Is the Church still the Pillar of Truth?

1 Timothy 3:14-15 “I’m writing these things to you so that you may know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

The Apostle Paul identified the church as a ‘pillar and buttress of the truth‘. If there is any group of people on the planet that needs to know and represent the truth of Jesus Christ well, it’s the people of God. Representing the teachings of Jesus well doesn’t mean selecting a few verses out of the gospels that suit your position on the latest social issue but requires understanding the whole context of the bible, including the Old Testament, the epistles, as well as the historical and apocalyptic literature that make up the New Testament. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a shift away from truth as the bible reveals, within the church, because of pressure from the surrounding culture. The antichrist spirit is gaining momentum across the media and culture at large, making it easier for fence sitters in the church to choose the broad pathway that leads to death instead of the narrow pathway that leads to life. More and more believers are using Jesus name to justify ideologies that aren’t even in the ball park of what the Scripture teaches. This demonstrates poor exegesis and a growing ignorance of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. It appears that some believers are basing their beliefs on feelings to suit their conversations with family, peers and voices in the media rather than on the solid rock of God’s Word. It’s becoming a case of the blind leading the blind. The universal church, by and large, has held onto essential orthodox beliefs for 2,000 years because the truths underpinning these beliefs have been painstakingly clear in Gods Word for 2,000 years. It’s only been in recent times that we are now seeing such liberal views of Scripture infiltrate the church on a mass scale. This is a time for the church to be revived in its passion for God and truth, and not only for people and grace. This is a time for the church to be revived in its belief in the authority of Scripture, interpreting it and applying it in a way that honours God first and foremost, whether it’s popular or not. Explosive Insights!

Darkness cannot overcome Light!

John 1:4-5 “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

God is the source of life. All things were made through him and for him. God’s life is the light of all humanity. God breathed his spirit into the void of man’s body and brought us all to life. The light of God’s presence shines so bright that no matter how dark it gets in the world, darkness cannot overcome it. The darkness of man’ sin and Satan’s agenda will try to smother the light of God’s glory and goodness but darkness can never overcome the light of God from the earth and all creation. This is a reassuring message at a time in the world when all humanity appears to be shaking under the weight of darkness. People are groping for meaning and life but unfortunately looking for it in all the wrong places. God is the source of light and life itself. Everything about him exudes and promotes the fulness of life. Whatever darkness you may be facing today, internal or external, run to the light of God’s grace, goodness and presence. You will discover like many others that the light still shines in the darkness. Explosive Insights!

The Mouth Speaks what the Heart Believes!

Matthew 12:34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Jesus’ teaching is simple and yet deeply profound. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees about the connection between what’s in their hearts and what’s coming out of their mouths. Our words are a direct reflection of whatever is going on in our hearts. A tree is known by its fruit. Whatever the condition of the tree, so shall the fruit of the tree be. Our words are the fruit of the health or sickness of our hearts. It’s no use trying to control our tongues (James 3:8) if we first aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to change the condition of our hearts. If we want the quality of what we say to improve, the health of our hearts must become our primary priority. This requires us to become heart conscious, not just word conscious. Many of us attempt to keep up appearances with our words but neglect the weightier matter’s of the heart. Ask God to change your heart and your words will take care of themselves. Explosive Insights!

Pursuing a lifestyle of JOY!

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Happiness is overrated but JOY is underrated. JOY is beyond happiness. Happiness is circumstantial, JOY is an intentional posture of the heart that the Holy Spirit works into our nature as we abide in him. JOY-filled people are a pleasure to be around. We generally want to hang out with a person genuinely JOY-filled. JOY releases strength into your heart and body. Research has shown the medicinal effect laughter and JOY can bring to a sick person. I’ve heard of a terminally ill patient stopping his treatment in hospital, checking himself into a hotel room and watching comedy after comedy, laughing himself towards wholeness and well being. As a communicator, I’ve observed the power of laughter to open peoples hearts to your subject matter and release tension in the room. Nehemiah says, “The JOY of the Lord is your strength.” JOY releases strength and confidence in your spirit, soul and body for you to live your life to the fullest. There are many tribulations in life that attempt to steal our faith and JOY but we’ve got to guard our JOY and feed it with the life of the Spirit dwelling inside of us. JOY is connected to our faith in God. A heart at rest in God, trusting his goodness and love will be able to access JOY. God is in a consistently good mood and He’s always full of JOY. Run to his presence, drink his cup of JOY and allow it to heal your wounded heart and lift up your crushed spirit. A life saturated with JOY is not only possible but it’s a necessary pursuit of life and is only truly found in the presence of God. Explosive Insights!

The Devil is a Liar!

From Genesis 3, back at the beginning of creation, the devil has been lying and casting doubt on the truth of God’s Word in our lives. His strategy hasn’t changed and he’s still undermining people’s faith with his constant condemnation, negativity and hopelessness.

Satan’s whole agenda is to steal, kill and destroy anything that resembles the life of God’s Spirit in you and at work in our world. Never has there been a more important era of human history than now to know, think and speak God’s truth about ourselves. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of mixed messages. Deciphering God’s truth can be a challenge without being intentional.

Satan is an anchor that is always pulling you back down from heading out into the adventure that God invites all of us onto. If you entertain the negative thoughts, words and opinions that weigh you down too long, it will become your new norm and limit your capacity to believe for God’s impossible to work in your world.

The challenge is if we haven’t undergone a renewed mindset then we don’t so easily distinguish between the lies of the enemy and our own thoughts. The truth of God’s Word really does set us free and we need to immerse ourselves in a daily diet of God’s truth so that we will not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Pay attention to the messages you entertain in your brain and heart on a daily basis. As you think, so you are. What negative self-limiting ideas have you allowed to preoccupy your thinking? It’s time to uproot and replace with God’s truth!

The Oracle!

Is there any hope for Lance Armstrong?

933378-lance-armstrongI, along with millions of others have followed Lance Armstrong’s career quite closely through his books, video footage and media reports. I have always admired his focus, ‘fightin’ spirit, dogged determination and commitment to hard work. His contribution both on and off the road has been remarkable. His brand has become iconic. His results, unbelievable. In short I was and still am a huge fan.

I have also been watching closely the events of recent months and days, particularly his candid interview with Oprah. As I watched, I sat there devastated for him, his family, his brand and his cause. I don’t personally feel let down as much as I feel for what he and many people close to him are going through right now. Like his cancer diagnosis, I guess it could feel like you are passing through the valley of the shadow of death.

We live in a world that is very harsh and schizophrenic. One minute they worship you like a ‘god’ and the next minute they want to stone you to death. As quickly as the world embraces a winner, they even more quickly outcast a ‘liar’ found out. Yet, in the midst of the chaos that surrounds Lance, his family and his career, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” (Jn 8:7). If you’re reading this and feel justified in your anger towards Lance, your missing a fundamental point. While you are pointing your finger of judgement at Lance, you’ve got several fingers pointing right back at you.

Romans 3:23-24 says, “For, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Everyone of us is broken and every one of us needs to repent of something. Apart from Jesus, the brokenness of the human condition is without hope. But because of Jesus and the cross, Lance Armstrong and everyone else on the planet can live with hope in the love and grace that is available to us through a relationship with God.

The difference between Lance and you is that you don’t have your selfishness, brokenness and lies broadcast over every single network across the world in one of the greatest media frenzies the modern world has ever seen. Truth is, one day we will all see what dark sins have been boxed up and hidden away in our own lives. Jesus said in Matthew 10:26 ‘For nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known’. There’s coming a day for all of us where if we don’t repent, what’s been done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops. Be sure your sins will find you out.

Be gracious with your comments of fallen heroes because each one of us needs to swallow a dose of humility when we consider our own shortcomings.

From God’s perspective, the most important issue in Lance’s life isn’t the money, winning, brand management or helping people through ‘Livestrong’ (as great as this is) but the condition of his own soul. God loves Lance and from the very beginning has been trying to get his attention regarding his relationship with him. His ex-wife Kristen, a supposedly devout believer has been one of the greatest blessings God has given to Lance and continues to seemingly provide great emotional and spiritual support.

20130117-onc-lance-armstrong-14-318x408Towards the end of the interview, Lance commented that his ex-wife Kristen would say, ‘The truth shall set you free’ quoting a part of Jesus Christ’s famous words from John 8:32. When asked by Oprah at the end of the interview, ‘What is the moral of this story?’ Lance responded with an answer that is still in the process of forming but Oprah responded with her own ‘moral of the story’, ‘The truth shall set you free’.

To be honest I don’t think Oprah really understood the weight of even what she was saying. It isn’t just about being honest with Lance’s past actions of cheating that is the great moral of the story. The moral of the story is that only knowing the truth found in the person of Jesus Christ can truly set Lance and every one of us free from the brokenness of our own lives that drive us to behave and act in ways that are destructive to ourselves and others. 

No matter how talented you are, what dreams you have or how successful you are in your career, nothing will bring freedom or fulfilment like believing in Jesus and walking with him on a daily basis. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man shall come to the Father except through me.’ Eternal life and present purpose are connected and intersect most poignantly in a personal and living faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus, no true freedom can be found!

Is there hope for Lance Armstrong? You better believe there is. In fact, could it be that he is about to enter into the greatest and most significant chapter of his life, far greater than 7 Tour De France Victories. Why? Because with Jesus Christ there is always hope!

The Oracle!

Making Godly Decisions!

decisionsEach of us make a hundred decisions everyday. The bigger the decision, the more attention we need to give to it. Unfortunately, some Christians approach decision-making as flippant as opening their bible and letting their finger land on a verse and taking that as the word of the Lord for their lives. Not helpful. We need to take our decisions seriously because they define our lives. Where you are today is a result of your decisions.

In the natural we have navigational systems called a ‘GPS’. These help us to navigate our way to our desired destination. If we miss a turn off or veer off the selected route, the GPS helps us by re-routing and getting us back on track. In the spiritual realm we also have a GPS, it’s called relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Intimacy with the Holy Spirit isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle. We must pay the price to hear God’s voice and have the courage to do what God asks us to do. It’s not what you do in life but what you do out of what God asks you to do. We must learn to be led by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Making Godly decisions begins with following the principle of multiple witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:15 talks about only on the evidence of two or three witnesses should a charge be established by someone. In the context of relationship with God, He has given us witnesses to help us make godly decisions. These are:

  1. Witness of Clarity = Define the decision to be made
  2. Witness of Exposure = Have you got the right information to make the decision?
  3. Witness of Spirit = What is God revealing to you?
  4. Witness of God’s Word = What has God illuminated to you in his word?
  5. Witness of Prophecy = What are the prophetic sign posts God is sending your way?
  6. Witness of Godly Counsel = What your mentors saying to you?
  7. Witness of Calling = Does making the decision align with your calling?
  8. Witness of Circumstances = What’s currently happening in your life?
  9. Witness of Peace = Are you being honest with how you really feel?
  10. Witness of Provision = Is God supplying your need in this decision?

Not all 10 witnesses need to agree at the same time but at least one of these needs to be in the mix. When it all comes down to it, pull the trigger. Procrastination will paralyse you. You don’t have to live life blindfolded. You can walk confidently into your decision, knowing that God has gone before you.

The Oracle!