Should we keep on sinning

If I were to look at the church from the outside in approach (as not being a Christian) in most American churches I would most like being skewed and left with hypocritical opinion of the church.  That is, to say, that I would probably ask why do I need God if Christians continue to do the same thing that they did before and continue to sin and keep on sinning.  I would say how can they judge me when they keep doing the very things that they say that they are saved from.

cheap graceIf I were to look at most men in these churches in America, I would be disappointed by the statistics that compare the world to them, meaning there probably wouldn’t be much difference.

If I were to be real with these American churches that were just lukewarm, I would look to the book of Revelation and say to them what Jesus said to one of his churches about being lukewarm – he would rather have that church be hot (on fire for Him and His will) or cold (worldly) instead of lukewarm (which is like vomit in His mouth).

stopBased on the way that some Christians live, some in the world can conclude that the salvation of that church (living like the world) is like a lottery ticket – meaning that they can be “saved” and also live like they used to live by continuing to keep living the same way as before (this is the world’s view). I would caution any church against living a lie such as this…you will be held accountable by misleading others.

Let’s test that against Scripture:

Romans 6 English Standard Version (ESV)

 Dead to Sin, Alive to God

6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

 Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Salvation is a free gift from God.  The cost of discipleship, however, is a life time process that we strive for as His children through our lives to have our sanctification finally completed by His return.

Please understand this point:  Works is not a means to salvation and never will be.  The Book of Romans states:  Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His mercy He has saved us.  For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Bottom Line:  No matter what we do, can do or will do, works will never be good enough to earn our way into heaven.

So now I say to the churches that are neither cold or hot, but rather lukewarm.  To the churches that compromise biblical truth because of family circumstances and/or worldly convictions and/or worldly condemnation – do not compromise the Bible, do not bend the truth do not accommodate the world’s desires if it jeopardizes God’s truth!

Some of you may read this and think that I am saying to then persecute those who sin.  Stand firm and hate both the sin and the sinners that are transgressing the body of Christ – that is not what I am saying at all.  I am speaking to the Church that is lukewarm and not following Christ’s will.  I am asking them to stick to the truth, to trust the Lord with all their heart and to lean not on their own understanding.  To acknowledge the Lord in all that they do and He will make their paths straight.  To the church that is cold – Repent!  To the church that is lukewarm – Repent!

If the world is asking me to compromise Scripture to be accepted by them, then I am going to deny myself to the world and trust God!  Really it is a simple choice.  A humble reminder to everyone is that ONE DAY there will be a judgement!  One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Either you know Him and He will testify about you to His Father.   Or He will deny you and say depart from me for I never knew you.  Some of the churches may be just doing that – playing church and denying the very existence of why we need a perfect Savior (just going through the motions – these are those that Jesus talks about that will say Lord, Lord and He will say to them, ‘depart from me for I never knew you’).

Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and follow him.  Scripture tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him.  Jesus tells us that the world will persecute us just as they persecute Him.  If I am going to error, then I am going to error on the side of Biblical truth instead of the desire of the world’s version of bent truth.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!  What about you and your house?

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

What should the top 6 + 1 priorities be?

Earlier last week, I posted What are your top 6 priorities?  I listed, in any order:  Family, community, work, church, friends and God.  One other person, that I respect, amended this list and added Self.  I asked you to do some honest work on assessing this in your life with your spouse and yourself and what you thought that the Bible would say about this list.

priorAs a result, I am listing the following order of what I believe the Bible tells us that our priorities should be:

  1. God – Jesus said, when asked by the leaders of Israels time, what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength (and the second, to love our neigbhor as our self.)
  2. Self – some may argue with this one, but I would like to contend the following verses:  1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 3 John 1:2, Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 5:7-9.  Our bodies are a temple to God (His Holy Spirit resides in each of us that are born again).  How can we help others when we are not well?  How can we show Christ in us, when we do not treat our bodies, mind and soul with this respect that God calls us to be.
  3. Family – as legacy dads we are called to be prophets, priests and kings of our household.  Ephesians 5 tells us to love our wives as Christ loves the church.  Colossians 3 gives us important details about the family:  Love our wives and do not be harsh with them, do not embitter our children.  Deuteronomy 6 tells of how we are to raise our children.  Family is our direct mission field.
  4. Friends – we are to love our neighbor as our self.  Who is your neighbor and why are we called to take care of our friends?  Our life should model Christ and point our friends to church.
  5. Church – can really be included under friends.  In church, we are called to corporate worship and to listen to the reading of scripture.  We are called be the body (working together) to go and reach the disconnected growing the connected and making disciples.
  6. Work – King Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, tells us that life is but a mist.  We are to work hard, enjoy life and to give all that we have to our maker.  Without him in our life – it is pointless.  Colossians 4 tells us how to approach work and to realize who we are working for.
  7. Community – lining up #1 – #6 gives us the importance of our mission field in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations.  Mathew 28 gives us the Lord’s commission – The Great Commission.

humilityThis is my two sense (cents).

Blessings,

Dante

What are your top 6 priorties?

When you look at other ministries and other people what fruit do you see?  Do you see the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the sinful nature?  If we are truly saved, by Grace, then what should naturally flow out of us?  Often, we will find individuals that have this insatiable drive to serve and to bust their humps to be busy, but how often do we see individuals that truly are bearing the fruit of the Spirit in their every day lives.

priorIf I were to ask you in any order:

  • Family
  • Community
  • Work
  • God
  • Church
  • Friends

Which would you say that is your top priority naming them 1 (most important) through 6.   So go ahead and in your best and most honest answer by the fruit in your life (what your family, friends and the world (even your checkbook) would say that that order is.  Now, what would your wife and kids say that your priorities are?  Now ask your wife what her priorities are (really are) and what she thinks others would say (including you).  Now, once these two exercises are done let’s have the two of you (and your family) based on the Bible write down what priorities you think should be the order collectively.

Once you that down, click here for where the second post is going (don’t click on it until you complete your family lists (come on, be honest)

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

blog-pursuit-of-happinessThe unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

These men were standing together against tyranny and against a form of government that no longer cared about the inalienable rights of individuals as highlighted in red above.  They stood together against a far superior force and military that for any other reason would be overwhelmed if it had not been for God allowing these men to form a nation:  The United States of America.

This post is not about the rich culture of American History and the men that made this such a great nation.  Not every founding father was a professing christian and had a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we read in Romans 8, that that doesn’t matter because God will use who He chooses to use for His good and purpose.  I am so thankful to be a part of this country and to be able to be free to speak and to worship and to read the Bible in public venues without fear of persecution or condemnation.  Clearly, some of you may be thinking that this government is so far away from the original statements laid before in this wonderful Declaration, but we have seen this before.  Communists trying overthrow our government through media channels, Nazis infiltrating very aspects of our society and some other modern day Governments that so desperately crave to destroy the very essence of Freedom.

There is a lot that is wrong with this world and even in our country, but remember this, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3.  No matter how we hope that legislators and rulers and bosses and so on can get the very essence of God’s word to promote justice and freedom and the belief for each and everyone of us to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we will always find those that want to stunt this thought and have plans of their own.  Plans that our contrary to the word of God and to the very statutes of our creator.

These founding fathers understood the most important lesson in life:  There is a Creator and every knee will bow and tongue will confess.  So what does that mean for you and I?  Simply put, why should each one of us act differently then the world?  Why should we be humble, teachable and respectful of others?  Why should we love the Lord God with all of our heart, mind, body and soul and secondly why should we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Because Jesus told us that these are the two most important commands to follow (because all the others hinge on this).

What rights do we have as legacy dads:

  • To love God
  • To read his word daily
  • To pray often
  • To be loved by Him
  • To love our wives unconditionally (Read 1 Peter 3:7)
  • To love our children unconditionally
  • To pursue our happiness (honoring God all the way)
  • To be humble in all circumstances
  • To trust and obey (for there is no other way)
  • To Submit to God’s will for our lives (this brings us His plans and His freedoms for our lives)

What if these are not the case in my life?  What if my life is bearing more sinful nature stuff then the fruit of the Spirit? What should I do, Dante? Lance?  Where can I turn?  How can I right this wrong?  How can I turn this ship around?  How can I take this dead marriage back to life?  YOU CAN’T, BUT  GOD CAN MAKE NEW THINGS AND RAISE THE DEAD TO LIFE!!!

Right now, if this speaks to you:

  • Pray, ask God to reveal His will for your life (note:  If you are not reading the Bible, then you will not get this request)
  • Get involved with other men (in a bible study, in an accountability group – true accountability)
  • Love unconditionally
  • If there is more deeper issues (scars, hurts, wrongs) get profession biblical help

Wait on God & Trust Him.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s on the sin of lust

Hebrews 12:1-  (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The following is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Temptation:

calls a man“In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce.  With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh.  All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled.  The flesh burns and is in flames.  It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, our love of fame and power, or greed for money…”

“At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real.  The only reality is the devil.  Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…  The lust thus aroused  envelopes the mind and will of a man in deepest darkness.  The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.  The questions present themselves as, ” Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” And, ” Is it really not permitted me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?'”

UnWhich

This week is Founders Week at Moody.  There are some great speakers and you can click here to listen to the Speakers and their messages.  I was driving home today and listening to a an excerpt from Ron Hutchcraft about Christians who were trying to run the race and would not even begin to leave the starting line because they were bogged down with too many rocks in their backpacks of life.

He referenced certain rocks:  The rocks of unforgiveness, the rock of hatred and so on.   Later in his message he talked about the rock of Kryptonite (that which takes the strength from Superman), and prevents him from doing his very best.

How many of us Christians are stuck in our own proverbial ruts of life, in life and because of life circumstances.  Some more than others of us may have justification:

  • Parents divorce
  • Being made a victim as a child
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Being unloved
  • Parents dying
  • Our health or lack thereof

FOMO(D) = Fear of Missing Out (Disease)

FOMOFear of missing out or FOMO is a form of social anxiety, whereby one is compulsively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event. The fear is especially associated with modern technologies such as mobile phones and social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, which provide constant opportunity for comparison of one’s status. Through an increased reliance on the Internet, a psychological dependence to being online has developed and results in anxiety when one feels disconnected, thereby leading to a fear of missing out.

The older I get, the more that I am horrified of what technology and social media has done to this world.  Seriously, walk into a restaurant, a coffee bar, a shopping mall and look around and observe:  Mostly everyone has their heads in their smart phone or Ipad and are missing out on the beauty around them. God made us to be social beings, because in His trinity, he is teaching us the importance of community.  God made us as social beings – he wants us to be social.  “Go and make disciples” has explicit community attached to that statement.  God calls us to be pure, to be faithful and to be good stewards of our time, talent and treasure.  I think when we spend so much time in fruitless matters (on FOMO events).

The other day, I was out to dinner with my family and noticed a handsome couple, it seemed obvious that they were on their 2nd or 3rd date as they both seemed relatively new to one another.  The thing that I found was really sad was that they both spent more time in their phones then looking into each other’s eyes.  How many conversations that you are in, do you notice people, over generations, have lost the art of conversation.  Seriously observe the next time you are talking or watch others talking:  They are not focusing on the person in front of them, or in conversation, they are looking for the better thing, or the more interesting person walking along. My wife and I try and teach our kids this art of conversation.  When someone talks to you, look them in the eyes and acknowledge that they are important to you.  If you are at a restaurant (or service location) and the server (employee) is asking you something, give them the respect of their time and engage their conversation – this is an art of respect.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY WE NEED TO LET GO OF FOMO

  1. When you are not in the moment, you may be missing the very blessing that God wants you to receive (or to give)
  2. When you are suffering from FOMO, fear and anxiety can often set in
  3. When FOMO rules your life, you are missing the beauty that is around you
  4. When FOMO dominates your life, you are quickly overwhelmed by social media, electronics and the like that become idols in your life
  5. When FOMO reigns in your life, you are not serving God the way that he wants you to
  6. When FOMO becomes more important then the person in right in front of you, you are not honoring God’s request in our life for community
  7. When FOMO has overrun you, you are quick to be bored
  8. When FOMO controls your thoughts, expectations and anticipations, it is really hard to be satisfied
  9. When FOMO controls you, you will likely put a smile on the evil ones
  10. When FOMO is put in its rightful place (the least of your priorities) you will soon be finding God’s will in your life

I am not sure about you and what FOMO looks like in your life, but I know the more of what I put in my life, the more my life bears that fruit.  What fruit do you want to bear?  The Fruit of the Spirit or of the sinful nature.

Thoughts?

 

Dante

Discipleship Part 2: The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the Pride of Life

Do Not Love the World

1 JOHN 2: 15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

When you think about these words, they are really tough to handle as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Tough to handle in the way that our old self (dead to sin) is still at war with our new self born again in Jesus Christ.  We are no longer owned by death, as death has lost its hold on those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The problem is when we entertain lust in our lives.  Lust is defined as, “intense sexual desire or appetite”.  There are three things that can pull us away from what God’s perfect plan for us is:

lust of the eyesLust of the eyes:

  • Beauty (desiring what we see, but cannot have)
  • Nudity
  • Sexual appetite
  • Desire
  • Want
  • Greed

itsallaboutmeLust of the Flesh

  • Acting on that which we desire by sight
  • Giving in to the temptation of the eyes
  • Gratifying our desires via the flesh
  • Gluttony
  • Overdoing
  • Insatiable Appetite (nothing can fill it)
  • Addictions (drugs, alcohol, sex) and giving in to them

Pride of life

  • Putting our needs before God’s will
  • Succoming to our desires, thereby following the worlds path instead of God’s
  • PrideBecoming god-like without the power to save (we did it our way NOT God’s way)
  • Selfishness
  • Arrogance
  • Un-repentance

 

How to equip yourself for these 3 major battles:

  • Put on the new self
  • Holy Living (click here)
  • Become a living sacrifice (click here)
  • Renew your mind (daily and for some minute by minute)
  • Confess and Repent
  • Turn away from (in simple terms: RUN)

Next up, running the race:  Equip, Prepare, Fight
Blessings,

Dante