Posts Tagged: The Bible

Jesus Would Endorse…

Which candidate would Jesus endorse? A pretty silly question, since the answer is quite obvious! After analysis of both Mr. Mitt Romney & President Barack Obama it is clear that Jesus would endorse…

NEITHER!

Why?

Is it because Jesus wants a different candidate? Perhaps if Ron Paul had won the GOP nod or maybe if the Libertarian Party had more sway and their candidate, Gary Johnson, had a chance of winning.

No Jesus would not endorse them either.

How can I be so sure?

Because of Jesus’ track record.

Jesus refused to ever endorse a single candidate or show His hand a single time while He walked on this earth.

Now some may say, “well that is because there was no candidate to endorse.” “There was not the political strife in the first century that there is in the 21st century.”

Really?

History would tell a different story. Do any of these issues sound familiar?

  • A growing economic disparity betwen the upper & lower classes.
  • Frustration over taxes & tax policy.
  • Blurred lines between church & state.
  • Questions on what social issues should be under church jurisdiction & which should be under government jurisdiction.

Jesus’ world was ripe with political strife and on many occasions He was asked to step into the political fray and “endorse” a candidate:

“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,” –Luke 17:20a

The folk of that day didn’t think of the Kingdom of God in spiritual terms like we do now (yes we believe it is literal, but not a literal kingdom of this earth, God’s Kingdom on this earth is a Spiritual one in each of us), they saw the kingdom as an actual physical kingdom lead by humans on the earth. When the pharisees were asking about the kingdom they were talking about a literal earthly kingdom. But Jesus deflected their questioned, He turned their political question into a Spiritual discussion, 

“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” –Luke 17:20b-21

Even after Jesus had clearly shown He was for a higher purpose than just the happenings of this world. His followers continued to want His insight & help with the political world they were living in,

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” –Acts 1:6 (This was after Jesus had died and risen from the grave).

And what does Jesus decided to talk about? The Holy Spirit & them being missionaries to the world,

“And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:7, 8

In fact Jesus was so adverse to the political world and so frustrating folk with His political inaction that at one point in His ministry they tried to force Him to take a political stand,

 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” –John 6:15

Jesus never disparaged Caesar, Herod, or any other political leader. In fact the one time He mentioned Caesar, maybe the one time He made any type of political statement, Jesus actually frustrated all sides,

“Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”…Show Me the tax money. So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” –Matthew 22:17 & 19-21

An answer that would irritate both the Romans and the Jews. “So wait a second what things can Caesar be over and what things is God over? Who gets to decide?”

Jesus on this earth refused to get involved in endorsing candidates or trying to establish any party or human power.

What is the best way to know what someone is going to do in the future? By understanding what they have done in the past.

Which candidate would Jesus endorse? Neither. He would do what He always did endorse His Father in Heaven and leave it at that.

Would it not then seem logical for the followers of Jesus on this earth to do as He did.

Especially us as Pastors? Isn’t that what we teach our paritioners, “Do as Jesus did.”?

Hasn’t someone gotten rich off of rubber “WWJD” wrist bands? (What Would Jesus Do)

Jesus didn’t endorse a man, He represented God and God alone.

Shouldn’t we?

****Note 1: This is not a statement against voting.

****Note 2: My friend David Asscherick pointed out the following statement to me, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’” Luke 13:32. This was stated in regards to a threat supposedly coming from Herod. While this doesn’t blow my understanding out of the water regarding Jesus never endorsing. It is a statement firmly warning/clarifying to Herod that his earthly power & consequences has no authority over what God will divinely do!

 

 

 

The Ellen G. White Quote Quota

As a preacher I have a quota on Ellen G. White quotes for my sermons. The quota is basically this: “NEVER have more Ellen White quotes than Bible texts, NEVER!” 

Many years ago my wife and I were traveling, when we arrived at our destination for the evening I had a message on my phone,

“Pastor, Pastor you have to listen to the sermon that was preached today at church. We had guests, they walked out. It was horrible. Just listen!”

Well the next day my wife and I would be driving again and so I decided to download the sermon and listen to it as we drove.  The content wasn’t horrible, the premise wasn’t to far off the mark (though out there a ‘bit), but I quickly realized what the issue was. About ten minutes into the sermon I started to count: 3 scriptures, 20 Ellen G. White quotes, and the three scriptures were from the first 10 minutes–they were easy to remember there were only 3 of them in the entire sermon! (I have to give the speaker credit he introduced her by all her titles: Mrs. White, Sister White, The prophet, The prophetess, The pen of inspiration, Our inspired writer, My favorite author, etc.)

Needless to say I wasn’t pleased!

This gentleman definitely wasn’t following the rule; never have Mrs. White out quote the Word of God!

So why do I bring this up?

Not because I am trying to discourage preachers from using Ellen White, in fact I think it is ridiculous for an Adventist preacher to not quote her, yet to quote from every other Spiritual writer there is, Lucado, Warren, Swindoll, Hybels, etc.. Her writings are powerful and she is often the first quote I want to use to illuminate what is being said. So we as preachers should quote her.

I don’t bring it up because I hear the pastors that do quote her, quoting her too much. I think most Adventist pastors are respectful of the “EGW Quote Quota.”

I bring this issue up, because I am afraid that for many of us, myself included (and not just pastors but many Seventh-day Adventist Christians) we have forgotten this rule when it comes to our Facebook & Twitter accounts!

I am finding more and more Ellen White quotes amongst my peers on Facebook & Twitter and not enough Bible. It seems her quotes are outpacing the Bible 3 to 1 (of course that is not an official ratio), but you get the point! I hope? 

There are times when I’ve been doing seminars or speaking in front of an exclusively Adventist crowd and on these occasions I will use tons of Ellen White quotes, but when I am in a public forum speaking where I know there are many pre-Adventists present I will always make sure there is more Bible than “my favorite author.”

Why?

Because I want to do what Ellen White told us to do & what she tried to do for all of us, “Point people back to the Bible.”

Well Facebook, Twitter, & other Social Media outlets for most of us are public forums. They are for many of us, places where we have a signficant amount of contact w/ a captive audience. an audience which often times may not believe as we do, in those moments where do we want to FIRST point these individuals–hear me I am not saying to do away with Ellen White quotes or that they are unable to be edifying to the unbeliever–but where do we want to FIRST point our readers? To the Word of God! That which is, “a lamp unto their feet & a light unto their path.” (Psalm 119:105)

So let us all strive to remember The Ellen G. White Quote Quota, not just in our public speaking, but in all our public discourse, “NEVER quote Ellen White more than you quote the Bible, NEVER!”

 

 

 

I Can’t…

“I can’t”

those are the words my Dad spoke to me not more than 2 1/2 years ago. That was his response to a question I had asked him, “Dad will you do a Bible study with one of our contacts?”

“I can’t”

Let me tell you a little about my Dad, almost all of his adult life he has been a teacher. He taught in Adventist academies for about 6 years and then at Pacific Union College, Loma Linda University, & Andrews University Dayton, OH campus, & University of the Pacific. He has a degree in Education, Physical Therapy, and it seems like there may be something else. He has a Master’s degree, two in fact, and an earned Doctorate. He started a Master’s Physical Therapy program from scratch and was the director of it for 10+ years.

“I can’t”

Seemed like a pretty ridiculous answer!

And even more importantly than all the above, and really all that mattered, he was constantly telling me how much he loved Jesus and how much Jesus was blessing his life.

“I can’t”

Was then an even more unbelievable answer!

“I can’t”

Is the answer I hear a lot when I talk to folk about giving Bible studies to another individual.

I used to accept this answer as legit.

“I can’t”

I believed some people really couldn’t, I no longer believe that.

Why?

Because–

“I can’t”

Doesn’t fit at all with the promises of scripture–

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. –Matthew 28:19, 20.

“I can’t”

Really doesn’t go with, “I am with you always”

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8

“I can’t”

Doesn’t work with, “you shall receive power”

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” –John 14:12-14

“I can’t”

Does not correlate with, “greater works than these he will do” “whatever you ask” “If you ask anything…I will do.”

“I can’t”

Does not work with John 14:26 either,

 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

So even if my Dad had zero degrees and zero teaching experience, it would seem quite silly for a man that says he loves Jesus and is blessed by Jesus to say…

“I can’t”

“I can’t”

is foolish for any of us to say.

“But it is not my gift which is why…”

“I can’t”

Knowing the Bible and sharing what you know with another person has nothing to do with gifts. Because even if you are nervous, you can have word for word what you want to say right in front of you…and yes people

“CAN”

come to Jesus this way…and they DO!

So the only way

“I can’t”

works is if that is the answer to one question, “Are you capable of caring about the eternal salvation of another human being?”

If you can say…

“I can’t”

to that, okay you’re off the hook.

But that wouldn’t go with,

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;” –Matthew 5:44, 45

In other words if you’re a Christian…a Jesus follower…

“I can’t”

NEVER works when it comes to sharing the truths of scripture with another human being.

So let’s be real and admit…

“I can’t”

is really

“I won’t”

and after we admit that, let’s repent of it…

And trust Jesus to help us move from…

“I can’t”

Which is…

“I won’t”

To

“I can!”

My Dad did and praise Jesus I have baptized several he has studied the Bible with.


 

Yep I Read Many Books at One Time…

So here is what I am currently reading…

“The Bible…English Standard Version“…Primarily as of late the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy –God

“The Acts of the Apostles”Ellen G. White

“Evangelism” –Ellen G. White

“How to Grow An Adventist Church” –Russell Burrill

“The Art of the Start” –Guy Kawasaki

“Church Planter” –Darrin Patrick

“Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.” –Ron Chernow

“Poke the Box” –Seth Godin

“Necessary Endings” –Henry Cloud

“Reality Check” –Guy Kawasaki

“Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream” –David Platt

…Don’t be impressed I’m a really slow reader so I probably will be reading these same books for the rest of the year:)

Oh and I am also listening to…

“Four Obsessions of An Extraordinary Executive” –Patrick Lencioni

All but the first 4 titles and the Lencioni audio book, I am reading on my Kindle, which I love!  Thank you Christina!

 

 

Why I Believe In Proselytizing

Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion.  For most of my Christian journey I have shied away from trying to convert folk to “Adventism” that were already Christians of other denominations.  In fact when I accepted Jesus there are a couple things I said I would “NEVER” do, “I will never try to convince anyone to become an Adventist.” Well I became a Seventh-day Adventist Minister so that went out the window, but I did stick to it, in that I didn’t spend much time worrying about or even caring if other Christians became Adventist.  I figured, “they are already Christian, so that is good enough.”  I believe I had this view because I didn’t want our church to come across as arrogant or elitist.  Over the last couple of years my journey has been away from this position, ’till now, I believe I have the exact opposite frame of mind and position than I started with.  I will say it: I BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD BE ADVENTIST!  Before you leave this blog or send off a scathing remark let me clarify a couple things.  First of all this position does not mean that I believe only Adventists will be saved.  This position does not mean that I believe everyone should be an Adventist RIGHT NOW.  I believe there are folk that if they were currently in our churches their Christian experience would be hurt because many of our churches are not ready to receive them and love them the way Christ loves them.  This position does not mean that I believe we should raid non-Adventist churches or speak ill against non-Adventist churches. 

Here is what this position does mean.  That when I speak of 125,000 persons in the city of Visalia and there are only 2,000 Adventists as I mentioned in a previous post, I am concerned about reaching all 123,000 non-Adventists with the parts of scripture Adventists teach that I believe are neglected in the rest of Christendom. I believe if I did not care about this, and if I am not willing to do this, then I am not fulfilling the Great Commission which tells us, “

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

We love the disciple making part that is following Jesus.  We love the baptizing part that is publicly declaring allegiance to Jesus.  But the Commission also tells us to “teach people to obey everything I have commanded.”  When I read that I believe Jesus is telling us to teach people to obey the totality of scripture!  Part of obedience in learning the right things, learning truth. 

What if Jesus had said “I don’t want to offend the Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection so when they want to talk to me about this subject I’m going to tell them not to worry about it.  We’re all Jews. And that is really what matters!”  No Jesus talked about the resurrection (Luke 20:27-39).

Or what about Paul when he visited the folk at Ephesus.  Here he met fellow Christians, followers of Christ, but they had never heard about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  What if Paul had said, “well don’t worry about it.  You believe in Jesus and that is all that matters.”  No Paul talked about the Holy Spirit Baptism (Acts 19:1-7). 

I believe the Bible teaches the 7th day Sabbath.  I believe the Bible teaches a visible single second coming of Christ, no rapture.  I believe the Bible teaches soul sleep.  I believe the Bible teaches a pre-Advent judgment.  If I believe the Bible teaches these things I would be going against my convictions and against the Great Commission if I didn’t feel it important to share every single one of these truths with others, even other followers of Jesus. 

I am thankful that Martin Luther proselytized, and John Wesley, William Miller, and Rachel Oakes Preston all proselytized, because out of these different faith traditions and understandings of scripture my belief system and even my denomination has been developed and grown.  I believe they in doing so were fulfilling the Great Commission and I shall do likewise!

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