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.

----------------------

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?


--------------------


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.

--------------------------------------

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.