Is Salvation important…to the Church?



Sometimes I think the church is more concerned about competition than it is about people.
It strikes me that many churches spend a lot of money on “church-growth” seminars and guest speakers and even other resources just to increase their Sunday attendances.  I doubt many pastors are like this, but at times there is this perception that the more people a church can attract the more in tithes and offerings they will receive.  

I feel it vital, for we who are church members and fellow sojourners of Christ, to stop the comparisons and the rivalries.  What is the purpose of such folly?  Are we fulfilling the great commission when we look across the street and the other church and covet what they have?  Are we really reaching the lost and hurting in our world when we mock or slam other churches and denominations?  Granted there is a time and place for theological conversations, but our unloving actions have a way of destroying any good we might do.  

Fellow believers in Christ, how vital do you consider the salvation of others to be?  This isn’t a question about how big or small your (our) church is, this is a question about your (our) mission and your (our) priorities.  Sometimes we cloudy the already murky waters of what we do and make excuses for our busy-ness when the #1 priority is to, through the Holy Spirit’s power, help save lost souls.  If what we are doing does in no way impact the potential salvation of the lost then, perhaps, we must once again re-align our priorities.  

I offer you two solutions to assist in the realignment of mission:

 1.  Stop Coveting what you do not have!  

1 Corinthians 12:12 – “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

We need to get back to work!  Just because another church is having success doing one thing really well, doesn’t mean that we have to stop what we are doing and adopt their mission.  Perhaps they are fulfilling their “part of the body” and we need to put our heads down and stop coveting what they are doing!  Our mission and effective tools, given by the Holy Spirit, might be something completely different than theirs.  We don’t need to have an identity crisis over this, we have to move on and prayerfully and humbly do as He (the Holy Spirit) prompts us to.  We may never look like that mega-church down the street, but was that supposed to be our “model” for Holy Living in the first place?  NO!  Jesus should never be replaced with out covetous longings to be someone else.  He has created us very differently and uniquely!  So with that in mind we need to stop the comparisons and sometimes the jealousy…get on with it!   

2.  Start using what you do have!  

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 – There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts and dare I say even the passion to fulfill our mission of Salvation to the lost.  So we must be willing to use what He has given us to use.  We must stop with our identity crisis and get on with the full utilization of the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit wishes us to employ!  He provides what we need, so we have to work within our giftings and abilities!  Every one of us is vital to the body of Christ.  It matter little if we serve in a small church or big church.  The message has to be the same though the gifts might often differ.  

Is Salvation important to you?  

If the answer is “yes” then we need to put aside our jealousy and our frustrations.  We may even have to go before the Father and ask for forgiveness because of our covetous ways.  The church was never intended to be some sort of statistical competitive success drive, but rather a mission of love, compassion and grace who willingly went to the orphans, widows, the poor and hurting and those who were seeking.  We are still that today?  Can we put aside our ridiculous worldly desire for statistical successes and instead focus on the vital nature of the great commission and disciple making?  

Perhaps it’s time for a readjustment of our motives and our missions.  Perhaps it’s time to get back on our knees and allow the Holy Spirit to reignite our wandering hearts.  Perhaps it is time to stop relying on our “church-self help books & seminars” (sometimes they work) and start relying more on the leading of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our hearts.  There is not some “quick” method to salvation…it begins in relationship, love and fellowship.  So, without further adieu, let’s get on with it!  



“That Preacher was wrong – confronting a false teaching”

Confronting A False Teaching:

ImageThere is a false teaching in some churches  that I believe begs to be addressed.  At the moment of confession and even in some theological circles the notion that prosperity is just around the corner for a Christian if they just have faith and pray for it is blatantly false.  Sometimes this falsity has been preached by television evangelists to coax those with itching ears to make a commitment to Christ.  Dare I say that many of these evangelists are only interested in their continued success and for that additional statistic of “new converts”.  They sell this lie quite convincingly with words like “If you confess your sins God will enter your life and He will give you whatever you ask of Him.”  These words are twisted from the original John 14:13 passage to imply that if you just pray hard enough God will help pay your bills or buy you that new car or bring you that new job you were dreaming about.  In essence this false teaching makes God out to be some sort of Genie who grants wishes to those who call upon His name.  But how often do these prosperity preachers really explain the above verse correctly?  


Will things really become a Mary Poppins world when we accept Christ?  Will things remarkably change for us when we confess our sins?  Yes and no.  Of course if we confess and genuinely repent of our sins God’s spirit will indwell within us.  God’s presence will be there to guide us and we will not be alone…BUT does that mean that all of a sudden all of life’s problems will disappear?  NO!  I don’t mean to sound negative or share a dismal offering here but let’s be real – We will still have to face our life and the journey that we are on in this life.  The new element that God gives us once we accept Him is that we are no longer alone on this journey and He travels right beside us.  The big key in this new element is that we no longer live for ourselves but we live for Christ – 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Once we accept the identity of God in Christ and understand what selfless sacrifice and salvation looks like we must then align ourselves with Him.  This is the pilgrim’s progress on the journey to Holiness (becoming fully like Christ).  If we accept this truth as a Christ-follower then we can discard the false teaching of prosperity.  Let me clarify this too:  The worldly prosperity false teaching which has entered the church is based upon human selfishness and greed.  But what if we were to take “Self” out of the equation?  What would happen then?


The Answer to Prosperity Preaching: 

Taking “Self” out of the equation and following John the Baptist’s example when He said “He (Christ) must become greater; I (John the Baptist) must become less.” (John 3:30) We can then begin to understand the true prosperity of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Selflessness brings us one step closer to Holiness in our reflection of Christ.  But what is the purpose of such a leap?  Why become selfless?  

There are two basic reasons: 

(Godly Relationship – Us)

1) It takes the focus off of our earthly fallible sin-sick desires and re-aligns them to Christ’s which in turn opens our hearts for a deeper, richer, Agape Love.  We begin to see our intended purpose in our fellowship and growing closeness with God through Christ.  

(Godly Relationship – others)

2) As we grow in closeness to God in our selfless state we begin to see the struggling lostness of the world around us and are compelled by His love to reach out into that darkness.  

The false teaching of Prosperity in this world forgets to continue reading a pivotal verse in this erroneous teaching:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) 

Myth: If we ask the Father for anything on our wish list and if we possess faith enough in His presence it will be given.  What we need to recognize and combat in this false teaching is that what ever we ask in HIS NAME is for the purpose of Glorifying God.  So how does winning the lottery glorify God?  How does praying for that new car and wishing God would just give it to us glorify God?  It doesn’t.  

We must guard ourselves against this false teaching.  Stop naming it and claiming it.  God doesn’t work like that.  When we remove self from the formula of Christ-following we begin to grasp the depths of the true prosperity of the Kingdom.  God wants us to fully rely on Him and to ask Him for help and guidance, just beware of how we ask and for what purpose we are asking.  The Christian life, post salvation, may not look like a Mary Poppins world.  We may still have some rough breaks ahead, but God goes with us into those dark valleys and troubles.  He will strengthen us and guide us and pour upon us His richness of grace in the process.  

Fellow Christ-follower, don’t buy the lie of these false teachers out there who want to sell you a pipe dream.  They will only lead us astray from truly following selflessly the Christ who gave it all for the lost so that they may be saved…can we do the same?  

-Just a thought.  


A prayer for passion and re-ignition

If speech and arts are not accompanied by love and passion

they will fall horribly short and mean nothing but empty sound. 

If actions are done out of obligation without compassion and care

they will reach numbed hands and cold hearts in a winter world.

If our actions are compelled only by our pay checks and selfish desires

we will start fires in our pocketbooks but not in the hearts of men.

It will all be for naught and this world would have inherited another cold soul.

Passion, fire and love begin and end with a heart knowledge of God.

Without such an intimate experience we can live, but it will be temporal

it will be less, it will be empty and vacant where He could reside and stoke

the fires of our souls and passions.

Dear Lord, Ignite our flames once more.

Ignite in us Your burning passion for Holiness and compassion

for this world in which we live.

May our worship not be out of obligation or command

but out of love and this deep desire to know more of You, 

and through this engulfing flame, may our eyes

see others the way You see them and be spurned to act

without our interests in mind, but to capture the hearts 

of others for You and Your kingdom come. 



“Brothers don’t shake hands…Brothers gotta hug!”

The title I have used today is a quote from one of my favorite Chris Farley movies: “Tommy Boy”.   In it he discovers (falsely so) that he has a brother and so he is ecstatic to welcome him into the family.  The film is a little crude at times, yet Chris Farley had a way of hamming it up for cameras which made him extremely funny.

Do you know what’s not funny in this world though?  Brothers and sisters in Christ facing discouragement and frustrations alone in life.  Why does this happen?  Isn’t the Body of Christ supposed to uplift and encourage?  Where are the helping hands at times to come along those who are suffering through various blights of discouragement?

Paul puts it rather plainly for the early church and for us still today when he says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) 

Why then, in times of despair, does it seem as if some are trudging through it alone?

Do you remember the story of the paralytic who wanted to be healed by Jesus?  How did he get to Jesus?  He certainly didn’t walk there.  No, instead his friends took the time to care for him.  They took the time to pick him up on his mat and take him to Jesus.  In fact they had to go to great lengths to place their friend at the feet of Jesus.  When they got to where Jesus was teaching they discovered that the house was full of people, there was absolutely no room for them to carry him in on his mat.  So instead of calling it quits or abandoning their friend they instead devised a shrewd plan.  The hefted him, laboriously up onto the owner’s roof and tore a hole in it so that they could lower him down to Jesus.  (Mark 2:4)  What friends!   They took the time to encourage and lift (literally) their friend to Jesus.

What of us today?  Do we take the time to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Or are we too preoccupied with our own worries and our own busy schedules?  These friends who lowered their paralyzed colleague down through a roof could have called it quits once they found the house to be too full of people.  They could have shrugged their shoulders and said, “well we tried” and carried him back home with no change in his living situation…yet they didn’t.  They took time out of their busy schedules.  They went the extra mile.  They weren’t interested in what they could get out of the situation.  It wasn’t about them, it was about their friend, their brother on the mat who couldn’t move.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is sometimes a danger of becoming too comfortable in our lives that we lose focus on others around us.  Others who could use some encouragement.  Others who need to hear a word of love and kindness from their peers.  We can’t afford to be little isolated islands or clusters of Church goers who never engage and connect with other parts of the body of Christ!

The poet John Donne once wrote:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

Today, there are fellow Christ-followers who need your support.  Today there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are about to give up because they feel all alone with no one to support them.  Today is another shining opportunity to be a brother or a sister to the discouraged and distraught.  You can be a source of encouragement.  You don’t need to be a professional counselor or a degreed Psychologist to help, you just need to be present and available.

Are you willing?  Are you available?  Ask the Lord for guidance and discernment and then get involved in the lives of other believers which will extend far beyond the pew on Sundays.  Give them a hug, love on them and then allow God’s fellowship of love to penetrate your hearts so that self isn’t number one but Christ is first and others are even before our own wants and needs.

-Just a thought for today.

and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith...” 1 Thessalonians 3:2

“Like-minded…but not like the Borg!”

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” -Philippians 2:1,2


What does ‘being like minded’ mean?  I’m a science fiction geek I freely admit it!  And I recall the old Star Trek Next Generation when the Enterprise faced off a number of times with the terrifying aliens called the ‘Borg’.  The thing that stood them apart and made them so dangerous was that they were of one mind.  They were all connected to the ‘collective’ and they would absorb and assimilate other cultures and worlds, thereby gaining knowledge and understanding.  The Borg were terrifying and yet effective because of the ‘like-minded collective.

But truly, science fiction aside, what does being like-minded mean?  Are we to be God’s “collective” here on Earth?  Not for any evil purpose mind you, but for His Holy purpose?  What does being like-minded mean?  Especially when we see so many church splits, divisions and varying thoughts of ideology.  How is it that what began as one body of believers coming together to worship, testify and make other disciples has ended up being many bodies and many sets of worship practices?  Is this what Christ had in mind?  If I were to take it a step further, if this wasn’t what Christ had in mind then did He make a mistake?

The answer to both of those questions is ‘NO’!  His prayer ‘that they may all be one” (John 17:21) is still a prayer for us today.  The problem with this earthly body of believers is that we have free will.  When it comes to deciding and making our choices in worship and practice, we fall short of attaining this unity.  Let’s be honest, church has in the past, present and most probably the future been run by those within the spectrum of human authority.  Sure God has been present within churches, but not all decisions made by man have been God led or God honoring.  It is safe to say that politics is alive and well within the Church.  Both on the large and small scare this is true.  From leadership selection to the color of the carpet in a chapel there is politics involved.  I think Paul had experienced politics that was of selfish intent through various towns and cities when he went on to say in this same passage, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” -Philippians 2:3-4


Unfortunately the down side is that some, not all, leaders are bent to self and selfish motivations.  It’s the nature of humanity that is not fully surrendered which becomes evident through the choices of man sugar coating it to be what God has intended.  But I am confident that God can take that which man has marred, that which man has broken, that which man has truly messed up and turn it into something remarkable.

It’s not that I  willingly place my faith and trust in leaders who lead this way, but rather in my submission to the Father in Heaven.  So that when I say “Thy will be done” I really mean it even if I am subjugated to a system or to leaders who are fallible and often make decisions based politically rather than biblically.

Paul implores us all to serve selflessly rather than selfishly.  When we can actually practice selflessness in word and in deed then being like-minded can actually occur within God’s body here on earth.

Confession time:

I too struggle with this in my life.  There have been times when I have made decisions based on how it will impact me rather than others.  Sometimes that full surrender isn’t made complete in me.  It’s a daily thing that must take place, in which we force our selfishness back in the box, we kneel before the Father and give Him the box again and we allow His love to shine through us instead of the light of selfish intentions and moral failings.

I want to be a transformer in my world how about you?  I want to be like-minded with others who are in the truth but this can’t be done if I’m looking out for me, myself and I.  If we are to function and thrive as His ambassadors we have to stop playing church politics and the selfishness game and instead face the mission of Christ that He beckons us to.


What do I stand for? (Day 1 of 5 Selfishness/Selflessness)


What do I stand for?   The music video linked here by ‘Fun.’ asks a very good question, and within the context of living as Kingdom people, followers of Christ, this question begs an answer in all of us!  If we are truly honest with ourselves we have asked this question a time or two.  This question encompasses a whole spectrum of things from political beliefs and ideologies to intrinsic ethical and moral convictions of our personal worldviews.  This question can be a very existential pondering.  For when we ask this solitary question, other questions in the sequence of our lives beg to be asked as well.

Automatically, when thinking about what we stand for, we will recall the ‘golden rule’; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.  And certainly this is applicable, but what is it that we would like others to do unto us?  Love us?  Yes.  Treat us fairly? Check.  Be honest?  Certainly.  Be kind?  Absolutely.  All of these qualities and more is what we would have others do to us.

Enter Selfishness:

We hold to those truths listed above for others, but what about the way we treat other people?  Do we treat others the same way?  All too often we peer through rose colored glasses in how we treat others but if we were to look harder at our motives and intentions, we would quickly realize that many times we do things that will benefit us.  If there isn’t something in it for us, then we quickly lose interest and pursue things more self-involved and self-fulfilled.  Selfishness is our down fall most of the time.  If we aren’t fulfilled by the things we do, then no one will be fulfilled.  This is our old sinful self that is rearing its ugly head.  If there was a weakness in the Christian armor, the chinks in the armor would be selfishness and pride.   If we let our selfishness reign supreme in our decisions and in our lifestyles then we aren’t fulfilling our calling as Christ-followers.   Selflessness and Selfishness cannot take up the same space within our hearts; it’s either one or the other.   This is the crux of our world today, many of our sin issues that is crumbling any sense of morality comes from our pursuit of selfishness.

What Does Selflessness look like?

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV) 

If we stand for Christ and for what He seeks to do for the lost in our world then we must become servants and serve!  Becoming a servant of Christ isn’t easy, and it never will be if we still operate from our old selfishness.  Before we knew Christ we were consumed by this selfishness.  Now that we know Him and identify with His suffering we too must stand for more than just ourselves.  That old operating system of self cannot and will not lead others to God.  It will only perpetuate that sinful selfish cycle that this world is so used to.  What Christ did, was turn selfishness on its head.  What He asks of us as Sons and daughters of God is to follow in His footsteps as we fulfill that great commission:

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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

When we ‘go’ we are called to leave our selfishness behind.  This, from the start is where we begin this journey of what we stand for!


Like a television series, imagine the old announcer say, “Tune in tomorrow, we’ll explore ‘Standing for God’s justice’.”

Blog at

Up ↑