Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How is the State of your Union? (And will you address it?)

"praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every

spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ… "

The State of the Union is the address presented by the President of the United States to a Joint session of Congress and, typically delivered annually. As I listened to our President give this address   last night it occurred to me that all Christians could learn a lesson from this tradition by taking the time to truly evaluate the State of our Union with Christ. Unfortunately just as many Presidents do, we often tend to overestimate how well we are doing, and we don't paint an accurate portrait of what is really going on. Here are a few questions  to help us accurately  gauge how we are doing.

1) Is there evidence of Conversion in my life?- The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. There are many who name Christ as savior, but never have evidence that He has actually saved them. If you are truly in Christ it will be evident in the fruit that your life produces. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. When  you examine your life, are these apparent?

2) Do you have an actively consistent time with God? - In the book of Mark it says that very early in the morning, Jesus went to a solitary place where he prayed. There should be nothing that is more important or precious to the believer than spending time with God. As a matter of fact if we are too busy to spend time with God, then we are busier than God created us to be! Do you spend time with God?

3) Do  you have a Biblical spiritually defined purpose?- When God saves us, He also gives us spiritual gifts. The gifts are given to enable us to accomplish God's desired purpose for our lives. However most people have no clue what the spiritual gifts are, much less what their specific gift is. Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them for His glory?

4) Do you actively look for opportunities to share your faith?- I honestly believe this is vital in our evaluation of our Union with Christ. The apostles devoted their lives to sharing about Christ. The very last words of Jesus in Acts were "You will be my witnesses".  Statistics tell us that most "Christians" will never share their faith with even one person. We will scream for our Football  team, declare our political allegiance, and rail against injustices, yet we can't share about the one who saved us from death and Hell? Do you share your faith?

This is not an exhaustive list, but its is a great start. So while you are mulling over the Presidents State of the Union Address, why not Address what state your "Union" is in.

Forever Fishing,
Chris Wells

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Take on Perry Noble and NewSpring Church (2.0)

I want to thank the now nearly 15,000 of you that read my last blog posts on My take on Perry Noble and  NewSpring Church. The response has been overwhelming with comments of your various opinions and ideas on my thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I want to invite you to be a regular reader of this Blog.

I also want to let you know that not every one of my posts will be a commentary on NewSpring Church, however I did feel led to write this follow up.  The vast majority of comments to my first post were positive, but there were some negative as well.  I respect the right of everyone to have their own opinion. Whenever I formulate an opinion, I always like to get my information from the direct source. If you choose to read the things I have written you will find that I am like that with my writing and my Bible reading. Often times it has been my experience that people hear and read what they want to, and many times critical context is ignored. I want to also reiterate that I have no dog in the NewSpring "fight, I am by all accounts as I said an outside observer.

Now with that said, if you will recall in my last post I concluded by saying that "I have no problem disagreeing or  even opposing someone on hard fact theological errors".  It is very spiritually ironic to me that shortly before I posted my blog that Perry Noble preached a message on Christmas eve that at least part of which I do disagree with. Before I share those with you, I know that some people are getting their critical information from an article written in which claims that Perry Rescinded the 10 commandments. I intentionally have delayed my response to this so I could watch the Dec 24th message and his Jan 4 message in order to hear the context (I suggest you do the same).

In Perry's December 24th message there were in my opinion 3 points of contention, that I will address.

The first of which were Perry's comment on there being no Hebrew word for "Command". He stated that the 10 commandments could better be called the 10 promises. My response to this is No and yes. There is actually a word for commandment in Hebrew, but at the same time the 10 commandments are often referred to in Hebrew at the 10 Sayings, the 10 words, as well as the 10 matters. He used them as the 10 promises. In my opinion he could have worded this better. I also believe the 10 commandments are commands  because the law drives us to the savior. A wise man once said " the Commandments are like a mirror that shows us the stubble on our face. We don't take the mirror down and shave with it, rather it drives us to pick the razor"  The commandments show my need for a savior.

Secondly during the course of the message he (according to his own words) used the N word inadvertently. I had to listen to it 3 times to hear it.  I honestly don't believe he meant to say that, and he apologized for it in his address on Jan. 4. I know that in the course of my speaking, I have gotten jumbled and said words that I didn't mean to say.

Thirdly, people have said that he rescinded or rewrote the commandments. I don't think that is what he did at all. What I saw in the video was Perry quoting the commandment and then saying it in his own words. There were some of his points I thought he did a great job on an others I think he did not do so great on. I think he could have re framed that message better, and I attribute that to his (by his own admittance) lack of preparation.

With all of that said, what concerns me most is the exuberance of some in the christian community who seem over zealous to see this man and this church fall. Do I agree with everything that Perry Noble says? Absolutely not, and I'll let you in on a big secret. There are very (few if any) pastors and theologians that I agree with 100% of the time. Let me give you some examples. 

-TD Jakes and I would disagree  on the Trinity and how one receives the Holy Spirit. Does that mean that I think he is not a man of God? Absolutely not!
- The Duck Dynasty crew and I disagree on baptism. They believe baptism is essential for salvation. I believe baptism is a step of obedience. Do I think they are lost for saying that. I do not.
- John Piper doesn't believe that Jesus came to die for everyone. I believe that He came to die for every single person on the planet. Does that mean he is not a man of God. I don't think so.
-Perry Noble messes up in a single message by saying a word he shouldn't and frames his message in a manner that was hurried and hurt the meaning. Does that make him a heretic? I think not.

It stuns me  how the positives of that message have been totally ignored. I can say this with all integrity of heart. There are very precious few people that I have seen, that care more about people coming to Jesus than Perry Noble. It is evident in his demeanor that he passionately and sincerely desires people to trust Christ. I watched that invitation he gave that night. I did not see manipulation, but rather passionate concern for the lost to be saved. It is my understanding that over 200 indicated they trusted Christ that night.

I pray in my own life that God would fan such a desire in me to care about where people spend eternity. There seems to be such an arrogance and meanness in our dealings with one another. Jesus said "they will know we are Christians by our love for one another". Sometimes I wonder if they do? There seems to be an ominous recruitment to get people into one theological camp or the other. As for me, I have decided to take the advice of one of my Mentors. He said: "Chris in church life, people will ask you what camp you are in. Always remember, Jesus called you to go Fishing, not camping".

Forever Fishing,

Chris Wells