God Is Not Dead

GND-featured-wideFrom The Evangelical Free Church Statement of Faith:
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

How does the Holy Spirit Equip and empower believers for Christ-like living and service?

Through the 7 Fold Ministry of the Holy Spirit Isaiah 11:1-3
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall (1) rest upon (Seal) him, the Spirit of (2) wisdom and (3) understanding, the Spirit of (4) counsel and (5) might (miracles), the Spirit of (6) knowledge (Revelation) and the (7) fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

It is something we don’t always think about but the ministry of Jesus Christ was equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirt. The Spirit rested upon Him, He was sealed by the Spirit. He ministered in the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, which is miracles, the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord! We know Jesus operated in relation to the Holy Spirit. What is fascinating is we are told in ,

Luke 4:1-2a, “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit as He was led out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. We are told in,

Luke 4:14, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.”

FASCINATING! Jesus went into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, and He returned in the Power of the Spirit! What changed? According to Ephesians 1:13, “In him (Jesus Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Like Christ when we believe or trust in Christ as our Savior, inviting Him to be Lord of our lives, we also receive the Holy Spirit. The 7 fold ministry of the Spirit is now at work in us! Like Christ, the root of Jesse, the Holy Spirit rests on us. We too are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
A good friend of mine, Pastor Ed Bontrager, explains it this way. We, like Christ, are filled with the Holy Spirit, in the same way a car may be filled with fuel. Like Christ as He was led into the wilderness, you could say we are, “Full of the Holy Spirt.” However, the car does not operated in the power of the fuel until it the engine runs, the fuel is flowing, and the car is moving. In the same way we are in the power of the Spirit when we yield to the movement, or flow of the Spirt as He works in and through us.

Romans 8:11, says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Fuel, “Gives life,” to the car in the same way the Spirit, “Gives life,” to us!
John Bavere, Christian author and speaker, ministered to a tribe of people in a far off land. After spending a great deal of time teaching them the truth of the gospel of Christ he blessed the tribe by purchasing and delivering to them a brand new truck and enough fuel to last them a very long time. John told them how the truck would make every aspect of village life better for them. He spent a long time teaching them all about the truck. He showed them how to use the A/C and the heat. He explained how the window defrosters and windshield wipers worked. The villagers were extremely grateful for the love, teachings, and gifts they had received. Sometime later John Bavere returned to the village to find that the truck he had purchased had not been moved. The villagers decided not to use the powerful tools they had been given.
In the same way you and I having trusted in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and invited Him to be Lord of our lives, received the gift of the Holy Spirit, a powerful tool for every aspect of our lives. Like the villagers, we sometimes neglect to take advantage of the gift. We are full of the Holy Spirit, we just don’t always operate in the power of the Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit equip and empower us for Christ-like living, and service?

Through the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The first three fruit of the Holy Spirt are love, joy, and peace. Out of the first three fruit flow the last six.
For example: How can we have the fruit of patience when life is crazy and people are testing our last nerve? We have patience through the peace of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit ministers true peace in our lives, although life is crazy we have inner peace. This peace works patience in us.
How can we have the fruits of kindness, and gentleness when the world is hate filled and evil? The Holy Spirit has worked love in us. We are filled with the supernatural love God. Our sense of value doesn’t come from the world so it doesn’t matter if the world loves us. Our true sense of value doesn’t even come from our family and friends so it doesn’t matter if they are not loving toward us we have the love of God manifest through His Spirt, this produces kindness, and gentleness in us.
How can we have the fruit of self-control? All of the things we are looking for in the world are found in the fullness of God. He is our love, our sense of acceptance, and approval. We don’t need to seek love through the sins of this world. He is our joy. We don’t need to seek joy through the sins of the world. He is our sense of personal, and spiritual peace. We don’t need to seek peace through the sins of the world.

How does the Holy Spirit Equip and empower believers for Christ-like living and service?

Through the gifts of the Spirit.

Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

In fact Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

So what are the gifts of the Holy Spirt? There are two main lists of the gifts of the Spirt the first is found in Ephesians 4, the second is found in 1 Corinthians 12.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

These gifts, we are told in Scripture, are, “To serve one another,” and, “For the common good,” and are, “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.  Let’s take a quick look at the gifts of the Spirit.

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Romans 12:4-8 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

God is NOT dead!

In 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 the Bible says, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Because Paul spoke of prophecies passing away, and tongues ceasing, some have come to believe that these gifts are no longer in operation. This belief is called, “Cessationism.” This teaching asserts that when the perfect came, that is the Bible, these, “Sign gifts,” are no longer necessary. However, a close study of the passages reveals this simply can’t be the case. The passage states that when the perfect comes prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are all things that are said to pass away. Of course no one argues that knowledge has passed away. The passage goes on to say that now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now, Paul said I know in part, then he shall know fully, even as he was fully known by God. Looking at the passage as a whole it is obvious we are talking about seeing God face to face, and knowing God fully even as we are fully known. This has not happened yet. According to Scripture, until we see God face to face, these gifts are in operation.
Let me leave you with this. At Washington Church we sing a song on occasion in our second service that makes this declaration, “Our God is not dead, He’s surely alive, He’s living on the inside roaring like a lion!” One thing is certain, the enemy would love you to believe that the gifts of God have ceased. He would love for you to believe God has no more prophetic messages for you today. He would love for you to believe that God has no healing for your marriage, family, or finances. The enemy would love for you to believe that there is no miracle for you in your prayer life. He would love for you to believe there is no physical healing and no power form the Holy Spirit of God to win victory over sin! May I tell you this truth? GOD IS NOT DEAD! The Holy Spirit is still moving today in the miraculous! He still equips and empowers God’s saints for Christ-like living and service!

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Is Marriage a Government Thing?

wedding
An elderly couple wanted to get married. Doing so would result in a substantial loss of income due to certain laws regarding benefits that the woman was currently receiving. The couple wanted to do what they believed was right in the eyes of God and not simply move in together. However, they simply could not afford to get married and loose the wife’s income. Moving in together would be completely legal in the eyes of the government, and the woman could keep her benefits, but would violate the will of God. Getting married would be God honoring but would leave the couple in an impossible financial situation. What is a Christian to do?
Today one needs to apply for a marriage license, pay fees, and fill out forms for the government in order to get, “Legally Married.” The government has every right to impose guidelines and restrictions as it sees fit. People are sometimes surprised at my response when they ask me my thoughts on gay marriage. “Do you believe in gay marriage?” they ask. “Yes,” I reply. “The government can do whatever they want.” Gay marriage has now become a government issue. However true Biblical marriage has nothing to do with the government.
It was not until 1921 that the government got involved in marriages. Before that time this Judeo Christian practice was left to the Rabbi and the Pastor or Priest. True Biblical marriage is one man and one woman making vows in the presence of God before witnesses. Like baptism, marriage is a God thing, not a government thing. The government may suddenly decide to get into the baptism business. They could set standards and qualifications for baptism. Only those who filled out the proper paper work, paid the fees, and followed the government protocol would be, “Legally Baptized.” This would not prevent the church from baptizing people according to their faith in what they believe to be the true biblical mandate.
In the same way nothing prevents pastors from performing true biblical marriages as they have done for nearly 2,000 years prior to the government’s involvement. As for the case of the elderly couple, I suggest they get married. When I say, “Get married,” I mean in the true Biblical sense. Despite popular belief God does not need to see a marriage license. He does need Godly men and woman committed in a relationship with Him and each other in lifelong commitment.
Please share your thoughts below

Addiction and Spirituality

 

Addiction

What leads people to addiction? I often hear this question from the family of those struggling with compulsive behaviors. From the family perspective it may be a question of who’s to blame. It may simply be an attempt to better understand the plight of a loved one. What leads to addiction is a topic of much interest to professional researchers and caregivers as well. Models of addiction have been identified in an attempt to look at addiction in a systematic way. The various models can be broken down and simplified into four main components biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual.
The first component to addiction is biological. The biological factors include personality, genetic, and other physiological elements. Much research is being done on this front to better understand addiction. Great headway has been made in the area of neurobiology with fascinating results. SPECT brain scans help us understand the effects substance abuse and addictive behaviors have on our brain. For example we have learned that behavior itself creates brain chemistry that has a neurochemical addictive effect and; the same dopamine (The brain’s natural, “feel good” chemical) release that occurs using cocaine or other drugs is released while viewing pornography with almost the same intensity.
The second component to addiction is sociological. Family life, peer pressure, and the influence of the culture are all examples of social factors in addiction. People who had a positive healthy upbringing, who have 3-5 healthy relationships, and whose culture views the addictive behavior negatively are less likely to struggle with addictions. Conversely a negative childhood can set the stage for addictive behavior in adulthood. Peer influence is a huge factor in addictive behavior, and a negative culture can be a breeding ground for addiction.
The third component to addiction is psychological. Lack of self-control, the ability to delay gratification, and emotional disorders can all lead to addictions. The need for acceptance and approval, guilt and shame, powerlessness, hopelessness, confusion, and fear can all lead to addiction.
The fourth component to addiction is spiritual. The Psalmist wrote, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well,” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). God created us not only physical, social, and emotional but also spiritual creatures. The fruit of the Spirit of God working in and through his children are first of all love, joy, and peace (Gal. 5:22). It is out of desperation for a sense of love, acceptance, and value many turn to addiction. Still others seek to be filled with something powerfully pleasurable (Joy). Others seek to find comfort, avoid pain, escape, worry, or feel in control (Peace) through addictions. The Bible teaches that God wants to provide His children with a supernatural love, joy, and peace that passes understanding, is guilt free, and is not destructive to our lives.
It is important to note two factors: 1. A predisposition toward addiction does not guarantee one becomes an addict. Some people who grow up in a dysfunctional family never become addicted, while others who had a healthy home environment do become addicted. 2. A predisposition toward addiction does not excuse bad behavior. If someone has all the cards stacked against him he still needs to take responsibility for his actions and find a healthier solution to life’s problems than turning to compulsive and addictive behaviors.

Do you have a Question?

Any questions ?

Do you have a Question about the Bible or how it relates to your marriage, family, work, or other area of life?  Send me an email and I just might answer it on the post! 

question

 
In Gen. Ch7 vs. 2 it says, “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female.” Sevens? I thought it was 2. Or does this reference the 7 days before the rain comes?
answer
The Bible says in Genesis 6:19-20, “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive.”
It goes on to say in Genesis 7:1-4 “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.”
So which is it? Was Noah to bring two of every kind of animal, or seven? He was to bring tow of every sort, according to Gen. 6:19, and seven of pairs of all clean animals. Clean animals, as you may recall were both suitable to eat and for sacrifice to God. When the flood subsided we are told, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar,” Genesis 8:20 ESV.

I am reminded of an old saying referring to the Bible, it says, “Read it again, for the first time.” There are many things we think we know about the Bible that just aren’t true. This is why it is imperative we read the Bible as if we had never read it before. I’m glad that you are reading the Bible with a fresh perspective.

Holy Spirit Come!

hsdove

These two stories demonstrate how God is bigger than any one denomination. A Methodist Pastor and an Evangelical Free Church Evangelist both experienced the power of the living God through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which changed their lives and ministry forever! Not to man, but to GOD be the Glory!!!
Samuel S. Scull (1863-1964), Scull, born in a log cabin in Pennsylvania in 1863, was ordained by the Methodist Church in Iowa in 1895. His pastoral ministry was cut short, however, when he became afflicted with tuberculosis. Upon the advice of his doctor, in 1903 he moved to Arizona, where he supported his family by selling fruit.

Despite his sickness, Scull felt he could not abandon his call to ministry. He became a leader at the Life Line Mission, a small Holiness congregation in Phoenix, when he heard reports in the summer of 1906 of the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles.

According to Scull, the news generated “great interest among spiritual people in Phoenix and vicinity.” In the summer of 1907, Scull made a pilgrimage to the Arroyo Seco camp meeting in Los Angeles to check out the emerging Pentecostal revival.

Recalling his visit, Scull wrote: “I was much prejudiced at first and disposed to be critical, and saw much that I did not like.” However, “the overwhelming sense of the presence of God” at the Pentecostal meetings caused him to overcome his initial skepticism. He wrote, “The very atmosphere seemed charged and the awe of God overshadowed all.” He continued, “I had never heard such raptured praise. I heard praise in many strange tongues, some interpreted by people who knew the language, but most in an unknown tongue interpreted in the same way as they were given; that is, by Spirit utterance. Soon I was thoroughly convinced of the genuineness of the work and realized that God was bringing us back to Pentecost of the upper room, and, as far as possible, renewing the power as of the early church.”

Scull witnessed miracles, which caused him to cast his lot with the Pentecostals: “The sick were healed, devils cast out, the lame walked, the blind received their sight. I saw that God was going that way and resolved to gladly follow Him, though I knew it would cost me much.”
Carl M. “Daddy” Hanson (1865-1954), was the son of Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota, Hanson was converted while a student at Augsburg Seminary and became an evangelist affiliated with the Scandinavian Free Mission (now known as the Evangelical Free Church). The Scandinavian Free Mission, in the 1890s and early 1900s, witnessed a significant revival in which many people experienced salvation, healings, and biblical spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues.

This revival made a deep impression on Hanson, who himself was healed of a terminal illness in 1895. A short time later, he held services in Grafton, North Dakota, where people had a great hunger for God. There, he saw a young Norwegian girl, enraptured in the presence of God, speak in a language she had not learned. Hanson pondered what it meant, studied Scripture, and came away convinced that that the prophecy in Joel 2:28 was coming true before his eyes: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (KJV).

Hanson continued as an itinerant evangelist. His daughter, Anna Berg, recalled, “My father began giving testimony wherever doors were open to him: in churches, schoolhouses, homes, and missions. The response was amazing. Everywhere people were saved. This was usually followed by a consuming desire for more of God’s power in their lives.”

In about 1899, Hanson received the gift of speaking in tongues. In 1904, he opened a rescue mission in Minneapolis, where he sought to give physical and spiritual help to those who were drunken, homeless, and destitute. He traversed the region, raising support and seeking young people to work with him at the mission.
Hanson’s story reminds us that the modern Pentecostal movement emerged from a variety of sources. Revivals at Topeka and Azusa Street may have been two of the most visible focal points of early twentieth-century American Pentecostalism, but prior revivals, including those among Scandinavian settlers in the northern Great Plains, provided precedents and leaders for the emerging movement.

Dear Friends, God is still moving today.  His Spirit is still being poured out today!  We are in great need of revival of personal holiness, and a fresh empowering from the Holy Spirit!

Father in Heaven, Your Name is great and greatly to be praised!  We pray You fall fresh on us today.  Fill us we pray with Your fullness.  We surrender to You.  Holy Spirit come!  Have Your way in us!  May we know You more and more!  May we move in the fullness of the gifting You desires for us we pray in Jesus perfect Name we pray, AMEN!

May we become unfamiliar with God!

glory-of-GodPray:
“Father in Heaven, forgive us I pray for treating You as common. Forgive us for treating You as familiar. May we never lose our wonder of who You are, what You have done for us, and who You call us to be! Break our heats Lord I pray for the contempt with which we treat Your awesome holiness and the way You call us to live the same. May we experience a revival today Lord in personal holiness wrought by You Holy Spirt! May we experience revival today Lord in our lives lived in complete surrender to Your will for every area of our lives! You are GREAT! You are MAGNIFICENT! You are ALL MIGHTY! May we see You today with the wonder of a child! May we be mystified by You great GLORY! In Jesus MIGHTY NAME, we pray AMEN!”
“May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King
Fill us with wonder
May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King” Bethel