Counterfeit Gospels

We’re fine with the idea of God being our saviour, but we’re not always keen on the notion of letting Him transform every area of our lives. Though many people take on an other god to be their saviour, not understanding that it was that man his heavenly Father Who allowed His only begotten son to be on this world to be a saviour for mankind, between all those who tried to safe people in their lives.

Many persons may find somebody who was there to be a saviour in their life,was it a parent, a teacher, a close friend or sometimes somebody they even did not know. So many people were saved from death by drowning, or by death by a car accident or house-fire by one of their fellow citizens. They had an other human saviour than the two saviours the Bible mentions.

English: The Mokvi Four Gospels 1300 Genealogy...

The Mokvi Four Gospels 1300 Genealogy of Christ (part) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Gospels tell the story of the promise of the Most High Saviour which gave His Word for a saviour who became in the flesh some two thousand years ago. Without the Most High Saviour the other Saviour, the man “with an other Name” would not have been possible.

In Christendom there are still lots of people who do not realise the value of that human saviour. They think it is impossible for a human being to do the Will of God. They do not want to see that in history there was rally a man who managed to do not his will but the will of his heavenly Father. That man was the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua, better known today as Jesus Christ. It is about him that the Gospels and the letters of his disciples talk and let people see how that simple man was very special in his acts, his deeds and his words. That man was so inspired by the Words of his heavenly Father that he wanted others to know them very well and that they too would come to let others know those Words of the Only One True God, the God of Abraham and the God of Adam.

That man spoken of in the Gospels, Acts of apostles and letters of the apostles revealed those Words of his heavenly Father, to whom he often prayed and whom he praised like no other. One of the tasks Jesus gave was to share the love of God with others and to bring them the Gospel of the Good News.

We often emphasize sharing the gospel, but do we consider the reality of the outcome?

The apostle Paul poses this question also to the immigrant Gauls from Thrace, who gathered in the ecclesia (or church) in Galatia. For them he does not open his letter with a prayer of thanksgiving for the members of the community. In his correspondence with the Galatians, he skips the niceties and opts for a biting remark, signalling that something is drastically wrong.

“6  I am astonished that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you into the grace of Christ to a different gospel: 7 Which is not really not a gospel; but some who want to pervert the gospel of Christ are troubling you. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any gospel to you other than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have told you before, I tell you again, If anyone preaches any gospel to you other than the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9 KJV_2011)

There had been persons who were ready to be saviours for the many people of Galatia. Each member of the ecclesia was called by some one by the grace of Christ, but awfully enough many where also called  to a different gospel, not that there is a different gospel, except there are some who are disturbing them and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.

Still today we do find a travesty of the gospel of Christ in many church denominations. They made Jesus into their god and made human teachings their guide instead of heaving the infallible Word of God, the Bible, giving them guidance.

Many are trying to pervert the genuine good news of the Messiah, saying he could not do what he did when he was not the Creator himself. They minimise the act of his following the Will of God and ridicule his sacrificial offering, because God as an eternal Spirit can not die.

As a devout Jew, Paul at first also did not know very well the role of Jesus and also had misunderstood his function. Therefore he wanted protect the people from any false teaching which could dishonour the Only One True God. After he was confronted with heavenly voices he came to see the real Jesus and understand the Work of God. After Paul had seen the light he too knew the importance to bring forth the Good News that Jesus preached. He himself had also preached the gospel to the Galatians, so no wonder he was surprised they preferred to listen to false teachers who had infiltrated the community.

Instead of holding to the true teaching or even testing these teachers’ claims against the gospel message, the Galatians adopted a new, counterfeit gospel. Many of them thought they had to become Jews or had to take on a sort of Jewish faith which included the Jewish or the Roman or the Greek traditions or all those traditions which were going on at that time.
Paul interrogates the Galatians, who may have been affected by the teaching of people who wanted them to adopt Jewish legal requirements, asking, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2–3).

The simple gospel had been cluttered by attempts to remain obedient to the law. The believers were no longer living in the Spirit. And in other communities there where also false teachers giving other functions to Christ and making his teachings interwoven with Greek thought.

Paul his warnings about false teachers is not just about the teachings of one subject, be it Jewish teaching or other. In the acts of the apostles we hear the warning for such false teachings which entered already very soon the community of followers of Christ. Those false teachings would even bring the church into a serious schism in 325 when the Roman emperor managed to get his will , having Greek-Roman culture defining the new state religion: Christendom.

From the 4° century there were not only some who were disturbing the real followers of Christ and who wanted to distort the gospel of Christ, the majority of the Christian community got poisoned by a teaching which was called to be a doctrine to be taken or otherwise you would become excluded of the community. Wanting to belong to the community the majority of people preferred to choose for the security to belong to the community of man instead of being an outsider with other ideas and not able to enjoy the festivals and pagan festivals or going to meet with a very small community of real believers.

Too many people have chosen the easy way, though Christ warned that following him would not be easy. They choose following the world, being of the world, instead of being of God, following His son and God His will.

Those who preach have to warn people for that dilemma. The listeners as well as the preacher do have to make a choice. either they can enjoy the human teachings or go for the heavenly (or God given) teachings and stick to the Words of the Bible instead of the words of so called theologians.

Do we think of becoming a Christian — getting saved — as the end of the journey?

When people go out to preach the Word of God and preach the Gospel of Christ, they should teach those things which Jesus Christ believed in and taught, like the being of One God, the coming of the end-times, the coming of a resurrection of the dead, the coming of the Kingdom of God, and should show the world how Christ made it possible that the Grace of God comes to each of us, though we are all sinners, we all can be saved by the offer, the ransom of Christ Jesus, the man from Nazareth.

The reality of the gospel should affect all areas of our lives, which can now be used to give God the glory. Jesus did not wanted to be worshipped, and worshipped himself the only One God. So should we.

"Son of man" appears 25 times in Luk...

“Son of man” appears 25 times in Luke, a copy (c. 800) shown here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should focus on the son of God but may not be blinded by him and get to place him on a higher pied de stall he deserves.

Our entire lives — our thought processes, our ideals and theologies, our relationships — should reflect Christ and be shaped by the Spirit. The gospel isn’t for one moment. It’s going to transform everything.

We should let the words of the Gospel mould us and have ourselves transformed by it.

Have you, without realizing it, turned from the gospel? What area of your life needs to be transformed?

 

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Please do also find some background reading:

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. Attributes to God, titles ascribed to Him or Names given to JHWH, the God of gods.
  3. God of gods.
  4. Only one God
  5. God is one
  6. God of gods
  7. The Trinity – the Truth
  8. Jesus Messiah
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #10 Coming down spirit or flesh seed of Eve
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #17 Adam, Eve, Mary and Christianity’s central figure
  12. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  13. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  15. Wishing to do the will of God
  16. God’s promises
  17. Bible, Word of God, inspired and infallible
  18. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  19. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  20. Because men choose to go their own way
  21. Listening and Praying to the Father
  22. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  23. Joining for a new year in the assurance to be bought with a price
  24. The Cares of Life
  25. “Unnoticed”
  26. Love and forgive this friday
  27. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  28. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  29. Something Most False Christians Have In Common
  30. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  31. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships

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  • Dig for Friday the 7th of November…..check out the results of a lack of preaching of the true Word of God…..1 Timothy 1 v 5 (heilanword.wordpress.com)
    Hypocrisy and lack of love is an accusation that I’ve often heard spoken against the church in general and against individual churches in particular.

    Paul tells us why this could be true.

    He says it is because of a lack of preaching of the true Word of God (1 Timothy 1 v 5).

    In verse 3 Paul exhorts Timothy to speak out against people teaching a heretical message and not the true Gospel.

    He is telling Timothy to ensure that the true Gospel is preached, the Gospel of grace, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    If he adheres to this i.e. ensures that the true Word of God is preached, he will see love (charity) displayed and will see a lack of hypocrisy (1 Timothy 1 v 5).

    The opposite of teaching the Gospel of grace is teaching the law (1 Timothy 1 v 6 and 7), and from the previous verses we can see a danger of this.

    Teaching law (or not the true Gospel for new covenant believers) will results in hypocrisy and a lack of love; that is a powerful truth.

    Paul commands Timothy to ensure that no other doctrine, other than the grace of Jesus, is preached in the church.

  • Don’t Be Ashamed (kristiankennedy.wordpress.com)
    Are you afraid or ashamed to share the message of Jesus Christ? As believers, we are to share the message of the Gospel and the love of our Heavenly Father. Here is a verse that warns us against being ashamed of the Gospel:
  • Jesus’ life is a fact of history (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    The Four Gospels tell the facts of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection. They are not made-up fables like the insane adventures of the Greek gods. No, the powerful miracles the apostles describe actually happened! Peter, John and Matthew were eye-witnesses to all this.

    In addition, tens of thousands of people from one end of Israel to the other had met Jesus and seen His miracles. As Paul pointed out, “This thing was not done on a corner” (Acts 26:26).

    My dear friends, make no mistake: the Four Gospels are accurate historical reports. Many people are making huge efforts trying to dismiss the Bible and telling people that miracles are things of the past. But we have the Bible that declares

  • The Simple Gospel of Jesus Christ (yelobrd777.com)
    God the Father sent His son to die for us. We now have Christ living His life through us. He loves us beyond condition. “Dad ain’t mad” as Ken says at the station. We simply believe it, live it and surrender to it.

    It is not complicated. No frills, no fund raising commitment card, no guilt and condemnation. Over the years I have heard time and time again about how a song or short one minute moment of encouragement has gotten someone through a trying day…or hour.

  • Minimizing the Cross of Jesus Christ (dailybibleplan.com)
    Paul was very concerned about the Galatians.  The Galatians had started to believe the Judaizers who preached that Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians.  They had started to impose Jewish legalism stating that works could earn God’s favor.  This false gospel minimized the importance of the death of Jesus Christ by implying that justification (salvation) could be gained through works.
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    When a person thinks that “living right” can secure salvation, that person is essentially saying that Jesus did not have to die, but we know that Jesus opened the door to salvation for us.  When it comes to eternal life, Christ is the only key that fits that lock.
  • The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life” (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
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How to Choose a Bible for Preaching

Today’s guest post is by Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com. Randy reviews Bibles in all price ranges to help people make the best choice for their budget. His mission is to promote Bible reading and study, and to share quality publishing.

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of fie...

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of field. Not quite focusing on the extremely fine Bible paper used, but it should help get the point across. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never been one to just pick a Bible at random. A Bible has to suit a specific purpose. It has to meet certain needs.

You don’t just pick any bowling ball, bat, glove, club, bow, shoe, tire, car wax, gasoline, car, house, suit, television, DVD player, or computer when you have a specific job to do. You choose them for your specific need or purpose.

A Bible is no different. Sure, you can preach from any Bible you can get your hands on. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better choice for your purpose—one that will make you a more effective preacher.

Answering practical questions can help you determine what kind of Bible to use:

Do you need something you can read from while it lays on the pulpit?

Do you want to hold it and walk around?

Do you need to hold it in one hand while you hold a microphone in the other?

Do you need room for notes?

Do you need a modern translation?

Do you need clear section headings?

Do you need alternate translations?

Do you need a verse-by-verse format?

Do you need your sermons outlined beside the text?

Do you need large print?

Every preacher I know will answer those questions differently—because we all have different needs. The best Bible for me won’t necessarily be the best Bible for you. With the amazing number of choices we have today, how do we decide?

What you don’t need

While preachers do need tools for study and sermon prep, they don’t necessarily need those tools in the Bible they preach from. Some of these features get in the way of the text. They can make the text small and the Bible large. You have enough to worry about when you’re preaching. Don’t add to that worry with a Bible that’s awkwardly large or text that’s awkwardly small.

Just because a Bible has amazing features doesn’t mean it’s a good Bible to preach from.

english-standard-version

 

Why you need multiple Bibles

Not every Bible does everything equally well. It’s why you own more than one pair of shoes. The shoes you wear to funerals aren’t the same shoes you wear for running and hiking.

I recommend having different Bibles for different purposes. It’s possible to use just one Bible for everything, but you’ve heard the saying: “Jack of all trades and master of none.”

What you want inside

You have to decide how much and what kind of information you need in your Bible.

Do you want complete sermon outlines?

Do you want chain references?

Do you just want the text?

Do you want someone else’s commentary?

Do you need book introductions?

Regardless of what tools a Bible contains, the most important thing is the text. You will have to decide what else you need. Remember—this is a Bible for preaching, not for biblical scholarship.

Where you put it

Consider how and where the Bible will be used. Do you preach in more than one location?

Pulpit

English: A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard...

A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard Road Presbyterian Church in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pulpits come in all sizes and angles. Some will have room for a large Bible and a notebook and others only have enough room for a small Bible. Some churches use music stands for pulpits. Laying the Bible on the pulpit keeps your hands free. This is more important if you’re holding a microphone.

Larger print makes it easier to see from a distance. Some like to use larger print so they can see it from a few feet away.

A disadvantage to not carrying it around with you as you move around the room is you have to go back to the pulpit to read.

Hand

Holding your Bible when reading has the advantage of moving around without having to go back to the pulpit to read. A disadvantage is that you have to go back to the pulpit to read your notes if they’re not in your Bible.

To preach with a Bible in hand, the Bible needs to be easy to handle.

How you preach

How do you prefer to organize your notes? Do you tuck them in your Bible, a notebook, or a separate page?

If you’re preaching without a notebook or separate outline, you’ll want room for notes. If you use a notebook, you should consider how you’ll handle it during your sermon. If you preach from a page, the page can lay next to your Bible or even be a loose sheet that you move from page to page.

Getting the right size

The ideal Bible is compact enough to handle and large enough to read. It might even have some room to write notes. In my experience, most people prefer ultrathin large print or personal size large print.

Larger Bibles either have more information in them or larger print. If the Bible is only used on a large pulpit, then you won’t have to worry about the size of the Bible. However, large pages can be awkward to turn.

If you carry your Bible around to read from, then a large Bible will get heavy after a while. It might not feel heavy to you when you first pick it up—after all, it’s only four pounds. But after about 20 minutes of holding a four-pound Bible, your mind might not be on your message.

Small Bibles are great for carrying, but they usually have small text. The more extra content they have, the smaller the text.

Many preachers prefer a personal-sized Bible with large print for preaching. They’re easy to carry and have readable text.

If you’re holding a microphone and a Bible while you’re preaching, it’s essential to have a Bible that is easy to hold in one hand.

Many preachers like to use an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet folded in half for their notes. They want this folded sheet to fit perfectly within the Bible when it’s closed. This means the pages need to be larger than 8.5″ x 5.5″.

Many people I’ve worked with consider the optimum size to be around 9″ x 6″ x 1.5″ for laying on the pulpit and around 8″ x 5″ x 1.5″ for holding in the hand.

Finding your place

A thumb index is helpful for turning to a book quickly. Most thumb indexes have three books per tab. This gets you in the ballpark, but you still have to turn pages until you find the book. Some indexes, such as the one found in the Cambridge Concord, have one book per tab for the most popular books.

An alternative is adding your own tabs. The advantage of tabs is there is one tab per book so you can turn directly to the book you want. A disadvantage to tabs is they can tear the page with use.

Another alternative is marking the edges of the pages or using sticky notes.

Keeping it open

Laying flat is a must for a preaching Bible. It’s frustrating to open to your text just to have your Bible close on you when you move your hand away.

Sewn bindings allow the Bible to lay open and stay open. Some that are edge lined might take some breaking in but they will lay flat at Genesis 1:1.

A Bible that you have to hold open to preach from will work against you and not for you. This can be especially difficult if you’re holding a mic in one hand and the Bible in the other.

One alternative is to lay something across your pages to help hold it open while it lays on the pulpit. I don’t recommend this practice as you will constantly be moving and shifting things around in order to turn pages and this will interrupt your train of thought.

To really be useful it needs to lay flat on its own.

Holding the Bible

Some like to fold their Bible in half so they only have to deal with half the width. Others like to roll it up like a newspaper. This way they can hold it in one hand with relative ease. This is especially helpful when the wind is blowing. Sewn bindings are a must for holding up to this type of abuse.

Layout

The layout is how the text and information is presented on the page. There are two major choices for modern Bibles: paragraph and verse by verse.

Paragraph

Paragraph format sets the text in paragraphs, much like a novel. Poetry is usually set to verse format and sometimes Old Testament quotes are in an offset text. Paragraph format is easier for reading and is great for keeping things in context. However, verse numbers are usually superscript, which can make finding specific verses difficult during a sermon. Some paragraphs are also wider, which can make reading from them a little difficult for those with bifocals.

Verse by verse

With a verse-by-verse layout, each verse begins on a new line. This is easier for finding specific verses quickly. Many preachers prefer to preach from verse-by-verse format as verses in paragraphs might take extra time to find.

Column width

Français : Bible Chouraqui.

Bible Chouraqui. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Text that is presented in two columns usually have narrow columns that are narrower than text presented in a single column. This will affect readability—especially if you wear bifocals. You might have to move your head from side to side to read single-column layouts. Also, if the column is too wide it might be difficult to find which line to read next. This is especially true if you’re reading at an angle.

Section headings

Section headings are short descriptions of the passage that follows, usually covering a paragraph or two. They are great for scanning the pages quickly. They help break up the text into shorter, readable sections. I find this visually appealing as it gives the page more white space.

I’ve added to a sermon on the fly because a section heading caught my eye. I’ve also used them to find something that I kind of knew where it was but I needed a little help finding it as I was scanning the page.

One problem with section headings is that preachers tend to stop at the end of a section. Sometimes you will want to continue on. It’s up to your text and topic to decided, but don’t let section headings do the deciding for you. They can also be distracting and can include theological bias.

Chapter summaries

Rather than having section headings within the text, some Bibles, particularly KJVs, have chapter summaries at the beginning of every chapter. They are essentially the same as section headings, they’re just not placed within the text.

The advantage of chapter summaries over section headings is they don’t break up your text. This helps keep passages together and can help keep them in context. The disadvantage is they can be harder to use because they’re not placed on the page with the text they correlate to. They’re less distracting but can contain the same theological bias.

Running header

Many KJVs, such as the Concord, have page summaries at the top of the page. These can be used to scan the pages quickly. You can even mark them to find the pages and topics with less effort.

Choosing the print

The quality of the print makes a big difference on how easy the text is to see. Is it large or small, faint or bold? We all have different needs for font size and boldness and our needs might change with age.

Boldness

Lighting varies and you will need a font you can see easily. A font that isn’t bold enough will increase eye fatigue. Higher contrast reduces eye strain. Font size for preaching is usually larger than font size for study.

Font size

There are two numbers to be aware of for font size. The first is the size of the font itself and the second is the leading—the size of the font plus the space between the lines of text.

For example, a 10-point font with one point between the lines would have an 11-point leading. It would be described as 10/11. Sometimes only the size of the leading is given.

This is why two Bibles can have the same size font but one is called an 8-point and the other is called a 9-point. They are both 8/9.

Line matching

Text that lines up to the text on the other side of the page improves readability. Thinner paper that has line matching looks better than thicker paper that does not.

Italics

Some Bibles have italics for supplied words. Many preachers like to point out when a word was not in the original text.

faithlife-study-bible (1)

Lectern Bibles

Lectern Bibles have giant print and are large. They often span 24” when opened. This might not leave room for a notebook. They usually have great paper and print quality, but they are very expensive—often $300 or more.

Study Bibles

Study Bibles are big, and the notes can be distracting. It can also be annoying trying to find a verse when one page has 30 verses and the next has two. Another problem is having to flip through 10–20 pages of articles to get to the next verse in the chapter.

Find one that fits you

A preaching Bible is specialized. It doesn’t have to have everything you need for study and day-to-day ministry.

Look for the balance between the size of the Bible and the size of the text that works for you.

Your Bible doesn’t have to do everything. It just needs to do one thing and do it well.

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Additional reading:

  1. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  2. What English Bible do you use?
  3. Words to push and pull
  4. Appointed to be read
  5. Good or bad preacher
  6. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  7. Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name
  8. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  10. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  11. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  12. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  13. The Most Reliable English Bible
  14. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  15. The Divine name of the Creator
  16. Use of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. The NIV and the Name of God
  21. New American Bible Revised Edition
  22. Bible translated into Jamaican Creole Patois
  23. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  24. Bibletranslation in Lingala
  25. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  26. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora

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  • The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is (memoirandremains.wordpress.com)
    Jonathan Edwards is famous for many things, among them is his statement about the necessity of the heart being moved during the preaching of the word of God:

    The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered….Preaching, in other words, must first of all touch the affections” (Jonathan Edwards, A Life, Marsden), p 282.

  • Florida preacher’s sermon breaks Guinness record at 53 hours, 18 minutes (fellowshiproom.org)
    Did I hear Richard Mansel say he was going to break this record next week during his regular sermon? 😉
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    Much preaching today does not attempt to relate the Old Testament to Jesus but to their narcissistic audience: Get rid of the frogs in your life, purge yourself of poverty, find your purpose, live your  dream, reach your po-tential. What they don’t do is expository preaching, that is, preach the Bible, verse by verse and connect it to Jesus.
  • Preaching should be awe-FULL (wheelsms.wordpress.com)
    When a pastor treats the Scriptures as one more academic subject, his sermons will sound dry and boring. When the Bible fails to grip his heart, it will seldom go beyond his listener’s ears, let alone grip their hearts. Such is the theme of pastor Erik Raymond’s insightful post, The Missing Ingredient in Many Sermons.” He compares preaching to cooking a good meal when he says,Like cooking, preaching can become bland. It can fail to have that freshness worthy of the gospel table. There are many reasons why. One could identify a lack of preparation, lack of understanding, poor delivery, and shallowness. We would not disagree that under-cooking the homiletical meal is a problem. But there is something else that can make preaching bland: the deadly reality of not being personally wowed by the subject.
  • What Should I Preach ? (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
    One of the most frequent questions I get especially from new minsters is how do they know what to preach. It can seem daunting at first. A new topic every week for the next several decades of their career. First of all nobody can handle a career’s worth of decisions all at once But I wanted to commit some ideas to paper for those who might find themselves stuck for a sermon topic.
  • Preaching Big Books (biblicalpreaching.net)
    Perhaps you shy away from preaching series from the bigger books in the Bible?  Maybe it would help to think differently about big book series.  There is more than one way to preach a series from a big book (like a major prophet or Acts):
  • Identifying with Bible Characters (biblicalpreaching.net)
    The Bible is full of stories.  Stories are very effective ways to communicate.  When a story begins, people tend to do two things – first, they identify with (or disassociate from) characters, and second, they feel the tension in the story, anticipating the resolution.  So when we preach Bible stories, let’s be sure to help listeners connect with what is going on.
  • Pastor preaches for 53 hours, claims world record (christiantoday.com)
    Pastor Zack Zehnder from The Cross church in Mount Dora preached for 53 hours and 18 minutes, smashing the previous record which was a mere 48 hours and 31 minutes.Zehnder, whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all ministers in the Lutheran Church, undertook the challenge to raise funds for an addiction recovery ministry run by the Hand in Hand charity.

Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

It may be said that Christians seem to fail there where Muslims succeed. In Belgium we could see the Muslim community grow enormously in the last decade. Though we do not see so many preachers on the streets. In certain quarters the Islamic preachers are very actively on the street or in the parks, but in others you can’t see them. It seems a lot of youngsters do find their Islamic teaching on the net but do not find it countered by Christian teachers. Those who do have an idea that there could possibly be one God to be worshipped mostly can find Catholic and evangelical groups teaching trinitarian doctrine. Jehovah Witnesses go from door to door but most people are so much afraid of the groups and of the name Jehovah they really do not want to listen to them or to take some study material from them.

English: took it myself to illustrate open-air...

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people in several western countries stopped listening to the pastors, priests, bishops and those who say they are ‘men of God’ because they saw what happened in the many churches were priest and nuns used young children to please themselves. Lots of people saw that many preachers who did use lots of words to frighten the people, did not bother to do those things they told their flock not to de because they would end up in hell, a place of torment and eternal suffering. In many denomination the pastors or priests make use of the comparatively easiness to convince a man of his sin and then to frighten him for the consequences of that sin.

Guilt is a majority of our spiritual make up.  And it is the substance that leaks out into our fleshly day. {The necessity of the Gospel}

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a guilty conscience many became bewildered, looking for real justifying answers. But the priests or pastors could not deliver them. By that “awakening” of getting conscious he had to do something against his sins, man becomes aware of a need to cleanse himself.  Some might than think

by that means, it is also comparatively easy to convince a man that Jesus is a necessary aspect of this cleansing.

but it does not seem to be so easy and it can not be brought over by staying in the church-walls. The preacher has to get out of those walls and come into the open to tell others what for possibilities there are and how Jesus can be found and is there for all of those who are willing to accept his ransom offer.

We read and hear of people saying that they need the Lord all day long.  Just a cursory look into the Christian announcement by His people will provide a rather overwhelming view of our sense of need.  And how can that be a fault?  All men know of their guilt.  It is a natural outcome that others should hear us speaking of our need for the Lord’s blood in decimating our sins. {The necessity of the Gospel}

Though people want to feel that they are helped and guided. The clerical people demanding from the ordinary human person to become holy, having to keep to all sorts of difficult things, therefore got lots of people stopping to listen to the men of their church because they know they cannot, or are not willing to, reach to the greatest of Christianity.

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

Often, in a man’s frightful plight, he needs a human example.  As the little boy was reported to have said to his mother, “Sometimes I need a Jesus with skin on”. {The Swinging Doors}

Many churches made Jesus into their god and did not want to accept it was a man of flesh and blood who really died for the sins of many. They taught their believers that no man is capable to follow all through God’s commandments; So why bother many say. Many people also came to see that such teaching of a man who was not a man but was a spirit, who in one place says he cannot be tempted and in another place in Scriptures it says he was been tempted by the devil, could not be a real good teaching but only a misleading teaching.  Lots lost faith in their church of the misleading doctrines and found more clarity in the Islam teaching. The big problem is they did never tried to look at other Christian religions who do keep to the biblical Truth. Not many took time to look at the different non-trinitarian groups, because they thought all Christians are the same and do think the same. They also got frightened to look at the other denominations because they were made frightened by their own church who always told them it were heretics and not Christians.

No one willing to come down

Those who left the dogmatic Christian groups, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, did not encounter on their path to other non-doctrinal Christians people who were confessing they only believed in Only One God. None of those non-trintiarians thought it necessary to come to them. Most of them who say they have the truth and are not a Jehovah Witness do not go away from their position in their church or ecclesia.

None will venture to ascend their hill.

They remain in their known group and are willing to give exhortations in their ecclesia, but to go out on the streets or to go to teach and preach somewhere else, not many wanted to do. so, those looking for God did not encounter people who wanted to tell them that in Christianity there may be found answers and may be found people willing to help to come closer to God.

In many of those non-trinitarian and trinitarian churches they are saying “God calls the people” which is true, but does not give you the right to sit on your ass and do nothing. Jesus was clear to his disciples and wanted all his followers to go out in the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. But in many churches the people in charge say we do have to be patient and the right people just shall come up to us. Is that so? Shall people be able to find you?

Given task

We should be prepared to bring honourable service and give ourselves into the Hands of God, offering ourselves as servants of Christ and servants of God. Faith without works is dead and true faith demands dedication to God’s sovereignty.
Preaching should be done across the entire world, every day and night regarding this subject, by those who believe in the things which are grounded in their heart. That what did not have enough opportunity to grow in the heart can not be shared. There has to be a willingness to hear others and to come to them to talk and share ideas with them. Ears have to be opened to the Word of God, but so few hear it.  So few accept it.  So few do it.   Why?

Because salvation from guilt and sin is a natural desire of the human mind.

says the writer of Words From There.

But the walk of Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to agree with the Father in Heaven. {The necessity of the Gospel}

this should bring people united under Christ in the understanding of  the necessity to live as the Lord Jesus lived.

Servants for God

 He became a servant, though He is the Son of God.  We too are called to become servants, though we are sons of the same God.

The big question is: How many do want to become a humble servant in the hands of God? How many are willing to follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples?

Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun.  The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short. {Thoughts from Isolation}While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises. {Thoughts from Isolation}

Short time to stand at the side

There are too many questions to be answered, and time on earth is too short to get all the answers right. When we do have to find out everything on our own it (perhaps) will take a long time, but when we can find help in what others can show us from the Bible we can grow with each other and come to a better understanding sooner. It is easy to say

Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?

and do nothing. Standing at the side, staying in the close environment, the safe surrounding of the own ecclesia or church is easy. It is high time to come out of the ‘building’ and to go out in the  ‘wild nature’.

Messengers with wrong motives

Soon after Jesus his death it happened already that people made use of his name and his popularity. The apostle Paul noted already that there were some that preached Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Philippians 1:15-18) Many centuries later not much has changed. We still can find people who are more interested in their own good and their own name, instead of sharing the gospel with many for the matter of  Jesus his name. We shamefully notice that everywhere we can find people who preach Christ out of selfish ambition. But perhaps this should not bother us so much because whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this we should rejoice.

Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible wrote

What security in the gospel! Even if the messenger has wrong motives, the message remains unstoppable. This means that God has built into the gospel a self-correcting power for every abuse of the gospel at the hands of men. Men misused the Bible to promote slavery in Africa and America, yet the abolitionist movement came out of the church.

All of us should be thankful we are good in something. We all have been given a gift of God’s grace for the good of His people. As the least of the Lord’s people, Paul knew that these graces were not given based upon any personal merit, so stop disqualifying yourself to use the gift of grace that God has given you. God has created all things, including you and your capacity, and God wants us to focus upon him and use what he has freely given us. And each person who comes in Christ should also as a member of the body of Christ use his or her gifts to let that body grow.

Poisoned and mislead

Arthur W. Pink was aware that we should use the gifts we received more to proclaim the Word of God

those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted to seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn, and important work. Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavoring to practice what they preach, setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness. Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth. To preach error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonor God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers. {Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures}

Many people felt dishonoured and mislead by their common church. The Muslims seemed to honestly keep closer to the Word of God and kept more to their holy Scriptures, doing what was requested by them.

Governing bodies have taken over the Pauline churches which at early Christendom were free communities.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3}The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

writes a a Reformed Baptist, from a Covenantal, Amillennial perspective in Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2. This while too many keep silent and do not dare to step on toes. But no congregation is free of the silent ones or of those who do not want to go out to those who do not belong to the community. This made that many in the city or at the countryside did not find it interesting enough to go to hear in the church-building what the preacher had to say. those who stayed at home and did their normal daily business did not find somebody on their path to work or to the shops who tried to convince them of the beauty of Jesus his ransom.

Unlearned men

‘Church’ wanted people to believe they could not understand the Bible, because they did not follow special university courses. In the past they had also told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it.

They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

We may not forget that in the first century of this common era, like in the centuries before people did not get a university degree to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. The disciples of Christ got their training first hand from the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They continued the same practice as Jesus to educate others in the teachings of Christ Jesus. They wrote down what they had learned so that others in places far away could use the writings as edifying material. We too have that educational material at hand in our own language. We can use the many Bible translations to receive the Biblical Wisdom. We should use it.

Right to read and to interpret

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

People need help in their interpretation and it are the elders and scholars who can and should help. In time the church has developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ This science and art of interpretation is our key which can keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. Not everybody is been given the art of hermeneutics but those that have received it should use it and help others to come to a better understanding of what is written in the Bible.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

But it are the communities and those in charge of the ‘churches’ who should take care their flock is trained to come to good Bible reading and good Bible interpretation. Every person in the ecclesia should try to come to a good Bible knowledge and should help others in reading and interpreting the Bible.

Not staying in own cocoon

As we go on, after we have been baptised, and grow in our faith, we do have to carry it with us and should share it with others. We cannot keep our faith to our own. We also may not stay in our little cocoon just staying safe with those we do know and with those whom we love. Out of love for the others, we should go out to reach them and to show them the Way.

Thomas Manton asked

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? {So much Preaching and so Little Practice – Thomas Manton}

but we wonder where all that preaching is. We can not see many Christians on the streets, in parks, in public buildings or in public transport, teaching the Word of God. It seems to stay in between closed doors.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

One of the great inspirers for many Christians and strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition: Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

We do need constant thoughts which are operative so that musing makes the fire burn. {Thomas Manton} The British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers,”  Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon in his lifetime preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons are reprinted many times and are still going strong. He knew very well the importance to go out on the streets and to take sure educating thoughts would be spread amongst many. We should remember him who said

Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power!

A Privilege to be taken seriously

Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Mary, Thomas and their son Octavius Winslow, John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. and many more understood the need of reaching to the people, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. We should take them as an example and not limit ourselves to our own community, staying only at our own ecclesia.

For sure it might be easier just to preach for people who believe the same as we do. It is easier not be confronted with people who have other ideas and want to ask questions. It is easier to avoid such questions and keeping to a close group where one is sure they all believe the same and/or do not dare to question.

Like Aiden Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past, we should not hesitate to look at such works from the past but always should see them in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which constantly should be the main guide.

People wanting to know God

The move of many churchgoers to become mosque goers proves that there are enough people wanting to get to know God. You can wonder how they can get to know God when nobody wants to come to them and tell about God.

Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of many previous Bible teachers  their life. but they did not stay in their own little environment, their safe surrounding of their church. They stood up and went to those who did not yet belong to their church or even did not believe in a god or the God. Like them we should come forward and present our thoughts and our writings to people who are looking for God and perhaps not belong to any church, or did not find the Truth.

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

Our preaching as well as our writings should simply become an extension of our faith and prayer life.

In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Tozer called the doctrine of the Holy Spirit “buried dynamite”. Yet he always insisted that the Spirit and the Word operate in harmony. He exhorted the overzealous to a warm heart and a cool head:

“The history of revivals in the Church reveals how harmful the hot head can be….These are days of great religious turmoil. Let love burn on with increasing fervour, but bring every act to the quiet test of wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement than a well-controlled furnace, but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney.”

– Walter Unger {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

We should not aim for great fame and popularity as a preacher, but we should be well aware that we do have to come together, read and study the Bible with others, preach the gospel and make new believers.

In many church services other than those of the Christadelphians not much time is given or spend at the Word of God. God’s Word in Scripture, if ever used at all, comes in sporadic bursts of verses here and there, and in evangelical churches they are just parts of phrases being shouted out repetitive whilst most of the time entertaining songs sweep up the public. Very often bible texts are stripped of their intended meaning, stifling the work of the Spirit in His sacramental function of quickening the Word, and robbing the people of blessing. At other places the sermon or the exhortation has not much to do with the Bible fragments read.

Though time has to be spend to go deeper into the reading and to give some examples of how the Bible text relates to our daily life. That we need much more, so that people can see how the stories of the Bible still have relevance today. Further we also need more stories of influences of the Bible and faith to people in our society. The Lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters would love to bring such Bible and Faith related stories. But we need more people who can bring such stories and show people what it can do to have the Christian Faith.

You to can play your role

It is high time there shall come forward more Christian believers to proof to others they are not children of the bond-woman but of the free (Galatians 4:31) and to show the world which blessings come over those who are willing to accept Christ in their life.

When the early church went out into the world, armed with the truth through which alone true unity could be effected, they, as well as Paul, met with opposition. The had to conquer their fear for speaking in public. It took time but with the aid of the Holy Spirit and with their trust in God they managed to spread the faith very well. We better take up their courage and start evangelizing like they did in the early days.

You too can do your share. For sure you too have something to tell; something that changed your life; something you feel inside, something you notice in the world; let it be known to others. We are willing to give you a platform where you can let your voice be heard so that your voice can put an other cobblestone on the big road to be made.

As time went on, however, the church no longer loved God enough to see, feel and talk about the wonders of the Divine Creator. Let those Works of God be better known. Open people their eyes and ears so that they can see and hear the beauty of nature, the Hand of God in our world. Show the world where there can be growth of true worship in the face of daunting challenges so that it can be faith-strengthening and inspiring to God’s people everywhere. Let the sun never sets on the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Remember the prophet Zechariah his words

 “who has despised the day of small things?” (Zecharia 4:10)

and do not hesitate to join the small group of enthusiast preachers.

Declaring Good News

Let us “declare good news” like Jesus demanded from his followers. Each of us can “bear news; announce; act as a news bearer.” (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 16:23)

Jesus recognized that his divine commission called for a preaching work, and he carried it on publicly, in cities and villages, in the temple area, synagogues, marketplaces and streets, as well as in the countryside. (Marcus 1:39; 6:56; Luke 8:1; 13:26; John 18:20)
Do you want to go wherever you can entering into villages or cities or countryside or bring  your texts on the internet so that it can come in the homes of many people?

Jesus had stressed that he was ‘sent by God’ (Luke 9:48; John 5:36, 37; 6:38; 8:18, 26, 42), who gave him “a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49). The apostles who followed the directions of Christ knew that they publicly had to declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we have to exercise faith in our heart that God raised him up from the dead, so that we will be saved.

For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Like John the Baptist Jesus did more than preach. His teaching receives even greater emphasis than his preaching. Teaching (di·da′sko) differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, shows things by argument, and offers proofs. The work of Jesus’ disciples, both before and after his death, was thus to be a combination of preaching and teaching.(Matthew 4:23; 11:1; 28:18-20).

The writings which we present as such shall have to bring preachings and teachings, sermons and exhortations, bringing examples that show how God is at work also today and is still calling everybody who is willing to hear His Voice.

We have to share our heartfelt feeling for Christ and for each other. We have to share like Christ did, our love for the Only One God and our love for brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our love for the whole creation (man, animals and plants). As this in the old times was shared by all disciples, men and women, we too should till “the conclusion of the system of things” proclaim the Good News and share our faith with others, bringing a call to the world to join us and to become a member of the Body of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts of the apostles 2:17; compare Acts 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:3.)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority*+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples*+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in* the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion* of the system of things.”*+ {Matthew 28:18-20 Reference Bible}

Let us make sure that on the basis of Jesus his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in all the nations and that you with us may be a witness of these things. Jesus was sending forth upon us that which is promised by his heavenly Father. We, though, have to follow the decree given by Jesus to be a pupil but also a teacher, a follower and a leader, always a servant, one for the people and one for God.

coming closer to the Last days we should be fully aware that Jesus said

‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit*+ upon every sort of flesh,* and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men* will dream dreams;+ 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {Acts of the apostles 2:17 Reference Bbile}

Sharing and blessings for all

All sorts of men and women shall go out in those days, but we do not have to wait to the last moment be part of them. Today you can stand up and show your alertness and your vivid will to be part of that community which want to show others the way to God. You can start to speak boldly in your own surroundings and share your voice on this platform and on From Guestwriters. You can let people hear and see that they too can find a place where blessing are shared with love with all who want to come along and with all who want to celebrate the greatest love a person has ever given.

We have to show others that it is not sufficient just to take the posture of politely and respectfully listening, not doing much of anything else. Jesus wanted active followers, doers of the Word. Those who come to church or enter the ecclesia perhaps would (all) agree that they are there to learn and be challenged in the Word, but in actuality, they are very inactive in the learning process, very passive in the spiritual discipline, and very unengaged while the preacher is preaching. We have to show them that is not what is wanted form a member of Christianity, a follower of Christ. we have to stimulate them that they also get up and start showing the works of faith. doing our work not forgetting how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

All believers are still hold to the task of challenging the wider Church which is asking, struggling, journeying about how we, those who are called to be “Preachers”, “Teachers”, “Leaders” can create sacred spaces so that those outside our community feel as welcomed and share with us too, how the Good News impacts, revitalises, renews, re-forms their and others lives, and how they impart their own wisdom empowered by the Holy Spirit to encourage who we have been called to be.

All human beings, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status,every human being has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.”

Let us take many into our company, showing the blessing we receive on daily basis, and expound the way of God more correctly to them.

May your time spent here be blessed.

Isn’t this what we are called to do?  We are to ascend to our place near the Lord.  From there we are commanded to proclaim regardless the response.  Can you count the number of us who have gone into the city?  How many of those tiny houses contain artifacts of man?   How did they get there?   The Lord did not put them there, nor did He have them delivered. {The Swinging Doors}

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Find to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. When discouraged facing opposition
  5. Christianity without the Trinity
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible for you and for life
  8. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  9. The Most Reliable English Bible
  10. The Bible and names in it: Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has Ever Been
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  13. Reasons to come together
  14. Not many coming out with their community name
  15. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  20. Not all ability to preach
  21. Breathing to teach
  22. Church sent into the world
  23. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  24. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  25. Our openness to being approachable
  26. Words to push and pull
  27. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  28. How should we preach?
  29. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  30. Good or bad preacher
  31. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Holland Week of billing
  34. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  35. It is Today
  36. Belonging to or being judged by
  37. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  38. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Dealing with worries in our lives
  41. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  42. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  43. Risen With Him
  44. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?

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Additional reading:

  1. Thoughts from Isolation
  2. To the stump
  3. Your Post
  4. The necessity of the Gospel
  5. Jehovah’s Message
  6. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  7. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  8. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2
  9. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3
  10. A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines
  11. Rev. Duncan Campbell Sermon – Action and Obedience
  12. Puritan Thomas Watson – Christian Joy!
  13. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  14. What if Jesus Preached What Modern Preachers are Preaching?
  15. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  16. Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders
  17. On Preaching “To the Men”
  18. The Primacy of Preaching
  19. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  20. How to Spread the Gospel
  21. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  22. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  23. Preaching is a two-way street
  24. What do you think about preaching someone else’s sermon?
  25. Sex, murder, and preaching: How much is too much for Sunday morning?
  26. Redemptive-Historical Preaching Vs. Moralistic Preaching in Sanctification
  27. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  28. Four Reasons You Should Go Easy On Yourself After Failure, Divorce or Abuse
  29. Preach It, Sister!
  30. What do you need…?
  31. The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ
  32. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings
  33. Proclaim Christ Thru Service to Others
  34. Cavite Hosts I-Proclaim! 3 on National Bible Week 2012
  35. Proclaim Jubilee: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
  36. How to Proclaim Restoration

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  • Jehovah’s Witnesses descend on Melbourne in pictures (theguardian.com)
    A large sign across the turf at Etihad Stadium reads: ‘Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom’
  • Taking the plunge at Etihad Stadium into a life of faith serving Jehovah (smh.com.au)
    Cameron Dobber’s nerves had mostly settled by the time he took his place in the middle of Etihad Stadium in front of more than 65,000 people.The 27-year-old forklift driver from Sunshine had been preparing for this moment for more than four years.After months of Bible studies and a three-hour interview with church elders, it was finally his turn to step into the baptismal pool and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    A Christian is called. To do what? “Follow me.” And the crucial part of this calling by Jesus is getting nailed – as Paris Reidhead once said – to the back of the cross; the “purpose-driven” crowd’s worst nightmare.+

  • 19. Daily Bible Verse (12160.info)
    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Watch: ’19 Kids & Preaching’ Video Highlights Duggar Family’s Christian Faith (blackchristiannews.com)
    A new video called 19 Kids and Preaching shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
  • Preaching What God’s Word Says about the World (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    [T]he principle that the Christian minister is to preach only the Word of God most certainly does not forbid him to apply the teaching of Holy Writ to the specific needs of his hearers and the peculiar conditions of his day. Application, as well as explanation, is of the essence of preaching.
  • 970) Whether I know what preaching is! Taught by Srila Prabhupada! (pmdasa.wordpress.com)
    A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching.
  • The Active Power of Faith (codybateman.org)
  • “Coming Up Short”; Jeffrey Sartain’s sermon, Oct. 26 (plymouthspirit.wordpress.com)
    Acts of generosity draw goodness and blessing toward us. When we give, we receive blessings far greater than what we have given.
  • “The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon (tollelege.wordpress.com)
    I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

Big churches with many dreams but also with anxiety

In the church world many say because they are the biggest church they must be the church closest to the truth and the right church.

In the United States of America you may find lots of Mega Churches and Holland is not doing bas getting also more people in churches where all sorts of happenings attire lots of people with entertaining services. In those mega churches we also often find preachers who seem to be obsessed with religious rules and legalism and who try to make their flock afraid of what they do. Everywhere seems to be the devil looking around the corner. They preach about the Satan going to destroy them if they do not turn away from him and come to Jesus.

Those preachers are more obsessed with the sins and shortcomings of others and make it their obsession to point out their faults.

Preachers like Perry Noble, are known more for what he attacked rather than what he built up! But by Noble some change took place after he had taken a sabbatical year.

Perry Noble

To his mega church where he ministered for 12 years for a congregation which drew around 16,000 people every weekend, in 2012 he made it clear to them that he was committed to NewSpring, which he founded, and that he wasn’t leaving to figure out if he’s supposed to stay. His goal was to lead the church for another 20 years until age 60. That is when he wants to pass the baton to the next generation.

“In order for me to lead this church well for the next 20 years, there’s got to be some changes in me,”

he told his congregation in 2012 when he preached his final message before his break.

Layers to be peeled

“I noticed the closer you get to Jesus, he just peels back another layer on your life of something that you’ve got to work on.”

Noble has not shied away from admitting his weaknesses and how “screwed up” he was to his church. He was open about having battled depression just a few years ago.

“I’m not the perfect person but I am trying my best to pursue Jesus,”

he said.

Men of God and Burn out

That pastor may have been very passionate in what he was doing and had to face a burn out. A few thousand years ago, the prophet Jeremiah also suffered burnout. Decades of pronouncing judgement on an unrepentant Israel wore him down. In the book named after him, he begs for release from this horrible work, but God forbids him to leave it. Jeremiah’s battle against burnout reveals who he really is as a leader – a mixture of character traits and weaknesses we can all appreciate.

The man in the old times we can imagine, got very frustrated, having to speak about the bad things people do and having to pronounces only destruction.  Other prophets get to speak of magnificent future events but Jeremiah is confronted with a stubborn people (the Israelites) who could see what God had done already for them, but where not appreciative for it, and were not interested to change their way of living, so that the prophet also could not change his message.

Losing sight and falling in a pit

"The Prophet Jeremiah" (1968)

“The Prophet Jeremiah” (1968) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great prophet demands to know why God has allowed him to fall into this pit. Years of throwing himself into his work without any results or reward has left him burned out and resentful. The problem, God tells him, is that he has forgotten his calling. Jeremiah must return to the original vision that launched his ministry.

Today, in the churches all over the world we also can find lots of people who have lost sight of the reason why they were called. Many when they were young were really looking for God, but found a stable home, were they could feel at ease by a certain church denomination. In that church they were comforted they could have a living and do not have to worry about their income, nor have to make steps themselves on their own to build places where they could preach and worship God.

To stay fresh and focused, many like to make sure that they have certain getaway rituals. By many ministers the attraction of a growing church, having lots of people coming to listen to them, brings them to put on shows or to present some sort of entertainment which can attract more people. They start losing track of their real purpose and do think it is best for church to have many people joining in. Most of them do prefer to control everything themselves; They forget that the body of Christ is one of many people doing different jobs in that body, the church. they themselves start thinking they have to do it all. They count on themselves (instead of on God) to do everything what is needed to make a big church, to solve the many problems, build products with too many features, and often they can not say ‘no’ to lots of thing of which they should be able to say “no” or “I can not”.

They forget that if they include every decent idea that comes along, they’ll just wind up with a half-[baked] version of their product.

Outside world

Prophet Jeremiah, Russian icon from first quar...

Prophet Jeremiah and the Scriptures – Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we say yes to all outside influences, including everyone else’s expectations, opinions, and criticisms, we shall end up with a half-baked, burned-out version of ourself.

Perry Noble made it his goal to catch people doing something wrong and condemn them and perhaps forgot to see the person he himself really was.  Instead of reaching out to them with compassion and a genuine concern he became judging them.

We also have to be careful not to judge others, and we certainly can damn them or threaten them with places of torture for indefinitely. According to the Scriptures no such place exist. The hell being spoken off is just the grave where we all shall end up. Even Jesus, who never sinned landed up in hell for three days.

Faith, Correctness and discussions

Today we may find many who do not like to associate with anyone or any group that does not acknowledge that he or she is completely correct in his or her view and for religious people this concerns also their interpretation of the Scriptures. On the internet but also in real life we see can  hear heavy discussions going on … and, if the other person does not want to think or see just like him he would attack and malign them as often as possible. (Kind of goes against what Jesus said in John 13:34-35)

Perry Noble admits he fell also in such a trap. He also remembers the very first time he ever had to deal with someone who told him they were struggling with anxiety and depression. He did not understand and could not relate-so, he told them what he thought was the typical “Christian” answer to all problems … they should pray more, read their Bible more and memorize more Scripture.

Instead of lessening the load he was unintentionally adding to it.

The person mentioned, their doctor had told them about going on a certain type of anti-depressant, to help out with their struggle, and so they asked his opinion.

He says now:

In a completely illiterate and uneducated manner I told them that people with “weak faith” are the ones that needed such meds, that godly people did not struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and that taking such medication would essentially be screaming to God, “I don’t trust you.”

Coming through the storm by learning

He himself also got into a terrible state of not seeing any more where he could go. Through a series of situations in his life that needed to be changed, along with some intense and excellent Biblical counselling he was able to come through the storm that had dominated him for so long. From what he learned at his time of depression, many others can also learn. Today he is willing to share his experiences so that others can learn from it and avoid coming into such a mess he came into. For today’s believers it is not made easy either, because they are tossed about by every wind of “doctrine” because so few preachers seem to be preaching absolute Truth and sound doctrine. They also see what lots of those ministers or priest do in their daily life, not according to what they are preaching or demanding that their churchgoers would have to do.
So many people have become so frightened by other people, instead of knowing that human beings can not totally destroy an other person. He might kill him or her, but that will not solve the problem for the killer. For the one killed he might not have pain any more so the worldly problems would be solved.  A Satisfied Spirit does not have to fear. Most people also want to have the right in their hand and want to believe they are right in everything. In case they would be more humble and come to see that not one person can be right in everything, life would be easier. We should give each other much more “the right to be wrong about everything” and allow ourselves also to have mistakes and getting to learn form our mistakes.

> Please do continue reading about Depression and Anxiety, in:

  1. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  2. Depression Is and When
  3. Anxiety’s Hold
  4. Believe What You Will
  5. When feeling sad, not sure of there being a Divine Creator
  6. Be an encourager
  7. Duty of encouragement

+

Additional reading:

  1. When discouraged facing opposition
  2. Words to push and pull
  3. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  4. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  5. Satan the evil within
  6. Does God exist?
  7. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  8. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  9. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  10. Jesus three days in hell
  11. Parts of the body of Christ
  12. The task given to us to love each other
  13. Reasons to come to gether
  14. Testify of the things heard
  15. How should we preach?
  16. Good or bad preacher
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  19. Many churches
  20. Who are the honest ones?
  21. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  22. Greatest single cause of atheism
  23. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  24. Knowing where to go to
  25. Democratic principles for the church of today
  26. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  27. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  28. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  29. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  32. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  33. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  34. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  35. Be humble like Christ
  36. Faith and trial
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  39. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  40. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  41. If you want to go far in life
  42. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  43. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  44. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  45. Kill the messenger
  46. Work with joy and pray with love
  47. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  48. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  49. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  50. No good thing will he withhold
  51. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  52. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers

++

  1. Should Christians Take Medication for Mental Illness?
  2. 5 Practical Things to Consider Before Taking an Antidepressant
  3. One of the Most Powerful Leadership Principles I’ve Ever Learned
  4. The One Thing That Holds Most Leaders Back
  5. Why Are So Many Churches Hearing So Little of the Bible from Their Preachers?
  6. Preachers of L.A. Dressed to Impress, But Is Jesus Pleased?
  7. #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets
  8. Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up
  9. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  10. A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers…
  11. In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
  12. TD Jakes Disses Preachers Of LA
  13. Strange Fire Conference: Preachers or Witch Doctors?
  14. church oh church1
  15. Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views….
  16. Can Faith Ever Be Rational?
  17. Political Correctness and “Bashing”
  18. The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest
  19. Word Power
  20. The Right To Be Wrong About Everything
  21. A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not

+++

  • Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? (blackchristiannews.com)
    The emergence of the megachurch as a model of metropolitan ministry is one of the defining marks of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Megachurches — huge congregations that attract thousands of worshipers — arrived on the scene in the 1970s and quickly became engines of ministry development and energy.
    Over the last 40 years, the megachurch has made its presence known, often dominating the Christian landscape within the nation’s metropolitan regions. The megachurch came into dominance at the same time that massive shopping malls became the landmarks of suburban consumer life. Sociologists can easily trace the rise of megachurches within the context of America’s suburban explosion and the development of the technologies and transportation systems that made both the mall and the megachurch possible.
  • Joel Osteen’s message of hope connects faithful, churches (ocregister.com)
    Osteen, senior pastor of the 50,000-strong Lakewood Church in Houston and nicknamed “the Smiling Preacher” for his toothy grin, travels with a crew of 30. Many in the audience Friday seemed to connect with the preacher’s observations, delivered in a lyrical Texan drawl, his interpretation of Scriptures and most of all, his positive energy.During his sermon, Osteen drew quite a bit from personal experience in his message about “redeeming time,” or making the most of our time in this world. He broke down as he talked about his mother’s valiant and victorious fight against liver cancer. He reminisced about the first time he met Victoria, his wife of 27 years, at a jewelry store while shopping for a watch battery.He told how the tragic death of his father, John Osteen, who founded the church at the back of an old feed store with 90 members, pushed a behind-the scenes guy into the limelight – as a preacher. In the last 15 years, Osteen has grown a congregation of 6,000 to the nation’s largest megachurch.
  • Has the Megachurch Lost Its Luster? (juicyecumenism.com)
    In the future, the 1990s and early 2000s may well be called the “Megachurch Era” by ecclesiastical historians. Suburban commuter culture, television broadcasting, the Internet, the book publishing industry, the rise of self-help gurus, digital media technology, and the contemporary sounds of Jesus People music all provided essential ingredients for enormous churches with a plethora of programs. All that the ingredients needed were men with the vision, initiative, and charisma to muster together like-minded individuals for a common purpose: planting, building, and increasing a congregation (well beyond the previous conceptions of a “large congregation”).
  • Huge Money Stolen From MegaChurch, But That’s Not The OMG Moment (crooksandliars.com)
    The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur discusses the recent robbery at Joel Osteen’s megachurch, and the incredible amount of money they’re raking in there every single week.
  • How to Run a Megachurch: T.D. Jakes, Marvin Winans, and Others Provide an Inside Look (blackchristiannews.com)
    On just about any Sunday, as many as 10,000 people may fill the pews of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Dallas-area megachurch. Some believers say he has an uncanny way of connecting with his audience anyway.

    “It doesn’t matter about the size,” says Faith Johnson, a 13-year member. “It’s almost like nobody else is in that church, but me.”
    It takes some help for leaders of the largest megachurches and national ministries to make believers reject the idea that a smaller church is more intimate and personable. A big staff of associate pastors and elders is indispensable.
    +

    Pastor Matthew Cork knew he’d have to rely more on his leadership when his nearly 6,000-member Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., committed to building 200 schools in India over the next 10 years for dalit children, who are part of the country’s lowest caste. He’s also promoting a book and movie about the number of dalits who end up being trafficked as sex slaves.
    “We have a teaching team, so I’m not teaching every week, which gives me freedom to do some of the other things that I do,” said Cork, who speaks about twice a month at his church. “It’s worked great for me and my schedule.”
  • Fort Lauderdale Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over ‘Moral Failing’ (miami.cbslocal.com)
    “Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life…Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.”+
    “There should have been more accountability at Calvary Chapel,” he says.  “Pastor Bob shouldn’t have been put on such a high pedestal and he should have never had so much power. Whenever there is that, it’s a formula for disaster.”The popular church boasts over 20,000 members, has 10 campuses, and 1,000 employees.“You know he did a lot of good,” said Mitch Guertler a church member. “He helped out a lot of people and I’m just really sad but like he always said up on stage—don’t follow him, follow Christ. So, you know, he’s a sinner like the rest of us and it’s just too bad.”
  • Arguing over trifles while the world burns: Megachurch pays millions to leave nation’s biggest Presbyterian denomination – major rift over ‘Who Jesus is’ (sott.net)
    A California megachurch has voted to officially leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Christian denomination that is the largest in the nation.Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif., one of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s largest congregations, made the choice despite facing a $8.89 million cost for the church’s property and membership fees, Religion News Service reported.With 4,000 members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Menlo Park’s decision is a major development in the lifecycle of a denomination that continues to experience ideological infighting over its more liberal stances on controversial issues.
    +
    In a document published by Menlo Park last year, leaders described their reasons for seeking a split with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noting that the church’s “evangelical identity around who Jesus is and our understanding of the authority of scripture are increasingly out of alignment” with the denomination as a whole.

    Specifically, the church expressed concern that many Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders do not believe in the deity of Jesus, nor do they embrace salvation through Christ. These are central tenets of most mainstream Christian churches, leading to a difficult ideological splintering.

  • Amazingly Elaborate Hoax Targets Megachurch Pastor (newser.com)
    Somebody has put a massive amount of work into a hoax claiming that pastor Joel Osteen has renounced his faith and is resigning from the Texas megachurch his father founded, the Houston Chronicle reports. The hoax includes a fake Twitter feed, a YouTube video from “ChristianityNews” containing mockups of news websites trumpeting Osteen’s loss of faith, and a fake website that looks similar to the pastor’s own site.
  • Dallas Megachurch To Encourage ‘Tweeting’ For Jesus During Sermons (dfw.cbslocal.com)
    You could call it “facebooking” for Jesus. One North Texas mega-church could soon be encouraging its congregants to keep their cell-phones on instead of turning them off during Sunday service.
    +
    “We have a pretty young congregation — the median age is 33 — and so many of them I deal with them on social media as much as I do in presence of them,” says Liberatore. “I just think this is a different way for people to connect with each other, to share their faith — and I think Jesus would make use of it.”
  • Study: Megachurches can trigger false spiritual highs (alanrudnick.org)
    worshipers at megachurches experience a greater release of oxytocin, thought to add to a sense of euphoria. That would lead us to believe that these types of megachurch worship experiences can trigger a false sense of a spiritual high.
    +
    like a rock concert, there is a degree of psychological multiplication that can be added with a shared emotional experience with light shows, loud music, and a celebrity presence. Perhaps megachurches can add this additional element to worship that causes this “spiritual high”.
    +
    So, is the spiritual high that Christians experience in worship just a chemical response or is it a part of the worship of God? Does worship in a megachurch lend more to a shared emotional or perceived than other types of Christian styled worship?
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Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

Today lots of youngsters their understanding of their faith is the faith that was “once for all entrusted.” This makes that often the “spiritual but not religious” group can be the most difficult to work with, primarily because they believe they have found a personalized expression of faith. But their faith was not placed in a seed that could grow in fertilized ground.

This painting is on display at the Kunsthistor...

Religious men and their actions because of their faith- Painting is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna, Austria (site). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Church should bring in the fertilisation for its members to grow, be it slow but strong.

Much has been made about the growth of “nones” in the past few years, the group who consistently checks “none” on surveys about religious faith. As with all surveys, how questions are shaped determines how good the data is. If a question is multiple choice, the answers must fit within the parameters of the possible responses. For example: What is your faith? a. Christian b. Buddhism c. Islam d. Judaism e. Hindu f. none.

Clearly, that’s a poor question. It assumes the five major faiths are the primary conduits for the transmission of religious frameworks. While I believe that is largely true, there are other factors at work culturally right now. What does none or spiritual but not religious really mean?

writes a teacher of a Teaching World Religions summer term. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

In such courses about world religions or religion tous-court, you can see that lots of people want to restrict their idea about their god on others. They may say

I just believe in God

But then we should ask which God? Most people do take only a story from the four Gospels, one that is canonized by Church Councils, propagated by ministers and missionaries, and communicated to them through Christian denominational speakers. They are brought up with the religious concepts of their family idea and than they believe that their story is just one wherein they simply believe in God.

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The radical individualism and consumerism in our culture makes a personalized faith seem perfectly normal. In Belgium, which is considered to be a Roman Catholic Country (though only 6% of the population still go sometimes to mass whilst 25% of the population visits the mosque very regularly), when you would ask what they believe and whom they think Jesus or God is, you would find very individual interpretations of the person Jesus, which some Catholics say is the son of God and do not believe he is God, though the godhead of Jesus is part of the Trinitarian dogma of the Catholic Church. But most Belgians want to believe their own thing and do not bother what the church may say. Lots call themselves Catholic or Christian (meaning the same for them) but do not follow the rules of the Pope and their church, not bothering to use preservatives or having abortions, having sexual relations than the own ‘regular’ partner, etc. Their religious life is standing far away from a spiritual life and from church life. The church is mostly only used to have a child baptism, a first and second communion, a wedding service and a funeral. That is what church stands for in Belgium, when they are not talking about all the abuses in that church.

According to some

All the new Christian categories — Christ follower, Jesus follower, follower of the Way (hell, just pick one)—are all concepts that are used intentionally to avoid the unhappy conclusion that the follower is really a Christian, but a Christian who doesn’t like the Christian tradition or church or some doctrine. Better to own the word Christian than have me interrogate you only to discover that you are actually a Christian. At that point, I think you’re dishonest, disingenuous, ignorant, narcissistic, or confused. None of those are good. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

Wherever you may look you shall see that many of your spiritual but not religious acquaintances have no genuine framework for their faith. Lots of the people who say they are religious or spiritual, are mostly enjoying some trend which is popular at the moment, and go from one fling into the other, but never stick to one ‘faith‘ for a long time.

The writer of The Parish believes that it’s a completely self-serving construct that allows them to believe, in the words of Christian Smith,

“God loves me and wants me to be happy.”

What that requires is no commitment to a larger tradition, and a radical internalizing of metaphysical assumptions, all of which are exempt from criticism.

Do you pray? Yes. Do you attend worship services? No. Do you have a sacred text? No. Will you go to heaven? Yes. What will it be like? It will be what I make it. How do you know there is a God? I just do. What’s he or she like? He loves me. He’s kind and forgiving and gracious. Why should he be those things and not angry, vengeful and capricious? He’s not. How can you know this? What tradition taught you this? I have no tradition. I just know this. I’m not a religious person, just spiritual.

Faith

Faith (Photo credit: sspantherss)

Often when you will present students of religion or people on the street and you

talk about all the Saturnalia and pagan syncretism you like, talk about substituting one pagan holiday for a Christian one, talk about borrowed symbols and commercialism, talk all you want about it; at its core, theologically (for Christians), Christmas is the coming of Messiah, and therefore, a religious high, holy day. It’s a celebration day, much like Easter (another holiday about which I’m weary of hearing stories of syncretism. One thing is clear, however it started, the Christian narrative won.), not a fast day like Good Friday. It is, by my estimation, the second most important day on the church calendar, following Easter, of course. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

The great church institutions by the years have mixed their theology with philosophical and pagan teachings so that that more became  “great pagan institutions” which allegedly “pickle” children’s brains by pouring “paganism” into them. We can see a society in decline where parents do not to set any more good religious examples for their children. It is time they will concern themselves with their offspring’s spiritual state, and again “plead God’s promises” to their children. We should long to do well by our children and grandchildren, striving to raise them well and encouraging other parents to do the same.  Parents should come to teach their children spirituality again. That spirituality must also include empathy, humanity, and critical thinking. Piety without these elements can devolve into fanaticism, with unsettling results.

Lots of people may know that lots of elements in their celebrations are from pagan celebrations, but they do not want to change their similar manner of celebrating what they want to place on that day the heathen use for their celebration. It does not matter for them that Jesus was a Jew who is not born on the 25th of December (Christmas-day); It is just a lovely time for them to be together and have everybody having a good time, giving each other presents and enjoying some nice food. Why should they change the tradition of their forefathers? And why should churches abandon such a festivals when those are the few occasions that they can get some people in their churches and get some more money in the till?

Almost all American and European forms of Christianity are first cultural, traditional and secondly theological. In the capitalist countries the people are more concerned with their material wealth than their spiritual wealth. Europeans like

Americans are largely shaped by consumerism, individualism, and materialism, the three idols of the market that serve to make all of us mini-narcissists. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

They want to enjoy their life with good food and lovely goods for their enjoyment. Fairy tales and mythical stories, ‘little lies for fun’ seem to be harmless for them and to create the mysterious atmosphere which attracts them and their children. The unknown and mysterious has always been an attraction.

The Knights of Columbus exhibiting their group identity in American society

In the United States some Christians do not want to know about the ‘unknown’ and do think the bible has to be take literally on all fronts. Their creationist and revisionist education might leave children ill-prepared to integrate into American society, and failed to grasp that some children might reject their fundamentalist upbringing altogether. For this reason it is important that God-loving people make it clear how we do have to interpret and follow the Bible. God loving people should be challenging historical revisionism. By remembering that history encompasses many narratives, not just one. By demanding accuracy in home school curricula. By reaching out to current and former home-schoolers and making accurate information available to them. And finally, by educating ourselves on the past and recognizing its impact on the present. Home-schooling and schooling at the church (Sunday school, Bible Study or Children’s Bible class) are powerful, useful tools. It represents a democratic approach to educational progress, innovation, and creativity. It allows a child’s learning environment to be tailored to individual and personal needs. When home-schooling or Sunday-school is done responsibly, it can be amazing. We should oppose irresponsible home-schooling or church training, where the educational method is used to create or hide abuse, isolation, and neglect, and where the child is not educated to go and search, to explore the world and to explore the Bible. They should train the children to read and study the Bible thoroughly and to go deeper into their own soul, learning them to meditate about everything they learn, be it in their daily school or at the church. The trainees at the church should make sure that social contact outside of church, family, and the home-school umbrella group is provided so that children do get to know the outside world and are aware of the world its ideas and way of living. Only by growing up in a church which is open to what is happening in the world the children would not become what we can call socially retarded to use the pedagogical technical term.

In certain developed countries we see a growing tendency to protect church life and to get the children away from what is really happening in the world. The religious sheltering of such a childhood in recent years has come more extreme and miserable by greater institutions and international homeschool conglomerate cults. Those groups not only present childish stories in which all do have to believe and activities everybody has to follow with the right dress-code, otherwise they are considered to be against the group. More attention is given to the outside appearance of the persons gathering than on the inner spirit. Often it is all about the creationist teaching and opposing scientists, not willing to see archaeologist their findings, which are all considered as contra-actions of the evil world.

They often try to drive home to their ‘trainees’ (typically 16-18 years old) that no matter what adversity or difficulty they are facing, either physical, mental, or spiritual, all they need to do is cry out to God and He will get them through it. But they forget that we did have received the responsibility to become resourceful fellows who should try to grow from the understanding of the Scriptural knowledge and use it in their daily life. To be able to stand strong in that daily life there should be a good relationship with the Supreme Being.

Most people are not interested in a good relation with their god, but with themselves. It has become already very difficult to build up a good relationship with one partner in this world which can be seen and touched. So who would try to have a good relationship with somebody who can not be seen nor touched, and who nobody has ever seen, or when it is Jesus who is already long ‘dead and forgotten’?

Dr. Tom Kennedy does find that correct religion, like bones, provides the proper structure for spirituality.  Spirituality grows in distorted ways without religion.

Imagine reaching over and grabbing the child’s head.  Then imagine lifting up the skeleton out of the imaginary child.  What would happen?  Spirituality would collapse to the floor. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Religion, like bones, also provides much of the immune system for spirituality.

It helps to fight toxic influences that may corrupt one’s spirituality.  Two of the most toxic influences are the individual’s own selfishness and the willingness to let other people control one’s spirituality.  Of course, if religion itself becomes corrupt, one’s spirituality also becomes corrupt. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Like the religion can be corrupted we should know that spirituality is not always so ‘clean’ as it may seem.

Many people think of spirituality as perfect and incorruptible.  Unfortunately, that is not true.  Non-religious spirituality emphasizes special experiences, something you feel.  If there are no feelings to this kind of spirituality, people would not pursue it. I have heard of many strange experiences that were labeled ‘spiritual’ just because there was a burst of pleasant feeling involved. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

Faith in words from a Book of books (Photo credit: hannahclark)

Religion in the Bible is a catalyst for our relationship with God, to Whom we have to bring a spirit which is pure and not hiding things for God Who sees everything, so that would be useless to hide something for Him. Our state of mind we do have to build ourselves. Others may help us but they can not do it for us or make it work for us. We ourselves our responsible for the way we want to think and the way we want to use the knowledge we receive by the years.

Jesus died on the wooden stake to make God’s religion and spirituality alive, dynamic and interactive with each other. He opened the way for humankind to come directly to the Creator God. Today Jesus sits at the right hand of God to be the mediator between God and man. by the brothers and sisters in the church we should be exhorted therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made not only for ourselves but for all men. We should know we live in a world where there are kings, presidents and members of parliament who have to make decisions for the community. So we better also pray for them that they may make the right decisions. Yes we should have our thoughts also at all that are in high place and pray for them and for that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
Each of us should look to find in himself or herself the way to become acceptable in the eyes of God. He that provided the human Saviour, who could understand his fellow man, who wanted that all men should be saved, and will come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,  who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;  where-unto several people like the apostles and religious men were and are appointed a preacher and a teacher of the Gentiles or those who are not in the faith in Christ Jesus, in faith and truth.

” I Beseech you, therefore, first of all to offer to God, petitions, prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving for all men,  (2)  For kings and for all in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all purity and Godliness.  (3)  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour:  (4)  Who desires all men to be saved and to return to the knowledge of the truth.  (5)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony which came in due time.  (7)  For that testimony I was appointed a preacher and an apostle; I tell the truth and I lie not; and I became the teacher of the Gentiles in a true faith.  (8)  I wish, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up their holy hands, without anger and doubting thoughts.” (1Ti 2:1-8 Lamsa NT)

Religion, Catholic Community

Religion, Catholic Community having prayers and meditation together at a meeting (Photo credit: Parker Knight)

Lifting up the hands or going in prayer can be done on our own. But to come to a good prayer we better also do come close to ourselves. Be it also becoming in a more concrete relationship the world can offer. Away from the materialisation of things we can come in a transcendent form.

Where Transcendentalists assert their natural right to an individual relationship with God, defined only by one’s own will and a communing with nature, Puritans “sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s Will and so to receive future happiness”. Puritans were largely responsible for amendments that mandated public education inspired by their belief that children could only conform properly to biblical and legal tenants if they could read them for themselves.

To come to the Truth, each person has to make the free choice to study the matter. Without reading the Bible and without the will to think about what is written a person shall not come to the Truth. No matter how he may be active in doing things for his church, how religious he  or she may look for the outsiders, when their is no burning spirit in the soul of that person, no willingness to go deep in him or herself, there shall not come an opening to the real faith Jesus had in front of his eyes.

Jesus was also brought up in a world full of traditions. He was a boy living in a Jewish cult and learned from the Torah, which was his guide. He looked at the different religious groups and dared to question them. He looked at the way they interpreted the Holy Scriptures, how they lived their faith and how they were are were not prepared to go into the mystics of faith.

In most spiritual traditions, mysticism lies at the heart of spirituality. ‘‘Mysticism’’ refers to transcendent, contemplative experiences that enhance spiritual understanding. Mystical experiences can occur during intentional practices designed to create openings for transcendent experiences, such as Christian contemplative prayer, Zen meditation, movement or dance meditation or Sufi dance; or they can occur in the process of living a lifestyle that is conducive to transcendent experiences, as in contemplative gardening. In either case, contemplative or transcendent knowing is associated with spiritual experience.

‘‘Transcendence’’ refers to contemplative knowing that occurs outside the boundaries of verbal thought (Wilber). Although transcendence can refer to increasingly abstract thought, contemplative transcendence involves transcending thought itself. Mystical experiences of transcendence can be brought into thought, but they do not originate in thought or sensory perception.

The spiritual person can become a transcendental person, going into mystical contemplative experiences. He either may become religious with it or stay out of religion. But this kind of spirituality, set apart from religion would be weak and might be directionless, or worse, narcissistic.  Jesus wanted us to have a vibrant faith that focuses on his Father and he wants us to use the teachings of the Bible to shape both our religion and our spiritual interactions with him and God. Our spirit has to become connected intimately with Jesus, God but also with our brethren and sisters in the community, plus feeling a love for the full creation of the Supreme Being, Jehovah God. This includes a good relationship with the animals, plants and all sorts of people, no matter which religion they may belong to. A good Christian should be a good follower of Christ, sharing the same love Jesus had for all people, no matter what they had done or how they felt about him. Jesus loved also his enemies, so we should do likewise.

Our religious and spiritual practices should focus on that relationship with creation. The spiritual practices should not merely be productive in a narrow sense but should be disciplined, creative and committed. The regularity of a spiritual discipline like meditation may give shape to what may otherwise be a fragmented life. as such it can enrich the religious life. Over time meditation may facilitate a growing freedom from destructive energies that inhibit healthy relationships. Such a growth in inner freedom makes us more available and effective as compassionate presences in the world.

As the great traditions emphasise, spirituality is actually concerned with cultivating a “spiritual life” rather than simply with undertaking practices isolated from commitment. It offers a “value-added” factor to personal and professional lives. So, for example, in a variety of social contexts spirituality is believed to add two vital things.

  • First, it saves us from being purely results-orientated. Thus, in health care it offers more than a medicalised, cure-focused model and in education it suggests that a holistic approach to intellectual, moral and social development is as vital as acquiring employable skills.
  • Second, spirituality expands ethical behaviour by moving it beyond right or wrong actions to a question of identity – we are to be ethical people rather than simply to “do” ethical things. Character formation and the cultivation of virtue then become central concerns.

Current evidence suggests a growing diversity of new forms of spirituality as well as creative reinventions of the great traditions. The language of spirituality continues to expand into ever more professional and social worlds – for example urban planning and architecture, the corporate world, sport and law. Most strikingly there are recent signs of its emergence in two contexts that have been especially open to public criticism – commerce and politics. Equally, the Internet is increasingly used to expand access to spiritual wisdom. So, on current evidence, spirituality appears to be less of a fad than an instinctive desire to find a deeper level of values to live by. As such, it seems likely not only to survive but to develop further into many new forms. {Is spirituality a passing trend?}

Church HDR

Church HDR (Photo credit: I_am_Allan)

The church community should not be afraid of those people who also want to be spiritual people. Every religious person in a way should be a spiritual person. Faith without works is dead. Each person believing in Jesus should know he should undertake efforts to understand those teachings, knowing the Torah and following the commandments of Christ and the commandments of God. Each follower of Christ should not only go out in the world on his own, no he should make efforts to meet regularly with other like minded people, considering them as his brothers and sisters in Christ. Gathering together they should ‘make church‘ and be united in the religion of the Body of Christ. In that Body or Church they should undertake actions, like reading the Bible, exhorting each other and Breaking bread with each other. This would mean they are have do do religious actions and to be religious in the tradition of the faith of Christ Jesus. But without their pure heart they would not be honest to the others in that community. So first of all each individual has to purify himself or herself, to which she or he can use meditation or spiritual exercise.

Religion and spirituality are complementary and should go together, uniting each of us in the name of Christ.

Bible School, USA

Christadelphian Bible school meeting.
United brethren and sisters in Christ.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Next: Points to remember of philosophy versus spirituality and religion

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Find also to read:

  1. Human nature
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. Only One God
  4. God’s design in the creation of theworld
  5. God Helper and Deliverer
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. God’s Will for Us – Gods Wil voor ons 
  8. Gods hope and our hope
  9. God’s measure not our measure
  10. God’s promises
  11. Gods Salvation
  12. Full authority belongs to God
  13. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  14. Jesus Messiah
  15. Servant of his Father
  16. Incomplete without the mind of God
  17. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  18. Faith
  19. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  20. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  21. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  22. Faith antithesis of rationality
  23. Faith is a pipeline
  24. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  25. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  26. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  27. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  28. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Fellowship
  31. United people under Christ
  32. Parts of the body of Christ
  33. What part of the Body am I?
  34. Communion and day of worship
  35. Church sent into the world
  36. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  37. Teach children the Bible
  38. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  39. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  40. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  41. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  42. Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed
  43. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  44. The Soul confronted with Death
  45. Is there an Immortal soul
  46. The Soul not a ghost
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Destination of righteous

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Additional reading:

  1. Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide
  2. Is spirituality a passing trend?
  3. Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?
  4. Rewriting History — The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers
  5. Rewriting History — History of America Mega-Conference: Part Eight, Closing Thoughts
  6. Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?
  7. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them About God
  8. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them God’s Word « An Imperfect Life
  9. Let The Children Come ~ Be An Example « An Imperfect Life
  10. Let The Children Come ~ Pray for Them

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  • I am Spiritual but not Religious (passionistpartners.com)
    “I am spiritual but not religious.” This is the mantra voiced by a number of people, Catholics included. It means that such people savor the inner qualities of their faith in Jesus Christ but not the outer framework in which those qualities are contained.

    They respond warmly to the Christmas scene of Mary and Joseph kneeling close to Jesus as a newborn infant. They may resonate with the teaching of Jesus on the beatitudes, describing the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers. They may treasure His words on loving one another as he has loved us.

    But when it comes to graphically depicting these sentiments in ritual, music, art, architecture, vestments, ceremonies, processions, incense—this is a different story. They find such a discrepancy between thoughts and feelings, and the attempt at giving tangible expression to them fails miserably in the opinion of some people. The sermons are boring, the collection is scandalous, the singing is outdated, the prayers formulaic and out of touch with people’s needs and desires.

  • The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest (roguepriest.net)
    Jesus is central in one out of 16 or five out of 43 major religions practiced in the world today. (In the first list I’m excluding “no religion,” “new religions” and “other” for my count, and in the second list I’m pointing to Christianity, Christian Science, Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Rastafari.) By that count less than 6 – 11% of religions consider Christ important. With nods from Baha’i, Islam and Unitarianism, the figure rises to a max of 25%.
    Likewise, the majority of people in the world today do not follow any branch of Christianity.
    Yet the teachings of Christ loom large.
  • Religions and Spirituality (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
    diverse ethnicities and faiths from Passaic County gathered for one hour at Pa… SPARTA, NJ
  • Picking fights over religion and the separation of church and state (santamariatimes.com)
    how this kind of free-floating rage differs from Bible-beating preachers who blame earthquakes and tornadoes on other people’s sexual sins escapes me. The main characteristic of the fundamentalist mind is an inability to refrain from expressing contempt for beliefs different from one’s own — whether one’s spiritual example is Pat Robertson or Christopher Hitchens.
  • Spiritual Well-Being (casapalmera.com)
    piritual well-being is an integral part of mental, emotional and physical health. It is considered to be a primary coping resource on the journey of recovery and healing. This healing takes place in drug treatment centers, eating disorder residential programs and at trauma recovery. Spiritual well-being can be associated with a specific religion but does not have to be. This practice is merely one’s own journey to discover things of importance in life as well as one’s place among them. It can be practiced in numerous ways, with its main purpose being to find purpose and meaning in life. Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity. Spirituality can either be positive or negative. Spiritual well-being is a state is which the positive aspects of spirituality are shown. How the effects of spiritual well-being impact you is greatly determined by each individual.
  • My journey of faith (brynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com)
    What might have happened if I was baptized into the Church of England, for instance? Would my faith have been stronger as a teenager? Would I have still gone down the route to the Catholic Church, given the opportunity?My early upbringing was, as such, not massively religious one way or the other. We did not go to Church (Anglican or Catholic) on Sunday, so as not to sway me one way or the other.
    From what I remember, my Primary School was Church of England in all but name, we had Assembly every morning, sang hymns and when Christmas and Easter came, we would sing in the local Anglican Church, St. Nicholas.
  • Obama Spiritual Advisor: President Very Religious (peacemoonbeam.typepad.com)
    President Obama’s spiritual adviser says the leader of the free world is more religious than most people think.
  • Enriching Your Spirituality: Famous Christian Quotes (quotes.answers.com)
    A poignant quote can have a profound effect. The simple truths contained in only a few lines have the power to inspire, calm, and encourage someone in need. This is especially true for Christian quotes. Whether you are struggling to find God’s purpose in your life or seeking comfort in a time a duress, these famous Christian quotes offer great help in times of need.
  • 10 Religious Quotes to Make You Think (quotes.answers.com)
    It seems that no matter what breakthroughs science makes in explaining the world, people will always have a need for spirituality and religion. Indeed, it seems that the only area with satisfying answers for many tough questions is religion. These religious quotes are collected from thinkers, writers, and lay people from a wide range of religious faiths and creeds. What they all have in common is that they are guaranteed to make you think.
  • Religious Rites: An Overview of Christian Funeral Services (christianity.answers.com)
    Regardless of your religious persuasion, a funeral service is one of the more somber rites that you might attend. In the Christian faith, even though death is seen as a passage to eternal life, saying goodbye to a loved one is very sad. This article details the common elements of most Christian burial services.

 

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Since 1872 when the UK Parliament authorised public meetings, very Sunday, Londoners gather at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Hyde Park to talk, debate and preach about whatever they choose.

In the 1970ies wherever you went in London you could find street corner preachers of which some also presented themselves as prophets. They where full of fire and let their spirit go over many listeners and curious onlookers.  Often they acted as if they were deeply concerned about the fate of souls. With those who disagreed with they were willing to show their way of thinking was right.

The street corner preachers are gone, but today we have the online preachers. Their attitude does seem to be quite similar like their old colleague’s. John Blake from CNN does find you can tell that those contemporary street corner preachers relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

MSN Classic sign-in screen

MSN Classic sign-in screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I had my MSN blog and reacted on several MSN Groups I encountered often very unchristian attitudes and even got several viruses especially send to my mailbox. Some reactors or so called Christians would not have hesitated to put shit in my mailbox. It was incredible how some people who I did not know personally, and who did not really knew me, reacted and called me all sorts of names. Those Christian shouters were all the time Trinitarians defending their belief as the only one belief. Non-trinitarians were called heretics and even nonbelievers, though according to me everybody does belief something.

 

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Gr...

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin, from a 1566 edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle who could not be called ‘a believer’ in his Nicomachean Ethics believed already that people could study ethics and by doing so could become good, and in so doing become a virtuous, flourishing, fulfilled, happy human being.
The agnostic as a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty, may have an open mind about religious belief, especially the existence of God, but often believes that because there is no reference to any concept of gods or the supernatural that it does not mean there would be not such special power or not something after death.

The humanist, who wants to take a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church, may believe that moral values follow on from human nature and experience in some way. Most humanists would agree or believe that people should work together to improve the quality of life for all and make it more equitable. According to some, humanism is a full philosophy, “life stance” or worldview, rather than being about one aspect of religion, knowledge, or politics.

With many who say they are “non-religious” we can find the believe in humanity. Many of them look for the way and sense of life. Even when they reject the idea of any supernatural agency, they are aware of the universe and the placing of the human being in the whole ‘creation‘. They also belief we should look for ways to make the best out of the world.

Sceptics as either doubter, cynic or a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events, perhaps may swear that they do not believe in anything, but already by swearing they confess a certain believe. It is their belief that there is doubt about all the many religious sayings, myths, supernatural or “paranormal” beliefs. More than one cynic believes that people always act selfishly and that people are malformed by their upbringing and cultural environment..

 Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Charles Camosy, who teaches Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York City may find those who give criticism, those who go against somebody his thoughts, are justified to do so, and we should understand that they sometimes react in ways we would not expect. His academic work focuses in biomedical ethics, but he is also very interested in the confluence of ethics, theology and politics in our public sphere more broadly.

In his work the Roman Catholic got confronted with many opinions. He did not mind to look at discussable subjects, like we would like to tackle on this platform. As such he has spent considerable time working to find ways to dial down the polarization in our public sphere and fruitfully engage difficult issues like abortion, euthanasia, treatment of non-human animals, and health care distribution.

According to him and us, the key of understanding and ability to talk about such subjects is to be open for an other opinion and to have

intellectual solidarity with those who think differently.

In his second book Camosy engages the first sustained and fruitful conversation between Peter Singer and Christian ethics — and once again considers a wide variety of bioethical and social issues. As a non-typical Catholic moral theologian he questions how Singer can push Catholic ethics to greater depth and how Catholic ethics can push Peter Singer to greater depth. For example, on the issue of abortion, the differences appear insurmountable. Singer not only holds that abortion can be morally licit but also infanticide.

In Camosy his work he points out several areas of commonality, and that is what many Christians overlook. Being part of the same body, the Body of Christ, using the same book as their base, the Bible, they should have more things in common or otherwise it would be clear that they are not following their so called teacher Jesus of Nazareth.

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

According to John Blake who witnessed some of the nastiest religious arguments online

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script.

He gets the source of frustration for some atheists.

They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Whatever a person may believe or how he may look at those who believe certain things, he should know that everybody may have a field in which he may know a lot. We should know that we can not know everything and can not have enough knowledge in the many fields of science. For many it is difficult to accept that there is a limit to knowledge also for themselves.

To debate about religion should not mean to go to war against those who think differently. In case we are interested in religion we may encounter some extreme interpretations and reactions, knowing that many thoughts come from the emotional heart.

In interviews after the Rutgers event, Singer and Camosy each gave the same answer: dogmatism. Camosy elaborates:

Furthermore, I think most disagreement comes – not from differences in evidence in argument – but because of social or emotive reasons. Someone is turned off by a group of people who hold a particular view, or part of their self-identity comes from not being like another group, and thus the arguments are built on top of that first principle as to why such a group holds mistaken views. And so on.

James Goodrich writes:

We would be naïve to think that there aren’t overly dogmatic persons or those who define themselves by their opposition in both camps. Given this thought, could it be the case that we ourselves, in some sense, are responsible for a lack of ethical progress? Could progress be made if we all were all actually able to sit down together with open minds and our best arguments? I think it’s not irrational to be hopeful. It is unlikely that we can completely do away with some level of dogmatism, but if the reason disagreement persists is in part due to social reasons, then perhaps given enough time progress is indeed obtainable.

We might come to find, at least with respect to ethics, that religious and secular thinkers really did just start from different places at the base of the mountain and will someday meet at the peak.

According to it’s probably one of the most intractable and complex questions in philosophy to know how free will, determinism and moral responsibility work together. Those who call themselves Christians should have a certain moral and an attitude to all people who are according the Bible created in the image of God and part of His Masterwork. Of those who call themselves children of the Creator God you would expect moral responsibility.

Charles Camosy

our will needs to be, at some important juncture, determined by something we identify with as ‘us’.  What specific kinds of things might these be?  Well, the normal things you might imagine: our interests, goals, values, moral convictions, characters, motivations, processes of deliberation, etc.  (And additionally, these things need to be left up to us and not ultimately determined by some other mind with their own interests, goals, etc… among a few other clauses which space won’t permit.)

In many religious groups though, we may find that the disagreements there are should not always be such a terrible stumbling block. Lots of time many similarities can be found, or little details which are not as important to the outcome, they may think.

As children of God we should respect the other creations of God, and accept that they may have their own interests and their own believes. We should imagine a multitude of possibilities in this world, or models of the way the world could be. We also should accept that not everybody wants to choose the same things or the same order. We should leave them the liberty to choose freely,

pick between them based on our personal interests and values a la Hume.

When defining free will simply (and crudely) as “an uncaused will” or “caused by nothing but ‘myself’”, you get the kinds of tensions that keep some determinists up at night.  However, why define it this way?  Why not define it differently?

We all have a very real experience of free will, of choosing between live ‘options’, and of being morally ‘responsible’.  There is a very real phenomena I seem to be pointing at with these words that begs an explanation.  So it seems that there are really two separate kinds of free wills, or ways in which we use the term free will.  Specifically, ‘free will’ can refer to 1) a concept or definition or 2) a phenomena we experience.

Cupido

To understand this think of “Love”.  Love is an very real and powerful emotion, yet there are a thousand definitions and understandings of what it is and causes it.  Psychologists, sociologists, evolutionary biologists, and theologians all understand the term differently and operate on different academic definitions.  So in the first way we could, for instance, simply define “love” as “mutually altruistic pair emotional and social bonding” and then work off of that definition.  Then, in contrast, I could ask: What is this phenomena over here in front of me that we all experience and often call ‘love’? And, further, why accept this definition of ‘love’ as opposed to some other?  How should we define this phenomena and what characterizes it?

When we do have the capacity to take things in perspective we should try to understand others’ differing interests. Out of our love for the creation we should feel empathy and show understanding, trying also to learn from the other person his ideas, intelligence or sense. Each of us should know that it is not because we might have a strong personal opinion or interpretation of a subject that the other opinion could not be right as well or could not receive our sympathy as well. Though sometimes there may be a close similarity in appearance or quality; inherent likeness, we should be wiling to see. It just demands a free spirit who puts away the selfishness of the ego, liking its own ideas.

We better should look for the quality of fitting or working harmoniously with one another, trying to find ways to make this living space a better space for every one, whatever they may like or whatever opinion they would like to hold on.

Like we should treat kids we should take the right attitude to people around us. We should look at them with investigating minds, not condemning the situations or actions straight ahead. We should look for harmony between things, ideas, and where we see something going right or wrong we should mention the good things first.

Moral blame and praise (very different from punishment and rewards, btw), holding people accountable for their actions, and other moral considerations daily effect how we think about our choices and make our decisions.

Holding people morally responsible, promoting moral values, etc still has tangible and valuable effects on peoples’ conscious and subconscious deliberations and life choices.

agrees , but he also thinks

Even if ‘free will’, crudely defined, creates problems for moral responsibility, again, who cares?

Those who are aware of the Higher Being and belief that we live in a temporary system, should care, and try to come to good alternatives.

may believe that in the 3000 yr old tradition of Philosophy, the discussion about God and ethics was pretty much finished with Plato in the Euthyphro Dialogue. The question about what ‘right’, ‘good’, and other moral terms actually are may still be on many tongues. We as citizens should listen to the worldly lawmakers, but should always put the Most Important  and Most High Lawmaker in the first place.
Paul Chiariello who is currently studying for his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University and who is also the assistant coordinator and webmaster at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers University, gives a good answer:

So like ideal teachers, parents and legislators, God instead commands and loves what is already right and good, independent of his commanding/loving it.  God has, in a sense, figured out ethics already (being omniscient and whatnot) and then tells us about it.

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Please do find to read:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Being prudent – zorgvuldig zijn
  3. Choices
  4. Choosing your attitudes
  5. Not the circumstances in which we are placed constitutes our comfort
  6. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  7. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  8. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  9. How us to behave
  10. Not liking your Christians
  11. Who are the honest ones?
  12. Greatest single cause of atheism
  13. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  14. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  15. How we think shows through in how we act
  16. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  17. If you want to go far in life
  18. People should know what you stand for
  19. The manager and Word of God
  20. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  21. A learning process for each of us
  22. Are Christadelphians so Old Fashioned?
  23. Feed Your Faith Daily
  24. Followers with deepening
  25. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  26. Unconditional love
  27. Life and attitude of a Christian
  28. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  29. Work with joy and pray with love
  30. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  31. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  32. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  35. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  36. It is free will choice
  37. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  38. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  39. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  40. Ask Grace to go forward
  41. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal
  42. Spread love everywhere you go
  43. Don’t wait to catch a healthy attitude
  44. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap
  45. Finish each day and be done with it
  46. Christadelphian people

Those who understand Dutch can also find:

  1. Uitkijken voor de steeds groter wordende kloof tussen wereld en kerk
  2. Zorgvuldigheid of oplettendheid
  3. Grootste oorzaak van atheïsme in de wereld zijn de Christenen
  4. Niet houden van dat soort Christenen
  5. Woede Oordeel en veroordeling
  6. Niet de omstandigheden waarin we geplaatst zijn vormen onze troost
  7. Hoe we denken schijnt door in hoe we handelen
  8. Onze houding naar anderen belangrijk om te overtuigen
  9. Een norm waaraan de verstandigen en eerlijken zich kunnen herstellen optrekken
  10. Als je ver wilt gaan in het leven
  11. Mensen moeten weten waar je voor staat
  12. Tot bewust zijn komen voor huidig leven
  13. Je verliest alleen energie wanneer het leven saai in je geest wordt
  14. Vergeet niet dat wie je bent slechts zo belangrijk is als wat je doet
  15. Beoordeel niet elke dag door de oogst die je plukt
  16. De Bekeerling, bekeringsactie en bekering
  17. Christen, Jood of Volk van God
  18. Christen genoemd
  19. Christenmensen met ons geloof
  20. Welk soort leven moet een Christen hebben?
  21. Christen worden iets anders dan lid worden van een kerk.
  22. Volgelingen met de vrucht van verdieping
  23. Hoe ons te gedragen
  24. Handel alsof alles wat je denkt, zegt en doet uw hele leven bepaalt
  25. Neem afstand van het kwade
  26. Kleed jezelf met compassie, zachtheid, vriendelijkheid, nederigheid, en geduld
  27. Vraag Genade om voorwaarts te gaan
  28. Christadelphian mens
  29. Zijn Christadelphians zo ‘Old fashioned’?

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Additional reading:

  1. What’s church for, anyway? (by )
  2. Four Reasons Why Determinism is Irrelevant to Ethics & Free Will
  3. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  4. Peter Singer & Christian Ethics
  5. Seeking common ground
  6. A Quick Report from ‘Christian Ethics Engages Peter Singer’ this Past Week at Oxford
  7. Euthyphro’s Dilemma: Why Atheists & Theists are Stuck in the Same Ethical Boat
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. You Blind Guides! You Strain Out a Gnat But Swallow a Camel
  10. “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard
  11. Cultivating A Gospel Shaped Attitude
  12. Relationship with God
  13. You are not limited to who is in charge
  14. 3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless
  15. Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice
  16. The Yes Face
  17. Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’

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  • Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views…. (healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com)
    41,000 denominations of Christianity in the world. Wow.

    That’s a lot of people, getting a lot of what God wanted us to know – wrong, and who knows who is right???

    I’ve put my very un-theologically sound views in there, which surprisingly has been welcomed by some – but I think hey – if they are all arguing with each other and getting a little personal with each other in some of their opinion, I might as well interject with some psychology based opinion too. Of which some have agreed with, men included.
    +
    I have no desire to be a preacher, no desire to lead in Church, in fact I can’t think of anything worse for me. But, I don’t see a compelling argument either way and all the theologians can’t get it right and agree.

    But, I do like seeing all their views and thinking about them and seeing some of their confusion, some of their rigid religious beliefs and some of their..well… silly arguments.

    Cognitive distortions are responsible for some of it, religious idolatry responsible for some of it, narcissism some of it, ego some of it, doctrine some of it, peer pressure some of it and some is just well…stupid.

  • #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets (themisinterpreted.com)
    What frightens us is that we’re not seeing something that is false, but something that is very real. A mirror is up and if we don’t like what we see then maybe we should begin to do some internal soul searching. The sooner we own up to that, the sooner we can face the realities that there are significant flaws and brokenness within our Christian leadership (and community). This show represents what we have nurtured and fed for decades. We have supported, encouraged and enabled
    arrogance,
    entitlement,
    a misplaced rationalization of prosperity,
    egoism,
    narcissism,
    sexism,
    position worship,
    emotional & spiritual manipulation
    et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
  • Why can’t I warm to street preaching? (christiantoday.com)
    Street preaching was encouraged as Biblical practise when Jesus came to Earth and has been since.

    Those who are brave enough to take to the streets are therefore following the footsteps of Jesus and spreading the word of the Gospel as we are asked.

    Even so, I cannot help but think that street speakers actually scare the public away from Christianity. We’ve all seen the eye-rolling of passers-by and it gets me wondering about the effect street preachers actually have on religious conversion.

    +
    There is certainly an argument that we must take the Word to the street because most people avoid Churches and religious buildings entirely. But I wonder whether the public aren’t encountering the right kind of street evangelism?

    Some evangelists preach discreetly in the streets by framing unintimidating picture boards for example, or by engaging in casual conversations. Others perform Christian music busker-style. These methods may be better suited to today’s society. After all, Jesus introduced street preaching over 2,000 years ago and modern society has changed profoundly.

  • Moderates, good deeds and religious fanaticism (samizdata.net)

    John Stephenson argues for the need to ask religious moderates about the motivations behind their actions. Are moderates – seeing faith as virtuous – tacitly defending fundamentalists (who are the genuinely committed believers), allowing them to become the “tail that wags the dog”? Moreover are religious moderates actually engaged in religion because they are “humanists in disguise”?

    One of the problems with engaging religious folk in conversation is the fact that, before falling victim to the charge of being “angry” or “strident”, we find that the rules of discourse and logic are warped and violated beyond recognition. Find me a religious fanatic who doesn’t endorse his faith through the actions supposedly committed in its name and you will have probably found me a liar.
    +

    The fact that what we perceive as a sense of morality is innate within humanity as opposed to religion is evident by virtue of the cherry-picking so commonplace among moderate believers. Among casual Church of England Christians for example, the Sermon on the Mount may be advocated yet the more abhorrent elements of Deuteronomy or Leviticus will be ignored. I suspect that a large proportion of these individuals are religious in name alone and that, for the most part, their attendance comes as a result of habit or an intrinsically vague idea that to attend church constitutes as a “good thing”. These people have often given very little thought to the doctrine their religion entails, but understand church to be a place of warmth and community – things that most of us are drawn to.

  • Can Faith Ever Be Rational? (ronmurp.net)
    When the question, is it rational, is asked of faith, the method by which a belief is maintained, then no, faith is not rational at all. Faith is the antithesis of rationality. Faith is what you use when you want to believe something, or are otherwise driven to hold a belief, when there is no reaason or evidence to support the belief. And faith can result in belief in spite of counter evidence and reason.

    When the question is asked it may be asked of faith, the system of belief, such as Christianity or Islam. So, can Christianity be rational? Can Islam be rational? Well, they can contain elements of reason, rationality, in the arguments put forward to support them, but that does not make them consequentially rational.

  • “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle (noneedtomindme.wordpress.com)
    In the passage, “Nicomachean Ethics”, by Aristotle, he explains about good and evil are the main contributions to our happiness, it crafts our character, and our virtues. I totally agree with his concept, because our virtues can help distinguish other relationships, and help relate to other people’s intention and emotions.
  • Political Correctness and “Bashing” (fggam.org)
    The adverse impact of “political correctness” on American culture cannot be overstated. Its sinister influence has been monumental and subversive in the extent to which it has reshaped American values, literally driving the population farther away from its Christian moorings, and redirecting civilization toward hedonism, socialism, atheism, humanism, and a host of other anti-Christian philosophies.
    +
    It is ever the case that error and falsehood are self-contradictory, and typically guilty of the same malady it imagines in others. Observe that those who express their disdain for “bashing” do not hesitate to bash the ones they accuse of bashing, and to do so publicly. They openly express to others (people who have no real connection to the matter) their rejection of and dislike for specific persons and groups who have had the unmitigated gall to express disapproval of a false religion or an immoral action.
  • John C. Richards Jr. Cuts Through the Focus on the Prosperity Gospel to Expose a Better Way for the Church (blackchristiannews.com)
    The pulpit has always been sacred space for the African American community.
    +
    The pulpit was reserved for the pastor. A sacred space for someone who recognized the sacred duty. Like Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, a preacher was to recognize they were standing on holy ground. As God’s mouthpiece, the preacher would deliver a message that was to deliver the people of God from bondage and sin. Recognizing this, the preacher’s accompanying humility-laden approach to sermonizing would cause others to grow deeper in their faith. As John Wesley puts it, the preacher’s duty was to “catch on fire” so “others will love to come and watch you burn.” Have we doused the fire in the Black church? Have we grabbed our extinguishers labeled “prosperity,” “tradition,” and “justice,” and forgotten about the Gospel? Do we just run across the pulpit as a shortcut to our next destination? Have preachers forgotten about that sacred space?
  • Does God Exist? (crain207.wordpress.com)
    I’ve often thought on that long-ago neighbor’s sad statement of belief. I’ve wondered if he only wanted to get rid of a visiting preacher, if deep down he still believed but responded in shock-the-preacher fashion because the parson on his porch reminded him of wounds he felt he received in church.
    +
    I often think of Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe that God exists and rewards those who search for him.”
  • Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up (rhythmraveradio.wordpress.com)
    The new reality series on Oxygen’s ‘Preacher’s of LA’ has caused quite a sir, especially when two of the ministers on the show , Bishop Clarence McClendon and Deitrick Haddon got into an argument .

Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing

Fear to use a name of a ghost, person or group

5. Fear from knowing previous cases

Ghost fear

Ghost fear (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

It is not always from personal history that a person learns to fear. Regardless of whether they themselves have experienced trauma, or if they have observed the fear in others, people are aware in what happens in others and anticipate in what could happen to them when they know what happened to others in a similar situation. History has brought forth that people know how many people were teased, pestered, tormented and even killed for their love of God. Often they become worried to be put in an embarrassing situation if they would mention God or His Name. Their conscience pricks them, not having pangs of conscience, but more of the fear to become confronted with something others do not like, or would not find it ‘cool.’

6. Coming out

They should better have an uneasy conscience why they do not like to come out for those things they do believe. Because as a follower of Christ we should have a beautiful example in what Jesus did for his faith and for those people who even did not like him.

Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-centur...

Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai. NB – slightly cut down – for full size see here (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nobody wants to be a figure of fun or made a fool of, and often it is not easy to be able to take a bit of teasing surely when we know that it easily can take on the form of bullying and going to worse.

Also to fear to be associated with loonies, conservatives, fools or lunatics or with associations or groups which are not so much liked in society.

For this reason several priests and preachers do not dare to use the Name of God. In the fifties we still could find Roman Catholic Bibles with the name Yehowah printed in it. But when a group of lay street-preachers started to put the attention more on God then on his son Jesus and the Church institutions, the Institutions themselves felt taken under fire, and wanted to bring it forth that those people using the name Jehovah were the children of the devil. But then they themselves could not use the same name as those ‘dangerous’ objectors. The growing Jehovah Witnesses became a formidable or fearsome adversary. The church institutions wanted to get rid of this opponent which tried to open the eyes of the unknowing parishioners. According to the Catholic Churches people should not read the Bible because they are not able to understand it. But now those common folk tried to get others to understand that anybody could find the Truth in the Word of God, the Bible.

7. Dangerous folks

Many institutions tried to bring a hate feeling for those ‘dangerous’ people of Jehovah, who had to be avoided at all costs. The fact that those Witnesses also dared to call at the door at the most awkward moments of the day did not make them very popular. That they also showed up at the worst moments was not in their favour. Therefore it was not difficult to have them become a subject of laughter and of hate mails.

According to several studies, when individuals are presented with fearful vs. neutral faces or being confronted with figures clothed in a certain way this triggersthe occipital cerebellar regions including the fusiform gyrus and the inferior parietal / superiortemporal gyri.[1]A fear is created by the looks of the persons. Everybody can see the Jehovah Witnesses from far away. (We probably do not have to have a picture here.)

The cognitive, and behavioural components make that several people come in to a psychological and physiological state whereby they produce worry going into anxiety, angst or in the worst case terror. The Jehovah Witnesses were considered a hazard. Nobody wanted to risk the loss of their members to such an association were everybody seemed so close to each other.They even considered the others in the group as brothers and sisters. That would make such a close relation that they would do a lot to help and protect each other.  It would be more difficult to get them away from the group than when they would stay just some individuals in a community. To make the fear greater for those people the churches found it best to say that those Witnesses of Jehovah were not only the adversaries of faith but also a dangerous sect or cult which would make that families would be broken up.


[1] Radua,Joaquim; Phillips, Mary L.; Russell, Tamara; Lawrence, Natalia; Marshall,Nicolette; Kalidindi, Sridevi; El-Hage, Wissam; McDonald, Colm et al. (2010).”Neural response to specific components of fearful faces in healthy andschizophrenic adults”. NeuroImage 49 (1): 939–946. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.08.030. PMID 19699306.

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Additional reading:

  1. 7000 to 20000 words spoken each day
  2. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  3. Greatest single cause of atheism
  4. Breathing and growing with no heir
  5. Facing disaster fatigue
  6. Fear knocked at the door
  7. 8 fears caused by the fear of Man
  8. Walking alone?
  9. Fearing the right person
  10. Fear and protection
  11. Anxiety is the gap between the now and the later
  12. Vile language and behaviour plus little secrets
  13. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  14. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  15. Fear not tomorrow. God is already there
  16. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Look for your Refuge by God
  23. Praying For What We Want or Don’t Want
  24. Prophets making excuses
  25. Would You Run?
  26. Control and change
  27. When discouraged facing opposition
  28. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  29. Try driving forward instead of backwards
  30. Be strong and take courage
  31. A small trouble is like a pebble
  32. Look for today
  33. Rejoicing in the day
  34. Give your worries to God
  35. God is Positive
  36. God Feeds The Birds
  37. God become master of our passions
  38. No fear in love
  39. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  40. Wondering
  41. Eternal Word that tells everything
  42. Power in the life of certain
  43. Being sure of their deliverance
  44. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  45. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  46. Focus on Charles Taze Russell
  47. Charles Taze Russell never claimed to have found a new religion, or a new church.
  48. Bringing Good News into the world
  49. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  50. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  51. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  52. Breaking up with a cult
  53. Being religious has benefits even in this life

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  • God’s Name is Jehovah, not ‘Yahweh’ (dontbefooled666.wordpress.com)
    When one does more research, they find that there are a multitude of Biblical names of places and people–even names of kings–that have meanings that center around God. These names begin with Jeho in English (Yeho in Hebrew) and some even include God’s whole name: Jehovah.
  • “Do not be Anxious.” An unrealistic expectation? (God’s Law and the Christian Pt. 3) (newjerusalem.net.au)
    If the standard of legalistic righteousness of the Pharisees was above most people’s heads, Jesus comes and shows that the standards of the law are much higher even than that – they are beyond the ceiling!
    +
    Jesus’ teaching on the Law shows me up. He tells me that lustful thoughts are adultery, so that I will see that I am an adulterer, filled with lust and ungodly desires; he tells me that anger is murder, so that I will see that I am a murderous, selfish person who lives for myself instead of others; He tells me my ‘spiritual life’ must be simple and private, so that I will see that I am craving the attention and approval of others in order to affirm my own sense of self righteousness.
    +
    Paul’s statement in Philippians 4:6 ‘…do not be anxious about anything…’ does not stand on it’s own; it is sandwiched between ‘The Lord is at hand’ and ‘the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ Again, the character and faithfulness of God gives us reason to obey His call to trust and not be anxious.
    +
    Instead of listing the nature of our circumstances and concluding that all will be disastrous, we need to list the nature of our Father and His faithful and righteous acts so that we will conclude that He is good and can be trusted to world for good in whatever may be around the corner, be it gladness or grief.
  • Preaching the Gospel as Gospel: When Law Becomes Torah (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    There is an old story about a Lutheran pastor who, after a long ministry of rightly distinguishing law and gospel, announced on his death bed: “I shall most certainly go to heaven, as I cannot remember ever having done a good work.” The story touches on the great fear we all have about the preaching of the gospel in the performative mode of unconditional promise—it seems to make good works and personal holiness irrelevant. During his lifetime Catholic apologists violently hurled the antinomian accusation against Martin Luther, and he struggled to express why it did not apply to the reforming doctrine.
    +
    if the preacher is never accused of antinomianism, this probably means he is not preaching the authentic gospel at all.
    +
    Most preachers therefore prefer the carrot-stick approach, which is simply the way the world works. First tell the congregation that following Jesus is the good and right thing to do, with outstanding rewards in heaven and maybe some perks in the present; and then threaten them with punishment if they fail to comply (fire and brimstone works pretty well). In other words, preachers and congregations prefer the preaching of the law. It’s what comes natural because it is natural: law structures our fallen existence.
    +
    Proclaiming gospel in the performative mode of unconditional promise can be frightening, both for the preacher and the congregation. Exhortation is so much safer. It maintains the status quo.
  • A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not (asatisfiedspirit.com)
    Throughout scripture we are told not to be afraid.  Why is that?  God knew, when He put Adam and Eve out of the garden, that fear would be a part of everyday life.  So then what do we fear?  For me,  it’s something will happen to someone I love when they are not near me.  Or, there won’t be enough money for everything we need.  Or, not enough time for what I need to get done.  Or, someone will not like how I look.
    +
    I’m told the only way to conquer my fear is to face it.  Perhaps so but the Word says I don’t have to face it alone.  God is always with me and with Him all the the Angel Armies of Heaven.  Why would I fear with that at my Protector’s disposal?
  • The Right To Be Wrong About Everything (isylumn.wordpress.com)
    everything we know about the universe may be wrong. And Science will correct itself even if men must admit there truly is a Higher Power.Until then and the perspective never, men must question everything they know. So, what if everything we know about the universe is wrong? What then? Wild possibilities feed verdant imaginations. One would have to dream as a child to even contemplate answers. Indeed, the question itself sounds as if asked by a kid in grade school.
  • Man fires 19 rounds at Jehovah’s Witnesses (huffingtonpost.com)
    After telling a group of three Jehovah’s Witnesses to get lost, Centeron, Ark., resident John Baldwin, 35, fired about 19 shots at the group as they were leaving, police said.
  • “Ye Are My Witnesses, Saith Jehovah Baldwin: Arkansas Man Arrested For Firing Shots At Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Approached Him On His Lawn (jonathanturley.org)
    Jehovah’s Witnesses in Arkansas will soon be called to be witnesses of a different kind for John Baldwin, 35. Baldwin is charged with aggravated assault after firing 13 times at the Jehovah’s Witnesses who approached him in his front yard.
    +
    I guess Baldwin is another one of those “responsible guns owners” we have all been hearing about. The thought that this man could even think that firing shots at these women was appropriate and acceptable conduct makes my blood run cold. He should be put away for attempted murder and they should file a law suit and take his house. While justice in the next world may be the Lord’s Baldwin deserves a little earthly justice as soon as possible!
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pedophilia (alexjamesisnotmyrealname.wordpress.com)
    JWs insist on what they call the “two witness” rule, meaning that there must be two witnesses to any crime for them to move forward with any type of action.
    +
    Child sex assault rarely if ever has a second witness to the crime.  However, there is no reason that Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot consider it as having happened “in a field.”  I would like an explanation as to why they ignore this scriptural principle and continue to insist that nothing be done to investigate allegations of child sexual assaults in their midst if there is not this second witness to the crime.
  • Rosary No More!! Why I Stopped Praying The Rosary!! (Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic) (soulrefuge.org)
    I write this post as a former Roman Catholic, and as one who has forever stopped praying the Roman Catholic Rosary. For those of you who are not familiar with the Rosary, the Rosary is a set of beads, each bead representing a prayer. The majority of those beads represent a prayer well known as the “Hail Mary” and there are 53 “Hail Mary’s” on each bead set of 5 decades. There are also larger beads which would represent the Lord’s prayer (Our Father) but there are only 6 of them on the rosary. There is a crucifix on the end, and the “Apostles Creed” would be said on that, and there are also “Glory Be” prayers that are said on that Rosary.
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    The Lord Jesus Christ set me free from the darkness of Roman Catholicism, and it’s false Gospel over 20 years ago, and people are being seduced in our day, like never before! There is very little resistance to Rome, in the pulpits in our time, even though many know Rome preaches a false gospel. Many are afraid of offending other “big name Christians” whose ministries are known around the world. Could it be that they are receiving funding from the compromisers, and do not want to lose that funding, should they speak out?