Trust me, if you wait too long to start your sabbatical, then you may just hear one (or more) of these twenty ways of saying a churchy goodbye. Instead, why not be proactive and read A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors: How to Initiate and Navigate a Spiritual Renewal Leave.
YouTube video by Johnbcrist.
This video trailer of Europe’s Last Stand: America’s Final Warning, summarizes how Islam’s strategy will dominate your country. Like it or not, you will be affected, your children will be affected, your grandchildren will be affected–husbands and wives, sons and daughters, no one will be unaffected.
I was affected over a decade ago, since my step-brother flew into the North Tower of the world-trade center on American, Flight 11. My mom said to him that morning, “Do you have to go? Couldn’t you stay one more day?” He said “No Betty. I really have business I need to take care of.” Several hours later . . . his business was left undone. That was many years ago. Then we had little idea of what Islam was capable of. Ask anyone who lives near a “no-go zone” in UK if YOU and your family will remain unaffected by Islam or ISIS because you live “safely” in the U.S.
Only the uninformed or the most spiritually and intellectually obtuse do not recognize the truth and the danger. We are almost at the point of no return. I spent all day Saturday with Walid Shoebat. We invited him to inform us. He knows from the inside what Islam’s agenda is. And they are not shy about announcing it. Watch this video. Study on your own to see what’s ahead.
For more on the agenda and strategy of Apocalyptic Islam, find my search field on the right and search for more on “Islam”
Yes, I know it’s not Christmas yet. But I want to get you thinking about its non-religious meaning before all the commercial and religious huppla makes you numb to the topic. And I want you to have a whole new experience this year. So forget everything you’ve ever heard “Christians” and atheists say regarding Jesus and read to the end.
Etymology of “Holiday”
The word “Holiday” came from the phrase “Holy Day.” (Ought Oh . . . you ARE talking religion. NO I’m NOT! Keep reading!) “Holy Day” meant “a day set aside” for a special purpose or remembrance. It was a day set aside specifically to think about and commemorate a theme which or person who impacted history. And to enjoy related discussions and remembrances with friends and family. On Memorial Day, we not only have the day off, but we have it off because brave men and women died to preserve our freedom and liberty. Martin Luther King Day commemorates the ministry and life of Dr. King and his valiant stand for civil rights against bigotry and oppression.
So why is Christmas a “Holy day”?
The One whose birthday we celebrate every December 25–though that was not the actual date when he was born–has so impacted the world you and I live in, that time itself is classified as A.D. “Anno Dei”–“the year of our Lord.” The celebration of that birth–the birth of God’s Messiah (or “anointed One”) divides old history (B.C.) from new history (A.D). The coming or “advent” of the Messiah not only did that, but it ushered in a new Kingdom. A Kingdom far different from the Kingdoms of men. It divided of an Old Covenant with God and ushered in a New Covenant (that’s where believers get the tern “New Testament” even though it’s origin is thousands of years old). When Messiah Jesus came, He inaugurated the prophesied “Kingdom of God.” What’s more, He claimed that Kingship. And God backed Him up, proving His claims by raising Him from the dead. NO OTHER HISTORIC WORLDVIEW CLAIMS A RESURRECTED SAVIOR AS ITS LIVING LEADER. Yes, Jesus is Alive! This is not religion. This is HISTORY.
The Supernatural Kingdom of God
People have always mistaken that Kingdom God for a human, political/religious Kingdom. Yet, that Kingdom has been expanding and growing quietly, secretly just as Jesus said it would. Most often, the Royal Reign of God is totally missed . . . even by so-called “Christians.” But those who are truly included in that Kingdom understand and expand it joyfully. We recognize its supernatural origins and ultimate natural manifestation.
“he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:10)
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3)
“for through him [Jesus] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
The Shepherd-King Knows Us
We aren’t necessarily recognized by the world or even by the church, but we know that we know the King and–more importantly–He knows us personally. He communicates with us and we with Him (Gospel of John 10:14, 23). Those who say that they are followers of Christ or know Him are quite mistaken if they have never heard Him call them by name. Hear what Jesus himself says regarding this:
“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3–4)
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14–15)(emphasis mine)
Jesus–the Shepherd King–is the reason for the season. He is the center-point of human history. It is from His life that both western and eastern Christianity were birthed. Granted, Christian orthodoxy has swung wide from it’s original intent and founder, but that does not mean that His was a life to be ashamed of or relegated to “religion.” Jesus is King of the Royal Reign of God–the Kingdom of God. He is God’s best and final WORD to hurting, distressed, and broken world.
Here and Coming Kingdom
The horrors converging upon this world in the forms of Ebola, ISIS, weather anomalies, kingdom rising up against kingdom, decadence and dissolution are evidences of the second-coming of the King:
“Then he [Jesus] gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:29–36)
You are Invited IF you Hear His Voice
This Christmas, perhaps you might think about topics worthy of the season, you will give and receive gifts, but if you don’t know the Shepherd-King’s voice or have fellowship and great joy from knowing Him (especially if He doesn’t know you), you have a hopeful word from Him. He said:
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)(emphasis mine)
If you don’t know Him. If you’ve never asked Him to call you by name . . . Don’t waste a moment. Get alone and in all seriousness call upon Him with a sincere heart and watch the miracle unfold over the next few hours, days or weeks. He has another promise:
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)(emphasis mine)
Celebrate a Messiah-centered Christmas this year as a follower of the Shepherd-King whose Kingdom is Just, good, compassionate, supernatural, and everlasting!
DISCLAIMER: We don’t behead those who don’t want the Royal Reign of our God. We grieve that they have missed out on the Kingdom and our most wonderful Shepherd and have never heard His voice.
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“ . . . For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”
–Ephesians 2:14 NIV
With the increase of immigrants–legal and illegal–into our nation, with the spread of Neo-Nazism, vigilantism, and the rise of separatist churches, the body of Christ needs to address racism. Not that there is anything wrong with having national borders. God himself established nations and borders.
“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” (Deuteronomy 32:8, ESV)
But the discerning see Satan moving–in the upswing of Neo-Nazis and skinhead racist activities and in the south in black churches where white people are not welcome and in white churches where black believers are unwelcome. We see him at work spitting in the face of a Mexican migrant in Texas. As a result, we must be thoughtful about how WE–the Family of God–will respond, when Puerto Ricans, Chinese, Mexicans, Liberians, or African-Americans begin to attend our lifegroups, worship, and Celebrations.
Have you come to realize that, as believers, we no longer are to consider Hispanic, Latino, African-American, or Caucasian blood? Instead, we see only the blood of Jesus that has reconciled our lives through His blood shed for us and has joined us to one another through salvation, symbolized as we partake together at the Lord’s Table. So that we are of one blood in the body of Christ. The wall of partition has been broken down. What a profound thought.
The text above tells us that Christ has “destroyed the barrier.” That is, the barrier in our hearts against others.
When we of many colors and backgrounds gather around the cup of the Lord, we proclaim His death for us all and “drink His blood” (symbolically). In that blood, the nations have been reconciled into ONE family, ONE nation, ONE household in Christ Jesus. You and I are no longer separated by blood. We belong to Him and to one another. Here is no room for prejudice or retribution, anger or vengeance, only thanks-giving.
Zero Toleration In the Churches
In the churches, Father-God wants to bring people from all the Nations into our midst. We must not tolerate racism or regionalism in ourselves. Your growth in spiritual life requires that you begin to see from God’s perspective (2 Cor. 5:15-16). You are not your own, you’ve been joined to a new community, a new family (Eph. 2:19-22), a family of the nations.
God wants you to see other born-again Christians as a part of your very own body (1 Cor. 12), no matter what their color or national origin. As for our enemies, we are to learn to love those who oppose us. As a matter of fact, who do you have more in common with: your white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant neighbor, who bullies his wife and kids, drinks until drunk, and shouts profanities out his window until 2am, or a born-again, Spirit-filled Iraqi or Iranian? In Christ, there is no room for racism.
Are You Connected to Him?
Let’s remember that the precious shedding of Jesus’ blood, connected you to God and to His children . . . ALL His children. Your future is a life in community, not as white or black or yellow, but as an obedient disciple and a child of a multicultural Family. Blood counts, but only the Blood of Jesus. Join me in creating a welcoming, Kingdom-fellowship, the Oikos (household) of God to the Nations (Eph.2:19).
We just sold our Celebration Center. Now our church family meets at our home. We’re a house church. Our first meeting was last Sunday. God met us and we were all full of joy. We know God is doing something new in our midst and we have set our hearts on following. But . . .
We have also changed our heartset along with our change of meeting location, we decided not to be–as one brother put it–“a church service caught by a living room.” I don’t want that. And I’m grateful that the folks in the New Life family don’t want that either. We made decisions. We are making real changes. We prefer productive over active. I’m proud of the brothers and sisters I fellowship with. They want to catch fish, not just study fishing or sing about fishing. We’ve all done that for too long. We’re not the church that has it right. We respect and honor the other churches in our region who love Jesus and people too. All we’re doing is following the Lord where He is leading ANY church that is doing that will be not only busy, but productive with the fruit of the Kingdom.
So . . . I’m sharing this important link, because I want to keep this truth before us and I want to reach out to other believers to do some serious soul-searching and then . . . TAKE ACTION!
I hear the following video challenge loud and clear.
QUESTION: Do you know a friend who needs to consider this challenge too?