Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christianity is not working for many, even for pastors!

Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.

Read full article here: Some Christian pastors embrace Scientology

Isn't Christianity practical enough?

What does it mean by 'The righteous shall live by faith'?

Borrowing from man-made '---ologies' to substitute Christ?

What did Apostle Paul mean when he said: 'I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me'?

Is that a concept, feeling or '---ology' that Christ lives in a Christian?

This is more alarming:

Kennedy knew that before he could introduce any Scientology-related text to his congregation, he would have to prove that it did not contradict his Christian beliefs. And so, he found Scripture to match each of the 21 principles.

Apostle Paul prophetically reminds us about this potential harm at Colossians 2:8

To me, this is a reminder of the importance of understanding our identity in Christ, total forgiveness in Christ, New covenant, walking by faith and above all the unconditional love of God and His grace.

Thoughts welcome.

Why was Stephan stoned?

Stephan was stoned and killed because he preached Jesus and His grace.

He was a man full of God’s grace and power (Acts 6:8). His preaching was about the Righteous One – the Messiah (Acts 7: 52).

It is the Righteous One who brings righteousness to us. We don’t become righteous, we receive it as a gift and God imputes it unto us. That is the only righteousness acceptable by God; all the self efforts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) in God's eyes.

The Jews could not take victory over the argument with Stephan (6:10) so they persuaded some men to lie against Stephan saying, "We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God (6:11)".
So the elders and the teachers of the religious law arrested him and brought before the high council.

They complained that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.

That’s the fear of many law-preachers. The freedom in Christ can shake their little kingdoms. They can’t conceive the extraordinary risk in allowing people to be free.
They shrink the freedom in Christ to 'freedom to dance' and 'freedom to sing'.
Thats is man made 'freedom'.

But it is the freedom in Christ what sets people really free - free from people pleasing, free from rituals, free from customs, free from law, free from 'authority', free from guilt, free from peer pressure, free from self-pity, free from self-righteousness, free from condemnation, free from anything and everything but Jesus! and Jesus alone! It is the freedom in dependence.

It is that freedom that teaches us to say "No" to unrighteousnesses , it is that freedom what enables us to give in free will. It is that freedom which gives us to enter the throne of Grace with courage and call the all sufficient, all powerful, omnipresent God, Abba Father!

It is the 'spirit of control' what takes us to the book of Malachi to establish the law of tithing. That is when we put people in guilt trip saying if you don’t tithe you are robbing God. It is the law that enables some people to use godliness as a means of financial gain. So they dwell on the law. Shame on them!

It is the law which allows the elders and authorities to control people – emotionally, spiritually and financially.

In Acts chapter 7 Stephan addressing the council and he declared fearlessly that the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands and quoted Isa 66:1-2.

He used some strong words: you are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit?

Where there is Spirit of God, there is freedom!

He pointed out to them they failed to obey the law even though they speak about it all the time.

When Apostle Paul pointed the following to the people at Corinth, was he blaspheming Moses?

7Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone (10 Commandments!), came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (2 Cor. 3)

He was being persecuted for this. (Gal 5:11)

And the persecution continues...and it will continue...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ...

The question which the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?
What are you afraid of?
Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of love of Christ?
It can't.
Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of love of Christ? They can't.
Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of love of Christ? It can't.
Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children's future? They can't.
Negative self image? It can't.
Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can't.
Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can't.
Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can't.
Nuclear war? They can't.
Mistakes, fear, uncertainties? They can't.

They gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You must be convinced of this, trust it, and never forget to remember. Everything else will pass away, but the love of Christ is same yesterday, today, and forever. Faith will become vision, hope will become possession, but the love of Jesus Christ that is stronger than death endures forever. In the end, it is the only thing you can hang onto. - Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Game over!

"Grace means that in the middle of our struggle the referee blows the whistle and announces the end of the game. We are declare winners and sent to the showers. It's over for all huffing, puffing piety to earn God's favor; it's finished for all sweat-soaked straining to secure self-worth; it's the end of all competitive scrambling to get of others in the game. Grace means that God is on our side and thus we are victors regardless of how well we have played the game. We might as well head for the showers and the champagne celebration." - Donald McCullough

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Continuing on Galatians 5...

Paul was being persecuted for preaching Grace (V11). Grace is a hard thing people to get when there is a veil over their eyes. (2 Cor 3:14). When the people who are burdened under the law realize that it is because of the veil they are not seeing the light, they could ask God to remove it. He has promised us to reveal the truth by His Spirit(I Cor 2:9-10). It is worth taking that risk of relying only on the Spirit of God to know the truth, to see the light.

Circumcised Paul is preaching against circumcision. That is something to grasp. God chose the most fervent religious fanatic (Saul) to preach to Gentiles. If it was the law what people needed God could have used Paul to preach to Jews. They are the one who needed deep interpretation of the law. But God chose Paul for a different mission - to preach to Gentiles. They didn't need law. They wanted to hear the unconditional love of God. To accomplish this Paul had to 'unlearn' a lot of law and religion and it seems like He did (Phil 3).

There were people offended in the first century when Apostles preached Grace and faith. That norm still continues. There is an easy way in today’s Christianity to become popular – Preach law. Give them those things that they should 'do'. Tell them the list of things they shouldn’t be doing. There are ministries spending resources on developing biblical ‘frame works’ to live a 'successful' Christian life. There is only one framework under New Covenant which is Grace alone. That is the framework which teaches us to say ‘No’ to unrighteousness (Titus 2:11-12). That’s what tells us to rest from our works as He rested from His (Heb 4:10). Do we realize that we are trampling the son of God under our foot and treating the blood of covenant unholy (Heb 10:20) when we don’t finalize the cross and rest in the fact that He did it ALL?

There is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. Instead of taking a step back and look at this amazing grace with an awe and adoration, we spoil it and downgrade it to few lines of Chorus. We sing, sing and sing about grace. And then we give lessons to people about how to worship. Holding hands up, closed eyes, babbling in tongues. In Christ there is no benefit in ‘doing’ this or ‘not doing’ that. The only thing what matters is faith expressing itself through love (V6). Where do we find this love? Where else other than Calvary? There we see the Christ who loved us while we were yet sinners. How much law did we obey when He died on the Cross for the entire world? He did it for ALL. He died for those pagans who worship false gods. He died for prostitutes and tax collectors. He died for those who were weary and burdened under the pressure of society.

Paul calls those who teach ‘works’ as trouble makers (V12). He says they will ‘mutilate’ you, or injure or disfigure you. When we come to Christ He makes us whole and complete. It is His death what gave us forgiveness. It is His resurrection what gave us life. And it is His life He is living in and through us now. It is all about Him! and Him alone! But these trouble makers can only injure us and we will be tossed and blown in the wind of every doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) and eventually we will be disfigured. Stay away from them! Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law (works). (V1). Then, we will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever that they sound like the truth. (Eph 4:14).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Is your pastor confusing you?

Are you confused in your Christian walk?

You started your Christian life with lot of enthusiasm, thrill, joy and peace…

After a while, you have been eventually drifted away from all the good things you enjoyed with Christ.

No enthusiasm for reading bible. The only reason you go to church is to have fellowship with others and if possible to get some goose-bumps from the fiery preacher/music.
You easily get frustrated with your wife and kids. None of the ‘principles’ are working. You tried many study tools, bible in a year, more study. Nothing works.
You even disconnected your internet connection and stopped watching television. That really didn’t help much. You tried ‘quite time’ with God fervently.

Problem worsens!

You tried everything your pastor told you to do in order to be more ‘spirit filled’ and joyful. It seems like there is nothing wrong with any of these things.

So, there must be something wrong with me…

You again go back to your pastor…

He looks as if he is the most joyful person in the world. And he shares all the ‘tricks’ which he uses to be that joyful with you such as – Fasting two days in a week, praying 1 hour at 4.00 in the morning, reciting bible verses etc. It looks like he has the best marriage in the world. When you see that you become more saddened and questioning yourself why is this not working for me?

You have framed 10 commandments and many other bible rule verses and hung all over your home. There is ‘fruits of the spirit’ hanging right on the refrigerator. Every time you go to the kitchen you see that and you get more saddened realizing that you have none of them.

You are easily angered when some one cuts off in front of you on the freeway. You feel like killing him and then tries to block all his ways to pass! And then you look to the sticky note on the dashboard which says – ‘Always be patient’!

You feel guilty and irritated…

Then you started questioning the capability of your pastor…

Isn’t the pastor capable enough to give me all the capsules I need for my Christian life?

He should be. He is a PhD in ‘Biblical Life applications’! He is well trained in a respected seminary.

Is he lying?

No way! Why would he?

Days goes by… Weeks… Months... Probably years!!!

No difference in the ‘joy’ department!

You tried – more strict rules, more ministries, more charity, more tithing and offering, more programs, more everything…

Nothing seems to be working…

Then one day out of your frustration you cried out to God (Finally!!! God got your attention!)… Lord! What am I doing wrong?

Then eventually your turns your Bible to Galatians 5!

For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.- Verse 4



Oh! My….

Then you read further…

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. – Verse 6



Faith expressing itself in love?

Is that the only thing counts?

The only thing?

No one told me this!

Then you read further…

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? – Verse 7

That’s true! I was running the race so well!

I eventually drifted and drifted and drifted from the truth!

Then you read further…

It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. – Verse 8

It shouldn’t be God…

This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! – Verse 9

Ya. Little false teaching is enough to make life miserable!

Then you read further…

I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. – Verse 10

Oh My…

My pastor was confusing me! And I was following him as fool holding this Bible in my hand, never asked God to show me the truth!

Now I started seeing some clarity…


So God is not concerned about what I am doing…

That’s liberating…

It was not God teaching me all those junk for sure…

Then you read…

You feel the joy!

And it is a consistent Joy! Which you never had for years!

It is not just goose bumps!

It stays!

You read, read and read…

You can’t stop reading… You learn about Grace, Love, New Covenant, Jesus, His all sufficiency, His righteousness…

You quit trying… You slowly understood what it means by ‘abiding in the vine’…


What a joy!

Monday, October 15, 2007

To those who are weary and burdened…

Are you tired?

Are you sick and tired of 'trying harder'?

Are you at the end of your rope?

Are you carrying a heavy load of 'perfectionism'?

Are you frustrated?

Have you tried all the 'tricks and tips' of religion?

Are you tired of meeting the 'ministry needs'?

Have you realized that you can't make everybody happy?

Are you tired of judging and finding fault in others?

Have you realized yet that no matter how harder you try people still find fault in you?

Have you tried and failed to follow all the 'biblical principles' your church taught?

Have you realized that the harder you try the harder you fall?

Are you tired of feeling guilty?

Are you fearful?

Jesus has good news for you!

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." – Mathew 11:28

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. - Hebrews 4:9-10

Jesus is saying 'STOP trying'!. Simply rest in His all sufficiency!

Yes! Rest. Rest. Rest. Enter in to the Sabbath (Special) rest. Stop and Rest!!!

Just Rest! Believe Him! Relax and Rest!

He says.. Come unto me! I will give you rest! Do you believe it? Can you believe it?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Are You a Perfectionist?

The following is a partial list of the false and unrealistic assumptions and expectations which contribute to the trap of the perfectionist spirit. Obviously, these attitudes must be changed through the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) if permanent healing is to take place.


1. I should be liked, approved of, and loved by everybody, especially those important to me.
2. I should be able to do anything and everything perfectly; if I cannot, it’s better not to do it at all, or wait until I can. In other words, I will procrastinate in doing anything until I am convinced I can do it perfectly.
3. I must be perfectly confident and successful before I can consider myself to be a worthwhile person, or before others can consider me to be worthwhile.
4. I really do not have control over my own happiness. My happiness is dependent upon the actions of others and what they think of me, or upon circumstances.
5. The experiences and adverse influences that have occurred in my past cannot be changed, and are therefore ever a part of me, my present, and my future.
6. There is only one true and perfect solution for every problem; therefore, until I find it, I am in despair.
7. I should be able to make and keep everyone around me totally happy; if I don’t, there is obviously something wrong with me.
8. It is my personal responsibility to right the wrongs of this world, to solve its problems, and to correct all of its injustices.
9. Because I did not achieve all of my goals in life, I will always be less than acceptable as a person.
10. Because I have never been able to fully please my parents, friends, and/or peers, I must be less than desirable and worthwhile as a person.
11. I will never be able to be a happy person knowing what (I think) others think about me.
12. Had I been more competent in the care of my father, mother, dog, etc., they would never have died, divorced, or been unhappy in any way.
13. I am totally responsible for the reactions and responses of other people toward me.


1. Others, especially those I consider important to me, should always take care of me, be kind to me, and never frustrate me.
2. Others, especially those important to me, should be able to read my mind and know what I need and want without my telling them. If they can’t or don’t do this, it is because they really do not like or love me.
3. There is no way that people could accept me with all of my imperfections. It is therefore impossible for them to love me. It is therefore impossible for me to love myself. It is therefore impossible for me to love anyone else. I told you I was imperfect!
4. I am afraid of permanent relationships due to my in-ability to be perfect in those relationships. If I cannot be perfect in the relationships that I desire so much, it would probably be better for me not to have any at all, or to wait until I can be perfect in a relationship.
5. No relationship can be successful unless it is perfect in all ways. Therefore, if others do not act perfectly toward me, it is because they do not really want a true relationship with me.


1. God only accepts and loves me when He can approve of everything that I am, think, feel, say, and do.
2. God may accept me in Christ, but only because He has to according to His character. Otherwise, He would be sick at His stomach over me.
3. God may possibly accept me as I am, but only if in the future I will never think, feel, say, or do anything wrong again.
4. God saves by His grace, but only maintains this relationship with me if I read, pray, witness, serve, and do enough for Him.
5. God holds my ultimate salvation in suspense. At the Great White Throne judgment He will determine whether I will be given eternal life in heaven. God’s acceptance and love for me is only as a result of my being able to live in total obedience to everything that He has told me to do.
6. God is perfect. He wants me to be perfect. Therefore, if I cannot achieve perfection, I am unacceptable in His sight. If this continues, I will ultimately give up trying. Why serve a God that you can never please?

Read full article:

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Beleieve It and Be Happy!

According to this gracious covenant [New Covenant], the Lord treats His people as if they had never sinned. Practically, He forgets all their trespasses. Sins of all kinds treats as if they had never been; as if they were quite erased from His memory. O miracle of grace! God here does that which in certain aspects is impossible to Him. His mercy works miracles which far transcends all other miracles. Our God ignores our sin now that the sacrifice of Jesus has ratified the covenant. We may rejoice in Him without fear that He will be provoked to anger against us because of our iniquities. See! He puts us among the children; He accepts us as righteous; He takes delight in us as if we were perfectly holy. He even puts us in places of trust; makes us guardians of His honor, trustees of crown jewels, stewards of the gospel. He counts us worthy, and gives us a ministry ; this is the highest and most special proof that He does not remember our sins. Even when we forgive an enemy, we are very slow to trust him; we judge it to be imprudent to do so. But the Lord forgets our sins, and treats us as if we had never erred.O my soul, what a promise is this! Believe it and be happy. - Charles H. Spurgeon

Law & Grace

Under Law Man Says
Under Grace Christ Says
Look at what I'm doing for you!Look at what I did for you!
Look at how I went to church. Look at how I went to Calvary.
Look at how I was raised in my denomination.
Look at how I was raised from dead.
Look at how I gave my money.Look at how I gave My life.
Look at how I confessed my sins.Look at how I took away your sins.
Look at how I stood against sin.Look at how I died for your sins.
Look at how I judged the lost world.Look at how I saved the lost world.
Look at how I marched against evil-doers.Look at how I suffered for evil-doers.
Look at how I bowed down to you.Look at how I became one of you.
Look at how I healed the sick.Look at how I raised the dead.
Look at how I spoke in tongues.
Look at how I spoke in love.
Look at how successfull my life was.
Look at how successful My death was.

Source: Classic Christianity Conference Manual

Friday, October 5, 2007

What is legalism?

Being under total grace is an extreme. It gives us a dangerous sense of freedom. It can bring us humility and security but at the same time a secret pride. God loves me unconditionally and I am safe in His hands. There is no feeling of guilt or fear. Does it promote sin? Does it give a license to sin? Isn't it too dangerous? And the entire Christendom says --- YES! So what is the solution? We need law! Law is Good! Law keeps us morally pure! Law makes us holy! We love law!

I think I know what Legalism means but I struggle to define it.

What teaches me to say 'no' to ungodliness? Law or Grace?

There are 2 ways I can stop watching R-rated movies:

1. I don’t watch R-rated movies because I am a Christian and I want to be holy.
2. I don’t watch R-rated movies because the wisdom from God tells me that my flesh is too bad and I may indulge in sin and destroy my earthly relationships.

In either case God is not pleased or displeased. Because there is only one thing which can please God- faith.
The first one is legalistic but the second is not. In the second case I am not motivated by the law, fear or guilt. I know that I know that I know, nothing can separate me from the love of God. The same grace teaches me to say ‘no’ to ungodliness, not the law. If it is law it is legalism and it promotes more sin.

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Shadow Vs Reality

7th day physical Sabbath.Everyday spiritual sabbath.
Physical Circumcision. Circumcision without hands.
Passover Lamb.Jesus the true passover lamb.
Blood on the door post keeping physical death away.Blood of Jesus saving people from spiritual death.
Redemption of Israelites from Egypt by Moses.Redemption of a sinner from the state of spiritual death through Jesus.
Walking in the wilderness for 40 years.Christian living under the law.
Entering Canaan.Entering God’s Grace.
Earthly tabernacle built by Israelites.Heavenly Tabernacle not made by hands.
Curtain which separated the Most Holy place.Body of Christ.
Human High priest in the Tabernacle.Jesus the eternal High Priest.
Shedding the blood of animals.Shedding the unblemished blood of Jesus.
Putting the sins of Israelites on the animal and performing the death penalty which covered the sins for one year.Putting the sins of the entire world upon Jesus performing the death penalty which took away the sins of the entire world.
Human High priest entering the Holy of holies with blood of animals for his sins and the sins of the nation.Jesus entering the true heavenly tabernacle with his own blood for the sins of the world.
Manna from heaven which satisfied physical hungerTrue bread from heaven– Jesus who satisfies spiritual hunger.
Water from rocks which quenched physical thirst.Real water which quenches the spiritual thirst from the rock of our salvation - Jesus.
Moses lifting the brass serpent.Jesus lifted on the cross.
Physical lives saved of whom looked at the brass serpent.Spiritual lives regenerated of whom looks upon Jesus lifted on the cross.
Ceremonial Washings. Washing sins away by the blood of Christ.
Law through Moses - Men trying to do what is impossible for them. Grace through Jesus - God doing what is impossible for men.