Unification of the Church


“A house divided against itself will fall.” Luke 11:17Cross.3.jpg

            When the Lord Jesus taught all who listened for his three year ministry on earth, he never once said, “And after lots of people accept the truth of the gospel, it is important that you build many church buildings and split up into thousands of denominations. Don’t worry about unity, I’ll fix that later!”

            The followers of Jesus were known as “The Church.” Not the churches! From the beginning, those who believed in the message of salvation taught by Jesus and then the apostles were changed into unified believers who met in different places. They were also referred to as followers of The Way—Acts 22:4 and the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

            Today there are thousands of Christian denominations in America and all over the world. Men of God who guide these church organizations are content to be separate from their fellow believers, to maintain multimillion-dollar budgets as they “build bigger barns.”

   John 17:20-23  I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—I in them and you in me.  Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me
. The Message

  Romans 12:3-5  Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.

   Ephesians 1:22-23  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.  

   Ephesians 4:1-6  Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one spirit just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all, through all, and in all.

   Ephesians 4:11-16  Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

   Colossians 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

            In the secular world, people greet new acquaintances with a question formed something like this, “And what do you do?” or “What line of work are you in?” We do this to determine something about the person. Are they clever? Are they talented? Are they wealthy? Should I feel intimidated?

            But in the church world, we ask, “What church do you attend?” This is the fatal division question. Are you charismatic? Pentecostal? Formal? Conservative? Do you believe in the gifts of the Spirit? Are you baptized in the Holy Spirit? Once saved, always saved? Does your church use musical instruments during worship? What day of the week do you meet? DIVISION!






Church Elders

Who are church elders? – June 2, 2016

My wife and I were new to the area and looking for a church. We happened on one of medium size and lots of friendly people at first glance. After a few weeks, we were having lunch with one of the established couples. They were sharing the many attributes of their church including the fact they had Elder Couples! I was mid-drink but maintained my composure.

“Perhaps you can explain to us what an Elder Couple is, folks,” I asked, very curious.

“Well, it’s simple,” the wife said. “Instead of just men taking the positions of elders, in our church we select married couples as elders. That way the women can minister to women and men with men. You have probably noticed that after the service, the couples wait up front for counseling and prayer.”
“What brought this about?” I asked.

“We like to think of our church as a forward thinking, non-discriminatory church,” the husband replied. “I’m sure you agree that many churches don’t allow women many opportunities to reveal their gifts during the services. Our wives got together and thought of the idea. Then they asked for a special meeting with the Pastor and elders. At first the men balked,” he grinned sheepishly but as the women stood their ground we ultimately gave in their reasoning. I’ve got to say Pastor Bob held out to the last before he finally caved.”

“Oh Bill, you make it sound like we beat you guys up to get our way,” Susie said, rubbing Bill’s hand on the table. Bill reddened and fumbled with his silverware.

My wife looked at me with that special look husbands and wives have. This look said, “You know you have to address this issue.” So I did.

I finished my coffee and then said to Bill and Susie, “Do you both believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God?”

“Absolutely,” they replied together.

“Then how can you agree to change the Bible to go along with your church’s plans? The Bible says nothing about elder couples. Quite the contrary, the instructions say, Elder, singular. And that “he” is assigned specific duties. Let’s read an example in 1 Timothy 3:1-7

“It is a true statement that anyone whose goal is to serve as an elder has his heart set on a good work. An elder must be such a good man that no one can rightly criticize him. He must be faithful to his wife. He must have self-control and be wise. He must be respected by others. He must be ready to help people by welcoming them into his home. He must be a good teacher. He must not drink too much, and he must not be someone who likes to fight. He must be gentle and peaceful. He must not be someone who loves money. He must be a good leader of his own family. This means that his children obey him with full respect. If a man does not know how to lead his own family, he will not be able to take care of God’s church.

An elder must not be a new believer. It might make him too proud of himself. Then he would be condemned for his pride the same as the devil was. An elder must also have the respect of people who are not part of the church. Then he will not be criticized by others and be caught in the devil’s trap.”

The silence was palpable. Bill and Susie wished the ground would open up and swallow them. “Uh, well. . .” Bill muttered.

“Listen folks, we have to go now so you two can think this over together and look up the verses in the Bible to satisfy yourselves what God says regarding this issue. Whether or not your church chooses to grapple with this deviation is up to them. As for me and my wife, we will not return to your church. We find it rather scary to see how easily your leaders twisted God’s Word to satisfy a few people. Thanks for lunch.

Edifice Complex



That the Christians in the apostolic age erected special houses of worship is out of the question, even on account of their persecution by Jews and Gentiles, to say nothing of their general poverty; and the transition of a whole synagogue to the new faith was no doubt very rare. As the Saviour of the world was born in a stable, and ascended to heaven from a mountain, so his apostles and their successors down to the third century, preached in the streets, the markets, on mountains, in ships, sepulchres, eaves, and deserts, and in the homes of their converts. But how many thousands of costly churches and chapels have since been built and are constantly being built in all parts of the world to the honor of the crucified Redeemer, who in the days of his humiliation had no place of his own to rest his head!  ~Philip Schaff, nineteenth century American church historian and theologian

The World is Perishing


The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the bush.

                                                               A. W. TOZER

James, Chapter Five


The Lord has established his throne in heaven; his kingdom extends over everything. Psalm 103:19 (NET)

Cassandra was finally in the position she always fought for. She was president of an enormous and very successful company. She was one of three people allowed to fly off anywhere in the world in the corporate jet. This week she would be closing escrow on her second palatial home in Vail, Colorado. She loved to ski.

There was one slightly frustrating problem in her life and that was family. Her mother, although a nice woman, was constantly nagging Cassandra to visit and help out some of their less fortunate relatives.

“Mom, if they are in need, counsel them to get a better job, for crying out loud. That’s what I’ve done all my life. I’ve worked very hard with no hand-outs. I send money to cancer research and the local Better Education fund.”

“Honey, you’ve always been a self-starter and tremendously motivated but I think you are forgetting about your Uncle Frank’s gift of a free college education. I never knew the actual amount but I think paying for your full tuition, books and living expenses while attending Yale must have been many thousands of dollars!”

Her mother could be so frustrating. “Ok, Uncle Frank did help but I worked very hard in college and graduated at the top of my class. So, in a sense, he got his money’s worth. And he told me to never mention it to him. It was a gift.”

“My dear girl. You are so talented, driven, conscientious, and the pinnacle of dependability but you have a very hard heart. You really don’t seem to care for people less fortunate at all. Instead of sharing your increasing wealth with widows and orphans, as the Bible commands, you simply buy another huge home in Colorado. Honey, you could give away a million dollars a year and still have more than most people will ever have. I am concerned for you. God does not look kindly on such selfishness. I suggest you take time out to refresh yourself with chapter five of the Book of James.”

Warning to Rich 1-6

Selfish rich people should weep and groan with anguish because of terrible troubles ahead. Accumulated treasures will be evidence against you on the Day of Judgment.

Patience in Suffering 7-12

Just as a farmer waits patiently for the rewards of his crop, so we must be patient as we wait for the Lord’s return. Don’t grumble about each other. Be patient, using God’s prophets as examples. Think of Job, a man of great endurance.

Faithful Prayer 13-18

Suffering hardships? Pray. Happy? Rejoice in praises to God. Sick? Call elders who will anoint with oil in the name of the Lord. The Lord will heal the sick and forgive the sinner. Confess sins to each other. Earnest prayer has great power. Elijah was such a man of prayer. He was a prophet who prayed for no rain and then for rain to resume. God answered both prayers. His name means: YAWEH is my God 1 Kings 17

Restore Wandering Believers 19-20

If a fellow believer wanders from the truth and is brought back…they are saved from death and have many sins forgiven.

The Book of James hits the reader forcefully, cutting through all our facades, laying bare our excuses and half-hearted Christianity. James forces the reader to take a closer look in the mirror of his soul. Do we have faith? Can others see it lived out in our lives? Am I still clinging to the world and whatever pleasure or comfort I derive? Jesus said He loved us so much that he took a beating and climbed upon a wooden cross to die. He literally did this. Considering that example of love, how should we live?

The Shield of Faith


“Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil” Ephesians 6:16

This would probably go down as one of the most unusual funerals ever. Instead of the typical somber, ultra-quiet atmosphere, a piano, violin and cello played traditional hymns. And each person was greeted by an usher who not only guided them to a seat but handed out New Testaments as well.

Instead of the hushed whispering found at most funerals, this one was filled with light conversation, a few bits of laughter here and there and many, many smiling faces. The source of this totally un-funeral like attitude was a booklet, included with the New Testament given each person, which listed a series of humorous short stories from the man’s life.

Also, unlike any funeral anyone had attended, there was no casket up front. Instead, where a casket might rest, stood an old wooden cross, weathered and cracked. Against this cross, rested a shield; A tarnished, dented, discolored shield.

From the second row a little boy’s voice could be heard, “Grandpa, what is that metal thing leaning against the cross?”

“That was his shield of faith, son!”

Ephesians 6:10-18 The Whole Armor of God

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.

But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval. Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God.

Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him, reminding him of your needs, and keep praying earnestly for all Christians everywhere.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

Ephesians 1:19-23 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

God is our shield of faith. He gave it to us and assures our victories in this battle we call life. Since Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith, our job is to take up the shield daily, in preparation for battle. The fiery darts of satan can only be deflected by our shield of faith which we are responsible to carry.

Is your shield of faith dinged, dirty, dented and well-used? Or do you have it safely stored in the closet, shiny and bright, just in case you might need it some day?


“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.” 1 Cor. 15:58

How do we remain steadfast in our faith when our lives seem to fall apart? Sitting in church, surrounded by people of like faith, singing songs of worship to God, our Savior and listening to the encouraging words of men of God, our faith seems reasonable and steadfast. Yes, we proclaim, we will overcome and be victorious. Glory to God!

But then, later in the day or perhaps the following day, our problems begin to creep back in and slowly take away that previous victory we proclaimed. Mountains of debt, illness, death, failure in life, business collapse and more tear at our faith, shredding the very foundation on which it is built. What will I do? Where is God in the midst of all this?

Deeper and deeper we fall, grasping for a handhold that speaks of God and His promises to provide and care for us in every situation. Where is the light at the end of this very dark, dark tunnel? There must be an answer.

There is. The answers are all waiting for us in His words to all mankind, the Bible. Unfortunately, when we focus on the problems mounting all around, our feelings take over and guide us down a path of discontent, fear, insecurity, doubt and frustration. We want God to give us a break and solve the problems…even though we may be the cause.

Perhaps living in a time when everything seems possible, every want seems likely to be fulfilled and every person seems promised to have it all, confuses and derails our faith in Christ. However, He has warned us in the Bible that our lives may have suffering, trials, enemies, and even imprisonment, for the sake of our faith in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:58 So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.

2 Peter 3:13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

If we had joined a group of people dedicated to protecting our city against enemy foes who promised to destroy all of us, we would prepare for the impending battle. There would be classes teaching everyone how to stand firm against the foes. And…we would be prepared to possibly give our lives for the cause. We would take it seriously, keeping an eye to the horizon, ever-watchful, ready to fight at a moment’s notice. This is war and we shall do all we can to defend our selves.

That is exactly the case for Christians living in the world; magnified by a hundred or a thousand! We are in spiritual warfare, facing the enemy of our soul, Satan, who desires to destroy everything good. Without our faith intact, we are defenseless to defeat our greatest arch-enemy. Since he cannot take away our promise of eternal life, he can make us useless with fear, discouragement and despair. This is war and we are in the fight of our lives. Even so, God is now and will always be, victorious over Satan.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Romans 8:31 What is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—can we not trust such a God to give us, with him, everything else that we can need?

A squad of Navy Seals were gearing up to rescue two journalists from certain death, even though their top secret orders seemed to have been leaked to the enemy. If true, this meant these men would be facing certain death. When asked why, then, would they go ahead with the mission, the leader said, “We’re Navy Seals, that’s what we do.” No backing down, even in the face of death, the mission must be carried out.

As followers of Christ, that should be our attitude no matter the circumstance. “He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind”-1 Timothy 1:7. With Jesus as our leader and Savior, we should not back down, allow fear to rule, feel inferior or hopeless.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Book of James, Chapter One

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2

Read the first chapter of James. James was written by the half-brother of Jesus, around A.D. 49

When I was young and foolish…ok, stubborn and self-serving too, I often suffered for my choices. Typically, when caught, I cajoled and moaned, smiled or cried, and begged for mercy. Most often, mercy was in short supply. But behind it all, I knew I deserved whatever punishment came my way.

After accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, of all the differences I may have anticipated, suffering for my faith was certainly not one. Suffering for doing wrong is expected but suffering for doing right? And then considering those sufferings as light and momentary? Can I be stretched that far? Won’t I explode? But Lord, aren’t you satisfied with my expressions of faith and times of prayer and reading your Word?

And then I began to see that accepting trials and tribulations as an element of faith, I was simply following in the footsteps of Christ. He suffered for me and now I can imitate Him. And, oh yes, no complaining please. Count it all joy! Yes, enduring is not good enough, we must learn to count it as joy. Yea!

By the way, He knows we will have worlds of trouble accepting sufferings joyfully, that’s where His mercy and grace come into play. He loves us that much.

James 1:1-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad…

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…

1 Peter 1:6-7 …though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold. . .may be proved genuine

1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ…

Romans 5:3-5 …We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Timothy 4:5 You should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Question: “What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?”
Answer: Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In the context, it is clear that both scriptures are referring to Christians, not unbelievers.

The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1).

We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives; “We must all have our lives laid open before the tribunal of Christ.” 2 Cor 5:10. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves.
At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 3:11-15).

Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10.

James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. www.GotQuestions.org

What is the purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ?

The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is an exhaustive evaluation of our lives. First Corinthians 4:5 says the Lord will come and “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”

That passage reveals Paul’s emphasis on the judgment seat of Christ. Notice that Paul says each man’s praise will come to him from God. God gives rewards to the victors; He does not whip the losers. We know that He won’t condemn us for our sins at that point, because Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Thus, the purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to examine a Christian’s total life. We will be recompensed for the deeds we have done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10). The term used there refers to a summing up and estimation of the total pattern of a believer’s life. This overall focus should keep us from worrying over every stupid thing we’ve ever done, or thoughtless sin we have committed. It’s a time of reward, not punishment.

At the same time, while we won’t be condemned for our sins, our present lives do affect what will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Here’s how:

  1. Sin and indifference in this life rob us of our present desire for serving the Lord. That in turn means a loss of rewards, because we will not have used our time to His glory. That is why Paul exhorts us to “be careful how [we] walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of [our] time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16, NASB).
  2. Sin and indifference result in a loss of power in our lives because sin grieves the Holy Spirit. ©John MacArthur~www.gty.org

What if I am a housewife and spend most of my life with my children? Then your faith in Christ will be seen and understood by them as you teach by example. Your kindness to neighbors, clerks, and strangers will become normal behavior to your children, thus guiding them in Christian behavior and deeds. We are not all called to be evangelists or street witnesses. Most of us will be influencing people we see in everyday situations. The smallest kindness can change a person’s day.

True story: “I was feeling grumpy when I left for work and as we met in the parking lot you waved, smiled and said, ‘Hello, hope you have a great day.’ That changed my attitude and day. Suddenly I felt good. And, as I drove to work, I realized I never waved or spoke to any of my neighbors. From that day forward, I made it a point to wave and greet all my neighbors. Now I know several and we actually spend time chatting as we come and go.” The person who waved and spoke is a Christian, doing something kind to a neighbor.

Is Jesus Real to You?


“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” Acts 2:36

Mary Mitchell Slessor (2 December 1848 – 13 January 1915) was a Scottish missionary to Nigeria. A simple sentence without emotion; factual and brief. Her actual story is filled with powerful examples of trials and tribulations of a small (5’ tall) woman overcome with desire to spread the gospel in Nigeria, Africa at a time when women did not do such things alone. This red-haired Scottish woman faced down fierce tribal chiefs, witch doctors and others to show the love of Christ through teaching the Gospel while living in primitive huts.

Mary quickly learned the local language and spent her life showing Jesus to Africans who had never seen an outsider before. She risked her life daily, rescued and raised rejected children scheduled to be killed while trudging through the jungles to share God’s love.

Mary also fell victim to the ravages of malaria more than once and had to return to Scotland for recovery. She gave up convenience, comfort and congeniality to serve God according to His plan for her life in a remote and dangerous land.

As for her rewards, she had but one question: “What would I do with starry crowns except to cast them at His feet?”

Jesus was so very real to Mary Slessor. Her Lord and Savior was the beacon whose light shined on a path He carved out for her; a path she determined to follow until her final breath.

Compare the sacrificial life of Mary Slessor to those of wealthy, influential, powerful megachurch pastors in America. Men who command six and seven figure salaries, immense wealth from book royalties and exert mind control over many thousands through sermons, devotionals, and conferences around the world,

Currently, Mark Driscoll, the senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle is waging a battle to maintain his position in that church. Driscoll began with a sincere desire to spread the Gospel, change lives and heal the broken and wounded people who may hear and read his messages.

Time, comfort, fame, loads of money and thousands of followers have tarnished Driscoll’s legacy and brought him to a place of regret and shamefulness. The megachurch is crumbling, the flock has been fleeced and God’s Word has been trampled. Is Jesus real to Mark? Or has his desire to feed from the trough of fame and fortune skewed his vision and replaced his love of Christ with personal satisfaction. Satan is smiling as Mars Hill Church falls into ruin.

Acts 2:32-36 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’

“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”

Colossians 1:13-23 He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.

Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.

At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel. It is of this gospel that I, Paul, became a servant—this gospel which has been preached to everybody in the world.

Is Jesus real to us or a fascinating person, Son of God and Savior who lives in my mind? Have I given Him free reign over my life? Am I willing to follow whatever path He chooses for me?