What’s New

 

By The Mad Preacher

Don’t you just love a new year; A new year with a new hope that this year will be better that the last? It seems that word “new” has magic in it. It carries expectation and promise in it. What if you start the new year with a new you?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
There are two words in the New Testament that’s translated new. Neos which means something that’s new but the same thing, such as a new car, new tie or new dress. It’s  the same thing only new. However, the word that’s used here in this passage is kainos, which denotes something of a different nature. In other woods, it’s something completely different. It’s the same word Jesus used in John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another.” He didn’t say an additional commandment. He would have used the word Neos, which would have meant he was adding another commandment to all the other commandments. No, Jesus said a kainos commandment, a new one to replace the old ones. It’s something of a totally diffident nature.

Let me give you an example from nature:

butterflyThe butterfly is an ideal picture of the new birth in Christ. Here is a creature that starts its life as a caterpillar but then a metamorphous, a complete change, happens that transforms it into a thing of rare beauty and grace. Notice that the new butterfly is the same creature it was before it spun its cocoon. It wasn’t replaced with another insect. The same creature that enclosed itself within the cocoon is the same one that came out of the cocoon.

The change it experiences is radical. What was once a caterpillar has a new outward appearance. It underwent a total transformation. It no longer crawls on the ground beneath the heels of most every other creature. It now flies! It’s the same living creature it was before the change but entirely different.

In much the same way that’s what happens to a person who surrenders their life to Jesus. The Holy Spirit begins to transform them into something that’s totally different and beautiful.The new believer’s value system and goals begin to change. They begin to lose their taste for the garbage that this world’s system offers. The days of crawling on their spiritual bellies begins to give way to lofty dreams, powerful living and a positive outlook on life. They are the same person they were before but transformed. Now they’re “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)

Let’s bring this home to us personally.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed[1] by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)

Now, it’s up to followers of Christ to have a lifestyle that reflects this new nature of ours.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

“You must be born again.” — Jesus (John 3:7)

Have you been born again? Have you asked God to forgive you? Did you invite Jesus to be the boss of their life? If not, please don’t miss out on the wonder future God has for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”( Jeremiah 29:11)

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion he understood
All I had to offer him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life[2]

[1] “Transformed” come from the Greek word Metamorphoo. It means to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. Examples: Tadpole, Butterfly

[2] Something beautiful, Something Good by Gloria Gaither © Copyright 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc. All rights controlled by Gaither Copyright Management.

 

Advertisements

“O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” (Ezekiel 37:3)

There’s a place in our walk with the Lord where we must make a decision to submit to the sovereign hand of God even when we don’t have any real answers. What does God see when He looks at our circumstances?

He doesn’t see ruin. He sees revival.

He doesn’t see pestilence. He sees potential.

He doesn’t see death. He sees destiny.

He doesn’t see our falls. He sees our get-ups. — The Mad Preacher

Sleeping in the Light

from The Mad Preacher

… Lot, a righteous man [living in Sodom], who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)… (2 Peter 2:7-8 NIV)

Too many of us who call ourselves Christians have a cavalier attitude toward sin. We’ve been so desensitized by our secular society, through TV, movies, music and the liberal news media, etc. that we’re no longer distressed by the sinful behavior of those around us. We wink at sin rather than loathing it.

We’ve become thermometers instead of thermostats. We’ve adapted our world view to fit that of this twisted generation and have embraced it rather than attempting to change it. So many in our churches have traded what God says about sin for what this carnal world says about it. What was once clearly black and white is being distorted into shades of gray. The line between right and wrong is quickly fading.

asleep-in-the-light“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  — God (Leviticus 18:22 NIV)

We’ve embraced worldly notions about sexual immorally. Sex has become part of the dating process and couples living together without the benefit of marriage are considered a perfectly normal ways of life. We stand by silently as the influence of homosexuality continues to invade every aspect of our society. We set by complacently while the “gay and lesbian movement changes the minds and attitudes of people, including our children, toward it. This sad, shameful way of life is no longer considered abnormal behavior. It’s just an “alternant lifestyle”. What’s more, many world-wide companies like McDonald’s, Volvo, IBM, Citigroup, American Airlines, Washington Mutual, Showtime, Shell Oil and the Ford Company, just to name a few, embrace and support their agenda. Who are these companies going to support next, pedophiles?! And now it’s legal in the US for gay couples to marry one another.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. — Jesus (Matthew 5:13-16 NIV)

What has happened to our outrage? Have we become so callus that we, God’s Church, can’t see what’s happening to our nation, to our Churches? Has our influence eroded to the point that it’s thrown out and trampled by men? It’s time to wake up and smell this putrid pot of coffee that boiling over and saturating everything we hold dear.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders… (1Corinthians 6:9 NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

I don’t hate homosexuals no more that I hate others who are caught up in some kind of personal sin. Sin, simply put, is ignoring God’s best for your life and going your own way. Plus, I’m diametrically opposed to anyone who would wish them harm. I know of many who were delivered from this poisonous way of life and are happily serving God and reaching out to others in the “gay” and lesbian community

I love homosexual people with the love of the Lord and I pray for them. What I do hate, however, is that the voice of a small, but vocal lobbying group who demand “gay and lesbian” rights, is clouding our view of that abhorrent way of life. They want us to ignore God’s Word and chance our value system to reflect theirs. They want us to totally accept their deviant lifestyle as normal. However, it is anything but normal. If you don’t believe it watch a gay pride parade sometime and ask yourself, “If this normal?”

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities [a grossly immoral act(1)] have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV)

Again, I want to make it very clear that I don’t hate homosexuals. Furthermore, neither does God hate them, despite what many misled anti-gay activists say. The truth is that God loves every type of sinner. He hates their sin because it’s what separates them from him and it must be removed before they can have a relationship with God. The only way to remove this barrier is through Christ.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1John 4:9-10 NIV)

[For more info on this subject go to http://www.soaringwings.us/GoodNews.html]

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions [demonic forces] and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” –Jesus (Luke 10:19 NIV)

The church has been asleep in the light far too long. We’ve let the cat out of the bag and now we’re clumsily trying to put it back in the bag. As a result, we’ve seen the erosion righteousness in our courts and our society. When Jesus left here he put us, his church, in charge. It’s time we take up the authority that he gave. It’s time we strive to reclaim our influence on America. It’s time to wake up.

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.                                                                                         (1Timothy 6:3-5 NIV)

It’s amazing to me how many of us, so called “born again” children of the Most High, get our noses bent out of joint over the most minuet things. I’m reminded of the last days of the Roman Empire. It’s said that when Rome was surrounded by the barbarian hordes, with its citizens starving and facing terrible despair. What were the “church” leaders doing during this bleak hour? Where they fasting, praying and seeking the face of God? NO-O-O-O!!! They were having big debates among themselves over such meaningful issues as what were the color of Mary’s eyes and how many angels can stand on the head of a pen! All around them people were starving and about to fall under the sword. What was the church doing about it? They were bickering over differences of opinion.

Are we any less preoccupied with the trivial then they were?

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death [or from useless rituals], and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. (Hebrews 6:1-3 NIV)

I love participating in lively discussions. But to be honest, I sometimes wonder what bus some people are on and where it’s taking them. I look around the bus that I’m on and see my fellow passengers. We’re all on the same divinely appointed journey to become conformed to the image of Christ and to reach the lost around us. However, others who claim that their bus is the right one or the only bus are just going around in circles. They’re burning God-given resources on unneeded building programs, social gatherings, new hymnals and so forth, rather than using those resources to minister to hurting people and to reach this nation for Christ. They spin their tires bogged down in the mud of division, religious pride and apathy and never arrive at the destination to which God has called them. Furthermore, they seem utterly clueless as to their predicament!

I’m not saying that things like building programs or social gatherings are intrinsically wrong. They are, however, a personal affront to God when our focus on these things takes precedence over the needs of others.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – Jesus (John 13:34 NIV)

Please, don’t think that I’m trying to be judgmental. I’m not; at least I hope I’m not. For I’ve found that those who are judgmental of other believers operate with a lot of judgment but very little mental.

It’s with much love that I say this; God didn’t call us to place value judgments on our brothers and sisters in Christ. He called us to love one another. It just seems that some have a bone to pick. They’re just being hypercritical of other Christians and really have nothing meaningful to say. They want to major on the minors. They want to focus on our theological differences, rather than spotlighting the fundamental commonalities that make us, despite denominational differences, followers of Jesus.

When I was a boy the number one cause for being disciplined by my parents was fighting and arguing with my siblings. I grew up with three younger brothers with all of us fighting for the same potato and the same cramped space. We loved each other but it seemed that we were constantly at odds with one another. We enjoyed playing games together, as kids do, but the flip side of that coin was four boys almost constantly bickering.

“I was setting there. Get up!”

“Stop it or I’m telling Dad!”

The battle seemed to come to a head at bedtime when two of more of us had to share a bed. We would often engage in mortal combat over the same blanket. Eventually we would wear ourselves out and fall asleep.

One night my number two brother, Joe, and I, while sharing the same room and bed, drew a line down the center of the room. We even drew one down the center of the bed. Then we warned the other to not “cross the line”. Then at night we would tug and fight over the blanket declaring our sovereignty of our side of the bed.

“You’re on my side of the bed! Get over!!!”

“No, I’m not! Move over… you’re touching my side of the bed!”

We gave new meaning to the word bedlam.

When the squabbling and fighting got out of hand Dad would respond swiftly and painfully. My dad took the admonition in Proverbs 13:24 seriously, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Dad was anything but physically abusive to us boys. However, he would quickly show us the full range of his proverbially love… right across our hinnies.

Christians can be much like us boys by squabbling, taking issue where there is none and being downright rude to one another. I was actually fired from a Gospel Music radio station because I used an N.I.V. translation of the Bible rather than the K.J.V. translation. I was blackballed my pastors whom I thought were my friends from ministering to their congregations because of divorce. [Incidentally, God called me to the preaching ministry after I was divorce. I guess some people have higher standards than God]

Don’t you watch the news? The Church has been called on the cosmic carpet, my friend. God is telling is that it’s time to put up or shut up! We’ve got a war on hands. People are actually dying! Our liberties and lives are being threatened by terrorists abroad as well as those terrorists setting on federal judicial benches and those in the House of Representatives.

Our economy is a bust, the value of the dollar is slipping, gas is over three dollars a gallon, we’re overrun with crime and the Church is drowning in apathy. What is the overall church doing about our circumstances that’s productive? We’re engaging in denominational flag waving, faultfinding and sibling rivalry. In other words we arguing over the color of Mary’s eyes?

In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)

Did you pick up Paul’s sarcasm in this passage? Why do we insist on making an issue out of secondary theological differences? To paraphrase Shakespeare, “A rose is still a rose no matter what you call it.” Call it a chicken if you will but it’s still a rose. A follower of Christ is still a Christian no matter where they attend worship. Furthermore, contrary to the views of many, they’re not second class citizens in the Kingdom just because they don’t belong to your particular denomination! But of course, you denominationalist has to prove that your church is the one that has God’s approval. Shame on you!

Are you aware of the statistics that states that someone dies and goes to Hell about every 1.72 seconds?

That breaks down to:

103 per minute

6198 per hour

149 thousand per day

54.3 million per year

3.8 billion per average lifetime (70 years)[2]

1.72 seconds! Shamefully, most of those who call themselves Christian don’t seem to give a rat’s patootie! No, we would much rather expend our energies debating over what to call a rose!!! We would rather indulge in religious arrogance by being condescending to our brothers and sisters of other denominations rather that embracing them as equals in the Kingdom of God. God forgive us!

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension [discord, disagreement or strife between people][3] among brothers(Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV)

If I sound like I’m angry you’re correct! After all, I am The Mad Preacher. I’m incensed when I see the ongoing erosion of the influence of The Church in America. An erosion that was caused by division, discord, spiritual pomposity, non-repentance and a sheer lack of interest about doing anything to change things. What’s more, God is also angry about it.

May I make a suggestion? Why don’t we sincerely repent of our loathsome behavior? Why not love one another the way that Christ commanded? Let’s call it a rose and get on with the winning of souls and helping hurting people, huh?!

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Ephesians 5:2 NIV)

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,                                                                   Don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown,                                                 How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,                                                                         You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.

Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it’s all I ever hear,                                                    No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,                                                             But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,                                               And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?

‘Cause He brings people to your door,                                                                                                 And you turn them away, as you smile and say,                                                                               God bless you, be at peace, and all Heaven just weeps,                                                              Cause Jesus came to your door, you’ve left Him out on the streets.

Open up, open up, and give yourself away,                                                                                   You’ve seen the need, you hear the cry, so how can you delay,                                               God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run,                                                           He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in,

Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?[4]

[1] Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved

[2] Retrieved from http://www.biblehelp.org/signal.htm on 12/8/16

[3] Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

[4] Asleep in the Light from Keith Green: The Ministry Years 1977-1979 Sparrow Records, 1987 / March 9, 1999