Tag Archives: religion

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 

The Visit of the Magi cont.

The Visit of the Magi cont.
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christmas

In the previous posting, we covered the beginning of the story of the 3 Kings’ visit to find Jesus. So we continue with the excerpt from the Christmas Eve message by Chuck Foreman at First Christian Church of Phoenix:

Unintended Destination

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. ~Matthew 2:10-11a

“…and they came into the house…” Wait a minute—I thought Jesus was born in a stable? He was, but contrary to tradition, these Eastern Astronomers showed up some time after Jesus was born. But even a house in little Bethlehem Town that a lowly carpenter could afford was not exactly where they expected to find this new king. If you were looking for a king, where would you go? That’s what these guys thought too. That’s why they went to Jerusalem first—to the king’s palace…. Bethlehem was definitely not their intended destination!

A lot of us are like these Wise Men. We’ve been looking for, hoping for a palace, but we’ve wound up at a house in Podunk Bethlehem, or worse yet, a stable. Things haven’t worked out so far for us in life like we had hoped—in the pursuit of our dreams, our jobs, our marriages, our relationships. God has kind of let us down, we think.

See, God wasn’t in the palace. In fact, you’ll rarely find him there. He was in the stable—and he always has been! People, Jesus Christ, Emmanuel—“God with us” came to us in the most humble, demeaning way imaginable! You’ll find him in the stable, in the humble house. That’s the whole point of the Incarnation—The Word becoming flesh! What Jesus wants you to understand is that He gets down on your level. He meets you in your problems, in your crushed dreams, and in the challenges of life like no one else. When you’re willing to meet him there, he can change your life, like he’s able to do in no other place!

He’s not in the palace. He’s in the stable. He always has been. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know him there—just as he is, just as you are.

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.~Matthew 2:11b

The Magi - the first worshipers of ChristUnexpected Worshippers

Do you realize that this is the 1st recorded incident of anyone actually worshipping Jesus? He was still a baby boy. These men were foreigners, probably not too well received in Jewish territory by anyone but Jesus and his parents. They weren’t familiar with the ways of God or His People. They were likely idol worshippers, but they were able to recognize God when there wasn’t anyone or anything else in the way. And there He was—having humbled himself and become flesh—one of us; Emmanuel—God with us!

And did you notice that they bowed down to worship him? When was the last any of us did that? Do we even know what it is to worship anymore? They bowed down and presented him with treasures! Could it be that it might take some pagans like them to teach us how to worship our own God? I think Matthew thought so.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.~Matthew 2:12

Get back home another way…

They couldn’t get back home the same way they had come. They knew what Herod had up his sleeve. They had to go home another way.

We’ve been talking about Going Home for Christmas lately here at FCC—home to God. Too often in life we seem to move away from God instead of toward Him. If you’ve drifted away from God, you’re not going to get back home to Him the same way you’ve come. You have to take a different route.

The Story of Christmas is about the God of the universe—Creator of the stars & the angels who announced the birth of His Son—Revealer of His cosmic plan even to pagans. He left His throne in heaven to be born in a stable, people! He wants you to get the significance of that!

And he wants to meet you, as He really is, right where you are.

Come home; come back to GOD this Christmas. I think He’s been waiting just for you. AMEN! [Right on!]

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Check out 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

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Who is God?

Who is God?
This entry is part 8 of 21 in the series Christianity

Last Sunday’s Our Daily Bread (Feb. 13) was so perfect that I want to republish it here.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations.” (Ps. 46:10). 

These words from a song sung long ago at the temple in Jerusalem remind us of one of our main tasks—worshiping our awesome God.

One way to do that is to [think about] His many attributes. Exalt God, for He is faithful, eternal, all-knowing, just, unchangeable, gracious, holy, merciful, longsuffering, impartial, and infinite. Our God is perfect.

Exalt God also by realizing that He is all-powerful, almighty, personal, righteous, unsearchable, wise, triune, accessible, self-existent, glorious, and compassionate.

Another way to worship God is to contemplate His names. Exalt God, for He is Creator. He is Love. He is Redeemer. He is Shepherd. He is Savior, Lord, and Father. He is Judge. He is Comforter. He is Teacher. He is I AM. Our God is the Mighty One.

Dwell on His identity. God is our shield. Our stronghold. Our light. Our strength. Our sustainer. Our rescuer. Our fortress.

[Ponder] God’s attributes. Contemplate His names. Dwell on His identity. Adore Him. Respect Him. Honor Him. Love Him. Exalt Him. Use the rest of your life getting ready to worship our awesome God forever.

O worship the King,  

All glorious above,

And gratefully sing

His power and His love. —Grant

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. —Psalm 150:6

God Bless,
Giselle
Soli Deo Gloria
www.giselleaguiar.com/wwjd