Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Forfeiting Your Soul

In oversimplified terms, universal reconciliation speaks of the eventual redemption of every soul ever created through the work of the Messiah and His sacrifice on the cross. This teaching does not remove the existence of hell, or the suffering associated with it, but it does challenge it’s never ending duration, and the purpose of the flames.

This series of posts, on the book “Heaven’s Doors” will be my last on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism). I am thankful to my Calvinist friend for directing me to this “heresy”. The teaching of universal reconciliation has more Scriptural support than I imagined and is worth considering if you are of an open mind and willing to consider alternate views to expand your understanding of the Word.

Of course if you are convinced you are completely right, without error, and doctrinally pure, this topic would be a waste of your time. Please move on!

This post will address – Forfeiting Your Soul

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
For what can a man give in return for his soul? – Mark 8:35-37

I’m confused. I have chatted with my wife a number of times on the difference between soul, spirit and body, and if we are a three part creation or a two part creation, that is if the soul and spirit are the same entity. It is not something that keeps me up at night, but this verse we are looking at has made me consider my priorities on a number of occasions.

Since I have read Mr. Sarris’ book, and even prior to understanding his teaching, I understood life and soul to be two different entities. You know, my life is that which I experience on earth, between birth and death, whereas my soul is understood to go on after death.

Although I am beginning to see a few cracks in this thinking, was Jesus making a difference in these verses above. Notice that the first verse refers to “life”, with verses 36 & 37 referring to a man’s “soul”. Did Jesus intend to use two different words in these three verses?

Lets take a closer look at what the Master said with the following interlinear tool (using Blue Letter Bible – I like it!)

I have circled the term “life” along with the associated Greek word used in the Gospels of Jesus’ speech. Of course, we should have expected consistency in translation and we have it within this verse. Psychē, Strong’s number G5590 is translated as “life” both times. Very good.

Mark 8:35

Ok, let us move onto the next verse, Mark 8:36. I have likewise circled the same Greek word in the following two verses for your convenience.

Mark 8:36

Okay, so the Lord continues his warning in verse 36, but what is going on? Why has the same Greek word, psychē, Strong’s number G5590, been translated as “soul”?

That must be a glitch! (A bit bothersome, no?)

Lets take a look at the next verse!

Mark 8:37

Again, the Greek word is translated as “soul”, instead of “life”. I don’t get it! Why the difference? The audience in Jesus’ day didn’t hear a different word, (and therefore didn’t come away with a possibly different thought.)

So what is it that Jesus was teaching? Was he addressing our destiny in heaven or hell, or something else?

One explanation is that Jesus was speaking of our earthly existence, our lives, that period of time between birth and death. He was bringing the gospel of the kingdom to earth, for His followers to enter into, in this life. When I hear the term soul, I automatically think of the afterlife, but I am not sure Jesus was referring to the afterlife in this passage.

How many people do you know that have sold their lives to gain the world, to gain possessions, prestige, power? They have sacrificed everything in this life that was of any quality. Things that are of infinite worth, such is their integrity, their honesty, their relationships, the love of God and the love of others.

Maybe Jesus was speaking of this life, of a quality of life, of an abundant life in the here and now, and not of eternal torment in hell, of loosing all hope and of gnashing of teeth, of burning forever.

Maybe we have understood something a bit incorrectly.

What think thee? Leave a comment.


For other books on this same topic, I would refer you to Jesus Undefeated – a 10 part series, and The Inescapable Love of God. One additional book that I have not posted on is by David Artman, Grace Saves All.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Unpardonable Sin

In oversimplified terms, universal reconciliation speaks of the eventual redemption of every soul ever created through the work of the Messiah and His sacrifice on the cross. This teaching does not remove the existence of hell, or the suffering associated with it, but it does challenge it’s never ending duration, and the purpose of the flames.

This series of posts, on the book “Heaven’s Doors” will be my last on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism). I am thankful to my Calvinist friend for directing me to this “heresy”. The teaching of universal reconciliation has more Scriptural support than I imagined and is worth considering if you are of an open mind and willing to consider alternate views to expand your understanding of the Word.

Of course if you are convinced you are completely right, without error, and doctrinally pure, this topic would be a waste of your time. Please move on!

This post will address The Unpardonable Sin

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”
for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” – Mark 3:28-30 ESV

How can an unpardonable sin be pardoned? This is directly from the lips of the Savior and couldn’t be clearer, at least when you do not compare Scripture with Scripture.

Heck, lets see if there are other Scriptures that might shed light on this passage,

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. – Matthew 12:31-32 ESV

There are a number of items to discuss in the first passage in Mark that have been addressed in an earlier post called A Study of Eternal/Everlasting. I was seriously challenged by taking the word translated as eternal or everlasting, and questioning if the translation was as accurate as I had hoped.

I supplied a table in that post, providing things that were described as eternal, with Scripture passages provided, which showed (at least to me) that eternal is not what I thought.

One example – the Old Covenant, in Isaiah 24:5 is described as “the everlasting covenant”, and yet Hebrews 8:13 claims the Old Covenant is becoming obsolete, ready to vanish away.

The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. – Isaiah 24:5 ESV

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. – Hebrews 8:13 ESV

There are many instances where the Bible terms translated as eternal or everlasting should better be translated as “ages”. Many translation attempt to do this and yet continue in some passages with the word “eternal”.

You will kindly notice that in the Markan passage, the term is translated as an “eternal sin”, and yet Matthew’s gospel clarifies the duration to two different “ages”, that is the current age Jesus was speaking in (i.e. the Old Covenant) and a future age, and age to come (from Jesus’s perspective – possibly the church age.)

This limits the unpardonability (is that a word?) of the particular sin Jesus is referring to, and allows for forgiveness in a future age, if God should so have mercy on His creation.

As a matter of fact, Paul informs us

.. that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:7 ESV

Paul was speaking of the coming ages. Even if he was considering the church age to be an age that was still coming from his standpoint, the passage speaks of multiple ages.

Might God have an opportunity to forgive the unforgivable sin even beyond “the age to come”? Might God desire to forgive sin in a future age, even after a period of suffering and shame, of rejection and refusal? Might God allow an opportunity for rebels to believe in the One who was tortured and sacrificed for our sins?

I am hopeful, and as I study and consider the mercies He has stretched out to me, I am beginning to see God inn a different light, as a very surprising God, One that goes beyond my understanding and comprehension. He is good, and I praise Him for His many mercies and love.

What think you, my gentle reader? Do you have a thought you would like to share? Use the comment box below to begin a discussion.


For other books on this same topic, I would refer you to Jesus Undefeated – a 10 part series, and The Inescapable Love of God. One additional book that I have not posted on is by David Artman, Grace Saves All.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Intro

During the last few months, I have been in conversation with a Calvinist through the comment pages on this blog. I had hoped we could maintain a certain grace towards one another, hoping to learn from each other, but alas, he seems to consider me an enemy, a false prophet, a lying teacher and blind to the gospel.

He has accused me of everything from not knowing God (which I readily admit I know Him not well enough!) to being blind and following Satan’s lies. A specific teaching he accused me of was that of being a universalist, which at the time I had not studied.

Since then, I have read a couple of short books on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism!) which have piqued my interest. (See Jesus Undefeated – a 10 part series, and The Inescapable Love of God, a single post.)

In oversimplified terms, universal reconciliation speaks of the eventual redemption of every soul ever created through the work of the Messiah and His sacrifice on the cross. This teaching does not remove the existence of hell, or the suffering associated with it, but it does speak to it’s never ending duration, and the purpose of the flames.

This series of posts, on the book mentioned above will be my last on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism). I am thankful to my Calvinist friend for directing me to this “heresy”. The teaching of universal reconciliation has more Scriptural support than I imagined and is worth considering if you are of an open mind and willing to consider alternate views to expand your understanding of the Word.

Of course if you are convinced you are completely right, without error, and doctrinally pure, this topic would be a waste of your time.

With that being said, let’s consider a few of George Sarris’ discussion points, particularly concerning common questions that arise when he teaches this topic to believers.

Some of the questions believers have asked him and that he addresses in the book include

  • How can an unpardonable sin be pardoned?
  • Isn’t forfeiting your soul forever?
  • If you perish, how can there be eternal life?
  • Universal reconciliation implies a wide door, not a narrow door
  • Jacob I loved, Esau I hated – Someone has to be punished!
  • Pharaoh’s hardened heart – Will he not burn?
  • Eternal condemnation for preaching a false gospel
  • Impossibility of repentance for some
  • The Lake of Fire – Why have the lake if it is empty of sinners?
  • The Book of Life – Some names are not in it?
  • Judas’ existence – Better to not be born?

The following posts will provide some of the highlights of Mr. Sarris’ responses, with a few comments from myself. I have found most of his discussion worth considering, with one of them to be quite illuminating. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to let me know which one (or ones) illuminate your understanding. Or simply challenge a previous assumption!

With that said, look for the next post in this series. These posts will appear each week on Tuesdays. Hope to see you then!


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 2

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. As I mentioned in my first post about this book, I would be adding addtional comments, and lo and behold here I am again.

In a subsequent chapter, when Dr. Flowers is approaching the 9th chapter of Romans, which is the “hotbed of Calvinism”, he drew my attention to the following verses that express the heart of the Apostle

Romans 9:1-3

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

So lets get this right.

The apostle Paul expresses his love for those who are not believers, supposedly reprobates by the teaching of an average Calvinist, and would sacrifice his own salvation for those that are not able to be saved. These he prays for are very likely the reprobate, those that have been determined to be damned for all eternity by the determinant counsel of God before all of creation.

I don’t get it. How could the servant love greater than the Master? Paul has greater love than Jesus? Something is so wrong with the way I understand the Word. I suppose I need to reconsider key Bible passages in order to have the higher knowledge of Calvinism claim my spirit.

I suppose 1 John 4:8 should be rewritten as

1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not act holy and righteous does not know God, because God is holy and righteous, (P.S. Paul is love).

My apologies to John, and to our Father in heaven, for such a suggestion.


If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 1

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. The first chapter grabbed me, and I suspect I will have a few posts regarding this book.

In his first chapter, Dr. Flowers supplies a short list of differences between the popular Calvinistic teaching and what he calls a traditional approach to soteriology (the study of salvation).

I offer the below as a taste of the approach this book takes. He defines the two approaches thus.

Calvinists teach that Christ self-sacrificially loves a pre-selected group of individuals.

Traditionalists teach that Christ loves every single personso much that He died for them all.

Calvinists teach that before the world began, God predestined some individuals to salvation and the rest to eternal damnation based on nothing having to do with the individuals choices or actions

Traditionalists teach that God has predestined every individual who is “marked in Christ” through faith to be saved (Eph 1:13), and it is each individual’s responsibility to humble themselves and trust Christ in faith (Luke 18:6-14)

As a former Calvinist, I consider his summary to be fair. It is a shameful thing to admit now, but as a Calvinist, I made every effort to support the belief in a God who predestined some to eternal damnation. This is not the God I have come to know. He revels in being kind, supplying our needs, (and many of our wants), constantly available on the throne for our supplications to hear, and ever willing to forgive any who repent and forsake their evil ways.

If you do not know Him as a loving and sacrificial Savior, read the New Testament one more time.

Psalm 117:2

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures for ever. Praise ye the LORD.


If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 22

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the twenty second post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

22. Both taught the same things concerning slavery – The ideal master is generous and kind

Jesus

Matthew 24:46-47 — “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

Luke 12:37 — “ [the master of the good servants] will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.”

Paul

Colossians 4:1 — Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Philemon 16 — [Receive back the runaway slave] no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 21

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the twenty first  post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

21. Both taught the same things concerning slavery – The slave should humbly obey

Jesus

Matthew 24:45-46 – ““Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”

Luke 17:7-10 — “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

Mark 10:44 — “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.”

Paul

Ephesians 6:5-7 — [Slaves], be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men…

Titus 2:9-10 — Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

1 Timothy 6:1-2 — Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved.

Colossians 3:22 — Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee.

12 steps recovering phariseeI found a book called “12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee” by John Fischer, and found the following chapters somewhat convicting.  Since reading it, I have come to recognize a glaring problem in my life, and you guessed it – I love to “do the Pharisee!”

To do the pharisee is to live a dry, empty and lonely existence.  This book will supply specific attitudes that need to be addressed in each of our lives as we seek to live grace-filled lives.

The following heading for the “12 Steps” supply a general outline of the book.

  1. We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.
  2. We have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.
  3. We realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.
  4. We have decided that we don’t want to get what we deserve after all, and we don’t want anyone else to either.
  5. We will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.
  6. We are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.
  7. We embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.
  8. We are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.
  9. We are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than ourselves.
  10. We embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.
  11. We choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else.

One passage that rung so true for me is as follows…

“The only way to save a Pharisee is to break a Pharisees back with the burden of the law.  There was, and is, hope for the Pharisee, and that hope comes in the form of failure.  Failure is the doorway to freedom, but of course this presents a huge dilema, since failure is the one thing a good Pharisee can never accept.

Pick it up if you have ever judged (condemned) anyone in your Christian life.

If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 20

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the twentieth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

20. Both had the same attitude toward women’s roles – Did not choose them as church leaders

Jesus

Mark 3:13-19 — And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; and Judas Iscariot…

Luke 6:12-14 — Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter… [etc.]

Paul

1 Timothy 2:12 — And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…

1 Timothy 3:2-5 — A bishop [Gr. “overseer”]then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, soberminded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?).

Titus 1:5-6 — For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children…

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – World Christian Trends – Geotargeting

World Christian Trends

As many of those who read this blog realize by now, I struggle with the modern American church, and have found that I have fallen into the basic message it propagates.  

A few years ago, as I mentioned in the introduction to this post series, I stumbled over the graphic below.  

I was greatly saddened by the self love of the modern church, but mostly of how I had accepted the “normality” of the situation.

By way of explanation, the graphic below defines three “worlds” in relation to their opportunity to hear the gospel. 

World AUnevangelized People2.2 Billion
World BEvangelized non-Christians1.9 Billion
World CChristians1.9 Billion

What I find so sad is the focus on evangelizing the saved, the believer. I draw your attention to the third column, which gives an “e” factor. This “e” factor equals the evangelism hours (offers) received per year per capita. In other words, in World C, each person receives a average of 400 hours of evangelism per person every year. In World A, each person is “lucky” to get one offer each year.

When my wife and I were first married, we had a little poster on a wall in our home that spoke of the dead sea. I think the graphic said something like .. “The dead sea is dead because it has no outlet – It only receives.”

As believers in World C, our deadness I fear is a result of not reaching out to those who are in such desperate need, but only servicing our own supposed needs.

Brother & Sister – Consider how you may target the unreached, uncontacted and un targeted. There are numerous mission organizations that are hurting at this time that has World A as their focus.

I hope this post will motivate you to find focus in your giving and prayers.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 19

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the nineteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

19. Both had the same attitude toward women’s roles – Respected and trusted them with ministry responsibilities

Jesus

John 4:28-29, 39 — The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”… And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified…

Mark 14:6, 8-9 — [Mary of Bethany] has done a good work for Me. …She has done what she could…Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Matthew 28:5, 7 — But the angel answered and said to the women…“go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

Paul

Galatians 3:28 — There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Romans 16:1-2 — I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.

Romans 16:3 — Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…

Philippians 2:2-3 — I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel…

Titus 2:3-4 — the older women likewise, [admonish] that they be…teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women…

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – The Gospel According to Moses

Gospel according to Moses

I  picked up this book to find fault.  I admit it.  I tend to be critical of anything I am not comfortable with.

I started to read it years ago, and put it down, without getting too far into the first chapter.

Recently, it beckoned me again, and I have found a book that is irenic in its approach to the Jewish way of thinking.  The way of thinking, and somethings what they think.  The author describes his many times of visiting a Jewish Chever Torah, a meeting for Jewish folk to discuss their faith.

During these meetings, the author found their manner of discussion to be unlike those in the Christian Church.

Let me explain by use of the authors words.

“…Rabbi Stern fires off another question. No one answers. He offers a provocative observation – something controversial to stir the pot.   Still, we are silent.  Finally in frustration, he exclaims, “Come on people! Somebody disagree with me! How can we learn anything if no one will disagree?”

Wow – That is a radical thought.  Disagreement for the sake of thinking!

The author comments a bit further on.

“Unfortunately, most theological conversations I have had in church have been the self-reinforcing kind: a group of people sitting around telling each other what everyone already believes.  If some brave soul interjects a radical new idea or questions one of the group’s firmly held views, it is usually an unpleasant experience We shift in our seats uncomfortably until someone rises to the bait. The discussion remains civil, but it seems that any challenge to the groups theology must be corrected, so all comments are solidly aimed at that one goal: arriving at a preconceived answer”

I don’t know about your experience, but I have often asked a question within a Sunday School class or Bible Study setting only to be ignored, told that we will address that later, mocked, or worse yet, asked to not return.

Why?

If we have the truth in the pages of the Word, why can we not ask tough questions?  Sure, some questions have no answers and we need to accept that.  Some questions have answers that cause theological tension. We need to accept that tension, struggle with it, and understand when another believer hasn’t considered an opposing view.  This is where the Chever Torah process would build the immature believer into a thinking, and more mature believer.

I suppose I come off as a bit of a problem in some get togethers, and I readily admit that I enjoy a good discussion – some might call it a debate.  In recent years, I have found theological stances that have challenged my faith, struggled with them and accepted some as valid, turning my Christianity on it’s head somewhat.

Has it been uncomfortable?  You bet.

Have I lost friends.  In some ways my fellowship has been strained with some brothers, and it hurt at first, but when I consider my brothers perspective, I understand.

Have I regretted the pursuit of growing in my understanding? Not at all.

Considering “The Gospel according to Moses” I would recommend the book for the challenges it presents.  It will supply comparisons with the Jewish faith that are very interesting.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – World Christian Trends – Introduction

World Christian TrendsI told my wife about a book I had considered buying a few years ago (closer to a decade ago!) because I saw some very interesting statistics relating to the modern church. She asked me the name of the book and after a few minutes, was able to supply it to her.  Lo and behold, she had it delivered to our doorstep a few days later.  (What a wifey!!)

This book is massive!  It is a global review of world Christianity, with analysis and interpretation of the trends within the global church, and the church found within each nation.

Like I said, it is massive.

I am not going to review the book (heck I guess I did when I told you it is massive!!!) but mainly pull graphics to discuss with the reader.

My next post on this book will consider strategic mission efforts for the modern church to target.

I hope you can visit, and find focus in your giving and prayers

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 18

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the eighteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

18. Both taught that there will be a general resurrection at Christ’s second coming.

Jesus

John 5:28-29 — Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

John 6:40 — For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Paul

Acts 24:15 — “[I have] a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 — For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Book Look · Church · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Blumhardt’s Battles

Recently, as I was listening to a “Narrow Path” Radio program, (BTW – I highly recommend Steve Gregg as a Bible teacher and author!), he mentioned a little known book, titled Blumhardt’s Battle.

The book tells the story of the exorcism of Gottliebin Dittus in the village of Mottlingen in 1842. A German Pastor by the name of Johann Christof Blumhardt, was instrumental in the exorcism, and the little book is his recounting of the incredible happenings during this process.

Many times his recounting has at least one credible witness, as in a medical doctor, accompanying him in the visitations with Gottliebin, telling of occurrences that cannot be explained simply by referring to the material universe.

One such instance is the recurring expulsion of needles from Gottliebin’s flesh. The needles spoken of are knitting needles at times, exiting the body through this poor woman’s flesh. Multiple needles simultaneously exiting the body!

Many other such strange “unnatural” happenings are recounted, and I will leave it to the reader to pick up a copy. It is a fantastic little book, with shocking details of a prolonged exorcism. The recounting is told with a carefulness, an almost hesitancy, since Blumhardt had to give a report to his denominational hierarchy regarding his experience, and this denomination was in the midst of modernization, the creeping in of discounting anything spiritual in the church.

After the exorcism of this poor lady, Blumhardt was often credited with the feat. He consistently referred to Jesus as the Victor. I think this was my favorite part of the book

Although I purchased the book “Blumhardt’s Battle” and was challenged by it immensely, another book, called “The Awakening” is available as a pdf download for the reader to consider. (I have not read this book, but Blumhardt’s Battle is difficult to procure, so I would like to offer this as an alternative option.)

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 17

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the seventeenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

17. Both taught that following the teachings of Christ is the only true discipleship, and that those who do not agree with Christ’s teachings are confused and dangerous.

Jesus

Matthew 7:24-27 — “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 28:19-20 — Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

John 8:31 — So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.

Paul

1 Corinthians 11:1 — Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 — We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 — If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 16

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the sixteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

16. Both taught that a New Covenant has been established, and ratified by Christ’s death.

Jesus

Luke 22:20 — And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

2 Corinthian 3:6 — who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Paul (?)

Hebrews 8:13 — In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 15

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the fifteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

15. Both taught that Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial (e.g., the sacrificial) requirements of the Law

Jesus

Matthew 5:17 — “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Mark 10:45 — For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Paul

1 Corinthians 5:7 — For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Hebrews 9:25-26 —But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 10:11-12 —But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 14

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the fourteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

14. Both taught that the Law of Moses was holy, just and good.

Jesus

Matthew 5:17-20 — “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Paul

Romans 7:12 — So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

1 Timothy 1:8-10 — But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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Kingdom of God · New Testament

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 13

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the thirteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

13. Both taught (for example) that Sabbath and festival observance and kosher diet were not absolute requirements

Jesus

Matthew 12:2-8 — But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? …For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

John 5:16 — For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him,[c] because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

Mark 7:15-19 —Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

Paul

Rom.14:1-5 —One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him…One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16-17 — Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 — [false teachers] require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Galatians 4:10-11 — You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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