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December 2017

Is Anyone Likeminded These Days??

This morning at Midnight (Jan. 20, 2018), the government of the United States shut down again.  The Democrats are calling this shutdown, "Mr. Trump's Shutdown" and the Republicans are calling it, "Mr. Shumer's Shutdown."  I don't know about you, but I really can't ever recall a time when the government of the United States was so enmeshed in such division.  I realize that even in the early days of our nation there was great divide between the leaders; yes, even duels have been fought as a result, but these days, I'm certain that if dueling were still legal there would be a whole lot of gun smoke in the air!

The division hold true within the ranks of the Church as well.  On Facebook last night a person made a statement like this, "If you believe in the doctrine of "once saved always saved" you are a heretic.  Lately, I've been trying to avoid commenting on such foolish statements, but in a weaker moment I felt to respond with something like, "I guess that I'm a heretic then!"  Within a few moments I realized that I had been unfriended and blocked by the person who wrote the original post.  Being unfriended on Facebook isn't a new thing to me.  It happens often.  When people get nasty on my posts, calling me or others nasty names, etc., I also unfriend and block them.  I don't mind if people disagree with me, but when they become nasty about it (fighting a duel) I fire back and "nuke" them.  But, I felt that the guy's actions last night were a little dramatic.  He just didn't want anyone challenging his position.  Hummm....just like the Republicans and Democrats!

So, what's with it these days?  Why are people so touchy?  It's like no two people think alike....and they are totally dogmatic and defensive about their beliefs.  Have you ever wondered about this?  It's like not only do people disagree with each other's beliefs, but they disagree to such a degree that they are willing to fight about it; like last night's shutdown!  No one wants to give up one inch on what they believe.  Why is this?  I know that this is a stretch, but do Republicans think from the right side of their brain and Democrats think from the left side of their brains?  How in the world can two people think so opposite about their beliefs?  

Yep, this division is within the Church these days as well!  I've had Christians call me some pretty nasty names as they have disagreed  with my teaching.  In the early days of me teaching new covenant grace to our church, after some life changing revelations came to me, several people left our congregation, and some of them didn't leave quietly either.  People I loved and ministered to called me some very nasty names, all because they didn't agree with me.  

Sadly, I don't have any answers to the questions I raise.  However, I do know this, there are some things that I can never abide with. From the politics side; I could never vote or support a person who believes in abortion.  To me that is murder and even if they were running for County dog catcher and they belonged to a party that supported abortion, that person would never get my vote, now matter how good of a dog catcher they might be.  From the side of my theological beliefs; I never could attend or support a church that taught a mixed message of law and grace.  Now, I can love the abortion believing dog catcher, and the Church person who teaches law, but I certainly can't support them.  Those are a couple of lines that I've drawn in the sand.  Hummm....I wonder if I think out of the left or right side of my brain?  I guess I'll never know!  How about you?

Grace and peace! 


Joe Misses a Lot of Church and I'm Thrilled!

Joe Kelly Jr. placed his faith in Christ while he was in prison.  If you ever ask him he will tell you that he has a very "seedy" past life.  Shortly prior to his release his wife moved in with Joe's parents who live in our area and attended our church. (New Covenant Grace Fellowship)  As a result one of our members took it upon himself to begin faithfully writing Joe.  Thus a neat relationship between our group and him developed.  Many of us spent a lot of time praying for our incarcerated, adopted brother.

Joe Kelly

Upon Joe's release one of the first things he did was to attend our Wednesday night church meeting.  Back in the day, we had a pot luck dinner prior to each Wednesday meeting.  I remember well when Joe walked in the fellowship hall's door.  Someone yelled out, "Joe Kelly is in the house!" Then everyone gave him a standing ovation.

Joe's hunger for God was outstanding.  He soaked up teaching like a sponge.  You could see him grow in his understanding of the Lord, and it was exciting to all.  Joe attended services very faithfully.  When we moved into the revelations of new covenant grace he gladly embraced the teaching.  Even though he often had questions, he was quick to implement the teachings into his personal life.  Joe soon became an Elder in our congregation and began teaching.  Over the past couple of years, he's been a reliable teacher on Sundays, doing an awesome job filling in for me as I went through my health issues.

Joe has always had my back!  I can count on him.  He's a faithful brother and I consider him a close friend.

However, lately Joe is missing a lot of our church meetings.  I miss him when he's gone, but I know that he is doing a good thing.  Joe has been a stock car race fan all of his life.  In the midst of his racing passion he developed a relationship with the staff and owner of a local dirt race track.  He also met up with an elderly Chaplain who ministered to race drivers through Racing With Jesus Ministries.  Soon Joe was also made a Chaplin with the ministry.  His relationship with the local track officials also grew and soon he was doing race announcing duties.  Since, Joe's ministry and announcing has expanded to race tracks all over the Southeast states. 

As a result of Joe's racing duties he often misses our Sunday morning services.  The other day he texted me that he would be missing several January and February services.  When he is gone I really miss him and so does everyone else in our church.  Yet, in spite of missing him, we are all excited because Joe is fulfilling his calling and ministry.

You see Joe is a prime example of the vision of our church being fulfilled.  We are a small church.  We are a rather new church, just a few years old.  So, when even one person is missing from a service we all feel the loss.  But Joe is actually doing what one of the main callings of our ministry really is......sending out ministry!  Our vision is to raise people up to do the work of the ministry, not just capture and contain them.  We are a sending church not a capturing church.

A capturing church might say, "Come join me and help me build my ministry!" A releasing church will say, "Come join me so that I can teach you and help you develop your ministry!"  A huge difference here!

After one of Joe's weekend ministry trips I look forward to our early Monday morning phone calls when he fills me in on his  weekend's racing activity.  Yes, when he's gone I miss him, but I'm also so very proud of Joe Kelly Jr.  I pray that God sends us a bunch of people just like him!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

 


Are We Really Dead to Sin?

Romans 6:14, " Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."

 

I find it interesting that Paul had the same problem with religious leaders that I have.  When he taught that Christ ended all sin; past, present and future when he ended (fulfilled) the Law at the cross, those still holding to the Law challenged him.  In response he wrote Romans chapter 6.  If you have a minute take a look at this chapter once again.  It totally blesses me every time I read it, which is very often!  Paul's bottom line to the Romans was, "Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ!"

 

You know, Paul's message to the Church is my message too.  Here is my bottom line.....WHERE THERE IS NO LAW THERE IS NO SIN!

 

So, if you still consider yourself under the Law, and many Christians do, then guess what??? You still live under the consequences of sin and you have made the cross of Christ of none effect in your life.  And if you teach that people still live under the Law, then you take the cross away from those you teach.  Not good!

 

I can almost hear those who disagree with me on this subject...."You are a heretic, you are giving people a license to sin!"  Not so!  What I am giving people is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; the Gospel that Paul preached.  Paul and I know this secret: By setting people free of fear, works based religion we set them free to live holy, righteous lives.  God made people holy and righteous at the cross.  When people understand this, they will actually begin living what they are and who they are.  They may still do dumb, stupid works of the flesh, but those events will become fewer and fewer as they actually become what God made them to be.

 

My teaching leads to true holiness.  Those who constantly teach that Christians must repent of sin in order to be holy are never going to see true holiness permeate the Church! Why?  Because those who continue to try try to be what they already are will never arrive at their destination.  They are indeed the true dog chasing it's own tail!

 

Grace and peace!