What I know I should do, I do not

What I know I should not do, that I do....

Romans 8:12-17English Standard Version (ESV)

Heirs with Christ
12 So then, brothers,[a] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[b] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Colossians 3:5-8English Standard Version (ESV)

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[a] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

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Magnify

mag·ni·fy  verb  “extol; glorify.” “praise the Lord and magnify Him”

Psalm 34: English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

If you were to examine your life (your walk) this past week, ask yourself to take inventory in all that you do.  That is, to say, when you wake, work, eat, play, sleep and interact with others where does the Lord stand in your life?  Is God the Father, The Son and The Spirit the authority in your life, in all that you do?  Are you using your time, your talent and your treasure that you have been given by God in ways to honor Him?  Are you focusing more on what you want and how you want to promote your Kingdom instead of God’s Kingdom.

For me, this is a daily struggle.  If I am brutally honest, there are days when I wake that I want to just roll over and sleep all day.  Or there are days that I just want to do life for me and my indulgences.  There are days that I just want to be selfish and not look out for others that God has given me to steward over.  

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What is truth?

John 8:31-32New International Version (NIV)

31 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He said that no one will come to His Father, but through Him.

If you do no know Jesus as Lord, as Savior and as your redeemer, then the truth is not in you


If you do not know truth (the Lord Jesus), then when you die, you will be asked if you know the Lord, Jesus Christ as Savior.  If you do, then your name will be written in the Book of Life.  If you do not, then you will be thrown into the Lake of Fire that was intended for the Devil and his angels.

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The Unholy trinity

(Me, Myself and I)

Left to our own devices, what hope of eternity with God do we have?  Left by ourselves, what is the likelihood that we may slip?  Left by ourselves, what could possibly go wrong?  In Romans we read that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  In Psalms we read that we were brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  In Mark, we read Jesus telling us that from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders and adulteries.  In Jeremiah, we read that the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.  Who can understand it?

2 Timothy 3:2-4
For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

In all that we do, we have to acknowledge that we were built and made for community.  The Holy Trinity is the perfect and flawless example of this:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  They are the perfect community.  They gave us an example of what perfect community is like.

 

 

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Why do we need the church? Part 1

A follow up to Lance's Post: "Dear Church, Are We Off Course?"

need the churchMy friend, Lance (founder of Legacy dad), penned this blog post, “Dear Church, Are We Off Course?” in which he spoke from the heart and from some frustration and pure honesty with issues in today’s church in the free world, The United States of America.  If you haven’t read it or have, I encourage you to read it again and then ponder to yourself to ask what you see in your church and where are we going.

In Ephesians 5:25 we read are “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, which applies to those whom Christ died for.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that “I will build my church.”  In the Old Testament they reference to an assembly of people who worshiped God.  The Greek word, Ekklesia, is a term that is translated as church, which simply means assembly.  The Church is both local and universal.  The church is both visible and invisible.  It is not defined as brick and mortar.  In metaphors in the New Testament, the Church is referenced as “an olive tree (Romans 11:17-24), a field of crops (1 Corinthians 3:6-9), a building (1 Cor. 3:9) and a harvest (Matthew 13:1-30 and John 4:35).  The Church is a group of new priests, holy believers (that is you and I who are set apart for Him).

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Tell Your Story

Share the Gospel Always

whats-your-story-4I gave my life to Jesus Christ on November 7, 1976 in a fundamental, independent Baptist Church.  The pastor was a humble and intelligent man named Reverend Donald G. Humbert.  He was a godly man who believed in the Bible word for word.  I grew up Catholic, meaning I grew up in a tradition and religion rather than a genuine faith and friendship with our Creator.  That is, to say, that I was not connected to God’s word, His truth, nor did I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sister started attending this church and eventually got my mom and I to start attending this church.  After several months, I remember one Sunday evening (11/7/1976) that I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I stood up during the “alter call” and gave my life to the Lord.

I cannot tell you that I always followed the road to biblical discipleship (read more:  Here), but the Lord never gave up on me even at my most darkest of times.  During my late adaloscent years and even into my early teens I was on fire for the Lord.  I was President of my youth group and CEO of our high school ministry.  I loved the Lord with every part of my being.  And then I met high school football and the like and turned away from God and toward earthly idols.  My youth Pastor, and my friend, noticed a dramatic change and wrote me a letter about this (I still have this today) and called me out (or tried to) in being raw and honest with his walk.  I really always love and respect that man for his truth in love.  As a result, I walked away from my relationship with God for over a decade (again see the post above).  It was not until I went to a friend’s wedding and met his wife’s best friend did my life begin to change.

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BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

(looking at social media through the lens of true biblical Christianity)

If you are an American, like me, then unless you are completely off the grid then you have been drastically affected by social media like myself.  That is, to say, both mentally and physically this has been a really exhausting poltical year.  I have to say in this Presidential election neither candidate would have made my top 20 list of who I would vote for.  As a matter of fact, given the political climate and social barometer there weren’t too many that would have made the list in the first place.

In either case, we the American people, had to choose to 1) vote for either candidate, 2) vote for neither and pick a 3rd party that has no chance of winning (which was a vote for the incumbant candidate) or 3) choose not to vote giving up our right and privilege to vote.    Either way, you had to make one of these choices, however, if you choose options #3, then shame on you if you are one of these protesters or internet haters (in my opinion, you shouldn’t be allowed to have the right a privileges as an American citizen – just my opinion).

Okay, now enough about me and my opinion on the 2016 Election.

Here is an article about posting on Social Media from the Gospel Coalition:

1. Will it edify? Or significantly inform a useful conversation? (Mark 12:29–31; 1 Cor. 14:26)

Think of what will edify others. All we do is in obedience to the command to love God and others. How will it increase their knowledge, faith, or love? Am I accurately representing positions you disagree with? Am I sure of my facts? Trivialities hopefully fill up our lives less than they do so much of the Internet.

As John Piper has said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the Last Day that our prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” He’s right.

2. Will it be easily misunderstood? (John 13:7; 16:12)

The privacy of a personal conversation limits misunderstanding. Some public posts will sound one way to those who know us and another to those who don’t. Negative assessments are often best shared privately, or not at all. How many of us have learned at our workplace that e-mail is a terrible way to share negative comments? When it comes to public postings, ask yourself: Are there reasons I may not be a good person to speak on certain matters?

3. Will it reach the right audience? (Mark 4:9)

If you’re correcting someone, should the audience be wide—or more narrow? Is that audience correctable? When you use social media, consider who’s listening. What if everyone in your church eavesdropped on your conversations today? Yet we do this all the time online.

4. Will it help my evangelism? (Col. 1:28–29)

Is what you’re about to say going to help or hinder those you’re evangelizing? Is it likely to diminish the significance (to them) of your commitment to the gospel, or enhance it?

5. Will it bring about unnecessary and unhelpful controversy? (Titus 3:9)

Think carefully about controversy. The line between the vigorous exchange of ideas and a kind of social war is sometimes thinner than we think. What’s this particular controversy to which I’d be contributing good for? Might it be unhelpful? How much time will it take up? Is this an unavoidable primary issue, or a matter about which disagreement is fairly unimportant? Will this controversy play into any other division that threatens the unity of my local church?

6. Will it embarrass or offend? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will anyone be embarrassed or offended by what you’re saying? I understand that the mere fact something is offensive doesn’t mean saying it is wrong, but we must be sure it’s worth it.

7. Will it convey care? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will those mainly concerned appreciate your motives? Privacy in communication conveys care, an honoring of the person receiving the information. You like the fact that your doctor’s report is private, but you don’t mind that the store’s sale is advertised. If someone would rather be addressed in person, why not do that?

8. Will it make people better appreciate someone else? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Point out God’s grace in the lives, ministries, and arguments of others. Highlighting something that will build esteem for someone else glorifies God and encourages others to see his work in them.

9. Is it boasting? (Prov. 27:2)

Does what you communicate online draw attention to yourself more than your topic? How could that be spiritually harmful? Will it leave people with a more accurate understanding of yourself? Are you simply being tempted to draw attention to what you know? When was the last time you encouraged others by sharing something embarrassing or even sinful about yourself?

10. Is the tone appropriate? (2 John 1, 12; Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim. 2:24–25)

Will people understand and be encouraged in the truth you communicate? How important is the tone to your message being rightly received? Is it evidently kind, patient, and gentle? The literal tone of your voice and the look on your face fill out so much of what you mean. In a personal conversation, you can more quickly understand that something needs clarifying. The Internet doesn’t sanctify anger or frustration.

11. Is it wrong to say nothing? (Rom. 1:14)

Do you have an opportunity or even a responsibility to communicate something? Some of you do this for your job. Have you established a “relationship” with readers, friends, and followers online that would expect you to comment on a particular issue or situation? Our freedom of speech is a wonderful stewardship. Use it well and responsibly.

12. What do others advise? (Prov. 11:14; 15:22; 24:6)

When you’re about to communicate something provocative, do you have good sounding-boards to help you estimate the response? Do you take the time to consider before you publish? Speed of response is both an ability of the Internet and a temptation to speak too quickly (contra James 1:19; Prov. 10:19; 14:29; 16:32; 17:27). Remember, you will give an account for every word you type (Matt. 12:36). Does saying things at a “safe distance” from people tempt us to say things we wouldn’t say in person?

Perhaps you could write down these questions and ask a friend to look over your social media feeds with them in mind. Or, even ask someone you know disagrees with you on an issue you’ve posted about and see what they say.


 

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” (Frank Outlaw)

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

What really matters?

A story of two men.  One man who lacked nothing and another man who had to work for everything.  The Rich Man for all intents and purposes was all that the world would define as successful.  His retirement account was fully funded  at the age of 30 had 8 zeroes attached to it and his kids and grand kids (future children) and wife were fully funded as well.  He drove an Audi, a Porsche and a Range Rover along with an Indian Motor-cycle.  He had a condo in Vail, Colorado, a summer home in the Hampton’s and a Penthouse in Chicago.  Everything that he touched whether good or bad seemed to always work out in his favor.  There was even one year where he had a bad year in investing in the stock market and bought property instead only to find out that he bought the bottom of the real estate market and doubled his investment in less than one year.  His parents were divorced as their parents were divorced as well.  He was a trust fund kid and never really appreciated anything that he earned or was given.  This man was very agnostic.  He knew that there was some superior being, because to say that there wasn’t would be foolish.  But he lacked any positive legacy in faith and or mentoring in the way that God would call us to do so.

The other man had a decent job by worldly standards.  He wasn’t rich, by US standards, but he wasn’t poor either.  If you were to mark him down based on income tax he would fall in the upper middle-class.  He had a wife and three kids and a family that he looked forward to getting home to every day.  He was by far not the smartest nor was he the dumbest.  He was average to above average in all that he did.  The difference is that he had to work hard for everything.  His dad instilled in him a work ethic that could be rivaled by few.  His mom gave him the importance of relationships and to treat the least of these with the utmost respect whether they deserved it or not.  His mom had a faith that was unending and yet realistic to know that she was a sinner that was in constant need of God’s grace and forgiveness.  This man’s relationship with God was the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Savior, but to say that he was truly a friend of Jesus would be a stretch. That is, until a men’s conference that challenged the very core of his being.  One speaker in particular asked him what legacy would his life leave?  That question haunted him and the other 40 men that went to this conference.  Ten of the men (including this man) pledged to take this further, to be real with each other and to confess their sins together.  They were not going to do fluff or pat each other on the back, but they were going to get real and get accountability and to start a regular men’s group at their church.  So that very night six months before his big work trip came about these ten men confessed to each other.

All of these 10 men did not hold back nor hide anything.  One shared some infidelity, six shared pornography, one shared anger and two shared addictions.  All shared that they loved Jesus and they no longer wanted to just follow him, they all wanted to befriend Him and be His disciples.  So the journey began.

Six months later these two men, unbeknownst to them, met on their way to South America.  As God would have it, their paths crossed on first class.  The Rich man always flew first-class, but the other man was traveling for work and both of these men were going to somewhere in South America.  Both flew 11 hours to their destinations and both coincidentally sat next to each other on the flight down.  Out came the nuts, and the drinks and the dinner and dessert.  They both sat next to each other and both started a conversation about life and what really matters.  The man (who was in his 40’s) respected the Rich young man because he was both astute and very well-educated.  Even though he exuded money and privilege, he didn’t flaunt it in public, which was contradictory to what was written earlier about him.

The Rich young man envied this other man because something was different from any other man that he met or chatted with on long flights.  This man had contentment in a way that surprised this Rich young man.  He loved his family and he could tell there was something different so he asked.  And Faith was the topic of the remaining few hours and couple of glasses of red wine.  They talked about faith, about religion, and about this man’s faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  At one point, the Rich Young Man asked if the other man was trying to convert him.  Of which, nothing was said either way, just what this men’s group and God’s word was doing in his life.  The conversation was riveting and neither man slept through this flight as both were intrigued by the other’s lifestyle.

As they landed, both were shocked to find that they were staying at the same South American hotel.  The Rich Young Man offered the other man a ride in his arranged car to the hotel, of which the other man willingly said yes.  As they grabbed their luggage and found their driver they both were given water from the driver.  Only something was desperately wrong.  There was a woman in the front seat (the driver said it was his niece and he was going to give her a ride to the city after these men were dropped off.)  The Rich Young man said that would not be a problem and to bill his card for both of the men.  As there was long conversation on the flight and more than two glasses of wine, both men willingly drank the water and both did not realize that the water was drugged.  Hours later they both woke up somewhere in the rain forest and both were in shock as they were locked in separate rooms next to each other.  Drugged and tied and being held for ransom.  These men were the victim of kidnapping and the other man was at the wrong place at the wrong time given the Rich Young Man’s status.

They were held for ransom and the ransom was huge.  The older man’s company was working with the Rich Young Man’s corporation on trying to negotiate for these men’s lives.  Months had passed and the camps that held them were moved every 3 weeks.  A trust and friendship began between these men and the only thing they were allowed to have with them were the Bible that the older man had.  As his men’s group was working on Scripture memory he gave the Rich Young Man his copy of the Bible.

And so they read – through the entire Bible.  Focusing on Romans, on James and on John.  Not really sure of the date, as either men weren’t sure of how much time that had passed, these men both discovered God in a whole new way – one had a new Savior (Jesus Christ) and the other had two new best friends (Jesus and the Rich Young Man).  Through this conversation and conversion there was a guard in the camp that took a liking to these two men and took more of a liking to what was being shared between them – the Word of God.  This guard also came to know the Lord and just one week before these men were going to be either negotiated for ransom or killed for lack of payment, the guard freed them late at night and drove them across the border to the US Embassy.  These men were able to call their work and families before a ransom was paid out and the Rich Young Man chartered a plane to take them both back to Chicago.

They made the local newspapers and then the national news papers and then the talk shows and then more and more kept coming.  They both had their “10 minutes of fame” but neither used this for their own kingdom – instead they used it for God’s kingdom.

Both were asked what really mattered when they were being held prisoner and both said the same – their faith in God, in His Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  They both left the US wanting and both came back completely content.  Their lives were forever changed and from that moment of conversion for the Rich Young Man and the other man was life-changing.  Their wishes and desires were no longer what they wanted, but instead was replaced by what God wanted from their lives.

“When it is all said and done”, they said in their last television interview, “and we are kneeling at the judgement seat of Christ, we only want to hear two things:  1) Our names read in the Book of Life and 2) Well done my good and faithful servants”.


what really mattersWhat really matters to you?

The world’s view:

  • Riches
  • Wealth
  • Retirement
  • Popularity
  • Fame

God’s view:

  • His Word
  • A relationship with His Son Jesus Christ
  • To be his disciples
  • To love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves
  • To finish well

Blessings,

Dante