Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Church Awakening



This is the title of a book that both Dora and I have read since Christmas, it was written by Charles (Chuck) Swindoll in (2010), and is subtitled "An Urgent Call For Renewal". He starts with a quote from D. Martin Lloyd-Jones "When the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first". Dora read it first and kept telling me about parts that impressed her, so when she finished reading it I had a good understanding of what it contained, and breezed through it in a few days. It is a very challenging read, and I would certainly recommend it as a "must read" to anyone who is part of the Church that Jesus has been faithfully building for the last 2000 years. (Matt 16:18). He uses the word "erosion" to explain what has happened to the church over the years. He tells a story of how his grandfather showed him the truth about the effects of erosion, by driving a stake into the ground near his cottage that was located near a cliff overlooking a bay in Texas. They measured the exact distance from the stake to the edge of the cliff, and checked it each year to see how much the erosion had shortened the distance. Some years it would be only a few inches, but other years it could be a few feet, depending on the number of storms. He uses this truth very effectively to describe how the church can erode little by little from the "Truth" and not even be aware of it.


Here is a list of the contents by chapters, 1/ The Church: Let's Start Here, 2/ Challenges, Struggles, Solutions, Priorities, 3/ Distinctives of a Contagious Church,

4/ Worship: a Commitment----Not a War, 5/ What Must The Church Realize? 6/ How Should the Church React? 7/ The Church on a Long Drift, 8/ It's Time to Restore the Years, then The Conclusion, and Notes.


Probably chapters 3 and 4 might have been my personal favorites, but they were all very well written. Chuck is an experienced pastor and a proven church leader, having spent several years as president of Dallas Theological Seminary, before starting the church he still pastors today.


I found him to be very clear on where he sees how the church needs to change, in order to prevent the erosion he sees that is happening. But he does it in a very compassionate way because after a period of 10 years, he realized the church he had helped to start had already needed some correction, so he speaks the truth, but not in words that come across in a negative way. All in all, I believe any devoted follower of Jesus could certainly benefit from reading this book!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                   01/02/14                                                                                                              


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Catcher



This was the title of an article in Our Daily Bread this morning by Joe Stowell, one of my favorite authors, He tells of hearing a pastor at a funeral who had told about a trapeze artist who told about always having another person prepared to grab him from another trapeze bar in case he should miss his grip, and start to fall, this teammate could grab him and prevent him from falling to his death. They referred to this man as "The Catcher", and the pastor compared this man to the role of Jesus, and used the common scripture of (John 14:1-3) as his text. This scripture is often used at funerals to bring comfort to the family members. The Greek word that is sometimes translated as "mansions" in verse 2 is translated as "abode" or sometimes as "home" in verse 23 of the same chapter. Paul,  "the apostle to the Gentiles", when he wrote his letter to the church he had started in Ephesus, used this very same Greek word in (Eph 2:22), where it is translated as "dwelling" in the NLT version, or "abode" or "home" in others. Paul here is clearly referring to the "Church" that Jesus has been in the process of building for the past 2000 years.


This confusion that was caused by using "mansion" in this one instance has caused most people to believe Jesus is up in heaven building their idea of a personal luxury home for every "Christian". When it is very clear that this word refers to "His Church" that He is building, with the help of the Holy Spirit here on earth, that will be transported from heaven to earth someday. (Rev 21:1-3) The Holy Spirit was sent to earth to replace Jesus when He returned to the Father, after He had completed the work of "redemption". Now He is awaiting the Father's permission to return to earth at the proper time to receive His "Church/Bride", that is being prepared here on earth now. This true Church is composed of all "born again" sinners from every tribe, nation, and race, who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and been "adopted" by the Father into His Forever Family! So this title used by Joe in this short article, can indeed be used for Jesus in His role of "Savior", or as "The Catcher" to save His people from their sin. That makes me think of an old hymn called "He Hideth My Soul", and the first verse states "A Wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, a wonderful Savior to me". I remember one time in the hospital a few years ago when I was waiting for a transfusion after losing a lot of blood, early in the morning about 3:00 AM, and the enemy thought he had me, those words revived me!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                  14/03/12                                                                            

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Seven Eros Giants



These were first made known to me by Bob Mumford in his teaching called The Agape Road. In this teaching he points out the difference between the two Greek words [Agape] and [Eros] which are both translated into English by using the same word "love". But their actual meaning is nearly opposite from each other, this is a common problem with translations. Thank God for having His Word written in Hebrew and Greek which are both very accurate languages? Agape is used for God in (1 John 4:8), and is often referred to as "God's kind of love". On the other hand Eros is never used in the NT because it comes from Greek mythology and has a "sensual" or sometimes even a "sexual" context. The English word "erotic" comes from the same root. So Bob says that where Agape is a word that means "Giving" as in (John 3:16), the word Eros is a word that means "taking", as in a case of "rape" or a situation of "incest" in a family. That is why I say they are opposite in meaning, although we often use expressions like I "love" my "cat" my "car" and "God" or "pizza" and use the same word love. How crazy the English Language can be!!


Bob lists the seven things he called the Eros Giants, 1/ Look Good. 2/ Feel Good, 3/ Be right, 4/ Stay in control, 5/ Hidden agenda, 6/ Personal advantage, 7/ Remain undisturbed. Consider these 7 things carefully, and see how often we use one or more than one in our daily relationships with friends and family members, especially with our "spouses". No wonder that so many marriages end in "divorce"! If we expect to improve relationships we must give close attention to these "giants", that we all incorporate into our regular activities whether we realize it or not. Even once I heard about them and see what Bob means by their danger to relationships, I still have a hard time to wean myself off from using them.


But in reality this is simply a part of learning to "walk in the Spirit" as the apostle Paul exhorts us to do in (Gal 5:16-21) and in several other of his letters like Colossians or Ephesians. Actually there is much more involved in being a follower of Jesus than most of us were ever told. After many years of following Him I realize how much simple disciplining that I missed, because it was never offered as part of the programs of the churches I attended I guess, or else I slept through them!! How about you?

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                16/11/12                                                                       


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Saint or Sinner


We know from reading (2 Cor 5:17) that anyone who is "in Christ" is a new creation, and we know from (John 3:3) that this happens when a person is "born again" by the Spirit of God. By this act on our part of confessing our sinful condition and receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Savior from sin, we become "saints". Paul wrote several letters to groups of believers gathered together to form churches. He always extended his greeting to the "saints", or holy people, who resided in that city. In other words the believers, or followers of Jesus, were called saints. Because over the years the church has set certain people apart, and called then saints, usually long after they are dead, we have been confused about the true meaning of this term. We often hear well meaning believers refer to themselves as just a "sinner saved by grace", but this is not correct. If they are indeed saved, they are no longer a sinner, but a saint. Their true identity has been changed and their position before God can never be reversed. If and when a believer sins after being saved, they don't revert back to a sinner, they are merely a saint who has sinned. God has made provision for restoring such a one back into fellowship with Him. (1 John 1:9)

In the natural world around us we see beautiful butterflies, that were once ugly worms before they were supernaturally changed. Now a butterfly can land in a mud puddle and get wet and dirty, but they never revert back to a worm because of this mistake. As soon as they dry off they can fly again as usual. Neither does a saint revert back to a sinner because they fall into some form of sinful behavior after they are saved. By following the provision of God in His Word, they can be cleansed and restored. There has been much confusion in the church over this issue of a Christian sinning. Some say they are lost again, while others have maintained that they are eternally secure. I believe if we separate membership in God's family, from our position in His Kingdom, we have the answer to this debate. In other words our sinful behavior does not affect our position in the family of God, but it may affect our place in His Kingdom. In (1 Peter 1:3-4) we read about a "precious inheritance" which is being reserved in heaven for us! I believe this is our part in the Kingdom of God. A careful reading of (1 Cor 6:9-11), (Gal 5:19-21), and (Eph 5:3-5) will clearly show that this type of sinful behavior listed in these passages will affect a believer's place in the Eternal Kingdom. We enter God's family by means of the new birth, which is a gift of God's grace, but we are transferred into the Kingdom,(Col 1:13). If we are transferred in, we can be legislated out if necessary! Check these scriptures out for yourself. (Acts 17:11)

Sincerely submitted

Dave Jamer                                          24/04/12   

Jamer                                                   24/04/12