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Dangers of preaching out of the soul

I know that I am not worthy of sharing this message because often times what I have preached may seemed to have come out of the soul.  There is something important about analyzing of audience when you are trying to convey a message.  You don’t know who will be listening or reading what you are sharing and how it will impact them.  Certain types of messages may seem good to your soul, but are not often from the Spirit.  A good question you have to ask yourself is, will it do damage to the soul and bring condemnation to them?  People come with a lot of baggage in their souls, and if you carry your own baggage, even as an example, sometimes it can lead to destruction, and cause a lot of harm, and create a painful memory, in the person’s soul, especially if you believe that this person is really speaking from God.  So to put this delicately, we have to be very careful what we say, write, or speak as leaders.  We as Christians are supposed to forgive, and it maybe a lot more difficult when people abuse their position of authority.

There some types of audiences that you need to be aware of when preaching – not a law and probably no Biblical foundation to support this, but some guidelines to know what kind of message is appropriate for what kind of audience as so not to do tremendous damage to the soul to the point where it may become difficult for them to receive healing-Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire [for Jesus] comes, it is a tree of life:

1.  Born Again Believers – who have been born again for over 20 to 30 years –

They have probably heard it all and won’t be surprised by anything you say, but there is something new that they can learn from a message.

2.  Born Again Believers – who have been born again for  15 to 20 years –

They may have not heard everything, but can tolerate rebuking and correction most of the time

3.  Born Again Believers – who have been born again for 10 to 15 years –

They might be going through what I like to call Spiritual Adolescence, and they may be easily persuaded by different types of doctrines so they need to be preached the Truth.  They probably cannot tolerate too much rebuking and correction, and if it is constant, they may be led to stray away from the faith if they don’t have some messages that build up or uplift or encourage sometimes.  It may not mean they have itching ears, but they need to be able to trust that what they are hearing is from God.

4.  Born Again Believers – who have been born again for 5 to 10 years –

These are believers who need to be fed the Word of God and need to be taught how to feed upon more than nuggets, and they need to be encouraged and built up and they need not to be rebuked unless their sin is going to damage the way that God has for their life.  Each person and circumstance is different so it cannot be dependent upon a formula, as none of these can, but it takes wisdom on how to counsel these people and how to minister the Word to them, but preferrably they need to be built up and encouraged.

5.  Born Again Believers – who have been born again (Just received salvation up to 5 years)

These are new believers – they need to be built up and encouraged in their faith as much as possible, and need to be fed strong Word of Truth from the beginning so that their foundation is strong.  They do not need to be led into condemnation, and rebuking has to be gentle, and persuasive, instead of harsh, and discouraging.  They need to be counseled and mentored by someone in the same gender as them if they have had issues in the area of lust, and need to be taught properly the Word of God, and be encouraged to build up their faith so that they can know who Jesus is. This would be a good time for them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, after they have received the Baptism of Water.

5.  Nominal Christians – these are people who say they are born Christians

They need to be taught about what Jesus said to Nicodemus, that we must be born again, and they must be taught that Jesus is not a religion, but a relationship.  These people need to be rebuked because they are taking the name of Jesus in vain and they need to be taught the errors of their ways.

6.  Unbelievers – need to be treated the same way, but not need to have Jesus forced down the throat.  They need to experience Jesus for themselves because the Word of God will have no power over them if they don’t know who Jesus is.  It is different for each person and each person works out their own salvation with fear and trembling so they need to be carefully witnessed to, by planting small seeds at a time, and not be treated as such to “win a soul”.

7. Carnal Christians – various ages – who keep on committing sins that are abominations to God – for example the Church of Corinth.

That brings me to my next point – we are to win souls not crush them and break them and tear them to pieces.  We are to show them the way that they are wrong so that they can come into repentance, but not enter into condemnation, and it takes guidance from the Holy Spirit.  A preacher well intentioned may think they are hearing from God, (just an example)  but then make a comment that a person’s worship is not coming from the heart, and that may be true for some people or for themselves, but it is very dangerous to comment for everybody – especially for people that fall in that 1 – 10 category.  Their hearts are usually pure so they do not to be discouraged in the way the worship God, and I am not just talking about singing, but about their lifestyle of worship.  All preaching must bring hope and bring the message back to Jesus and back to revealing either Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit, or all three included, otherwise it might be coming out of the soul or might even be bringing idolatry.  Some messages are teaching tools in how to lead an effective ministry and for that the audience will have to take in what applies to them.  Preaching should be more about Jesus and less about your own personal life, and you can use examples, but then use them in a way so that it brings people faith and not doubt and discouragement to their souls.  Once the soul is wounded it takes time to repair the soul.  The Old Testament says that – Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully (or carelessly) – but The New Testament says – in 2 Corinthians 4:2 –

But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Paul struggled in this area of leading the Church of Corinth because they were doing things like fornicating in the temple and bowing down to idols, and these were things that he had to correct, and he didn’t like doing it, but it needed to be done.

Most likely there are many different types of people in the Church that you are ministering to so it’s hard to tell.  Pray to the Lord and ask Him to impart on you the Spirit of love and Agape when teaching so that you may be revealed what to preach and when to preach it.  Perhaps you end up preaching out of your soul at one time, then you know you can always repent, but pray that the message you preached did not cause a wound in the soul and caused people to lose hope or not to be able to forgive themselves and enter into condemnation. When you do preach it is always good to pray before hand, and sometimes when you preach out of pain God can do mighty things in another person’s life, but it takes a lot of wisdom and discernment, and just being examining your motive in what you are preaching.  Is it to take your mess and turn it into a message?  Will it actually help people’s lives, or will it make them feel so bad about themselves that they don’t want to believe in Jesus anymore because of what you said?  People handle different things differently and it takes wisdom to handle the situation properly.  Many people have left the Church because of strife and offense and the things that people especially ministers have said.  So my exhortation for preachers, blog-evangelists, teachers, apostles, is to be careful in the things you say both on and off the “pulpit”.  As I said that I am not worthy to preach this message because of the way I have been writing this blog at times, and I can think of at least one sermon, which did not bring edification and to build up the body.  It is difficult for bloggers because they don’t know who they are reaching – it could be wicked spammers, or it could be mighty men and women of God, or it could be someone who has just found their faith, so be careful of not preaching out of the soul and taking your own baggage on the pulpit.

1 Peter 5 says –  1I WARN and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honor and splendor) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded):     2Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;     3Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).     4And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory.

If you are a pastor, preacher, minister, leader, blog-evangelist, apostle, or teacher here is a prayer for you –

Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for anyone I have wounded grievously in the soul for the efforts of preaching and doing ministry work.  It was not my intention and I can only do what I can by the hearing and discernment of Your voice.  It is Your will that I should humble myself down before You and surrender the ministry into Your hands and cause only words that come out of Your mouth to be spoken or written to the people.  In their heart transformation let the people  not experience unforgiveness or bitterness in their own hearts toward anything being shared or spoken.  If there is any bitterness or unforgiveness in my own heart let it be washed away and cleansed by the Power of Your Blood and by the renewing of Your Spirit, and let it cleanse out all impurities of the soul that keep me from ministering what is Truth to Your Word.  Thank You for the Spirit of wisdom to help discern what types of audiences I am speaking to and what kind of messages need to be preached.  I lay everything down before Your feet, and remove any pride, critical, judgmental nature in my life and help me to be more like You each day.

In Jesus Mighty Name I Pray,

Amen.

 

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The Choice is Yours: A message for believers and nonbelievers alike

This week I have been examining my life and my own salvation, and coming to the terms that what the Bible says is not easy sometimes, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit we are able to bear the task of obeying the commandments.  In Luke 7 Jesus gives a parable to Peter and makes a comment to the woman who poured oil on his feet:

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins,which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

After hearing a sermon on the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, I had to seriously ask myself am I truly saved, or am I just going through the motions.  Am I like wheat or am I like a tare that is going to be burned in the fire?  I had to seriously seek God in this matter because how much I love Jesus I don’t want to be cast into the fire, and have Him tell me He never knew me.  I had questions like do I really have a relationship with Jesus or am I like a tare?  This time around reading the Gospels – I started to notice the parables even more and trying to find the hidden messages.  Sometimes I think Jesus is trying to say something and give me a rhema Word, and it turns out to be something totally different than what everyone else thinks.  Before I read the passage about the woman in Luke, I thought that if I have enough faith that I know my God and He knows me, then that should be alone well enough to justify my concerns of salvation.  I prayed to receive Rhema from the Word regarding this issue about salvation, and I came up with Luke 7:50.  So then I realized that God had answered my prayer and that He does talk to me and that I do hear His voice.

The other part of the sermon I heard it talked about if we as Christians, or believers, once being sure of our salvation do not reach out to nonbelievers, or wicked, or other sinners, then their blood will be on our hands.  I heard another preacher say this as well which lead me to this passage in Ezekiel 3:

16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 
20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.

 

I want to break this apart a little bit – the first part the LORD is talking about the wicked – He has told the wicked (meaning anyone that does not believe in the LORD GOD) that when He tells them that they will die for their wickedness, and the watchman who is Ezekiel, but also represents believers in the body of Christ, to save his life, that person will die in their iniquity, but God will require their blood at our hands, and our souls will be paying the price for that, but if we do tell them and they do not turn from their wicked ways, we will not be held responsible for that.

Now here’s the part that gets me – the same goes true for a righteous man, or other Christians.  So if a righteous man is still sinning, and we don’t warn him we will be held responsible for that.  It is a very heavy call asking a righteous man not to sin especially when you look at the 613 commandments in the Law.  That seems like a burden, but the Bible says, it is not burdensome or heavy to bear, if you have the Holy Spirit in 1 John 5.  But doesn’t the New Testament say that there is no righteous not even one?  And Jesus said that if our righteousness does not exceed those of the scribes and Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  And Jesus also said that He did not come for the righteous, because the sick are in need of a Physician, not those that are well.

So what are the characteristics of the kingdom of heaven?  What do we really need?  The Bible says it best: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Is this love based on emotion?  Or is it something else?

For that we need to go to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Amplified says:

4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Try to replace love with your name and does that describe you?

Questions to answer yes to:

Do you endure long with screaming kids or heavy traffic jams and are patient and kind to your kids?

Questions to answer no to:

Do you ever want that dress, those shoes, that house, that car?  Do you brag about how many weights you lifted?  Do you think you are better than everyone else?

Do you act arrogantly or rudely?  Some people think being assertive is a form of arrogance.  Do you act unbecomingly or make inappropriately making immature comments?  I guess Frank Sinatra was not right, I like it My Way, is not the way we are supposed to think.  This can even happen in church – do you not like what the Pastor is preaching, what day the church is on, the music that they play, what time of day it is?  Do you get upset over little things, or do you worry a lot or hold grudges?  Would you ever want to sue anyone – even if they totalled your car and it was their fault?

Most of us can be on the right track with this one – Do we rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness or do we rejoice when righteousness and truth prevail?

Do we bear up under anything, and I mean anything that comes?

And the hardest one for most people in Bible prophecy – Do we believe the best of every person?  Anne Frank said in her diary, that she believed that deep down inside people are basically good at heart.  Can we say that for even the terrorists?

 

Are our hopes fadeless and do we endure everything and I mean everything without weakening?

 

So when we look at love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself – do we have this depth of love?  We all need the LORD’s Mercy to cover us in this area.

 

One thing I want to say about if we don’t tell the wicked “You shall surely die” – this stems from the Adam and Eve story in the Bible – In the Bible it said in Genesis that God told them that if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will surely die, and the serpent, that is Satan told Eve, surely you will not die, but you will be like God knowing good and evil.  This is the same trap we have had from the beginning of time.  People didn’t think they would die from not obeying God, but the truth is that we do die, but our death is not what we think.  Adam and Eve went from having a perfect life to seeding what are news headlines in today’s world.  Do we want to change the course of the path that we are on, whether believer or non-believer?  Do we want to be caught up in a blackhole with no return, where the pain there will be pain so immense that you can not bear it?  Or do we want to have peace of mind, security, peace, joy, knowing that when you die you can actually rest in peace.

I’ve been seeing this posting about Steve Jobs, that came as a joke, that the angels in heaven were welcoming Jobs when he came because God needed an app.   Was he really living by the fruits of the spirit, did he attain salvation?  The only fruit we know of is the Apple, and that what some say was the fruit that was not to be eaten in the Garden of Eden.   After a man knows he is going to die, you would think that he got his heart right with God.  We can judge, but only God knows.

Do you know the LORD as your personal Savior?  Have you asked Him into your heart?  Do you want to have your life turn around and be filled with love?  Time is now.  The Choice is Yours.  Vote now – Jesus or the devil?  Heaven or Hell?  Eternal Life or Eternal Death?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parable that “Blog-evangelism” feels like

In Mark 4:26-32, Jesus says a remarkable Parable that really spoke to me today.

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.  But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

There’s something unique about blogging and the internet that appeals to me in way of relation to this Scripture.  We put our blog posts up and we don’t know how and somehow we get hits and people look at our blogs, and we don’t really know how many lives we’ve touched and how many people we have affected.  Our site stats may have a certain number of views, but we don’t know how many people’s lives have been changed by our blogs.  God reaches out through us as vessels through a dark and pained world to give out this light some of which have never known.  When we first started out we may not have that many people reading, but as time goes on we have more people reading, and whatever seed that we spread “the earth crops by itself”.  In essence we don’t really have to do anything.  We don’t have to do any forceful coaxing, or push anything down anyone’s throats.  It “crops by itself”.  Then the beautiful thing is that when the time is right we have people come running to us asking us how can they be saved. (That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I am hoping one day.)

Jesus continues – “It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; But when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all the herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

We bloggers are similar to the mustard seeds, most of us are people that don’t have a famous worldwide ministry, we don’t travel from country to country all over the world for the rest of our lives, and most of us are not like Mother Theresa giving food to the poor, but we in essence don’t seemed to get noticed much [except for maybe The Most Versatile Blogger Award ;)], but if we keep it long enough, and technology willing, the Word says that seeds like us, grow up, and become “greater than all the herbs, and shoot out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under [our shade]”.

There is something to be said for having humble beginnings.  For not striving to be well known, but just to have a way to reach out to the world, when you wonder, “Is God really using me to change anyone’s life?  or  is this all in vain?”  But we mustard seeds should keep on writing, and tagging, because we don’t know how many people’s lives we have affected, we don’t know how many smiles we have put on people’s faces, how many people have been encouraged because of what we write.  I don’t know if anyone else feels this way.  But when I created this blog I could have used a different name, but I was coming from a place of loss, but I knew I was going to glorify Jesus.  I was going to use this blog for my personal stuff, but the more I grew in the Lord, I realized that He had a different purpose for me.  I also realized how effective this venue for blogging was and I realized that this was a way I could have a chance to change people’s lives.  I am not a well known person, and in essence somewhat like a mustard seed, but I am hoping that God will expand the usage of me to where I can be a vessel that is “greater than all the herbs” and that He will shoot out large branches through me, so that the “birds of the air” may rest under whatever shade that God leads me to put forth.

I am not blogging for me, I am blogging for the Lord, and to sow seeds into the kingdom of God.  I don’t know how many people’s lives I have truly touched, and I have my own dreams and aspirations, but I am hoping that somehow someway lost souls can be affected by what I am doing.