Monday, May 20, 2013

Modern Day Pharisee

Modern Day Pharisee

A Pharisee was someone mentioned in the New Testament as a religious leader of the Jews Law of Moses or definition as A member of an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both its oral and written form.  They were also recognized by Jesus as being hypocritical and self-righteous people.

What does that mean? It means they cared more about the letter of the law than than freedom of the law.  It means they worried more about the law than people and it also meant they used this type of attitude for their advantage to gain wealth, power, and become corrupt. 

We have people like that today in our churches and who claim to be christians.  They care more about their opinions, their doctrines, and their denominations than they do people or God. Sure, they use God and the bible, but for their own personal agendas and benefits.  It makes no sense to me?   People would rather be right than righteous, they find more satisfaction in arguing or belittling someone who disagrees with them, than loving them or finding common grounds, and they also would rather divide and conquer than unite and work together.

I call them modern day pharisees.  They worship denominations, pastors, traditions, and are legalistic in thinking and practice.  They focus on things that don't matter to God, but matter to them.  Things like bible versions, church names, church music, clothes you war, church buildings, names on the door, and other beliefs and interpretations of spiritual or religious topics and I dare you to disagree with them, because if you do they will judge you to hell and label you names such as reprobate, a pagan, a liberal, a whore monger,  soft, watered-down, weak, ignorant, foolish, stupid, dumb, false prophet, idiot, and sinner to name a few.  

Yet, they speak with no authority or approval from God.  They preach, teach, yell, and scream their own agenda that was handed down from generations of legalism, religious traditions, and just plain ignorance.  Just because we claim to speak for God doesn't mean we do and just because we spout scriptures or argue and debate loudly doesn't make us any more right, more spiritual, or closer to God.

If you have to put someone down to make yourself better, if you have argue, debate, yell, scream, and belittle in order to make a point, my friend you are wrong no matter how right your point.  You see the Pharisees did a lot of things right in the New Testament, they dressed the part, they looked the part, and they dotted their "I's" and crossed every "t", and memorized and kept all the laws to the letter, yet they lacked grace, mercy, compassion, and common sense.  In order to keep their "way of living" they had to put others down, try and force others to be like them, think like them, and if you have to force, bully, or make people live the way you say, then that is slavery not freedom and that is not faith.

God is the one who saves, not me or you.  God is the one who wrote the Bible not me or you.  God has a Holy Spirit who's job it is to convict and guide others to truth not me or you.  We need to let God speak, let His Word Speak, and Let His Holy Spirit speak, and stop trying to put words in God's mouth, spot taking His Word out of context, and stop playing religious police trying to police christians and let the Holy Spirit do it's job.

I know it may never happen, but I would love to see an end to modern day pharisees. If only they would put that zeal, passion, and zest to work and practice in the right ways with the right attitudes imagine how different our churches and world would be?   Most modern day pharisees are in denial of being one, they think they are doing God a favor, and they are not "legalistic" or "phariseeical" but are God's watch dog, bull dog, and guard dogs.  I don't remember reading anywhere where God needed or wanted dogs to do his work?  He does want followers, disciples, and servants, who practice love, unity, grace, mercy, peace, commitment, and who encourage, pray, build up, and edify the body of Christ? There is a stark difference between a committed follower of Jesus Christ and a modern-day pharisee.

Which are you? Will you stop following traditions? Will you stop being so "dogmatic" and "Hounding" people and start allowing God to use you for His glory and not your own or your church group?  Will you read God's Word with an open mind, use it in context, and allow the Holy Spirit to influence and use you?

Jesus wasn't very kind to Pharisees he called them vipers, hypocrites, and white washed tombs to name few.  Those who thought they were doing God a favor, actually had His son murdered because He didn't bow down to them or pat them on the back for their "keeping of the law".   Jesus came to fulfill the law not to worship it.  We should follow suit.  Love God, Love people, and stop being a pharisee and stop making everything wrong, a sin, or a test of fellowship if it doesn't line up with the way you were raised or taught.  Let the Word of God and the spirit of God change your attitude and repent of being so hard-hearted, hard-headed, and doing evil in the name of good.  Are you a pharisee or a follower?

Matthew 23:13(NIV)
13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spoiled Christians

Spoiled Christians
James 3:16(NIV)
"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice"

There is nothing more annoying than a selfish, entitled, spoiled brat!  Parents ought to be arrested for creating such monsters, but just as annoying is Christians who act that way in our churches today.  It's one thing to be a spoiled brat as a kid, but to see full grown adults act that way in order to get their way or throw fits because they don't get their way is a sad state of their true spiritual immaturity.

God did not send Jesus to earth and Jesus did not die and raise from the dead for us to be a bunch of spoiled, entitled, selfish people, in fact the extreme opposite.  We who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and King and enter a relationship with him should develop and mature into Selfless and hunble servants.

The more we know and grow in our faith the less SELFish we should be, the less entitled we should feel, and the more we should realize it's not about us!  So many churches has divisions, splits, factions, and troubles because of immature christians, selfish chrisitans, entitled christians, and spoiled christians.

It's time we simply Grow up!  If you've been a christian 10, 20, 50 years you should not still need "attention" or get mad if you don't get your way, you should be too mature for that.  If you've been a christian for a long period of time you should take the advice of James  in James 1:4(NIV) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Yet what happens?  We don't get our way, we make threats.  We don't get what we want, we cause trouble.  We don't get to be in charge or in control, and we cause a scene.  It's no different that a kid on a playground taking his ball and going home because he doesn't get to make all the rules, get to take all the turns, and never lose.

The truth of the matter is we have a lot of people who have been going to church for years and have done littler maturing over the years.  We have a lot of people who attend church services, claim being a christian, and yet there is little if any evidence of real life-changing, maturity, and fruit from their so-called faith? Why is that because we are selfish, entitled, and immature people. If you do not let God work in you and through you, if you do not spend time in prayer and in God's Word, how do you ever expect to mature and grow in your faith? If you do not serve and use you gifts for God how do you ever expect to become selfless and please God? If you always want you way, things to be your way, and you to have control how is God ever to be in control and His will be done in your life?

We are all guilty at times of being selfish or feeling entitled or wanting our way, it's in our human and sinful nature, however, the more of GOD we have in our lives and the more we do for live and the longer we live for Him, HIS nature should take over ours and we should strive to live lives that are about serving God and others and thinking about others and doing what is best for God and His church and kingdom and not us personally.

I want to challenge each of you reading this including myself to become fully-devoted to God, maturing and growing in our faith, and not feeling entitled, but humbled by God's grace, and realize it's always about God and His will and that should be our attitude. The only thing we should be spoiled about it spoiled in the riches of God's mercy, love, and grace!

Thursday, May 02, 2013


*my may church newsletter article, thought it was worth re-posting


  Duty, promise, responsibility, and pledge. These are words that describe commitment.What does that word mean to you?  We try to teach our kids to be committed to their teams or educatoin, our employers encourage us to be committed to their company, and many strive to be committed in their relationships to spouses, children, and friends.  What about your relationship to God?  Are you truly a committed follower of Jesus Christ or are you a casual christian?  What about your commitment to God’s church?  

 Many people make “decisions” for Jesus Christ, but fewer make a true commitment and it shows in our lives and in the church.  God desires commitment from those who claim to be His.  He wants us to be committed to our relationship with Him. Growing and maturing in that relationship.  Committed to prayer, to reading and studying His Word, and committed to being a disciple and sharing the good news of His Message.   Many of us are more committed  to our jobs, hobbies, earthly relationships, and our kids activities than we are our relationship with our God.  God not only desires our commitment, but He also deserves our commitment to Him and His church.  

If we truly want to be committed to Christ,  then we have to strive to put Him first in every aspect of our lives and truly be and make a commitment, but it takes time and it is a process.  We have to commit to learning, growing, maturing, developing, and deepening our faith. We have to be faithful in attendance to our church body, faithful in service and giving of our time, abilities, and yes even finances.   I want to challenge you to be committed.  As the great philosopher Yoda said“Do or do not. There is no try.”  We have no problem committing to many things and then treat God and His church like it’s optional.  God gave us His best and He deserves our best.  

Commit your life to Christ.  Recommit your life to Christ.  Commit your family to Christ.  There is no greater commitment in this world to make than an eternal commitment.  I want to encourage you to evaluate your “christianity” and see if you are truly committed to God, His church, His service, and His will? The church here at Ronceverte could be so much more and do so much more if all it’s members were totally committed to being in church, serving God through the church, worship, giving,  reaching out,  helping others, loving God and loving others and going out and making disciples.   Let’s be Committed!

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”