RSS

Merry Christmas– Seek to Save!

I have recently started to struggle more with the Holidays. It is a time when family gets to come around the table to laugh, play, and reminisce about the “good-ole-days.” I struggle with this because I do not have the compassion I would like to have. Sometimes for me, compassion comes from when I have been where a person has been. This is one area I have always been blessed with, a loving and caring family. The older I get, the more I realize how many people did not grow up in the type of family that I get to enjoy. They did not grow up with parents who loved them enough to spend the time and make the appropriate sacrifices needed to show their children that they love and care for them.

When I see and hear about how horrible the holidays are for some, it really breaks my heart, but it’s never enough for me to actually do anything about it. You see there are people I could invite over for a meal, but I don’t; there are people who I could do something nice for, but I don’t always do; there are people who could use the love that I have received, yet I tend to keep it to myself.

This is an area in my life that I would like to change. I would like to be able to impact a person’s life, make a difference, and in the way that it actually counts. It is easy to hand someone some money and say happy holiday or even, GASP, Merry Christmas, but it is harder to place myself in a person’s icky-sticky life to try and heal their hurts, to bandage their wounds, or to try and restore their soul.

The greatest gift we can give a person this year is ourselves; to go out of our way to have an impact on a persons life…lets all strive to do better and to be more Christ-like. He came to seek and save the lost, we need to seek to save! This may start by lending a helping hand with something they need in life and then opening up God’s word to guide them in the way of eternal life!

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When did Christianity stop becoming about Christ-likeness?

When did Christianity stop becoming about Christ-likeness?

Recent news in the media has sparked my interest in trying to discover why “Christians” feel the need to fight such crazy battles. As I sat and pondered the idea, I have come to the conclusion that Christianity has stopped becoming about being Christlike and has become more about religious privilege. What do I mean by that? I mean people are using Christianity as a way to get their own way and to gain some sort of privilege they think they deserve. Why else would we be getting upset over a company having a plain red cup, instead of any such holiday “symbols” on them.

Side note: Christmas is not the birth of Christ, though it is celebrated as such, if you do your study, the holiday does not appear until much later in the church’s history and you will find it is about impossible for Jesus to have been born in December based upon the times which Zacharias would have served in the temple.

So we take really a “non-Christian” holiday and make it one of the most important days of the year. We have not been told to celebrate Christ’s birth, though I think there is nothing wrong with celebrating the fact that our Savior was born, but the emphasis in the New Testament is not on His birth but on His death. Something He has asked us to do, we neglect, the Lord’s supper.

Though I think the actual number of Christians who are offended by this event is very minuscule, this is not the only thing Christians have been upset over the past few years. You see I think it is easier to use Christianity as a crutch to push agendas, celebrate the things we want to celebrate, and have something that eases our consciences at night, rather than to live out a sacrificial life of constantly dying to self and living for Christ. We have many examples of Christ’s disciples trying to get caught up in the everyday affairs of man, for example about paying taxes to Caesar, Jesus’ response was so simple, “pay unto Caesar, what is Caesars” and I will add, then move on and get to what is truly important.

Let’s take Christianity back and remove it from those who would distort it into something it is not. It is not about fighting religious battles and pushing agendas but it is about living a life of serving the King and glorifying God in everything that we do. Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we begin to look at Christianity a different way, we will begin to be able to pick up our cross and follow the master as He intended it to be.

I want to leave you with a verse that I think has many applications in this area:

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.-2 Timothy 2:3, 4

In Christ,

Jesse Nelsen

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Christian duties, Christianity

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Shepherding the Home

ShepherdOne of the most influential stories in the Bible is the story of Ruth. Though Ruth is one of the main characters, another main character that is equally as important is that of Boaz. The story of Boaz ought to influence every man to aspire to be a better protector and provider of his family. When Boaz first laid eyes upon Ruth, he knew that she needed his protection and he goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide for not only Ruth but also her mother-in-law Naomi. How many of us would do that?

Our job as spiritual leaders and shepherds of our homes is not one of selfishness. We need to completely empty ourselves of our desires and wants and do what is best for our wives and for our children. Boaz’s acts of kindness did not just have an impact on Ruth and Naomi but also on the world. There great-grandson becomes king of Israel and his name is David, which is the lineage by which Christ comes. There is an old story that is told of a farmer who was asked the question, “what makes a great farmer? He answers, ‘about 4 generations.’” We do not know the impact of our shepherding our home but we can be assured that it will have a great impact on the church to come.

Boaz, through his marrying Ruth, is called a “restorer of life.” When we take care of our families and train them up in the Lord and leave a legacy of faith, we can also be called a “restorer of life.” Our jobs as shepherds of the home is to tend the sheep which God has blessed us with.

Let us all strive to be more like Boaz as spiritual leaders of our homes.

Jesse Nelsen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Christian duties, Parents

 

Tags: , , , ,

Balanced Parenting: How Much is Too Much?

Parenting imageParenting. So many things could be said. So many things need to be said. It is a job like no other. You will have no greater influence on the world and the church as when you become a godly parent. Sometimes we don’t think about parenting that way but we need to start. We are training up the future of our societies and congregations; how we raise our kids will have a direct result on the future generations.

A question that comes up frequently is, how much is too much? How much is too much discipline? When have I reached the point of exasperating my child? The answer is easy, I don’t know. Each kid is different, each situation is different. Here are some things I do know, “train up your child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it,”… “children obey your parents in the Lord, for it is right”…. “Father’s do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Here are just a few principles that we as parents need to keep in our back pockets. These remain true whether we are disciplining, teaching them life skills, talking with them about sex (yes we need to be talking with them about sex), teaching them about the importance of a good work ethic, and so much more.

So then, how much is too much? I want us to consider Eli, a man of God, who raised Samuel in the ways of the Lord and taught him how to work in the temple and have faith in God. In some ways Eli is to be admired, in other ways he is not. If you recall in 1 Samuel 2, we learn that the “sons of Eli were worthless men, they did not know the Lord.” I want to pause here, how could sons of a priest, who spent time training up the great man of faith, Samuel, not “know” the Lord? I see two options, one Eli spent more time with Samuel and did not spend the adequate time needed to train up his sons, or second, the boys were taught the ways of the Lord but rejected those teachings for whatever reasons. That being said the Lord is going to blame Eli for not “restraining” or “rebuking” his sons.

Here is where we get a good look into what “disciplining” a child really means. It does not mean that your child will always turn out right, that is not our job, eventually they will have to make decisions for themselves, our job is to make sure they know right from wrong. Sometimes this can be a gentle persuasion but other times it needs to come in the form of open rebuke. Eli, taught his children God’s word but his job as a parent never stopped, God was going to punish him for continuing to allow his children to live in sin and not rebuke. He is not being punished for their sin but his passiveness about their sin (c.f. Ezekiel 18). As a parent, I know that it can be easier not to deal with it and there is a time when we need to pick and choose our battles, especially at the younger ages but as our kids grow older and mature, they need to have more expected from them. Things that were “okay” as a kid, can no longer be “okay.” We cannot continue to make excuses for our kids, we need to rebuke at times if necessary.

I grew up in a generation where parents were more concerned about defending their kids when they did wrong than punish them. I had an experience in middle school, where a young girl spit in my face and so the teacher sent her to the principle office. Later that day I was asked to go down as well and give my side of the story, what happened next I could not believe. Her mother was actually yelling at the teacher for punishing her, even after she knew that this girl spit in my face. She did not care about that, she had the attitude, “How dare you punish my sweet daughter.” I know what my mom would have done, and it would not have been a fun night for me.

Godly parenting needs to be done in a prayerful manner, we do not want to exhaust our kids in punishment. We need to understand they will make mistakes and they need to see as much grace from us as they see disappointment. We need to be balanced in our discipline of our kids and it always needs to be done in love, but just like with Eli, we will be judged on how we raised our kids and there are always consequences for not being the spiritual parents God has called us to be.

I hope this can encourage you and your spouse to be praying to God for wisdom on how to train up your children and to get you to think seriously about your responsibility as a parent. It’s not societies job to train your kids, it is yours!

 

In Love,

Jesse

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Christian duties, Parents

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Reasons Why I Post Scriptures Anyway (pt. 2)

Facebook posts copy

The first part of this article was “4 Reasons why I struggle with posting scripture” and this article will be why I post scriptures anyway.

In the previous article, I discussed some downfalls with posting scripture and the downfall of having lack of context, not wanting to support a wrong biblical conclusion, one verse does not teach the totality of a subject, and finally the downfall of not knowing my audience. You can read that article here.

Well if you ever visit my Facebook page, you will see that even though I struggle with when and how to post scripture, I post scripture anyway. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. The Word still has the power to convict

In Romans 1:16, we see that the gospel has the power to save souls, I do not. Later in the book of Romans, Paul writes:

“So faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of Christ.”- Romans 10:17

Sometimes we forget that our job is to scatter  and water that seed and God will give the increase (c.f. 1 Cor. 3:6-9). We may think that our random posting (hopefully it’s not so random) of scripture or a scriptural thought falls on deaf ears but only God knows the fruit that may come from our labor. I post scripture because I believe in the power of the word and it’s ability to transform lives.

2. I want to be shrewd

In a parable that Jesus tells in Luke 16 of the “Shrewd Manager,” it seems as if Jesus is very disappointed with those who claim to be children of light. You see Jesus sees how far people of the world will go for the things they want, even this manager about to lose his job becomes very innovative to make sure that his future is secure. We see that in the world around us today, people who want to get rich so they find new ways and tactics to get rich. Others who want to change the world in technology come up with very shrewd and pretty inventive ways to get the task done. The point of this is that Jesus sees this and is somewhat impressed, even if it was an unrighteous goal. The reason he is impressed is because he knows that when a person truly wants something, they will come up with ways to get the job done.

So what about children of light? Jesus says that the world is more shrewd than we are and it ought not to be so. We have the greatest plan, message, and work that has ever been put into place and yet we fail at using the things God has given us to spread that word. I know that “one-on-one” evangelism was the key to Jesus’ ministry and ought to be the majority of ours but social media sites gives me access to people I would never meet face-to-face. Even my last article was seen by over 200 people and had 35+ shares. There were people who I communicated to, that I have never met and would never meet but had an opportunity to teach. I post scripture because I believe it is one of the many “shrewd” things God would expect from his children who are trying to reach the lost and dying world.

3. I want to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ

Personally there are days where I am feeling greatly discouraged and down and getting on Facebook or twitter can make it worse but of course, I continue to scroll. While scrolling, because I have many brothers and sisters in Christ as friends, I can become greatly encouraged and uplifted by their posting of scripture and so I hope to be able to do the same. Paul talking in the context of the return of Christ, he said this:

“Therefore comfort one another with these words”- 1 Thess. 4:18

I also have an opportunity to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who, without Facebook, I would never get a chance to. I see that as a great blessing within itself. Paul wrote many letters of comfort to his fellow brethren and I guarantee if he had email or Facebook, he would have used it for that very purpose as well. Paul would stop at nothing to make sure he uplifted and spoke words of edification to the Christians who were living in a home that was not their own (their citizenship being in heaven and all). I post scripture because I want to be a source of encouragement to a brother or sister in Christ who may be struggling that day.

4. In the midst of darkness, the light shines brightest

Last but not least, I post scripture because I am tired of just about every other post. Social media sites are full of hate, negativity, politics, etc. I want to be a source of fresh air and light in the midst of all that darkness. “The light shines brightest in the darkness” is a quote I have seen before and do not know who originally said it. I know one thing, they stole it from the bible ;-). The word of Christ speaks vastly and richly about the light shining in darkness and that darkness cannot consume the light. In Ephesians 5, one of the greatest chapters that talk about what “light walking” looks like, speaks about this very idea. Christians are children of light and everything we think, say, and do should reflect that. I post scripture because I want to be a light in the midst of darkness and the only way I know how to do that via Facebook, is to be a child of the kingdom and a child of the kingdom talks about kingdom things, which just so happen to be scripture related.

I hope that the two articles combined can help us to be wise in the words we choose to speak or post. I hope for the day that Christians will talk more about the kingdom than the land that we sojourn. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, even when it comes to social media sites.

*Link to Part 1

In Love,

Jesse Nelsen

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Image

4 Reasons Why I Struggle With Posting Scripture

Facebook posts copyThis is part one of a two part series, next I will discuss “why I love to post scriptures.”

Recently I read a post going around Facebook of a greeting card that said this, “If thou therefore shall worship me, all shall be thine”- Luke 4:7. What a great passage to live by, correct? or not…when we learn who made this statement we find out that this is not that great of a verse to live by. It was Satan speaking to Jesus while wandering in the desert for 40 days. So with that, I want to give you 4 reasons why I struggle posting scriptures online.

1. Context determines meaning

I have already mentioned this principle but one reason why, if I do a post scripture, I want to post enough of the verse and a clear enough passage that no other conclusion can be made than that which the verse is actually saying. Many times I post a scripture with a brief statement along with it, not because I think I need to help God, but it is actually an attempt to give a brief context to help the hearers with what the passage is saying. Posting a random verse like Luke 4:7, may have a good meaning but once you understand it’s context, it does not have a good meaning at all, it is about following Satan.

*This point is the foundation for the other 3 points.

2. Verses can be used to support any doctrine

Let’s go back to Luke 4, where Satan is tempting Jesus. How does he do so? He actually quotes scripture…so why doesn’t Jesus say something along the lines, “Okay, well since you quoted scripture, you must be right?” Too many assume that because somebody made a statement and put one or two scriptures behind it, that they must automatically be correct. It has been said by many preachers and others who study the bible that I can make you believe just about anything with the bible. We need to be like the noble Berean’s and search the scripture to see if what people are saying is true (Acts 17:11). I never want to fall into this category of posting a false concept and using scripture to support a false biblical idea.

3. The bible is not a “bumper sticker” book

When we post only one scripture, it actually takes away from the greatness of the biblical account. Some tend to think that one scripture can settle the matter on a topic when that is just not the case. We need to consider many verses if not all the verses on a given topic to come to a proper understanding of any given topic. This takes time and effort. The bible is written so that it needs to be studied in totality, no verse is superior to another verse but they must work together to get the complete picture of any given topic.

4. I don’t know my audience

While preaching radio sermons, one of the most difficult things to do is to preach to an audience you don’t know. Why is this so hard? Because the bible was written to specific people, during a specific time, and for a specific reason. You see the bible was not written to me but for me. The difference is, I do not live at the church at Corinth, so I do not have to disfellowsip the man who is sleeping with his father’s wife, but I do need to be able use that principle in my congregation if there is a public sin that one is unwilling to repent of and would hurt the church has a whole (c.f. 1 Cor. 5). Same with the Old Covenant, I am not a Jew living under the Mosaic law but as Paul says, it was written for our learning, that we may know how God deals with sin, faithfulness, and many other things. So not knowing my audience hinders my effectiveness as a preacher and as “poster” of scripture online.

We always need to be concerned that we are not hurting the advancement of the gospel but helping people to understand God and His will for them in their lives. Some scriptures are self-evident of what they mean and are talking about, but others need more work to understand, as Peter says about Paul’s letters”

“as also in all his [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which some are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of scriptures, to their own destruction”- 2 Peter 3:16.

I want to be like Ezra, in the book of Nehemiah, who doesn’t just read the scripture out loud but then goes and gives understanding to all those who could understand. Posting scriptures can cause more confusion sometimes if the reader does not understand the context in which the verse is being quoted. I do not want to be one who twists the scriptures to my own destruction or the destruction of others.

Here is my final admonishment to all who are considering posting scriptures,

“Pay close attention to yourselves and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for  yourself and for those who hear you”- 1 Timothy 4:16

In Love,

Jesse Nelsen

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

THE MATURITY OF NEW COVENANT RULES

ThinkingJesus

The Old Covenant is in many ways, but not in all, more elementary than the New. Therefore, we encounter more lists, more ceremony, and more regulations to restrain immature conduct.
The New Covenant is developed more along the lines of mature, abstract principles. By its nature it is a more “grown up” revelation (Heb. 5:12-14; 6:1-3; Gal. 3:21-4:7; Eph. 4:13-16).
Nevertheless, it is not the case that the principles of the New Covenant do not allow for inferences both concrete and abstract. Mature thought is expected. Such thought allows Christians to draw conclusions that lead to well-developed, specific actions.
As with the human growth process, there comes a time when warnings about playing in the street would be rather ridiculous. That time does not, however, give less shape to life. Maturity carries with it much more responsibility.
For my friends who are eager to move away from rules. Please remember…

View original post 24 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized