Monday, March 28, 2011

The Great Deceiver

Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” God gave free rein to man with only one condition, that he must not eat of just one tree in the entire Garden. Man was given dominion over all the earth with only one law given to him by the Lord. Sounds pretty easy. Not so much. Genesis 3:1-7, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” The first time humankind is tempted by Satan, the decision is made to accept those words more pleasing to their ears, believing that they could be as enlightened as God Himself. And by using their limited experience and knowledge, original sin is given birth and thus begins humankind’s continuing discord within our relationship with God.

Jesus said in John 14:5-7, “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” No one comes to the Father except through faith in the Risen Christ. But, the leaders of the ELCA promote a kinder, gentler way. They want to please all those that want what their itching ears long to hear. They promote that all faiths have a path to heaven and all faiths are to be valued, even to the point of embracing the tenets of other faiths and blending them into their own. Their false gospels of univeral salvation and affirmation deceive their members with lies. These false gospels do not recognize sinful behavior and do not require a Savior, because this deceitful doctrine promotes no repentance for sin and salvation for all, regardless of your faith. If one would accept these false teachings, why then should we accept and have faith in the Risen Christ? Because, the leaders of the ELCA promote that although there are many ways to gain one's salvation, Christianity is a “better” way than some of the other world religions.  So, according to the doctrine of universal salvation, one is free to accept Christ or not, just continue in fellowship with the diversity that is the ELCA and continue to give your money to help them spread their message.  Does this sound like the church that Jesus commanded us to build?

In the Great Commision, Jesus commanded His disciples to go out and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The leaders of the ELCA have determined that it is inappropriate for those appointed as missionaries to proselytize. In other words, they are not to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations where they serve the Lord. Using the concept of "accompaniment” they forgo their responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, instead deferring to their mission partners and decide that they better accomplish their mission for the Lord as a facilitator, not as evangelists. The leaders of the ELCA claim on their website, that in the past they established, funded, and directed mission around the world. Now as a result of missions established around the world, they have become a partner in the global mission. These newly established churches will take on the command of the Great Commission and proclaim the Gospel. Apparently, the ELCA views it’s work around the world as done, needing only to supervise the few seeds they have planted. This is apparently why the mission budget for the ELCA took the brunt of the loss of revenue due to many congregations leaving and those redirecting benevolence. There is much more to do in this world since our Lord's message has yet to be heard by all.

Incest, adultery, bestiality, and homosexuality were forbidden by God. Numerous passages reiterate these laws against sexual immorality. Homosexuality was called detestable. Bestiality was a perversion. Incest was called dishonorable. Adultery was wickedness. Using clever and appealing words the leaders and biblical scholars of the ELCA have contrived doctrine to deceive their membership into believing that homosexuality is acceptable to God. Bound conscience was invented to legitimize “same gender oriented individuals living in loving monogamous relationships”. The ELCA enacts doctrine that disregards Scripture in order to placate those that wish to remain in sin without remorse, free to continue to feed the desires of the flesh without the need for repentance.  Wouldn't it be nice if all could engage in their chosen sinful behavior without the necessity of asking for forgiveness?  Wouldn't our children be happy if we allowed them to eat as much candy as they wanted?

Just as Satan appeals to our innermost desires and uses words that are so convincing, the leaders of the ELCA would have us believe that God is now telling us something new and we are within our rights to put aside those obsolete laws from the Bible. With friends like this, who needs enemies? This misguided denomination continues to uphold the things of the world while minimizing our Lord. There are so many well intentioned Christians that are falling into the trap set by the leaders of the ELCA. We must accept the responsibility to expose the heresy that is so prevalent in the doctrine of this church. We must continue in prayer, asking God to open the eyes and hearts of His children that remain trapped within the ELCA and errantly acquiesce to these false doctrines. These leaders and scholars of the ELCA use the same tactics as the “Great Deceiver”. We must remain diligent in proclaiming the true Gospel of Jesus Christ since we can no longer rely on the ELCA to conduct God’s business as He has commanded.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Matthew 21:22, Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Mark 11:24, Jesus said, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Prayer can be particularly powerful. Those of us who have experienced answered prayers can attest to that.

My wife and I are dog lovers and have always had at least two Siberian Huskies in our family since our kids were little. In April of 2008 one of our huskies bolted out of our home and ran away. Siberian Huskies are notorious runners and many runaway huskies, when found, are sometimes recovered more than 100 miles away from home.  This was a particularly tough time for us since two of our huskies, Digger and Nikka, had recently succumbed to cancer within months of one another. Sakari was adopted from Adopt a Husky, Inc. in July of 2007, and since there were highways with speed limits over 45 MPH all around, we prayed that she would be found and returned safely to us. Several weeks passed and even though we searched every day, notified every animal shelter, veterinarian's office and police department within a 100 mile radius and all of the Adopt a Husky volunteers were searching, we heard nothing.

A woman who lived about 8 miles away from us and had no knowledge that Sakari was missing, was praying on her drive home. She was asking God for an answer. As she passed beneath the train overpass on a state highway near our home, she felt the Spirit nudge her that she would find an answer there. She ignored the nudge and continued on home. The next day the same thing happened, again she ignored the Spirit's nudge and continued home. For the third day in a row the Spirit finally compelled her to stop. She got out of her car, climbed up the steep incline to the train tracks and started walking down the tracks. About 50 yards from the bridge, she found the remains of a dog wearing a pink leather collar with tags. Sakari had been struck by a train and killed. She removed the collar and tags and called us to inform us that she had found Sakari. God used this woman to give us an answer to our prayer. It was not the answer that we had hoped for, but at least we were able to find closure.

1 Thessalonians 5:16, Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 6:18, And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all of the Lord’s people.” We must continue to pray for our brothers and sisters held hostage by the false teachings of the ELCA. Pray continually that the Lord will lift up leaders within the ELCA that will rise up, defend the authority of Scripture and condemn this false teaching. Pray that God will open their hearts and minds and that they will ignore those that seek to discard Scripture and replace it with their own selfish cravings. James 5:15, “And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Prayer can move mountains. Prayer can and will save God’s children that are trapped in the ELCA. When we give ourselves to the Lord in prayer, He will listen to our petitions. We must remain diligent in our prayers believing that the Lord will answer us and save his children.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God's Truth Will Prevail

As the leadership of the ELCA races to re-invent Lutheranism one thing is clear, the truth is not in them. Where our Lord has cautioned us to remain in the world, but not of the world, the leaders of the ELCA are in a headlong rush to instill worldly desires above the law that our God has set before us. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:17-19, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven." Our Lord makes it abundantly clear that we are to obey God’s law. Jesus said in Luke16:16-17, “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. 17 But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.” It was so easy for the leaders and scholars of the ELCA to overturn Scripture by placing man’s opinion and experience above God’s intent by invoking the doctrine of bound conscience.

1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” The leaders of the ELCA would have you believe that it is so very important to lift up the things of the world over the commands of our God. They proclaim that God is now telling them a “new thing’. They are overly influenced by the enlightened opinions of man to the point of disregarding our God’s will. They are so determined to be everything to everyone and to promote the love of self, our Lord’s command to go and make disciples of all nations is a less than an afterthought. In fact, ELCA missionaries are not allowed to proselytize. Restricting missionaries from doing the work our Lord has commanded is beyond inappropriate. Doing good works without taking the opportunity to preach the Word is absolutely inexplicable.

How can a church fall so far astray? When the leaders of what was once our Lord’s church become so enamored with their role in modern society and fall into the trap of political correctness, God’s plan becomes secondary to the pleasing of those enlightened elites of this world. James 4:4-6, “Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? 6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So, in effect the leadership of the ELCA has decided to ally themselves with the things of this world and become an enemy of God. There is much more at stake than mere heresy within a church body. The leadership of the ELCA is widening the chasm between their membership and God by promoting the false gospel of love of self and of the world. So many are accepting of this false gospel and are unwittingly consenting to disregard God’s law to be more accepting, welcoming and tolerant of their neighbor, not realizing that we need to love the sinner, not their sinful behavior. Galations 6:1-2. “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

It is indeed unfortunate that we can no longer trust the leadership of our church. But, if we trust in the Lord and dwell in His Word, we will know His Truth and indeed, God’s Truth will prevail. Continue in prayer that those trapped within the ELCA will find their way back to the Truth and find a church that is true to our God.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pray for Lutherans in Ethiopia

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what follows is an email received from Gemichis Buba, mission director for the North American Lutheran Church. This is an urgent call to pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia who are once again experiencing persecution, this time at the hands of Muslim extremists. Please lift up our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia in prayer that the Lord may protect them from the evil confronting them and to allow them to worship in peace. See the Christian Today article.

From: Gemechis Buba
Date: March 9, 2011 8:44:02 PM CST
Subject: Prayer Call from Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia

Dearly beloved,

Grace and peace to you,

I am sure by now you have all come back to your normal routines and back to the family and ministry you love. Thanks be to God for the privilege of having most you in Ethiopia on those historic few days in Addis Ababa.

I am writing this email to share with a prayer call I am asked to pass on to you by the President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the Rev. Dr. Wakseyoum Idossa.

In the last few days over 41 churches and several evangelical mission stations or mission congregations were burned down. There are thousands of people expelled from their homes and some who are even badly beaten and killed. The perpetrators are Radical Islamist and Jihadist elements who are now operating in the western and south western parts of Ethiopia. I have spoken with Rev. Wakseyoum as he was visiting Mekane Yesus Churches and Synods close to the border of Sudan. The Voice of America (VOA) called, got in touch with him and interviewed him today and he spoke to the world from that remote spot through this international VOA radio streamed out of Washington DC.

On that interview given in Amharic he stated that, the Mekane Yesus have intentionally worked hard to establish good relationships with Muslim Ethiopians and that work have resulted in so much good and positive relationship. However he is shocked and saddened by this outbreak lashing out in heartbreaking atrocities. This brutal act is not the first of its kind. Three years ago Muslim fundamentalists have burned down several churches, killed evangelists, pastors and lay leaders. They are now repeating the same attacks. Today thousands have lost their homes, churches, family members and their rights to safely worship and conduct their ministries.

The Ethiopian government officials and security forces have intervened. The out come of their work is yet to be known. Some leaders from the central office of the Mekane Yesus Church in Addis Ababa have traveled to the area today to start getting help to the victims. There are many people who are now waiting to get some emergency aid in a camp. President Idossa is going to release another statement in the next few days as the investigation continues and as the government tries to bring these acts under control and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Please pray about this!! I also suggest that we send letters carrying words of encouragement and stating our commitment to pray for them. In order to do this in a coherent form I suggest that these letters come from;

Lutheran Church - Canada; Rev. Robert Bugbee or Rev. Dr. Leonardo Netzel
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ LCMC; Rev. Mark Vander Tuig
North American Lutheran Church; Bishop Paull Spring

Persecution is not new to our church, however every time it happens it opens up old wounds and breaks the hearts of many. In the middle all these our brothers and sisters are walking into this holy Lenten season not with ashes on their forehead but carrying the cross of Christ and confessing their faith in the words of Psalm 23:1, "The Lord is my shepherd!"

May God renew our world in this Lenten season through the Holy Word of God and through power grace of God through Christ, Amen!!

Peace and Blessings,

The Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba
Living in God's Amazing Grace

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Create in Me

Realizing that we are by nature sinful and unclean, one of the traditional hymns that addresses our need for God's forgiveness, is taken from Psalm 51:10-12, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” By incorporating various ELCA quotes (see; Her Church, the mother god's prayer, the worship of self and the affirmation of sinful behavior), extrapolating from current ELCA doctrinal shifts and emphasis on social justice, a hypothetical ELCA version of the hymn may go something like this;

“Create in me an enlightened mind O Mother God, and uphold the power and courage within me. Cast me not away from the presence of secular ambitions and take not away my selfish desires. Restore unto me the joy of self esteem and affirm me within my sinful behavior.”

What is truly unfortunate, is that these words are actually derived from ceremonies, writings and churches that have the approval of the ELCA.  They welcome heretical teachings and proclaim them as a new and diverse opinion appropriate to their doctrine of open dialogue. The leadership of the ELCA promotes this type of discourse as a means to add to and strengthen their misguided denomination. This fits right in with the gospel of affirmation that is promoted by the leaders and Biblical scholars of the ELCA. Too many of our brothers and sisters in Christ deceived by these false teachings, have mistakenly accepted errant doctrine believing that they will be more welcoming, tolerant and loving of their neighbor. Those that fall prey will find that to accept this false gospel will require that they disregard our Lord’s commands. God’s word will be folded, stapled and mutilated in an effort to expand this “Big Tent” denomination that only desires to quench the cravings of a sinful humanity.

Where the Christian realizes that our sinful behavior directs us away from our God’s presence, the leaders of the ELCA promote that all are affirmed within their sin. The truth is that we need our God to cleanse us from our sin and to have the Holy Spirit lead us back toward righteousness. As Christians we want to remain within the radiance of our Father in Heaven and be filled with His Spirit. Having our God re-confirm His covenant so that we can revel in the promise of eternal life with a willing and serving spirit is what all Christians truly espouse. For those that lead the ELCA and promote radical doctrinal change, this appears far from their goal. It seems that the leadership of the ELCA advocates the elevation of human reasoning and understanding or what they promote as "bound conscience" as the pinnacle of religious enlightenment. By placing themselves in authority of Scripture, they imply that God does not fully understand how progressive this new age denomination has become. They repudiate the method that our Lord used to teach us how to pray and cast doubt upon the very truths that have guided the Christian faith for centuries.

Hebrews 10:19-25, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We must accept and embrace all the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to maintain our faith against all temptation and opposition. The Evil one will continually attempt to test our faith, but we must hold to God’s Truth resolutely, without doubt and remain strong in our faith in the Risen Savior. Accepting doctrine that challenges the authority of Scripture and tends to cause one to “dive into the pool of heresy” only leads toward apostasy. God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins if only we ask for His forgiveness. God’s promise of grace to those who believe is the truth that leads to our salvation. Titus 2:1, “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.” A false promise by a misguided church to affirm those engaging in sin without the requirement of repentance, offer nothing but a lie that leads their members away from God and toward spiritual destruction.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Walk the Walk

A popular wrist band seen on Christians over the last several years read WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do. This wrist band was to remind the wearer, when faced with decision making, to temper their choice by pondering what our Lord would do if faced with the same circumstances. The wrist band has waned in popularity as of late, but its message remains true. As we dwell in His Word we learn how our Lord responded to the people and the circumstances that he encountered. Jesus was compassionate, loving and kind, especially to those in need. Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick and lame, gave sight and hearing to the blind and deaf, cast out demons and instructed us about God’s Word throughout his ministry on the earth. Even death was not a barrier to His healing ministry. Not only did Jesus heal those afflicted by physical ills, He healed those that were suffering in their spiritual life. But, Jesus did not simply heal their infirmities. He forgave them and cleansed them of their sins. Jesus then guided them toward the path of righteousness.

Jesus taught about God’s Word using parables that were very pertinent to the people of that day. They identified with Jesus’ teachings because He included references that were applicable to the daily lives of the people He taught. Some of these parables are not as easily understood using our modern sensibilities. Simply reading the parable and considering it literally does not always afford the reader the capacity to properly understand the lessons Jesus was teaching. This is where a good study Bible is necessary to help one understand in today’s terms the lessons that Jesus was communicating. You will find that even though Scripture was written long ago, it continues to speak to each one of us and remains just as relevant to our daily lives today as it was to the people living in Jesus’ time. Thessolonians 2:13, "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."  Engaging in regular Bible study is also a very important step to take in your faith journey. The fellowship afforded and the insights gathered by two or more meeting in our Lord's name will allow for His Spirit to positively influence your understanding of the Word.

It is so very important to spend time in God’s Word on a daily basis. We all can set aside ten minutes of quiet time that we can share with our Lord. Every time we read God’s Word, our Lord is speaking to us. Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Each and every verse of Scripture is written for our benefit. In these troubling times we need to rely on what our God has put to writing, rather than what the enlightened leaders of the ELCA and other misguided churches would want us to believe.  God's truth is there for us.  He is not telling us something new in order to satisfy selfish human desires.  If we fail to dwell in His Word, we may just fall prey to these "new" teachings.  So, rather than hit that snooze button again, use that time to commune with our Lord and read His Good News for us. Use a daily devotional  guide to help you get started, or you may just want to open the Bible randomly and begin reading. God speaks to each of us, individually, through His Word. We need only to take the time to open His Word, read it, and open our hearts and minds to hear Him.

We don’t need a wrist band to remind us how our Lord wants us to conduct ourselves in this world. We have His instruction manual for us and if we simply read and study His Word, we will have all the information we will need to walk the walk with our Lord. Learn to live out the words of the Sunday school song, “Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by HIS love.” When we explore God's Word we will grow in our Christian faith and love. As we begin to understand His plan for us, we will discover how to share the abundant and unending love our Lord has for us. 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, "It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 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."  Praise be to God!