Pastor’s Blog Wk 2.4.19: Seeing RED

 

I say often, but I truly am in love with the Word of God. This past Sunday, we began a new series entitled “The Red Letters.” I am a bookworm kind of guy and really enjoy digging deep to fully understand the depths of what I am studying and teaching. Since we will be diving into this series for the next couple of weeks, I simply wanted to share MORE. Today, here on the blog, I am sharing some depth into The Red Letter Series. I hope you enjoy it.

– Pastor Eb

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Words are exclusive and without a doubt the most powerful force available to man. The Bible nails it when it says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:21) God created the world by using words. Think about it…that is deeply puzzling and profoundly mysterious. Do words really matter? I mean, can a thought that is conceived in the mind, when spoken, literally effect matter? The answer is yes. Words are energy that affect the matter in your life; not only by principles but by the emotions it invokes. Their meaning crystallizes perceptions that shape our beliefs, drive our behavior and ultimately, create our world. Words can kill the heart or heal it, words can ravage a soul or mend it, it can encourage dreams or demolish them. A person is a total summation of his thoughts, which are comprised of words. You cannot even think without words. In fact, the technology you’re using even now to read this blog was first conceived in thought format. Thoughts then became ideas and ideas turned into action.

The Word declares that “…as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7)

That means you can just look at a man and see how he speaks to himself, for he will take on the outer appearance of how he converses on the inside. And that power of words is intrinsic to the human story. Words are universal and affect us in unimaginable ways.

On July 20th of 1969, as the world watched in wonder, a man by the name of Neil Armstrong, after achieving the seemingly impossible mission of landing on the moon, uttered the famous words, “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Words that echoed the world over and for a moment broke the barriers we humans create to divide us and albeit for a moment we, the human race felt connected in pride and accomplishment. In the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States, in his speech, President Kennedy urged American citizens to participate in public service and inspired America by saying, “ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” We bind ourselves to covenants by our words. We say “I do” at the altar in a confession of our devotion to love and cherish one another in the bond and unity of marriage. Words can be spine-chilling, like when a judge passes judgment on a subject. Words can be used as weapons that can galvanize an outnumbered army and embolden them to fight against all odds and still come out victoriously, like, “Remember the Alamo”.

But no words were ever spoken by any man, past present or future that has ever mattered or will ever matter like the words spoken by Jesus Christ. Jesus used words to convey the message of God from heaven to man on earth. He completed that task by saying “it is finished.” What was His message? His message was in His words, the words spoken by Him and by His disciples through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after His death.

I am astonished that today there are thousands of self-help books, theories and steps to living an abundant life but so little emphasis is put on the words spoken by Jesus Christ himself. Today there are an estimated 30-40 thousand denominations of Christianity. Is that not insane? And why so many forms of Christianity? It’s easier to trick people into a lie by creating numerous options. Confusion by numbers. A bestselling author and prominent preacher who has become a household name and has an average weekly church attendance of 52,000 people, who’s also touted as having one of the largest churches in America, when asked in an interview, “is Jesus the only way to God?”, could not give a definitive answer and skirted around the subject like a coward on whether or not Jesus is the source of life and the only way to the father. But when you closely examine His ministry, Jesus is simply a footnote that satisfies his critics while deceiving his followers. Most books that are written by this New York’s best seller, barely ever mentions Jesus in what He has said. This ministry is presenting another gospel, not the one preached by Jesus or His followers. And today the world is filled with those who profess with their lips but their hearts are far from God.

Satan knew that if the truth sets us free, then the lie would keep us bound. Remember in the garden when God had already spoken truth to Adam about not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Immediately after the truth had been spoken, Satan came asking Eve, “did God really say?” (Gen 3:1) Today we have a, “did God really say” culture. To compound the problem, it is estimated that only 17% of self-professed Christians read the Bible. A generation who would “Always be learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) Even Paul dealt with this problem when he said, “But now I’m afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s clever lies, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may lose your single-hearted devotion and pure love for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) He has been attempting to corrupt Gods word from the beginning. Remember, Satan cannot create, he can only corrupt and corrupting he has. The prince of the air who is the Father of lies has corrupted masterfully. Look at our world today, we have Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), the air is not fit to breath, the food is not fit to eat, there is corruption in science, corruption in the monetary system, corruption in pharmaceuticals (pharmakea), corruption in academia, corruption in world History, corruption in archeology, corruption in weather modification (HAARP), corruption from the White House to the crack house and everything in between and most importantly, corruption in religion. A world that has fallen in love with the lies. God defiers and Messiah deniers. The apostle Paul addresses this problem when he said, “For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words of truth, because they will become selfish and proud. They will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3) He added in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the source of every human alive, and Adam was the source of Eve, and God is the source of the Messiah”.

Jesus’ words are the only thing that truly matters. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God… then the word became flesh and dwelt with us…” (John 1:1,14) Everything begins and ends with Jesus, as it is written, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb 12:2) For this reason, I will be taking our church through a series entitled, “The Red Letters,” in which we will study the words of Jesus Christ the Messiah. It is of utmost importance that we seek out the truth in a world filled with lies. Jesus, right before his death said to His disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:12-14)

Knowing the truth is what empowers us to live a life in the Will of God. It wasn’t grace that saved Noah, it was obedience. Noah obeyed Gods word and was not corrupted by the lies and so was spared. “God looked upon the earth and saw that it was corrupt, for all living creatures on the earth had corrupted their ways”. (Gen 6:12) Today we see all the evidence of an unseen hand hard at work corrupting. “And as in the days of Noah so shall it be when the son of man returns.” (Matt 24:37)

If we are truly His disciples, His truth and not our opinions should shape every facet of our lives. Today we have too many Christians and not enough disciples. Did you know that the word Christian is mentioned only 3 times in the Bible but the word disciple(s) is mentioned 273 times? A disciple is one who not only hears his master’s words, but obeys it. Christians profess Christ, but disciples live like Him. When we not only hear but heed His words, we evolve by the power of the Holy Spirit into new creatures. We then, as disciples, develop our worldview from His point of view. As a true disciple, I should not crumble under public opinion but rather speak out with boldness using Gods authoritative Word and dominion. A disciple’s moral code and value system should never come from the rise and fall of cultural tides but by the moral dictates of the Word. “Do not conform to the things of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) This can be translated as, “do not adapt to the culture of the world”.

In other words, regarding issues of faith, I am not entitled to my own opinion. That’s the problem, today we rely upon too much of man’s opinions rather than the word of God. And this is self-evident is it not? When a national preacher is asked about cultural divisive issues like abortion and gay rights, most of them crumble. You don’t see boldness, because they have squandered the God-given right to proclaim His truth without shame because they have grown too comfortable fellowshipping with darkness and succumbed to fearing man, rather than God. A person who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by man. In Acts 4, Peter and John were perceived as being with Jesus simply because of the boldness by which they were proclaiming the gospel. The religious relics, those who adorned themselves simply to be adored and revered by man became angry because they were inverting the pyramid of religious control on its head. This is precisely why 11 of the 12 disciples, (not Christians) were martyred for the sake of the gospel. As the day approaches, let us seek out the truth and never replace the words of God himself by books written by man. I’m not opposed to books, but they can never replace the “Red Letters” of God in flesh. As God separates the wheat from the chaff, the goats from the sheep, let us like Noah, be found blameless through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and not only talk like Christians but live like disciples.

Launching FREEDOM #2

It was around this time last year that FREEDOM was introduced to our church.

The purpose of Freedom is geared towards revealing your identity in Christ, setting you free through identifying bondages and discovering parts of your wounded soul that God wants to bring health to, as He strengthens your spirit. Through this process, Freedom trains you into becoming a disciple and how to walk out The Great Commission.

The Freedom Program runs a duration of 12 consecutive weeks, with an additional Conference weekend scheduled at the completion of the 12 weeks. In just one short week we will launch FREEDOM #2 and we are excited for the discovery, heart mending, and understanding that will awaken amongst those who will be participating. We truly believe that this is a small group that all can benefit from, regardless of where they are in their pursuit of HIM. We also want to share the goodness of FREEDOM beyond the 4 walls of our church and open it to others who are looking to discover the fullness of who they are through HIM.

Tomorrow during service our Freedom Group leaders, Mike and Becky Newlon, will be sharing more about this 12-week course and hosting physical sign ups! But we wanted to be sure that you could also access everything you need right here, ONLINE. To sign up for FREEDOM, click this LINK HERE.

And to give you just a taste of what Freedom is all about, here’s a glimpse at Freedom Conference, which is the culminating experience at the end of the 12 consecutive course.

Got questions? Feel free to shoot an email to [email protected] or visit www.therockcbus.com/freedom.

Pastor’s Blog Wk 1.21.19: When You Fast

 

The average human body cannot survive past 40 days without food, 3 days without water and 3 minutes without oxygen. These are essential material agents needed for the sustainability of the human body. In much of the same way that our body needs nourishment, so does our spirit. We are not simply a bag of flesh walking about, we are also a spirit that possesses a soul.

In fact, you don’t have a spirit, you are a spirit. That spirit (Ruach) that hovered over the waters in Genesis, also breathed the breath of life into Adam, animating the first human being and has since been the source by which our body is able to cling to life. A wick of a candle can only be ignited by fire to burn. In the very beginning, God was that source of life that ignited the light of men. We read in John 1:3-4“Through Him all things were made, and without Him, nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men”.

So what is the source of our spiritual food? In a nutshell, we are His progeny and we can only thrive and survive in him, remembering that we are spirit beings first. We feed our spirit by feeding off His Holy Spirit. Two of the greatest ways to feed our spirit is by fasting and praying. Fasting and praying is not a suggestion in scripture, it’s a commandment. We are not asked to fast and pray, we are told to. The Bible never said, “if you fast or if you pray”, it says, “when you fast and when you pray.”

So critical are these two methods of spiritual food that even Jesus Christ himself was led on a 40 day fast by the Holy spirit immediately following His baptism by John the Baptist, as recorded in Matthew chapter 3 and 4. Before He performed the first recorded miracle, before He faced off with the Devil, before He climbed on that cross, He fasted. We too must fast and pray. Understanding our need to nourish our spirit will determine our victory or our defeat in this walk of faith.

There are many examples in the Bible of this necessity to feed on Jesus Christ, the word. Remember how Jesus defied Satan when He was tempted to turn the stones into bread, appealing to the carnal necessity of food? Jesus makes the distinction between the need of food of the flesh and the food of the Spirit when He said, It is written,‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

In another example, Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Jesus said again in John 6:48 & 51,“I am the bread of life, I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Our dependency on God and His word is fundamentally supreme in our search for being perfected in His image and fasting pulls the layers back to give us a better look behind the veil.

So what happens when I fast? Simply put, “you have more power!” Even faith can only take you so far when battling in the spirit realm. When the disciples could not cast a demon out of a boy in Matthew 17, Jesus rebuked the disciples and said to them, ”Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you…” The disciples later asked him in verse 19-21, “…Why could we not cast it out?  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Note here) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Notice Jesus doesn’t minimize the power of faith, but He does add a fine detail at the end of this passage when He said, “However.” That is, even with faith that can move a mountain, there are certain spirits that can only be subdued by the authority and power of an individual devoted to the discipline of fasting and prayer. Fasting releases atomic authority in the spirit realm, empowers and emboldens the individual and gives God the access he needs to an earthen vessel, by which He can use to execute His will on the earth. When we deny our flesh, our spiritual cravings are awakened.

THE BENEFIT(S) OF FASTING:

Fasting trains your flesh to be subservient to the Spirit and not the other way around. It kindles the heart to greater intimacy. I have fasted many times and I assure you, it fine tunes your ability to see, taste and feel things beyond the 5 human senses. Any search done on the greatest revivals in history, you will quickly discover a common thread in all of them, fasting and praying. No revival worth mentioning ever came about without it. It is the oxygen that fuels the fire of God in the hearts of revived men.

Here is an interesting note about the power of fasting. The Bible only records 3 people that did a 40 day fast… Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Watch this, when Jesus took his disciples Peter, James, and John to the mountain where He was transfigured, who was present with Jesus as He was transfigured under the power and Glory of the Father? It was Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, the only three people recorded in the Bible that fasted 40 days. (Matthew 17:1-3) Interesting isn’t it?

HOW DO I FAST: 

So, how do I fast? Well, fasting is not a diet, although there are tremendous health benefits. Motive matters! If you fast without any devotion to prayer, I wouldn’t even begin. For one, you will probably have an extremely difficult time since you will be doing it on the will and power of your flesh (which by the way, you are trying to kill), instead of the leading and dependency of the Holy spirit. When you fast, you must also continue to pray, as they work in tandem according to scripture. You should be praying already but if you’re not, start. (Read Isaiah 58)

The Bible specifies two main types of fasts: Full Fast and The Daniel fast.

1)   Full Fast – drink only of water or liquids (no solids, you select the # of days)

2)   Daniel 10 Fast – Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables. (check the internet for how to sources)

(However, there are many other types of ways you can fast. Below are some examples)

3)   Partial Fast – A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

4)   Intermittent Fast – Is a fast where you select a block of time where you will not eat solid food during the day. For example; fasting from 6am to 6pm, or eating only within a 3-hour window per day.

5)   Sex Fasting – Huh? Yeah, the most unpopular type that should only be done in conjunction with food fasting and prayer. Note: The spouse must be in agreement as we are warned in the Bible of the consequences of such a fast without mutual consent. 1 Corinthians 7:5, Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 

6)   Corporate Fast – Where more than one individual is fasting.

1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37

7)   Other Types of Fast – can include fasting entertainment or content that is non-spiritual in nature. Example: Fasting TV, video games, social media and etc…

Remember that fasting is an attitude of a heart fully set on seeking God and His will. He promises to honor you in your search. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart”. Jeremiah 29:13 We don’t survive to eat, we eat to survive and survive we must. May God richly bless you on your fast.

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