Here is another chapter from the Retweeting Jesus Devotional. Hope it helps you prepare for a Holy Easter…AND…please don’t let this devotional be your substitute for your regular Bible reading.
The next 5 posts are 5 chapters from the devotional I wrote titled, “Retweeting Jesus”. I hope you are challenged and encouraged by each chapter. These 5 posts are about the “tweet-able” phrases that Jesus spoke while being crucified. I pray that you draw closer to the Lord throughout this week as we prepare for celebrating His resurrection on Sunday! Have a Holy Easter.
It has hit the Christendom fan. World Vision, a self declared Christian Ministry, publicly came out with a position saying that as a Christian Organization they have decided to leave the “theology” up to the Church and they are going to hire people who are openly living outside the guidelines of the Bible. They have specifically created a policy saying that it is okay for their Christian Organization to hire people in a Same Sex marriage to be on their leadership team of their Christian organization. Let’s dialogue about all this…
I first want to say… I hope that these posts will be studied and accepted by all people living in any situation or circumstance as posts of love, directness, and based from a Bible perspective. I personally have friends from most walks of life and life-styles and I believe they know me to be a person who is not judgmental, but as very direct and truthful.
We have to have this discussion without someone throwing the stupid “judgmental christian” card…these issues are of utmost importance that have eternal consequences. Let’s be direct with each other, but loving and seeking truth. We have to have these discussions. We have to seek the Truth.
I want to address the issues that World Vision’s decision has uncovered and stirred up. There are many. This blog will be split up into many separate blogs. I know this material will be long…but I am confident that it will be content that is worth your time. I also want to say that I am doing everything I can to type this in an attitude of love, directness, and minus my personal opinion as much as possible. I want the Bible to be my foundation for this whole series of blog posts.
LET’S GET STARTED…
The arguments that have been stirred by World Vision should not be just about homosexuality and/or same sex marriage. Some want to make World Vision’s decision to be about that…but I want to be clear…
This post is about sin of any kind and it’s mixing with Spiritual Leadership of any kind.
FIRST…World Vision said that they want to leave Theology up to the local Church. Here in lies the problem with World Vision…they have been led to believe that the local Church is a Top Down power structure that has a piece of property and a building, usually with a steeple, that people gather in, typically on Sundays, and that is called…The Church.
This idea is a worldly-developed idea from the Corporate world that has crept into the Church. This mentality has caused even Pastors and others to believe and teach that there are Para Church Organizations and Missions Organizations and then there is the Church….They teach, “The Church” is the one that you drive to on Sundays to sing, take an offering, listen to a message, go home and do it again next Sunday.
Q: Where in the Bible do we have this kind of teaching and segregation? A: It’s not in the Bible.
There are no “Para Church” Organizations in the Bible. Shame on us for separating/creating them. There are no 501 c 3 organizations in the Bible. There are no missions organizations in the Bible. Not for Profits…etc.
The Bible says, that those who are followers of Jesus Christ as Lord, are the Body of our God. Period. The Body of Jesus IS THE CHURCH and again…He is the head! (READ 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 for details on this)
Jesus is the head and everyone of us make up the other “body” parts of the Church. We all have different gifts and changing gifts and strengths. It is shameful that we as the Church have divided our Church body into Church / Para Church / Missions Orgs / Not for Profits / etc. It has gotten so out of hand that different parts of Jesus’ Body get different accountability standards. ie…this wrong system has created double standards where Church boards hold mission organizations to standards that they don’t even follow themselves. They created organizations that measure how these”mission orgs” spend their money. Charity Navigator is one example that has been created. This system sticks it to the “missions orgs” and what is commonly called “The Church” get’s a free pass. The Corporate Church board says that “missions orgs” really shouldn’t be spending more than 5% of their budget on Administrative/management costs while they themselves spend upwards to 50% to 60% or more on their administrative costs in what they call their local churches. (I have been a Sr. Pastor in what is commonly called the Church, and I am now as they call it, a missions leader…I know first hand what the standards are from both perspectives.) WE as the Church today, have taken on a Corporate structure and called it church, and we believe that the para-church organization…doesn’t even have to live according to Jesus’s standards, because it’s Para Church…or Missions…or Not for profit. Thus…Richard Stearns says, “We are going to leave the theology up to the Church.” Is he thinking he has a free pass on honoring the Bible, because somewhere along the way, he believes he and World Vision are not the Church?
We are ALL…THE Church! The Biblical Standards are the same all across the board. The Church is anybody CONNECTED to the Head…Jesus The Christ…The King. The Church is anybody declaring Jesus as Lord of their life and live as the King has commanded.
Richard Stearns’s declaration that World Vision is leaving the theology stuff up to the Church…is crazy wrong. Since when did “The Church” get to say or designate what the standards of Jesus are? SINCE NEVER! Jesus sets the standards and had them recorded in the Bible. The Bible says what the standards of Jesus are and the Church is either in sin or not in sin as they obey/disobey the standards of Jesus recorded in God’s Word…The Holy Bible! The Church, the public, popular vote, governments, individuals can’t change Jesus’s standards…ever.
So…THERE IS ONLY BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY…aka..The Church!
There should not be any segregation of the Church into para church, missions orgs, Not for Profit orgs, Religious Orgs, Denominations, etc…NO…WE ARE ALL THE CHURCH, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE. Please do not let the world’s corporate structure, that has been forced on Christianity, deceive you into thinking they are all different. It’s all the Church. It is all Christianity.
WE ARE ALL THE CHURCH! When we all…individually…stand before Jesus someday for Judgment…Mr. Richard Stearns of World Vision…you will not be able to say to Jesus…“Um, Jesus…I left the theology up to the Church…Um, Jesus…some in the “Church” said that it is okay to ignore that commandment of Yours. Um, Jesus, that Church group over there didn’t follow that command of yours, so I assumed it was okay for me too…”
Do you get my point? One on One with Jesus is where you and I will be someday. You and I cannot blame anyone for our decisions. It will be You and Jesus at that point…and like it or not…if you say you are a follower of Jesus…YOU ARE THE CHURCH! The above paragraph is not just written to Richard Stearns…it is the same truth for me and you. You will be held accountable for the Truths and the Standards that are written in God’s Word…The Bible. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does or tells you to do…only you will be accountable for the truth and standards that Jesus gave us in The Holy Bible.
Before this first part of this blog post finishes…I do want to add this. There are LEVELS OF JUDGEMENT coming when Jesus returns.
There will be those who are not teachers and leaders of Christianity who get one level of Judgment from Jesus. And then…
There will be those who are judged with even more strictness….these are the Teachers and Leaders of Christianity.
James 3:1 in The Holy Bible says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
It’s a very dangerous thing to lead, teach, or be on staff in Christianity…whether that Church be called World Vision, The Salvation Army, The YMCA, ReturnHope International, or your local congregation on the street corner with a steeple. We will all be held accountable for our spiritual leadership in Christianity…THE CHURCH….Individually.
World Vision is pretty much saying anybody can lead and teach in Christianity and leadership within a Christian organization…no matter their life choices…but have they considered the warnings of James 3:1?
Thus…part 2 post…coming soon…
When I think of the world and places like…Uganda…Namibia…Romania…Haiti…Guatemala…India…Appalachia…Peru…the Philippines…Russia…Cuba and other places that we must travel to so we may be the hands and feet of Jesus, I shudder at their physical condition, and it seems extraordinary that one person could walk into it all and decide to tackle this thing and actually believe he/she could make a dent.
The reality is…and I’m intensely convinced of this…that the work must be He not I or it all fails. Do you know that if your life’s work is your’s it will die with you. But if it is His work it will live beyond you and continue much good. Name your profession…the above statement is true of it too.
I suppose I should clarify who He/His is above. It is clearly the Holy Spirit through which Jesus Christ sent us as He returned back to His gated community for now and is referenced in Acts 1:7-9, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” This Holy Spirit that Jesus sent…when you and I are dwelling fully in it…will experience the fruit of this Holy Spirit. This fruit is referenced in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control.” It’s fair for me to write that anytime I am not living in the fruit above, I have stepped away from the presence of the Holy Spirit and begun to live in the flesh again. When I am not immersed in the nine fruit of the Spirit mentioned above, I am grabbing life from the hands of God and saying that I am greater than He is…we would never say such a thing, but actions speak louder than words.
The Apostle Paul new this best. The farmboy inside of me can’t help but teach this next paragraph in it’s truest form! Paul says in Philippians 3:8 that any gain based upon his own work failed to endorse Christ alone as the source of good. As Paul wrote this, he wrote it in a way that the translators of the Scriptures have determined too controversial to write in their new translations for fear of upsetting the BMPDs of life. Click the following link to find out what I mean by a BMPD…it’s a blog post titled, “What to do when you are getting rocked by life.”)
These politically correct translators have used the word “Rubbish/refuse” in Phillippians 3:8. But in the King James translation, it is called what it is, DUNG…but even King Jimmy’s translation was not the word The Apostle Paul literally wrote and used. He literally used the word “Skubala.” This word skubala is not used anywhere else in the entire Bible. The exact translation is not rubbish or dung or refuse…it is literally translated, “shit.” So, the following is the exact translation of what Paul literally wrote in his letter to the Church in Philippi back in the 50’s…and I don’t mean the 1950’s. Here’s the exact translation of the word Skubala…
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them shit, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
I wish the translators had the guts of the Apostle Paul to say it like He said it. I think that passage would catch our attention much better and aid us in knowing what our own work…when we do it on our own power…really is. Can you imagine being in the Philippian Church when the Pastor stood to read this new and exciting letter from Paul. They must have been anticipating this letter’s arrival and when it arrived, word would have gotten out about it, and a big crowd would have gathered for Church to hear it read! I would have loved to at least been a fly on the wall when the Pastor arrived at this sentence! I wonder if there were gasps?!
Are you building your own work…Church/school/law firm/pharmacy/accounting practice/football team/garbage truck driver/plumber/mission work/etc…with your own Skubala…or is it all coming through Jesus Christ…Lord of Lord’s….King of King’s…whom someday will return to judge the living and the dead. When He returns on that day…He will not arrive in Love and gentleness…He came in love the first time some 2000 years ago. He is coming back…and after paying the huge price to earn the title, “All-Authority-One”…with His arrival the Skubala is going to hit the fan. Make sure your “work” is done through the name of Jesus Christ! Period.
Build through Jesus and Him alone. Whatever you think is yours…it’s not…it belongs to the King.
So….I must become less…He must become greater. You too.
….and NEVER forget what the Apostle Paul wrote just after calling His own works, “Skubala,”
“I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!” Philippians 4:13
Bring on the world and all it’s Skubala…Jesus is in us and now we must be off to Ends of the Earth! There is a lot of work to be done!
Isaiah 28:16 says,
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.” (NLT)
The USA was created nearly 250 years ago.
The Book of Isaiah was written around 700 years before the birth of Jesus…totaling 2700 years ago.
Can you imagine if you were someone reading the book of Isaiah..let’s say…600 years before Jesus was born? You wouldn’t have known how much time would pass before the coming Messiah would actually arrive. Every day you would wonder if today was the day for the Messiah to be born. Some, maybe didn’t even know what this “Cornerstone” would actually be. I imagine there was great awe and wonder, maybe even fear being talked about, as the people prior to Jesus’s birth, studied and contemplated who or what this cornerstone was all about.
I’ll bet it was very frustrating for the people of that day. Wouldn’t you strive, with all your effort, to determine who or what this cornerstone was, so that if you believed in it, you would never be shaken, as the verse in Isaiah says? It would be all consuming. I would want that cornerstone more than anything. Not knowing what it was would have sent me on a wild game of hide and seek as I tried to discover what this “Cornerstone” was, so I could believe in it, so I would never be shaken!
Today…we are very fortunate…
We don’t have to be frustrated like the people who lived BC. We can look back with 20/20 hindsight and know WHO the cornerstone is. The Apostle Paul, who in the early part of his life hated Jesus and His followers, wrote the following Bible verse, “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”
I wonder if Paul shook his head in awe and wonder as he wrote that sentence? One day He hated Jesus…the next He was admitting Jesus is the Cornerstone and Lord of all!
Paul met Jesus personally. Paul used to imprison and oversee the killing of people who dared say that Jesus was the cornerstone referred to in Isaiah. Now, Paul is the writer of more than 1/2 of the New Testament that professes that Jesus IS the cornerstone. It’s crazy what happens when someone meets Jesus personally!
You and I do not have to be frustrated wondering where hope is found. We do not have to be nervous wondering what we must do to have salvation. We do not have to argue about who is the Cornerstone that everything else is built on or stumbles on. We do not have to fight to prove that Jesus is the cornerstone. He IS the Cornerstone. He rose from the dead to prove how immovable that cornerstone…He…really is.
If you are reading this, you and I have such an advantage over the faithful followers of God that lived BC. We can look with 20/20 hindsight to know who Jesus is and what He has done. We have the new set of Scriptures called the New Testament to witness to who that Cornerstone is. We have the 39 books of the Old Testament to compare to the 27 books of the New Testament to do a full study of who the Messiah is and what we must do to make Him our Lord and Savior and King. You and I can have complete confidence in the fact that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life! He said so Himself.
That’s a good thing! That’s a good book! That’s Good News! That’s the Holy Scriptures, pointing us to a holy God and asking us to live Holy Lives. The Apostles and many others are so convinced that Jesus is the Cornerstone, that they were willing to have horrible things happen to them instead of denouncing Jesus. If you want to read about some of these people, read Hebrews chapter 11.
Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Cornerstone. A sentence was written by the great Prophet Isaiah 2700 years ago, telling us that we can live unshaken lives if we build on the foundational cornerstone of Jesus Christ Himself! He is a firm and tested stone. He is immovable, steadfast, and undefeated! He is the THE Champion of the Faith. He is the Great Physician. He is the Comforter. He is the full payment for your sins. He is the Rock! He cannot be shaken! Anything that comes against Him will not succeed!
Knowing this….check out the following passage…written by King David approximately 2900 years before Jesus came. Talk about faith. Read the hope and strength that King David had in God nearly 3000 years before the birth of the Cornerstone. If David can have this kind of faith and strength prior to the birth of Jesus…not knowing with 20/20 hindsight where His confidence should be…not knowing who the Messiah would be, then how much more faith and strength can we have knowing…with 20/20 hindsight… that Jesus IS the cornerstone?
1 I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken. Psalms 62:1-2 (NLT)
Jesus is the Rock…
You are Solid as long as you stand on The Rock.