Three Questions from a Jehovah’s Witness

Three seemingly common challenges presented to a member of our Fellowship…

Please note that you are going to need your Bible, and I would ask that you NOT use the New World Translation (NWT) which the Jehovah’s Witness Organization (The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) has produced. There are several reasons for my request, which for time’s sake; I will not get into right now… 

 

1) If Jesus is God why did he call God his father when he was on the cross?

Let us be clear, Jesus (Yeshuah is his Jewish name, and this will be important in a few moments) consistently referred to YHWH (GOD) as his Father. Throughout the Gospels, we see this. What we have to seek to do first in order to properly understand any time we read the Bible, is to try to hear what the original hearers heard. This is important here, since to the Jews, Fathers and Sons had the same attributes. Here is an example: Read Matthew 13:54-56, and its parallel passage Mark 6:1-5. Note that in Matthew’s account, he (Jesus/Yeshuah) is referred to as ‘The Carpenter’s son’. That is his identity in the community, and that is why they could not hear him or receive from him. Carpenters were just that carpenters, and nothing else. Mark parallels this, referring to him in this same event as ‘the carpenter’. Two things to note here: 1) You are identified with your Father, and 2) You do what your Father does.

I hope you’re with me so far. Here’s why: Jesus identifies himself as being ‘one’ with God in John Chapter 10. Please read verses 22-39, focusing on verses 30-33 in particular. Did you notice WHY they are picking up stones to stone him? Then look at what he says to them in verses 37-38. Whose works is he doing?

Now thinking back on what we read earlier in Matthew, knowing that for the Jew, you did the works of,  and had equality with, your Father, what is he then saying to them? He is identifying Himself by His Works, to the ONLY one who could do those works, YHWH (GOD). Better yet, what did they understand? That He was proclaiming Himself to be equal with God. Knowing that to the Jew, GOD has no equal , the implication here is clear. Jesus is calling Himself GOD.

There are many other times that this type of thing occurs, another good one is when He declares to them EGO EIMI (I AM)

Most Jews is Jesus’ time read their Bibles (The Old Testament, as at the time there was no New Testament) in Greek, the document was called ‘The Septuagint’

(… from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy). It is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym LXX refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars who completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BCE. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the Greek Old Testament (Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα). This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers.. – source Wikipedia)

In the Septuagint, when Moses asks God Who should he say is sending him, God responds ‘I Am’ – Exodus 3:14 –  “And God spoke to Moses, saying, I AM (ego eimi); and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM’(ego eimi) has sent me to you.”

Now turn to John Chapter 8, and read from verse 48 to 59. Note that he says, before Abraham was ‘I AM’, and can you guess what Greek phrase is used there? You got it, EGO EIME the same name that GOD/YHWH uses with Moses.

Do you see what happened next? They picked up stones (to try to kill him) Why? Because of WHO he was saying that He was/is…

With the preceding point in mind now, (that for Jews, there was equality between Father and Son) let’s take a look specifically at Luke 23:33-3433 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” ] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Knowing what you now know about the context in which Jesus spoke, what is so unusual about this? Nothing. He was doing as He always had, declaring Himself one with/equal to, GOD

 

Please note that the disciples identified him as God as well. Here are a couple of examples:

2 Peter 1:1  – “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

He is not, as some might claim, referring to two beings, He is referring to only ONE Jesus Christ (Yeshuah Ha Maschiach) who he calls ‘our God and Savior.’ As in one being both attributes… How do we know this? It is a reference to the doctrine of imputation. The righteousness of the Messiah, was imputed to men, and their sin was imputed to him.  Imputation means to replace missing data/information/elements with substituted values. It is what the Jews clearly understood from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The sin of the family is imputed to the animal that is to be sacrificed, and that animal’s blood is then shed in atonement of sin. The animal in effect, becomes/takes on the sin of the person, and the animal pays the price for the sin, with its blood (its life). Sound familiar? It should, It is the point of the cross. As Paul said: ‘He who did not have any sin, became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God.’  – 2 Corinthians 5:21 That is imputation.

Paul says of the Jews (his brothers ethnically), in his letter to the Roman church:

Romans 9:1  I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. 3 For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the  Messiah for the benefit of my brothers , my own flesh and blood. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever.  Amen .

 

2) Was Jesus an Archangel?

No, Jesus is not a created being, He is the Creator. This is especially hard for people who are Unitarians (as Jehovah’s witnesses are). To grasp the idea that one being can exist in three persons is unfathomable, and yet the Bible clearly maintains this truth.

Here is what the Apostle Paul says to the church at Colossae (where a similar debate was going on as to whether or not Jesus was deity or a created being.)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.– Colossians 1:15-18

If he is the image of that which is invisible, he is that thing in representation. For example, if you look in the mirror, the reflection that you see is who? You. If everything was created by him, (that includes angels) He cannot have created himself, as such he is THE CREATOR, HE is GOD. All things have been created through and for Him. He is before ALL things, as such if he was a created being something/someone would have to have been before him, and by him all things (notice it says ALL THINGS) hold together. All clearly means ALL so there is nothing before Him, as such he MUST be GOD.

Compare this to: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.“ – Isaiah 44:24

The Apostle John, at the beginning of his Gospel, declares:

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15  John (the Baptist)  testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son— the One who is at the Father’s side— He has revealed Him. – John 1:14-18

Notice that John the Baptist is quoted as saying that Yeshuah is pre-existent. Chronologically, John was older than his cousin Jesus/Yeshuah (see Luke 1:26-45) yet he says that Yeshuah existed before him… This comment from John lends weight to the contention made at the beginning of the Gospel of John which we will discuss later in this tome.

See also Revelation 3:14-22 written to the church at Laodicea, a city quite close to Colossae,  in fact mentioned 3 times in the letter to the Colossian church, and a place where clearly the same heresy concerning Yeshuah’s Deity was active,  wherein Yeshuah identifies Himself as: ““The Amen , the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation” – Rev. 3:14

This is a very big issue, and here is one reason why I prefer that you not use the NWT.

Consider what EVERY OTHER BIBLE EVER TRANSLATED has to say re: John 1:1-3: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

Now this is what the NWT says: In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (John 1:1–3 NWT).

Not only is this translation inaccurate, it is deceitful, and dishonest, because it seeks to intentionally change the writer’s statement re: the Deity of Christ (Yeshuah) by calling him a ‘god’ (note the small g’)

3) Is Jesus’ name Jehovah?

In a Word NO. But GOD’s name is not ‘Jehovah’ either. Why do I say that? First off, because there is no ‘J’ or j sound in Hebrew. So Jesus’ name isn’t Jesus either. So where did ‘Jehovah’ come from?

“The word “Jehovah is a hybrid, arising from a misunderstanding. The word “Yahweh,” which more nearly corresponds to the original Hebrew name, is preferable;” –  Bade The Old Testament in the Light of Today (Boston, 1915), pp. 313 f.

And this from the 1911 – Encyclopedia Britannica: “JEHOVAH (YAHWEH 2), in the Bible, the God of Israel.

“Jehovah” is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word Adonay, ” Lord,” which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures. In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read.”

BritannicaJehovah

As such the better question is: Is Jesus/Yeshuah YHWH (Yahweh)?

The answer is YES! Let’s look at Philippians 2:9-11— The Apostle Paul says: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Once again, we have to, when reading the Bible try to understand what the original hearers/readers would have understood. Paul’s readers (remember there was no new testament at the time of this letter’s writing) would have immediately identified that Paul was calling Jesus GOD, specifically YHWH. Why? Because he is drawing directly from Isaiah 45:20-25 –

20 “Come, gather together, and draw near, you fugitives of the nations. Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. 21 Speak up and present your case— yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, Yahweh?* There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. 22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 It will be said to Me: Righteousness and strength is only in the Lord.” All who are enraged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. 25 All the descendants of Israel will be justified and find glory through the Lord .

*If the translation that you are using says ‘The LORD’ or something close, here is why:

yhwh-in-english

Whenever the name LORD is printed in small caps in some English translation, it means the NAME: YAHWEH. For ancient Jews (and conservative modern ones), YAHWEH was the Name of names; so sacred that they would not speak it nor would they write it in full (they left out the vowels: YHWH). YAHWEH was the Holy One of Israel. Here is what it looks like:

So let’s consider this:

As a Pharisee, (one of the most learned and trained Jews) Paul knew this text very well. He knew exactly what he was saying: Jesus of Nazareth is YAHWEH.

In The Psalms, we find this: Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Yahweh, faithful God.” Psalm 31:5

The Apostle Stephen as he was being killed, said what? – Acts 7:59-60 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.’”  What did Stephen believe abiout Jesus/Yeshuah, even to his death? That He is YAHWEH

The Prophet Joel says: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom Yahweh calls.” Joel 2:32

The Apostle Paul says:

8  On the contrary, what does it say? ‘The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (he is quoting Deuteronomy 30:14). This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:8-13

The Lord who? Who does Paul say is Lord? What scripture is he clearly referencing? So what is He saying about Jesus/Yeshuah? Right, that HE IS YAHWEH

I hope that at least gets you started.

Pastor J

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A reminder to Pastors…

Those of us who are called to Pastor must understand that this is our gift, not our rank. This must never leave our minds. Our gift from God to be used, as Ephesians 4 says:

For the training of the saints as servants in the church, for the building up of the body of Christ: Till we all come to the harmony of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to full growth, to the full measure of Christ: So that we may be no longer children, sent this way and that, turned about by every wind of teaching, by the twisting and tricks of men, by the deceits of error; But saying true words in love, may come to full growth in him, who is the head, even Christ; Through whom all the body, being rightly formed and united together, by the full working of every part, is increased to the building up of itself in love. – Ephesians 4:12-16

 We (Pastors) as John MacArthur so aptly puts it, are ‘the stewards of the house of God’. Too often however, we believe however, that we are Kings, and that they whom we are called to serve should instead serve us.  As such we allow the people to elevate us far above our station, and allow our gifts to be what people place their faith in, and not the Lord of Creation. We forget that it is Jesus who is building HIS church, we are merely stewards (servants) in the House.

But because many of us walk around with our golden cups, and armor bearers, instead of pails of fresh water and food for the sheep, they wander about in confusion. I see it every day, and if you care to think about it honestly, so do you. Many, though they have ‘walked with the Lord’ for many years, have never eaten solid food, instead are so accustomed to milk, that anything solid is ‘hard’, anything honest is ‘unloving’ and any time sin is confronted it is considered ‘judging’. This is proof to me that we Pastors are failing the sheep. Badly.

If you are a Pastor, I earnestly plead with you to take a minute (or 60) to think about the way that you shepherd the flock. Are you standing in the way of Christ in the lives of your congregants, even inadvertently? Do they come to your church because of your personality? The way that you turn a phrase? Your charisma? Your facility? The choir? Please know that these are not things that will sustain them, and ultimately, any time that which is supposed to reflect the sun, blocks it, and eclipse happens, and looking at an eclipse will blind you.

Let us not ever be responsible for blinded sheep, brethren…

 

Pastor J

Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross? (Questions and answers: Question #4)

From The Fellowship’s ‘Question and Answer’ series: The Question: Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross?

Q: Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross?  He is God but He was also subject to the will of the Father.  If He wanted to, could He have opted not to be crucified?

A: Well, the cross as the means of death? The answer is yes and no.

No, because they (The Godhead) could have chosen any means/method that they wished, Yes, because that is the means that they chose, and had the Prophets foretell it as such. There is a Much longer list of prophecies that pertain to the Messiah, but here is a short list:

Isaiah: I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;  I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting (Isaiah 50:6).

Matthew records that when the soldiers were humiliating the blindfolded Jesus, ‘they spat in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”‘ (Matthew 26:67-68).

Isaiah: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth  (Isaiah 53:7).

Pilate tried to browbeat Jesus into convicting himself. ‘But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed’ (Matthew 27:14).

Isaiah also prophesies of the Messiah that he was to be ‘numbered with the transgressors’ (Isaiah 53:12). Matthew records of Jesus that ‘two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left’ (Matthew 27:38).

In one of his psalms, David has the Messiah crying: All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:  ‘He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him’ – (Psalm 22:7-8, NIV).

Matthew records the Jewish religious rulers mocking Jesus as he hung on the cross and crying, ‘Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him’ (Matthew 27:42-43).

In another psalm, David prophesies, ‘He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken’ (Psalm 34:20). After the three men had been crucified, soldiers came to ensure that they were dead by breaking their legs. ‘But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:33).

Zechariah sees the Messiah crying, ‘They look on me, on him whom they have pierced’ (Zechariah 12:10). John tells us that to make sure Jesus was dead, a soldier ‘pierced his side with a spear’ (John 19:34).

And of course, here is the song that Jesus sang on the Cross: Psalm 22:1 (HCSB) My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? 

Q: Could he have exercised the “free will” man has? Or did He have to die because the Father told Him to?

A: Let’s look at the scriptures: Psalm 8:4-9 (HCSB) 

what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him lord over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet: all the sheep and oxen, as well as the animals in the wild, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea that pass through the currents of the seas.
Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!

Hebrews 2:5-9 (HCSB) For He has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. But one has somewhere testified: What is man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor and subjected everything under his feet. For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him.
But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering in death.

The cross was an act of the will. It was an act of obedience and Love, from Jesus to His Father

Luke 22:39-44 (HCSB) 
39 He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him.
40 When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray,
42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.
44 Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

It was an act of obedience and a mindset that we are to emulate/follow

Philippians 2:5-11 (HCSB) 

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So, his vicarious death on the Cross, was an act of Love From the son to the Father, as well as a Bride-Price paid, to purchase His Bride (the Church)

For more about that , please check this link. It is excellent:

http://www.godonthe.net/evidence/marriage.htm

Should Christians Celebrate Kwanzaa?

A 2017 update to Pastor Jermin’s original 2008 blogpost …

So, what exactly is this ‘Holiday’ known as Kwanzaa? This post seeks to uncover/reveal that, and take a look  at it in light of the scriptures?

Why?

1) Because there are Christian churches, that display the symbols of this celebration within their walls, and knowing full well what The Lord has proclaimed as it pertains to idols and other gods, we must be careful, and be clear.

2) I have become over the years, increasingly alarmed by our seeming need, as African Americans, to ‘culturalize’ everything, even bringing that need to, and imposing it upon, ‘The Faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.’ As Jude admonishes, A Faith that MUST be contended for earnestly. It is in this spirit that I write this piece…

Who is its founder? Who invented it?

Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett on July 14, 1941) is the creator of Kwanzaa.

In the late 1960’s he started and led an organization (a black nationalist cult) known as the ‘United Slaves’. Interestingly, as Kwanzaa caught on, Mr. Karenga was sitting in a California prison for torturing two black women who were members of the United Slaves.

Originally known as Ron N. Everett, he went by (and eventually legally took on)  the name Karenga, meaning “keeper of tradition”, and in the 60’s took upon himself the title “maulana,” which means “master teacher” in Swahili. He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister.

Mr. Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971 to serve one to ten years in prison. After being released from prison in 1975, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach and converted to Marxism.

The Crime:

On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. The torture session was described in the L.A. Times on May 14, 1971.

“The victims said they were living at Karenga’s home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing crystals in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis’ mouth and against her face.

Police were told that one of Miss Jones’ toes was placed in a small vise, which then was tightened by the men and one woman. The following day Karenga told the women that ‘Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.” Miss Tamao put detergent in their mouths; Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them. The victims Deborah Jones and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothing.”

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment.

More information can be found here:http://www.nathanielturner.com/karenga2.htm 

At Karenga’s trial, the question of his sanity arose. A psychiatrist’s report stated the following: “This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and illusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.” The psychiatrist reportedly observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons, and believed he’d been attacked by dive-bombers.

Jones and Brenda Karenga testified that Karenga believed the women were conspiring to poison him, which Davis has attributed to a combination of ongoing police pressure and his own drug abuse.

Karenga denied any involvement in the torture, and argued that the prosecution was political in nature. He was imprisoned at the California Men’s Colony, where he studied and wrote on feminism, Pan-Africanism and other subjects. The US organization fell into disarray during his absence and was disbanded in 1974. After he petitioned several black state officials to support his parole on fair sentencing grounds, it was granted in 1975.

Karenga has declined to discuss the convictions with reporters and does not mention them in biographical materials.[17] During a 2007 appearance at Wabash College he again denied the charges and described himself as a former political prisoner. The convictions nonetheless continue to generate controversy during Kwanzaa celebrations.  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Karenga

Origins of Kwanzaa:

What is it, how and why did he put it together?

On December 25th 1965, three months after the founding of the Us (United slaves) organization, Samuel Carr-Damu, one of the original members visited Karenga’s home to present his daughter with a black doll for Christmas. Karenga rejected the gift, stating that Us members should not celebrate Christmas. Since the entire rank-and-file recognized some form of Christianity and were life-long celebrants of Christmas, the potential elimination of the holiday posed a serious problem for the organization, especially those with young children….. Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas 1966….. Excerpted From:

The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era by Peniel E. Joseph (2006) Pages 342-343 You can read it in more detail here: http://books.google.com/

Note that “ Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas…’

The word “Kwanzaa”

The word “Kwanzaa” itself is man made. It is derived from the swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means first fruits. Karenga’s history has it that the extra “a” was added to represent the seven children that were a part of his organization, (US Organization) as each child wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa.

From: ‘Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture’ pg. 108.

The Nguzo Saba or ‘Seven Principles’

The Kwanzaa celebration consists of seven days to celebrate seven principles (the Nguzo Saba), with emphasis on one principle a day. The seventh day culminates in a feast, patterned much like the first-fruits celebrations of ancient Africa. There are activities such as the pouring the libation for ancestors, lighting of candles, raising names of ancestors (also referred to by many as “ancestor worship” – discussed more in detail later), and gift-giving.

http://www.believersweb.org

Not coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa. For those of you who do not know or remember the SLA or its history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbionese_Liberation_Army

This is interesting in light of the claim that the seven principles were ‘Developed by Dr. Karenga’ (http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/7principles.shtml)

 The Kinara

 Kinara

The Kinara is a candle stand used in the celebration of Kwanzaa. There are seven candles in the Kinara one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mshumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles. The black candle represents the first principle Umoja (unity) and is placed in the center of the kinara. Looking at the picture it is clear to see that the kinara looks much like another religious symbol, namely The Menorah

The Menorah

temple menorah

YHWH gave instructions to His people when constructing the implements of Worship, among them, the Menorah…

Exodus 25:31 . . . “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece” . . .

Exodus 25:32 . . . “And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.”

 The Menorah with its seven branches is a perfect picture of the Seven Spirits of YHWH, as shown in the following scripture:

Isaiah 11:2-3: “The Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Chochmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding), the Spirit of Atzah (Counsel) and Gevurah (Might), the Spirit of Da’at (Knowledge) and of the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH.”

 

What is the purpose of Kwanzaa?

Dr. Karenga, 1977: “… it was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.  

Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 21,

Why is this a problem for Christians?

Because Kwanzaa is a RELIGION! Hence it is the Worship of another god…

 “Kwanzaa has definite principles, practices and symbols which are geared to the social and spiritual needs of Afro-America.” – Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 14.

The Nguzo Saba are seven principles clearly set apart for the Black American and not for others. It is also an attempt by Dr. Karenga to introduce humanistic principles for improving life without God. Kwanzaa is not just a cultural celebration, but an attempt to establish a way of life with man as the center of worship and reverence.

If anything, many are accepting these principles as SPIRITUAL principles and a guide for their lives. A disturbing fact for the Christian who believes that all spiritual principles begin with the Bible and not with man.

Frequently, spirituality is mentioned and the Nguzo Saba is said to be a standard by which to live for moral guidance and instruction within the community. The Nguzo Saba (seven principles) is given so much emphasis in character development that it is also said in Dr. Karenga’s book, to make one a “new man, woman and child.” (The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa, p44.) Very similar to what is said in the Bible regarding the newness of man:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  – 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV)

So here we have a celebration that emphasizes a code of ethics (the Nguzo Saba) for moral instruction to bring about a spiritually developed character. Thus far, Kwanzaa has a few things in common with Christianity and other religions. Moral instruction, spirituality and a purpose — becoming a new person!

Karenga Lists The Nguzo Saba as a Religion

Dr. Karenga even recognizes the “religion” of Kwanzaa when in his book, Kawaida Theory, p. 25, he says of the seven principles (The Nguzo Saba) as coming “from African religion” and lists it among other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism in his section on positive functions of religion. In light of that writing, it then becomes difficult to explain his statement that “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday,” especially when the Nguzo Saba is considered the centerpiece of Kwanzaa.

“The primary conflict that the Christian should have with Kwanzaa is that it is a way of life. It is even being encouraged by many to celebrate it not just during the holiday season, but all year round! Why is that so? Because it is promised to be build character, to change one’s life spiritually. This can be seen on the Melanet’s Kwanzaa Information Center web site under the Goals of Kwanzaa topic. It says: “To develop self and facilitate a positive Black self-esteem by exposing individuals to ‘Kwanzaa’, a culturally desirable pattern of principles, to help them live their lives and to encourage the highest level of positive Black self-esteem and spiritual development. — To establish a culturally oriented ‘WAY OF LIFE.”

There are several dangers that present themselves when the Christian attempts to combine their “religion” of Christianity with that of the “religion” of Kwanzaa. 1) They take upon the assumption that the Bible is not enough to spiritually feed us a a people… 2) That we MUST define ourselves in the context of culture 3) Unity is possible without Christ, by simply uniting with those of the same color, i.e. culture. Our self-worth only comes from knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, so we can’t really do both.”

– Carlotta Murrow, a San Diego computer technician who runs the website – http://christocentric.com/Kwanzaa/ – which is a fantastic and comprehensive website dealing with the history, contradictions, ancestral worship and other problematic issues inherent in this ‘holiday’

A little more background from the Dartmouth Review:

Initially, Kwanzaa proceeded from Karenga’s hostility toward Western religion, which, he wrote in his 1980 book, Kawaida Theory, ‘denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.’ He similarly opposed belief in God and other ‘spooks who threaten us if we don’t worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.’

Thus, Karenga explained in his 1977 Kwanzaa: Origin, Concepts, Practice, ‘Kwanzaa is not an imitation, but an alternative, in fact, an oppositional alternative to the spookism, mysticism and non-earth based practices which plague us as a people and encourage our withdrawal from social life rather than our bold confrontation with it.’ The holiday ‘was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.’

Since then, the holiday has gained mainstream adherents, and Karenga has altered its justification so as not to alienate practicing Christians: ‘Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,’ he writes in Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, published in 1997. –J. Lawrence Scholar from the Dartmouth review

So dear reader,

Having significant information at your disposal now, you must ask yourself: Can the celebration, even the acknowledgment of Kwanzaa in the house of God, or by the people of God be justified, except to condemn it?

I daresay not.

God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin (as God points out in Exodus 20:4-5) to worship or serve anything other than Him. God is jealous for what belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone. As 1 Samuel 5 clearly examples, YHWH does not ‘play well’ with other ‘gods’…

That said, clearly, at its root, Kwanzaa was designed and presented as an alternative to Christianity. This is of course, a violation of the first commandment.

 

Please note that I am anxious to hear/share/discuss your thoughts/opinions, etc, as they relate to this issue, and look forward to hearing from you

Blessings to all,

Pastor CTJ

 

From The Archives: ‘Accept the responsibility for your freedom!’

For the next few weeks, leading up to our 10th anniversary as a church, we’re going to look back on (and post here) some of the more significant things that we’ve studied…

Many of the posts (like the one that follows) is directly from Pastor Jermin’s notes.

RFBC Meeting Notes: 03/23/2008

Accept the responsibility for your freedom!

  • Accept responsibility for the fact that you have been set free.

Galatians 5: 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

READ: Exodus 16:32- through 17:6  then Numbers 33:11-14 (ASV)

11 And they journeyed from the Red Sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin. 12 And they journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah (Hebrew: דָפְקָה means knocking.)  13 And they journeyed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush. 14 And they journeyed from Alush, (Hebrew: אָלוּש means leaven or crowding ׁ) and encamped in Rephidim, The name “Rephidim” (Hebrew: רְפִידִם) may mean supports.) where was no water for the people to drink.

  • There is a lot here, but the things we will deal with are:
  1. God took them from the place of Idolatry, (things built on lies, false gods) to Knocking (seeking, a quest, unsurety) to Leavening (to make light by fermentation, separation, preparation) to Support. (foundation, strength)
  2. The process took time
  3. This passage points to Christ, in that: 1 Cor 10:4 (the rock is Jesus) John 19:34  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
  4. God gave the tools to remember, but they chose to forget Because they let their immediate circumstances divert them from the larger situation/goals/objectives  (v.3)

How often do we do that? Why does it seem that in times of difficulty, we resort to the comfortable, destructive behaviors first…

  • What does it mean to be free? Freedom is defined as:
  1.  The condition of being free of restraints.
  2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.
  3. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.   
  4. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon   
  5. The right to unrestricted use; full access:
  6. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship

The Three Edwards

Thomas Costain’s history book The Three Edwards includes the story of the life of Raynald III, a fourteenth-century duke in the country of Burgundy (now called Belgium). Raynald III was grossly overweight, and he was commonly called by his Latin nickname, “Crassus,” which means, “Fat.”

After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured his brother Raynald, but he did not kill him, as was the custom. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the Nieukerk castle and promised him he could regain his freedom, his title and his property as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter.

When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had an available answer: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”

Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after his brother Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined that he died within a year . . . a prisoner of his own appetite. – Dave Wilkenson

 

  • What can we learn from Raynald?

His freedom kept him a prisoner, because he would not discipline Himself.

We are free to do a great many things, the question always is: SHOULD WE? How often do we resort to the familiar to our own detriment, when the promise that lays before us is so much better, simply because we do not want to do the work, or we are afraid, or it’s hard, or (your excuse here) ?

Paul put it like this, in his 1st letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

  • God’s provision…..Deuteronomy 29:1, 16-19, 29 –  

1 These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

16  (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed;

17 and you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them);

18 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood;

19 and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry.

We can skip Verses 20-28, as they are the penalty phase, and we are not under this covenant…

29 The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

 

  • We can break that passage down like this:

 

16-17: You have gone through Egypt to LEARN, and over the last 40 years you have seen many cultures to LEARN, because you are accountable for what you KNOW

18-19: You have been allowed to SEE so that you are not deceived. Don’t fool yourself, constantly check yourself

  • 29: WE are RESPONSIBLE FOR REVELATION

 

Notice that this is from God to the people, a covenant with ALL the people, not just the Pastor, not just Moses…

 

  • God’s desire is for us ALL to KNOW HIM, be knowledgeable about Him, and be so attuned to His voice that we can be truly obedient.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

 

How I choose to exercise my freedom affects me, and impacts those around me…

 

  • Freedom. Like the Kingdom (Rom 14:17) is a gift, but it is up to us to maintain it.

 

Our thoughts, words and deeds are the factors that determine or situations, and though grace abounds, many times it is we who, like the Hebrews in the desert, wish to return to the comfortable in times of stress.

 

2 Corinthians 1:18  But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (read this in the NIV)

2 Corinthians 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

  • Grace is the gift, it is on us to obey…

In the two examples below, the gift was free, the follow-through, and maintenance were the responsibility or the recipient. It is the same for us today

 

John 9:7,11

7, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.  – 11,   He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

John 5:4-15

4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.6  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?7  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.8  Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.9  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.10  The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.11  He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.12  Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?13  And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.14  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.15  The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

(11- I know what You say, but the one that healed me said…)

That’s the line to use on your temptations, the line to use on the devil

(I know what You say, but the one that healed me said…)

 

From The Archives: ‘Prayer: Plain, Purposed and Powerful…’

For the next few weeks, leading up to our 10th anniversary as a church, we’re going to look back on (and post here) some of the more significant things that we’ve studied…

Many of the posts (like the one that follows) is directly from Pastor Jermin’s notes.

RFBC Meeting Notes: 07/27/2008

Our topic this week is Prayer: Plain, Purposed and Powerful

Part One: We will be studying specific Prayers of Jesus

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus – John 17
The Model Prayer of Jesus (which we call the Lord’s Prayer)  – Matthew 6:9-13, and Luke 11:2-4.

Analysis of the Lord’s Prayer:

9-After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

9) The acknowledgement of God’s Power, Authority, Position & Holiness

10-Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

10) Let your Kingdom (Righteousness, Peace & Joy in the Holy Ghost as described in Romans 14:17) come upon me, so that I can do your will here on earth

11-Give us this day our daily bread.

11) Provide for my day to day needs. (This so I can concentrate on you)

12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

12) The tightrope walk: The balance of repentance and forgiveness is where we must stand in order to stay in right relationship with God

13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

13) The first part is perhaps a reference to Psalm 23, in that the Shepherd leads and protects the sheep, and the second points again to the authority and eternal power of the Father

 

How did Jesus Pray?

John 11:41-43 – Lazarus (Confidence)

41  They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes, said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. 42  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43  When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

 

John 12:27-30 – Glorify your name (Meekness/Temperance)

27  Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. 28  Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.

Luke 22:31-32
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Could Jesus simply have rebuked the devil for Peter’s sake?
Yes, obviously. Then why didn’t he?

v.32 the word translated as for is: περί  / peri /  per-ee’

which means properly: through (all over), that is, around; figuratively with respect to;

Reading that verse again it says: 32 But I have prayed through, all over, and around;  you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.

What did he pray FOR?: That Peter’s Faith not fail…
How did Peter benefit? How did the rest benefit?
The Word converted there is the greek word: ἐπιστρέφω / epistrepho / ep-ee-stref’-o

meaning; to revert (literally, figuratively or morally): – come (go) again, convert, (re-) turn (about, again).

And the word strengthen in the greek is: στηρίζω / stērizo / stay-rid’-zo

To set fast, that is, (literally) to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or (figuratively) to confirm: – fix, (e-) stablish, stedfastly set, strengthen.

What do we glean from this?

What does it mean to be sifted as wheat?

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” (22:31)

Has asked, desires to is the Word ἐξαιτέομαι / exaiteomai   / ex-ahee-teh’-om-ahee  which means; to demand (for trial): – desire.

We sift processed flour to fluff it up before baking, but that isn’t the analogy here.

The word “sift” is the Greek word σινιάζω / siniazo / sin-ee-ad’-zo, which means “to sift by shaking in a sieve.” Here, grains of wheat are being sifted, holding back large pieces of foreign matter while letting the wheat through. The ideas of shaking and separating the grain from rubbish are at the forefront of Jesus’ description.

David Allan Hubbard explains, “The figure of sifting was an agricultural one, and its interpretation hinged on a knowledge of how grain was threshed. The sieve … must have been used to separate the kernels of grain from the trash they had mingled with in the threshing: pebbles, twigs, etc. With its large mesh the sieve would allow the farmer to sift the useful kernels into a pot or sack while the strings of the sieve retained the unwanted trash.”

 

Could it be that Jesus let Satan’s plan happen so that instead of destroying Peter, it would in fact purify him?

And what was the trial he had to endure? Could it have been this:  

Luk 22:33-34   – 33 But Peter said to him, “Lord, I’m ready to go to prison with you and to die with you.” 34  Jesus replied, “Peter, I can guarantee that the rooster won’t crow tonight until you say three times that you don’t know me.”

Luk 22:55-62  – 55  And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. 56  Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. 57  But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not. 58  And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. 59  And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him: for he is also a Galilean. 60  And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. 61  And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny thrice. 62  And Peter going out, wept bitterly.

Imagine not only the conviction, the shame, the guilt, the pain that Peter felt, but then Satan (the accuser) comes in, and there is condemnation and fear…

How did denying Jesus shape him?

Who did he become as a result?  – Read Acts 3

How have your trials shaped you? – Could it be that this is the way that the LORD answers your prayers at times?

 

Hebrews 12: 25-29 – Things that can be shaken…

Heb 12:25  See that you refuse him not that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke upon earth, much more shall not we that turn away from him that speaketh to us from heaven.

26 Whose voice then moved the earth; but now he promiseth, saying: Yet once more: and I will move, not only the earth, but heaven also. 27  And in that he saith: Yet once more, he signifieth the translation of the moveable things as made, that those things may remain which are immoveable. 28  Therefore, receiving an immoveable kingdom, we have grace: whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. 29  For our God is a consuming fire.

Deut. 4:24 – For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God


Part Two: What I would like you to consider and share this Sunday are the following:

What are the most important aspects of prayer?

What types of prayers do you pray?

The Prayers I’ve prayed are:

The I’m sorry (prayer of repentance)

The Gimme, you know, the “Lord I NEED” and the “Lord, You Promised in your Word that”

The Bargainer/Let’s make a deal “Lord if you would do XYZ, I promise I’ll Never…”

The Thank You

A: By faith for what we want ( kind of like the gimme)

B:  The aftermath of the gimme

What types of prayers do you pray?

What are the most important aspects of prayer?
The object – Who are you praying to?
The subject – What are you praying about?

The Attitude – The way in which we approach God (ie boldly, confidently, etc)
Honesty – Pray honestly, pray sincerely
Listen- Prayer is after all, a 2 way endeavor

How has your prayer life changed over the past 5 years (if at all)?
What are the benefits/challenges of prayer for you?
Any suggestions that work for you re: your ritual (yes we all have them) that would benefit the fellowship
 

The Option you choose makes ALL the difference

 We as a culture value our opinions over the truth. That is because we are taught that truth is in fact relative, and subjective. The problem is that when this ideology is applied to the scripture, mayhem ensues, because the Word of God is just what it is: The Word of God, and when we run into things which are uncomfortable or in disagreement with our held views, we have three options:

a)    Bring our views in line with, and bow to, the Scripture
b)    Ignore the passage
c)    Change its meaning

The Option you choose makes ALL the difference.

Is your soul worth your momentary pleasure or comfort?

pastor.ctj