His Name

April 30th, 2010

If you want to rise up spiritually, you need to hang out with people who will inspire you to higher expectations and help you reach them. If you want a better job, you hang out with the experts in the field, not with unmotivated, unfocused people. If you want to see God move supernaturally in your life, you hang out with people who believe in God’s power.

  Too many Christians have put a lid on God, expecting little from Him because they don’t know the power of His name. The apostles, Peter and John, gave the lame beggar at the gate, something Beautiful, something more valuable than silver or gold.

  The apostles offered the lame man the name above every other name with all authority: Jesus! There’s power in that name, and you TOO can expect great things from that great name.

Good News

December 21st, 2009

The birth of Jesus brought good news into a bad situation, and He is still offering good news today. We can have a Merry Christmas because the baby born in Bethlehem is ruling today at the right hand of our Father in heaven. During these challenging days, our Savior is still offering hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless.

Have a Merry Christmas.

Barrie

..Let Us Show Gratitude

November 17th, 2009

With all the challenges that we are currently facing, economic uncertainty, health scares, political decisions, job insecurity, and a myriad of other issues that are producing emotional instability, you maybe asking yourself, what in the world is there to be grateful for this Christmas.

The author of the book of Hebrews answers this question for us.

After speaking about the fact that God allows disruption through negative circumstances to take place in our lives (Heb 12:25-27). He concludes with these words, “Therefore since we receive a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude…. (12:28)

Much like a pregnant mother in labour, the pain is an indication that something new is about to be birthed. She can give thanks in the midst of her pain, because of the anticipated results. This Christmas give thanks anyway for what God is preparing you for. Thank Him that He is in charge of your life and circumstances, and He promises to work it out for your good (Rom 8:28)

Who is Jesus?

September 25th, 2009

What a wonderful thing the Alpha course is. I assisted in a group last night the first topic being ‘Who is Jesus?’ the following are observation on this.

Jesus the Man

Although we number our years from the beginning of the Christian era, scholars believe Jesus was actually born between 6 and 4 B.C. Both Matthew and Luke recount Jesus’ birth in the city of Bethlehem, in what is now southern Israel. Jesus was born into a Jewish family and remained faithful to Judaism all His life.

Jesus spent his youth and early adulthood in the city of Nazareth, in the land of Galilee. Almost nothing is known of this period of His life, except for the incident at the Temple told in Luke 2:41-51.

At about age 30, Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist and began His public ministry. He selected 12 disciples who would carry on his ministry after Him. He traveled through the regions of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea, teaching in the synagogues and speaking to the crowds of people who followed wherever He went. He preached about the kingdom of God, repentance, and love for all people. The gospels tell how He healed the sick wherever He went and performed many other miracles.

Jesus’ public ministry lasted about three years, and He found many followers among the Jews of Palestine. However, He had enemies, too. Jesus was very critical of the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of His time. He said they observed the letter of the Jewish law, but defiled its spirit by living lives of greed and sin. These religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, and eventually forced the Roman governor, Pilate, to order His crucifixion on Friday, the eve of Passover, in about the year 30 A.D.

The Gospels tell that Jesus arose from the dead on the following Sunday, and He remained on Earth another 40 days before ascending into heaven. Jesus, Himself, said He was the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah awaited by the Jews. He said His death and resurrection were all part of God’s plan of salvation.

Jesus the Good Teacher

It is impossible to read the Gospels without getting a sense of the intensity and passion of Jesus’ teachings. He spoke with great authority on spiritual matters, often leaving his detractors tongue-tied and looking foolish. Many of His teachings are disturbing and shake us out of our comfort and complacency. He spoke of loving God above all other things, caring about all other people as much as we care about ourselves, the coming kingdom of God and eternal life.

Jesus often spoke in parables, using common images of nature and agriculture, to deliver His spiritual messages. Many people, often including His disciples, were left baffled by the parables. Jesus explained His parables to his disciples in private, but many of the explanations have not been recorded in the Gospels.

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them (the crowds that followed Him), as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. (NIV, Mark 4:33-34)

Why did Jesus speak in parables? Why not just explain everything in plain language? Jesus, Himself, had this explanation:

When (Jesus) was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” (NIV, Mark 4:10-12)

It seems that Jesus constructed His parables so only those who were pure of heart and receptive to His teachings could understand them. Jesus’ enemies and the merely curious were left baffled. This seemingly harsh attitude may be Jesus’ way of making His message available and inviting those who wish to understand and believe while never forcing anyone to know and accept His truths. If Jesus had spoken in plain language, the sheer power of His personality and message might have forced many to believe, even against their own will. By speaking in parables, Jesus made it possible to decline the invitation to understanding and commitment found in the parables.

The parables serve a second purpose as well. How can you explain to someone an experience they have never had? How would you explain the beauty of a sunset to someone who had never seen one? The parables are skillfully painted mental “pictures” to help us understand the kingdom of God and other spiritual things we have never experienced ourselves. The New Bible Dictionary expresses it this way:

The parables are the appropriate form of communication for bringing to men the message of the kingdom, since their function is to jolt them into seeing things in a new way. They are a means of enlightenment and persuasion, intended to bring the hearers to the point of decision. Jesus, as it were, stands where his hearers stand, and uses imagery familiar to them to bring new and unfamiliar insights to them. (Marshall, p. 867)

Jesus the Savior

For those who have accepted the gift of faith, Jesus is much more than a historical figure and a good teacher. He is the Christ, the Savior, the Son of God, who came to Earth to redeem us from sin, establish His spiritual kingdom of God on Earth, and to offer the promise of eternal life. Although He is not now on Earth in bodily form, He is present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is our guide and savior, the source of all our strength, who will lead us through this earthly life and into eternal life beyond. We can talk to Him in prayer. He speaks to us through the Bible and our consciences. He strengthens us with His love.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV, John 14:26-27)

Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this- that I am with you always, even to the end of the world. (TLB, Matthew 28:19-20)

Who Wears the trousers?

September 10th, 2009

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Anybody else want to volunteer to preach this passage? Anyone? I’ll give you a minute!

OK, here goes.

Will this sound politically incorrect?

Definitely.

But hear me out in the right spirit and you won’t be offended. Hopefully.

The gospel is liberating to women and men alike. In Jewish culture women were very inferior and treated like slaves. Every day Hebrew men thanked God they were not a slave, not a Gentile, and not a woman. But Christ said that should end.

Years ago this seldom preached chapter was used to address whether women should wear hats in church. Today the question is much more about who wears the trousers at home. But it’s much more than that. It’s not an equality issue or about women at all. It’s really about authority, headship, submission, and order.

This is a matter of considerable importance. It has a great impact on a husband wife relationship, parent child relationships and, in fact, bears directly on the ultimate success or failure of these relationships. The same is true for leadership relationships within a church.

Commonly, people recoil when they hear someone speak on headship and submission. Conjured in their minds are images of dictatorship and extreme blind obedience. Often those opposed to Christianity point to scriptures that teach this and say it promotes a patriarchal hierarchy that gives license for one person or group to dominate another person or group even to the point of abuse. Sadly, in all too many instances, this does happen. However, we must be careful that we don’t refuse an ordinance of God based on the failure of others to properly understand and observe it. Nor should we bow to pressures of an unbelieving world that has never experienced its benefits.

The Structure and Order of Headship

verse 3 This verse outlines the order of headship by stating that first of all, God is the head of Christ. Second, Christ is the head of man. Third, man is the head of woman. Another way of writing it is:

God

Christ

Man

Woman

This headship order is not a denial of equality. Throughout the scriptures we see that Jesus, the Son, is not inferior in person to God, the Father or to the Holy Spirit. The wonderful mystery of the trinity is three persons yet one God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal and co-eternal. The attributes and character of one are the same for all three.

Headship and submission is about redemption, the plan of God to recover a lost race and restore it to, and even surpass, its original glory. God, the Father of Jesus Christ, planned redemption for mankind, even before the time of creation. Jesus was the, “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. (Revelation 5:6). The Father, therefore, was in charge when it came to redemption. Jesus, the Son, willingly forfeited his place of equal authority and submitted to the Father.

Headship and submission is not about equality, it is about roles and responsibility.

In Genesis we see that Eve sinned but God came looking for Adam!

Remember Ruth and Boaz? Where will they live, and go to church? She said, “I’ll go with you and your people will be my people.” Does this mean he shouldn’t consider her wishes and needs? No. If he’s wise he’ll try to do what is right for everyone, but ultimately the decision was his.

Our Lord’s submission is an example for us to follow. In the order of headship and submission, as Christ submits to God, so should man submit to Christ and in turn, a wife should submit to her husband. In the husband /wife relationship a man who is not in submission to Christ has no legitimate basis upon which he should exercise authority.

Headship only makes sense and only works when there is nothing broken in the line of authority. For sure, there will never be a breakdown in this process between God and Christ. There are, however, constant breakdowns between man and Christ and woman and man. A man who is not in submission to Christ will do one of two things. He will either abuse his role and dominate his wife or he will shrink from his responsibility and leave his wife to carry a great burden. In some instances men are both abusive and irresponsible.

On the other hand, many women refuse to submit to their husbands as Christ submitted to his Father. They become dominant rendering their husbands passive and helpless. She keeps him on a low shelf where she can find him when she needs him. Some men are comfortable with this arrangement and seek out such a relationship.

A Puzzling Passage

This passage is not readily understood and so it is easy to skip over it or to consider that it applies only to the peculiarities of the Corinthian culture of its day. Two things need to be kept in mind and if they are, the meaning of the passage becomes clear. First, there was a cultural context. Second there are profound spiritual principles that are interwoven with the cultural application.

First, let us look at the cultural setting. It was a custom of the Corinthians that women wear a veil in order to demonstrate that they were married and faithful to their husbands. In contrast, prostitutes did not wear veils and cut their hair off as a sign that they were available to any man. Prostitution was common to pagan religious worship and it is estimated that in the City of Corinth there were thousands of temple prostitutes with the proceeds of their practice going to the temple treasuries. Prostitution was a part of the culture and therefore immorality, as we know it, was perfectly acceptable as legitimate behavior to the Corinthians. Paul, when he brought the gospel to this city and established a church, taught biblical moral purity and required the converts to cease from immorality.

Some of the women of the church thought they could take their new found freedom in Christ, freedom that in many cases had freed them from the tyranny of abusive husbands, and stop wearing their veils. There is no indication that they wanted to practice immorality, they just wanted to be free of veils.

The veils represented or were a sign that a woman was in submission to her husband as it pertained to sexual fidelity. However, Paul took the matter much farther and taught a much deeper and spiritual meaning.

For the Christian, the issue is expediency not personal rights. The question to be asked is, “What is best for the sake of the gospel?” In the case of veils, Paul said it was best that Christian women wear them in order that onlookers would not think that the church practiced prostitution and were no different in that regard than that which went on in the pagan temples.

Honouring and Dishonouring

At issue in this matter of headship and submission is honour versus dishonour. Consider the following statements from verses 4 and 5:

Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head.

This is an example of a text with a double meaning. First was the practical necessity for veils in the Corinthian culture. A woman who did not wear a veil dishonoured herself to the point where she might as well be shaved. Most women would not want this to happen to them.

The second meaning, the one with spiritual significance, has to do with the need to honour one’s head. In the case of a married woman, her husband was her head and she needed to honour him as such.

Mutual honour and respect is a key element in husband/wife relationships and in every other headship/submission relationship such as; parents and children, pastors and leaders, employers and employees. Words can be harsh and cruel or gentle and uplifting. I have seen husbands and wives degrade each other in a manner that is dishonouring and brings pain. Those with quiet and meek personalities often say nothing in reply; they internalize the shame but seldom, if ever, speak of it. Others with more aggressive personalities will sometimes erupt with their own negative words and an argument or fight ensues. Some husbands and wives live their lives this way. The damage they do to each other is greater than they recognize.

In the roles God assigned to husbands and wives, the husband’s head is Christ. A husband honours Christ, his head, by following his example and treating his wife as Christ treats him.

In speaking about a wife’s submission to her husband, the Bible does not mean that for a woman to have a relationship with God she must go through her husband. There is only one mediator for all of mankind and that person is Christ. A wife’s submission to her husband is not about the redemption of her soul. It is about the redemption of marriage, to restore it to the beauty it had when God created it in the beginning.

Angels as an Example

For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. (Verse 10).

The veil was a sign of being under authority. This sign was more than a mere token without real meaning. Rather, it was to be a reflection of a lifestyle that both husband and wife practiced. Angels practice this lifestyle and they are referred to here for the purpose of setting an example for us. The Bible reveals that there are ranks when it comes to angels. They too must live in harmony with God’s order.

In his original state, the Bible says this about Lucifer.

“You were the anointed cherub that covereth.” Ezekiel 28:14

In other words, he was in a position of headship. Then, one-day pride entered and his heart was filled with iniquity. He led a rebellion that brought about his downfall and he became Satan, the devil. He is the epitome of failed headship.

If angels are to live and function in a headship/submission relationship, it should not surprise us that God expects this of us too.

Headship – a Covering

As I have noted, there was a practical cultural application for wearing head coverings and at the same time there are spiritual meanings. Concerning the latter, consider a word from the Psalms.

Psalm 36:7 speaks of us being covered in the shadow of God’s wings.

Covered by the shadow of the wings of God! What a picture! What a privilege! Headship is a covering, one that flows from a heart of love, and meets the needs of those it covers.

Objects of Glory

verse 7 At first this statement may appear biased, much in the favour of man. Women may take offence to the idea man is the glory of God while woman is merely the glory of man. However, the statement is not one of bias, it is quite the opposite. In fact, if there is any bias it is in favor of women, not man. The following is why…

God, when he created man and woman in his image and likeness, chose mankind to be his delight. He is our Father and we are his children and as any good dad knows, there is nothing more pleasing than seeing his children do well. He rejoices to see them succeed, to live good lives, to be joyful and fulfilled and he will do anything to see that all of this happens. His children are his delight…his glory! Similarly, nothing pleases our heavenly father more than to see us reflect his image and so he pours his blessings on us in order to make this possible. We are his, “glory”, the objects of his love and affection.

Men are tougher, women more delicate. But her value is actually higher because of whom she is valued by. The Bible calls her the weaker vessel, but that is speaking to the precious way she is made and what she is made of more than what she is worth.

This is what headship is. It is the bestowing of love, respect, honour, protection, caring and every other good and virtuous thing. This is how Christ relates to the church in his role as head of the church. He loves the church and gave his life for the church. Nothing “lights up our lives” more than receiving the glory he imparts.

Likewise, woman is the glory of man. In the order of headship the glory of Christ is imparted to the man who in turn imparts it to his wife. He must treat his wife in the same way he is treated by Christ. He must love, respect, honour, provide, and go so far as to die to himself in order that he may bless her. This is what Christ, the head of the church, did for us. This is what husbands must do for their wives. A man’s wife is his glory, the recipient of his love and affection. .

When a husband treats his wife as his “glory”, her countenance will show it. She will be radiant. If a husband is contentious, argumentative, grumpy, disrespectful, or in any other way treats his wife poorly it is a reflection that he is not living in submission to Christ. If you want to know the character of a man, study the countenance of his wife.

Women in Ministry

The idea that a woman should remain silent in church is sometimes taken out of context and applied in ways the Bible does not intend.

However, the Bible does not teach that a persons’ gender is the criteria upon which qualification to speak and minister is determined. Submission to authority is the criterion that qualifies and this applies equally to men and women. A married woman, if she is in submission to her husband, and with her husband’s blessing, is free to minister in the church of God. Conversely, a man who is not in submission to Christ should not be allowed to speak or have any influence in church.

What about verse 14 and long hair on men? There is a principle that science has come to recognize as true, and it has been true from the very beginning of the race, as far as we can tell. That is the factor of baldness. Geneticists tell us that it takes two genes in a woman to produce baldness but only one in a man. Some women do get bald, but it is very rare. Here is a natural factor that has been functioning since the race began which does, indeed, display the very thing that Paul declares. Did you ever see a bald old man with long hair? It is a disgrace! Long hair is usually stringy when it is sparse and with his shining dome sticking up above it makes him look ridiculous. Almost all men, as they grow older, tend to show some degree of baldness, and the older they grow the more ridiculous long hair looks. A young man can get away with long hair, but an older man cannot. Thus there is a factor in nature which demonstrates what Paul claims. Tradition tells us that Paul himself was bald and perhaps this statement comes out of his own experience.


Satan knows very well that if he can keep husbands and wives, parents and children, church leaders, and every other spiritual and temporal relationship that involves authority from keeping the ordinance of headship and submission, he will be successful. Satanic success is measured by broken-ness – broken marriages, broken homes, broken churches broken anything he can get his hands on. The broken ordinance of headship and submission is his means to this end.

Gods Justice

September 8th, 2009

Many people are apathetic about injustice issues because they have lost hope that things can change. They have become disillusioned with social and political theories and political agendas for change, and rightly so. Our message is it’s only in a relationship with God that our ’speaking’ on behalf of the poor can be effective.

God’s love for the poor and passion for justice spills over throughout the pages of the Bible. God’s desire is to bring the cause of the oppressed and the vulnerable before the people and before rulers. This is evident in many descriptions of what God is like. ‘He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing’.Deuteronomy 10:17-19

God also describes defending the cause of the poor and the oppressed as being part of what it means to know him. ‘He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. “Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD’. Jeremiah 22:16,

Being close to God means hearing his heart beat for the poor and those without hope. Read the rest of this entry »

Sow in Tears

August 18th, 2009

Revelation 10:1-11

1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

8Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” 10I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

It is the darkest time the world has ever known. Will you be there – the Great Tribulation? It’s that 7 year period of time after the rapture of the church when hell literally becomes, hell on earth. Demon spirits infest the earth, the antichrist takes control, and people are tortured and die by the billions.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be here! And I won’t! And you don’t have to be either. Read the rest of this entry »

Knowledge is NOT Wisdom……

August 18th, 2009

Whilst introducing me, on Sunday, my Pastor commented how good my ‘knowledge’ of the bible was, and how it compared with his own. I disagree with this presumption that knowledge is wisdom.

Albert Einstein said: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you really understand it. Read the rest of this entry »

I heard the question asked. ‘Do babies go to Heaven?’. It’s taken me over a year to get around to the answer.

July 29th, 2009

Will my baby go to heaven if it dies? This was asked by a lady on the Alpha course. It is hard for people to understand that by accepting Christ we are saved, but what about the young? They haven’t had the opportunity. What does the Bible say on this subject?

I once heard a preacher say that because of I Peter 3:20 all the babies in Noah’s flood went to Hell:

I Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

His reasoning was, because it said that just eight souls were saved, all those babies went to Hell. Of course the phrase is referring to the eight in the ark being saved by floating on top of the water, NOT soul salvation. Also a Hyper-Calvinist believes that only the elected, including just the elected babies go to Heaven, the non-elected babies burn forever in Hell.

All the “nuts” aren’t in the “nut house”. Read the rest of this entry »

The Teaching to Timothy

July 24th, 2009

READ: 1 Timothy 1:1-7

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).

Just as an error can be detected by what it produces, so too can truth be detected by what it produces. You can tell the gospel is having its effect upon you when you are becoming a more compassionate, loving, patient, tenderhearted person and you are reflecting these qualities to people around you.

That is what Jesus said would happen, and that is why His great commandment to us is that we should love one another.

In the above verse Paul traces the course of love back to its source. We will begin to understand more clearly what he is saying if we begin at the end and work back. Paul says, “love which comes from a pure heart,” and behind that “a good conscience,” and behind that “sincere faith.” Read the rest of this entry »