Does A Spoonful of Sugar really help the Message go Down?

images-56I refuse to think that I was the only kid that would fake being sick for the sole purpose of getting a spoon full of sugar. It wasn’t until sometime later when I saw the popular Disney movie called “Mary Poppins” that I realized that my mother along with many probably adapted the same method of dowsing a little medicine with sugar just like the song in the movie. It was such a catchy jingle that most of us can sing it to this day, “A spoon full of sugar helps make the medicine go down”. My


Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception


question is does the little bit of sweet really help or hurt in the long run? Have we sweetened the medicine so much that now society doesn’t want the medicine anymore just the sweets? What seemed like a good idea might have had some serious consequences.

I believe in a similar way we have done the same thing in the church today with the message of the cross. Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception. When we take the power of God out of the message of the cross, it becomes empty and hollow. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) I believe


The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!


we have put so much sugar on the message of Christ that we have lost the power of the cross in the church today! Some of our worship services have become nothing more than a Disney production! It might look as if they are useful and productive, but are powerless and un-effective. Salt that has lost it’s usefulness is how Jesus described it. (Matt 5:13) He says we are the salt, but when the salt looses its flavor it’s useless and should be tossed out. The flavor is the message of the cross, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!

Many have veered from scripture and jump on the bandwagon of “feel good tickle my ear messages”. It might line up people at the door of the church but does it really bring a lasting change in peoples lives? I believe it’s time for the church to wake up and line up with the Word of God. We are called to be reflections and ambassadors of Christ.

In His letters to the seven churches Jesus tells the church of Laodicea in Rev 3:16-17 “…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. Jesus goes on to say that this church was basically coasting along with a mentality of satisfaction and contentment. They arrogantly thought they had everything they needed yet Jesus says in verse 17 that they “…are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. What they thought and what was reality was very opposite to the truth. Because of this self-sufficient attitude Jesus declares He will spew them out of His mouth, representing His disapproval as one does with bad flavored food. Have we produced congregations with that same type of attitude and ineffectiveness?

We need to have such a passion and love for God’s word that we will cry out saying, “give it to us straight with no additives”. Our message doesn’t need to be covered in sugar or ear tickling, but full of truth. In John 8:32 it says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Highest Call to a Believer is …

images-53Whether it’s dreaming to be a lead singer of a band or a top billed movie star or MVP of the Super Bowl we are infatuated with importance and becoming what we believe is success! Isn’t it amazing how we, as well as our whole society identify with what we feel is the most important position.

Unfortunately, we have allowed that exact thought pattern to invade the church. In an era of a mega churches on ever channel and ministers of the Gospel being exalted as we do to rock stars, it can distort our understanding of what is


What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart.


viewed a success in God’s eyes. We have been deceived in thinking the most important thing we can do to honor our Lord and Savior is found in the limelight. We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous.

I am reminded of God’s word in Isa 55:8 that says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.” What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart. Even though being a successful minister, and ambassador is important and needed in the body of Christ it is not the highest call of God for us.

Jesus sets the record strait in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, where Martha had welcomed Jesus into her home. I can only imagine like most women Martha was getting things ready and wanting to serve Jesus with the best of


We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous


her abilities. I am sure that Martha wanted nothing less than to please and honor Jesus. But when she saw her sister whom was just sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping with the serving she was distracted and became agitated and frustrated going to Jesus to complain. We read in verse 40 where Martha says, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Martha’s words reveal that she was not only distracted from what was important, but discouraged at Jesus for not helping and disconnected from Mary due to offence. I think if we are honest we can all identify with how she was feeling and reacting.

Jesus addresses this viscous cycle that we find ourselves often caught in with what is important to Him. He says to His host, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Jesus calls Mary on the carpet and gets her focus on what is important. Her heart was in the right place; Martha was trying to be a good host and desired to please Him. Yet, even though her motive was right her method was off.

Jesus’s words in vs. 42, “only one thing is needed” expresses the necessity of what Mary was doing. He lets us know that her action was needed, was good, was her choice and ends with a promise that would never be taken from her. What was Mary doing? She was sitting at Jesus feet, listening to His words. This isn’t about a posture but is about the priority of Gods people positioning themselves in God’s presence, pondering His words and understanding His promises.

It is our intimacy and worship before the Lord, which is of most importance to God’s heart. (Ex. 28:1-4, Deut. 10:8-9) We are created to worship Him. (Jn. 4:23-24) I encourage you to be established in what God thinks is priority and not be distracted. Then and only then should we venture out to be about His business!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:

  1. Do you remember growing up wearing your NFL teams sports jacket or dressing like your favorite movie star? What kind of things did you do to mimic those you thought were successful? Explain? 

 

  1. What do you think are some of the most import jobs you can do for God? How would you describe sitting or standing before the Lord? Is it talking about a posture or position?

 

  1. Describe what kind of benefit there is in ministering to God? Are we wasting Time? Shouldn’t we be about His business? How would you encourage others to value a place of prayer and worship before the Lord?

 

 

Let The Pit Produce Your Purpose

images-46It’s amazing how fast things can change around us. Many of us have had some event or situation in our life where something had happened which altered our surroundings and radically changed us from that moment forward. Those earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.

In Genesis we read a story of a young man who’s life went from being spoiled and loved by his parents to separation and devastation throughout much of his life. We read in Gen 37:18-20 where young Joseph was going to check on his older brothers who were taking care of the family’s sheep. “Now when they saw him afar off, …they conspired against him …said to one another, “…Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit”. These were his family, stepbrothers who should have protected him, but chose to bring hurt to him by throwing him in a pit. They stopped short of killing him physically by selling him into slavery aborting any life desires he might have had. Let alone they lied to their parents that wild animals had viciously killed Joseph. Needless to say, this was a life-altering situation brought on by selfishness and jealousy among family members.

It’s hard to believe that those that should bring safety and encouragement through life’s struggles can sometimes bring the most damage and devastation. Whether it is co-workers, teachers or even those you’re related to they can at times bring the worst destruction in our lives. Life can be fragile and altered many times


Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.


where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. We can feel like the popular commercial that states, “I have fallen and I can’t get up”. This advertisement goes on to advertise an emergency button that you can have so during these serious situations you can call for help. You and I can also have in place a much more effective response for our cry for help. That is firstly, our personal relationship in Christ, secondly a strong support by family and friends of faith, as well as thirdly, our own fortitude that comes from confidence in God’s purposes for us.

It is so important that in these times we have our foundation already established in Christ so that our eyes are kept on the one where our help comes from. (Ps 121:2-3) Jesus said in Matt 7:24-25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” We will have storms in our


Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call?


lives for sure, but they don’t have to wipe us out completely. We can take our deepest pit and allow God to turn it into our strongest purpose to help others. Joseph went from the pit to Potifers house and even through a dark prison season. He could have and possibly did entertain the thoughts that God didn’t care or was punishing him, but ultimately we read that Joseph kept his eyes on the Lord. He knew God was a God that would bring justice in this situation. The end of this incredible story is that God used this incredible tragedy to bring triumph to His people through Joseph. God brought young Joseph from a pit to a palace with a purpose to help others!   I encourage you even though you have fallen into a pit to not stay there but look ahead for your palace!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

Have you ever had a situation in your life that has altered your future course? Or maybe you have a close friend that has gone through some tragedy that changed their life. Explain?

As you read the story of Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers and then being sold into slavery, what comes to your mind? What do you think brought on such hatred for their younger brother?

Describe what kind of support or helpful measures you have in your life to keep get you out of a pit if you ever fall into one? What do they look like in detail? How would you encourage others to be equipped to overcome adversity in their lives?

Quotes to Tweet:

  • Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude. – billvirgin.com

 

  • Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call? – billvirgin.com

#IHaveFallenAndCantGetUp         #DontStayInThePitLookToThePalace          #LetThePitProduceYourPurpose

Does Anyone really Know what Time it is?

images-35Spending many of my teenage years in the Rocky Mountains, I can recall many evening skies that were nothing less than breathtaking. It’s hard for me to see how anyone can question God’s existence when his creation shouts his praises.

I can remember how I would test the sailor’s jingle, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning and red sky at night sailor’s delight,” as I was growing up. It seemed to always be a true sign of the coming weather conditions. It wasn’t until much later that I found Jesus also speaks about this same truth.

The Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven testing him. In Matthew 16:2–3 Jesus responds, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today,


God desires to do something so powerful in the earth that it will catch the attention of all who hear about it.      (tweet)


for the sky is red and threatening.” Jesus goes on to declare them “Hypocrites” for they could see the natural signs but could not see the spiritual signs.

In the same manner has the church fallen in the same religious hypocritical rut that the Pharisees and Sadducees were in? Have we become so cold and callous that we cannot see the signs of the times we are living in?

One of the reasons David’s mighty men were so effective is that they understood the times. In 1 Chronicles 12:23–40 we see the numbers of those who came to David from each tribe, to make him king. The smallest group that was represented was from the tribe of Issachar. Though they were small in number they were mighty to God. Listen to what was recorded of them; in verse 32 it says they “Had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” These men had great skill above their fellow brethren. They could discern the times, not only in the natural but also in the spiritual. They not only knew when to plow and cultivate, but also when to sow and reap!

In Deuteronomy 33:19, we read that Issachar shall call the people to the mountain for sacrifices of righteousness. They knew the ceremonial times, when to press into God. They knew the condition of the nation and all the public affairs. Issachar knew it was expedient to make David king, for they had a grip on the signs of the time! Therefore, they knew when and what was needed!

I believe that not only are the signs of the times screaming at the church, to seek God for revival, but the Lord is speaking to those who will hear him. He is saying, like he said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.”

God desires to do something so powerful in the earth that it will catch the attention of all who hear about it. The problem is when the church is asleep spiritually and not attentive to what God is doing. I believe the church has settled in with mediocrity and has become satisfied with the minimum! All the while, God is—able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

It’s time for the church to wake up and understand the times we’re living in and the purposes of God? If we are lacking in understanding of the times, we will not be tenacious in prayer for revival in the earth. Let’s be alert and seize the opportunity before us.

It’s Time to Grow Up!

1A- adult on baby bottleThere’s nothing like codling your new born when they first come home from the hospital and they still smell so new. Starting the journey of parenthood can be an exhilarating time in ones life. My wife would wrap our children when they were in that infant stage and bring them to me, so I could feed them and love on them. Wow! There’s nothing like it!

But if you fast-forward the journey, it definitely will get different. They have nothing on their mind other than playing with their friends and living life to it’s fullest. Feeding time can look like a litter of young pups knocking over anything and everything that stands in the way of their bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning. Sadly, the codling goes away and the feeding memories are filed away in the archives of the past.

Even in the bird kingdom in the coming of Spring you can find mother’s bringing worms and insects back to the nest, where the newly hatched babies eagerly await dinner with their mouth open. King Solomon in his wisdom sums it up


It is unnatural and incapable for anyone believer to grow spiritually if they stay spoon-fed     (tweet)


in Eccl 3:2 where he says there’s, “A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;” He pens what many of us parents have already experienced or what some are learning as they are currently in the trenches with raising their children. There are season! What might be cute and making of great memories with your newborn would totally be absurd to do with an older child. Keep cuddling by all means, but let them feed themselves when they’re older.

As Paul writes his letter to the believers in Colosse saying in Col 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Paul in his spiritual fathering exhorts those who had made a decision to receive Jesus as their Lord: to not stop with just a decision but to begin the journey of following their new master. What he says here he also says with more detail to the


If you are Not growing in the Lord… what’s your excuse?    (tweet)


Hebrews that weren’t progressing in their spiritual walk. He says in Heb. 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you Continue reading

What has Robbed your Passion?

images-26When the new wears off and normal comes into play many lose their passion and fire. As most of us have experienced over the years in our own lives, our passion for different things comes in and out almost as often as the Sun rises and then sets hours later. I remember my siblings and I having thoughts of making big money shoveling driveways every first snow. Yet, halfway through with a mountain of snow still in my shovel the enthusiasm and passion quickly faded and before long we gave up and were all back in our warm home.

In reading the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 -19, we see his passion and zeal for the God he worshipped and served. He had just been used by God to turn the hearts of Israel back to Him. Through his obedience and faith, God had showed His power


Don’t run from God into what you think is a cave or safe place, when the enemy means it to become your tomb.     (tweet)


and might on Mount Carmel in front of Baal‘s prophets and Jezebel’s chaplains, as well as the nation of Israel. Elijah’s boldness and eradication of the prophets and chaplains after God worked a great victory through him demonstrated his fire for God.

But then there is a drastic shift in the story as we see in 1 Kings 19:4 where Elijah is asking God to let him die. He says, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” He compares his life with those that had turned from God even after seeing God work mightily in there midst. This mighty prophet of God goes from a mountain top experience to the valley of discouragement. One moment he has a fiery passion for the things of God and the next he is nothing more than a smoking wick of a lamp. The fire had gone out in his life and there was only a faint stench of smoke. Elijah even sinks to the depth of despair by running into the wilderness and hiding in a cave. What happened to this bigger than life passionate prophet? What made him lose the fire of God? What made Him hide in the pit of life? A cave is nothing more than a tomb waiting to be shut!

What has robbed you of your passion for the things of God! Remember back when you had your first encounter with God? It was just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus joined them and talked with them. (Lk 24:13-32) They said “did not our hearts burn within us?” God starts His fire with in us! But then as we go through life we allow things to quench that fire! We lose our passion for the things of God!

Elijah allowed fear to come in when the evil queen Jezebel threatened his life. He began to isolated himself and have a pity party. He believed the lie that he was the only one serving God. He forgot what God had done in his life already. (1 Kings 19:1-10) Therefore, he ran from God to a desert place, into what he thought was a cave or safe place, but the enemy meant for it to become his tomb. God never left Elijah even when he was running but sustained him, empowered him, spoke to him and guided him all the way to victory!

As Matt 12:20 says, God isn’t going to let your fire go completely out even if its just smoking. He will intervene and draw near to you. But will you respond to His whisper? Letting Him rekindle your fire?

 

 

 

What has so easily Offended you making you go Astray?

images-24Have you notice the epidemic of people who are offended and living their lives entrenched in the bondage of offences. Maybe it is a friend that out of the blue won’t talk to you or a co-worker that becomes standoffish after your promotion. Maybe it’s even hit closer to your home with a family member who hasn’t communicated with you for sometime. Whatever the scenario might look like most of us have been defiled in someway by offended people.

We read in Matt 24:10-11 Jesus’ words concerning the end of the age, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many”. One of the many signs that He gives them in this dialog is that there will be a noticeable plague of people


Once a person is offended they are dragged down a demonic trail that will open their callused hearts to deception.   (tweet)


who are offended. The word “offended” in this passage means to entrap, to put a snare or stumbling block in the way. The word picture is the lever on a trap that ensnares whatever is enticed. In other words an offence will ensnare and hold in bondage the person that has been offended.

We set ourselves up for offense when we require certain behaviors from those with whom we have relationships. Offenses unchecked will lead to hurts and distortions. A person that chooses to be offended has allowed himself or herself to be entrapped and held captive. Limiting them from being about the fathers business.

We read in Matt 24 verse 10 that once people are offended that it leads to betrayal of each other. Meaning to cast off your commitment or bond that was there before the offence. It even implies to put in prison or bondage. When a person


The ironic thing about the person that succumbs to being offended is that they will become offenders themselves     (tweet)


becomes offended it breaks the bond or covenant one may have and actually imprisons a person in the enemies hold. To betray someone is the ultimate abandonment of covenant!

Unfortunately, we also read in verse 10 that the slippery slope of destruction progresses from just being offended to betrayal and then drops off the cliff of Continue reading