Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Redefining Christianity

Today we live in an age of mysticism where people look for spiritual reality and spiritual experiences. The danger is that unbiblical practices will give people a real spiritual experience, but it will not be from God. For our own protection, He puts a boundary around the way we approach Him and grow in Him. If we ignore the boundary set by Biblical guidelines, deception is the likely outcome. "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." Hebrews 13:9

If, however, we come to God on His terms, knowing we have a High Priest at the right hand of God, and that we have access through His blood, we can be assured we cannot be any closer to God this side of heaven! As believers, we are to come to Him by grace, boldly to His throne (Hebrews 4:16). No stillness, no clearing the mind, no mantras, breath prayers or rituals. Our personal relationship is based on His faithfulness, His love and His offer that we come to Him through the blood of Jesus. We don't need mystical practices to become more like Christ or to get closer to Him. The Bible warns against insincere repetitions such as mantras and divination.

We can follow Christ's example of silence and solitude. He went to the desert to pray (Matthew 4:1), He woke up early in the early morning and prayed in solitude (Mark 1:35), and He repeatedly left the multitudes to pray in solitude and silence. The notion that we should enter into "silence" or an altered state of consciousness to hear God is unscriptural and extremely dangerous. Did Jesus instruct His followers to empty their minds through contemplative prayer? It was just the opposite, He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your MIND." (Matthew 22:37) It’s clear that the Word of God is living and active, and it’s by filling our minds with His Word that we come to love Him.

Paul wrote against self-centered attitudes and thoughts. "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,' which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23) Paul rejected the idea that we are saved by grace and perfected by works. We are saved by grace and we grow by grace. "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3)

He also warned of a time when people would no longer "endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth." 2 Timothy 4:2-4

We ashouldn’t be associated with popular movements related to relaxed spirituality, Eastern religions or a 'redefined' Christianity. Watch out for those people promoting 'a new and different way' to do anything which deviates from what God Himself has laid out in His Word! Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing.

Keeping an eye out for Satan,
Pastor Mike

*Find and Replace*

The age of the computer brings much ease and expertise to the preparation of the worship folders. Some churches which use the same basic format each week can simply call up the form on the computer screen, make a few necessary changes, and presto, it's done.

But it can be tricky.

In one church I know, they use the same format for funeral services. And when a person dies and a funeral service is prepared, the secretary simply uses the word-search-and-replace process and changes the name of the deceased from the previous service to the name of the deceased who has just passed away.

Very simple.

So when Edna died, the pastor instructed the secretary to prepare the service for her by following the above mentioned process. The last person who died was Mary. So the secretary instructed the computer to change all "Marys" to Ednas." And so it was.

Imagine the surprise of the attendees when they recited the Apostles Creed and read:

"He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Edna..."


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