Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Concerning Discipleship and the End

One day, you are going to die. I did not want to you reach the end of your life without knowing what to expect on the other side. There is doing to come a moment when I stand alone before God and he is going to look at the choices I made in my life.

When that day comes, Jesus is going to say "If you had done this instead of that, there would be two more people in Heaven today. I could have rescued them if you had handled this situation differently."

And moment by moment, I will see my life as he sees it. Jesus will say "if you had done this instead of that, I could have rescued 6 people. And remember when you (fill in the blank) well, that choice you made that cost me 3 people."

I am not really looking forward to this.

Concerning Discipleship and the Church

The Church in America and I have had a complicated relationship for a very long time.A few months ago, a total stranger I met in a Church offered to pray for me.

In his prayer, he said "God, I thank you for the faith and loyalty that Sam has shown in you even though he has been mistreated, misunderstood, overlooked, neglected, held back and ignored by the Church his entire life."

If you have been listening to everything I have shared, you can understand why. All the same, I offer no apologies. While I hope someday to find some relief, it is still a blessing to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ.

Concerning Discipleship and the Holy Spirit

In the United States of America we have developed an action oriented culture. We like to do quick work and achieve fast results. We bring this cultural habit into the practical aspects of how we organize our Churches and work to serve the Holy Spirit.

I remember reading a story about how one missionary went to a Christian country and preached the Gospel seeing 150 new believers being baptized, while another missionary went to a Muslim country and saw 1 new believer murdered for being baptized.

Can you guess which missionary received additional financial support from the American Church?

Our understanding of how to enter and live the Christian life as an individual is deeply flawed, so I tried to explain it clearly, carefully, and correctly here.

Concerning Discipleship and Jesus Christ

Earlier today I saw a car with a bumper sticker on it that said "Keep Christ in Christmas." Seeing things like that make me sad. The underlying assumption is that everyone who celebrates Christmas in America understands who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us.

I disagree.

Instead of trying to keep Christ in Christmas, I think we need to keep Christ in the Church. So I wrote a few thoughts about who Christ is down and recorded them. A few things about Jesus Christ that I think would do some good if they were more commonly shared in America.

I want to see Christ become the center of Christianity again.

Concerning Discipleship and Creation

Looking back at it now, I would have to say that the Discipleship and Creation podcasts deal with relationships.

To be more specific, its about our relationship with science, with angels, with demons, with government, and with each other (gender roles, racism, marriage responsibilities). I also touched on our relationship with God by introducing the Covenants of the Bible here.

This is probably the most controversial set of podcasts, but I offer no apologies because being intellectually honest is not a crime.

Concerning Discipleship and God

The Discipleship and God podcast series almost broke me. Most of the time when our leaders try to talk about God's attributes, they usually take one at a time. I decided to go the other way and share all of them at the same time!

I did not want to drag this series out, so I decided to introduce all 24 of God's attributes as briefly as possible, stopping only long enough to build bridges between them. That in itself was a difficult decision on my part.

I began to experience what passes for worship in the Orthodox Churches in places like Greece and Russia, which are slowly being imported to America now. Then I began to think of how I could describe God, I literally felt like I was standing at the bottom of a mountain whose top I could not see clearly.

I almost gave up.

There was about a two week period where I was so overwhelmed that I didn't want to get out of bed, but I realized I was giving up, I was letting Satan win and decided to push back the moment the thought of giving up crossed my mind.

It was one thing to say I do not know how to describe God, and Satan moved in and said "You cannot do it, so just give up." At that point I began to fight back.

I decided that what I was going to do was share my notes as written. I had been sitting down and using some theology notes I wrote as a rough draft to develop a script; but for the Discipleship and God podcasts, I gave up and just recorded the rough draft notes.

So if you want to know what the research notes I used for each of the podcasts looks like, just listen to the 5 Discipleship and God podcasts. I literally just sat down with a microphone and recorded the original notes.

Praise the Lord!

Concerning Discipleship and Scripture

The Discipleship and Scripture podcasts were an attempt to explain the problems I have seen people have with learning to reading the Bible. When I was in High School, I always had my Bible with me, and would spend every free moment I could reading it.

After getting home from school, I would shut myself off from the world and spend 2-3 practicing how to read Scripture. As a result, I had really bad grades in school, but what did school have to offer anyways that would be worth more than God?

They told me I would not graduate, my grades were so bad, but I decided I had been given another year in school and became even dedicated to Bible reading. As a result, something interesting began to happen. My grades began to improve, and I was able to graduate after all.

I had made the choice that God's agenda was worth more than the agenda I was being told to pursue by the teachers in school, and God got so excited He intervened to help me finish school without having to struggle or study anything!

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" the Master said in Matthew 6:33 (ESV). He kept his promise to me!

Praise the Lord!

Concerning the Discipleship Orientation

I wanted to share my thoughts on what is involved in making disciples in America today. This has made me occasionally unpopular and under suspicion by the leaders and followers of some traditional church methods used in America today.

It is nice to know who is not on God's side.

The simple truth is that sin creates ignorance and denial about our ignorance. We are born in this world spiritually blind, spiritually deaf, spiritually dead and living in denial about it. God creates a change of heart that allows new life into our lives, but discipleship is a process of being "undeceived" about all the things we were living in denial about.

It can be a process that lasts a lifetime, and in the Discipleship Orientation podcast, I wanted to explain why it takes years of our lives to graduate from the Lord's school of discipleship.

Praise the Lord!

Concerning The Message of Christianity Podcast

I spent 3 weeks asking God for something I could use to do evangelism, and the Message of Christianity is what I ended up with. It literally exploded in my mind one day so quickly I was afraid I would not be able to write it down before I began to forget what I had received.

In fact, I remember by the time it came to mind, I had to get up and find something to write with and something to write on, and the impression I of it on my mind had already begun to fade, but God compensated for my weakness.

There have been a few version of this, I gave it a couple of upgrades through the years, polishing it up into what you can hear in the podcast. I want to tell you a personal story about the difference this has made in my life.

I decided one day to go looking for people to share it with, and after 5 hours, Satan - or someone very close to Satan - came to stop me. The moment that happened the entire atmosphere changed, and I can only describe the difference by saying "There was murder in the air."

The momentI began to sense the "murder in the air" the next person I spoke too personally threatened to put me in the hospital while his wife and children were watching. At that point, the Holy Spirit told me I had done well enough, and sent me back home.

Not long after that, I got hurt and have not been able to go back on another "missionary journey" in my hometown. But I really do not mind. God has others who take these kinds of risks, and the time on "furlough" in my hometown gave me a chance to make rest of the discipleship material that I have on my website, as a follow up to the Message of Christianity.

Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

About The Author

Who am I?

I am someone who dared to believe that Jesus Christ was worth more than everything else I could have in life as an American. I dared to believe that if I did not sit down and learn to read the Bible carefully, correctly that my life would be wasted.

I dared to believe that taking up a cross and following Jesus means you do not get to enjoy the benefits of the college educated middle class in America.

I dared to believe that there needed to be a place online where people could come and listen to Bible study stuff that only cost you time. I believed that God would be able to provide all the money needed to organize and maintain an ever growing Internet archive of information on Christianity on prayer; and have not asked anyone else for anything.

I dared to believe that in order to be spiritually healthy, people needed a place where they could sit down and learn how to think, instead of learning how to feel.

I dared to admit that my heart is broken, that I have suffered for the mistakes others have made, and I shared some of my thoughts and frustrations on how this happened online because I am sure I am not the only one who has this problem.

I just want Christianity to be about Jesus Christ.

That's who I am.

Sam Dean