Ken's Blog

ken@pastorken.com

Saturday, June 30, 2007

THE KEY TO HEAVEN


Universalism is the false doctrine that everyone, someway, or somehow will be saved. A large number of “Christians” believe this totally false concept. Universalism is not in any way compatible with Biblical Christianity. 23 times in the New Testament there are passages about Hell. Sixteen times it was Jesus talking about it. Seven other times the New Testament writers were talking about it. Stay with me. This is interesting and tells us how to make our salvation certain and sure.

(Mat 25:31-32 KJV) “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: {32} And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:” (Rev. 20:11 Great White Throne Judgment) {34} “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (First time Jesus called himself a King)

The Final Judge of all history will not ask what we have felt or thought, but what we have done or left undone in our dealings with others.Jesus said: “You fed me, gave me something to drink, invited me in, gave me clothes, took care of me when I was sick, and visited me in prison.The righteous people had one question. “When did we do this to you?” {40} “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.”{41} “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Why? Because they did nothing for Jesus when he came to them in the form of his brethren. Hungry, thirsty, needing clothes, sick and in prison. {46} “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I know! There are lots of questions. How can we know who is the brother of Jesus? Jesus said, “whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:50).

(1 John 3:17-18 NIV) “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? {18} Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

COMPASSION! That’s the key to heaven. It’s understanding and feeling the suffering of others and doing something about it. In Matthew 10:4-15 Jesus sent out 12 disciples to preach the gospel. He told them to take nothing – to stay with some good family that offered hospitality. Then (This doesn’t sound like our sanitized and whimpy Jesus) he said: “If they don’t take care of you or listen to you it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town”.

Jesus had a lot to say about this subject. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus said:“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: {20} And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, {21} And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.”(This is a true story – not a parable because Jesus named all of the people in it)

There is no record that the rich man did anything mean to Lazarus. He didn’t run over his feet with his chariot wheels, or drive him away from his gate. Thank God Lazarus had a faithful dog named “moreover” who came and licked his sores. (A little humor)

The only thing the rich man did was to “ignore Lazarus and his needs.” He just had a terminal mindset of “let someone else do it.” What's mine is mine and I'll save it for my family. It made him the most selfish, mean, sorry man in the world. According to Jesus this rich man asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus to hell to be his servant and give him a drink of water. When he couldn't get that he ask Father Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn them not to come that this terrible place. Abraham wasn't about to let Lazarus suffer and die at the gate of this rich man's sorry brothers.

Thank God our world is filled with kind, generous, godly people whose hearts are filled with compassion. Only when we get to our father’s house will be know the full extent of their mercy, kindness, and generosity. In our 57 years of marriage and ministry these wonderful people have blessed us. We’ve never asked for money or help but these people have loved us and graciously met our needs. It has created a bond of love, joy and happiness that nothing can take away.

Maggie and I also have always been compassionate and generous. For 17 years we have made and given away thousands of full color booklets and CD's of Maggie singing her songs. People have offered to pay us for them, but we tell them because of our friends, we can give them away to needy people.

Recently I talked to a black man sweeping the floor at Home Depot. I ask him a question about plants, and he took the time to show me a variety of them, and tried to help me. I found out that had a degree in English Literature, he was an artist and had sold a few paintings. He was working three jobs.

I left the store and thought about the art materials in my workshop. In trying to move I wanted to give them away. I called the store, gave a description of him, and ask the people to please have him call me. When he came to my house I gave him all I had, and promised to find some more for him. He turned out to be a Christian.

As he was leaving Isaiah Findley said to me: “Recently I had made a little money and had several hundred dollars in my pocket. I stopped at a store and asked a man in front to buy me a cold drink. “He said: “I can’t do that.” I told him: “Well all right, I’ll buy you one.” Then he told the man: “You need to be careful. Jesus may be standing in front of you in the form of someone else and asking for help. You never know.”

A few hours earlier I had just written this article but I had never mentioned it to him. I was astonished by his story and how cleverly he had presented the teaching of Jesus to this stranger. Compassionate Christians are all around us. The brothers and Sisters of Jesus are everywhere. We all have work to do.

Friday, June 22, 2007

THE MINISTRY OF JESUS

Jesus went where the people were. We don’t picture him giving some scholarly lecture in a large massive cathedral. We love the fact that he was available to ordinary people. In 1990 when my wife and I decided to stop pastoring we started something we called “Christian Ministries.” Our goal was to create full color booklets on a variety of helpful topics, and record Maggie singing comforting songs on a CD. We decided to give them away and trust God to supply our needs.’

It’s been an amazing and wonderful 17 years of talking to people everywhere, praying with them and giving them a helpful booklets and a CD. It’s been absolutely astonishing how we meet and help needy people.

A few days ago we drove home from Ohio to Conyers Georgia. We stopped at a rest area in West Virginia and Maggie saw a lady weeping. Maggie simply asked her what was wrong. The lady, still crying, said her husband had lost his job in South Carolina and they thought about moving to Ohio to be near her mother. She knew her father had never wanted her but while she was in Ohio her mother told her that she had never wanted her either. She was heart broken and felt so unloved.

Maggie prayed for her, and brought the lady and her husband outside to talk to me. After hearing her story I went to the car, got a CD of Maggie’s called “Songs for troubled hearts” and several full color booklets to give to her. One was called “Disappointment” and the other was called “When Life is not fair.” They thanked us over and over again outside the welcome center, and soon we were on our way again.

Many hours later we found a truck stop in South Carolina and after a break Maggie was in the car. A police Lieutenant was walking in as I was walking out. He spoke to me, and I knew instantly he needed help. We shook hands and I told him that years ago I was a Chaplin for the officers in a large 350-man police force. He started talking to me about his job.

When I ask him: “What is the hardest part of your job” a lot of hurt poured out. He said: “I watched a young teenaged boy breathe his last breath recently. A few days later I saw a black man’s car split in two and watched him die. What really hurts is that an old man called me over, and said “officer, can you help me.” His wife had aggressive Alzheimer’s disease, and slaps him around, is very mean and nasty. He was tired of being abused.

The Lieutenant was on the verge of tears as he said: “All I could do was give him a phone number for social services. They would come take her to a nursing home”.

A few days later he got a call 28, which meant a suicide. When they gave him the address he was sick at heart as he pulled into the driveway of the old man’s house. The man who asked for help had put a shotgun in his mouth and blew the back of his head away.

I immediately assured him that he did his best and I probably couldn’t have done it any better. When I first moved to Atlanta I had the same kind of experience. A family asked me to talk to their brother who was a policeman. They didn’t give me any details. I made an appointment to see him on Sunday and he killed himself on Saturday night.

After spending a lot of time with him I took this Lieutenant who had a wife and two small children around to the back of my car. I gave him a CD and several booklets and told him to call me or contact me if I could do anything more for him. He told us his mother had breast cancer. Then with people coming and going all around us we prayed together in front of the open trunk with arms around each other. On the verge of tears he thanks us both for praying with him.

Just happened? Coincidence? Absolutely not. God placed us all together at the exact right time and place. Could it be that we all need to live our Christian life outside the church where the needy people are?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

DON'T BE NEGATIVE



In today’s pop culture the message is don’t be negative. Say only positive things. Never discuss your troubles with anyone. Unfortunately, the Bible is the most negative book in the world. In the world that God created everything has to be properly balanced. For a battery to work there has to be a positive and negative terminal. Take away either one and you can’t start your car.

I know! It’s much more popular to be positive than to be negative. We just have to know when and where each is required. Martin Luther said: “The church is like a drunkard on a horse. First he falls off to the right, then gets back on and promptly falls off to the left.” Obviously he was saying that we need balance. Try to use “one without the other” and we will be like the drunkard who can never stay on the horse.

240 times in the Bible the words “thou shalt not” is quoted. All of these scriptures are negatives. “Do not.” is listed 90 times in the Bible. The Ten Commandments are prohibitions: “Thou shalt not” – or in other words “Don’t do that.” (except for Commandments 4 and 5 in Ex. 20:8-11,12). These ten laws define “negatively” the heart of the covenant relationship between God and Israel.

Millions of laws, rules and regulations are a part of everything that is done in this country. Laws, rules of business, accounting, space flight, medicine, all have negative rules and laws. No doctor may neglect his patient and bring about his death by careless behavior. An airline pilot will loose his license if he breaks any one of the hundreds of rules and laws.

For example several years ago three airline pilots flew a plane loaded with passengers to their destination. Hours later they tested more than twice the legal limit for being drunk. They all were heavily fined and lost their Pilots license forever. One lived in Conyers. So what’s all this talk about not being negative?

The senseless rebuke of anyone who talks negative about anything is as old as civilization. It’s the heart and soul of an old Greek philosophy that matter is not real. It’s based on Plato’s theory of forms. It’s the basis of the “Christian Science Church,” and the teaching of its founder Mary Baker Eddie. She stole most of her ideas from a preacher named Quimbley.

“The word of Faith doctrine” is being preached all over America. This false claim is based on the teaching that we are little gods, and our spoken words have creative power just like the word God spoke during the creation of the world. Utter nonsense. Then the followers of this non-biblical doctrine are told that what they say can bring about “positive or negative consequences”.

Recently I heard the King of the Religious con men say while looking sternly in the camera: “When you pray don’t ever use that faith destroying old saying “If it be thy will”. Then he spouted off a laundry list of everything wonderful and good that his deluded followers could have if they only “spoke the right words.” (Be sure and send me a faith offering of at least a thousand dollars.) Please don’t spit on your computer. I am fully aware that I’m being negative!

In his agonizing prayer in the garden before his crucifixion Jesus prayed: (Luke 22:42 KJV) “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Is the police force negative when it kills a bank robber who has just shot three people? Is a fireman being negative when he closed down a building that has faulty wiring? Are our troops in Iraq being negative when they kill the murdering butchers who behead innocent people and blow up women and children?

Is the government negative to prosecute crooked businessmen, or drug dealers? If everyone were positive all the time then there would be no law and order, no prisons, mental hospitals for insane criminals, or stop signs. Our world would be terrifying. A red light is definitely negative.

We would have no United States Of America without the declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson to King George of England. In it Jefferson listed long pages of grievances of the colonies. He pleaded for understanding. He begged King George to stop the corruption of the English Governors who care nothing about the subjects in the colonies. It’s the world’s saddest and most negative letter ever written.

Finally Jefferson wrote that all hope of redress, correction of the wrongs, had brought the colonies to a place where they were forced to declare themselves Independent and free from the rule of King George. With the help of Almighty God, we will give our sacred honor, our possessions and our lives to right this terrible wrong.

Critical Thinking at the University. I spent lots of my time at Georgia State University earning a Master’s degree in Psychology. I also earned a Doctorate in Theology. Many have paid their dues at a University studying all kinds of subjects. What is “Critical Thinking?”

While critical thinking is something we all engage in to manage our day-to-day lives, the word 'critical' is commonly thought to have a negative meaning, for example finding fault with someone or something. We need to find fault with the “con man” that is trying to swindle our aged parents. We need to find fault with the corrupt politicians who are stealing, taking bribes and destroying our great country.

My neighbor recently bought a new Miracle Grow feeder that uses a bottle of liquid. No mixing or mess. On the box and in their advertising on TV they show two flowering plants. On is small, and the other is very large. “Use our product and you will get flowers over twice as large.”
My curiosity got the better of me. I went to Home Depot and looked at the package. In very tiny letters on the bottom of the advertisement was this statement. “Use of this product produces much larger flowers than using no fertilizer at all.”

At a University, however, 'critical' has a broader meaning: being critical involves making judgments and evaluations. Making judgments can involve distinguishing between fact and opinion or evaluating the validity of information and it’s sources.

These judgments need to be well grounded in research, wide reading, and consideration of all possible viewpoints. Critical thinking in this sense is based on a number of factors, and is not just uninformed personal opinion. We all need to learn how to do it in order for our skills and knowledge to grow and develop.

My grandson Ken Jansen earned a Masters degree in music from Akron University. He’s a great music director and is also an ordained Minister. He gave me a wonderful gift recently. It was a CD computer program with all 24 very large volumes of Pulpit Commentaries on it. I’ve own the books for over 57 years. Now it’s so easy to research scriptures and with a PDF program just cut and paste the information into my writing.

It’s a marvelous tool for critical research of every verse in the Bible by the best scholars of Greek and Hebrew, then five different highly educated scholars gave their Homiletical views of the chapters. It has over 22,000 pages and 95,000 entries.

Godly Christian men produced it over a hundred years ago. They used their knowledge working together to carefully explain the clear meaning of the Bible. It has none of the foolishness, liberal thinking, and false teaching so prevalent today. Thanks Ken, for a great gift to help me with my “Critical Thinking”.