I have been called a heretic (by Catholics twice) with the implication that I have spoken in error. That is the generally accepted meaning of the term, but it is not the etymological meaning. Strong’s definition of the Greek word translated as heresy in the New Testament is, hairesis (G139), meaning “a choice” as in a group, thus implying “disunion”. It is derived from aihreomai (G138) which means to take for one’s self or prefer. It is also translated as “sect”. It does not mean error or being wrong. Thayer’s definition includes the idea of capturing or forcing others to a group. Biblical heresy means one thing: creating division in the body of Christ so that separate camps are set up and the unity of love towards all believers is undermined. Read the rest of this entry →
Archive for the ‘Discipleship’
When I was a youth the Vietnam War was winding down. When I was of draft age, Nixon had begun the lottery and my number was too high, so I never went. But I remember that many had either fled to Canada or had filed CO, Conscientious Objector. That was a strange concept to me since I did not come to Christ until I was an adult of 32. The C.O. is a basic right of American freedom that had been used by men of faith who refused to violate the teachings of Jesus Christ in harming others.
Since the Vietnam war we have had a multitude of military police actions and wars around the world: Grenada and Panama in 1989; Desert Shield in 1990 then Desert Storm in 1991; Somalia in 1993; Bosnia mid 1990’s; Afghanistan 2001 and on; and Iraq 2003 and on – all called police actions, not wars; World War II being the last war declared by congress.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and observed the Vietnam War protests and the emergence of alternative lifestyles of Berkeley, California. The influence of that era had a stronghold on me that I was unaware. As a new believer in 1985 a friend made it her mission to get me to vote and be patriotic. Her mission was supported by worship music and preaching in the pulpit, so as a new ignorant believer I assumed that she was acting on behalf of the Lord.
During that time I joined the ranks of Christians who believed that supporting the government was patriotic and what “good” Christians do. I discovered that many Christians were police officers who attended my various congregations, many were combat veterans, many were government officials. In short people of the church populate every aspect of the government and the military and are the biggest supporters of the military. Yet, it has not always been so. Many American Christians at one time refused military service. Read the rest of this entry →
In my last post, I said, “Love is an act of our will, not an emotion. Emotions are expressions of that act.” It seems to me that further explanation is merited. It took many years for me to understand the differences between soul and spirit – emotions are considered part of the soul – and to see how the two worked together is not easy.
The author of Hebrews said,
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb 4:12
The implication being that only the Word can tell the difference. How, then, can we tell the difference? The Scriptures gives us several clues. Consider what Jesus said about his own words. Read the rest of this entry →
Living according to the will of God in His Kingdom has never changed. It began with Adam and Eve, was lived by the patriarchs, exemplified in the book of Judges, was codified in the Mosaic Covenant, and revealed in the heart of God through the cross of Calvary. In short it is taking personal responsibility for our lives and others.
In the garden of Eden, instead of taking personal responsibility for their actions, our parents, Adam and Eve tried to pass the buck. I wonder what would have happened if they both admitted their error and accepted responsibility for their unbelief and disobedience? Knowing Jesus Christ I believe He would have forgiven them, even though they would still suffer the consequence of their actions. Is it possible that consequence would have stopped with them and the rest of the world been spared? Only God knows. Ezekiel declared that the sins of the fathers would not be passed onto the sons.
(Eze 18:20) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
I knew a messianic Jew who once speculated that if Adam had not participated in eating the forbidden fruit, he would have remained sinless and could have laid his life down for Eve as Christ has done for the Church. Of course, if he had the sense not to eat the fruit, you would think he would have stopped Eve from eating the fruit in the first place. Regardless of the speculation, we know that they avoided their personal responsibility and played the blame game, passing the buck ultimately to God Himself since it was He who gave Adam the woman (Gen. 3:13). Read the rest of this entry →
If you read or listen to any of the many websites, podcasts and radio broadcasts from the patriot community, you will hear the expression, “sovereigns” used frequently. The expression tends to be confusing both because governments and kings claim the term in reference to their authority over their subjects and because organized religion uses the expression as meaning the total control of God over His creation as the Sovereign Lord. The term needs clarification for the Church (i.e., the people that are born again) and the people towards their governments.
First, the patriot community rightly understands that governments are not sovereign but the people who create their governments. The American government was created “by the people, for the people” (from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address). It is a logical conclusion that the creator is greater than the created. Thus the people who create the government are greater than the government that was created, and the people have the sovereign rights while the government has privileges granted by the people.
The Creator, Yahweh who became Y’shua, is also the Sovereign Lord who grants us our rights. Unlike humans, God can not take back that which He gives because all that He says and does is eternal. Eternal means from his unchanging nature which has no beginning nor end. Therefore His Word is immutable. So our human rights are not privileges given us from God because what He gives He can not take back (Romans 11:29). Read the rest of this entry →
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Matt 23:9 KJV)
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26 KJV)
God is my father. I had no problem accepting His Fatherhood in my life when I came to saving faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, as I have come to know many believers over the last 25 years, I could not understand why so many have difficulty in embracing this truth in their own relationship with God.
For some it is the difficulty of knowing the fatherhood of God because their own fathers were such poor examples. Their natural tendency is to superimpose the image of their earthly father onto their heavenly father. For others it is a theological abstraction that blocks their grasp of the fatherhood of God. For them, only Jesus is the Son of God, and we are merely adopted creatures. To think we are actually the children of God is to imply that we are divine, too, and that would be blasphemous to that theological frame of mind. Read the rest of this entry →
I first heard the Lord of the Rings read to me in 1965 by my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Lum, who read the entire trilogy every day for the school year. Since my attention span was not good back then, I decided in 1967 to read the trilogy for myself as a 7th grader. Since that time I have re-read the entire series about 20 times.
Indeed, God used the Lord of the Rings as stepping stone to Christ in my life. In 1973 He gave me a dream with the Silmarillion in it. At that time the book was yet to be published. He gave me the dream because I was reading the Bible for myself just to see what was in it. I was reading many Christian fantasy books at that time: George MacDonald’s “Curdie” books; C.S. Lewis’s “Perelandra” trilogy; and the many Frank L Baum “Oz” books. I had bought those from a Christian bookstore, although I was not aware of the religious significance. The store had all these great fantasies that Tolkien had enamored my heart towards. So when I told the book store owner of the dream, he told me that it was written by Tolkien and was going to be published in a few more years. That convinced me that my dream was from God. Read the rest of this entry →
Getting my athletes to believe in their ability to perform a gymnastics skill is most of my job. The technical mechanics of how the skill is performed is usually taught in just a few lessons. But it can take months and years for some skills to be repeated through drills, spotting and other training practices before they become convinced that they can do it on their own.
Confidence means “with faith”. There are two roads to faith, and both are necessary.
Our thought life is the core of discipleship. What we think determines what we feel. Emotions are the expression of our thoughts. The film industry knows this well. They deliberately craft stories to create an emotional viewing ride for the audience. They know what they need to put in a scene to bring us to tears, or to burst out with laughter. Fear in an athlete is an emotion resulting from the of thoughts about the possibility of accidental injury. Fear is important because it creates caution and carefulness. No athlete will survive long with reckless abandon. However, panic is an extreme fear that causes loss of control of the body and is more deadly than the reckless abandon.
Getting an athlete to control fear begins with the path of discipleship: controlling their thoughts. We are told in 2 Corinthians 10:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5 NIV)
While many believers tend to see this passage in context of spiritual warfare, they may misunderstand what “spiritual warfare,” truly is. They may imagine that they are physically wrestling with demons. Thoughts are not demons, and demons may plant those thoughts, but as thoughts, they belong to us. Our natural view of life will bring in thoughts that should be rejected that are contrary to the way of Christ. Read the rest of this entry →
Editor’s Note: This post was written for the Stunt Gym blog, but I felt that it would be appreciated by a wider audience, therefore has been reprinted here, too.
I recently had a conversation from a dancer in California who found the school site and was surprised that I call my school a “Christian Gymnastics School.” She wanted to know how I could consider it a Christian school since she had been told that dancing was carnal. She desperately wants to dance before the Lord, but has been discouraged by her congregation.
For the sake of her privacy, I am going to call her, Sydnee. Sydnee seems to be a new believer and was very confused. The congregation she attends seems to be legalistic. She had questions about the Sabbath and other matters which hindered me from explaining how physical activity can be an expression of the spirit.
God has no interest or joy in religion. Religion did not come from God. It came from Adam and Eve who tried to cover their sin with fig leaves. That was the first religious act of mankind. Religion is inherent in our carnal nature, which is why most of the world is religious. The books of Romans and Hebrews explains God’s take on religion. He gave Moses the law to show the world that it was impossible to please God through religious effort. Through Jesus Christ He took away religion completely. But mankind hangs onto religion because the carnal nature wants to justify itself through religion, not to please God. Read the rest of this entry →
Why There is Evil
“If God is good, why is there evil in the world?” Frankly, I have never heard a good answer. But the answer is basic and foundational to our lives in Christ. First, let me reaffirm that God does not create evil, nor does He do any evil (James 1:13). Yet He takes full responsibility for the existence of evil. He fulfilled His responsibility for allowing evil into His creation on Calvary.
Evil was a calculated consequence of giving life free will, and specifically mankind. He counted the cost (Luke 14:28) of this calculation which is why He was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).
Evil can be summed up in one word: selfishness. The essence of godly love (agape) is selflessness: i.e., other centered. Whereas the essence of worldly love is self centered; i.e., what’s in it for me?
So, why is there evil? Read the rest of this entry →