Out of Context: Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered together in my name…”

In our series of Out of Context topics, we will talk about the misappropriation of Scriptures used to either garner control or gain material wealth from congregations. Scripture teaches clearly that the Word was not to be used in this fashion, and yet with humanity involved, it seems almost inevitable, past, present, and future.

Today’s topic is Matthew 18:20, often used incorrectly by pastors to push Church attendance or prove that God will only bless you in their buildings, at their appointed service times.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20, KJV

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When it’s Right to be Wrong

Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand they say. Or, Ignorance is Bliss. I believe the first one, but the second is misleading. It’s somewhat akin to the lie our parents always told us (at least, mine did), “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s just not true. Words can cut to the core in irreparable ways, where bumps and bruises fade away quickly.

It’s just too easy to think we are right – justified – in the know. That our opinion is superior to another person. Yet, there is a right time to be wrong, and that is when you have a teachable heart. It’s important to acknowledge when we are wrong. Recently I was asked, “do you not believe … anymore”? I had to admit that no…I didn’t believe that idea anymore, that I had been wrong, grossly wrong.

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Out of Context: Malachi 3:8 Will a Man Rob God

In our series of Out of Context topics, we will talk about the misappropriation of Scriptures used to either garner control or gain material wealth from congregations. Scripture teaches clearly that the Word was not to be used in this fashion, and yet with humanity involved, it seems almost inevitable, past, present, and future.

Today’s topic is Malachi 3:8, often used incorrectly by pastors to collect more money in Tithes plate. When this Scripture is pulled out, generally some bills are due, someone stopped giving offerings (in Churches that track your giving carefully) or they just want more.

 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld].” – Malachi 3:8, AMP

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So you’re a follower, but of whom?

According to a LiveScience article published in November 2011, your propensity to be a leader or a follower is highly genetic. Let’s just say you got the follower gene, how do you make sure you are following the right person or thing?

We’ve all certainly heard the term sheeple, a negative impression describing a people who are either bewitched into following the control of another or who have purposefully given control of themselves to another and are now playing follow the leader, no matter the cost or consequence, requirement or demand.

How can you tell if that’s you, guard yourself against imbalanced control, or allow yourself to be led in a meaningful way?

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Fight for Faith

Fight for Faith – because it is worth it! The simplicity of the Gospel is that Christ, while you and I were yet sinners, died for us. He came in the weakness of flesh to end the battle of the Law for Righteousness (legalism). He took the penalties for our failures and opened the windows of Grace to a people not worthy of His Mercy.

Don’t believe it? Look to the woman of John chapter 8. The ancient Jewish (law) tradition was that a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned – to death. A harsh penalty and the Jews looked to trap the Messiah going against the law, yet in one moment in time, He [Jesus] ended the fight between Law and Grace.

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – John 8:7

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Are you wearing the yoke of Christ, or of Man?

Are you wearing the yoke of Christ or Man? Are your behaviors, actions, performances and thoughts led by the Spirit, or is your yoke man made? Not to compare you with a bull, or an oxen, but Jesus made the reference when He said “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” in Matthew 11:30.

In my journey from legalism I had this revelation/thought and a question formed in my heart. I voiced it to a Christian friend to try the spirit of it, and I got an amen. This question that came to me as I considered the balance between the authority of a man of God and when it crosses the line into dictatorship was this;

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It’s time to Look Up!

Have you ever noticed how life can be filled with so many downs? When we get sick we have to lay down. When things don’t go well – we feel down. Our car breaks down, business has gone down, payroll goes down, the internet went down (God forbid!), our number of followers/likes/subscribers went down. And it’s no secret that when the sun goes down we get afraid. As Christians…we fear going down, down, down.

It is no wonder when we are taught that Hell is down and Heaven is up that our fear and focus is on the down. News & Media outlets know that we fester and feed on the negative, scary and downer stories. What would life be like if we would all – just look up!

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Why Performance Based Religion Fails People

Why Performance Based Religion Fails People

My Monday morning drive found me playing Today’s Christian Hits on my Google Play Music account, streamed through my cars Bluetooth. There are just a few songs on there I truly like, the rest are catchy tunes and filler sounds. But this morning one of those ‘catchy tunes’ type of songs I’m sure to have heard dozens of times caught my attention, called The God I Know by Love & The Outcome.

The first verse lyrics are what matters to the inspiration of this article, and coincides with a message someone tagged me in on Facebook, which I’ll share later.

If it was all about religion
What to do, what to say
What to wear on a Sunday
All about perfection
Black and white, wrong or right, never grey
Well, I’d never make it
I’d never be good enough (oh-oh-oh)

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A Moment of Faith

A Moment of Faith

Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of one of those coincidence moments and wondered was this really coincidence? Was God somehow in the moment, working things out for good, increasing your faith? Sometimes the answer comes at a later date, when you have had time to consider the moment, sometimes you just know right then that what others call Coincidence, you call Providence.

These are Moments of Faith that I believe God intends for you to build up your most holy faith. It is in these moments that you can pray in the Spirit, connected in true belief that God has you in his eyes right at that moment. (Jude 1:20)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28, KJV

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Public Shaming has no place in Christianity

Public Shaming (aka Forced Confession) has no place in Christianity!

Healthy and unhealthy Church is inextricably linked to the form of a marriage relationship, or a parent/child relationship. It is no wonder God gave us power to become the ‘sons’ of God (John 1:12) or that we are considered the Bride of Christ. (Revelation 21:9) His relationship to us is nurturing, admonishing in patience and love, caring and just. God doesn’t ridicule or shame us for lacking wisdom, but rather gives to us most liberally when we are the most dense! (James 1:5)

Why then do some take the idea of ‘church discipline’ and decide to make it a public affair? Have you ever known a parent that shames a child in public for doing something stupid (childishly silly?) and you just think to yourself, ‘that poor kid…’? Let’s talk about it!

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