Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hugging God

Why Worship God?



Why do we worship God? Seriously, Is this really important? I've never been one of those. You know, A "Free Worshiper." You know, those that have no problem raising both hands, dancing down the isle, screaming to the top of their lungs, falling on their face in the middle of the Service. Even the Bible says that David, Danced wildly, playing an Instrument, while bringing the Ark to the City of David. Oh, a side note here. he was not naked. {2 Samuel 6:14} But his actions were most definitely not, uh, Kingly.

I, on the other hand? I would maybe put up one hand. Oh, maybe like, I don't know, half way? There would be that thing inside me that says "look around, who is looking at you, what are they thinking of you?" I would attempt to justify this behavior, in my head, never out-loud, by asking, why? Seriously, He is God. He doesn't need me to tell Him how great He is. He doesn't need me to dance around and act the fool. I do not really get the whole point.. Others are doing it. Great, let them.. Then I do not have to.

So why is this important? Well, let's set aside the fact that it IS the First Commandment.. Actually, you can say it is the first THREE Commandments..

1- "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

2- "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

3- "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." {Exodus 20:2-7}

Jesus summed them up with this one..
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment" {Matthew 22:36-37}
Why? Well, He IS God.
"Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee."
{Nehemiah 9:5-6 }
Forget the fact HE created EVERYTHING. He created YOU.. He promises that He will be with you always..
"And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies." {2 Kings 17:38-39}
No. Let's set all that aside. Let's talk about YOU. Do you know who you are now? Seriously. Do you know? You believe?
"But to all who did receive Him, who believed in his name, them He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." {John 1:12–13}
You received, and became?..
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." {Romans 8:15}
Because you are a Child of God now??
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." {Galatians 4:6}
Abba Father??? Think Daddy. That's right. You now have the RIGHT to boldly walk into the very Throne Room of God, The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Is All, and the Great I Am, and ask Him whatsoever you chose. He wants you to call Him Daddy. He wants to be your Father.

I want to share with you a story of how this Message, yes, this very Sermon came to be. It was an action, and, three words softly spoken. I AM a Father. I have three kids. Joshua, Elijah, and my Baby Girl, Maya. I am with them all the time. I am there to meet their needs. I am there whenever they want to talk to me, ask me questions. I am there when they are awake, I am there when they are asleep. I am there.Protecting them. Loving them. Caring for them. Not just an hour or two a week, if they feel like showing up at my House. I am with them always. That is the kind of relationship God wants to have with us..

But here is the story. It was a normal, humdrum, boring, nothing special, Tuesday. I just got done working. I just got home and cooked for the kiddies. It was getting late, so I was getting the Kiddies ready for bed. I just gave Maya a bath and was getting her into her Jammies. Now keep in mind, there is nothing special going on. I did not just give them all gifts. I did not break out the Ice Cream or Treat of any kind. I did not bring them home a Present. Nothing. I had a tough day. I was tired. I was just going through the routine. Then out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, Maya stands up on the bed, walks over to me, wraps both those little arms around my big neck and squeezed as hard as she could. She then pulled herself up to my ear, and softy said, "Love you Daddy."

My Universe STOPPED. EVERYTHING STOPPED!!! My Heart melted. My troubles faded away. Nothing else mattered at that point in time than my precious, beautiful, sweet, little Girl. At that very moment, I would have given her the Universe. Whatsoever she asked me. It would have been hers. My total attention was on her. I loved her more than I thought possible.

I got good news for ya. This is how God feels when we Praise Him. When we Pray to Him, Laugh with Him, cry with Him, read His Word, this is all our daily routine. This is the type of relationship that God wants to have with us. But when we Praise Him? For no reason. Not because He just dropped a new car in our Driveway, or Steak on our Plate. Not because we just hit the Lotto. Not because of any other reason than this. We love our Daddy. When we Praise God, what we are doing is attempting to stretch out our little arms and wrap them around that big neck of God, and squeeze as hard as we can. What we are trying to do is pull ourselves up to God's ear and softly say, "Love you Daddy."

You see, God is more interested in you loving Him and allowing Him to love you. But you have to have the right Mind..
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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." {Romans 12:1-2}
Samuel said...
"Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." {1 Samuel 15:22}
See, God want you to think of Him as "Abba Father." He wants to BE your Daddy. He wants to be able to teach you all things. He wants to be there when you lay down and get up. He wants to be there when you go out and come in. He wants to be there to Laugh with you, and the Comfort you when you need it. He wants to be the one who meets your needs. To Provide for you. Forget what you think. Forget what you may think people around you might be thinking. Don't you want to give God a Hug. When we Praise Him and Worship Him, we do just that.

Yes of course He knows who He is. That's not the point. The point is, we are saying "Love you Daddy." Trust me, this does get His attention. This becomes a Moment between you and the God of the Universe. An intimate and the most personal Moment. Why Worship God? If for no other reason, He is now your Daddy. He loves you. Time to show Him, you love Him. What do you say?

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be Blessed, be a Blessing, and Jesus IS Lord..

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Now Is The Time

Death is coming



This is one of those Messages that we are told by some, we should never, EVER, talk about. Preachers are told not to Preach about. We are told that this is one of those left over, Hell and Brimstone Era, out dated, unevolved, scare tactic, type of message, that has no place in the evolved Church..

See, we are told that we will scare people. We are told that we will make people angry. We are told we will make people sad. People will remember lost Loved Ones and if they did not accept Jesus, or even worse, outright rejected Jesus and God, then hearing this Message, it will make them angry enough to perhaps never again step foot in a Church..

Well, sorry. This IS that Message. You see, for those lost Loved Ones, I'm sorry, but it is too late. They made their decisions and the lived their lives. They had and have whatever relationship with God that they had or have. Sorry, but nothing can change all that now.

However, YOU are hearing this Message for a reason. YOU are reading these Words, for a reason. YOU still have a choice. YOU still have Time. How much Time? This is the issue. We simply do not know. So right now, IS the Time. This, wherever you may be, IS the Place. In the next few Minutes, Days, Months, Years, or for some Seconds even, whatever, there WILL be a knock on your Door. His name is Death.

Death knocks at everyone’s Door, right? Good. Bad. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. There is no Negotiations, no Compassion, no Reasoning with. Death does not feel Remorse, Pity, or Pain. It cannot be Hid from, Run From, or Bought off. It is Coming for YOU. It will not stop until YOU are dead. Period.

Oh, the Smartest People on the Planet have found ways to postpone Death. They have discovered how to put Death off for a brief time, sometimes, with Medicines, Healthier Lifestyles and such. Yet, Death is still coming. So what do we do? Willingly accept it.

From the Beginning, well, nearly the Beginning, God has given us the authority and the freedom to use our Free Will
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." {Deuteronomy 11:26-28}
Jesus told us plainly...
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." {Revelation 3:20}
YOU have the Free Will to do Good, or Evil. You have the Free Will to open the Door or not. You have the Free Will to believe in God, accept Jesus, and live, or reject the Truth, and die..

I've said this before. If you choose not to accept Jesus, God, or the Truth, chances are, nothing is going to happen to you this second. No. No bolt of Lighting is going to come down from the Heavens and strike you dead. No. No Demons are going to come up from the ground to drag you kicking and screaming to the Pits of Hell. Chances are, you will go on living your life as you see fit until that day, you do pass on.

However, if you DO accept the Truth,,,,
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." {John 1:12-13}
Then you can CLAIM this Truth..
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." {Romans 8:15}
As I have also said many times, you can Choose to believe in nothing. You can believe that we are all here by a happy happenstance. That when we die, there is NOTHING. We just cease to be. Nothing after. Nothing more. I choose to believe in God. I believe that God Created all things. I believe God so loved the World, He came to Earth in the form of Sinful Man to die and pay the Price for all Men. I believe that our lives are Eternal. That we will ALL live on. I believe there are two possible destinations.

Now what if I'm wrong? Well, then I come to nothing. I simply go to sleep and cease to exist. I will not care about anything. I will not know anything. I will just not be. So what do I lose? Seriously. I love because the God I believe in Loves. I trying to be kind, because the God I believe in is Kind. I try to help others when I can, because the God I believe in tells me too. So I live my life attempting to make the World a better place.

Now, what if you are wrong? What if when you die, you all of a sudden, find yourself standing before God? What do you say? How do you explain? Guess what? Too late. I would rather believe in God and come to nothing, than to believe in nothing and come to God. Plain and Simple..

So you accept the Truth? Great...However, here is the thing. What are you waiting for?? Tomorrow?
"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." {Proverbs 27:1 }
Yup. Tomorrow may never come. Or when it does, you may not have time to make this, the greatest decision you will EVER make..
"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
{James 4:13-17}
Jesus put it this way..
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."{Matthew 6:33-34}
NOW is the Time. Today is the day. The Choice is yours. Do not wait too long..Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"


That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
{2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be Blessed, be a Blessing, and Jesus IS Lord..

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why Tithe?

Obedience? Expectation? Love? 


Tithing and giving of Offerings, is not only a good idea, it IS a Command of God.
"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord." {Leviticus 27:30}
And then here..
"Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" {Proverbs 3:9 }
Your Tithe is, was, and always will be, ten percent of something. So you see, that ten percent is not even your's to debate. God says that ten percent of whatever it is, is HIS. It IS Holy. It IS to meet the needs of HIS people. Tithing and giving Offerings is not only, or always, about money. You should be Tithing and offering Offerings three different ways.

Money.
Needs.
Time.

In other words, if you are a Farmer, ten percent of your crops. If you are a Shoe Maker, you can donate ten percent of your production of Shoes and give them to the Needy that have no Shoes. If you make Cloths, give ten percent of your production of Cloths to those that have none. Then Time? How much Time to you spend serving God? Just a question. Then you Tithe with money. But what is the money for?

You see, this is where things get messy. This is where people shut down and some shut off. As a matter of fact, not even joking, I told a friend of mine just this past Friday Night that I was giving this Message at my Local Church today, and he literately got angry? "Why? Why should I give some Pastor my money to do with whatever? Granted. I would rather give money to a Church than a Bank but seriously? God don't need Money. I do not need to hear that,,,,," He walked away.

When the Pastor of the local Church asked me to give a Message about Tithing, I agreed and went right to Malachi 3
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts." {Malachi 3:8-11}
OK. I will start off with the Fact God COMMANDS it. And that God see it equal to Robbing Him if you do not give Ten percent of you Salary..After all
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
I will....... God said "No."

Wait, uh, OK. I will then talk about this.....
"and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
God said,,, "No"

OK? God, The Pastor asked me to give this Message, well, a Micro Message, you know, receiving the Offering. If you do not want me to talk about the fact this is a Command, OR, share that you have even challenged us to see what you will do, then WHAT??

God said, "I do not want you to share that Giving is out of Obedience, nor Expectation, but rather out of Love. I want you to share this..
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house," {Malachi 3:10}
Explain THIS."

Uh, OK. You see folks, THIS is why we are to Tithe. When you bring your Tithes into the Storehouse, you are storing up the meat, or the supply, for the Needs of the Church, Pastor, and People. God did not Create our Monetary System, We did. If we were talking back in the days of Malachi, we would be talking mostly about the Harvest. Fruit, Grains, Animals, ETC. But jump ahead to today, and FPL does not want your Pig. No. Today we deal with Money. Then again, we have been dealing with money for a long time. Remember when Jesus told Peter to go fishing?
"Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." {Matthew 17:27}
So, even know God does not need our Money, He does need to use it, because THIS is the system we set up. When you tithe, you are bringing into the Storehouse of God for Three very specific reasons...

1 - The needs of the Church. Talking about the actually Building here. The Church needs Electric. You like lights right? It needs AC. You like to be cool right? If not owned outright, It needs to be paid for. The Grass needs to be cut, the Media systems need to be maintained and repaired. Pretty much, just like you own home, the Church Building has needs.

2- The needs of the Pastor, larger Churches, Assistant Pastor, and other Paid Administration Staff. Why? Well, You are the Pastor. If you are a good Pastor, you need to spend time in Prayer. Time in receiving the Message. Research. Formulate. Make all the arrangements with the Media ETC. Meet with the Worship Pastor to explain what the Theme is and then, besides all this, meet with members of the Congregation whenever needed and or requested..Most Pastors work 6 days a week, and most of the time 12 plus hours a day. Now, go out and get a Job. Do all that, while you are also, whatever, Stocking shelves? Moving stuff around a Warehouse? No. YOU, as the Pastor, NEED to be PAID. In larger Churches, others need to dedicate all their time also, therefore, THEY need to be paid as well..

3 The needs of the People. Love. It was never God's intent, to have His children, go to outside sources, when things in life happen. Oh, and things WILL happen. No God has always told us, we should A rely on Him. We need to rely on ourselves. And we need to rely on the Church. In other words. If something happens, and Suzy looses her Job because the Company shut down, and she is TRYING to find a new one, she should be able to go to the Church and get some assistance in Food or Money to pay bills, or whatever. Problem is, it is kinda hard to meet Suzy's needs if the Storehouse empty.

Now, is there abuse in the Church? Of course. Are there Pastors and Church Officials that will take your Tithe and use it for their own gain? Yup. Just like bad Doctors, Police officers, Drug Company CEOs, Whatever, there are bad Pastors and Administrators in the Family of God. Does that change any of the Three reasons we need to Tithe and give Offerings? Nope.

Again, a Tithe is Ten Percent. An Offering, is anything more than Ten Percent. Let's deal with the money aspect, since that is what most will be Tithing. If you make $1000.00 a Paycheck, your Tithe is $100.00. Not $90.00. Not $20.00. Not $120.00 Your tithe IS $100.00. If you chose to, or God puts in on your Heart, to give $120.00, then $100.00 is your Tithe, and $20.00 is your Offering..

Tithes and offering are to ensue that all God's Children's needs will be met. Food, Cloths, Shoes, a Roof over their Heads. ETC. Again it is to meet the Needs of the Church, Pastor and People. So the next time you give, do not give out of Obligation. Is it? Yup. Do not give out of Expectation. Does God lie? No. Will He Bless you. Of course. But God is not a get Rich quick scheme. No. When you Give, Not out of Obligation, nor Expectations, rather do it, out of Love.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"


That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be blessed, be a blessing, and Jesus IS Lord of all!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Psalm 100



1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

No Contradictions

How to Interpret the Bible



How can you believe a Book, that is one, is written by a bunch of old men with the intent to control the masses, two, is filled with impossible stories and contradictions. I mean, come on. Do you REALLY believe God created everything? Where did He come from? Do you really believe God wiped out everything and saved Man by saving one Family? Why are we not all one color? Do you really believe that Jesus was God? That He actually raised from the dead?

Uh? Yes. First, we must understand how to interpret the Bible. See, there are no Contradictions. Zero. There are however misunderstandings. There are misinterpretations. There are willful twisting to fit beliefs, Religion, and agendas. But there are NO Contradictions. Don't worry, I'll get more into this aspect in a few.

So how do you interpret the Bible? Literal interpretation. Literal interpretation, simply means, that we are to interpret the Bible as it is written. But in doing so, we must be careful not to chose one Passage alone. Example,,
"There is no God." {Psalm 14:1, Psalms 53:1}
Yup. Did you know that? The Bible actually, not once, but TWICE, tells us that there is no God. However, this is incomplete. We need the WHOLE Passage, and we need it in context to understand what it is actually saying. What is confusing or hard to understand in one part of Scripture, will be made clear in another. To interpret Scripture by Scripture means that we must not set one Passage of Scripture against another Passage. Each Passage must be understood in light of its immediate context, and also, in light of the context of the whole of Scripture.

Another key to understanding the Word, is this. It is written in various forms by many Authors. They all had different styles. So when reading, we must keep this in mind also. Poetry is to be treated as Poetry. Songs as Songs. Historical accounts are to be treated as History. Parables as Parables, and so on. When Jesus talks about a Mustard Seed. He is referring to having very little Faith and what that can grow into. He was not really talking about Mustard. ETC.

Let's look at some of these Contradictions that we hear so much about.. One Angel or two? How many Angles we at the Tomb? How about three??
"Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it." (Matthew 28:1-2)
But wait.. A young man?
"And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed." (Mark 16:5)
No wait again, two men?
"And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel."(Luke 24:4)
They were Angels
"Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him "

"and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying."
(John 20:1-2, 12)
Now look at these together. An angel of the Lord moved the Stone and was sitting upon it outside Matthew 28:2. The two men Luke 24:4 were angels John 20:12. Mark 16:5 presents the only potential issue, and it isn't the only one at all. If there were two angels in the tomb, then there was at least one. This one was on the right. Therefore, we see that there was One angel outside and Two on the inside of the tomb. So Three?

Different versions of the same event, by different Witnesses, either based on different Points, or different Points of View. A guy robs a Bank, 10 Witnesses give 6 or 7 different descriptions of the same event, ETC. When you know the Truth, these are insignificant to the ACTUAL Lesson it is trying to teach you.

Jesus talks with One or Two Blind Men?

Two blind men
"And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" (Matthew 20:29-30)
One blind man
"And they came to Jericho. And as He was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:46-47)
One blind man again?
"And it came about that as He was approaching Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting by the road, begging."

"And he called out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
(Luke 18:35,38)
Again, there is no contradiction. Matthew 20:29-30 makes it clear that as Jesus was leaving Jericho that there were Two Blind Men sitting by the road. Then you have Jesus COMING to or Approaching  Jericho.

However, even if these where the SAME event. The one focused on was Bartimeaus. Both called out for healing Matthew 20:29-30. However, Mark and Luke focused on Bartimeaus for some reason. Perhaps two different events? Perhaps he was the loudest and most determined? Perhaps he had more Faith? Perhaps they didn't get the other one's name? Who knows? Contradiction? I think not. Many other examples can be given.

You see, because,,
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."{2 Timothy 3:16-17}
The World will hate it. Goes into the whole Spirit vs Flesh thing. God vs Man. So of course people are going to attack it. Attempt to denounce it. Attempt to twist it for evil reasons. You also must remember how Jesus dealt with those that hated Him. He spoke in Parables and those who heard, heard but failed to understand. In other words, it was foolishness to them. But to His Disciples and those that God called to Him, it was the Wisdom of God. As a matter of fact. The Word even declares this..
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;"
{1 Corinthians 1:18-23}
The basic Message of the Bible is simple enough and clear enough for a Child to understand. Yet the Meat of Scripture, the more in depth Studies, keep the finest Scholars perennially engaged in an effort to sort them out. I believe that God has deliberately included some seemingly contradictions in His Word, to “snare” the proud. He has “hidden” things from the “wise ” and “revealed them to babes” (Luke 10:21), purposely choosing foolish things to confound the wise.

Another aspect of interpreting the Word is VERY Important.
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." {Hebrews 13:8-9}
In other words, God does not change with the Times. His Word does not change with the Times. Jesus does not change with the Times. What WAS Sin then, is Sin now, and will kill you quicker at that. What was Good then, is Good now. There is no gray area. There is no compromise. It is NOT Compassion to attempt to Accept, Justify, or Glorify, SIN.

Let me ask you this. Your friend LOVES Fire. Loves it so much, they think it will never harm them. So they light a fire and go to walk into it. Is it compassion to let them? You know, to not hurt their feelings. To not make them feel bad. You should have compassion on them and let them love the fire all they want. Who are you to tell them they are wrong. What does it effect you if they light a fire and walk in it. You narrow minded hate filled person. Or is it TRUE Compassion to attempt to stop them from burning up and dying?

No the Bible is not simply a Book. It is alive. It is the Word of God. It is only by The Word, and spending time with God, allowing the Holy Spirit to commune with your Spirit, that you may build a solid foundation for yourself. The Word gives you Peace. The Word answers all your questions. The Word gives you Hope.
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." {Romans 15: 4}
There are no Contradictions. Zero. There is no falsehoods. There is no Hate. There is no control. It is not a list of don'ts. It is not a bunch of Rules and Regulations. It is the very LIVING WORD OF GOD!!! Every answer to every question can be found in it. It will feed your Spirit. It will protect you from the snares of the Devil. It is the Sword of the Spirit. It is something you need to spend as much time in as Possible. If you find it difficult to understand, then Pray. Ask God to allow His Spirit to teach your Spirit. What you thought you could never understand, or what you have been falsely told about, will open up to you in a whole new light. All you have to do is dive in..

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
{2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be Blessed, be a Blessing, and Jesus IS Lord..

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Psalm 27


1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Battlefield Mind


There is a War going on. Oh, I know. You went downtown yesterday. You passed by the park and heard the laughter of the kiddies playing. You looked over and saw them swinging and running around. There is a War going on. You felt the gentle breeze against your face as you smelled the fresh baked goods. There is a War going on. I know I know, the Sun was perfect. The Birds were singing. The temperature was a perfect 76 degrees. There is a War going on. Here is the reality, there IS a War going on, AND, YOU are on one side or the other.

Oh there may be no bombs going off. No bullets fling past your head. But trust me, the Enemy is real. And you must always be prepared to face him. The Word declares that we need to..
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"{1 Peter 5:8}
The Word also tells us this..
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." {Ephesians 6:12}
See, the sad thing is, most people live in their happy little bubbles. They just do. They live in their happy little houses, drive their happy little cars, and they go about their daily routines without a single solitary clue, as to what reality really is. That is, until their happy little bubble is popped. Until something hits home, they do not even really CARE to know what is going on. They, for the most part, are asleep.

They go about their days with a "Carnal Mind." They walk in the flesh, fulfilling the things of the flesh. They, for the most part, do not see beyond themselves and their desires. Some of these desires have been accepted, justified, and even glorified by Man. However, what they do not even know is this...
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." {Romans 8:6 }
They have to hear the Truth. They have to accept the Truth. Once you hear, and accept, they you can receive. Once you receive, then you can grow and be the New Creature, the Child of God, you have become. However, just like the rest of the kids in the Orphanage, until you become Adopted, you do not even know what it is like to be in a loving and caring Family. You just go about your daily routine.

But we are all Children of God. Right? No. WRONG. We are all Gods Creations, we are NOT all God's Children. Look what Jesus said to the Priests, Rabbis, Rulers of the Synagogues, you know, Religious Folks of the time....
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." {John 8:44}
These were the Holier than Thou club. They thought that they were chosen by God and are better than others because they were on their way to Heaven because they were Religious. They were GREAT at their daily routines and GREAT at following their Religion. They were so good, that they were appointed to positions of power and authority and were even teaching others "The ways of God." Yet? Jesus just called them the Children of the Devil.

So wait, Religion is not the answer?? Wait, you can be Religious and still have a Carnal Mind? Yup. Religion is not the answer. Religion, is a man made concept. Accepting Jesus coming to earth, living for, and dying for you, yet rather, raising from the Dead for you, and being adopted into the Family of God, has NOTHING to do with Religion.

If you have noticed, I always attempt to say Child of God, and not use the word "Christian?" I do this for two primary reasons.

One, being a Christian is NOT simply choosing this Religion over that Religion. Christianity was never intended to be a Religion. It is to be, was always to be, and will always be, a one on one relationship is God. Through the Adoption of the Holy Spirit. That one on one relationship is a DAILY one. Not just an hour a week, or every other week, whenever you feel like going to Church.

Two, most do not even know what it means. To say you are a Christian, is NOT saying that you are part of this or that Religion. Christ is not Jesus's last name. You are not saying you are following Jesus. When you call yourself, or some one else a Christian, what you are actually saying, or what you should be actually saying, is that YOU or they, are an ANOINTED one, through the ANOINTING of THE ANOINTED ONE, Jesus.

Should you go to Church? Of course. Should you read the Bible? Of course. You need to grow as the Child of God you have become. Get to know the REAL God. Get to know Jesus and the Spirit. Get to understand who you are NOW.

However, you must be careful to not fall into a Religion and practice that Religion for Religion sake. As a Child of God, the Word declares that we should..
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." {Hebrews 10:25}
We are to come together as a Family. We are to learn from one another, lean on one another. Celebrate with, mourn with, live with, each other {Romans 12:15} Just make sure that the foundation of that gathering, "Church" is Jesus. Be united.
"And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." {1 Corinthians 10:3-4}
I understand, we live in Physical Bodies. We have our Physical Problems. The fight is not in the Flesh. No. The battle is fought in the Realm of Belief, Ideas, Philosophies, Teachings, Words, Principles, and Laws. To sum it up, we could say, "We fight the Battle on the Battlefield of our minds."

This is why it is so important to feed the Spirit. We know what we need to eat to feed our Bodies. We can exercise and make our Bodies strong. Or, we can fill it full of junk and wonder why we get sick so often. Our Spirit is the same way. The Word of God is the Food. He will nourish and grow your Spirit with His Word. To be Spiritually Minded requires some work on your part. It requires feeding your Spirit.

This is also why it is so important to find a Church, let God lead you to one, that have the same Mind. That have one Vision. One goal. One love. Jesus. Teaching the Word of God. Salvation for all. Without feeding your Spirit, you will starve it, and your Mind will revert back to the things of this world and of the Flesh. That is never the answer. Remember...
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." {Romans 8:6-7}
So wait, you are saying that even if I do not believe in any of this stuff, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, the Bible, all this stuff, I'm going to serve the Devil? No. I'm saying that you are already His to do with whatever he chooses. Picture holding two $100.00 bills. I take one. I smile, and I put it in my pocket. Which Bill are you thinking about? The one in your hand, or the one in my pocket? The Devil is the same way. He doesn't care about you until you try to leave him. Or, someone, Jesus, takes you away from him. As long as you are his, He couldn't care less what you do. How you live. or anything else. Just do not try to leave..

There is a War going on. You ARE on one side or the other. Which do you chose? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"


That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be Blessed, be a Blessing, and Jesus IS Lord..

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

7 Things the Church Loves More Than God

Are there good things that Christians have turned into idols?


Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire Law and the words of the prophets hinge on these two commands.” This was Jesus’s response to the question, “What is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?”

From the Garden of Eden to the streets of Jerusalem, from Adam to Jesus, through the wilderness, the Promised Land, and captivity, this is the “one big thing.” Every stroke of a pen. Every word uttered from the mouth of every prophet. It’s all summarized in two short sentences.

Love God. Love your neighbor.

Look, I understand the Pharisee’s question. His intentions are evil, but his question makes sense. The Law contains hundreds of commands. Several prophets wrote books in the Bible. We have more commands than China has people with the last name “Chen.” We can’t possibly obey every command. Which one is most important, Jesus?

His response is a metaphorical mic drop. He leaves this Pharisee speechless.

You see, Jesus wasn’t playing philosopher with this Pharisee. His answer isn’t a riddle. It’s not “Love God. Love your neighbor. And/But/Or…” Jesus actually gives this Pharisee the most important commands.

Love God. Love your neighbor. The greatest commands. The church’s mantra. The Christian’s motivation.

Satan understands this. When Christians devote their lives to loving God and loving others, Satan’s glory is diminished. So, what does he do? He shifts our focus, slightly. Rather than “Love God. Love your neighbor” he tempts us to add something. So, the mantra becomes “Love God. Love your neighbor. Love the Bible.”

Seems harmless, right? Just a slight shift.

Don’t tell a pilot slight shifts don’t matter. If you took off from the equator, one degree off your target line, and traveled around the world, you would miss your original target by 500 miles!

Here’s the point. If you ignore slight shifts, they become huge problems. In the case of a pilot, you miss your original target by a distance spanning the state of Tennessee (and some). In the case of a Christian, good things become idols.

The church is tempted to elevate many things to idol status. Some of those things are really good. But, as Tim Keller says, “Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things.”

Anything that competes with total devotion to God and service to our neighbor is detrimental to the church. Here are 7 things the church loves more than God.

1.) THE BIBLE

The Bible is the most important book in the history of the world. The Bible is alive and active in the hearts of those who read it. It pierces the heart, exposing darkness, and illuminating the perfection of God.

But…the Bible is NOT God.

The Bible reveals the character and nature of God. The Bible shows us the glory of God and the redemptive framework underlying all of humanity.

But…the Bible is NOT God.

The Bible is both timeless and timely. Every word in the Bible is truth, transcending cultures, kingdoms, and time. The words in Scripture guided men thousands of years ago, and they guide us today. It’s relevant. The Bible speaks directly into the issues of our day. It speaks directly to us, in the midst of both suffering and joy.

But…the Bible is NOT God.

Growing up, I knew a lot about the Bible. I memorized a lot of Scriptures. I read my Bible most days.

But I didn’t know God. I didn’t have a relationship with him. I wasn’t in love with God. If you challenged the Bible, you might as well have said, “Hey Frank, your mom is fat, and you are an illegitimate child.” The Bible was an idol. I don’t think I’m alone. Here are a few signs the Bible is your idol.

You feel guilty if you don’t read your Bible every day.
You read certain verses in an attempt to prove other Christians wrong.
You believe the Bible is black and white on every issue.
If you discovered inconsistencies in the Bible, you would question God.
You don’t know the difference between a relationship with God and reading the Bible.

This isn’t my attempt to degrade the Bible. This is my attempt to elevate the One every word points to. If the Bible disappeared, God would still move in the hearts of his people. When Jesus returns, the Bible will disappear (at least, the Bible as we know it). But God will remain. Forever. Don’t rely more on the Bible than on God.

2.) DOCTRINES

Trivia question: What’s the most viewed page on a typical church website? Answer: the “What We Believe” page. Don’t ask me for stats. Just refer to a time when you church-browsed.

Why?

When looking for a church home, most Christians “narrow the field” by investigating a church’s beliefs and comparing those beliefs to theirs. This makes sense, right? Until our beliefs about God impact how we love God and others.

But aren’t all doctrines universal and unchanging? In theory, yes. In reality, no. Some Christians believe speaking in tongues is evidence that you have the Holy Spirit. Others believe speaking in tongues ceased after the apostles. Still others believe the Holy Spirit is God’s word, the Bible. What about baptism? Some Christians believe baptism is essential for salvation. Others think it’s an important component of salvation. Still others don’t think it’s important at all. Some Christians believe baptism by total immersion is the only legitimate method. Others practice sprinkling as a form of baptism. The list goes on and on.

Here’s the point.

Doctrines are truths about God. They are unchanging, yes. But the men who interpret them aren’t. So, what happens is different perspectives on truths about God.

Truths about God are great. I think it’s productive and healthy to read the Bible and other sources, then formulate our beliefs about God. But things get dangerous when our understanding of God becomes THE understanding. This happens when we focus more on being right than obeying the greatest commands.

If we place more value in a church’s beliefs about God than their devotion to God and their neighbor, that’s a problem. Don’t attend a church because they believe a certain way. Attend a church because they love and serve God.

For years, I thought the term “false doctrine” meant any belief that differed from mine. Through the lenses of the greatest commands, false doctrine is any belief or conviction that doesn’t drive you to love God and love your neighbor.

False doctrine is any belief that doesn’t lead you to love God and your neighbor.

3.) WORSHIP STYLES

Several months ago, in the midst of the Supreme Court Decision on gay marriage, I invited my gay neighbor to a college Bible study. After a great discussion on responding to the LBGT community as followers of Jesus, my neighbor said something that shocked me.

“Even though gay marriage is a controversial issue in our church, the most divisive issue we face today is worship style.”

His statement makes me wonder, “Is worship an idol in the church?” Corporate worship constitutes a few hours every week. Yet, it is the epicenter of divisiveness and church splits.

Instrumental or acapella? Full band or piano and choir? Lights and smoke? Preaching directly from Scripture or topical preaching? These aren’t inherently bad questions. But they’re not questions worthy of dissension and disunity among God’s people.

Are we expending more energy and passion fighting (or defending) a worship style or the God to whom our worship is directed? Here’s a more pointed question. Are we more concerned with protecting our style of worship than loving our neighbor?

So, what’s the response? Think more highly of others than ourselves. When considering worship styles, let’s consider our lost neighbor more than our personal preference. Let’s consider how to magnify God’s glory rather than fight about which worship style we like best.

4.) DENOMINATIONAL TIES

Growing up, the church you attended was just as important as the God you served. In other words, you couldn’t love God and not attend a Church of Christ. Occasionally, Tiffani and I encounter college students crying because they wanted to attend a church with a different name on the door, but they are scared their parents will no longer believe they are Christians.

Shame on us for making a church name more important than God’s glory.

Many younger Christians of all denominations experienced the isolation and division accompanying unhealthy denominational allegiances. And, in response, they want to see denominational walls fall. They realize that the church isn’t determined by a name on a sign, but by a man on a cross.

The church isn’t determined by a name on a sign, but a man on a cross.

And I praise God for this shift. Denominations aren’t inherently bad, but they aren’t inherently good either. If my association with a group of Christians hinders my allegiance to God, I’m throwing out the association.

Love God. Love your neighbor. That’s it. Denominations aren’t evil. But they’re not essential.

5.) CHANGE

Change is a two-sided idol. On one side is the group who responds to change the same way they respond to a curse word, mouth covered in disbelief. Change is evil. It’s accommodating to culture, and to this group culture is the enemy of God. These churches would rather die in their bubble than change a program, ministry, or philosophy.

The next generation is a threat to this group because they are different. And different leads to change. So, every year, the average age of these churches increases. For this group, change is an idol. It’s not a bad thing to cautiously engage change. But refusing to engage it violates the greatest commands, specifically the one about loving our neighbor.

But there’s another side to this coin. It’s the group who believes change is essential. This group changes for the sake of change, not for the sake of reaching their neighbor. I have witnessed this personally. A church decides to become progressive for the sake of being progressive. Or conservative for the sake of being conservative. Every action is a response to another church, not a response to their neighbor who doesn’t know Jesus. This is also idolatry.

Change is important. Nothing created by God stays the same. At the same time, change, whether it’s a new ministry or a new building, must be filtered through the greatest commands, loving God and loving our neighbor.

6.) PASTORS

This past week, I ate dinner with some Christian friends. During our meal, someone referenced a recent discussion where the teacher asked, “What’s the purpose of a pulpit minister (or lead pastor, teaching pastor, etc.)?”

One lady raised her hand and said, “A mascot.”

There’s a thin line between keeping it real and saying too much. She crossed it.

But, she wasn’t lying. In our spotlight-driven culture, church growth is often dependent on the fame of your preacher. Many churches adopt the culture’s blueprint for growth. And, as my dad says, “Son, you made this decision. Now, you gotta dance wit’ the gurl you brought.”

Look, I confess. I’m guilty of this. If I’m visiting a big city on the weekend, I worship at a church with a famous pastor. But I’m not alone here. “Who’s your preacher?” is often the first question we’re asked about our church. Preachers are mascots.

When we elevate a human being, whether a preacher or a school teacher, at or above God, the inevitable result is destruction. When people abandon their faith after discovering their pastor’s moral failure, that’s an unhealthy devotion to a human being. When people place unfair (god-like) expectations on pastors, and pastors feel they must cover their imperfections, that’s unhealthy.

Preachers aren’t mascots. They shouldn’t be elevated above those they lead. As a church leader, I struggle with anxiety, depression, failure, and inadequacies just like everyone else. I don’t deserve any special praise. I know my heart. It’s wicked. And only by God’s grace am I allowed to write, speak, or disciple others towards God.

Let’s elevate God. He can handle any expectations we throw on him.

7.) PROGRAMS

How can the Bible be inspired by God and not say a word about VBS, short-term missions, or Sunday school? How did the church in Acts flourish without church programs? The answer is simple. They were dedicated to loving God and loving their neighbor.

The church doesn’t need programs to thrive. Many (not all) churches create programs that never impact people. Rather than an on-ramp for a deeper relationship with God, programs become a frustrating roadblock to God.

Programs should be on-ramps to God, not roadblocks.

We can’t be more concerned with our programs than the people our programs are created to reach. Growth isn’t measured by numbers on a page. It’s measured by men and women becoming more like Jesus.

Again, I’m guilty. Programs trump people too often in my ministry. God is using this season without a job to remind me that ministry is about people. One day I will answer for how I lead the bride of Jesus Christ, the church. If all I have to show for my years are amazing logos, catchy titles, and well-designed programs, I can’t imagine God saying, “Well done, Frank. You’re so creative.”

Programs are only valuable when they impact people. Make sure everything ministry, program, and event challenges people to become more like Christ. Get on the ground. Don’t create a program in a boardroom and never leave your office to see whether it impacts people.

Programs should always be an on-ramp to God, not a roadblock.

Anything or anyone can become an idol. Most Christians avoid the obvious idol (sex, money, drugs, etc.). But Satan doesn’t need obvious idols to distract God’s people from the “one big thing.” He only needs to shift our focus slightly. If you’re a follower of Jesus, spend time discerning whether the greatest commands are the most important commands in your life.

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

Frank Powell

Devoted follower of Christ, college/young adult minister, husband to @tiffanipowell, dad to Noah and Micah, avid blogger/writer, sports fan. You can follow him on twitter, Facebook, and read more blogs here!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Churches Have Tares

Unity and Division 


We know that the World is Evil and controlled by "The Prince of the power of the air,." and that his "spirit that now worketh in the Children of Disobedience:" {Ephesians 2:2} We know this, and expect this. We know that the World is going to Hate us for no other reason than the fact we have accepted Jesus. Jesus even told us this..
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." {John 15:18}
So we know this. We accept and expect it. However, I have question for ya. What about your Church? Did you know that your Church has a Tare? Yes. YOUR Church. Someone that comes to your Church is a Tare. Not your Church?? Jesus had 12 members. One was a Tare. How many members does your Church have? Oh your Church has a Tare. Or Tares.

Jesus gave us this Parable. If you have your Bible, turn to Matthew 13:24-30
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
A little later, Jesus explains this to His Disciples in Matthew 13:37-40
"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
Now just like the World, the Church is made up of both Good Seeds and Tares. Jesus is warning us of this for two reasons. One, we must be aware that they are there and be on guard that we are not lead astray by them. Two, we are to be mindful about how we treat young, immature "Wheat" that we may mistake for Tares. As His Word tells us over and over again that we must be slow to anger and slow to Judge, remembering that Church Members are not all the same. Though they may be of a Pure Heart, even the "Good Seed" may not always act properly. Likewise, some Family of God, may always act properly, may always seem to do the right thing, but their Hearts remain unconverted or even corrupted.

Keep in mind that this is also not just Members,
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." {2 Corinthians 11:13}
but also Leaders as well.
"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." {Matthew 24:24}
This is why Paul was so concerned that we ALL, Children of God, are on the same page. With the same vision. Following the same Truth.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." {1 Corinthians 1:10}
First, how to deal with "Family Members?" God knows who belongs to Him and who does not. He alone knows the Heart of Man. He allows both to grow together. Our guard must be against the lies and the deceit, but we must be careful not to wrongly Judge the Person. We are not the Judge. Actually, here are two things to think about.

One, you may be wrong. They may be trying their best to be a good Stewart, yet having a challenging time, and or, YOU may not be in the place YOU should be. Or two? You may be very right. They may indeed be a Tare. They may very well be a "False Apostles, Deceitful Workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ." However, they ARE there. They are at the Trough. Oh they may be Pigs or Dogs, but they are at least where the food is. How do you know that they will NOT hear something that changes their lives and they too become converted and become true Children of God? God knows.
"But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" {Ezekiel 18:21-23}
The answer is "No." God does not take pleasure in the Wicked dying in their Sin. He is NOT some old bearded Guy sitting on a Throne, watching, waiting, just hoping that you screw up somehow, so He can send you to Hell. But that is a whole other Sermon.

No, God is Patient and Kind. He is hoping that we, all of us, will use our Free Will to turn from our Wicked Ways and Be Saved. But He will NEVER, EVER, Force us. It is up to you. So you do not know if that "False Brethren," will in time, become a TRUE Brethren. What is it that YOU came from? Yeah, the whole Plank in your Eye Thing..

However, even if they do NOT truly Convert, is it of any effect on you? If you do not let it? No. Do not be mislead though. A "False Brethren," or a Tare, CAN effect the whole Church if they are allowed. Do not be mislead or drawn into anything that is NOT Scriptural, founded in Jesus, and or of God.

There is a difference in questioning why something is, and questioning WHY something is. In other words, Does the Bible REALLY Say Homosexuality is Sin? YES "Leviticus 18:1-5, 22-24, 29, Leviticus 20:13, Ezekiel 16:49-51, Romans 1:18-32," So why is Homosexuality Sin? Because God and His Word said so.

Why is Homosexuality still considered Sin? After all, it's 2016. The Supreme Court has ruled that Gays have a Right to Marry. It is the Law of the Land. Very good people are Gay and they just want to be loved like everyone else. You telling them that they are wrong is hateful and mean. So I do not like it when the Pastor starts Preaching all this Hell and Brimstone stuff.

Seriously, do you not think that HE has Sin? Of course he does. Right? I mean, seriously, there is nothing wrong with accepting Gay People. It's called compassion. Oh, and don't even get me started with a Woman's Right to Chose. I love God. I do. But come on. God is not going to condemn someone for doing things that no one considers Sin anymore. God evolves with the times, just like the rest of us. If you cannot evolve with the times, then we will go over here and start our own Church. One of "true love." One that does not discriminate.

Or even worse, the Tares multiply and choke out the Wheat, and even force the Pastor into simply ignoring what some might find "offensive." In time, the Church simply becomes so PC that it simply dies. This we must stand against without falsely condemning those, even true Tares, that may be doing this.

How we do this is simple. We simply stay true to God and His Word. We simply Pray. We Simply be the Children of God we are. Through His Personal Relationship with each of us, God is refining us into the mature "Wheat" that He wants to reap at His harvest. Let HIM deal with the Tares at that time. Just do not allow them to disrupt His planting of more "Good Seed." Do not allow the Tares to prevent the increasing of the Harvest. Make no mistake about it, you HAVE Tares. Just grow, and allow God to deal with others. You have enough to deal with all by yourself.

Coming up this Wednesday, we have a Special Guest joining us, Frank Powell. Frank Powell Devoted follower of Christ, college/young adult minister, husband to @tiffanipowell, Dad to Noah and Micah, avid blogger/writer, sports fan. You can follow him on twitter, Facebook, and read more blogs here! Come join us when Frank shares with us "7 Things the Church Loves More Than God." Some of them may surprise you..

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been adopted into the Family of God? If not, say this Prayer. Right now. Wherever you may be. Say it in your own words, and do not doubt in your heart. God will hear you. He will send the Spirit of Life to you. Let us Pray..

"Oh heavenly Father, Lord God. I am a sinner. I know this. I know there is nothing I can do to change that. But I know you can. I accept Jesus's sacrifice for me. I repent my sins. Please send the Spirit of Adoption into my life. Help me to get to know the real you. Save me. Please. In the name of Jesus, Amen!"

That's it. It really is that simple. Now go tell someone what you have just done. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." {Romans 10:9} You need to find a Church that God leads you to, and be Baptized the way Jesus said to be. You are now a Child of God. A new Creature. You "have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." {Colossians 3:10}

If you want to tell me, or comment, question, give testimonials, or just say "Hi," the Email is opntalk@gmail.com

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. {2 Corinthians 13}

Until next time, be Blessed, be a Blessing, and Jesus IS Lord..

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Things to be Thankful For.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Things I'm Thankful for?  Life Forgiveness of Sin Life Everlasti...