a call to repentance

Originally posted on Dan Frank's blog:

There is a growing trend in our culture that is alarming and disturbing. It has to do with a commitment to spiritual progress. The average person who calls himself a Christ-follower is attending church about two times a month. Let me put that in perspective: if the average sermon lasts about 40 minutes, then that person is getting about 80 minutes of instruction, encouragement, and exortation monthly. Put that number in relationship to the amount of time that the average person spends watching television, seeing a movie, or just playng. I think it is safe to say that we out of balance. Have you ever driven down the freeway with a tire that has not been balanced? Do you see where I am heading?

No wonder there is a lack of Gospel-centeredness among those who claim Christ. Brothers and sisters, there is work to do in the Kingdom. So if…

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a call to repentance

There is a growing trend in our culture that is alarming and disturbing. It has to do with a commitment to spiritual progress. The average person who calls himself a Christ-follower is attending church about two times a month. Let me put that in perspective: if the average sermon lasts about 40 minutes, then that person is getting about 80 minutes of instruction, encouragement, and exortation monthly. Put that number in relationship to the amount of time that the average person spends watching television, seeing a movie, or just playng. I think it is safe to say that we out of balance. Have you ever driven down the freeway with a tire that has not been balanced? Do you see where I am heading?

No wonder there is a lack of Gospel-centeredness among those who claim Christ. Brothers and sisters, there is work to do in the Kingdom. So if this is causng you to feel a little uncomfortable, that is a good thing–probably a God-thing. The solution is to repent of our idolatry and return to our first love. Oh, and can I say that being a part of a small group is a crucial piece in the growth process. Being a fully devoted follower of Jesus means a life that seeks His Kingdom first! There, I said it!

Why I believe in a Thursday crucifixion

In Leviticus 23:1-4, the Bible teaches us about the “weekly Sabbath”: “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”

But did you know there were also High Sabbath days? Besides the weekly Sabbaths, there are the High Sabbaths related to the Hebrew Feasts (or Festivals), described in Leviticus 23:4-44.

The Lord set forth two Sabbath days each for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:7-8 tells us that both the first and seventh (last) day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is an holy convocation and to do no servile work therein.

There are some scholars who hold to a Friday Sabbath (therefore, a High Sabbath) the week that Jesus was crucified.

In addition, let’s do the math: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40). If Jesus was crucified on a Friday, He could have only been in the grave two nights–Friday and Saturday. Bam!

So why do we have Good Friday services? For the same reason we have Christmas services in December…it’s called, “tradition”.

Thirty day challenge

We have recently called the church to a thirty day challenge of testing God in our finances. This challenge is based upon Malachi 3:10 which says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

This is the only place where God invites us to put Him to the test. His promise is that He will open the windows of heaven. This has truly been my experience with God. I began the process of first-fruit giving the first week I was saved. I have practiced it for 37 years now. I can say that the Lord is true to His promise.

Just to be clear, we are asking you to step up to the next level with God. This may mean different things to different people. It could mean learning to be consistent in your giving. It could mean that God wants you to go to the next level of giving. It could mean that God wants you to start giving. My challenge to you is to take this walk of faith. It is a walk that will challenge you, but it will be worth it. Talk to me about the results.

Thirty day challenge

We have recently called the church to a thirty day challenge of testing God in our finances. This challenge is based upon Malachi 3:10 which says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

This is the only place where God invites us to put Him to the test. His promise is that He will open the windows of heaven. This has truly been my experience with God. I began the process of first-fruit giving the first week I was saved. I have practiced it for 37 years now. I can say that the Lord is true to His promise.

Just to be clear, we are asking you to step up to the next level with God. This may mean different things to different people. It could mean learning to be consistent in your giving. It could mean that God wants you to go to the next level of giving. It could mean that God wants you to start giving. My challenge to you is to take this walk of faith. It is a walk that will challenge you, but it will be worth it. Talk to me about the results.

The Grand Opening

The Grand Opening of the new Worship Center of Grace Church exceeded my expectations. There are several reasons this event was so beautiful. The building was packed out with people who were excited for what lies ahead for Grace Church as we continue the journey of exalting God, moving people to maturity in Christ, and pursuing people who need to be brought close to the Saviour.

The buiding provides an opportunity for people just to hang out and make lasting Christian friends. We can finally be what the Bible describes in the book of Acts: A fellowship (partnership) of people immersed in the Gospel; a place where the family of God can minister to each other in ways that were so limited in the old Worship Center.

What was particularly meaningful to me was having the next generation on stage – something our old auditorium just couldn’t accommodate. I want them to have an ownership in this new adventure. To see their faces was an extraordinary God moment for me!

I said this last Sunday, let me say it again: The core values of Grace Church will not change! We just have a wider scope for living out the principle of the Kingdom.

Are elders held to a different standard?

Are elders held to a higher standard? This is a question that I get all the time as a pastor. The answer to the question is No! Elders are called by God not only to shepherd the flock, but to be examples to the flock.  For example, elders are called to be blameless both inside the church and outside the church.  This is true of every Christ follower.

There is an inherent danger in exalting an elder to a different standard of living.  First, for the person in the pew, that could be used as a justification not to follow Christ with all of his or her life.  Second, when an elder fails it magnifies the fall beyond what is reasonable.  Third, it sets elders up to fail because everyone has a different view of what elders should do.

Now the real question is this:  Does an Elder have a higher level of accountability before God?  The answer to that question is Yes! The elders who sin are to be rebuked before all that others may fear (1 Timothy 5:20).  Accountability is a whole different animal.  Because elders are examples to the flock, sin must be dealt with in a public way.

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