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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One of Many?

There is a trend emerging in the church today, and it is not good. Okay, that was putting it mildly. The trend I am seeing within many Christian denominations is that of sacrificing foundational beliefs, the beliefs that sets us apart, the beliefs that makes our walk relevant, for the sake of unity and interfaith tolerance. We have gone from Christ being the only way, the only truth, and the only life, to teaching a powerless and irrelevant gospel that suggests Christ, is simply one of many means by which we attain enlightenment, one of many paths we can take that will eventually lead us to eternal paradise.
If these teachings were being expounded upon by some new cult or religion, the likes of which believes in unidentified flying objects, alien abductions, and the such, one could readily dismiss them, waiving them off for the lunacy that they are. The danger however, is that these these teachings are being promoted by men who call themselves Christian leaders, the newly hip, the newly relevant, those eager to make an impact on the world by using their intellect and ability to be tolerant, accepting, and embracing of all religions, all beliefs, brewing up a stew of sorts that has a little of everything everyone likes.
We start off with an abstract notion of a benevolent deity, not any particular god of any particular religion mind you, because that would be divisive, throw in some transcendental meditation, apply some Buddhist rhetoric, quote some Hindu shamans, with just a pinch of prosperity and flesh pleasing, and we have the new faith, relevant to all, helpful to none.
The damage this does to the body of Christ, can only be quantified when, and only when the faith of those who follow this new faith is tested, when they must place their trust in the one in whom they believe, and they discover belatedly so that they don't really know what they believe, who they believe in, or why they believe it.
Unwilling to surrender their all, multitudes of people are flocking to this new found faith, which requires nothing in way of sacrifice, mortification of the flesh, or true repentance. They flock to it, because its easy, convenient, and it allows them to dip their toes in the world, pursue the desires of the flesh, all the while thinking themselves in good standing with God.
Yes, I have stated this before, but apparently it cannot be stated enough during these times, Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life.
John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me."
Some things are debatable within the church, but somethings are not up for debate. Whether it's okay to wear a wedding ring, or a necktie, is something that can be appropriated through individual conviction, but some things such as Christ being the one and only path to salvation are not debatable. They are set in stone, unwavering, and unchanging.
I once heard a story of a man who lived in what is referred to as tornado alley. One day the tornado warnings went off, but since the man had livestock to feed, and grass to mow, he did not heed the sirens, and continued about his business. The tornado came, and though the man suffered injuries ranging from broken bones to multiple lacerations, he survived. Later, in the hospital while he was being interviewed, he was asked if the reason he had not sought shelter was because there was something faulty with the warning system. An embarrassed grin spread across his face at this question and he answered, 'No, the warning system worked just fine. I heard the warnings, but I did not heed them.'
Throughout the Bible, the children of God are warned concerning these end times. We are warned of false teachers, who would deny even the Lord who bought them, we are warned of the blasphemers that will arise and deceive the innocent, but the warnings are useless if we do not heed them.
What is certain, is that we will have no excuse for not having known the truth, we will have no excuse for not having been vigilant, just as the man in the storyhad no excuse for not having sought shelter.
The warning system is not faulty, it is not broken, it is not in need of an upgrade, this present generation simply chose to dismiss it. May we be wise and seek the shelter of our Father's embrace, for there is safety in Him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Looking Up

Even the most optimistic among us would have a hard time denying that the world is fast descending further and further into chaos. To those with spiritual foresight and intuition, those that have learned by fellowship with the Father to hear his voice, it is undeniable that harsh and difficult times are on the horizon.
If it were only the opinion of a handful without any Biblical basis, it would be easy to dismiss the warnings as mere rants coming from the mouths of delusional men who harbor apocalyptic fantasies. As we study the Word however, the portrait it paints concerning the times we live in confirm our darkest suspicions that in fact we are not in for a season of prosperity and revival but one of hardship and great global turmoil.
As I was reading my Bible I happened upon a verse, which gave me great comfort. It is an encouragement uttered by Christ, intended exclusively for His followers, those that have not only found the truth, but also live the truth. Since we are not of the world, we cannot view current events through the eyes of the world, nor react to them as the world does.
Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
In order to understand the depth of this encouragement, we must know the context in which it was spoken. Before speaking these words, Christ shared what the world would be like before his return, everything from distress of nations, to signs in the sun, to men’s hearts failing hem for fear and expectation of the things which are coming upon the earth.
It is easy to look up, and lift our heads when all is well, when the seas are calm, and blessings abound, but we are told by Christ to look up when all is dark, the future seems bleak, and by human reckoning there seems to be no way out of our predicament.
When Christ speaks the words ‘look up’ they were not intended for the world, for the world does not have spiritual eyes, it cannot behold his countenance, nor feel His presence. Now the logical question that remains to be asked, if in these times right before His return we are instructed to look up, if in these times of turmoil, strife, destruction, and natural disasters the children of God are told to lift their heads, would it not be logical to ascertain that we will be here?
There are numerous avenues we can pursue just from this single verse in the Bible, and we can have an entire study on the end times, the Christian’s role in the end times, where the children of God will be, and what our duties before God are, but I would like to stick to the central issue, for it is of preeminent importance in our lives.
If we believe that our redemption will come by way of the preparations we’ve made in a physical sense, if we believe our redemption will come because we’ve stored up food, and we’ve built bomb shelters, we are deluding and deceiving ourselves. There is only one place from which our redemption will come, and that is Christ, and Christ alone.
The beauty of the words Christ spoke is that they are deeper than they seem at first glance. We can read into these two words, ‘look up’ and understand that we are being instructed not merely to lift our heads, not merely to gaze toward the heavens, but to place our trust in those things not of this earth. We have become a generation that revels in the trappings of material crutches. We say we believe, we trust, but our actions betray our true heart. Even though with our lips we say we trust God, we hoard and amass for the coming dark days, as though the things we store up will somehow save or spare us. There is only one place where we will find safety, one place where we will find the long promised redemption, and if our gaze is fixed upon the things of this earth, if our hearts are still tethered to the material rather than the spiritual, we will discover, sooner rather than later, that nothing we were able to do on our own will be enough to spare us the heartache and distress.
If we are God’s and He is ours, then our trust in Him must be complete, we must look up, and know that He is there, aware of our hardships and trials, ready and able to rescue us at the appropriate time.
If we open our eyes, we will see. If we open our hearts we will receive. If we open our minds we will be enlightened. Though heaven and earth may pass away, His words will by no means pass away.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What Have We Received?

Colossians 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
For far too long the importance of Christ Jesus the Lord has been underscored and minimized within the confines of many Christian congregations. Rather than preach Christ, and Him crucified we insist on preaching anything else except Him. I don’t think I need to go into detail as to what is being preached in most churches today, because most if not all of you already have a sense of what I am alluding to.
Today I would like to explore the contrast between receiving the person of Christ, and receiving the teachings of Christ. I know that it is debatable whether or not most churches are even relaying the teachings of Christ, but this is a topic for another time.
I often hear men pontificating and extolling the virtues of their chosen denominations, implying if ever so subtly that their denomination, their set of teachings, is the only way to get to heaven, all the while omitting the person of Christ from the equation. To receive Christ is not to receive a set of teachings, no matter how true and noble those teachings might be, but rather to receive the person of Christ into our lives, that He may restore, heal and bring to life that which was dead in sin.
As controversial as the following sounds, it must be said, the teachings of the gospel can save no man if the sinful soul has not received Christ Jesus the Lord into their hearts as a living person, allowing Him to transform them. Good people go to hell. Moral people go to hell. Why? Because they have not received the Christ into their hearts, they have not made Him Lord over all, and as the Bible so aptly puts it, no amount of good works, or charitable deeds, can sway God’s righteous judgment if His Son is not found in the individual heart. Jesus did not come to bring a set of moral codes; He did not come to be just another teacher; He did not come to be just another prophet; He came to give life!
It is true that faith comes by the hearing of the Word, but if once having heard the Word the soul does not move toward Christ, if salvation is not sought, all the soul is left with is the hearing, and the hearing without the intended result, is in vain. When Jesus is received, He saves. The teaching comes after that one crucial juncture in the life of every man.
Too often those who have come to know the person of Christ, who receive Him as Lord and Savior of their lives, begin to distance themselves from Him, and endeavor to fill their hearts with teaching. As believers, we must, at all cost, retain the intimacy with Christ throughout our lives. Ask most believers if their intimacy level with Jesus is as great as when they first knew Him, and if they are honest they will say it is less. We may have grown in knowledge, we may have grown in wisdom, but it cannot be at the cost of sacrificing intimacy with our Lord.
Our primary objective as children of God cannot be the study of prophecy or end time events; it cannot be the ceaseless participation in new movements and outpourings, but rather to walk in Him, to be rooted in Him, built up in Him, and established in the faith.
Movements fade, prophecy comes to pass, but intimacy with Christ is a constant experience, one that can be built upon, one that gives us strength and boldness, peace and joy.
If we have received Christ, and are rooted in Him, though the storms of this life might tear off a few branches, they will not uproot us altogether. The deeper our roots in Christ, the stronger we are as individuals, the more able to stand against the onslaught of the enemy. We can have knowledge of future events, we can have knowledge of the newest teaching and the most recent dogma, but if we are not rooted in Christ, we will be swept away with the first storm, and all the knowledge was for naught.
Christ nourishes us, and if we are rooted in Him, we are also continually built up in Him. When a soul is rooted in Christ, it cannot help but grow, for that which he is rooted in gives life, and life more abundantly, constantly building up the inner man, making him stronger with each passing day.
In the end we must all ask ourselves what it is we have truly received. Was it Christ, or was it the teachings of Christ? Do we have a true and intimate relationship with Him, or are we simply following a set of moral laws like so many others in the world who have never known His love or His grace?
If it is not the person of Christ that we have received, there is still time to bend our knees, gaze toward the heavens, and ask Him into our hearts. Only then will we know the depth of His love, and the reality of His presence.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dangerous Self

If not for the certainty that those of you who comment are honest, loving, sincere, and prayerful brothers and sisters, I could easily conclude that some of you are masters of the subtle yet effective art of reverse phsychology. All I can say is thank you for understanding the circumstances, and being patient with me. Since this is an outlet that has blessed, and is continuing to bless some of you, I would be remiss if I would not endeavor to continue posting as often as possible, on whatever topics God lays on my heart.
As far as posting when the radio interviews will air, I was told I would be sent an e-mail as to the date, and check every morning to see. As yet, I have not received any updates. I will be posting the regular radio program soon, I believe it is on Spirit One. I know it sounds horrible, but details are not my strength. I do the work, I love the work, but the details escape me for some reason.
I once overheard a man saying that he was a genius trapped in a commoner's body, and smiling to myself, thought it would be better if it was the other way around. Encouraging people to overestimate their strengths, and overvalue their attributes is big business in this country, and some who have tapped into the knowledge that most people aren't happy with themselves are making a killing. Illusion and the packaging of false hopes in tidy little two hundred page books is all the rage these days, and if it were the world endorsing and promoting these practices one could just shake their head and move on.
The danger, is in the fact that the church is promoting the self, when throughout the Word we are admonished to separate ourselves from our flesh, that Christ may have preeminance in our lives.
If I am my own, then I am alone. If I trust in myself, in my strength, in my intelligence, then I will inevitably fail. If however I am Christ's, I am an army, a great majority, a victor, a conqueror, an overcomer, an heir to the kingdom of God.
Today men love to hear about the crown, but they have an aversion when it comes to the cross of Christ. They love to hear about victory, but are taken aback when they discover that in order to obtain the victory one must first surrender themselves in totality.
Preaching the crown without the cross is like having half of an equation and expecting to solve it. It is incomplete, skewed, distorted and dangerous. The best you can do with half the pieces to a puzzle is guess at what it will look like when it is complete. One can only imagine it, never really knowing the truth.
For far too long we have preached only part of the whole in the house of God, for far too long we have given self center stage, and the outcome is obvious wherever you look. The chain reaction of deficiency is quite startling to behold. Because of a deficient gospel message, we've raised up deficient disciples, and the deficient disciples have built for themselves a deficient church.
If we hope to stand during the coming days, we must once again endeavor to preach the entire gospel, the message of both the cross, and the crown, for dark days are soon approaching. I will not shy away from speaking something uncomfortable if it happens to be the truth. In the end a painful truth is better than a comforting lie. And so, I will keep posting as often as possible, and again, as always I thank you for your prayers, and patience.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Full Plates

Ever have one of those days when the weather outside adversely affected not only your mood but your output? It has been thus in Wisconsin for the past week and a half. Everything is just so grim when you wake up, and by the time you finish digging your wife's car out of the snow so she can get to school on time you're so tired, that all you can really do is curl up and read a good book, watch the fire dancing in the fireplace and look forward to the day when the snow will be gone, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp and you can finally see some green, even if it is someone's Green Bay Packer jacket. But I digress.
No, the reason I haven't posted anything for the past week or so was not the weather, at least not solely. Since I got back from my trip abroad I have been offered no less than three radio programs, two half hour programs, one a full hour program, I've been conducting radio interviews with the abandon of a man who only has twenty four hours to live, and have finally finished some long overdue projects.
Today we were supposed to start filming our television programs, but the blizzard compelled us to put it off a couple days. Thusly, I had a few minutes to spare, and decided to just give you an update, as to what has been going on.
We have always known that the workload would grow during these days, we have prepared for it the best way we knew how, but often as one sits and looks at the bigger picture, it is overwhelming to say the least.
I promise I will make time this week and post something worth reading, for now I leave you with the grace and pace of our Lord Jesus.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Learning Patience

No, I have not gone on to the great beyond, I am still among the living, but there were moments when my one desire was for God to just take me home. For anyone living anywhere near the Wisconsin area, or for those watching the news with any given regularity, there is no need for me to go into detail about the goings on of the last few days. Yours truly was also caught up in the drama, the Milwaukee airport being closed for some twenty four hours, the airport I needed to get to in order to get home.
After learning patience on a very basic level for over thirty six hours, we were finally boarded, and allowed to travel home. It is in times of crisis that you see the true character of some people, and since I am an observer by nature, I noticed how some reacted differently than others when they were told there was no salvation in sight, and we would have to spend the night in an airport.
While few understood the circumstances, the fact that the Milwaukee airport was snowed in, there was a blizzard underway and it was not safe to fly, some abandoned reason altogether and simply started yelling that they wanted to go home, no longer regarding the fact that it was unsafe to travel, and even though it might be uncomfortable, the airport was their best alternative.
Not trying to spiritualize my predicament, but it is often the case that we, the children of God react in much the same fashion. We know something is not good for us, unsafe, even dangerous, and even though the Father patiently explains why we are not allowed to pursue a certain avenue, we wrinkle our brows and say, 'it doesn't matter, we still want to do what we want to do.'
Whatever it may be that God forbids or warns against, be certain that it is for your own best welfare, even though the flesh might rebel and demand that very thing.
I will post something more in accordance with this site sometime in the near future, but for now I have to brave the snows and winds, and go pick my little brother Daniel up from Chicago Airport. I do not know when I will be able to sit back down and pen a coherent message or teaching, but what I do know is that I appreciate your prayers, patience, and understanding.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.