Where Are The Shepherds?

“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord , To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.” All you beasts of the field, All you beasts in the forest, Come to eat. His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. “Come,” they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.” – Isaiah 56:6-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah56:6-12&version=NASB

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People From Every Color, Every Ethnicity, Every Language, Every Place

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” – Revelation 7:9-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation7:9-10&version=NIV

Alive . . . But Dead

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.  I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.  But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Revelation 3:1-3).

You know, I could point the finger at a lot of Christians, at a lot of churches, and I think there are plenty of “Sardis” churches in our midst and “Sardis”-like Christians.  However, I need to start with that finger of mine pointed squarely at me.  I have been a Christian for over 40 years.  I have a Bible/Theology degree from Moody Bible Institute.  I have a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary of the East.  I am an ordained minister.  That all sounds great doesn’t it?  Wrong question.  What am I doing with the skills God has given me and the training He has allowed me to attain?  What difference am I making for the kingdom?  What difference am I making in my Jerusalem?  Very little.  I am not currently pastoring a church, I haven’t preached in over four years, I am not involved in any outreach ministry.  Pathetic.  Yes, my wife and I do reach out informally to the homeless, we do share our faith as we have opportunity with acquaintances, we do our best to help our neighbors.  We, by ourselves, do what we do, individually.

Jesus said He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.  He never said He would build individuals to make a difference by themselves.  It is all of Jesus’ churches, which make up His one Church, which are to be corporately making a difference.  Most of the churches we know are busy with “churchy” stuff – programs for the benefit of those in the church.  There absolutely needs to be teaching and training of Christians in church but for what purpose?  FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF SHARING OUR FAITH WITH THOSE WHO DO NOT YET KNOW!  We all too often fall short of that.  We teach and train and keep what we learn to ourselves.  We have a reputation for being alive but we are DEAD!

Churches, we need to WAKE UP!!

Identity Politics? Meet Super-Man

“A Man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make a choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that door open to us.  He did not intend to” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 52-53).

Solar Eclipse Euphoria – Perhaps It’s A Warning

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. – Joel 2:28-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel2:28-32&version=NIV

Did you travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to view the total solar eclipse yesterday?  Some people did.  You know that one day there will be an eclipse or some such phenomenon which darkens the sun AND the moon will turn blood red just prior to “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  For those of you into astrological signs, put those two at the top of your list.  They are signs of the second coming of Christ.  That day will indeed be dreadful for those not prepared for it. This eclipse was just a foretaste, a warning.  Get yourself ready. 

Talking To God?  Tell Him Like It Is

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:9-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm42:9-11&version=NIV

The Psalmists know how to tell it like it is.  They don’t hold back from pouring out their pain, frustration, anger, heartache – they share their heart with their Lord.  We should do the same.  God knows where you are emotionally, at the gut level.  He just wants you to trust Him enough to be vulnerable to Him.  Share your hopes, share your joys, share your victories, share your defeats, share your heart aches, share your pain – He wants to walk through all of your life with you, sustaining you, holding you up.  

Reach out to God.  He’s there for you.

Water: So Good, So Vital

CA trip 31

There is something about water that is powerful.  This particular waterfall in California is not Niagara Falls by any stretch.  Nevertheless, not only is it beautiful, but it has power to change even the face of the rock over which it falls over time.

Water has power over humans as well.  We depend on water.  Without it we would die.  Our food supply is dependent on water to maintain fields, irrigate crops, keep produce fresh in stores.  Our bodies need water constantly to keep functioning properly.  We watched “Flight of the Phoenix” last night.  They crash landed in the Gobi Desert and had to ration their small amount of water to survive.  Yes indeed, we need water.

Water also can produce electricity by powering turbines in dams.  Hydroelectricity is not our main source of electrical generation but it is a significant minority player in powering our electrical devices.

Water can also be powerfully destructive.  Floods, hurricanes, earthquake/landslide induced tidal surges – water has power to destroy.

Water is a source for life and death, benefit and hindrance, blessing and curse.

“His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters” (Revelation 1:15).  The voice of the risen Christ:  powerful, just like “the sound of rushing waters.”  Jesus Christ has the power to give life:  “And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (I John 5:11-12); Jesus Christ has the power to destroy life:  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Water is powerful.  It is also created.  Jesus Christ is all-powerful.  He is the Creator.  Which one, water or Jesus Christ, is more important in your life?