Active Waiting

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Photo by Michelle Pearson

Active Waiting
1 Corinthians 1:4-7

In my 30+ years in the business management world, I have had to go to more seminars and watch more training videos than I can count. I have seen Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and even Robert Schuller. These guys talked about everything from management styles to team building, but one thing that most of them talked about was active listening. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talk about this. Not listening passively, but really getting in there, commenting about what they are saying, responding with phrases like, “what I hear you saying is…”
Well, Paul starts out his letter to the church at Corinth by telling them to practice active waiting. Right after his usual greeting of grace and peace, Paul says this, “4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.
Notice in verse 4, he doesn’t just say that he thanks God for them, he says that he always thanks God for them. We need to be thankful for other believers, even if they don’t belong to our denomination, and we need to do this always, not just every now and then. We also need to be specific when we thank God for other believers. Paul says that he thanks God for the gifts that He has given them. Spoiler Alert…Although Paul does genuinely thank God for their spiritual gifts, he will be reprimanding them later in his letter for their misuse of those same gifts, so this is somewhat of a setup.
In verse 5 he talks about how God has enriched their church through Christ Jesus in every way, and he says God did this with their eloquent words and knowledge. So, what Paul is doing here is reminding them that all their eloquent words and knowledge come from Jesus. This is important for all of us to remember, especially those of us who are pastors, or leaders of any kind. Remember what we read in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” And, what does 2 Samuel 22:28 say? “You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.” Believe me, you don’t want God to humiliate you, so humble yourself before Him. This is just a couple of verses, there are dozens of verses throughout scripture that remind us that God opposes the proud.
In verse 6 Paul reminds them that all these things, their knowledge, eloquence, and spiritual gifts, are just testimonies that what he told them about Christ was true.
Now, look at what he says in verse 7. He tells them that, in Christ, they have every spiritual gift they need to await Christ’s return eagerly. We need to expect the second coming eagerly. Friends, if you haven’t noticed, it won’t belong. So, what does he mean by eagerly wait? The Greek word used here is, ἀπεκδέχομαι apekdéchomai, ap-ek-dekh’-om-ahee, and it means to expect fully. We need to fully expect the second coming of Christ in our lifetime. We need to live every day as if we knew that Jesus was coming back today.
Eagerly Waiting or Fully Expecting isn’t a passive thing. As Christ followers, we must be actively waiting and expecting the second coming. Michelle and I are doing research right now which will be coming out in an upcoming book. We are co-writing this one, and it will be called, Life as We Knew It, One Couple’s Awakening.” What we have been uncovering is a staggering amount of corruption and just pure evil in our world today. It is steeped in U.S. and world politics, in Hollywood, and in the media. Not only that, it is throughout our schools of higher learning, science, and even the general public. It is an evil world we live in, worse than the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all Christ followers must be awakened to it, so we know what we are up against.
We can’t just live our lives with our heads in the sand, we need to wake up and stand together. If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I talk a lot about the importance of unity within the body of Christ. The only way that we can be effective against the evil of this world is if we stand together as one body! We must put aside all our denominational differences. There is only one doctrine that should divide us, and that is salvation by God’s grace and through our life-changing faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Literally, nothing else matters! So, it doesn’t matter if you are a Calvinist, an Arminian, or anything else, as long as you are straight on the issue of salvation, you are my brother or sister.
Look at the New Testament. There were no denominations, many churches were making up one body, with Christ as the head. Now, look at 2 Chronicles 7:14, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” I’m sure most of us have read this verse and heard multiple sermons on it. But, look at that word, “wicked.” The Hebrew word that was translated as “wicked” is the word, רַע raʻ, rah, which means; bad, disagreeable, malignant, evil, and divisive. So, this verse is telling us that we believers must be humble, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked and divisive ways, if we want to see God heal our land.
We must join together as one body and actively await the coming of Christ. Let’s pray for a great revival in our land, a great awakening if you will.

My Book is Here!

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Available on Amazon

Well, it’s finally here. My book has been published and is available on Amazon in both paperback and electronic versions. My book is the same title as this blog and, although there will be some of the same content, it is different.

This book compares the early church we see in the New Testament to the Church today and looks at where we went wrong as well as what we can do to get back to where we should be. Together we are His house. Cathedral Made of People is a book to the Church and for the Church. Have you ever wondered why the Church today isn’t world changers like the early Church was? When studying to plant my first church, God led me to compare the Church today to the early Church of the New Testament. As I did this, I began to see vast differences that answered many questions for me. The first Church fought against religion, they focused on unity and were world changers, while the Church today is religious, divided, and largely ineffective. It is my goal through this book to awaken the Church to seek to be more like the Church of the New Testament.

Please read it and share it. If you are a pastor, share it with your church, if you are not a pastor, share it with your pastor. This is a message that we all need to hear and changes we all need to work on.

You can buy a copy by clicking on the link above, or contact me and I will ship you a copy. Also, and most important, pray for me and this book that the message will spread across the country and the world.

God’s Masterpiece

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God’s Masterpiece

You’ve heard me say before that we are not saved by our good works, but we are saved for good works. Well, I don’t ever want to say anything without backing it up with scripture, so let’s look at what the Bible says about this concept. We always go to Ephesians 2:8-9 but let’s add verse 10 to the mix. So, Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

This passage lays to rest any false teaching that we might be saved by our good works, let’s look at it. Verse 8 starts out by telling us that we are saved by God’s grace, through our faith in Him. We know that grace is a gift that we can’t earn, it is unmerited favor. So, if I give you a dollar, that’s grace, but if I give you a dollar for raking the leaves in my yard, I have a very small yard, that is not grace, it is payment for services rendered. So, if we get salvation as a result of the good works we do, it isn’t grace its payment.

Okay, so what about faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” This is telling us that faith is believing in something that we can’t see. But, as we’ve discussed before, faith must be life-changing. Too many people today are trusting in their faith instead of the one they are supposed to have faith in. Faith that is not life-changing is not faith at all. Matthew 7:22-23 says, 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” So, clearly believing isn’t enough. In fact, this tells us that there are church leaders and even people working miracles and casting out demons who aren’t even saved. How is this possible? James 2:14-17 says, 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” In fact, James 2:19 tells us that Satin himself has faith, look what it says, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

So, the Bible is clear that we are saved by God’s grace, and the salvation comes as a result of our life-changing faith, but it even goes further. He goes on to say that you can’t take credit for it. And why is that? Because “it is a gift from God”. And, he says that, since it is a gift from God, you can’t brag about it either. Let’s face it, if you earned your salvation by not sinning, then bragged about it, you just committed a sin and are no longer worthy of the salvation you earned. That system wouldn’t make any sense.

Like I was saying at the beginning, we usually stop there, but let’s look at verse 10 in conjunction with these verses. Verse 10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” This is the good stuff. “We are God’s masterpiece”, isn’t that amazing? He isn’t talking to all humans. He isn’t saying that our bodies or our minds are God’s masterpiece, he is saying that our redemption is His masterpiece. Because, He has taken us, these broken and even dead blobs and made us a new creation. That is truly beautiful!

But, why did He recreate us? He recreated us “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” And, what are those good things? To answer that we need to go back to long ago, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God recreated us to carry out His plan…to do the good things He has planned.

The Picture at the top of this blog is me and my oldest grandson, Micah. He is five and a half years old and accepted Christ as his savior this year, he is a masterpiece. Isn’t it truly awesome how God made salvation so simple that even a child can understand, and not only that, but He said that we must come to Him as children? We must trust Him like a child trusts a parent.

These three verses make it infinitely clear that we were not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do the things He planned for us long ago, we were saved for good works!

Matthew 5:14-16 tells us, 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Now more than ever the world needs to see our good works. We must be that shining city on a hill. We must become the beacon of God’s love to the world. We must be His masterpiece. The only hope for our world today is a Great Revival, another Great Awakening, and the only way that will happen is if the Church will tear down their walls of division and come together as the Body of Christ. Then, and only then, will we be that light to this dying world.

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