Thursday, May 24, 2012

Half and Half

Here at Dedicated Christians we are really big into evangelism.  And I completely agree with that.  A word of caution though, when sharing the precious gospel with non believers, please make sure you know what you're saying.  Especially if the person you're talking to has no predetermined ideas about Christianity, because you will be the one creating those preconceived notions.  No pressure.

I had the opportunity a while back to have a very sobering yet joyous conversation with an acquaintance of mine who is slowly turning into a friend.  She's a spunky young woman who is searching.  She came over to my house to spend the night.  At 11pm she got the urge to straighten my hair with the flat iron, "just to see what it would look like".  The next thing I know, I'm plopped down in a chair, yawning my head off as a hot piece of metal comes frighteningly close to my ear.  Suddenly she asks, "So I don't really get the whole Christian thing, I mean, I know we're all sinners, but then what's the point, if we're already going to hell?"
-1st thought: I am SO glad you asked
-2nd thought: What a weird time and place to share the gospel......
Whatever I told her about what I knew to be true was going to dictate not only how she viewed me, but also how she responded to "religion" from now on.  I told this woman the truth, the truth about the the gospel, the WHOLE gospel.  And I can only pray she finds what she's looking for in God. 

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  
Mark 4:26-27

I know too many people whose hearts had been hardened to the truth because of the hypocrisy and self righteousness of some believers.  And I've also met too many people who have only heard half of the gospel.  That saddens me because the half of the gospel that breaks down, leaves you broken down unless the healing part is included.  The opposite is equally as dangerous.  Only giving half the gospel is like tilling the ground but not planting the seeds.    
Please, when you share your faith, make sure you don't share one half without the other.  Walk to walk and be genuine.  With the gospel it's either all or nothing.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Should we "dance" in church?

Mrs. Pastoor sent us an e-mail asking what we thought of dancing in church. Here is what she asked:

" Some people think that dancing in church is a sin. Do you think you can write something about dancing to show that dancing in church is good as long as you are dancing to god praising to him. That would be very wonderful if you did that because that is something that has always confused me."

Below are the responses from several of the authors.

From Matt: 2 Samuel 6:14 says "Then David danced before the Lord with all his might....."

David worshiped the Lord with dancing. We can worship God in song and in dancing. God wants us to give him Glory in everything that we do. If you dance, then you should dance in a way that glorifies God and brings Him honor. If you play the piano, you so pay in such a way that brings honor and glory to God. The same with Football, and anything else.

Dancing to praise God is great, but I would say that it is not appetite to dance in front of everyone in church. You should be aware of what you are doing, too. Some dances are not appropriate or meant to bring glory to God. Exodus 32:19 "So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses' anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain." Lots of dances are made to worship idols, not the one true God.

I would conduct your own bible study on dancing and see what conclusions you come up with.

From Victoria: I think it’s obvious that dancing for the Lord is a positive thing. It’s accounted so many times in Scripture as a legitimate worshiping of our Lord, I think it’s pretty undebatable. Things become less obvious when we start talking about dancing in church. So is dancing in church a sin? The short answer: no I don’t think it’s a sin. Is it wise? That depends. Like everything we do in church from singing, to raising hands, to clapping, to testifying, I believe there’s a time and a place. Church is for the saints, and more specifically for the edification of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:12), so whatever we do in church must be to encourage and lift up our brothers and sisters. Does dancing in praise to God fit that bill?

Before you start dancing in the aisles ask yourself these questions. Am I doing this for Christ and will this edify my church, not causing dissension? If the answer is yes to those, then I believe you are perfectly in the right to rejoice. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1 Corinthians 14:33 I don’t believe dancing in church fits into the “confusion” category of this verse. I think if entered into with discernment and the right heart attitude, rejoicing before the Lord in the house of God can edify your fellow believers and bring much glory to Him.

From Josiah: Just like Matt quoted from the Bible, David did dance to glorify the Lord. He danced along side the ark of the Lord! Now I have mixed feelings about this topic, and hopefully I'll be able to clarify what I mean in the following paragraphs.

First off, glorifying the Lord in anyway, whether by dancing, singing, or praying, is wonderful; however I don't think that we should be a "scene" or make others marvel at what we do. Don't be like those rock stars who draw people's attention to yourself. You are doing it for God, not for man. Keep that in mind.

Second, today's culture in America (not sure about other cultures, but they are probably the same) dancing is a form of drawing closer to someone intimately. If you were dancing on your own in church, then it might be okay, but if your dancing with others then that is probably not okay in a church.

Overall, I would just be careful, don't dance in a church because you want to show off your skills, dance with someone, or be popular; dance because you want to glorify the Lord in what you do best. I wouldn't say that dancing for the Lord has to be done in church, you could do it at home also! :-)

From Matthew: Throughout the Bible and throughout our culture, dancing has been used as a form of expressing joy and having fun. My friends have expressed that in their responses. I do not have the time to go into all of the concepts and topics I would usually like to, but I do want to go into a few things that have not been covered yet.

When I read the question, the words "in church" stick out at me. I am not against dancing as a whole, and usually enjoy doing it. But in church is a different matter entirely. Let's look at 1 Corinthians 14:40.

"Let all things be done decently and in order."

When in church, our affections should be set on the Lord Jesus. When I dance, it is usually at an organized event where everyone dances in sync... to a degree. But if one person is dancing in church and another is singing, etc. That does not seem orderly to me. When worshiping, we worship in order. When we dance, we disturb that worship. That brings me to my second point. Let's look at Romans 14:13.

"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."

When we are in church, it is a place of fellowship with other believers. Though a lot of true Christians disagree on several minor points, we all get along together with the unity and love of Christ. The second part of this verse talks about not being a stumbling block for another. I have several friends who do not believe dancing is something they should do. This falls under a minor point in theology, meaning it is not something that determines Salvation. But we should still be considerate of another's Christians beliefs. If you are dancing in a church where others have convictions against dancing, it can hurt their spiritual walk.

So I would not recommend dancing in church... but dancing as a whole is alright in my opinion.

From Tirzah:
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
Personally I love to dance; I think that to truly dance for Jesus, and Him only, is an incredibly beautiful sight. I believe that certian kinds of dancing, however, are not pleasing to Jesus. Some kinds of cultures only learn certain dances though, so I think that your dance, if it proves to be a stumbling block to others, should be done someplace where it is just between you and God.

"A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;" Ecclesiastes 3:4

Hopefully these responses answered your question Mrs. Pastoor!

God bless!

The Dedicated Christians Team

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Killing the Shame

Something I have seen so many people struggle with, and something I have tasted myself, is guilt. Or rather shame is the correct terminology. The feeling of such utter despair for your sin that you run and hide from God.

That feeling is so painful, replaying that one sin in your mind over and over, beating yourself up for it, mentally, or even physically. Shame, it's a heavy burden to carry, and maybe you're carrying it. What causes this hurtful emotion and what can you do to kill it?

Let's take a hard look at why we feel shame. We sin and that thing inside us, the "c" word (our conscience), lets us know we sinned. So far, so good. We feel guilty because we know sinning is wrong, very wrong. We need to be punished for it. Still on the right track. But then, consciously or not, we throw away God's precious gift, deny HIS punishment in our place, and decide we can do it better. Our sin is too great for God's sacrifice, our own punishment is better. So we fall into shame, the carrying of our own sin, trying to atone in whatever way we can. Denying ourselves, giving to others, cleaning up our act, all right things done for the wrong reasons.

So if you dust it off and really take a look at it, shame is really pride, thinking we can save ourselves, how conceited is that? And that realization could drive us into feeling even worse. We not only carry shame, but now pride as well!? And no amount of good work is going to fix that because we already established trying to atone for our sin is the cause of the problem.

So that's shame, self righteousness. Now for the real question, how do we get rid of it?

The short answer? Lay it at the foot of the cross, along with all your other junk. Jesus can take it, He already paid for it.
The practical, everyday answer? Preach yourself the gospel every day, or whenever you catch yourself beating yourself up about the past. Stick a sword through it. Learn and move on. Trust God will use your sin and weakness for good, and for His glory. Memorize Scripture that assure you of God's gift and your freedom, or write them down on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror.

Whatever you do, just kill it, and not by yourself, let God do it.

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. John 10:28-29
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed. Romans 3:24-25

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Importance of The Lord's Supper

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world." ~ 1 Corinthians 24-32

The Lord's Supper is a very important part of the Christian life. Though it is so important, it still is ignored by most Christians. And the ones that do, still do not understand the full implications of it. I am not an expert by any means, but I want to share with you some of the things our family has learned and practiced over the last several years.

At our church, we practice The Lord's Supper on a weekly basis. I think that most of you who have grown up in a church understand that it is an symbol of Jesus Christ's blood and body and a reminder of His sacrifice on the cross, as He explained to his disciples at the last supper (Matthew 26). If you do not fully understand this, please email us at and we will try our best to explain it.

What I wanted to focus on today are the verses that come after that.

"But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup."

Our family talked about this verse a lot when we were in a house church. Examining yourself means to search your inner being and ask God to reveal your sin to you. Then repent of your sins. Though Matthew 5:23-24 is not specifically talking about The Lord's Supper, the concept still applies.

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

The purpose of this is that you should not partake in The Lord's Supper if you have sin harbored in your heart. If I am angry at my brother, I should not participate in the Lord's supper. Instead, I should refrain from it until I have made up with him. This concept will hopefully become more clear in a moment.

"For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep." (1 Corinthians 11:29-30)

If you are a Christian and have not been reconciled with your brother, you are drinking judgment to yourself. But more importantly, if you are a non-believer, God will judge you for taking of The Lord's Supper. It's not something you do because others are doing it. It is not something you do because you do not think it will hurt you. It is not something you do because you think it will make you look holy. God despises people who take of the cup in an unworthy manner. When Paul uses the words, "Many [of you] sleep," he is using the word sleep as in death. God does judge people that are still alive, and can kill you if He sees fit. Violating his commandment of taking the Lord's supper when you do not trust in Him alone is a huge offense in His eyes.

So, next time you partake in The Lord's Supper, make sure your heart is right and, more importantly, that you know Jesus as your personal Savior. If you do not know Him, I encourage you to get a Bible and read the book of John.