Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our Hope and Our Faith Part 3

“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world”

I’ve contemplated these ten words for the longest time. They’ve been with me ever since I first read them many, many years ago, and they are a source of much comfort in my life.

Within these ten words we see clearly that God did not scramble, He didn’t send Jesus on a whim to try and save face because His creation went off the rails, the coming of the Son, His being raised from the dead, and being given glory was all foreordained before the foundation of the world.

That sort of throws a wrench into the whole ‘God’s just as surprised as you or I about what’s happening in the world’ mentality that a certain segment of the church has embraced, seeing as before the foundation of the world the coming of the Christ was foreordained.

My faith and my hope are in God through Christ because I know that He knows the end from the beginning, and has seen to my protection, my safety, and my provision, long before there was need of these things.

I do not fear for tomorrow, nor do I fear for today, because the God who foreordained the coming of the Christ from the foundation of the world also promised that not a hair from my head would fall without Him making note of it.

Because we have faith in what Jesus did on the cross, because we believe God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, we also have hope. It is not a false hope, it is not a vain hope, it is a hope rooted in the reality of who Jesus is, and the love God manifested for mankind in the person of the Christ.

If our hope and faith are not through Christ in God, then they are vain, and void of substance. Being positive, having self-esteem, or having some quirky mantra you tell yourself in the mirror every morning, all these things are illusions of hope that implode upon gentle prodding. They are the means the world employs to keep trudging along, and not fall into despair altogether, and sadly in recent years much of the church has been employing the selfsame means.

Why would I need anything more to get me through the day when I retain the knowledge of God through Christ? Why would I need a band aid, a distraction, a diversion, or even medication to get me through the day when I know that my redeemer lives, and that I will live with Him?

Is it possible that those who claim to know Christ yet live lives of quiet desperation, utterly joyless and absent of peace don’t really know Him at all?

Christ transforms us. Our faith in Christ gives us hope, it gives us peace, it gives us joy, it tethers us to the Kingdom and allows us to see the plan of God for our lives even when in the present we endure hardships and tribulations.

There is nothing in the world that compares with the freedom we have when we possess true faith and hope in God through Christ, and it is something that the world cannot take away, that persecution cannot take away, that lack, need, or hardship cannot take away, but that we often times willingly abandon for the promise of faux liberty to pursue the lusts of the flesh, that never truly materializes as we had hoped.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Hope and Our Faith Part 2

While the enemy is doing his utmost to minimize Jesus, not to be outdone, by and large the spiritual leaders of the day, regardless of denominational affiliation, are themselves busy tearing down the household of faith brick by brick. One of the most useful and effective tools these men have in their arsenal as pertains to their pursuit of making the house of God wholly unrecognizable, is the notion of cultural relevancy.

Think back on it, and you will be surprised how many times you’ve heard preachers insist that the church has to be culturally relevant in order to reach the world.

If it were not so tragic, the notion of cultural relevancy would be downright funny. It is absurd on its face to think that in order to pull someone out of the muck you must first do a summersault into the muck, and backstroke alongside those in the mire in order to relate, and be relevant in their worldview.

Maybe it’s my translation of the Bible, perhaps I missed it somewhere along the way, but having read the gospels pretty regularly for the last quarter of a century or so, I have yet to find any passage wherein Jesus insisted we must be culturally relevant.

He didn’t say, ‘go into all the world and be culturally relevant,’ He said, ‘go and preach the Gospel!’

The problem with cultural relevance is that culture is always trying to push the envelope. The culture of yesteryear is not the culture of today, and sadly, the culture of tomorrow will look very little like the present culture. A small stud in the ear becomes a gauge (if you haven’t seen these things they are downright scary, it’s where people actually stretch out their ear skin until it just flaps there) then two gauges, a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, tattoo sleeves, face tattoos, branding, cutting, and whatever else culture seems as hip, and relevant. I’m waiting for the first guy just to peel off his face like a grape, and see the trend take off like gangbusters.

Pretty soon, unless you’re a transgender taking the pulpit in full drag, while having a lesbian parishioner carrying your gender neutral child whom you plan on naming Quince, well, you’re just an old fuddy-duddy who refuses to change with the times, and embrace the new culture.

I’ve been keeping track of the culturally relevant churches throughout this once great nation, and one thing is demonstrably undeniable: the more culturally relevant a church becomes, the less spiritually relevant it is!

In the end what we end up doing is offering the same kind of worldliness as the world offers, only at a 10% cost of one’s yearly income. If there is no difference between the house of God and the children of darkness except that I perpetually sow seeds in the hopes of reaping a financial harvest, why not cut out the middle man and just buy lotto tickets with that money?

While we’re on the topic, we give because our hearts compel us to give, we give because we want to meet a need, or feed a hungry individual, or clothe a naked one, or care for an orphan, or help spread the gospel, but not because Jesus will send me a check for 1000% of my invested capital at the end of first quarter.

Jesus didn’t die so that we would be culturally relevant. Jesus died that through Him and His shed blood we might be saved, believe in God, and have our faith and hope anchored in Him.

So what’s the point of today’s post? The point is a simple one. If you are in a church striving to be more culturally relevant than scripturally sound, you are wasting your time and your energy, and sooner rather than later the things that will become accepted practice within its walls will make your gag reflex kick in like nobody’s business.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.