“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Trust?

I find it telling, during these serious economic times, that many Christians are spending more time watching CNN Money and reading the Wall Street Journal than they are praying and reading the Scriptures. I know, I know, that sounds like some type of religious prudishness, but it truly is not...

I am not oblivious, or unconcerned about the economy, but we also need to remember that our trust is not in man, but in God - a SOVEREIGN God, one who is completely in control of the situation. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." -- Psalm 20:7.

We also need to remember that many of our economic situations are caused by taking on debt that we cannot pay - an unchristian practice. I am not talking about taking a loan out - I am speaking of getting into debt up to our eyeballs, eventually causing default.

The materialistic, commercialized, greed-based mentality that pervades our society is as prevalent within the church walls as it is outside. Christian churches are filled with 'stores' nowadays that sell 'merchandise'; from pictures hand-painted by the pastor (who cares!), to gaudy trinkets and 'Jesus-junk'. I am not talking about having a place to purchase books and Bibles for the congregation, I am talking about the tawdry 'dime-store' type of venues that I have seen in several places.

And the church itself is placed deep into the debt-based environment by building colossal monoliths to the success that they have experienced. Why would one need hundreds of thousands of dollars of monitors, lights and sound? Why is it necessary to have high-dollar restaurants within the walls of the church?

We, the church, have turned Jesus' statements regarding His disciples on it's head: In John 17, Jesus says that we are not of the world - however He does not pray that we will be removed from the world - in other words, we are called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. Instead, we are now OF the world (practicing the same behaviors and mores as the lost), but not IN the world (we have separated ourselves from the very lost and dying people that we are supposed to be placed amidst, in order to shine the light of the gospel into the world!)

What do I mean? Well, we live according to the same sexual, social, and economic practices as the world does, but we do it in a 'Christian ghetto', made up of Church mega-complexes, Christian big-box stores, and Christian entertainment facilities. We go into debt the same way, we sleep around the same way, we laugh at the same trash on TV, but we do it in the safety of a Christian cocoon.

At this time in the nation's history, the Christian community ought to be shining the light of the gospel and showing that we do not trust in chariots, but in God; that we do not practice the same economic and social patterns that the rest of the world does, that we have the Truth contained within these clay jars. We ought to be living in such a manner that the truth is breaking out through us.

Now, as a final caveat - I know that many of us have gotten ourselves into debt - I have, you have, we have all heard the siren song of materialism and reacted inappropriately; but now is the time for that to change. Church, now is the time for us to rise and show the world the greatness of our God - that our contentment is found within Him, that our joy is found within Him, and that our love and care is found within Him.

What would be wonderful is to again have the church be a place where those stung by the times could come for solace, hope, love and charity; hearing the Good News of the Gospel, that there is so much more to this world than their next purchase! May we be a light to this world in which our God has placed us...


Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention "gaudy trinkets and 'Jesus-junk'." We got a catalog in the mail yesterday from that well-known "chain" so-called "Christian" store. There were some of the most attrocious items I have even seen. And there was a "ten-dollar special" page, with the most garrish things you could imagine. The ten-dollar page reminds me of the "10 for $10 mix-and-match" specials at Albertsons or Kroger.

Were there any Bibles in the catalog? Yes. ONE!! A hardbound NIV, buried in one of the middle pages. Wow! How far have we slidden.


Anders said...

Hello! I found your website. My name is Anders Branderud, I am 23 years and I am from Sweden.
Historical fact is that Ribi Yehoshua was born 0529 7 BCE. Read more here:
http://www.netzarim.co.il ; History Museum (left menu); then click at Times & Seasons (top menu); Christmas

By practising Torah non-selectively, which the historical Jesus, did we will make the world a better place to live in!

To realize that one can follow two polar-opposite masters — the authentic, historical, PRO-Torah 1st-century Ribi from Nazareth – the Messiah - and the 4th-century (post-135 C.E.), arch-antithesis ANTI-Torah apostasy developed by the Hellenists (namely the Sadducees and Roman pagans who conspired to kill Ribi YÓ™hoshua, displaced his original followers (the Netzarim) and redacted the NT); is a step in that direction!

So who then was the historical Jesus? His name was Ribi Yehoshua.
The research of world-recognized authorities (for example Barrie Wilson; www.barriewilson.com) in this area implies that Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee (a Torah-practising Jewish group - who according to 4Q MMT (a Scroll found in the Qumran-caves) practised both written and oral Torah (oral Torah in an unbroken chain since Mosheh (Moses); commanded by Mosheh in Torah; oral Torah is recorded Beit-Din (Jewish Court)-decisions of how Torah shall be applied).. As the earliest church historians, most eminent modern university historians, our web site (www.netzarim.co.il) and our Khavruta (Distance Learning) texts confirm, the original teachings of Ribi Yehoshua were not only accepted by most of the Pharisaic Jewish community, he had hoards of Jewish students.

For words that you don’t understand; se www.netzarim.co.il ; the link to Glossaries at the first page.

Ribi Yehoshua warned for false prophets who don’t produce good fruit = defined as don’t practise the commandments in Torah according to Halakhah (oral Torah; see the above definition). See Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:1-6.

The research of Scholars in leading universities which implies that Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee necessarily implies that if you want to follow him you need to practise his Torah-teachings.
So you need to start follow the historical Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah – by practising Torah (including oral Torah)!

Finding the historical Jew, who was a Pharisee Ribi and following him brings you into Torah, which gives you a rich and meaningful life here on earth and great rewards in life after death (“heaven”)!

From Anders Branderud
Geir Toshav, Netzarim in Ra’anana in Israel (www.netzarim.co.il) who is followers of Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah – in Orthodox Judaism