Short Rant: #LivesMatter

My prayers go out to the three Muslim students who were shot and killed outside of UNC. I truly hope that this incident doesn’t broaden the already vast racial divide in our nation. While our beliefs may differ, my Bible teaches me to treat all my neighbors as brothers. I pray for comfort for the families of the victims, and justice for the man who thought violence was a reasonable answer in this situation.

On another note, I’m tired of seeing people using hashtags like‪#‎WhiteLivesMatter‬, ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, and ‪#‎MuslimLivesMatter‬. How about we just realize that ‪#‎LivesMatter‬! (This includes unborn babies. Where’s their hashtag?)

Let me just say, I’m not being a hippie about this matter. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight wars, and that we shouldn’t own guns and protect ourselves. What I am saying is that the Bible tells us that we ought to strive to keep peace as much as physically possible.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Romans 12:18 – If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

This verse does imply that there will be times when peace may become impossible, but as long as we are physically capable of maintaining nonviolence, we ought to do so. What happened at UNC was clearly an act of senseless violence, and my hope and prayer is that we as a nation will find the strength to overcome this with peace and forgiveness. Why? Because #LivesMatter!

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Ferguson: My Take

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I feel like what’s going on in America has finally given me the courage to crawl out of hiding, and speak up once again. Before I begin, allow me to preface this all by saying that I have no intention on trying to give an opinion on the accuracy or legitimacy of the Ferguson Supreme Court decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson. I will say that I’ve read a few articles regarding the autopsy, gun powder/ballistic reports, and eye witness accounts, but I’d be a fool to try and comment on this issue as if I had any authority or expertise on homicide investigation, so I’m going to leave that to the Supreme Court and other people far more educated than I, and so should the mainstream media.

What I do want to comment on today however is something I do know a little bit about. Loving my country. I love this nation, and all of the people within it. Regardless of race, social status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation… I love America, and unfortunately, the fall out of this Ferguson decision is destroying the country I love dearly. Hatred is at running rampant through the streets, and the pages of social media, violence is escalating throughout every major city, and in my short 24 years of living, it feels like the racial divide in this country has never been wider.

I’m not naive or ignorant enough to say that racism no longer exist, or that police never abuse their power because of personal prejudice or preference, but I do know that what the mainstream media is trying to push down our throats isn’t going to change that anytime soon.

Young people praise liberal media for “informing them” or the racial conflict in America, and “educating them” on racial injustice. The same liberal media that will have 24 hour coverage for an 8 year old white girl who’s been murdered by her neighbor, but not bother to spend 2 minutes covering an 8 year old ethnic child who suffered the exact same fate. However if there is a white man involved in the death of an ethnic child, it suddenly becomes national news. This is the same “fair and balanced” media that we trust to inform us, and motivate us to protest, riot, loot, and essentially hate one another.

Think about it. All media has done is increase the level of fear and distrust in our nation. As a result, more minorities are afraid of the police. More police are afraid of retaliation from minorities. It’s a vicious cycle. The media tells us that cops hate us. We fear the cops. The cops confront us. We don’t trust them. We fail to cooperate. We run. We fight. They fear us, and shoot us down. The media hears about it. Covers it. More people fear the cops. The cycle repeats. You see, it’s not just the cops who are killing us. It’s the media! You want to point fingers and call someone racist? Stop taking it out on the people who are sworn to protect and serve. How about we question the people who create that hatred and tension?

It’s time we drew the line. I’m sick and tired of seeing young Americans die, and we can’t keep blaming the police when we’re the ones who are unwilling to cooperate with the only people who stand between us and anarchy. The police aren’t the real enemy here. Liberal media’s not trying to help anyone but themselves, and their ratings. This isn’t some pathetic attempt to promote Fox News or theblaze.com. This is a passionate plea from the bottom of my heart to ignore the liberal propaganda that’s really killing our children, and promote love and forgiveness.

The fact of the matter is, unless we all go out a get Master’s Degrees in forensic science, we will never know what really happens during these violent altercations. We will never know what really happened to Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, or Temir Rice. We will never know if these intense we’re purely self-defense, or racially driven, and we need to stop pretending like we do after watching a few Youtube videos and reading a few memes on Facebook.

The only thing that we can know for sure how we are going to react to these things. The racial problems in America, whether they are real or exaggerated, can be solved peacefully, through love and forgiveness. It was the great Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “If you have weapons, take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek to get them. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence. Remember the words of Jesus: “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us. We must make them know that we love them. Jesus still cries out in words that echo across the centuries: “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you.” This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Remember, if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance.”

Is violence ever the answer? Of course it is. There are situations in the Middle East and other parts of the world where people are so physically oppressed and threatened, that violence is the only solution to put an end to their tyranny and cruelty, but this is not that case here. What we’re seeing in America today, doesn’t come close to the struggles our fellow people who live under real oppression around the world.

Violence is the answer for situations where hope for peaceful resolution is gone. Let me challenge you today, dare to believe that America still has hope. Dare to believe that love can still conquer evil and hate. Dare to believe that it’s not too late for America to turn things around. In the words of New Orleans Saints wide receiver Benjamin Watson, I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem.”

When we allow ourselves to fill our hearts with hate, and start thinking about ourselves and our race above our fellow Americans, we are giving into sin, and allowing sin to manifest in our hearts into more sin. America doesn’t need a riot or a rebellion. It needs revival. It needs repentance. We need to start trusting each other once again. We need to look at our fellow Americans in the eye, and say, “You’re my brother, and I trust you. Whether you hate me, or judge me, or want to kill me, I love you, and I want the best for you and everyone else”.

If we really want to put an end to the violence and hatred, then let’s start with ourselves. Remember, no oppression or persecution we might suffer here in America will ever come close to the suffering and punishment that Christ endured to forgive you and I. His Word reminds us in:

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Colossians 3:13 (KJV) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

So let’s do it. Let’s conquer evil. Let’s conquer racism. Let’s conquer hate. Except, instead of trying to do it the way the rest of America has resorted to, let’s do it the way God teaches us to. With love.

1 Peter 4:8 (KJV) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Random Thought: “It Is Finished”

Here’s a thought. What do we usually think of when we look at John 19:30?

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Usually whenever I hear this passage preached on, it’s about the doctrinal significance of the words, “it is finished”. We usually talk about how this is the evidence that salvation is by grace, not works. Of course that’s all good and true, but then something else crossed my mind today.

Remember, Jesus was all God, and all man. Jesus did not look forward to the pain and humiliation He knew He was going to endure on the cross, and when we hung up there, despite being the Son of God, He went all the pain and suffering a man would. When Jesus Christ said “It is finished”, I don’t think He was only referring to the spiritual war He came to finish, and the sin debt He came to pay. I believe that He also might have been referring to the sheer torment and excruciating pain He was suffering for us. I believe that Jesus was also revealing to us His humanity in this passage.

I’m not saying this passage doesn’t work for the original purpose, because of course we also know that this was the mark of the finished work of our salvation, but next time we read through this passage, we should also allow this passage to not only educate us, but also reignite our love for Jesus, because not only did Jesus do what He did to save us of our sins, but we also see that He went through excruciating pain in order to do so. Pain so severe, He probably yelled these words out of utter relief to tell us that the sacrifice is completely finished, and no one else needs to suffer pain for the penalty of our sins ever again.

Then again, I could be completely wrong… just a thought 😉

Follow Up of “Praise of Worship”/ Sermon Transcript: “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know!”

I’m back! I know it’s been a long time, so I’ll be completely honest to everyone. After my last rant on “How I feel about Praise and Worship”, I genuinely didn’t want to post anything on this website ever again.

I’ve always tried to be a people person, and I guess I’ve never gotten used to he idea of receiving hate mail and having angry Christians attacking me (which seemed a little strange, but to each their own), so when it started to happen, I wasn’t sure if I had the guts to keep going.

Now, I do apologize. I admit, I did go a little too far in some of the things I said (ex. Praise and Worship is just for backslidden, blah, blah, so on and so forth), but if I can quickly defend myself, there’s a reason why I’m labeling these articles “Random Rants”.

I’m not a professional writer (obviously), nor do I consider myself an exemplary theologian. I’m a young, ignorant, and at times, very naive youth pastor from San Diego that’s still trying to figure the ministry out, and learning from my mistakes every day.

When I rant, that’s honestly all it is; a rant. Not a researched article of my unchanging convictions. Simply a rant of how I feel about a topic at the moment, and posted with the intentions that they might help someone else figure out what where they stand on certain issues or topics, and make slightly better sense of how they feel about something.

Nevertheless, I did go to far last time with some of the things I said, and I’m sorry if my words were a stumbling block to anyone, but I do hold to my primary conviction. Despite all the good I see in praise and worship, I still feel like the church house is not the appropriate place for it, but I don’t think less towards any Christians who do.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s go ahead and move on. Well, kind of. I haven’t felt led to write anything new quite yet, but I am posting a sermon I wrote in 2012.

Now I must preface by saying, I was only 2 months into my ministry at this point, and like I said last time, I don’t consider myself a great sermon writer right now, much less two years ago.

I’m not posting these to try and show off any God given talent (which I don’t think I have). I’m posting these with hopes and prayers that there’s just a chance these old sermons just might encourage or challenge someone. Anyone. Anyone that just might need it. Not sure it will, but a man can hope can’t he?

So here it is, a sermon I wrote over 2 years ago about the amazing love we have in Christ. Hope this can be a blessing to someone out there!


Jesus Loves Me, This I Know
Romans 8:35-39

If you have your Bible with you today, please open it to Romans chapter 8, and if you can, please stand with me as we read Romans chapter 8, beginning at verse 35.

Romans 8:35-39 (KJV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today I would like to preach a message I have simply entitled, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”.

According to Abraham Maslow, an American physiologist who specialized in the study of the basic needs of human beings, right behind the rudimentary needs of air, water, food, and shelter, man kind’s greatest need for survival, is and always has been, the need for love.

According to his hierarchy of human needs, the only thing we need just as bad as protection, is affection.
I believe on this point, we can agree with popular science, and say that love is something everyone needs. Mankind has always desired compassion, and has tried many different ways to find it.

Unfortunately, with the fall and corruption of the traditional family, our children are experiencing and witnessing less and less true love on a regular basis.

Too many children do not know how it feels to have both a mother and father love them
Too many children do not know how it feels to have a mother and father love each other
Too many children do not know how feel loved by the people around them, so they search elsewhere.

As a result, we see more and more young ladies, becoming pregnant in their adolescence, being raped, infected with STD’s, throwing away their purity, not looking to have a child, not looking for an STD, not looking for a lifetime of depression, but all in a desperate search for love.

We find young boys, dropping out of school, running away from home, turning to drugs, turning to alcohol, turning to gangs, not looking for crime, not looking for violence, but simply looking for a source of love.
We can’t help but scratch our heads and wonder, “Where has all the love gone?”
Thankfully, the Bible tells us, it never left.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

You see, God not only gives love, but God is love. According to His Word, God is the author and creator of love. Man has corrupted and defiled the word and its definition, but God provides the perfect example of what love truly is, and thankfully, He loves us too.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
How much does God love us?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Can I say today, brothers and sister in Christ, that we have the honor and privilege of serving a truly loving God! The best part about God’s love is that is goes out to each and every one of us. According to His Word, it says Go so the loved, the World!

This means it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve done, or what you do. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you think you might be, or how alone you might feel. If you believe that God is real, and that His words are true, then let me tell you today, that you are God’s greatest creation, above every bird, every plant, every creature on land and sea, every sun, star and planet in the universe, and every angel in the heavens, God loves you more!

If you believe the Bible, than you also believe that Jesus Christ is not merely a man, but the son of God, and as a result, I can say that Jesus Christ loves you too.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:

Understand this; right next to obedience to God the father and fulfilling prophecy, Jesus Christ’s primary motivation for coming down to earth, and dying on a cross, was out of love for you and I.

The Apostle Paul understood this very well when he wrote Romans chapter 8, but wanted the people in the Church of Rome to understand exactly how far the love of Christ goes.

We know the book of Romans is popular for being the book which best summarizes the road to salvation, hence the term, the Romans Road.

We know Romans says, “All have sinned and come short to the glory of God”, and “the wages of sin is death”. The book of Romans told us that because of our sin condition, we all deserve to spend eternity in hell, but it also tells us “but God commendeth his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”.

These are just a few of the many passages where see that getting to heaven is as simple as accepting Christ as our savior.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

However, in our passage today, Paul is not only saying that the love of Christ has the power to save us, but by the grace of God, the love of Christ has the power to keep us too.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, for the rest of time we have here together, I would like to share 3 important qualities of Jesus Christ’s love for us.

First of all, we see in our passage, that Christ gives us.

  1. Enduring Love

In verse 35, Paul asks, what shall separate us from the love of Christ? Then he goes on to list a few things, which cannot separate us from the love of Christ, including tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword. What Paul is saying, is that none of these things, are greater than the love of Christ! First let us look at

  1. The power of the trials

When we look at this list of things in our life that try to separate us from the love of Christ, it’s a little overwhelming when you think about them; Tribulation, distress, persecution, and famine.

I understand there may even be something in this audience today that are experience some of these trials in our life.

Perhaps you sitting here and saying to yourself, “Preacher! Tribulation, distress, persecution… I got all of that!” “Pastor, I’m going through something in my life, my family, my marriage, that you will never understand” and you know what, you might be right, but God says it doesn’t matter how big your problems are, because His love is bigger!

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

A famous preacher once said, Christians need to stop telling God how big their problems are, but instead turn around, and start telling their problems how big our God is!

We serve a big God, Amen?! If that’s true, then we should learn to trust in his love to endure the trials He allows in our live, but secondly, let us look at

  1. The Purpose of our trials

It is easy wonder, if God is so much bigger than these trials that enter our lives, then why does God allow these problems in our lives in the first place?

You see, when God sends us through trials, God’s Word promises us that if we put our trust in Him, we will always come through the storm, better than we were when we went in.

1Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

One of the most popular quoted verses in the entire scripture when dealing with trials is Romans 8:28. I believe many of us can recite it from memory.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose

Always remember, God allows these trials in our lives, not to attack us, and not to bring us down, but to force us to trust in Him and His love alone.

So next time we start to feel as if not everything in life is going our way, before we start to become upset and complain at how unfair we feel our life is, may we stop and ask ourselves, “Where is God in this?”, and I promise that if you look hard enough, you will find Him, because His love endures!

His love will get you through your trials. His love will get you through your tribulation. His love will get you through your distress and persecution, and anything the world might throw our way, because that is kind of savior we have.

Not only does Jesus love us with an enduring love, but secondly, He loves us with an

  1. Empowering Love

The love of Christ isn’t just enough to get you through, the love of Christ is meant to make us great!

There is power to be found in the love of Jesus! First let’s look at

  1. Truth of Man’s Condition

Paul says in verse 36, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Meaning to say, without Christ, alone we are helpless! Paul compares us to sheep, but why sheep you ask? You see, in studying nature and the animal kingdom, it is easy to notice that sheep are possibly the most helpless creature in the entire animal kingdom.

According to “selfgrowth magazine”, Sheep have limited vision, and even more limited attention spans. This is why without a shepherd, they constantly get lost and left behind from the herd.

Also, sheep are helpless against predators. If a wolf gets in a sheep pen, sheep cannot fight back. They don’t try to get away. They don’t spread out. They huddle together, as if to give the wolf an easier, more cohesive target.

If sheep fall into moving water without a shepherd, they drown. Their coats, heavy to begin with, absorb water rapidly, adding poundage by the second, result in sheep having an inability to swim.

Paul says, without a shepherd, like the sheep, we too are helpless against the trials of life. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, all of these things, have the ability to overcome us as they often do, if we do not have a shepherd, but does anybody remember what David says in Psalm 23?

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. “

You see, although without Christ we are helpless, with Christ, we are protected.

2 Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

2 Samuel 22:4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalms 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Paul says alone we are like sheep for the slaughter, but through the love of Christ, what does Paul say we are in verse 37?

  1. Turned into More than Conquerors

In verse 37, Paul writes, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”.

Paul says that through Christ’s love, we are not only capable of getting by, but we are empowered, as more than conquerors!

Listen, the next time the devil tries to get you to think there’s anything you cannot do, you just remember the love of our savior, Jesus Christ!

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Never for one second let the devil or the rest of the world try and tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you’re not smart enough, or that you’re not capable of something, because you know what, all those things are true, but we serve a God who is bigger than all our challenges.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

You see, alone we are sheep, helpless, lost, and without any ability to do anything for ourselves, but through the empowering love of Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors, and there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing we cannot do through Him.

Lastly, not only does our savior Jesus Christ love us with an enduring love, and an empowering love, but finally, Christ loves us with an

  1. Eternal Love

Paul ends this passage by saying, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Essentially Paul is telling the believers in Jesus Christ, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Once you’re His child, His love for you, is absolutely inseparable.

I understand that at some churches, this is a very debatable, hot button issue, but here at First Baptist Church of Spring Valley, there is no debate. We are unashamed to say that we believe strongly in the doctrine of eternal security. First allow me to explain

  1. The Premise of Eternal Security

What exactly does eternal security mean? Basically, the definition of eternal security, is “Once saved, Always saved”. Meaning to say, if you are here today, and you remember any time in your life when you realized you were a sinner, and asked Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and personal savior, than according to the word of God, you have eternal life.

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

This means that no matter what happens after you are saved, you will always be saved. Does that include falling back into sin? Yes! Does that include murder? Yes! Does that include no longer believing in Jesus Christ?

2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

The premise of Eternal security, is that once you are saved, no matter what happens during or after your life time, you will always be saved and always have a place in heaven. Secondly,

 

  1. The Process of Eternal Security

Eternal security comes about from a process the Bible describes as the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Now, allow me to explain this principle for just a second. Many confuse this term, “Seal”, as being like a tight bottle cap, or a lid over a bottle, but this is incorrect. When the Bible says that the Holy Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption, it is referring more to the seal a farmer would use to mark his life stock.

If you could imagine the large metal marker the farmers use to heat up, and brand an animal, sealing it, marking it as belonging to the farmer. That same way, Christ, through the Holy Spirit, brands us as His, His children, His bride, His property, until he returns to take us back.

Lastly, now that we see what eternal security means, and how it occurs, I would like to show from the scriptures,

  1. The Promise of Eternal Security

This idea of eternal security is not simply something we hope for and expect from God because we THINK He should give it to us. Eternal security is a promise directly from God and His Word.

First, we see the Bible promise us that God has the ability to security us in Jude verse 24, a popular verse we use here for our benediction, remember the author writes about God and says, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”

It says God is able to keep us from falling, and that no one can take that away from us!

John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Once we are saved, we are them secured firmly within the hands of the father. Now, you may wonder, what’s so special about a father’s hand?

I read a story about a German botanist, who was traveling in Turkey when he saw a rare flower that he believed could possibly be worth millions of dollars, hanging from a ledge near a local village. The only way anyone could reach that flower is they were to repel down the ledge on a rope. Fearing that he was too heavy to go down himself, he asked for help from a small child, and explained to him the situation.

He said, “Young man, if you go let me tie you up this rope, and grab that flower for me, I will offer you a thousand American dollars”, but for some reason, the boy was too afraid.

The botanist then asked, “how about if I offered you 2 thousand American dollars?”

This would have been more money than that boy had ever seen in his life, but yet, he was still afraid.

The botanist then asked, “I will give you anything you want, just please, go down and grab that rare flower for me” but still the boy was afraid. The botanist then asked, “What will it take to get you to let me hold onto the rope, and help you go down to grab that flower?”

The boy thought for a second and said, “Hold on! Let me grab my father. I’ll promise I’ll go down the ledge if you let him hold the rope instead”.

You see, that man could have tied that rope onto anything, but still the boy couldn’t trust anything the same way he trusted his father. There is something special about the hands of a father.

God Word promises us, that once we are saved, we are in the father’s hands, and our God is no ordinary father. He is the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, and he promises us that His love for us is unconditional, so if He promises that He will hold us in His hands, then who are we to doubt him?

His love is enduring, His love is empowering, and thankfully, His love is eternal.

In conclusion, God’s love is unlike any other. No man, no women, no club, no brotherhood, no gang, no fraternity can ever come close to matching the love that our God has for us! No love can endure as much as Christ’s, or empower us the same way Christ’s can, and no love of man could ever last for an eternity like Christ’s can, but the question we must ask ourselves now, is what are we doing with it?

What does God expect us to do with His amazing, unconditional love? I’d like to end with three last suggestions. First

i.          Sanctify unto it

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The first way we can honor God for loving us, is sanctifying ourselves unto his holiness. Secondly,

ii.          Show it

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Paul is saying here, just because we have eternal security, does not mean that we ought to take advantage of it! Too many Christians are taking advantage of Christ eternal unconditional love towards us, by loving as if they were never saved, and simply waiting, knowing that either way they are on their way to heaven.

Paul says “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh”, but instead, with this amazing, unconditional love that Christ has shown us, demonstrates it towards others!

Love your families. Husbands love your wives like Christ loved the church. Wives love your husbands like the church should love Christ. Parents love your children everyday like it could be their last. Children love your parents as the Bible commands you to.

Don’t just love your family; love the people around you without judgment or prejudice. You want to know how to convince the world that Christ truly loves us? It’s simple. We must love them! Not until we begin to reflect the love Christ shows towards us, will the world know what love is.

The people you might see as unlovely, or unlovable; love them! As our church continues to reach out deeper and deeper into the community, were going to start seeing more and more families and children around here, that don’t come from Christian backgrounds.

They might curse, and fight, and smoke, and not know how to love others, so why can’t we be the ones to finally show them?

People ask, “Pastor Joemel, Spring Valley, National City, all these areas are filled with such crime, and it seems they all have so many gangs and so much gang violence? What are we going to do about these gangs? How are we going to reach these people? What tricks or gimmicks do we need to reach these hard to reach kids?”

Let me tell you, there are no tricks and no gimmicks. The answer is simple. We just keep loving them, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most importantly, love God. 1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”

Never stop loving God, as He never stops loving us. To finish, not only should we sanctify unto it, and show it, but lastly, we should not be ashamed to

iii.          Share it

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Let’s all ask ourselves, “Who do we know, that needs to hear about the love of Christ?”

Maybe you’re thinking of a classmate, a coworker, a relative, or maybe a loved one.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Christ love for us is unlike any other. It endures every trial, empowers us to do any task, and is promised to be present for all eternity, so why can’t we do our parts in return? Have we sanctified ourselves to the love of Christ and repented of unconfessed sin today?

For the others around us, have we done everything we can do to show and share the love of Jesus Christ to our lost and dying world?

Or perhaps you’re sitting here, and you realize that you don’t remember ever accepting Jesus Christ gift of eternal life, and asking Him to be you’re savior. Perhaps you are not yet sure 100% you’re on your way to heaven.

If not, can we all get these things settled today; right here, and right now, before it’s too late?

Let’s pray.

Are We Headed For A Crash? Reflections On The Current State of Evangelical Worship

This is part of the reason why I’m not a big fan of “Praise and Worship” in church. Here’s some good thoughts to ponder upon for those of you who might be.

Worthily Magnify

1Last week I spent a couple of days attending the National Worship Leader Conference, hosted by Worship Leader Magazine, featuring many well-known speakers and worship leaders. The conference was held about 15 minutes down the road from me, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m glad I went.

I met some new people, heard some thought-provoking teaching, enjoyed some good meals and conversations with worship leader friends, and experienced in-person some of the modern worship trends that are becoming the norm in evangelicalism. It was eye-opening in many ways.

Over the last few days I’ve been processing some of what I saw and heard.

Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote…

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Sermon Transcript: “Boldly Before the Throne”

As you can see, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Frankly, I’ve just kind of ran out of things to rant about. Granted, I could say a thing or too about how I feel about the Donald Sterling situation, but I feel like the worlds heard enough about that guy, so I’ll give it a rest. Instead, I thought I’d mix it up, and try posting an old sermon I preached a few years ago on the topic of prayer. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it was one of the first sermons I preached as a youth pastor on a Wednesday Night, so I thought you might enjoy it. (Warning: There are some references to members of the church that your might not be familiar with, but I’m sure you’ll figure out the idea)

Boldly Before the Throne

Hebrews 4:14-16

If you have your Bible with you tonight, I’d like to jump straight into our study and open up to Hebrews Chapter 4, and we’re just going to read 3 verses from 14-16.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

I get our title for tonight from verse 16, where the apostle tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace”. Tonight, I’d like to preach a message I’ve simply entitled, “Boldly Before the Throne”.

Often times, when I think about the way we should pray, I am reminded of kids from junior worship. I think about myself when I was that age, around 5, 6, or 7. I think about JJ, little Gabriel, baby Luke. Whenever I ask one of these kids what they want for their birthday, or for Christmas, you know, it’s almost funny how fast these kids can answer.

Without hesitation, when a child is asked by an adult what they want, they’ll let you know about the newest, coolest, biggest, flashiest toy at the store, and not think twice about it. Now of course, as a parent, I’m sure it’s never easy seeing your kids do this either. Obviously you never taught your 5 year old child to ask all the uncles and aunties at church for fancy expensive things. Kids just naturally figure that out by themselves, but I see how it can be embarrassing.

However, we also know that as we get older, things start to change. The toys become clothes we don’t want to wear, then clothes become money (which is always our favorite part), but then we get older, get married, get kids, and the money becomes toys again! The nature of it is that the older we get, the less we want to ask from others. Eventually, it starts to feel pointless and even embarrassing sometimes to ask others for presents and gifts when you’re an adult.

While I do agree, it might be a little inappropriate for someone my age to stand here and ask other working adults to give me nice things, can I say tonight, that it doesn’t mean that we should still have the same attitude when comes to God? Obviously, I’m not only talking about toys and material gifts, but in everything we come to the Lord with, there’s nothing wrong with having the same, “bold”, childlike approach in requesting things from God.

Unfortunately, often times, we let the way we approach birthday presents, and Christmas gifts as adults, affect the way we approach God. Often times, we become embarrassed, even too prideful to ask God for things whether it be spiritual, or even material, and choose to try to earn everything by ourselves. We feel like it’s not worth the trouble in asking. We feel like it might be too unrealistic of a request to ask God for. We feel like it might be a stupid or unworthy request to bring to the Lord. We forget that God’s word tells us in:

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Let me just say, it’s time we as Christians learned to start truly coming boldly before the throne of grace with the heart of a Child in the area of prayer. It’s time we remember that our God is a mighty God, and that no request is still too big or too small for our God to take care of!

We need to learn that the only way were ever going to see a miracle in our lives, the only way we’re going to see revival in our cities, in our nation, and all around the world, is if we learn to boldly come to God and ask Him face to face!

Tonight, for the rest of the time we have together, I want to share 3 reasons Christ gives us to boldly approach the throne of God.  First I notice in our passage that:

  1. We have an Intercessory Savior through Him

The first reason we have to boldly approach the throne of God is simply because we can. It’s because through the gift of God, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He has paved a way for us to directly approach the throne.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

So what does the Bible mean when it calls Jesus Christ, “The High Priest”? To understand this, allow me to give a brief look into Old Testament history. As many of us already know, before the church age, before Jesus Christ, God was worshiped through priest at the temple.

Basically, the average God worshiping man was unworthy to directly approach the inner room of the temple, so if the average person wanted to ask God for something, or ask forgiveness from God for something, they would have to go through a priest, who would then sacrifice a lamb at the temple. We see an example in:

Leviticus 16:11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:

For hundreds of years, this was the tradition in order to approach God with a request, but just like everything else, this all changed when Jesus Christ came to earth.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Bible even tells us that Christ became the intercessor, and that the veil was torn within the temple. The veil that the Bible is referring to is the veil that stood between the sanctuary of the temple where everyone could go, and the area where only the priest could go to. This symbolizes that Christ had become a great high priest, and a final sacrifice, and that we all have become priest in the sense that we all have an equal right to enter the “Holy of Holies”. We all as God’s children have the right to boldly approach Him with our request.

Many of us might have grown up in a church where we were taught to go through a priest, or to a confessional booth to get a hold of God. Taught that we still needed another man to be worthy enough to come before God, but His word tells us that this is simply a lie. As believers in Christ, one of our key doctrines as Baptist is that we believe in what is known as the “Priesthood of the believer”. This means that all believers have the same freedom and access to approach the throne of God as every other.

I say all of this to bring us to this point. When we don’t come to God, and take advantage of our priesthood as believers, we are essentially neglecting and ignoring a gift from God. He died to give us the freedom to come directly to the father, and just let all of our requests be known unto Him, but when we back away from doing that, we are making Christ sacrifice meaningless in our lives.

Not only do we have Christ has an intercessory savior to allow us direct communication with God, but secondly, our next reason to come boldly before the throne, is that:

  1. We have an Impossible Situation without Him

In verse 16, we see the Bible tells us Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy.

The second reason why we need to come boldly before God, is because without Him, we are desperately, hopelessly in need of His mercy. Mercy as we know, is defined as “withheld punishment”.

The tendency of man is to believe that we are sinless and deserve no punishment, but we know the truth.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The sad reality, is that one of the biggest reason Christians suffer, and unbelievers go hell, is that we are simply too prideful, or too foolish to ask for forgiveness and mercy. We try to work our way out of the troubles and punishment, when all God is really asking for us to do is simply come to Him and acknowledge our faults.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalms 34:17-20 17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

How foolish are we to try to just “handle” or “get through” life. Whether we are going through punishment from the Lord, or even just another trail the Lord is allowing us to go through, we shouldn’t be thinking about how long we can take it, or how much we can handle, but instead, just be quick to ask God for His mercy!

Oh how helpless we are without Him, but how great we are through Him! Remember, it was Jesus who said, “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!” We can’t forgive ourselves, and we certainly can’t handle the punishment for our sin by ourselves. Oftentimes, God is punishing us BECAUSE were not turning to Him quickly enough. Don’t try to just get through your problems alone, but be humble enough to ask God for His mercy!

Finally, the last reason Christ gives us to boldly approach His throne is that:

  1.  We can find Immediate Satisfaction in Him

Let’s take one last look at the final words of our passage found in:

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Not only can we find mercy at the throne of God, but we also find grace in our times of need. When we learn to come boldly before the throne of God, we will always find that immediate satisfaction knowing our God is involved in our trial.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

When we have a pressing need in our lives, when we are faced with a difficult situation, we must have an urgency to bring it straight to God. We shouldn’t be thinking about what websites we can check to solve our problems, what friend to ask, what books to buy. We should have a mind that is just completely bent on bringing it straight it to the only God that can meet our needs. Like the old hymn says:

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we ask ourselves, do we still have a sense of urgency when it comes to bringing our needs to Christ, or are we still trying to keep it to ourselves?

If we expect to find true everlasting satisfaction, we must learn to come boldly to God. We should never be ashamed or afraid of the answer. We know that God answers prayers 3 ways. Yes, No, or Wait, and whatever the answer it, is always the best for us.

Let’s learn to stop asking for the logical, or the realistic, and learn to start praying for the miraculous, with a heart of expectancy. When I hear a child asks for a toy, they don’t just say, “get me any toy”. A child let’s you know it has to be at least THIS big, THIS color, and THIS special, and they always expect it.

When a Christian comes to the Lord asking for revival, it usually sounds like this. “Dear God, please send us some revival. Please give us a few more people. Please help some of us out”.

Let me just say, when we come to God, we don’t have to be shy and we don’t have to be careful. If it’s God’s will for you to have it, He can make it happen, and if it’s not, then He won’t and we will be happy He didn’t!

Tonight, when we get together to pray for the missionaries, or the church ministries, or the Bible schools, let’s not approach God with a heart of fear. Instead, can we learn to boldly approach the throne and God, and say Lord, I don’t care if the world thinks is possible, but send us a true revival. Lord, I don’t care what the statistics show, but help this church get to a 100, 200, 300, 400 souls someday.

The great missionary William Carey once said, “Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God”

Tonight, can we have that same optimistic childlike approach, as we boldly approach God’s throne of grace, and pray not for any old blessing, or any old revival, but instead, pray to God, expecting a miracle. Let’s pray.

 

REBLOG: “Things that Discourage Millennial Christian Leaders”

I do not take ANY credit for the following article. This is copied and pasted directly from http://www.caryschmidt.com

discourage

I believe in the millennial generation—perhaps because I worked with young adults for over two decades! Because of my age, I regularly find myself on the receiving end of “concerned” conversations from two generations. Those older than me are fearful of where the millennial’s will take the gospel and biblical Christianity. Those younger than me feel they aren’t being given a fair shot—they are discouraged by and often feel compelled to run from unbiblical attitudes and hostile dispositions of previous generations.

I’m not referring to doctrinal concerns—the millennial’s that I know are committed to gospel purity and biblical integrity. They are grounded doctrinally. They aren’t evolving their theology. But they ARE learning their culture and their ministry “style” just as every generation has. They are rediscovering how to actuallyand effectively DO gospel ministry in a world that is VERY DIFFERENT than it was just 25 years ago.

Over the last two thousand years, I don’t believe any generation had a “style” of ministry exactly like the generation that preceded them. Christianity is not a “culture” it’s a person—which is why it is so wonderfully integrated into every culture on earth! No other world religion can attest to the same. Yet we often fail to distinguish between style and substance—culture and content. And most of the questions or debates I see or hear are focused on “culture” or “context” rather than content—in other words, form not doctrine. (See 1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

That said, for this post, I’m referring to millennial Christian leaders who are well-grounded doctrinally, but who struggle with being ostracized by older leaders—a “group” or “crowd” that EQUATES tradition with doctrine—style with substance. (See Mark 7:7) Older leaders are often discouraging to millennial leaders. How?

Here’s a list of things that I see discourage millennial Christian leaders:

1. Being Marked, Cut-Off, or Ostracized over Non-Doctrinal Issues. To separate from a Christian brother over stylistic or cultural form is just not biblical—otherwise you would probably stop supporting most of your over-seas missionaries. Millennials know this, intuitively, and they know scripture must be twisted or ripped from context to support this type of behavior towards other Christians. Millennial leaders LONG for mentors and friends who will stop evaluating, judging, and measuring them on non-doctrinal issues. (See Romans 14)

2. Being Criticized for Their Vision or Innovation. Again, we’re not talking about doctrine. We’re talking about song selection, ministry decor, design elements, media usage, service schedule, small group structure, and other subjective cultural elements. They want the freedom to follow God and integrate and communicate the gospel into a culture that has changed dramatically in the last twenty or thirty years. (See Titus 3:9)

3. Being Accused of Narcissism. I have a theory—though I can’t prove it. Every generation is narcissistic. Mankind in general has a sin-nature bent on loving self. But narcissism is a new buzzword—or club—that is used to beat up the millennial generation. My theory is that social networking has provided a new cultural measuring stick for self-love.

The funny thing with those who cry “narcissism”—at least in my experience—is that they are blind to their own. We seem to be proficient at excusing behavior in ourselves that we criticize in others. (Some just don’t want millennials to have influence through media. That’s strange when considering we need all the Christian influence in America that we can get.)

Narcissism is a hard case to objectively build or prove—it’s usually a very subjective accusation that maliciously attempts to judge another’s heart. It’s impossible to evaluate the heart motives of someone who is attempting to influence others for the gospel. (Not to mention, we tend to “find” what we’re looking for in subjective arguments.) We usually PROJECT our own pride onto someone else’s heart. Judging someone else is more of a mirror into our own hearts than a magnifying glass into another’s. (See 1 Corinthians 4:4-5)

4. Being Misunderstood for Preferring Dialogue over Dogma. Millennials are coming up in a culture that is very different than even 25 or 30 years ago. Culture is changing, and the rate of change has accelerated dramatically. Morality is no longer mainstream in most parts of our country. The emphatic declaration of dogma is not nearly as effective today as it was fifty years ago when the whole room would shout a loud “amen” in answer to any moral dogmatic declaration. (In some places in America, this is still the case, but not most.)

Therefore, Millennials are hungry for substance—a deeper argument with stronger rationale, the ability to dialogue and intelligently lead a skeptic to biblical truth. They often feel ill-prepared or even “short-changed” academically or biblically. They often feel that they haven’t been equipped with the solid, rational logic that strongly supports Christian truth. They feel they were taught to preserve a “specific Christian culture” with more passion than they were equipped to substantively preach Christ in a pagan culture.

They still believe dogmatically in absolute Biblical truth, but they also realize that a secular culture responds better to intelligent, rational, substantive dialogue that validates Christianity, than it does to rabid declaration of dogma with no logic.

Simply put—every day they face a culture that incessantly shoots holes in their Christian “dogma.” And they realize how desperately they need depth and solid answers WHY in order to be effective in turning hearts to Christ. The good news is, Christianity provides substantive truth, and the millennials are committed to learning it, preaching it, and publishing it loudly into an increasingly secularized culture. (See Acts 17:2, 18:19, 1 Peter 3:15)

5. Being Rejected for Not Fighting Old Battles or Sharing Old Loyalties. Millennials appreciate the spiritual battles fought a hundred years ago or more, and they deeply respect those who fought them. But they have a hard time venerating them, and they just aren’t interested in re-fighting old battles over and over again unnecessarily. Oh, they will fight for doctrine and a pure gospel. They know what’s valuable. But they are facing a whole new set of their own cultural challenges. They are wrestling to wrap their brains around a rapidly, morally digressing, post-modern world. They really can’t get caught up in 75 year-old loyalties over denominational battles and internal Christian strife—not if they desire to be effective salt and light, gospel-spreading, fruit bearing leaders in the 21st century.

Often, the generation preceding them doesn’t understand this and reacts with cries of “compromise.” The “center-of-the-target battles” of previous generations aren’t the same for this generation. Culture has shifted epically, and gospel ministry has never been more vital and necessary. Yes, doctrinal compromise is rampant today. But often the cries of compromise aren’t about doctrine, they are about things far more meaningless, temporal, and cultural.

Another point on loyalties—millennials find it easier and more attractive to base their Christian identity in Jesus Christ alone over movements, groups, fellowships, and denominations. Camps are unattractive to them. In their experience, camps cannibalize themselves in the end, through eventual division and strife. Millennials have a deeper, stronger loyalty and strength in Jesus and are happy to be called Christians—followers of Jesus Christ. Personally, I love this about millennials, because after all—JESUS is the ultimate goal of any biblical movement or group! (See 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:1-7)

6. Being Rebuked for Not Being Contentious. Contending for the faith is one thing, while just being contentious is another. Millennials don’t understand why Christians don’t treat each other kindly, lovingly, and respectfully while simultaneously maintaining doctrinal purity and clarity. One thing that social networking reveals is the hot vitriol of professing Christians towards other professing Christians. Millennials want to run from this because they believe it kills the ministry of the gospel. They believe it hinders the work of preaching Christ in the last days.

Along this line, they also don’t have “know it all”—to be dogmatically right about areas where scripture is unclear. While some Christians wouldn’t even admit to biblical uncertainty, millennials generally don’t have a problem with “not knowing for sure” on areas of theological complexity. The main stuff is SO CLEAR that they are willing to keep “the main thing the main thing” and not get sidetracked on lesser points of contention. (See 1 Corinthians 11:16, Titus 3:9)

7. Being Misunderstood for Being Grace-Focused. Grace does not lead to sin, it leads to holiness. Behaviorism doesn’t lead to holiness, it leads to sin. (Behaviorism is the imposition of external behavior modification by others that supersedes the inner grace-driven true transformation and resulting behavior changes that only the Holy Spirit can genuinely produce.) Most Christians get this, but millennials especiallyget this—perhaps because they witnessed first-hand a great number of moral and ethical failures that began with a proud mindset of behaviorism.

Millennials desire a biblical Christianity in which a loving relationship with Jesus compels obedience empowered by grace. Behaviorism creates a Christianity in which obligation forces obedience driven by conformity, self-effort, and comparison. Millennials desire church communities where grace thrives and comparison dies—which is conducive to spiritual growth. Behaviorism develops church communities where comparison breeds pride and contention which stifles health and spiritual growth. (See Galatians 2:20-21, Romans 6-8)

8. Being Dismissed as Compromisers Rather than Mentored by Encouragers. Millennial leaders are absolutely looking for mentors. They are looking for gracious, biblical, Spirit-filled mentors who will compassionately believe in them, encourage them, influence them, and acknowledge them as leaders of the next generation. They run from those who caustically cut them off, but they run toward those who fuel their passion for Jesus and believe in their potential for the gospel. If you ever wondered why millennials are running from one personality toward another, read that last sentence again. (See Proverbs 22:24, 29:22)

Millennials have a keen sense of awareness that they may be the last spiritual leaders on earth who communicate the gospel before Jesus returns. This is a grave realization—it’s sobering. It calls them to a clearer, higher focus—to live above pettiness, divisiveness, and stylistic debates. They don’t really have time or emotional energy for illogical, subjective arguments that impose meaning upon scripture and fabricate battles that aren’t worth fighting, much less dying over. They see the world perishing while Christians are quibbling, and it frustrates them.

Simply put, millennials are facing a culture that may not be “Christian-friendly” much longer, and the guy across town that also preaches the gospel and loves Jesus doesn’t look so horrible anymore—especially when you consider we might be sitting in a prison-cell together someday for preaching Jesus. (See Luke 9:50) Truthfully, sudden oppression or persecution of Christianity in our culture would bring together a WHOLE LOT of Christians who, right now, just don’t even like each other!

All of this gives them a greater sense of urgency in gospel ministry, but a deeply Christ-dependent urgency rather than a self-dependent urgency. In other words, they want to live and serve in fervent balance—like it really is a work of God, rather than the work-a-hol-ism that has wrecked so many families over the decades.

I get very encouraged when I’m around millennials. They function with a clarity in biblical priorities that’s hard to find. They love Jesus and the gospel, and they want to see as many souls come to Christ as possible! They love the local church and the Word of God. They love doctrine and depth. They are committed to real faith, real Christianity, and real gospel ministry.

I’ve never met a millennial who did not deeply respect, honor, and love the older men that influenced them. Generally, their spirit is not to be disrespectful or dishonoring. One younger pastor shared this insight: “In truth, I don’t know of any young men who truly want to dishonor or leave behind the previous generation in any way.  We love them and need them dearly.” But older men who desire control are NOT comfortable with these younger men. Millennials want to be influenced by godly men but they don’t want to be controlled by another man—they are too discerning for that. They desire their biblical liberty to seek the Lord and obey Him as LORD. (See Romans 14:4, James 4:11-12)

I will probably follow up this post with a post entitled, “Things that Discourage Older Spiritual Leaders.” In that we will talk about some of the doctrinal compromise, emergent church trends, and things that just scare the older generation. In truth, some of our millennial leaders are in fact being drawn away by false doctrine. Millennial friend, the concerns are often based in valid doctrinal depth, and they usually have your best interest at heart. Not all of them are gracious, but most of them are, and you will be wise to find those godly men and allow them influence in your life.

In closing, PLEASE don’t read or impose doctrinal compromise into my writing. I am clearly committed to pure doctrine. I absolutely reject ecumenism and emergent church trends of doctrinal compromise. And please don’t read a “tone” in this. I deeply respect and love godly friends in every generation. Personally, I’m more concerned about an attitude than an age bracket.

Won’t you join me in encouraging, strengthening, and cheering on the millennial generation of Christian leaders? Let’s face it, soon enough, if Jesus tarries, the gospel WILL BE in their hands entirely!

I, for one, believe that God is preparing them to be the most fruitful generation in Christian history!