Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brutal faith

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5)

Paul wrote this to Timothy 2000 years ago, but I'd say that we're living in that time right now.  Conventional wisdom demands that we never tell anyone to break out of their comfort zone, it's so insensitive.  Never rebuke, challenge, or even suggest sacrifice.  It's just not politically correct.

God's principles state:
Spiritual forces manipulate this world, and fallen angels that were cast out of heaven millennia ago, are still at work on this earth today in real and tangible ways.

Conventional wisdom dictates:  Healing and the casting out of demons "were for then, not for now."  We live in a modern world.  Any talk of demons is silly and medieval.  If we stretch our imaginations to believe that it may exist today, it must exist on a very philosophical level, nothing concrete as our daily lives.

God's principles state: My Word is living and active.

Conventional wisdom dictates: The Bible is negotiable.

God's principles state: Lose your life, sacrifice yourself to God, become His slave, and you will find it.

Conventional wisdom dictates:  Believe, but don't lose yourself.

God's principles state: Unless you hate your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even your own life—you cannot be My disciple

Conventional wisdom dictates:  Family first.

God's principles state:  The honor and worship of tradition over the honor and worship of God is idolatry.

Conventional wisdom dictates:  Anyone who breaks traditions, especially those cloaked in religious overtones, is being hateful and such a person is tantamount to a reprobate.

Anyone who says that Jesus is all about love and kindness, knows only half the story.  The love and kindness of God is only fully available to those who are ready to wage war against evil - even at the risk of losing their family or their lives.  The path to God's love and kindness begins in loneliness and sacrifice, but the power and authority that is imbued to those who go through it is priceless.

True Christianity is radical Christianity.  True faith is brutal.  And the true results are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This thing about intelligent faith

We recently finished a monthlong series of classes on negativity here in Katy with over 100 people in attendance. I learned so much about myself, my faith and the subtle ways that negative thoughts were sabotaging me.  Though I've known God for years, I'm still learning. I love learning!

Whenever I counsel someone at church, as I verbalize the advice I give them and go through the tools that we teach about, I am also speaking to myself.  I feel God opening my eyes to what I need to put into practice.  When you give out of faith, you always get a greater return, and I have found that to be true on a daily basis.  The negativity course was great because it pushed me to think in different ways, approaching faith in different angles.

But strangely enough, a number of traditional Christians, (who would rather die than consider themselves traditional) saw these classes as having nothing to do with "real faith."  In their mind, real faith means singing loudly, clapping their hands, being involved in lots of activities, shouting amen at the preaching, and putting on an air of busy Christianity.  To them, a course like Negativity 101, is just filling minds with information.

These are their unspoken assumptions:

1. Calm, rational learning is weakness.
2. Loud aggressive action is strength.
3. People do not need more knowledge
4. People just need to do what they're told and don't ask too many questions

Negativity 101 was created to stimulate intelligent faith, to get people to fight against their problems and reject the evil in their lives, and to know God.

Doesn't faith begin with our reason?  Doesn't faith begin with rational decisions to believe in the impossible, and only then take bold and risky actions?  If faith is meant to be intelligent, then it only makes sense to start with our thoughts and move on from there.

Of course not everyone is the same.  Some people can get overwhelmed with large amounts of information, while others just drink it up and are thirsty for more.

Our courses are meant for the drinkers, the thirsty, the ones who want to get down to the nitty gritty of how to live, to act, to decide, to choose what is right.  Drinkers need answers and to feel free to ask questions. But once they've grasped it, there's no stopping them.  They know what they believe, and can answer anyone who tries to challenge their faith, because they have grappled with their doubts and overcame.

Saying that learning is just "fluff," is like saying Jesus' parables were just fairytales. If true faith is intelligent, it's worth the effort to dig deep and lay that foundation from where radical actions of faith
can be launched, like spiritual ICBMs.  Don't know what an ICBM is?  Look it up!

Knowledge + action = miracles.