Rejects

Have you ever been rejected? Chances are, if you’ve lived long enough to enter grade school; you’ve felt the hurt of rejection in one form or another. We are promised love from so may who come into our lives, promises of unfailing love with the, “I’ll never leave you or hurt you.” thrown in. You know by now that so often this doesn’t work out, and for one reason or another we reject or are rejected. The irony of it all is that each of us continues to search for that forever. I’ve got great news.

There is One who promises that he will never reject you. Check this out: “…those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.”(John 6:37) I really like it when Jesus talks like that! I have to be honest, there have been times in my life when I was not that loveable and can honestly understand why some of the rejection occurred. I mean really, some folks didn’t reject and leave me; they simply escaped! (I would’ve left me too, but I kept showing up everywhere I went!) The love of man is finite, and even with the best of intentions can sometimes reach a limit. What’s so cool is that when Jesus says he won’t reject us, we’re not only dealing with the Son of Man; we’re talking about the Son of God. And his love is eternal.

One more thing, our security in Christ is not based so much on us as it is his own faithfulness. “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40) Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying that we can sin with impunity. The scriptures plainly teach that those who truly believe most definitely do not habitually practice sin as a lifestyle. What I am saying is that despite our propensity to wander and screw up, as we are enabled by God to continually turn from sin and towards God; Jesus is faithful to maintain a firm grip on us because he his doing what the Father wants him to do- save us! It is God who is at work in you and Jesus promised, “If you come to me; I won’t lose you.”

In this world, the love of many waxes cold and rejection is common place. We can be so cruel. We love as long as the objects of our love are making us feel good about ourselves and doing what we want them to do. Then, when they let us down or step out of line; we throw them away and get a new one. Jesus isn’t like that. I don’t care what you’ve done or how many times you’ve stumbled; come to him and he will not disappoint you. He is in it with you for the long haul. He promised he would never reject you; so tell me, how can you reject a love like that?

 

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Cut & Paste

Have you ever heard of the term epistemology? Well, in case you haven’t; epistemology is the means by which we come to know truth. In our postmodern society or post post modern society if you will, the “new” thing is to question our epistemology. How do you know the truth? Can you know the truth? Are you sure you know the truth? There are no absolute truths. Actually, this is nothing new. It’s been going on since the beginning.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He instructed man as to how he was to understand the world in which he found himself. The Creator was clear (“crystal”) as he provided man with the truth as to his position in creation. It wasn’t long though before man was questioned about his epistemology. Remember? ““Did God say? Did God really say? You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:3, 4) Man began to wonder if God was being straight with him. “Perhaps God is holding out on us because He doesn’t want us to be like Him. Do I really need God to provide me with my world view? I don’t need you God; I can be you!” Then it happened, the first “cut & paste” in history. The serpent provided man with a world view we aspired to; so voila, cut & paste and we called it our own.

Our new cut & paste reality insisted that the eating of the fruit would result in enlightenment. We began to think that maybe God didn’t provide us with all we need to function at our optimum level. Our new world view ensured us the means by which we could see and know more. Today, we still opt for “the apple”: religion, spirituality philosophy, drugs, and the list goes on. The world view we have adopted plays upon man’s innate longing to know the spiritual. Man was created to glorify God and enjoy the presence of his creator; but, our adopted world view perverted the way we seek to comprehend spiritual matters. Our “truth” places man in the position of God, with his eyes opened and knowing good from evil where there is no supernatural answer to be sought. Man is the solution; therefore, there is no reason to covet relationship with God.

Here’s the skinny: If you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; come to Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” Eternal life, enlightenment, optimum functionality, and a proper world view are to be found in Jesus. There’s no need to “cut & paste” because in Christ, you can actually “interface” with God as His Spirit takes residence within you. Jesus is the Original “thought.” He is the eternal Word (Logos) of God. You were created to know God, to glorify him, and thoroughly enjoy His presence forever. Don’t settle for a cut & paste world view. Come to Jesus and know reality.

To Tell The Truth

For those of you who have pursued in depth Bible study, the term exegesis is one that you are familiar with. When applied to interpreting biblical text, exegesis is the means by which we “draw out of the text” what is contained within it, or, the way we are led through a text into an accurate understanding of its meaning. Exegetical interpretation involves seeking to understand the original intentions of the author and the meaning he attached to those things he has written. In short, exegesis is intended to get us to the truth.  Okay, now before I lose you and you “click” out of here; let me tell you something cool about this exegesis thing: Jesus is the only one who can give us an accurate exegesis of God. John tells us, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) Interestingly enough, the “has made him known” part is the Greek word ἐξηγήσατο or exēgēsato  Do you see it?

In a culture that is all inclusive and proclaims that all religions are the same, leading to the same God, and so forth; John’s assertion that Jesus is the only means by which we can gain the correct “interpretation” of who God is stands in complete contrast. Now we may not agree with what John states in the prologue of his gospel, but there is no doubt as to his meaning: Jesus alone reveals who God is. Like a Bible student “exegeting” a biblical text, Jesus is the one who explains God and leads us to the proper understanding of who God is.

The common euphemisms of, “Well, if that’s the way you see it, it’s true for you.” and “There are all kinds of truth, great that you have found yours.” are the battle cries of both subjectivism and contemporary existentialism. According to these mindsets, one does not  have to remain fixed upon any reality or even his own personal reality. “One must be willing to declare himself against his previous opinions”, as Nietzsche has stated. Or, as Kierkegaard said, “The thing is to understand myself… to find a truth that works for me… the highest truth attainable for an Existing individual [is simply] an objective uncertainty held fast in the most passionate personal experience.” Well, this may sound attractive and truly liberating, but how do these mindsets stand up against John’s claim that only Jesus reveals God?

It is also popular today, in our postmodern society, to claim that we do not even have the capacity to comprehend truth, reality or much less God himself. Before a person can be made to accept  John’s claim that Jesus is the only one who reveals God, he must first be convinced that the truth about God and reality (including morality and religion) can be known and that reality itself is not subject to one’s own personal perception. C.S. Lewis said, “The consequences of subjectivism and relativism of truth are destructive… to intellectual honesty and to life. For if truth is objective, if we live in a world we did not create and cannot change by merely thinking, if the world is not really a dream of our own, then the most destructive belief we could possibly believe would be the denial of this primary fact.”

Beginning in grade school, facts and figures are communicated through teachers that are, for the most part, accepted without question as truth. In their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist, Norm Geisler and Fran Turek insist, “We also expect to be told the truth when we pick up a reference book, read an article, or watch a news story; we want the truth from advertisers and politicians; we assume road signs, medicine bottles, and food labels reveal the truth.” It seems that in every area of life, truth and reality are looked for and expected. We accept as truth that one plus one equals two, Columbus discovered America, and so on; however, when it comes to God, truth is defined as relative or even unknowable. Why this contradiction?    If a consistent paradigm is to be maintained one would have to acknowledge that just as the reality of mathematical equations and historical facts are knowable, the broader scope of reality, religion, morals, and even God can also be truly comprehended. Perhaps Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.

The gospel of John claims that Jesus is the only way to truly know who God is and come into relationship with him. As I previously said, we may not agree with John’s assertions, but it is indeed what he says. John’s statements are either true or false. There is no middle ground. So, what do we do about it? Come to Jesus, receive him, believe on his name, and you will know the truth about who God is. I like how the Apostle Paul put it, “See to it that no one takes you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells in bodily form…”

A Holy Ethnicity

I often have the opportunity to sit with “church leaders” of various ethnicities in the Charlotte NC area and discuss many hot button topics. As you could probably guess, as of late, the Presidential Election has been the prevalent topic. While the conversations have always remained civil and respectful, I couldn’t help but notice that there was an “elephant” in the room which we all avoided mentioning- racial tension. Sides were being taken along racial lines, and it really grieved my heart that no one (including me) addressed the issue. This got me thinking about the verse in I Peter 2, where Peter says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Hmm… race, nation… Is there anything we can learn from this other than the usual, “I’m royalty.” bit?

Peter tells his readers that they are a chosen γένος (genos) or race. That’s where we get our word gene, genetic, etc… He also calls them an ἔθνος (ethnos) ἅγιον (holy) or holy nation. Ethnos, hmm…ethnic, ethnicity- interesting.  I began to think of the diverse audience to which Peter had written. I thought of the social and cultural context in which they existed. Here were a people (Jew & Gentile alike) scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, living under the oppressive hand of the Roman Empire. If you weren’t a Roman citizen, chances are you were having a pretty bad day. In the midst of this difficulty, Peter wants the believers to understand that they are a holy “ethnic group,” intentionally chosen by God. Brothers and sisters, in Christ, we are no longer white or black Americans. We have been made into a brand new, holy ethnicity!

As children of God, we are a new creation. We are in Jesus, and there is no Jew, Gentile, Black, or White.  A new man has been created in Christ. A new, holy “ethnos” has been made out of every kindred, tribe, and tongue! There is no place for racism of any kind in the body of Christ for we are all together a chosen race and a holy nation. When we as members of the body of Christ define and/or divide ourselves along racial lines we are being carnal and have forgotten that we are literally joined together as one in Christ. When we make distinctions along racial lines according to the flesh, referring to “our people,” “our this,” or “our that”; we have forgotten who we are in Jesus. Frankly, I as a middle-aged, white, southern, male Christian should be more at home with my black sister from New York than I am with a middle-aged, white, southerner who doesn’t know the Lord. Think about it. The same Holy Spirit is conforming us to the image of Christ. Shouldn’t we have more in common with each other than with the world? Shouldn’t we resemble one another? Shouldn’t we desire  fellowship  with one another more than we do the fellowship of those who are our “kindred” after the flesh?

Brothers and sisters, a President is not the hope of our people. A transforming political ideology is not what our people need. We have a King, and his name is Jesus. We are one in his Spirit, a chosen race, a holy ethnicity. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and though we are many; we have been made partakers of the same Spirit. So, while in the world, comments like, “You can’t possibly understand because you’re not black/white.” may be the norm, in the body of Christ, we know each other after the Spirit. We always have common ground and avenues of understanding because in Him, we are one.

The political process has served to expose the earthly-mindedness of many of God’s people. Apparently, we have become so in love with this world that we are willing to be divided from our brothers and sisters in Christ for the sake of our own carnal desires. We have forgotten that together, all of us make up the body of Christ. We belong to Him and to each other. We are called out from being simply a white man, or a black woman. We are a brand new creation in Christ. We are a chosen race with a common “genetic code.” We  are a holy ethnicity, a brand new nation of people, set apart in Christ,  to show the world the glory of our King.

 

 

 

 

 

OZmosis

Walking down the old “Roman Road” just wont do for those who have taken the yellow-brick road to Oz, and now reside somewhere over the rainbow.

In an ever undulating culture, only the Wind of the Spirit can communicate the steadfast reality of life in the Son.

Reciting a list of God’s attributes does little for those who, having seen through the sterilized facade of our dead religion, attribute to us no relevance at all.

Is it because we do not truly know Him ourselves that we doom a generation to invent heresies which provide them with the communion and intimacy they so desperately seek?  It’s so hard to tell them about Someone we don’t really know.

Have the “Cross” and the “Blood” become mere nails we use to secure our institutions against the intruding winds of change? It’s the Cross and the Blood which are to reveal the very love and life of God, not provide a manual by which we construct impenetrable religious strongholds where we hide safe from the chaos of the world.

Aunty Em is standing on the front porch pleading for Dorothy to come back home, but Dorothy Gale has been mystified by Professor Marvel and his crystal ball.

In a world inundated with parlor tricks, only the Power of the Spirit can demonstrate the reality of an almighty God.

Repeating the sinner’s prayer does little for those who, having seen through the hypocritical veil with which we cover our own sin, pray that we simply go away.

Is it the preoccupation we have with the lust of our own flesh that will doom this generation to a hell which we ourselves will barely escape? It’s so hard to tell the world about the beauty of holiness when we’re no different than they are.

Have “Sanctification” and “Righteousness” become nothing more than pharisaical labels used to keep out those “undesirables”? It’s the Church clothed in garments of white that is to invite an on looking world to glorify God, not push them away as if we’re afraid they might get us dirty.

“Better get under cover, Sylvester. There’s a storm blowin’ up – a whopper, to speak in the vernacular of the peasantry. Poor little kid, I hope she gets home all right.”

True Ministry

Back in January I published a series on ministry, and it still weighs so heavy on my heart. I believe we have such a misconception as to what true ministry is and exactly who is called to do it.  I decided to condense the previous posts into this one, and I pray it speaks to your heart.

We find that in Ephesians 4 the bible tells us that Jesus gave gifts to the church: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of the saints (that’s you if you are in Christ) for the work of the ministry (your Bible may say work of service or something similar). So really, the job of the “vocational minister” is to equip the saints to do ministry. We need to move away from this “clergy/laity mentality” and understand that all who are in Christ are called to do the work of ministry. Ministry is something all believers are to do.

Okay, so what does it mean to be equipped?  Well if you study the word translated equip you find that the word refers to that which has been restored to its original condition, is being made fit or being made complete. The root word was used as a medical term used for setting bones! Secular Greek also used it to refer to the furnishing a house. Paul’s use in the context of the Body, the Church, pictures the complete furnishing of the believer so that he/she might be made ready to fulfill their purpose in the body of Christ where they have been placed by God’s Spirit. This equipping denotes the “net-mending” process the fishermen would utilize, equipping the net to catch the fish. The Greek word denotes not so much an adding something that is lacking, but rather a straightening out. We have handed all ministry over to the “professionals” when in reality, it is the job of the “professional” to equip the saints to do ministry themselves!

But, what is true ministry? True, ministry may be manifested in many different forms. I have to be real careful when I try defining what real ministry is or is not. (Didn’t Jesus talk about giving someone water in his name?) What is it that Jesus is calling you to do? How does authentic ministry really look? We have a lot of mistaken ideas about ministry. Can I tell you that doing good deeds in and of itself is not ministry? (I Corinthians 13:3)  We must not mistake doing good things for ministry. Does not the world have programs to feed the poor and clothe the naked? Can I tell you that prophesying, casting out demons and things like that can be accomplished and it still not be true ministry? (Matthew 7:21-23)

There’s a story in the Bible that most of us have heard about which provides wonderful insight into how true ministry works, i.e., the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Let me break it down for you like this:

I. The Lord knows what he wants to accomplish through you. John 6:6 says that Jesus knew what He was going to do that day he fed the 5,000. He had asked Phillip how they would feed the people, but, He already knew what He was going to do. Jesus may bring you into a situation where you cannot possibly meet the need in and of yourself. Like the disciples you look out and say, “Lord, we need to send these folks away so they can get something to eat…” and He replies, “No, you feed them.” You look around and it seems impossible. The need is too great, but He knows what he’s going to do.

You may say, “Lord these people knew they were gonna need food, they should have brought some. I don’t have anything to give them.” But, He knows what he’s gonna do. You see, part of equipping Phillip,and the rest of the disciples (and you and me) was to deliberately put them (us) in a situation in which they (we) are insufficient within ourselves to minister. BUT HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO!!

This feeding of the 5,000 would glorify Jesus and show the crowd who he was. That’s what you are called to do, show those he brings to you who he is. You may not be called to stand behind a pulpit, travel on a missions trip, write books, or make cds; but you most definitely are called to show others who Jesus is. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand for you to walk in.”  The first thing I want you to see about ministry is that the Lord is in control and He already knows what He wants to do through you. And oh yeah, don’t be surprised if it seems impossible.

II. The “face” of ministry. What do the ministers look like? The Body of Christ works together, no one part is greater than the other. As we have discussed, Jesus had brought them all into a situation in which He already knew what He was going to do; but, his disciples didn’t. They saw the great need and figured the best thing to do was send everybody away to fend for themselves. Keep in mind that Jesus is the ultimate shepherd/pastor, so, can’t you see that He was “equipping” (like your ministers are supposed to do)?) them?  The disciples had nothing to offer, but it was one of the disciples (Andrew) who brought the little boy whom Jesus would use to the forefront.

In ministry, Jesus may use you to be a coordinator. You may not be the one who directly meets the need, but you may be one who the Spirit of God uses to coordinate. Like the disciples, you may think you have nothing to give, but, God has a plan. How many people have not been ministered to because God’s plan didn’t look how we thought it should? Andrew (another disciple), who was a coordinator in this instance, becomes aware of the boy who had the loaves and fish, but still doubts that such a little bit could accomplish anything. How many times have you felt like sharing, giving, or saying something, but, felt like it wouldn’t amount to anything?

III. The Little boy and his lunch.  When Andrew became aware of the boy and his lunch, despite his doubts; he told the Lord. And Jesus said, “Bring it to me.” Now let me ask you, do you think that the little boy was really the only one who had sense enough to bring food or was he the only one who was willing to surrender his? We don’t know for sure, but it made me think how that sometimes we are so concerned with my growth, my relationship with the Lord (which is good), but we forget that its not all about us. In the Old Testament, when the land was being allotted, and the 2 ½ tribes opted to stay on the east side of the Jordan; they still had to send their warriors to help their brothers obtain their inheritance. Are you so focused on you and yours that you have forgotten that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who need you to minister to them, much less a world that is dying and going to hell?

Anyhow, back to the little boy; we don’t know who he was, his name, or anything. He’s the kid with the food. We see in this that true ministry is not intended to make us celebrities. We 21st century Western Christians may have said, “I can’t believe Jesus didn’t even mention my name. They should at least name a grassy slope after me. I’m keeping my stuff they should’ve known better. This little bit wouldn’t do any good.” Jesus took the boy’s lunch, gave thanks, then broke the loaves and had the food distributed among the people. We may hand the Lord something that looks good, appears to be whole and worthy of use, but, he must first break it so he can use it to feed people. So often, we are impressed with our “loaf of bread” and we don’t want Jesus to break it. “Jesus, you’ve messed up my loaf!” My gifts were so pretty. What was wrong with it the way it was? You could’ve just passed it around whole like a never ending loaf of bread.” Can I go further? It is we ourselves who must be broken. In the 1st century that word serve we talked about earlier was considered offensive and degrading by the Greeks. To the Greeks the development of ones own personality was the highest aim. To serve another was menial and common. (Sounds like us huh?) We must come to the understanding that service is not something that a lesser person does to someone greater; no, it is the lifestyle of a disciple. You are called to minister. You are called to serve. That pride and selfishness which is prevalent among us must be broken so that what God has given us may be used to bring others to Christ. Our American “I’m supposed to be a celebrity” mentality has to be broken. I once heard of a sign that hung over a kitchen sink which read “Ministry performed here three times a day.”

Conclusion:  True ministry points to and flows from Jesus. Jesus used a little boy to give the disciples something to distribute among the people. It all came from Jesus’ hand; that’s how true ministry works. Maybe you’re the little boy, nameless and faceless, or maybe you’re like the disciples, seen and used to distribute the food. It doesn’t matter; it’s all from Jesus and for His glory. Will you come and give yourself and what you have to Him. Will accept your role whether it be known or unknown? Will you come and surrender yourselves and your gifts? Will you allow Him to break you and your “loaf,” and distribute it as he sees fit? True ministry is not a result of some high-profile, superstar preacher, but rather; it is an equipped, surrendered Body of Christ that works of ministry are to be performed that the Lord will use to meet the needs of those around them. I’ll close with one final thought: Pastor, your people are not to be a burden, nor a distraction which hinders you from fulfilling the vision God has placed within you. No, they are the very ones who will accomplish the task. Equip the saints. As they work, shop, go to school, etc…; they will transform the community in which they live one heart at a time.

 

Desire

Christian,

After you have confused Christianity with Patriotism  …

After you have forsaken preaching the gospel of Jesus for becoming a minister of the American Dream…

After you have partnered with the world and made unholy alliances which divide you from others in the Body of Christ…

After you have argued, manipulated, and fought to secure your precious rights…

After you have voted…

When it turns out just as you hoped it would and you get everything you want, will you be able to bear it when you see with your eyes what you have truly desired in your heart?

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Looking In the Mirror

In prayer, I began to think about some of the people in my life. There are those who are mere acquaintances, others who I know rather well, and still others who I would consider to be intimate friends. (While I most definitely haven’t retreated into some kind of monastic solitude and ceased to interact with those outside of Christ, I should point out that I am talking about brothers and sisters in the Lord). Anyhow, I was thinking about how my closest friends love the Lord and seek him just as I do, yet; we have such different thoughts concerning life and ministry. I began to ask the Lord to help me understand theses things. Honestly, I must say as of now I haven’t received any great “revelations,” but He did show me some things – about me.

Isn’t it strange that when you go to the Lord with your complaints about “every body else,” he is usually more interested in talking about you? The Spirit brought to my mind that passage in James 4 that asks, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” I immediately began to ask God to expose my motives. I started thinking that maybe some of the difficulty I was having with my thoughts about others was due to my own selfish desires. I wondered if perhaps my expectations of others had become centered on my desires instead of the will of God. I thought of how strange it is that in the midst of our pursuing Jesus, we are still able to hurt each other; if not outright, in the secret place of our hearts. Something just didn’t seem right about that. I began to suspect that perhaps even my supposed selflessness was selfish, and that my love for others was shallow and disingenuous.

As I waited before the Lord, I began to ask him if I had come to cherish the act of ministry more than the people to whom I minister. Am I truly seeking to build up and equip the body of Christ, or am I in love with preaching, teaching, and singing? Am I holding on to my position out of fear that if I let go, I wont be able to “minister” as I have I have become accustomed to doing? Has my service to God become about me? Perhaps the conflict regarding ministry I sometimes sense with others is merely a result of my own selfish desires.

Pondering these things in his presence, I began to cry out for God to heal me. I thought of David’s prayer to God for a clean heart and a right spirit. I was reminded that it is the willing spirit that the joy of fellowship with God produces that yields fruitful ministry. I was brought back to the realization that knowing and loving him is what life is all about. Anything that is pleasing to the Father is produced out of our intimacy with Jesus. I don’t have the capacity within myself to truly love or sincerely minister. I need God’s Spirit to expose me, and give me discernment as to my motives, and then produce in me the heart of Jesus. Yeah, there are always going to be trials, especially when it comes to relationships (real boats rock), but honestly; I’m beginning to think that the biggest problem I have with everybody else is me.

“So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’”

God American Style

“Then the People said, “Let us create god in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26 USA translation)

When you listen to politicians talk nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear about having faith in God. Candidates are quick to quote the Bible and tell us that we ought to be thankful to our creator for the many blessings we have. Yep, it’s God this and God that. My question is, “What God are you talking about?” See, the funny thing is that in all this talk about God, you never hear anything mentioned about Jesus. Houston, we have a problem.

In the Bible we find that the Father has summed up all things in Christ. God said that the he has laid a Cornerstone on which everything is built- Jesus! We learn from scripture that although in the past, God spoke in many portions and in many ways, in these last days; he has given his final word in Jesus. The Bible tells us that the one who has the Son has the life, and he that does not have the Son, well, does not have the life. I John tells us that if you do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, you have made God out to be a liar. The Bible teaches us that it is only through Christ that we can have understanding so that we can know the true God. Read the epistles of Paul and count the number of times he uses the phrase, “In Christ.” Over and over again the Bible tells that all things are in Jesus, and if you want to interact with the Father; you come through Christ. What I’m saying is this; there is no true faith in God apart from faith in Jesus. “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”

It seems that we here in America have created a god in our own image. We have manufactured a god who does not demand that we come to him by faith, through the cross of his Son. No, the god we have created is simply some force for good out there some where who desires that we believe in him/her/it in whatever way we deem appropriate. The god we have created demands only that we love our country, have faith in ourselves, and oh yeah; BELIEVE. Sadly, many who name the name of Jesus have rejected Christ and the offense of the cross opting instead for a generic, one size fits all god that really is no god at all.

Listen Christian, especially southern, bible-belt Christians like me. This is not Grandma Myrtle’s world. Just because someone throws around words like God, faith, and believe doesn’t mean that they are in relationship with God. Even when someone does mention Jesus, you need to ask which Jesus. Is it Jesus, absolute Lord and master, the Word of God made flesh, Messiah who by the blood of his cross atoned for our sins? Any Jesus that does not fit this description is a false Jesus. There is one God and he has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Let me put it this way; Jesus is God. We can talk about faith all we want, but unless this faith in God is expressed through belief in his Son; we are deceived and merely worshiping a god we have created in our own image.