Are you a Cultural Christian?

What is a “Cultural Christian”?

A Cultural Christian is someone who may be born again, believes Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, may have been baptized by immersion, yet still accepts, lives in sin and/or condones what the current culture accepts as proper, OK, passable, not a sin — knowing that it’s against God’s will and law and does nothing about it.

It’s like you have one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in the world.

The problem with that is that once you become a born-again believer, you are a Citizen of Heaven and you cannot continue being a citizen of world.

I was a cultural Christian for many years. Of course, I knew my ticket to heaven was secure, but I thought I could continue to do some of the things that I did before and it was OK. It’s wasn’t. I was in a relationship with an unbeliever and after each “encounter” I had this guilty feeling. That was the Holy Spirit inside of me convicting me – telling me that what I was doing was disappointing God. It was against his rules for living a righteous, Christ-like life.

I was a liberal Democrat. I had the attitude of “to each his own” – but condoning and accepting bad behavior is also against God’s will. Now, I’m a Christian Conservative and what’s happening in our country and the world makes me angry. Actually, I’m incensed and disgusted! I don’t recognize America any more – I know our Founding Fathers wouldn’t either. 

A Cultural Christian thinks same-sex marriage is OK. In God’s eyes it is NOT so it shouldn’t be so in your eyes.

A Cultural Christian thinks abortion is OK. It is not in God’s eyes – it’s the murder of innocent lives. It doesn’t make sense that when a pregnant woman is murdered it’s two counts of murder, yet society condones the murder of innocent babies like they were trash.

Get the point?

As a Christian, you MUST read the Bible DAILY! 

With so many Bible apps & websites, there really isn’t any valid excuse not to. Check these out:

You must attend and get involved in a bible-based church.

“Bible-based” is the relevant keyword here. Make sure the church leaders and pastors don’t pick and choose what Bible verses to teach and ignore the ones that God needs believers to hear. Strive to seek the truth.

Live a WWJD? life.

Stop and think before reacting. Say to yourself, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” “How would Jesus handle this issue?” What would Jesus say in response?” “Would Jesus watch this show?” “Is God smiling or is He disappointed in me and my behavior?”

Connect with Christians on the social media sites.

Follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their blogs, like them on Facebook. You become like those you hang out with. Striving to be Christ-like is not easy. But it helps when you get together with other committed Christians and talk about the latest news, how you feel and how your friends feel about the issues.

This world is not all there is – Thanks to Jesus!

When I look around at this sin-sick world that I live in, I thank the Lord Jesus that this is not all there is. That I have a HOPE like no other in Christ of an eternal life in a Paradise called Heaven. I like reading Revelation 21.

Here are a few of my favorite passages from that chapter:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared…I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Jesus meeting believer at the gates of heavenAnd the one sitting on the throne [Jesus] said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:1, 3-8

You can take the wide gate just to be popular and accepted into today’s society and culture or you can truly live the Christian life and enter Heaven through the narrow gate:

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it…”~Matthew 7:13-14

 It’s Your Choice.

Here’s a hint: Jesus wins in the end! Don’t you want to be on HIS Side? Click here to get to know Christ personally – it is about a personal relationship, not about religion.

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

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Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

God’s Story—Our Story: The Reign of Christ—Now and Forever

Sermon by Chuck Foreman, Teaching/Missions Pastor
First Christian Church—November 11, 2012

Scriptures: Revelation 1-5; 19-22; Romans 8; 1 Thessalonians 4-5;
I Peter 2:9-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Heaven can wait, Government can save us…

SALVATION & POLITICS

We’ve bought into an idea about “salvation” that is more like fire insurance than Biblical teaching. “Just give me that ticket out of hell and into heaven, and we’re good.” That kind of thinking doesn’t cause us to do anything about the combustible material in our lives that will probably burn our house down.

We think we’re heaven bound, but that we’re still trapped in an ugly, fallen world, in which we have to scrape and claw to get what WE want. We think all we really need is a government that will make it all happen for us.
Unfortunately when we think like that, there’s nothing about us or our ideas that ever changes anything or makes a difference in this world.

Our idea of heaven is more like an Escape Route or a Safe House, not a place where Christ reigns and gives us hope for restoring God’s will & reign on earth. And we think that government ought to make things better, and we hope that it will, so we whine & moan when it doesn’t, instead of rolling up our own sleeves.

The symbol for King in Chineese

The symbol for King in Chineese

What if we’ve missed something? What if what God really wants to do is to accomplish something revolutionary in us, thru us, among us—here, now— as we establish His Kingdom here, while we wait for the return of our King?

Illustration: Chinese character—“King” 3 horizontal lines representing heaven, man and earth, connected by a vertical line representing the one vested w/ power between heaven and earth to rule uprightly over man.

God’s Story is Our Story: Let’s review what he’s been up to and where he’s taking us…

Creation (Genesis 1-2)

The Fall of Man (Genesis 3)

A New Nation—Israel—The People of God (Genesis 12:2-3)

Israel’s Failure—Matthew 23:37-38

The Messiah—Immanuel (“God with us”—Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

The New Israel—The Church—The New People of God (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42-48)

The transformation of the politics of Paul, James and Peter…
Galatians 3:28-29 (Revolutionary for Paul!)
Acts 15:16-18 (James quotes Amos 9:11-12)
Ephesians 2:10; 3:6-11, 14, 21 (God’s mystery made known thru the Church as we do the good works we were re-created to do!)
I Timothy 2:1-4 (Pray for kings so we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, holy lives—this is ultimately what will influence people to be saved.)
I Peter 2:9-17 (The New Order)

John’s Revelation…
Revelation 1-5: Message to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor—God is going to restore all things to the way they were. You’re in on it—it matters how you live! So get your act together!

Revelation 6-18: The Cosmic Battle between God and Satan over the Church

Revelation 19: Victory! The Defeat of the Beast/Babylon/The Prostitute (Rome), The Wedding of the Lamb

Revelation 20: Satan’s Doom & the Judgment of Mankind

Revelation 21-22: The Final Act—The Reign of Christ Fully, Finally Realized

Revelation 21:1-5 God with us—Out with the old, in with the new!
(This is where we place our hope, not in the White House, not in the Stock Market!)
Revelation 21:9-10 The New Jerusalem, The Church coming down from heaven

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Let’s go meet our King!

Revelation 22:1-3a Eden Restored

Romans 8:18-25 The Redemption of Creation

Revelation 22:3b-5 We will reign with him forever!

Jesus is Coming—perhaps soon.

Listen to his final words: Revelation 22:7 Revelation 22:12

Jesus is coming someday. On that day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord. Are you ready? You’ll either do it willingly or not, but you will bow. Are you ready?

The question is not, Is Jesus King?. He’s King alright. The question is, Is he king of your life?

You can make him King of your life today. There’s a lot of joyful work to do in His Kingdom, as we eagerly, patiently prepare for his will to ultimately be done and his kingdom to finally come “on earth—as it is in heaven.”

Right On!

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The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today

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 

Using Social Media to Evangelize

Marketing for Jesus!

Jesus commanded us to do it!

“…Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”~Matthew 28: 19-20

Back then it wasn’t easy. The disciples had to do a lot of walking and letter writing.

Today, we have the Internet.

social media icons

Christians must embrace social media to further God’s Kingdom.

We have at our fingertips the most incredible medium for evangelizing, for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, not just in our neighborhoods, but all over the world! The Televangelists had the right idea when they embraced the medium of television to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Now everyone that wants it has access to the Internet at home, at work, on their cell phones or iPads. The new phenomenon is Social Media and we as Christian need to embrace it and take advantage of it to further God’s Kingdom.

Right now, Satan has control of the world and is also using Social Media to tempt, attack, create doubt, and deceive. We need to fight back! And we can ride the coattails of the Social Media Revolution.

Watch this video:

 

Think of it as the parable of the sower…Matthew 13: 1-23

Understanding the last passage is crucial:

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~Matthew 13:23

Jesus's Great CommissionYou never know when or if that seed will be planted and when or if later on, someone in their lives will help them come to Christ.

You must not discriminate.

I got into a discussion with @GodlessAtheist on Twitter not too long ago. He’ll post to the #TeamJesus hashtag just to get our goat. In our back and forth conversation, he was asking questions – and that’s what’s important. And I replied with scripture. Today he wrote something like “football is better than religion,” then I replied to him with a video from the 700 Club (CBN.org) featuring the players of the Super Bowl talking about how Christ is foremost in their lives.

We have the Armor of God and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17) – which is the only offensive piece of the armor. We have Truth on our side and we must speak the Truth and spread the Truth, using the FREE tools called Social Media.

Social Media tools are free and easy to use and can be very power if you know how to use them properly.

“But I have no time!” 

I bet you said that when emails came out. What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you sit in front of your computer? Check email. And you probably do that a few times a day. Well, monitoring social media needs to be added to your schedule. Just 15-30 minutes a day and blogging once a week. There are some great tools to help you automate and schedule postings to save time.

I can show you how to easy it is to use Social Media to evangelize and it’s not just for pastors! Any Christian can do this!

Visit my Social Media Marketing Tips Blog

 

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
Christian, Award-Winning Author

Are You Ready to Evangelize?

PreacherAs a young Christian (and I have to admit, my Christian growth journey has been very long), I didn’t understand evangelism. My impressions of evangelists were:

1. TV evangelists yelling at me from a pulpit in front of a congregation of thousands of people.

2. The folks knocking door to door asking, “Do you know if you’re going to heaven?”

I didn’t know that as a Christian, Jesus asked each and every one of His believers, who were now disciples also, to:

Jesus's Great Commission

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20

Ok, so we know what we have to do. How?

Scenario:

You get on a plane for 2-3 flight. You sit down and introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. He sees the cross around your neck and immediately says, “I’m an atheist.”

Now, if you’re a pastor, you probably know how to handle this, but for the average Christian, our first thought would be to get on the defensive. Start defending God and Jesus and rattling about how we’ve been saved and the joy we have, etc.

Not the right strategy.

The Armor of GodRemember the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-30? We have:

  1. The belt of Truth
  2. The breastplate of Righteousness
  3. The shoes of the Gospel of Peace
  4. The shield of Faith
  5. The helmet of Salvation

and lastly, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Reading the Bible

Owning a Bible is no good if you don’t read it!

Do you realize that the sword is the only offensive weapon? Everything else is defensive – to protect you. The sword is meant to thrust to attack.

The only way to arm yourself is to READ THE BIBLE. And not just cover to cover. But methodically.

If you want to be prepared to converse with an atheist whether it be on a plane or on Twitter, you must be armed with the undeniable Truth of God’s Word. Take some time each day to read it. The best time is in the morning when your mind is fresh. Hey, read it in the bathroom. God has no rules as where you have to be when you read it! If you need a guide, use one or more of the millions of devotionals out there. One of my favorites is Our Daily Bread. It’s online or you can probably pick it up at your church.

So how do you converse with the atheist on the plane when he proudly informes you that he doesn’t believe there is a God? Here’s your reply:

“Really, why’s that?”

Then shut up and listen to his story. (Remember, you’ve got a couple of hours.) Then and only then, you reply with, “Well, did you know that Jesus said,…’Truly I tell you….'”

 

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

I you liked 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.

 

Do not Fear Death!

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” ~1 Corinthians 15:55

Take care of your life; and the Lord will take care of your death ~George Whitefield

Jesus Resurrection

Jesus conquered death so we wouldn’t have to fear it.

Jesus didn’t spend much time worry about His death. Even as the Gospel story progresses and Jesus knows that His hour is approaching, He continues His mission in life. For each of us, God has a day set aside for us to face death. Why then should we worry? Until that day, let’s just spend our time doing what He did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian

I love Joyce Meyer – she tells it like it is and she’s not ashamed to say it.

“Sitting in church each Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian just like sitting in your garage doesn’t make you a car.” ~ Joyce Meyer (paraphrased)

I couldn’t have said it any clearer. It’s belief in Christ that makes you a Christian and what you do with your life after you become a believer.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”~Acts 2:38-40

Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they claimed to be religious yet they didn’t show it in their daily lives. (Matthew 23:13-33)

Aren’t Christians seen as hypocrites today? Yes. And I’ve met some in my adult life. I knew a man who went to church regularly and volunteered to help and fix things, but he’d talk behind people’s back (gossip).

There was a devout lady who would openly judge other people. And then there are those who would walk by someone who needs help ignoring the person. Oh, we (and I include myself) do that every day.

You must step back and say to yourself, “Am I really a Christian?” If you have doubts, you need to pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely and solidify your relationship with Jesus Christ:

Lord Jesus, I need You to guide my life. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Baptism
Christ warnings

God Bless,
Giselle Aguiar
Soli Deo Gloria
www.giselleaguiar.com
Follow Giselle on Twitter