Friday, January 28, 2011
Water baptism has never been an option for Christians. The scriptures clearly teach us to be baptized in water. Christians may differ on what age or how much water is needed but all agree that baptism is essential. Every place in the book of Acts where the Holy Spirit is poured out on new believers it is always linked with water baptism. In other words Spirit baptism and water baptism go hand in hand. Baptism is a means of grace. This means it is a way Christians encounter God. It is more than a symbol. When submitted to in faith it makes real in us three important truths. The first is the forgiveness of sins. Water is used for washing and in baptism we are washed from our sins. Baptism is the visible sign of the invisible reality that by faith in Christ our sins are forgiven. The second truth is the death of the old life and the resurrection of the new life. The Bible teaches that when we come to Christ the old us dies and Christ raises us to a new life with Him at the center. In baptism we go down into the water and die, then we raise out of the water in new life. The third reality is the refreshing of the Spirit. God sends the Holy Spirit in us to give us the character of Christ, but the Spirit also comes on us to give us the ministry of Christ. We are empowered by the Spirit to represent Christ on earth. In baptism we are refreshed and renewed into this life of character and power. If we have been baptized we don’t need to do it again. The Bible says there is one baptism. Sometimes people want to be re-baptized but it is impossible. It is like being remarried to the person you are already married to. However people can recommit there baptism just like people can reaffirm their wedding vows. If you have never been baptized or you want to reaffirm your baptismal vows, let me know and we will set a date soon. The Bible says repent and be baptized. Now is the time.
Friday, January 7, 2011
The emphasis of the apostles preaching in the first century was on the resurrection of Jesus. Much contemporary Christian preaching and music focuses on the cross of Christ. I don’t think we overemphasize the cross, but I think we underemphasize the resurrection. While it is important to point out what Christ has done for us on the cross, it is equally important to point out He is risen and alive. Our gospel, our good news, is a message of life. Yes our response to the cross is repentance and faith in what He has done for us, but now it is also living out a Spirit filled resurrection life.
I believe this Spirit filled resurrection life is what we have to offer to the city of Bremerton WA and our region as The Firehouse Church. We are people of hope, joy, peace and love. We live during a time and in a region where those things are needed. God is calling us to be a visible witness to the resurrection of Jesus. This includes passionate worship, joyful witness, sacrificial love and authentic fellowship. These traits will be highly contagious as we pray them down upon us.
Sunday January 9th will our first time to gather at the Oyster Bay Inn as we make the move to Bremerton. It will be a time of joy and we expect His presence to lead us. I am looking forward to worshipping with you, praying with you, hearing His voice with you. And I am looking forward to witnessing a great awakening in Bremerton, Kitsap County, the Pacific Northwest, the Western USA, all the USA and more. Fasten your seat belts.
Friday, November 5, 2010
(by Kevin Clancey)
....the Bible is clear, God is still speaking through His people. The Holy Spirit does not contradict the previous revelation of Jesus in the gospels, or the rest of revelation in the Bible, but He illuminates it and applies it so the Word is living among us.
King Josiah was the last good King in Judah before the exile of the Southern Kingdom to Babylon. He assumed his kingship at the age of 8, but by the time he was 16 he was seeking God. At the age of 26 he ordered the repair of the temple which had been brought to ruins by years of pagan worship and neglect. During the rebuilding the Book of the Law was found, this was either the first five books of the Bible, or simply the fifth book, Deuteronomy. After this was read to Josiah he was deeply moved to repentance because he realized how far God’s people had fallen from the covenant laid out in the book. Josiah then led the nation into a national repentance and saved the land from conquest for another generation. King Josiah gave great respect to the Book of the Law. He respected and honored God’s Word by believing it and obeying it. God’s Word, His revelation, is central in revival. It was in Josiah’s time and it is in ours.
When modern Christians use the phrase ‘the Word of God’, they usually mean the Bible. But the Bible teaches that the Word of God is more than the Bible. First and foremost the Word of God is Jesus. Jesus is the Word made flesh according to John. God revealed Himself in person, in human history God showed up in Jesus. This means if you want to know what God is like the answer is to look at Jesus. The Word of God is also the Bible. God has revealed Himself by inspiring a book to tell of His actions and intentions in history. The Bible is God-breathed and is therefore the trustworthy revelation we have to build our faith upon. There are many good books, but the Bible is the unique book of God, it is the Word of God. Third the Word of God is still among us. Holy Spirit is still with us and still revealing, teaching, encouraging and comforting the church. This makes many Christians uncomfortable, it seems so subjective, but the Bible is clear, God is still speaking through His people. The Holy Spirit does not contradict the previous revelation of Jesus in the gospels, or the rest of revelation in the Bible, but He illuminates it and applies it so the Word is living among us.
As we honor the Word of God by believing it and obeying it, revival can begin, grow and be sustained among us. More on the Word of God this Saturday at The Firehouse Church.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
2 Chronicles 14-16 is the story of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Asa was one of Judah’s good kings. He established reforms in the land that ended pagan idolatry during his long rule. The Bible says because of this King Asa and Judah had a long period of peace during his time. Asa only had two conflicts while he was King and was victorious in both. Yet the story doesn’t end well for Asa. During his final years, Asa stopped seeking the Lord. He turned to foreign alliances for political security instead of praying for God’s guidance. He stopped listening to the voice of God through the prophet Hanani, and imprisoned the prophet when he brought a corrective word from God. And finally Asa fell ill and sought the aid of physicians, who in his day were more like sorcerers, and again did not seek God. Like his great grandfather Solomon, Asa is the story of a man who began well but ended poorly.
In 2 Chronicles 15:2 the prophet Azariah says to Asa, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him, if you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” The Bible is full of promises that God will be found by those who seek Him. But often those who find Him become comfortable in their circumstances and forget about God when life is going well. Many who start out well end poorly.
It is God’s desire for his children that we finish well. Solomon didn’t, Asa didn’t, but we can. This week we will look at God’s provision for us to finish well both in our own lives and in the life of the church seeking to sustain and grow revival.
Friday, September 3, 2010
- We can give God our time
- We can give God our treasure
- We can give God our attention
- We can give God our talents
- We can give God our praise
All of these are things we do in order to worship. But here's another important point: To truly worship we give these things as a free offering of love, born out of a genuine encounter with God. If we do them in a legalistic way, we won't have our minds renewed and we won't come to know the will of God but instead become religious modern day Pharisees. Worship is first and foremost the willing sacrifice made out of love because we have been met by the deep love and mercy of God in Christ.
Worship is first and foremost
the willing sacrifice made out of
love because we have been met by
the deep love and mercy
of God in Christ
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There are five promises in this passage for those who believe: authority over demons; tongues; protection from wildlife; protection from poison; healing. This is normal Christianity, and for two thousand years a lot of the church has been theologizing normal Christianity away. We have endured ridiculous, non biblical theologies like, ‘there are no more demons, Jesus got rid of them all on the cross.’ Healing and tongues were only meant for the first century church.’ ‘There is no super-natural protection; Christians simply have to be careful.’ None of these theological statements have any biblical support. What does have biblical support is deliverance, tongues, divine protection and healing.
What has resulted from this is sub-normal Christianity being called and accepted as normal? We are scandalized by prominent Christians being caught in adultery or greed. We are scandalized by the polls that show Christians don’t really live much different from the rest of the culture in terms of their morality. But we are not scandalized by our impotence. But our impotence is a scandal, and in some ways worse than the above mentioned moral failings.
We are the only people on earth filled with God. Jesus said don’t put your light under a bushel but let it shine. How is it we have only interpreted this morally and not in terms of power? Throughout the New Testament we are promised power to be His witnesses. Yet when we don’t pursue miracles it is the same as not pursuing moral righteousness, we are hiding the light of the Holy Spirit and depriving the world of an encounter with a miracle-working God.
The lack of the miraculous makes unbelief too easy for the world. The world can produce people who look as morally good or better than church-goers, and the demonic cults can counterfeit miracles. But only the people of God can produce people of purity and power. Our love, goodness and the miracles of God are our witness to Christ. To settle for anything less is a sin and it is boring.
If you have never cast out a demon, spoken in tongues, been divinely protected by God spreading His gospel or healed the sick repent right now and ask God to fill you with power and opportunity. If you have dabbled in these things but it is not normal, repent and tell God you want a new normal. This generation has the opportunity to make sub-normal Christianity obsolete and make normal Christianity visible to an unbelieving world.
I have a couple of observations. First, the answer is not macho men. Machismo is a mask for insecurity and is not the antidote to passivity. Second, women are not to be doormats; biblical submission means respect and honor but not the loss of identity or blind obedience. Instead I think fatherless men need each other to regain their confidence to be initiators in their relationships and real leaders in their families. Women need to realize no matter how much their husband acts like a boy they cannot treat him like a boy. He cannot be nagged into growing up or being the man you hoped you got. If you treat him like a child most likely he will remain a child.
One thing I have a real problem with is the man leaving the bossy wife and saying he did this because he finally grew up. Running away is not growing up, it is as cowardly as passively letting her boss you around. Real growing up takes responsibility for the problems passivity has created and initiates change in the relationship. Instead of running into the arms of another woman, change your behavior toward the woman you married. Come out of your hiding place, learn to both love and confront your wife. Don’t act like a child, gently confront her when she tries to treat you like a child or corrects you like you are a child, and become a real grown up man worthy of her respect.