JREnsey Mid-Month blog for August 2022

Thanks for visiting the Mid-month blog for August 2022!

The Word for today

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

Would someone please inform AOC, Al Gore and the other climate change extremists that we are not really in danger of the world ending because of the weather before Jesus returns? The world will not end because of cow flatulence, auto emissions, or global warming. Please relax and tend to more important business affecting the lives of Americans.

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Helping new believers make lifestyle changes

There seems to be two sides to the question of how to get righteous practices into the lives of new converts.

Once there was only one—both Protestant and Catholic ministers preached their brand of holiness into them and virtually dared any to resist it. Excommunication or even stocks awaited nonconformists in Europe and Early America. Today the popular emphasis of some seems to be to leave everyone alone and let God guide them into paths of righteousness if that is what He wants.

Which is the right way? There are current examples of success with both approaches—and failures as well. It seems that we often force ourselves needlessly into an “either/or” mindset that invites failure. We all know that different people, depending on their background and personal experiences in the past, will respond differently to each of the two approaches. Christian leaders have to be discerning and wise.

It would be wonderful to never say a negative word about people’s lifestyle from the pulpit again. Some have made the decision to take that path. If that was the correct way to deal with holiness issues, we could cut large portions of Scripture from the Bible and be done with it. If God wants people to live holy and righteous lives, let Him deal with it. A testimony or two of new converts who straightened up their lives by merely feeling that they should, impresses some pastors who don’t bother to ever mention certain scriptures about believers’ lifestyles. That could reduce the five-fold ministry by one, eliminating “teachers.” Who would need them?

The other extreme might be expressed by a pastor who takes advantage of every service to pound away on his people should any look like they might be living a little beneath his high standard. Hell and damnation are dangled in front of them so often that the Apostolic life is perceived to be one of constant self-denial and fear of failure.

Somewhere between these two extremes must be a better way.

Let’s deal with the first concept—let God take care of it. Sounds great, but too often God doesn’t seem to “take care of it.” Months may turn into years and there appears to be no serious convictions guiding the convert’s lifestyle decisions. With no background of Word knowledge, God hasn’t seemed to say anything to them about their hair, their bling, the immodest unisex clothing, or entertainment choices. They seem quite satisfied with where they are spiritually. They “love God” and “feel His presence” when they worship. That is often interpreted as a “You’re OK as is” from God. Their conscience is not bothered by their lifestyle, unaware that their conscience is not to be trusted (I Corinthians 4:4 NLT/NIV84). Subsequently, pastors are put on the spot when SS teachers or worship leaders on the platform are needed. How to incorporate them into the church program can become a sticky point and a pastoral headache.

The second concept—that everything must be drilled into their heads and hearts by weekly demands and reminders—can produce a “holier than thou” attitude that is spiritually destructive. Christianity is portrayed as a list of do’s and don’ts. He or she may not know why some things are considered to be sin or a “weight” problem (Hebrews 12:1), but they try to be obedient. Slips in conformity seem to bring on bouts of self-deprecation and self-loathing. Secret mistakes or personal momentary failures hang over them like the sword of Damocles. Joy is almost non-existent. Any perceived shortcoming or mistake by the pastor or other church leader might be viewed as hypocrisy, which opens the door to bitterness and other problems.

A combination of sound teaching and spiritual maturation is likely a better approach. Time, prayer, worship, Word focus, and positive exampling by the more mature members will usually harden the new convert’s convictions.

Consider the example of Paul and Peter. They knew that a walk in the Spirit and the grace of God teaches and motivates the sensitive Spirit-filled Christian (Titus 2:11,12), yet neither of them had decided to “let God handle all the holiness teaching” (Titus 2:4). They also reminded us that some practices they did not specifically mention that would come along later would need to be weeded out through pastoral teaching—expressed as “…and such like” (Galatians 5:19-21). Both laid out broad principles to guide a convert’s thinking about why separation from the world (the real meaning of holiness) is essential to spiritual maturity (I Peter 2:1-3; I Corinthians 3:1-3), but they also injected some specifics to let the new believers know how the principles are to be lived out (I Timothy 2:9,10; I Peter 3:3). Toward the end of Paul’s three books on practical Christian deportment and church leadership (I & II Timothy and Titus), the apostle said, “These things teach and exhort…affirm constantly”! (I Timothy 6:2-4; Titus 3:8). That was an apostolic command to church leaders.

Pastors should expect the Lord and the individual to work some things out, supplemented by his encouragement, discernment, kindness, patience, and clear biblical instruction. If they never hear what Jesus and the apostles expected from the NT church (and from us today), they can receive and be misguided by mixed messages from their own conscience.

The point: wise pastors avoid extreme positions. They teach the Word, allowing it to be the basis for the standards that guide both the new believer and the mature Christian (John 17:17). If no guidelines are drawn by leadership, then there will be no lines. Provide reasons for what changes are expected. Some matters can justifiably be couched in the context of common sense rather than a specific verse in the Bible. Keeping holiness teaching in a spiritual atmosphere of love and understanding will make it more palatable to new converts.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

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Think about it

If the wages of sin were paid quickly, sin would not be so popular.

New York and California have declared health emergencies because of the monkeypox outbreak in the gay community. According to NBC News, Biden administration officials have appealed to men who have sex with other men to “cut down on high risk behavior—like having multiple partners in a two week period or with those with known exposure—until the outbreak is under control.” They surely would not want to have any causal cloud over that community regarding monkeypox!

Why wouldn’t they also want to urge unmarried straight men and women to “cut down on high risk behavior” to avoid unwanted pregnancies in order to reduce the butchering of unborn babies?

If we were as dumb as the president’s speechwriters think we are, we’d be trying to nail Jello to the wall.

Old Turkish proverb: “When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn’t become a king; the palace becomes a circus.”

It’s not the task of the church to “Make America Great Again.” The contemporary task of the church is to make Christianity countercultural again.” – Brian Zahnd

Recessions will be non-existent in the future as long as we change the definition.

AAA says properly inflated tires can save 8 cents a gallon of gas, but perhaps properly cast votes would have saved drivers three dollars a gallon.

Your grandfather didn’t sleep in a foxhole in a far away land while clutching a picture of your grandmother so you would surrender your guns.

“No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce.” – Thomas Sowell

“We don’t have inflation because the people are living too well. We have inflation because the government is living too well.” – Ronald Reagan

Since one Apostolic college has installed a “Reconciliation, Inclusion and Equity” program to train Apostolic students in those values, will others follow suit?

Definition of “confusion”: requiring leftists who say rights are being taken away from women to identify what a woman is.

Nobody talks about forgiving trade school tuition debt because those students learned a useful skill and can pay their own way.

How does sponsoring a U.S. Military drag show at Joint Base Langley-Eustis recently, highlighting a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” Summer Festival contribute to the preparedness of our military to do what it was formed to do?

When so many gay men are getting monkeypox lesions, sores, etc., “in their private regions…that it is like ‘passing glass’” [sorry to be so graphic as to quote national news reporters], TV talking heads are questioning why the government hasn’t developed a vaccine for this problem. Shouldn’t they be asking, “Why would you guys want to continue doing that which causes such agony?” It’s like I am bashing my finger with a hammer and it is really hurting. Therefore, the government should quickly develop a vaccine to eliminate this type of pain so I can continue bashing my finger!

If you ever feel useless, remember it took 20 years, four presidents, and trillions of dollars to replace the Taliban with the Taliban.

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Why is it…

…that modern Bible versions are vilified for making many of the identical textual choices that the 16th and 17th century English translators, including those who produced the KJV, made?

…that illegals can’t be located for deportation but they can find them to give them money?

…that someone can post the words, “He’s an idiot,” and 90% of the world knows who is meant?

…that Brittney Griner insisted that the WNBA stop playing the National Anthem at games, but suddenly she now wants America to bail her out of a Russian jail for bringing illegal drugs into that country?

…that even though the gay community is the most at risk group in the U.S. for monkeypox (91.7% of all cases; 98% in some reports), San Francisco still sponsored its annual “Up Your Alley” leather and fetish festival in the first week of August that drew thousands to that city? It was being dubbed a potential “super-spreader” for the monkeypox virus before the event occurred. No rebuke from the administration or CDC is expected.

…that we are told to blame Putin for high gas prices, but praise Biden for subsequently reducing the cost by a few cents?

…that Bill Gates is buying up huge swaths of America’s farmland? I am sure he can’t wait to get on a tractor.

…that the Obamas took millions documents to his house from the White House when he left, but they never got raided or even subpoenaed? (https://therightscoop.com) And reckon what they could find in Hillary’s NY home and in the Clinton Library in Little Rock?

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Why are so many young people having heart problems after Covid vaccination?

Especially children and athletes with otherwise perfect health.

Which is more dangerous to your child—Covid or the vaccination? If you dare, watch the video posted by a parent whose young son got myocarditis from the vaccine.

What is myocarditis? In simple terms, myocarditis is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. This inflammation enlarges and weakens the heart, creates scar tissue and forces it to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body.

While we often associate cardiovascular conditions with elderly populations, myocarditis can affect anyone, including young adults, children and infants. In fact, it most often affects otherwise healthy, young, athletic types with the high-risk population being those of ages from puberty through their early 30’s, affecting males twice as often as females. Myocarditis is the 3rd leading cause of Sudden Death Syndrome in children and young adults.

Many have complained of blood clots after receiving the vaccination. Please be informed before making health decisions the government or your employer insists you make.

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Who are the most powerful people in America regarding change?

Hint: They are not the politicians in DC.

It is not even the teachers in your local school district.

The most powerful people who can effect change in this nation are those who teach the teachers—college professors—and specifically those who are tenured. They have assumed the role as the primary “change agents” in our society.

Our universities are turning out thousands of teachers every year who are filling the slots in your child’s classrooms. They will teach what they were taught. Your child will be trained to believe whatever the teacher regurgitates of the professor’s lectures—even if it is absolute nonsense.

Let’s return to home training being supplemented by patriotic schools, with the parents as the kids’ ultimate authority.

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words

Clarence Thomas, the new choir director

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Last Words

  • “Proverbs says by your words you are taken and by your words you are snared (Proverbs 6:2). Can we do the flip side of that and say by your words you can be victorious?” – Pastor Don Grigsby, Madisonville, TX
  • Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.” – Ryūnosuke Satoro, author and poet
  • Provide a word of encouragement for the kids and young people in your assembly as they face another school year filled with challenges to their faith.
  • Share this blog with someone you care about.

God bless!

JREnsey

Published in: on August 14, 2022 at 7:52 PM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Very good!


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