Heaven's Embassy

Manifesting God's Government on Earth

Posts Tagged ‘God’

A Peculiar Ministry for a Peculiar People

Posted by heavensembassy on August 27, 2010

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…”

1 Peter 2:9a

Ministry is not a one-size fit all deal. It encompasses dynamics that range from the group’s make-up to the service that the group demands from the minister. Therefore, the minister cannot be uniformly manufactured, because he or she is prepared by God through various circumstances, experiences, successes, victories, failures, and mistakes. Through these events the call of God prepares and equips one for the service of serving both God and humanity in the location that the Almighty places them. Location is inexpressibly important for the work of the preacher, because the preacher is called to a deliver a message to a people at a place.

Therein lies the peculiarity of ministry in a college context. The preacher must be malleable enough to the environment to become according to 1 Corinthians 9 like the people to gain the people. Hence, the college preacher (or a preacher in college) must embrace the ethic of the community to obtain the community. This may seem problematic, because one might say that God’s called are to be the standard bearer—this is accurate. However, the standard (and the standard bearer for the matter) mean nothing to those “without the law.” Hence, Paul insists that he became like those without the law to gain those without the law. This attitude dismantles hypocritical piety for the sake of being religious or perpetuating traditions. Rather it presents a human being called to “serve (their) present age” without pretense while inheriting chagrin, and this minister demonstrates that someone who is like “them” can be intimate with God, and despite their lawless and seemingly ungodly state God is still touching, calling, and listening for them because, they too are God’s peculiar people.

TA

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Recipe for an “Essential” Church

Posted by heavensembassy on August 3, 2010

Why an “Essential” Church?

†     The Quadrennium Theme of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is ” An ‘Essential’ Church: Poised for 21st Century Ministry

Something does not seem essential to our members, because 70% of young adults between the ages of 18-22 dropout of Church.

  • They dropout for reasons ranging from hypocrisy of Church people to not feeling apart of the Church.

The Recipe—In Ephesians, the author writes what I would call the recipe for an “Essential” Church. In the first chapter, in ancient manuscripts, it is addressed “to the saints at” and the city is left blank, so this letter is addressed to any Church that can fill in the blank.

Steps to the Recipe:

Step 1: Get the oven pre-heated. Ephesians 1:4

†  In order for something to be baked properly the oven must be preheated.

  • God is the One who preheats the oven. For God chose us to be a part of this masterpiece (Eph.2:10) before the foundation of the world.
  • God started this recipe before us, and chose to involve us and bless us with all spiritual blessings! (Eph. 1:3) Hence, we should never forget that this is God’s production.

Step 2: Prepare Ingredients. This is an uncommon dish, so it uses uncommon measurements.

†  Add a Dose of Reality. Eph. 2:1-4

  • The author reminds the readers that they were not always saved, But God. This leads to two places to be real…
  1. We must be real and honest about our experiences our failures, shortcomings, sins, trying things, and disobedience. People cannot identify with us when we pretend that we have been saved always, and that we have everything all together. We all struggle!
  2. We must be real about our Church. We shouldn’t make excuses about missing membership, lack of programs, or not reaching out to the community. We should look at ourselves as we really are so that we can improve.

†  Stir a Bowl of Unity. Ephesians 4:1-13

  • Unity can only be stirred with grace. When I was young and would cook pancakes with my Mom, we would have to stir until the lumps came out. Sometimes I’d get tired, but we’d have to keep stirring, so that the pancakes would cook correctly. Similarly, we must stir unity with grace in three ways.
  1. Respect others’ Grace. Eph. 4:2, 8-11

Pray for pastor and officers (Eph. 2:14-21), when we pray for them we will respect them for the grace to fill that office, because none of us are qualified enough to do God’s work and serve in God’s Church. It’s by God’s Grace!

2.  Know your Grace. Eph. 4:7

When we recognize the grace that God has given us, we will be more efficient in God’s service, and will not have time to worry about other folks.

3. Extend the Grace to Others. Eph. 4:12

Reach out to those who have not experienced God’s Amazing Grace!

†  Secret Ingredient—every good recipe has a secret ingredient. Eph. 3:3-6; 4:3-6

  • The Church’s secret ingredient that other religions cannot use is something that was a mystery to even the author of Ephesians.
    • It is the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (Eph. 3:6)
    • That the Gentiles (those marginalized and put on the fringes of the Jewish religion) are made joint heirs and members of the same body!
    • When the veil of the temple was rent in two upon Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus did not only open a relationship with Humans to God, but He broke down the walls of segregation, discrimination, racism, bigotry, sexism, so that Humans could have a relationship with each other!

Step 3: Cooking time. How long to cook? Eph. 4:13

†  Since God is the One that turned the oven on, then God will turn the oven off! So, the recipe will cook “until we all come to the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”

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It’s a Trust Issue

Posted by heavensembassy on August 10, 2009

The center verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:6 “It is better to trust in the LORD(I AM that I AM) than to put confidence in people.”

Trust is a highly valued amenity in any relationship. And ironically, its value becomes more apparent after it has been misguided, even if only slightly so. For it is at the point where one’s trust has been betrayed that a piece of who they are ceases to exist or dies. That portion of innocence–a portion where the perspective that optimistically envisioned people as trustworthy prevails–is carried away by pallbearers into oblivion. And it leaves in its spot a sore that evolves into a tough, feelingless callous. 

And from the tone of the Psalms passage, the psalmist is reflecting on a personal mistrusting of someone. For the poet cries “out of my distress I called on the LORD.” When he says my distress, I believe that word encompasses a time when no one else could assist him, a time when the people who were supposed to be there to support him were absent, a time when he felt deserted and alone. It was then that he cried unto the I AM (the LORD). The One that does not change, realizing that it is better to trust in God than to put confidence in people. 

So in the words of the great hymnal, “Trust in Him who will not leave you,/whatsoever years may bring./ If by earthly friends forsaken,/ still more closely to Him cling.”

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Encountering the Incredible Pt. 4

Posted by heavensembassy on June 4, 2009

This post continues the series Encountering the Incredible. This post is about the last Element of an Encounter we see in Acts 26, which is responsibility. 

Acts Ch.26 V. 16b Responsibility

  • You become a Servant and a Witness of the Incredible.
  • As a servant you have a responsibility.
  • You can only be a witness to what you have encountered.

Paul immediately started preaching after his encounter.

 He didn’t know much—but he had had an encounter.  He couldn’t talk about the grandiose theology of justification, and predestination, but he could tell others what God had done for him.  It shouldn’t be hard to testify, you don’t have to know much, but you just have to tell others what God has done for you. The message of the cross then has a new meaning to you when you have encountered the Risen Christ. It is more than a story it is an experience, an incredible encounter.

The Responsibility of an Encounter with the Incredible…

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Encountering the Incredible Pt. 3

Posted by heavensembassy on June 3, 2009

Continuing with the Encountering the Incredible post series. You can read the other posts to catch up with the message from Acts 26 about the Apostle Paul’s Encounter with the Incredible. Today we discuss a couple more of the Elements of an Encounter

Elements of an Encounter continued:

Acts Ch.26 V. 14,15 Voice of God

  • Jesus spoke in Hebrew or Aramaic so that Paul/Saul could completely understand that.
  • If Jesus has to speak English, Ebonics, or text message he will.
  • If he needs to shoot you an email, or facebook, or myspace God will speak to you.
  • Jesus was so serious about getting Paul that he came and visited him himself. He is also concerned about your experience.
  • He will send somebody to be his voice.
  • The Voice asks a question, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me, don’t you know that its hard to kick against the pricks.”
  • Ox goad—The ox goad was a long sharp iron tool used by farmers to cause an ox to move forward; however, the animal would typically reply by kicking against the tool, which actually would drive the goad in harder hurting the animal more than ever.
  • Similarly, God is calling you to a higher place and His Voice is eternally echoing in your being, and your resistance is only hurting you.

V. 16a, 18 Elevation of Mind

  • Though the glory knocked him down, Jesus still calls Paul up.
  • God is still lifting us despite our shortcomings, his grace is till available to a wretch like us.
  • An elevation of mind causes us to see things the way God sees them.
  • Paul thought that Gentiles were not apart of God’s covenant community; however, God charged him to see things the way He sees them.
  • Similarly God is calling us to look at sin and life the way He sees them. (e.g. God wants us to concentrate less on Flo Rida’s song and tasting the sugar of the lady’s lips, but tasting and seeing that the Lord is good and blessed is the one that trusts in Him!”)

Have You Encountered the Incredible?…

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A Personal Kingdom Theology

Posted by heavensembassy on January 10, 2009

The next few the Thoughts from the Ambassador will be about developing a personal kingdom theology.

 

Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the assurance (substance KJV) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence KJV) of things not seen. (NASB)

 

Hebrews 11:1NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (AMP)

 

That verse to many Christians is known as the definition of what faith is, even though it is more of a description of what faith does. Faith is an extremely important facet in the life of a believer, and it is essential to have an understanding of what faith is in order to develop a personal or collective theology. I would like to argue that to truly develop a theology one must separate from this concept of faith two other terms that are nonchalantly deemed synonymous with faith—religion and spirituality. We often use spirituality, religion, and faith as interchangeable terms. However, they are conceptually different, yet not mutually exclusive. They are each a synecdoche (a part that represents the whole) of theology. By being able to understand how we relate to our God we can have a better grasp on worshipping and experiencing the Divine despite our situation and geographic location in life. This experience with the Deity is profoundly important, because man was formed to be filled with forever, because God has placed eternity in men’s hearts (Ecc. 3:10). Therefore, I believe that to have a thorough grasp on our world, it is important to view the sometimes simultaneously expressed but individual components of the theology that every human develops—faith, religion, spirituality.

 

            Faith is described as the assurance or substance of things hoped for. The Amplified Bible translates the meaning as the confirmation or title deed of things hoped for. The Amplified’s use of title deed is interesting, because it gives us an image of a person with the deed, technically owning a piece of merchandise, like a car; however, the person has not yet received the vehicle. However, the car that is promised by the dealer is demonstrated by a piece of paper. A piece of paper that cannot be driven, that in no way looks like an automobile, that is only a promise. Our faith is similar to this, people who practice other religions even share this concept of faith—that faith is the representation of what we will eventually receive. Despite are current situation, faith speaks to an assurance of already receiving our hope, whatever it may be. As well, faith serves as the foundation, proof, conviction, or evidence of things not seen. This aspect of faith makes it reasonable that it is the least malleable component of our theology. Faith is our evidence in the court of the unseen, and it is the only proof to which we can demonstrate against doubt. Your faith should be completely unshakeable and incapable of wavering. However, a reasonable and responsible question for the reader would be is, “Faith in what?” And it is at this critical juncture that we have to ask ourselves, “What do I believe? What is the role of the Divine in my life? How do I place myself in God’s plan? What do I believe about God’s Son? What characteristics do I believe that the Higher Power has? How relatable and reliable is the Deity that I venerate?” These questions and many more should bombard your brain as you determine what it is that you believe and what is nonnegotiable. Don’t get too uncomfortable. There is some assistance in solving these questions if you are like most us and have difficulty answering them for yourself.   (Be on the watch for the next part of this essay on this heavensembassy.wordpress.com!)

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