 

However, the big picture - that he and I had eventually learned to work together as a cooperating team - matters a great deal.  It matters to my heart, and it matters to my kids.  The big picture is that he is no longer with us, but our good memories, the lessons we learned together, and our love for him will last forever.

And my older ones, having gone through their grief, are starting to see and understand that, especially now that some of them are raising kids.

So back to that lesson from Job; there's a lot of good for us all to learn in it. It refers to God and our submission to Him, but can also teach us about getting comfort from simply listening to - and obeying - any of our authorities. (as long as the authorities aren't telling you to break God's laws)

In our society, we already know we aren't ever to argue with the police. Or with a judge. These are 'given's that most of us easily accept.  And we aren't to argue with or disrespect our military commander, no matter what an idiot he might be, as General McChrystal recently reminded us.  Submitting to the concept of obeying those in authority is a real expectation in our society, and most of us rarely question it.

And arguing with our boss isn't always bright. (although I've done it in my youth) (and lost jobs because of it)
Simply dong as our domineering boss asks, even if is stupid, makes life simpler. (as long as everyone knows it was the boss who demanded that it be done in a stupid way.)  Most of us understand this about authority.

Except when it comes to parents.  In the last 60 years, the expectation that parents be obeyed has been erroded. Strict parents are seen as "controlling," and assumed to be "abusive."  This has been brought on by an intrusive school system as well as television and movies, where teens and even pre-teens are lauded for their sass and rebellion. Parents, teachers and school principals are often portrayed as idiots with whom the children must endure.  Although I like Will Smith a lot now, I never used to let my kids watch "the Fresh Prince of Bel Air" because the attitude toward those in authority was so nasty.  The movie "Home Alone" is another example were parents were shamelessly ridiculed and disregarded.  And those are just a couple examples. The televsion and movie industry is full of matrial that disregards parents.

We have learned to disrespect the authority of parents, and I say "we" because I was raised within the last 60 years, as well. I was a teen in the 70's, when disregarding parents (and bosses we thought were stupid) had already become a norm.  Sass was an art form - one with which you could get lots of good attention from friends for. (believe me, I got good attention for my sass)

Further, when I began raising my kids, I had no confidence in my own authority.  If my older children disagreed with me, I actually believed that I should factor that into my final decision.  I confess that I needed to be stronger about making decisions and sticking to them no matter how my kids wheedled.
Now, toward the end of my child raising days, I'm finally getting the hang of it.
Kids need to know "No more arguing. Just do it."   Yup.

And for me - teaching my kids to simply 'shush and obey' IS my job in obeying my God, who commanded me in Deut. 6 to teach my kids everything there is to know about Him and all His expectations. Teaching my children about authority - most importantly, HIS authority - is MY act of shushing and obeying my God... who commanded me.

Submitting to earthly authorities can be a way to learn how to submit to God.  Kind of like - if we can simply listen to, trust and obey the flesh and blood parent screaming lunatic standing in our living room, then maybe we can understand how to submit to, trust and obey our much quieter, comforting, and always correct God.

And that's all I really wanted from this child tonight. Just to - shush - listen, and obey. That's all. 

Really parents - it's okay to want and receive that. In fact, it's our job.

Monday, June 14, 2010

When Junior says, "Quit pushing religion on me!"

Have you ever heard this from your kids?
"Why do you Keep Trying to Make me a Christian!"
"You're always trying to stuff God down my throat!"
"Quit pushing your religion on me!"
Sometimes, as parents, we want to just throw in the towel. Who needs this? If the kid doesn't appreciate what your trying to teach, forget 'em, right?

Well, that might be what wells up in our throats in the heat of the argument, but deep down...we don't want to give up. Not if we really believe what Christ taught. These are our babies, our kids. We don't want them to struggle without Jesus in their lives. We don't want them to die.

So we have no choice. We might need to take a break, but when all is said and done, there is only one Truth... and God has given us a job as parents.

Deut. 6:4-7
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

One can gently stand firm in the Lord without being an obnoxious 'Bible Thumper.' Your child needs to know there is no compromise and even if your are choosing not to argue at this point in time, you have not changed your mind or submitted to the child's strong-willed heart.

Simply put;  "I love you. My standards will not waiver from the Truth. How was your Day."

Coming to terms with our job doesn't change the anger and rebellion emitting from a teen. We do the best we can, but because this is a spiritual war, the battle is very real, painful to both sides, and can go on for a long time. The teen might walk away as soon as they are able.   This is the hard part - continuing in the Truth, even while knowing your child is staying away because of it.

While some say that "this too shall pass," and your child will return eventually to the Truth he/she was raised in, that isn't necessarily true.  A child, in reckless rebellion, might die before they ever return to the Lord.  God has given us all Free Will.

That would be extremely terrible.  But the reverse would be worse.  To set aside the Lord for the purpose of pleasing the child - making the child more important than God, allowing your child to believe that he/she is right and God doesn't matter, and living for the pleasures of comfort here on earth - is a death sentence for both you and the child.  A child's free choice should not compromise your own choice to follow Truth.

Don't forget the testimony of Franklin Graham, former rebellious son of Billy Graham.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walking the Walk - The Final Answer: What we are really Supposed to be Doing

Continued from Part IV: What Exactly are We Supposed to Do?

Part V of V: Walking the Walk - What we are really supposed to be doing...

But now ...what does that mean for us on a daily basis! What, exactly, are God's instructions for our imperfect... but trying our best ...Christian Walk...?

Walking our 'impossible-without-God's-constant-guidance' Walk, begins with the First and Greatest Commandment, Deuteronomy 6:5: to 'Love God' - our purpose for being - completely, and follows through with the second, to 'Love Others.'

While the usual instruction for walking the walk: Prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, tithing, and reading God's Word, are all important parts of growth, the purpose of our growth is to be able to fulfill God's purpose. God's purpose for us is the Great Commission:

Matthew 28: 18-20, -- The Great Commission -- "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
When we obey the Great Commission, we are expressing Love to God by obeying his instruction with faith. Further, we are expressing our Love for Others by caring enough to tell them the Good News and see them Blessed. The Great Commission isn't optional - it's vital to our expression of love for God. The evidence for that is the fact that the Great Commission, just like the Great Commandment, is a concept interwoven and repeated throughout both the Old and New Testament.

The Bible begins with the first eleven chapters in Genesis introducing the Universe, then Adam, father of the human race, and finally Abraham, father of the chosen race. In the first three chapters, God moves quickly from creation of all things to our rebellion and his judgment. The next eight chapters describe the destructive results of that rebellion. (Interesting: this structure is similar to the structure of the Ten Commandments; First all about God, followed by all the ways man can mess up...)

Chapter 11 reports men saying to each other in verse 4,"Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves." Their focus was on a name for themselves; not God. The point here is not that they would ever be able to build a tower to heaven, but that their hearts were in completely the wrong place. God reacted to this overt rebellion by disbursing them.

Gen. 12:1-3 comes at a critical juncture when society is deteriorating.

It is here that God first states His missionary purpose. The Lord, speaking to Abraham, said,

"Leave your country, your people, and your father’s people and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse: and all people’s on earth will be blessed through you."

God’s whole purpose is summarized here in the most unifying verses of Scripture.

Most people have paid attention to the part where God is promising Abraham that he will make his people great. But note the last sentence, which is frequently overlooked. Not only will Israel be blessed by this covenant, but all the people's on earth will be blessed through God's covenant with Israel.

God’s promise to make Abraham’s name great was a response to man’s attempts to make his own name great in Chapter 11. Why would God turn around and give that promise, when the subject of making man's name great was such a problem in the earlier chapter? The lesson here is that significance doesn’t come from creating your own prestige, but from being a blessing to others. That’s God's purpose. He wants us to Love Others more than ourselves. A true love, that comes from a selfless position; a depth of love that we learn only from him.

This promise of a blessing that includes God's people being a light to all peoples of the world is repeated to Jacob in Genesis 26:4 and 28:14 and is intertwined throughout the rest of the Bible.

God’s gift of salvation for all people is evidenced in Ruth, Isaiah, and many other books. The Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories for enriching our personal lives; it’s a clear message of God’s ultimate intent.

Jonah for example, shows us how NOT to behave. He was one of God’s people, but was lazy and self-centered. He had no heart for the Gentiles. He was angry when God showed Nineveh mercy and he did his best to evade God’s wishes. Chapter 4:1-4 shows us that the greatest hurdle for Jonah to overcome wasn’t the sailors, big fish or even Nineveh, but his own attitudes. - Jonah is an example to those who want the benefit of Christianity but none of the responsibility.

On the other hand, Paul was motivated by hope that God would be glorified among the nations. In Romans 15:8, Paul writes,

"For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God…"
Other examples include:

Ex. 19:4-6, "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (What does it mean to be priests but to minister to others?)

Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Missionary scholars equate this to ministering in your home community, in a close or similar community, or in a completely different culture.)

Rom. 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Walking the Walk doesn't require perfection, so don't wait until you think you are perfect.

Walking the Walk requires getting up, getting out there, and walking. (In fact, if you think you are perfect, please stay home, and start this lesson over again at the top.)

We need to see ourselves for who we are: God’s servants, working together in Christ for His purposes and glory. If God hasn’t told you NOT to disciple, then the mandate to disciple stands. God has given each of us gifts to fulfill the specific role He has for us.

So is He is calling you to serve as a worker in a mission or ministry, a support person, a financial contributor, or to pray for the workers on the field?

If He is calling you out as a worker, is He calling you to work in your hometown Jerusalem, or in a similar "Samaria" community, or in a completely different land at the ends of the Earth?

Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. .May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 1 Thess 5:21-24

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thess 5:28

To Begin at Part I of this discussion - Click Here

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walking the Walk - WITHOUT Ten Commandments?

Continued from Part III - Fulfilling the Law

Part IV of V: What exactly are we supposed to do in our Walk?

Are all Ten Commandments mandatory?

Of Course.  Some people try to cause division between Christians by pointing out that different churches number the Commandments differently, or put different emphasis on this one or that one.

But Jesus made it all pretty simple when he wrapped the commandments up in that same towel with all Mosaic law. In the book of Matthew 22:36-40, a Pharisee, trying to trip Jesus up, asked; "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
You see, he's not dissing the Ten Commandments. If you look at the ten Commandments, the first few pertain to loving God, and the remainder pertain to loving others, just as much of Mosaic law had to do with showing respect to God as well as the community.  If one were able to truly love God and others as He loves us, obedience to all Ten Commandments would come natural.
Mark 12:29-31 and Luke 10:26-28 also quote Jesus saying this.

All three of those books are actually quoting Deuteronomy 6:5; "Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength."

The verse in Context, Deut. 6:4-6, reads, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. (again with the heart thing)

But now ...what does that mean for us on a daily basis! What, exactly, are God's instructions for our imperfect... but trying our best ...Christian Walk...?

Five Parts: Part V, Walking the Walk... June 10, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Veteran at a Tea Party Blessed Us All -

.Oh man, did this make me cry. Praise God - Praise Jesus. This is Truth, This is Good, This is God. And even if those that disagree with us take our Country, win the elections or change the Constitution ... it will only be for a season. They can not take God away from us, and we will always be Brothers and Sisters in the Lord. We will never stop fighting, we will never submit. In the end - Truth, God, and Love will prevail.

See the Bottom of this Blog for the Video of this event -

Lord, in the Name of Jesus, Please Bless this man - this veteran - and his entire family.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Walking the Walk and..What?? "Fulfill what Law?"

Continued from Part II - "Does That Include Mosaic Law?"

Part III of V: Are we supposed to kill Chickens or what?

To fulfill the law...to fulfill the law...What did Jesus mean by that? Well, here are some other verses that mention fulfilling the law...
[ Love, for the Day is Near ] "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

"Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
Wait, now we're right back to something about "loving others" again. Loving others...right...that would mean ...it's all about the heart! There is a Fulfillment to all that detailed law, and Fulfilling the law has something to do with the heart - loving others as God has loved us...

Okay, then. As God has loved us; but ...how did God Love us?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Oh, Right! Jesus, our scape goat, suffered and died so that we would live... he gave His life for us; that's how he loved us...That's the Gospel!

AND we are to love God and others as He loved us - we are to so love the world, that we are willing to give all that is important to us, that others will live. We are to love others to the point that their needs are more important than our own.

So is that what following the Law in Leviticus and Deuteronomy boils down to? Is that what those rules were all about? 'Loving God and Others - as God has loved us' is the fulfilment of the Mosaic law?

Much of Mosaic law had to do with showing respect to God and the community.

Including the Ten Commandments?

Five Parts: Part IV, The Ten Commandments, June 7, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Walking the Walk, Part II - Does that include Mosaic law?

Continued from Part I; Walking the Walk, ...and Why

Part II of V:  So ...what exactly are God's instructions....

Well, there are the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well as the Ten commandments...for starters.

Hmmm...but...do we really have to follow Mosaic Law in order to please God?

Well, Yes and No.

Yes, definitely we are to "Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5). That's a pretty clear Mosaic instruction, repeated in one form or another throughout the Old and New Testament. But are we supposed to be sacrificing live animals at specified times of the year? The answer to that might be confusing, but ...

Watchman Nee, a Chinese Evangelist, once explained that the purpose of Mosaic Law wasn't in the details of the law itself. The details were just a means to an end. Those detailed rules were needed to show us the impossibility of being "perfect" in our own strength, and our need for a Savior in the form of Jesus Christ. He said -

"...let it be settled at the outset that the fault does not lie with the Law. Paul says, "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good" (Rom. 7:12). No, there is nothing wrong with the Law, but there is something decidedly wrong with me. The demands of the Law are righteous, but the person upon whom the demands are made is unrighteous. The trouble is not that the Law's demands are unjust, but that I am unable to meet them...

"I am a man "sold under sin" (Rom. 7:14). Sin has dominion over me. As long as you leave me alone I seem to be rather a fine type of man. It is when you ask me to do something that my sinfulness comes to light.

"If you have a very clumsy servant and he just sits still and does nothing, then his clumsiness does not appear. If he does nothing all day he will be of little use to you, it is true, but at least he will do no damage that way. But if you say to him: 'Now come along, don't idle away your time; get up and do something', then immediately the trouble begins. He knocks the chair over as he gets up, stumbles over a footstool a few paces further on, then smashes some precious dish as soon as he handles it. If you make no demands upon him his clumsiness is never noticed, but as soon as you ask him to do anything his awkwardness is seen at once. ...He was as clumsy a man when he was sitting still as when he was working, but it was your demands that made manifest the clumsiness that was all the time in his make-up, whether he was active or inactive.

We are all sinners by nature. If God asks nothing of us, all seems to go well, but as soon as He demands something of us the occasion is provided for a grand display of our sinfulness. The Law makes our weakness manifest. ...When a holy law is applied to a sinful man, then his sinfulness comes out in full display.

God knows who I am...He knows that I am weakness incarnate; that I can do nothing. The trouble is that I do not know it. I admit that all men are sinners and that therefore I am a sinner; but I imagine that I am not such a hopeless sinner as some. God must bring us all to the place where we see that we are utterly weak and helpless. ...Had it not been for the Law we should never have known how weak we are. Paul had reached that point. He makes this clear when he says in Romans 7:7: "I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet". Whatever might be his experience with the rest of the Law, it was the tenth commandment, which literally translated is: "Thou shalt not desire ..." that found him out. There his total failure and incapacity stared him in the face!
The detailed Law had it's purpose; the goal being an understanding of our need for a savior as well as teaching us a context in which we will understand said Savior. The "Scape Goat," for example, in Leviticus 16 was an illustration of how our Savior would atone for us, only, the Israelites didn't know that at the time.

Jesus himself didn't condemn Mosaic law or deem it unimportant. He said in Matthew 5:17, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

To fulfill the law...to fulfill the law...What did he mean by that?

Five Parts: Part III, Fulfilling the Law - June 4, 2010