Tag Archives: disciple

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today
This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Christianity

I met with my pastors, Jon Taylor, Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Phoenix, and Chuck Foreman, the teaching/missions pastor, this week to talk about collaborating on a small-group study on WWJD?. They agreed to help write it as well as a companion sermon guide.

Chuck forwarded me a newsletter from the Disciple Nations Alliance. I loved the opening message and tried to find it in a blog online at their website so I could share it, but could not. It was written just for the newsletter recipients. Thus, I’m compelled to share it here since it highlights the need for a church-wide study on WWJD?.

Coram Deo: Before the Face of God

A deadly virus is running rampant through the Church around the world. Not a physical virus, but a mental one—and very subtle. Victims typically don’t realize they are infected.

What is this virus? It’s the idea that the Christian faith is primarily personal and private. It addresses personal salvation, and it focuses on developing a pious inner life, but it has little to do with how someone lives the rest of his or her life.

There are huge problems with this.

We spend the vast majority of our time working, eating, playing, and living in relationship with family, friends, and co-workers. If my faith isn’t informing how I live my life, something else surely is. And that something is the accepted norms, values, and practices of my surrounding culture.

The virus enables Christians to assume they are theologically orthodox because they affirm correct answers to the questions of God, man, the fall, and salvation. Yet it prevents them from making a connection between these personal/spiritual topics and how they think about work, life, leisure, and the broader culture. While holding to a form of Christianity, in practice, they are functional atheists, Gnostics, or animists, depending on the culture from which they come.

This explains how Enron’s indicted former CEO, Ken Lay, while serving as an elder in his local evangelical congregation, could drive his company off a cliff. In business, you play by the rules; and in today’s America, the rules are established by the secular, pragmatic, materialistic culture. It is OK to “cook the books” and deceive shareholders, so long as you don’t get caught.

This is just want Satan wants, for the virus strips the church of its saltiness. It is no longer able to influence and shape culture. God’s truth is shackled—prevented from penetrating and saturating all areas of life and society. As a result, the nations are not discipled. Rather, the church increasingly reflects the values and practices of the nations. This is the tragic consequence: The failure of the church to understand, much less carry out, the Great Commission. The nations—trapped in structures of poverty, corruption, and tyranny—are paying the price.

This is the problem we exist to address. This virus has to be attacked head-on, exposed for the lie that it is. When Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he really meant it. His truth applies to every area of public life. It is not merely a message of salvation; it is an all-encompassing way of understanding everything. We are called not just to save people out of the world, but to bring the truth to bear in all areas, thereby living God-honoring lives and creating God-honoring cultures, starting with our families, churches, arenas of work and, ultimately, nations. As this happens, the nations are blessed, just as God promised they would be (Genesis 12:1-3).

God loves His Bride, and we see increasing evidence that He is awakening her to this inward threat. We believe God has raised up the DNA to be part of the solution, and we are grateful for your partnership in the endeavor.

In Galatians 5:13, Paul tells us Christians:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Here, “the flesh” refers to the sinful nature of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. You see, it’s not “natural” for us to be godly. We can thank Adam and Eve for that. But Jesus shows us how to live righteous lives and commands us to do so. (Romans 12:1-3)

WWJD? The Revival is not just another fad

Our mission is to help Christians strive to be Christ-like. It’s not easy. We are tempted by the world on a daily basis. That is why the small-group study that we’re preparing is so vital. When discussed in the small-group setting, the group members hold each-other accountable. That makes a big difference from just reading a daily devotional.

Please follow WWJD? The Revival on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We will keep you updated on the progress of the study and when it will be available. In the meantime, look for devotionals, bible passages and encouragements.

God Bless,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-winning Christian Author
@giselleaguiar 

3 Parts of Being a Disciple of Christ

3 Parts of Being a Disciple of Christ
This entry is part 20 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

Adapted from the sermon “2011 an FCC Odyssey” presented 1/8/12 by Chuck Foreman a First Christian Church of Phoenix

Jesus left us a lot of great teachings, but only 2 commands:

  1. Love one another (John 13:34-35)
  2. Make disciples of all peoples (Matthew 28:19-20)

Our goals as Christians are to help people find Christ and teach them how to follow Him, obey Him and become real-life disciples to see real change in our lives, churches, communities and nation.

The Great Commission

Jesus instructing His Apostles to make Disciples of all the nations Matthew 28:19-20

A Disciples Life Experience happens in 3 areas:

HEAD – Committed to following Christ (lifestyle): Romans 12:1-2; Luke 9:23;

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ~James 1:22

HEART – Committed to being changed by Christ (attitude): John 13:35; Philippians 2:5-8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23

HANDS – Committed to the Mission of Christ (service/ministry): Matthew 4:19; John 15:8; Corinthians 5:19-20

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…~Ephesians 4:11-12

The Word of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit are the only things that bring real life change to anyone — or any church!

We must be sensitive to God’s leading and open to change when it seems right.

Learning to travel with God and His People is an adventurous journey — like an odyssey. Let’s live 2012 with WWJD? attitude as true Disciples of Christ

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Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark

After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark
This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read Mark 16:1-20 

As in Matthew, the women are comforted with the words, “Don’t be alarmed.” But, Mark tells of the women seeing a “young man dressed in a white robe.” We assume the man is an angel of God because he says clearly that Jesus “has risen! He is not here.”

Then the angel tells them to go tell the disciples and Peter. Peter is singled out specifically because Peter denied that he knew Jesus 3 times.

The next section was written later and it highlights the disbelief as word spread among the disciples that Jesus was alive.

Think about it. If someone tells you that a person who you saw die was alive your first reaction would be – yeah, right, shake your head and walk away thinking they were insane.

First the women tell the men and they don’t believe. Then Jesus appears to two of the disciples who were walking in the country. The two believe, but when they tell the others, they get the same reaction – disbelief.

Then when all the eleven are together at a meal, Jesus appears to them and He scolds them for not believing.

Jesus gives them the same instructions – “go into the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Do not discriminate. Everybody is to know the good news of God’s love, of salvation and that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Jesus tells them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That’s a promise.

Then they saw Jesus ascend into heaven. He sits at the right hand of God.

Jesus said, “I am going there [Heaven] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)

To be sure that you have a reservation in heaven, click here. 
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Twitter: @wwjdrevival

Check out these other great blogs:

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar