Wednesday, November 28, 2018

THE WWE AND DEITY OF CHRIST - STORIES FROM THE FRINGE


The Fringe - Open Air Church
          As many readers know, I am one of the pastors with a ministry called Metal Mission of Knoxville.  Each week, MMOK hosts The Fringe, an open air church service, followed by serving breakfast to the area homeless.

                We meet many interesting people each week and look forward to seeing all our regulars, as well.  Real, serious, ministry takes place, and occasionally, we get a funny story worth sharing.  The following two stories are indicative of a typical Saturday morning.

                  Many of the homeless, for years, have been camping under a bridge, across the street from Knox Area Rescue Mission.  For years, the city has, without success, attempted to clear the space under the bridge and restrict access.  Until recently, all efforts have failed.  The city is now moving forward with a new plan, which appears to be successful. One of the gentlemen we minister to each week informed me the WWE was behind the removal of the homeless.  Yes, that WWE...
                
            According to my "friend in the know", when Glenn Jacobs(WWE superstar Kane) was elected Knox County Mayor, Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, donated $100,000 to the city of Knoxville to clean up the homeless. The gentleman sharing the story with me, looked me in the eyes, wagged his finger at me and adamantly declared, "do you know who is responsible for this? Vincent. Kennedy. MCMAHON!!!"  Geez, I wish Mr. McMahon would donate $100,000 to me so I can quit my job and minister full time!


                 On a more serious note, here is a story about some of the important ministry taking place downtown:

               One of our regulars is a Muslim gentleman who often asks for prayer.  This week, we had a great conversation about the Trinity and whether or not Jesus is God.

                In Islam, Jesus is regarded as a prophet and a good teacher, but not God. As my friend and I discussed the trinity, I asked him to consider how Jesus could possibly be considered good if He claimed to be God yet was just a man.  If Jesus claimed to be God and is not actually God, He would be a liar and, therefore, not good. 

                The deity of Jesus is a conundrum Islam cannot reconcile.  Either Jesus is God, as He claimed, or He is a liar which disqualifies Him from being a good teacher or prophet.  Many Muslims will argue Jesus never claimed to be God, which is simply intellectual dishonesty.  Repeatedly, Jesus claimed to be God. John 8:58 - truly truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM and
John 10:30 - I and the Father are one. Just to list a couple.

           The Old Testament prophets also attested to the Messiah being God: Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

                My Muslim friend disclosed he reads the Bible and the Koran and he acknowledged Jesus claimed to be God.  He promised to consider the issue of Jesus claiming to be God contradicting the teachings of Islam.  Please pray for my friend to accept the Gospel and be saved.  He seems open to the idea.

         This is a pretty typical snapshot of what goes on any given Saturday morning.  I am truly blessed and honored to be able to serve God in this capacity. I am blessed to serve with a great bunch who are dedicated rain or shine and many who are behind the scenes, praying and supporting.  If you are interested in finding out how you can serve with us, hit me up in the comment section or message me on Facebook or Twitter.  

         If you are not currently serving God, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and step into ministry.  Not everyone is called to serve the homeless but everyone is called to serve. God has a ministry designed just for you and He is waiting for you to step into it.  God wants to use you, of this I am sure!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!
             

Thursday, November 22, 2018

CAN YOU SEE THE REAL ME, JESUS?

                          Can you see the real me, can you?
                           I ended up with the preacher,
                           Full of lies and hate,
                           I seemed to scare him a little
                           
                           So he showed me to the golden gate. - The Who


     What if we all saw each other beyond what we actually reveal?  Imagine if we could actually read one another's minds!  How many relationships would be destroyed if our thoughts and feelings were broadcast for public consumption?

            How much more careful would we be if our desires and urges were, somehow, no longer secret?  

             Most of us are pretty good at wearing a mask that covers up who we really are. We reveal just enough of ourselves to maintain superficial relationships and often cast ourselves in the best light possible.

             Maybe you dared reveal more of yourself to someone and they showed you the golden gate, as it were.  Do you fear God would reject you if He really knew what was in your heart?  

             The big lie we tell ourselves is we can hide from God.  Adam hid in the Garden, God knew where He was and why.  Whatever you think you are hiding from God... you're not.  The truth is, God sees your deepest darkest secrets and His response is - He loves you.

             If you feel estranged from God, you're the one who moved.  Isaiah 59:2  but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 

                Just a few verses later, God promises to redeem those who turn from transgression.  There is nothing you have done or has been done to you that is too big for God to handle.

              But the good news is, God will not reject your return: Isaiah 59:20  “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD. 


                 God can see the real you and, through the blood of Christ, wants to lead you to the Golden Gates of eternity, in His presence.  

                 Don't deceive yourself into thinking you are hiding from God.  Don't let the devil deceive you into thinking you've out sinned God's grace. God is in the restoration business!!

          Can you see the real me?  Maybe, maybe not, but God does and loves me anyway.  Have I seen the real you?  Maybe, maybe not, bud God does and loves you anyway.  

           If you think you are hiding from God, you can stop now, He sees and knows all and is patiently awaiting your return.  God is a loving Father and He wants to change you into the image of Christ.  Be real with yourself by being real with God, because He already knows.  Zechariah 1:3  Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. 

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

WITH THE BAND OR JUST A FAN? AVOIDING FAKE FAITH

     
     Are you a fan of a band or sports team?  Do you have a sports jersey you like to wear, identifying you with your favorite team?  Do you wear a t-shirt of your favorite band?

      Do you like to sit in a stadium or arena and watch a live sporting event?  Do you enjoy sitting in the audience for a live concert?  

         Does wearing a t-shirt or jersey and sitting in the audience make you believe you are a member of the team or band you are watching? 

         If any of these things makes you think you are a musician or athlete, you are delusional.  Yet, millions of people sit in church, put on paraphernalia identifying themselves as Christians and think they are somehow part of team Jesus, without ever making a commitment to God or serving in any way.

        Just as a musician must learn his craft and an athlete must train his body, a follower of Christ must do more than "identify" with faith.  A true follower of Christ will seek to grow in his faith and will actively seek holiness in his life.

2Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

        Surely you are not self deceived into thinking you are a rock star because you have an Iron Maiden t-shirt or you are a famous quarterback because you own a Tom Brady jersey.  Please be sure you are not, likewise, self deceived about your relationship with God.  

       Is there Spiritual fruit in your life?  If not, no amount of church membership or religious jewelry will change the condition of your soul.  Christianity is not some club to join, it is a way of life which should transform your mind and heart.

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

     Jesus, Himself, stated, many will say, "I did this in your name, but I will say to them, depart from me, I never knew you."

      Looking at the shape of the culture, given the high percentage of those who claim faith in Christ, somewhere there is a very big disconnect.  

      Be sure you are not part of the disconnect.  Evaluate your life and see if you are pursuing the righteousness you claim in Christ.  Jesus told us, "He who does not gather with me, scatters."  There is no neutral ground in Christ.  

      It is not too late to join together with the Band and it is always the right time to hop on Team Jesus. Stop being just a spectator and get in the game!  

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!
      


Thursday, November 8, 2018

WALKING WITH GOD VS WALKING ACCORDING TO GOD

       
   What is the difference between walking with God vs walking according to His instructions?  

            If you need to come to my house, I can give instructions on how to get there. Depending on how well you listened and understood the instructions and how good you are at following the instructions will determine whether or not you make to my house or get lost along the way.  If I come to you and we go to my house together, is there any doubt you will make it?

              This is the difference between religion and relationship.  Even within soul saving faith, many fall into the trap of religion and lose their way.  I am not suggesting a loss of salvation, but I am suggesting a journey filled with unnecessary detours and wrong turns.  A journey that is only as good as the ability to hear, understand and follow God's directions.

               Jesus told us, "Pick up your cross and follow me."  Jesus did not say, "here is the best way to go..."  He told us to follow Him.  When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God did not hand him a map and a compass and tell him, "I'll meet you there!"  No, God led Moses and Moses walked with God.

              When Jesus was in His earthly ministry, He did not say, "I'm just following instructions."  No, Jesus said, as recorded in scripture: John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

               God gave us His Word, the Bible, but He also gave us His Spirit to dwell in us, giving the Bible life changing power as we apply it to our lives, according to His lead.  Having the Bible without the Spirit is like having a car with no gas.  Through great effort you can push the car where you want to go, but you will expend all your strength and not get very far.  Trying to apply the Bible to our lives without the direction and strength of God will wear you out!

               Many believers say, "I am trying to serve God the best I can."  This statement is nothing more than the seeds of failure.  I hate to quote Yoda here, but, "Do or do not, there is no try."   "I'll try" is born of doubt while "I will" is an emulation of the Savior we claim to follow.  

            So, how exactly do we walk with God when we cannot physically detect His presence?  The first step is getting over the barrier of mere mental ascent.  So many acknowledge God in their minds yet never actually commit their hearts.  Ask the average person if he believes the Bible is the Word of God.  I daresay, most will say, "yes."  Now, ask all the people who answer yes, "when was he last time they actually read the Bible."  You will be amazed by the results.  

             Reading the Bible must be accompanied by prayer and a willingness to apply what is read to our lives, not as a set of rules designed to keep us out of trouble, but as a guide for daily life.  When the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, this means we are to have a constant awareness of God's presence and we are to be interacting with God just as we interact with those with whom we physically share our lives. 

              Walking with God will lead us to love.  Not romance or feelings based love, but true sacrificial love which leads us to see others as God sees them.  This kind of love is sacrificial and unconditional.  This kind of love allows us to look beyond socio, economic, and cultural differences and love whether we agree or not.  This kind of love will lead us to serve others in the hopes of leading them to the truth of the Gospel.  

               Walking with God produces peace and joy while trying to walk according to God brings angst and worry.  Walking with God takes the guesswork out of life. 

                 What would life be like if you no longer had to worry if you were good enough? Walk with God and find out!


             God desires fellowship with us and has given us an innate desire to know Him, though many suppress this desire.  Experience life as God designed it to be lived. Experience life in God's presence.  Follow God, not what you think are His rules. Enter into the unlimited love, joy and peace which can only be found in Christ.


Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!