LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

OUR GOAL: ALWAYS PROVOCATIVE - ALWAYS BIBLICAL - ALWAYS EDIFYING. If you haven't already, please log on to our Kingdom Gospel Ministries website for a lot of info and a new drama each week - www.kingdomgospelministries.org

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Location: Phila Metro, Pennsylvania, United States

Tentmaking Evangelist (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 31st year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of two weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many programs on the Internet. John is also a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 38th year working on a wide variety of projects. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 50 years and served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on It's Your Call TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

FAST AND SLOW

I am always struck by how much God can do in 24 hours.  On Day 6 of creation week God made the animals.   Then he made Adam and Adam named the animals (to the scoffers, please note that there were far fewer variations of animals than there are today - there were kinds from which variations came).  Then he put Adam to sleep and created woman.  ALL in 24 hours!  I am fond of saying God did not want man to spend even one night alone without a woman and that is why he made woman without delay!   Actually the being fruitful and multiplying command is the one command of God which is almost universally kept - though in nations afflicted with atheistic thought,  the birthrate is sinking like a stone, so even a pleasurable commandment is not being kept now in some cases.

In church today, the speaker noted how God can move fast.  God birthed in him the idea of competing in a marathon with only two weeks to go, and he was able to finish the grueling race.

I know from experience that God can do a massive download of information almost instantly.  I have gotten entire messages in seconds.  God is far faster than any T-1 connection.  In fact, one day he told me that is has an INFINITE amount of things to tell me - all I have to do is take the time to listen.  I really try to do that, though I know he has FAR MORE to tell me.

The same principle works creatively.  God is a great architect and that is my profession when I am not preaching or writing about something. He sometimes gives me a design in my head almost instantaneously and when he does, that is great.   HOWEVER, sometimes he takes more of the crockpot approach - he takes his time.  The process is just as valuable.

I know God said in 1994 I would be moving, but he did not show us the house until 1997.  Some other promises God has made have yet to be fulfilled.  Abraham was promised a child and it took Y-E-A-R-S to come to pass.   What may be even more amazing to you is that after Isaac was born, Abraham had no more kids for another 37 years or so - after Isaac married Rebekah, which was an even longer period than his original wait!  Then Sarah died and he married Katurah, had six kids with her and more kids with concubines.  Whew!

The point to all this that God can change my life with ONE phone call or ONE email, or ONE prophecy.  He has done it many times.  ONE phone call meant a job worth over $400k.  ONE date led me on the marriage path with my wife- we celebrate 40 years in October, DV.   Yet, sometimes he likes to take his time.  We cannot count that as men track slowness, but simply must persist in faith that GOD is in as much control in those situations as in the instant breakthroughs.

Two examples:

The first, a true story -
A lady married a man who turned out to be an alcoholic.   He was a functional alcoholic - he worked every day and provided a roof over her head, but the house was a wreck with weeds in the yard and he spent much needed funds on drink.   She witnessed to him and prayed with hi for 59 years of marriage. He became ill and went to the hospital never to return.  WHile there someone came by and witnesses to him and he accepted Christ into his life.  He died within two weeks.  I asked the widow whether knowing all she knew, if she would have married the man if she could go back in time.   To my amazement, she said a strong "Yes!".   She believed that without her 59 years of witness, he would never have been over to the gospel and gotten saved.

The second, what we should do -
We should have new faith that when a person comes to Christ, they are a new creature - old things have passed away, behold ALL THINGS have become new.   We should expect that the same God who created the entire world in only six 24-hour days can change a person  in the twinkling of an eye.   After all, many Christians believe that he will change the entire church at a "rapture" in the twinkling of an eye.  How can you believe that without believing in the power of God in the here and now?  I believe we should not expect long, drawn-out odyssey's with zillions of trips to the altar.   When people are sick and hurting, we should pray in authority for their healing and deliverance.  When people are broke, we need to believe that God can intervene quickly, and ourselves be the instrument of deliverance for them if we are able.

We must be patient if God takes the scenic route, but encouraged by the creation, by the miracles of Jesus, and by the price for salvation of all mankind taking place in a moment at the resurrection.  Our God is sometimes blindingly fast and sometimes excruciatingly slow, but our God is a faithful God who does all things well.

WHY ALL THE FUSS ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

I have long said that Christian schools can be the worst influence on a young Christian kid.  If course, that should never actually BE the case, but it was in our case and in talking with others, it is pretty common.

Why do I say that?  First, most Christian schools do not really believe the gospel.  They believe in RULES.  If you obey the rules, you have favor.  If you don't you don't.   No matter what they say in chapel, the bottom line is that it is a works-based faith.

The sad part is, so many of the rules are man-made and of no value against fleshly indulgence.  Dress codes that stifle all creativity.  Endless rules.   My son was given demerits for looking down at his shoes.  Another son was given multiple detentions for chewing gum on his way in the door of the school.  He was the soccer goalie, and tried to serve detention but it was filled to overflowing (that should tell you something).  His coach said he would take care of it and my son went to the game which was in the rain.  In the spirit of Christian charity, the other team took the better side of the field and had tents for their players while ours slipped and slid and almost caught pneumonia.  Ah, no rules about THAT.

All over our nation, there are battles over the Ten Commandments even though Christ nailed those to the cross.  Some try to say that the Ten are the moral law and the rest are the ceremonial law and we still need to observe the Ten.  A lady in one of my wife's prayer groups is very contentious about this in terms of the Sabbath.   Funny thing is, the two GREATEST commandments that Jesus gave aren't even in the Ten!   The first is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your  mind."   The second is to love our neighbor as ourself.

It is hard to go into a church that doesn't teach tithing, even though no church I have ever been in actually practices it the way the Jews did (23.3% of the food grown) and even though when the church was established, it was never given to the Gentiles as a requirement.   What is the fascination with cherry-picking commandments???   The forced-tithe crowd don't follow any of the other ceremonial laws and ignore the clear New Testament teaching to NOT give under compulsion but as EACH MAN
determines in his own heart.  The ones that swear by the Sabbath and who would never say "Gee-Whiz" because that is swearing (it is, actually, and I still abide by a strict following not to swear which is also in the New Testament.  Minced oaths do count!), do NOT love their neighbor as themselves.  In fact, they pretty much ignore their neighbor, figuring they are a heathen.   We encourage people to know their neighbors and pray for them and where possible gather together with them.   We get together with our next door neighbors almost every week.  We try to love them as ourselves.  

I believe if we truly understand the grace of God, and follow New Testament guidelines, which are basically that the law is written in our hearts and goes far beyond the Ten Commandments or any of the other Old Testament laws.   We must now love our enemies as well as our friends.  We must not even think about adultery.   We are called to be holy as God is holy.  The rich young rules obeyed all the 10 yet went to hell because he would not sell everything he had and give it to the poor.  A lot of legalistic people sure don't like those portions of scripture!

I hate to see the Ten Commandments or ANYTHING to do with God disrespected.  However, we must be steadfast in our preaching that the answer to our nation's severe decline is not in obeying the Ten Commandments.  The Jews who had a theocracy could not do it and Christ has to come to save us.  The law and the Ten Commandment are unable to save us.  Only Christ an save us and we must preach CHRIST and not laws.   May God bless you!

Monday, May 12, 2014

CHRIST FIRST

t seems like a religious spirit is separating many who profess to be Christians from the very heart of Christianity - Jesus Christ!

Compromise  from the Word of God is an epidemic.  Even  Bible Translators are  changing the very meaningq of the words of God to suit political agenda of feminism, homosexuality, nationalism - you name it.

from the "purpose-driven life”  to "centering prayer" to "social justice", it seems few are satisfied with Od's revelation of himself, and are seeking other priorities largely flashed after the world.

"Love  not the world, neither the things that are in the world. f any man love the world, the love of the Father is NOT in him."

lord, teach us to forsake every false way, to prohibit false teachers who deceive the spiritually weak from a hearing in our homes, to be loyal to God first, and to never let the worldview of the unsaved influence the way we look at Christ.   Lord, I love you.  Perfect me in your ways.  Amen!