Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2015

The tickets were booked a long time ago but today is the last day before the trip, that means last minute stuff. I am always glad when I am finally in my seat and the plane is accelerating down the runway, I feel like I can relax at that point. Well, the relaxation point is still some hours out, which brings me back to last minute stuff. Obviously this pastor’s note is one of those things to get done before hopping in the car to drive to airport.

There is something about time running out, invariably some things don’t get done because they have to be done, they’re just not that important. The level of important things that needed to be done and actually got done depends on how little you procrastinated and how well you prepared. The last minute stress level depends on how much last minute stuff you let pile up in relation to how little time is left. It also depends on how many people are depending on you. And it depends on how many unexpected things crop up at the last minute. A pig pile of last minute stuff drenched in a downpour of the unexpected will make your eyes twitch.

All of our tickets have been booked, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be Psalm 139:16 (NIV). With each passing day everyone of is getting closer to our departure. Our upcoming trip has both a first stop and a final destination, that’s how it is with everyone’s final trip. The first stop, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”  Hebrews 9:27 (NIV). The final destination depends on who you booked with, but it will either be heaven or hell, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal lifeMatthew 25:46 (NASB).

I have been a preacher for over thirty years and it has been my experience that in general people do not prepare for the final trip. They leave messes their children and family have to sort out, they life lives with little or no thought of God’s judgment, they book trips into eternity depending on themselves, trusting in human philosophy, scientific enlightenment, and man-made religion to either avoid or prepare them for a complete accounting before God, believing good thoughts and sentimentality can both keep them out of hell and propel them into heaven. There is no peace, no assurance, no hope in any of that. The reality of being unprepared is that all piles up until it is too late, until not only the unimportant is left undone but also the essential. The truth is that anyone who books his or her journey into eternity through anyone but Christ is unprepared.

Now Matthew 25 Jesus makes it abundantly clear that there are those who smugly and glibly claim Christ but their attitudes and actions reveal who they really have booked with. They fool themselves into thinking they are going to one place but will end up in another.

I stood by the bedside of a dying man. He hadn’t expected for his final trip to come this soon. He’d gone church off and on. He could claim a religious episode, but he knew he was unprepared just hours before takeoff. He had wasted life on himself. Is there hope for someone like him? The answer is, YES! All of us will be found wanting at the first stop of the final journey, none of us has enough merit to stay out of hell, not a single one of us can pay for the ticket on the jet bound for heaven, Jesus Christ graciously and mercifully has paid for that. Book with him and live for him now, not later.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

Getting married is easy, declare your love, pop the question, set the date, get the license, plan the party, and say, “I Do.” But what comes after is a lifetime of being married, of being a spouse. Making a baby is easy and fun (If you are wondering how? Have your Dad, Mom, Grandpa, or Grandma explain it to you). But what comes after is a lifetime of being a parent. Getting saved, being reconciled to God, and having your sins forgiven is easy. You simply have to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the one who can save you, reconcile you, and forgive you. But what comes after is a lifetime of being a believer.

Once you get married, once you put a baby into this world, and once you become a Christian the question is, “And so what kind of spouse and lover, what kind of Mom or Dad, what kind of follower of Jesus are going to be?” Of course that doesn’t depend on what has already transpired but on what you do, what you value, how you think, and how you live in the present. And the present is continual, ongoing.

What are the chances of having a great marriage after a beautiful wedding if you don’t spend any time together, if you are disengaged, if you don’t maintain trust, if you don’t share values, and if you make lousy decisions? What kind of parent are you if the words sporadic, inconsistent, immature, and self-centered describe you? What kind of believer, disciple of Christ are you going to be if what happened when you were mercifully, graciously, and gloriously saved does not show itself in the ongoing present of the rest of your life?

In the letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul spends 11 chapters (I would love for you to get out Bible and read those chapters) explaining salvation: That all have sinned, that all have a need to be saved, that sinner can be forgiven and be saved from the judgment of God and the ultimate penalty of sin, death and hell through the atoning work and power of Jesus Christ. But once you have believed in and have called on Christ to save you, once you are saved, what then? That is what the rest of the Paul’s letter is about.

“And so” now that you are professing believer (brother and sister is a way believers see each other and often refer to each other, because through Christ they have become members of God’s family, John 1:12-13) this is how you become a good one, a life-long one, one worth emulating. There are two absolute essentials:

  1. You daily, continually offer yourself to God out of sheer gratitude. You see everything you involve yourself in as an opportunity to please, glorify, and worship God. Bringing yourself day after day as an “acceptable” sacrifice is above all an act of worship.
  2. You let God change the way you think by learning what he thinks, what he values, and what he loves. You let him teach you through his word (the Bible) how he looks at things and the ways he does things. And as you do you incorporate that back into point #1.

Here is an incredible reality, anyone who dares to live out his/her salvation in Christ based on the two core principles found in Romans 12:1-2 will end up being a better husband, better wife, better Mom, better Dad, better son, better daughter, better friend, better neighbor, and better human being. Oh I am for that!

And so, by all means make sure you are saved, and then live like you are saved.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

Personality cults, immoral behavior and its acceptance, civil lawsuits, wild church services, making a mess out of communion, not grasping what church is, spiritual gifts misunderstanding and abuse, reliance on human wisdom above Gods’ word, a me first mentality, and major doctrinal confusion is what you would have found in the church of Corinth. The Apostle Paul wrote a lengthy letter to address and correct this collective ball of worms of Christian error and misbehavior eating holes all through the fabric of the Corinthian church, and continues to do so to the body of Christ even today.

There are four root causes to church messes:

#1. Sign seeking (1 Cor. 1:22-25) – Every church has sign seekers, those who think a powerful and hopefully miraculous experience will bring about strong and devotion to Christ, and at the same time prove their spiritual superiority. It’s a dead end. It has never worked, if it had then the Israelites who walked through the parted Red Sea would have been one of the most devoted and spiritual people who ever lived. But just week’s later the thrill had worn off and they danced and partied away from the God of the ten plagues, of the parted sea, of marvelous provision, and of fearsome glory, and exchanged him for a molten calf crafted from their own earrings.

#2. Human wisdom enthusiasm (1 Cor. 1:22, 30, 2:1-13) – Every church has them as well, those who overestimate our immense capacity for reason, for science, for rationality. Unchecked this capacity coupled with human depravity leads to the kind of pride that dismisses the supernatural, doubts the wisdom and promises of God’s word, and dares to dismantle God himself. There is no less pride to be found here than in sign seeking, it simply exchanges pride in a portfolio of experiences for walls lined with books. Ultimate, eternal, and saving wisdom cannot be found even in the best and most brilliant efforts of the depraved human mind and spirit but only through God revealing himself, supremely through Christ, and our submission to his revelation.

#3. Living according what is “Natural,” according to the “Flesh” (1 Cor. 2:14-16) – This is a temptation to all believers; it assumes that one can believe in Christ and not change. It believes that Christ is good for salvation but we are sufficient for Christian ethics, Christian morality, and Christian behavior in and of ourselves. This discounts the depth of human depravity, overestimates our capacity for goodness, orients itself too much on what we are accustomed to and what our culture deems right, and leads to constant conflict because everyone needs to agree with me or else they are wrong.

#4. Spiritual Immaturity (1 Cor. 3:1-20) – In some ways this is an outgrowth of #1, 2, and 3, but it is root of its own. Maturity is never automatic, if it was then parenting is a waste of time, as would be books about character building, seminars on values, and the study of history. Maturity is acquired, learned, and practiced, it doesn’t show up overnight. Maturity submits itself to wisdom, knowledge, values, habits, thinking, and ways that are mature. Christian maturity does not form itself through extraordinary experience, or through great human wisdom and intelligence, or through innate humanness or cultural superiority, no Christian maturity is based on a faith submission to the written revelation of God, the Scriptures, the Bible. In doing so the spiritual maturity Paul speaks of does not discount the power of God to do the miraculous,  neither does it put the mind out of gear, nor does it diminish our capacity to find wisdom, but it does not trust any on their own and so submits all of them to the eternal counsel of God’s word.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: