Pentecost

_1110269fire

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[b] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants[c] and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

(ESV)

Have a blessed Pentecost Sunday

The Lutheran Charismatic Renewal (soundshoremedia)

Below is a link to a very good blog article. If you’re Lutheran/Charismatic/Pentecostal it is well worth the read, to learn about the history of and how the second wave of Charismatic-ism was effective on Lutheran congregants. It is beautifully written, any lay person should be able to read it.

The Meaning of a Movement: the Lutheran Charismatic Renewal

Women in Church Leadership

stphoebe

These are some notes in response to a comment about women and authority in the church.

In 1 Timothy 2, Paul was probably having a problem with the women there themselves. Verse 11-15 can seem to be a bit “harsh” but in verse 10 Paul shows that he wants women to live a godly life. And at the beginning of the chapter, he is encouraging everyone to live quietly. Perhaps there were women trying to gain dominance over men and forgot that they are to be submissive. And yes, for women submission in marriage is truth “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Eph 5:24).
Why Paul is telling these particular women to keep silent, I don’t know. Maybe they were just too rebellious and needed disclipine? Back to 1 Cor 11, in verse 5 Paul mentions that women do pray and can prohpesy, so clearly it is not a universal rule for all women always to be followed, it was probably only just a temporary rule until these women calmed down.

The debate about women teaching “over” men is interesting. To my understanding a “bishop” (1 Tim 3) is different to a “pastor” (Eph 4:11). These days a lot of people automatically associate the word pastor for the head of a congregation/s however, it seems that this is what a bishop is. A pastor is just someone who leads and helps nurture Christ’s flock. This doesn’t HAVE to be the head of the congregation/bishop. 1 Tim 2 mentions that their bishops are men, not given any mention to women bishops. Even though Pauls need to explain what a Bishop must be probably because of men having multiple wives and not treating the congregation right, we can learn from his example of “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim 3:5)
He’s given us a clear indication that a church congregation must be run similar to a family. And as we know from the previous chapter, men are in authority as husbands and fathers, so therefore men are to be the heads of congregations. Men are bishops… But can women be pastors?

From what I’ve read and talked about with others, there doesn’t seem to be much indication what genders are appropriate for apostles(missionaries), prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We do know women can be teachers, and we know that they can be prophets. In Judges, Deborah was a prophet, judge and ALSO a counsellor for many men. Also in Romans (16:1-2) Paul mentions that he is sending a friend Phoebe (a woman) to help them. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.”
Paul has noted that to some degree she has authority over them if she needs something. Maybe this is just about simple hospitality, but he goes on and mentions various other women after this, but not with the same introduction. So that fact that he talks so highly of her and mentions her first, can give us an indication that she is of high leadership, maybe what some might call a deaconess, or she could be a pastor or apostle or teacher (to men and women).

So then, if these women existed and were encouraged and blessed for their work, then why ridicule women in leadership now?

Why No Women Pastors?

Article:
http://pastureofchrist.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/why-no-women-pastors.html

Food for thought:
With arguments like these, we must look at what definitions we have for the word ‘pastor’ and realise that the New Testament also mentions ‘bishop’. If a bishop was the same as a pastor would that not mean they should have been given the same translation?
Do pastors necessarily have to be ‘ordained’ ministers? Is pastoral care for lower levels of church leadership also? Can a women give the occasional sermon if she is still under authority of the head pastor?

Jesus Provides

I’ve been given a taste for something
That nothing in this world can satisfy
But I know that a time is coming
When I will be in glorious delight

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. – Isaiah 43:10

My iPod is Possessing Me

Months ago I was approached by a user on Tumblr asking about the church’s stance on things like enjoying materials items like iPods, Disney movies, cute animals etc. The list went on. Unfortunately she had come into contact with a Christian who was almost damning people to hell if they partook in this activities. Below is an edited version of the response I gave.

Items like iPods and TVs don’t need to be rid of unless they are idolised. It is important to remember not to idolise these things over God. First commandment, You shall have no other gods. That’s pretty simple, so long as you appreciate God and give yourself to God more than anything else it’s not something to waste your life worrying over. If you are worried, then God is there for guidance and knowledge, knock and the door will be opened. Honestly, if we were to get rid of our iPods then we should probably get rid of our WordPresses, Facebooks, Tumblrs, and our computer and our calculator and our radio. Do you understand that logic? It doesn’t work. Just make sure, it’s not the centre of your life, or say if you were to lose that object, you will not act as if someone just died. All these things are blessings from God. We must be thankful to Him for these tools and gifts!

It is correct that we are told to take up our own cross, which usually includes us making sacrifices. Putting off our worldy ways for the path fo Jesus. Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone comes after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” However we don’t need to give up technological things or movies that may even help us on our journey.

We all need to understand that we, the Kingdom of God are IN the world, but because we are born again through Jesus Christ we are not OF the world. For more on the Kingdom of God, read here https://yahwehnature.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/living-the-kingdom-of-god/
Until Jesus comes again, we cannot help the fact that we are living IN a world of sin. But as followers of Christ, we yearn for home with God eternally. We’re not of this world, we’re of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, for God.

The Tumblr user also had concerns because the other Christian said she should be sorry she’s partaking in such activities. My response to that remark is that technically we all should feel sorry, including them, because we are all born into sin. After Adam and Eve sinned, their blood line was cursed with sin (also see Psalm 51:5).

It is true that our lives should be transformed (Philippians 1:21). It can be instant or gradual. Mine is gradual. I didn’t really start learning about Jesus properly until 2009, my life began to transform in 2010, but I lost my faith in 2012, then rebooted my faith with help of friends in 2013 and until this day it has been a struggle, but within the past 6 months or so, my spirit has soared, and it is because the Holy Spirit helping me to find the desire to further become a part of Him. He’s the reason why my blog is mostly worship now.
God knows everything; that is the power of God.

Remember you are not saved by works but by Jesus’ death through faith. Our main focus should be God and how we can be an example to others in His Name, but God gave us talents and interests didn’t He? We like things. God didn’t want to create robots for His Kingdom – He made humans, each with their own talents and skills. But we must try our best to not abuse such gifts and not let ourselves deliberately choose sin over God’s Word. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Note: No-one can do this perfectly, that’s why Jesus was sent, so all the bad things, whether internal (ourselves) or external (other people, weather etc.) could be given to Him and through the Holy Spirit He in return gives us peace, wisdom, strength etc.

If you continue to repent to the Father (try to make it daily), give thanks to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and guide you onto the path which He made for you, then you are more than likely a part of His Kingdom. I am not God… but in “theory” our faith is that you would most likely end up in Heaven, unless you betray God. “…But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33) It is by His Grace you are saved, not by works, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Also God doesn’t hate humans, He hates Satan (sin).

In regards to secular media, it can be educational for basic life things. It could be a show how to paint a picture, it could be a show with maybe bad themes but it can teach us clearly not to get involved in those things. Does that make sense? As soon as you thank God, you are in a way, glorifying the Lord. And it is okay to worship God on your own also. “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6). This verse also helps understand that God likes us to be humble, but also that whatever you do by yourself He can see and He accepts it. One night I was watching TV and I saw an anti-abortion ad come on, I don’t know if it was a Christian organisation but I praised the Lord, nonetheless.

Sometimes the secular philosophy which is displayed in tv shows and films can be a distraction but without such advancement we wouldn’t be able to make Christian movies, which the biggest one yet is probably God’s Not Dead. Praise the Lord for that creation.

Here is a prayer if anyone struggles with understanding this topic.

Heavenly Father,
Please forgive me for any wrongs I may have done being aware of it or not,
I am truly sorry and I want to further share your Word,
Thank you Lord, for giving us your Son to give us Your ultimate Word and blessings so that we may be saved forever,
Thank you for blessing us with such talents, food, people, technology and medicine which help us benefit our day-to day lives,
But also Lord do not let myself and others forget that these things would not be possible without You, and please bless these things so that Your Word may resonate through them,
I ask you Lord to take control of my life and put me on the path which you have created for me,
Direct me to further understand who you are, and Holy Spirit please help me and give me wisdom.
Thank you Jesus for all that you’ve sacrificed.
Amen

May the Lord keep you and bless you

The Only Good and Mighty One

The Tragedy of the Wicked, and the Blessedness of Trust in God

A Psalm of Asaph.

73 Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes bulge[a] with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.

21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.

#MusicMonday