God’s House

October 28, 2009

I was praying in our EXP worship center yesterday and I began to think about the concept of God’s house. I remember as a child being told not to run in God’s house; not to abuse God’s house. I was taught that God’s house was a special place, a holy place, and I should treat it with respect and reverence.

My thoughts quickly turned to passages in I and II Corinthians where scripture says I am God’s house. My body is God’s temple. Similarly, I should treat my body with respect and reverence. There are things I should not allow inside of me, activities I should not participate in, images I should not gaze upon!

I know, I am simply talking about a building and a body. No big deal right! Wrong! God’s presence changes everything. If God is present in a place, that place becomes holy and special. God’s Spirit lives in me. May I not abuse His dwelling place.


Worshipping Angels – Colossians 2:18

June 16, 2008

Saturday, June 14, at EXP, we started a new series in Hebrews. Below is a brief examination of Colossians 2:18 as a follow up to the topic of “Jesus: Superior to Angels.”

Colossians 2:18 (NIV) – Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels diqualify you for the prize.  Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

Theologians have given several meanings to the phrase “worship of angels.” One or quite possibly all have merit. In the day of this writing, Jews had a high regard for angels. Galatians 4:14 gives evidence of this fact. Paul says, “… you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel…” We see that angels were held in high esteem. However, some evidently esteemed them too highly.

The phrase “worship of angels” could mean:

1) People were praying to angels. Some began to pray to angels even though an official prohibition had been mandated. Since Jews saw angels as mediators between themselves and God, some went from praying to God, to praying to God through angels, to praying to angels. This idea later grew into a prayer habit for some of praying to someone other than God. One example – praying to saints or praying to Mary.

2) A cult or religion had begun or was in the formative stages of development. Obviously righteous Jews would not worship angels nor would the teachers of the Law recommend angel worship. However as in any sect, offshoots arise. Evidence exists that seems to suggest such a group was forming or had formed.

3) The writer was speaking to legalism. The Jews believed that the giving of the Law was mediated by angels. Evidence in scripture seems to agree with the idea that angels were in some way involved in the giving of the Law. Acts 7:53, “you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” Galatians 3:19b, “The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.” Hebrews 2:2 speaks of “the message spoken by angels” being binding. This seems to be a reference to the law. In this view, the writer is encouraging the reader not to succumb to the chains of legalism and the law.

I believe all of these views have merit. However, as in all passages involving angels, the angels are not the focus or the point. The point of Colossians 2:18 is for one to be careful who they follow and to be sure one has the right spirit. We are not to be fooled by those who pronounce themselves as on a higher spiritual plane than all others. In this first century, men claimed to have experiences that no one else has had; that they had a unique pipeline to God; that they had a special understanding of scripture not available to others; and that they could see and had seen “things” that no one else could see.

The purpose of this passage is to tell the readers not to be like these men. Do not be full of false humility. Do not become puffed up with idle notions. (“Idle notions” means things that are good for nothing; useless, vain.) Men then, and men today, profess to have insight into the spiritual realms. Claims of seeing and talking to angels and even Jesus are given in an attempt to convince others of their spiritual superiority, resulting in people “worshiping” them, or “blessing” them with money. Beware of such people is the writer’s admonition. People who are genuinely intimate with God will be humble not proud. They will lift up others rather than themselves.  We should not worship angels. They are simply God’s messengers. However,  more importantly, we should not be fooled by those who pretend to worship God but in reality only worship themselves.

Just a thought – about Lent

February 12, 2008

Romans 12:1 reminds us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” As I participate in Lent, sacrificing a few pleasures, I am reminded of this verse. However, today I reflected on the fact that Jesus did this very act. He offered Himself as a living sacrifice. His sacrifice was pleasing to His Father! Jesus did not merely sacrifice a few pleasures, He sacrificed Himself.

Though my sacrifice dims in comparison to Christ’s, a common thread does exist. They both are a spiritual act of worship. My participation in Lent is an act of worship. It says I want to focus on Christ and what He did for me. It speaks to my desire to remind myself of what is really important in life. It is a unique way, (something I do not do year round) to express worship to God. It is more that simply a discipline or an old church tradition. It is a fresh way for me to worship!

So, as you “sacrifice” during this Lenten season, remember you are worshiping and you are following the pattern of Jesus.

An Unusual Apartment Ministry

January 30, 2008

An interesting event occurred Tuesday, Feb. 29. A man, wanted by the police, barricaded himself in an apartment complex. Within a short time, police officers, SWAT and a variety of other law enforcement personnel initiated a standoff that lasted about 8 hours or more. The interesting part is that our church became the Red Cross refuge for the tenants of the apartment complex. They evacuated the complex, picked up children from school, contacted others at work, and had them all come to the church until the crisis was ended.

Several staff and lay people from Paramount were on hand to help minister to these families. I watched as our people began to build relationships with individuals and share the love of Christ. Children were laughing and playing in the play zones while youth were in video game heaven. A tense, negative situation, was lightened because followers of Christ took an opportunity to minister in an unusual situation.

I believe lives were touched through the experience. Mine was! It will be interesting to see the long term impact that night had on children and adults alike. The love of Christ was practically and vividly demonstrated through his people. Thank you Red Cross, thank you Paramount members for making a difference.

Authentic Christianity

January 28, 2008

Is your Christianity authentic? Is the expression of Christianity we see in America authentic? Is TV Christianity authentic? What is authentic Christianity? What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts as to what constitutes authentic Christianity. What do you see as the essential beliefs and practices? Where have we gone wrong? (If we have gone wrong.) Let me know what you think. We will deal with this topic in EXP throughout February and March.

Just a Thought – Humility

January 24, 2008

It would be crazy for me to walk up to Michael Jordan, probably the greatest basketball player ever, and tell him of my great basketball abilities. It would be ridiculous for me to brag about my bank account to Donald Trump. Do you think Harrison Ford would be impressed that I was the lead in my 2nd grade play? These guys are so far beyond me in their respective talents, that to act like I am on their level or to boast about my meager accomplishments in their fields is insane!

I wander though if I sometimes approach God with that attitude! “Hey God, look how holy I am!” “God, have you noticed how faithful I am?” By spouting my spiritual accomplishments, somehow I believe God will be impressed with me. Like I am as “godly” as God?!

Proverbs 25:6 starts out by saying, “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence.” The height of arrogance is thinking I am somehow on God’s level. To compare my basketball skills with Michael Jordan is ridiculous. To compare myself with God is unthinkable.

I think I am better off living Micah 6:8, “walk humbly with your God.” Humility is much wiser and more attractive than pride as you relate to others and especially as you relate to God.

Just a thought!

Just a Thought – Red Flags

January 22, 2008

As part of my devotion today, I read Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” The application – When you see red flags, STOP!

So often I want to do something so badly that I ignore warning signs. Once I accepted a position at a church, ignoring the red flags raised during the interviewing process, only to resign 6 months later. It was a bad decision. Had I paid attention to the red flags, I would have spared myself and my family much heartache.

In your decisions to accept a new job, who to marry, what house to buy, what to invest in, etc., etc., watch for red flags. Don’t ignore them, heed them. They are God’s way of directing you and sparing you from making mistakes.  Just a thought!