Thursday, August 23, 2012

Did you just blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

“but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” – Mark 3:29

This statement from the mouth of our Savior, Jesus, seems to frustrate many Christians and even theologians. Obviously blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a serious sin and something that no sincere follower of Christ would ever want to do.

There has been a lot of argument and speculation about what is involved in blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus has given us much insight in His statements contextually recorded in Mark 3:20-30. You see, just before Jesus warns against blaspheming the Holy Spirit, He is accused of being possessed by Beelzebul, the prince of demons. The teachers of the law are attributing Jesus’ powerful act of casting out demons to the devil instead of to the Holy Spirit. God was moving in a different way and the religious people didn’t recognize it and couldn’t explain it and so they foolishly attributed it to demons.

Unfortunately, there are people today (especially all over the internet) that are very causally and very quickly doing this very thing. They hear a minister, a church, or a fellow Christian describing how they believe God has moved in their gathering with healings, prophesy, or miraculous signs and wonders. Then, without even firsthand knowledge, they instantly attribute that experience to something other than the Holy Spirit. Often they even say that it must be demonic.

Wow, this is dangerous ground that they are treading. However, these self-proclaimed experts at how God does and does not move believe they are taking the high road. They believe they are “protecting” the church from heresy. I appreciate the concern, but much more care must be taken.

I am not saying that people don’t abuse ministry and in very rare cases “make things up” or at time just miss it. I am also not saying that Satan doesn’t masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11). But we must remember that God moves in marvelous, miraculous, and even mysterious ways. So, much care must be taken and clarity must be present in order to not attribute the move of the Holy Spirit to demons. Let us proceed with extreme caution and not blaspheme God.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Divine Appointment

Throughout the Bible there are examples of divine appointments. For instance, Luke’s account of Philip’s divinely guided encounter with the Ethiopian recorded in Acts 8. Maybe you have heard one of those fascinating mission-field stories of people coming out of the African bush asking missionaries to tell them about Jesus.

Well, God continues to divinely orchestrate meetings where one of His disciples crosses the path of another and great things happen. I just had one of those divine appointments this week. Here’s the story…

I had just dropped my two eldest sons off at the local “rec club” to play some basketball. On the way home I decided to stop at Walgreens and grab a cold iced tea. While waiting at the checkout counter, I overheard a man purchasing sandals at the amazingly low price of $1 per pair. I couldn’t resist, I had to take advantage of this great deal. So instead of leaving with my tea, I set it down on the counter and spent the next several minutes hunting for some $1 sandals.

After finding three pair of sandals (they weren’t all for me) I got back in line. While waiting, I noticed a woman who looked vaguely familiar to me. I asked her where we might know each other? She didn’t know. I told her my name. It didn’t register with her. Probably because I was looking a little different as I was dressed in my white v-neck t-shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops. She then told me her name. It clicked; I play basketball every Sunday evening with her adult son.

I asked her how her son was doing? She proceeded to inform me that he was having a tough time because his father, her husband, was in hospice and struggling with late stage cancer. He only had a couple days remaining. My flesh wanted to simply say, “I’m so sorry” and then leave. But God had bigger plans.

I asked her if I could pray for her. She said yes. I asked if we could pray right here and right now. She said please. So, outside the front door of Walgreens, as people were coming and going, we sought the Lord and laid this burden at His feet. During the prayer she began to weep and tightly hold my hand. The Lord was ministering His love to her. He was reminding her of His love, mercy, and faithfulness. God was doing precious “heart work.”

This was a divine appointment. I had not planned on being at Walgreens. I should have left minutes earlier with my iced tea in hand. But God had a plan. He had an assignment for me. He wanted to pour out His love on one of His children. I was blessed to be His hands and feet.

I drove away from this divine appointment with my eyes filled with tears and my mouth filled with thanksgiving for being allowed to be part of such a tender and profound appointment. What a privilege. God is good.

I encourage you to ask the Lord for your divine appointment. And be ready, be obedient, and watch God work through you and in you.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

ARE YOU DIFFERENT?

It is popular today for Christians to want to “fit in” with the world in the name of “relevance”. This sounds good, but it is not Biblical Christianity. As followers of Christ, we are called to be different, because we are different. God's Word reminds us that we are “aliens, strangers, a peculiar people. ” We are different because we have been changed by the powerful grace of Jesus Christ. We don't fit-in with the world, because we don’t live for what the world lives for any longer, rather, we live for God & for His glory. We have separated ourselves unto the Lord.

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them (the world) and be separate, says the Lord.
 Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, 
says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:16b-18

Does this mean that we ignore the lost and the lonely? Not at all. Jesus set the example for us. We are called to seek out the lost and the lonely and to bring them into God's family. But we don't have to look like the world to minister to the lost and the lonely. We don't have to fit-in and be socially relevant. Someone who is lost and lonely isn't looking for more lost and lonely, they are looking for something different. They aren't looking for a church that looks like more of the world. Rather, they are looking for a church that looks like Jesus.

The early church of Acts shows us that it is when we live out the "different" life in Christ Jesus that we will actually attract the lost and the lonely. Acts 2:42-47 paints a picture of Christians living life different from the world around them. And it is precisely this difference that attracted others. In fact it says that, "God added to their numbers daily those being saved." This is because the true seekers are looking for different, they are looking for real people who have been really changed.

Are you "fitting in" or are you different?


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This is a small excerpt from my latest sermon called "I'm Committed." You can listen to the entire sermon online at EvidentLife.org.

Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Power of Confession

Confession moves us forward into the future that God has for us. Confession opens the door to blessings from the Lord and allows us to experience more of Him. A person who does not practice confession is someone who will miss much of what God has for them.

When I talk about confession, I am talking about two things: (1) confessing our sin and our need for the Lord & (2) confessing God's goodness towards us. This can be done individually between you and God and it can also be done corporately.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. 14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. - Proverbs 28:13-14
The person who practices confession will experience prosperity: in whatever form God decides to prosper them - in their soul or physically or both. The person who humbles themselves before the Lord through confessing their sins to Him will find mercy. The person who has a healthy "fear" of the Lord will find blessing. While the person who hardens their heart and does not humble themselves before God will end up living a rough life. 
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. – James 4:10
Are you ready for God to lift you up? Are you ready to move forward in the destiny that God has for you? Then intentionally and regularly engage in times of confessing your sins to the Lord and confessing God's goodness toward you. This act of humility will take you to a whole 'notha level with God.

When we confess our sin to God, His response is not to yell at us, beat us up, mock us, and drag us through the streets. He doesn't sneer at us and say, "I will make you pay." No! Jesus has already paid the price of our sins. He was already dragged through the streets and beaten. God's response to our confession of sin is forgiveness, restoration, and moving on in Him. HE LOVES US.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9
Do you know the joy of forgiveness? If not, then practice confession and you will experience this kind of deep joy and peace. 

Why not not right now? Get alone with your loving Heavenly Father. Confess your sin and your dependance on Him. Confess His goodness towards you and experience the power of confession.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Whole Lot of Hating Going On

Looking at the headlines these days is a reminder that the world hates Jesus as well as those who lift up His name and His precepts. Not much has changed in the last 2,000 years.
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. - John 15:18
It has been amazing to watch the aggressive, hate-filled, venomous reaction from the world to a man politely expressing his conviction about what God has said about marriage.

Along the same lines... It is crazy how the world defends sin and mocks righteousness. Everything is upside down.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. - Romans 1:28
We desperately need revival in this nation that was founded by great men who had a healthy fear of the Lord, a respect for God's Word, and a love for Jesus. Wake up church, pray, and lift up the name of Jesus. He is the only solution and the only resolution. Jesus is the answer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Responding to the "Dark (K)Night"

My heart has been grieving over the news of the shootings this morning in Colorado. I have been in prayer for those who have lost loved ones. This was truly a "Dark Knight" in our nation. Lord, bring healing.

How should a nation respond to this kind of evil? Many will react to this tragic display of violence by crying out for more gun control. This is misguided. This is not the solution. This tragic shooting was ultimately the result of the original "Dark Knight", Satan himself, having his way. It was a result of a depraved mind and of evil going unchecked. The problem isn't with guns, instead the issue is found in the condition of the heart and the soul of a nation that has been hardened as it has slowly been turning its back on God - promoting evil and violence instead of standing up for righteousness and goodness.

So now what? How will we respond to this tragedy? We must grieve. We must show love to those who have lost loved ones. Then we must take action. Not with more rules and laws, but with a change of heart. We must get to the root of the problem. We must get to the heart level. We must address the darkness that has been allowed to creep into the soul of this nation. Government isn't the solution, God is.
We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. - John Adams (our 2nd President)
How do you expel darkness? You turn on the light. How does a nation battle against this kind of darkness? It once again shines the bright light of Jesus Christ. As a nation, we need to stop our constant promotion of evil and violence. We need to stand up and demand righteousness. We need to call out evil and remove it from our society. And we need to bring Jesus back into our public square; back into our schools; back into our work places; back into our land.

Only God can cause good to come from this. Only Jesus can bring peace. He is the only solution and He is the only resolution. So as the people of God, we must take our direction from 2 Chronicles 7:14
"if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14
Lord, forgive our sin, bring Your light, and heal our land. We need you Jesus.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I WIll Not Fear

Fear can be a powerful tool in the hands of our adversary. If we give into it, it can cause us to freeze up or run away. Fear is the opposite of faith.

Here are some examples of what happens when we give into fear:
  • People don’t share Christ with a coworker who is lost because they FEAR losing their job. (Like there is some code of separation of church and work)
  • People don’t call evil out as evil (like abortion) because they FEAR what people may think (may lose some friends – too radical) 
  • People don’t go on a short-term mission because they FEAR being called into the mission field full-time.
  • People don’t pursue ministry because they FEAR not having enough money. 
  • People don’t pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit because they FEAR being thought of as kooky or extreme. (Or what if God really shows up, then what?) 
Faith is believing God and therefore remaining in Him and doing what He has called us to do. Fear is believing the lies of the enemy and running from the destiny God has for your life. Fear distracts us while faith focuses us on the calling of God and has us proclaiming - Let’s Do It.

I have always loved the words to this timeless worship song taken from Isaiah 54:17
No weapon formed against us shall prosper 
All those who rise up against us shall fall. 
I WILL NOT FEAR what the devil may bring me. 
I am a servant of God. 
I am a servant of God.
As followers of Christ, we must remember who we are. We are God’s children. We are the victorious church. We are about our Father’s business and the enemy can’t stop us.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Called to be PEACEMAKERS

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9
It is interesting that it is the peacemakers that Jesus says will be in the family of God: His children. It is a reminder that there is no room for strife in God’s family. Selfishness, greed, division, and infighting must be left at the door.

We are all called to be peacemakers. How? Here a few ideas...
  • By focusing on GIVING instead of GETTING. 
  • By laying down our own rights and doing what is right. 
  • By being like Jesus and giving up our own rights, our own lives, and being the servant of all. 
  • By thinking the BEST of one another and wanting the BEST for one another. 
In so many words, could Jesus (in Matthew 5:9) also be saying that if we are not peacemakers and instead a strife-makers that we won’t be children of God. A sobering possibility. But we will not fear because we have chosen to be like Christ - the Prince of Peace.

Living as peacemakers isn’t easy. Our flesh fights against it. But by God’s powerful grace, we can do this. We can be peacemakers. We can live free from strife. And we can be called “children of God.”

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a sprit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. www.EvidentLife.org. Eric is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Evident Life Church is Almost 3 Years Old

It's hard to believe that we are closing in on three years since we launched Evident Life Church in Gilbert, Arizona. God has been extremely faithful to us. We are blessed by His great love and the love of our incredible church family members. For our anniversary in September, I hope to write a short summary of our first three years; all of the victories and challenges that have us in awe of God's goodness and His grace. Let's get ready for the celebration as we thank our Lord for what He has done and for what He has yet to do.


In the meantime... Are you looking for a spirit filled, Bible based church in the East Valley - near Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, or Queen Creek? Evident Life Church is a spirit-filled church located in Gilbert, Arizona. Our facility is in the Gilbert Town Square. Our major cross streets are Gilbert Rd & Warner Rd. Our Sunday morning service time is at 10:00AM. We also have midweek gatherings and prayer meetings. Check out the rest of our website for more information about Evident Life Church.


Evident Life Church 1040 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296

Monday, July 09, 2012

Some Good Medicine

You have heard it said, "A thankful heart is good medicine." Well, it's true. Throughout the scriptures we are encouraged to be thankful. For instance:

In Colossians 2:7 we are encouraged to be "overflowing with thankfulness."
In Ephesians 5:20 we are told to "always give thanks to God."
In Psalm 100 we are reminded to "enter His courts with thanksgiving in our hearts..."

We have a choice. We can focus on the negative and be consumed with despair, frustration, and anger. Or we can choose to look at the goodness of God and focus on the positive. This will lead to a heart of thanksgiving and a place of joy and peace. It will also bring life and hope into a hurting world.

Let's stop cursing the darkness and instead bring the light. One way we can bring the light of Christ Jesus into this world is to live everyday out of the place of thanksgiving. I challenge you to stop focusing on everything that is wrong and instead focus on what is good.

Let us be people who are overflowing with thankfulness for "the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. "

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Gospel of Grace Changes Things - FOR REAL

Peoples lives are changing all over the world because of the powerful grace of Jesus Christ. I mean real change is happening. People are walking away from anger, pornography, alcoholism, drug addiction, fornication, and gossip. Marriages are being restored and families are being saved. All because some people are beginning to understand God's grace in ALL its truth. As a pastor, I am blessed to see these kind of life-changing miracles happen and it's awesome!

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. - Colossians 1:6

God is so good that He has given us a grace that changes things for real: in the here-and-now. It is a grace that justifies us, but it also sanctifies us. It is a grace that forgives us, but also empowers us to not go back to that sin. It is a grace that brings us real freedom and crushes the power of sin. And as the Apostle Paul said, it is a grace that bears much fruit.

Do you know this kind of grace? You can. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up your understanding. Read God's Word and see this powerful grace all over the pages of scripture. And then embrace it. Walk in it. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, then the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in you. Now that's grace.