What is a Professional Christian?

A professional Christian is a professed believer in Jesus Christ
who has traded form for substance, inward faith for outward image,
and passion for polished professional religion.

The professional Christian can speak Christianese fluently,
such as Amen, Bless God, and Praise the Lord,
no matter what the state of their heart.
Jesus spoke to broken hearts.

The professional Christian maintains a cool collective demeanor
except when at certain well rehearsed placed in church services,
he smiles, laughs, or shouts “Amen” as if on autopilot.
Jesus wept.

The professional Christian tithes to the exact tenth of his increase
and then binds God to bless him “or else.”
Jesus gave freely.

The professional Christian will send a check to help the poor and needy
but not go himself – it’s not his ministry.
Jesus lovingly touched unclean lepers with His bare hand.

The professional Christian avoids the appearances of evil
lest “God’s” image be tarnished.
Jesus let prostitutes weep at His feet
and was known for being a friend to sinners.

The professional Christian pursues movements
and well known ministries coveting the title “ministry partner.”
Jesus pursued lost sheep.

The professional Christian sees tragedy strike
and knows with a shaking head that God’s judgments are just.
Jesus was moved with compassion.

The professional Christian has a certain religious look, hair, and confident swagger
– after all, King’s kids should have the best of everything.
Jesus hung naked and unashamed before the world.

The professional Christian makes church clubs
where anyone meeting their social, economic,
and educational standard are welcome.
Jesus promised that His Father would freely give
His kingdom to anyone who believed in Him.

The professional Christian loves other professionals
and greets them at church services with big bear hugs,
provided they aren’t too annoying, don’t sing off key,
and use generous amounts of deodorant.
Jesus loved the hurting outcasts who had no proper place to bathe.

The professional Christian drives the latest car, wears the latest fashions,
and the best watch. I mean, Jesus already paid the price of sacrifice already, right?
Jesus usually walked, lost his clothes to gambling soldiers,
and well, songwriter Ray Stevens answered the watch dilemma – no Rolex.

The professional Christian can quote every prosperity verse in the Bible,
unencumbered by context and condition.
Jesus knew the moment by moment heart of the Father.

The professional Christian has the formulas down:
the seven steps to great sex in marriage,
the three keys to victory,
the nine reasons God wants him rich.
Jesus retreated to solitary places
and often spent whole nights in prayer to know the Father’s will.

The professional Christian loves the world,
the things of the world, and wants the world to love him, too.
He calls it, “Covenant Blessing.”
Jesus calls it compromise.

The professional Christian has a form of godliness
but denies the power of it.
Jesus will tell him, “Depart, for I never knew you.”

May God deliver us from our willing love of darkness
so that godly sorrow will work true repentance into our hearts.
May we love the Light of the world as He reproves
and exposes corruption in us calling us to a new life
and sweet freedom in Christ.

Bryan Hupperts, a former professional Christian
(with Thanks to Dr. Harvey Brown – Evangelist of Impact Ministries)

 

 


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10 Questions to Ask of Sunday Worship

Bob Kauflin, worship leader for Covenant Life Church, has compiled a checklist for Sunday worship services. The worship leaders ask these questions in preparation for Sunday and as a way of evaluating their work. Would that more churches ask these kinds of questions of their worship!

1. Is our Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross clearly and repeatedly presented through song lyrics and exhortations as central to our worship and the means by which we approach God?

2. Is it evident to the church and guests that all we do is rooted in Scripture and in response to Scripture?

3. Do we devote sufficient time to preparation and practice prior to Sunday, and encouragement and evaluation after Sunday?

4. Is there a recognizable theme for our corporate worship which is clearly communicated and grounded in objective truth about God?

5. Are we listening for and responsive to the spontaneous direction of the Holy Spirit during corporate worship?

6. Do our spoken and musical transitions serve to connect different elements of corporate worship in a natural and meaningful way?

7. Has our song selection and presentation become predictable? Does our song repertoire reflect songs of different styles, emphases, and lengths?

8. Are the pastors and worship team an example to the church of passionate, expressive, and responsive worship?

9. Are we aware of and appropriately sensitive to guests who may not be familiar with our terminology, style and practice?

10. Does our description and expression of corporate worship reinforce the understanding that it complements, rather than replaces, a lifestyle of worship?

for more reads from the author click WORSHIP MATTERS
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Lent or No Lent, Life is War

 

by John Piper | February 25, 2012

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Lent or no Lent, not doing some things you feel like doing is the daily pattern for the disciples of Jesus. Yes, daily. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

In the resurrection there will be no self-denial because none of our desires will be sinful or foolish. Till then we have sinful and foolish desires daily. Hence, “Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.”

What Paul Says

This is so essential in Christian living that Paul made it part of his one-time sermon to Felix (“he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment,” Acts 24:25); he made it part of the fruit of the Spirit (“faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” Galatians 5:23); he made it part of the qualifications for overseers (“self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined,” Titus 1:8).

And he gave us a taste of the sort of thing he meant: “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry” (1 Corinthians 7:9). So he means there are times for denying some of the desires we have for sex.

It’s the sort of thing that athletes do. “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Paul had very little trust in the desires his body threw at him daily: “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). That’s an innocuous translation. Literally: “I give my body a black eye (hupopiazō) and make it a slave (doulagōgō).”

The Christian Experience

This is normal, daily, Christian warfare. Only saints delight in the law of God at their depths. Here is how they talk: “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind” (Romans 7:21–23).

A war indeed. Daily. “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17).

And make no mistake, sexual desires are not our most deadly desires that need daily denial. Anger, resentment, fear of man, discouragement (yes), self-pity, self-promotion, hardness, envy, moodiness, sulking, indifference to suffering, laziness, boredom, passiveness, lack of praise, lack of joy in Jesus, disinterest in others, etc. These need daily killing (Romans 8:13).

Is this Christian Hedonism? Yes. Why does Paul live like a self-disciplined athlete? Simple: Greater joy. “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

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Recent posts from John Piper —

Topic: Sanctification & Growth

John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN) and the founder of Desiring God.

 

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The Mystery of the Gospel of Christ to the Faithful at Ephesus

We have just finished the seminar at Don Bosco  on a Biblical workshop on Ephesians. It was a great and encouraging time for us to look into the bible. exploring God’s grace and work on the faithful ones at Ephesus. One person said from the time it was announced in my church I had been looking forward for it.  another said, I just loved the fact that we explored from the whole bible. so over all it was the best event in Bangalore. How come it was the best event of the season in Bangalore, when the number was less than last time?

If our curches have to rejoice, then its on events like these. Where one grows a passion for studying God’s word. Exploring scriptures for them selves. But why is this a challange for Christians in the City of Bangalore?

I spoke to one of the “Most Prominent leader” in Bangalore and this is what he said, “it starts with the love for God’ Word that is the Bible, but it is hard and difficult to work our way through it, it takes time, more than our quiet time. But the best part is that it is the BEST option for us as leaders, teachers (incl. Sundays School), preachers and laymen in other words Christians and once proclaimed it will pay off.”

I am reminded of the words of  in Ezekiel 3:1-3 [3:1] And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” [2] So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. [3] And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

This comes during a time of the exiles but the commission and call is to speak to the rebellious house. But when we read the words spoken, it encourages us. The words of mourning are not bitter, as one would expect, but sweet as honey. Ezekiel has taken a first step in obedience to the Lord.                                                                                                                                       My I take this time to encourage us, to read and grow in the love for God’s word.                where God’s word is faithfully read, taught, preached, God’s voice is clearly heard.

Sangster Sukumar

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The World My Parish

Dating back into History, we come across a famous anglican preacher named John Wesley. After his missionary journies from America, When he started to preach the gospel message in his Church or his parish, the committee suggested him not to do so. His reply was “should i listen to God or Man”.

John Wesley, eventually goes out and stands on his fathers grave and preaches from there. His world had become his Parish.

Church Planting

Does the world become our parish? a question that we can ask every Christian/ believer. But most of all ask our selves, do we really believe that we as individual can plant churches?

are we scared of the hindrances and back off?

What are we scared of?

a thought that can linger in our hearts till it starts to burn.

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Why Inception?

It has been a long time desire and a vision for me to bring churches in the State together. its not a movement to work towards unity of churches, though it would be. But an opportunity for us to come together in learning from one another and studying from the Bible. Not an academic training, but to encourage and train every member of the church in biblical exposition, also train leaders in Christ centred preaching.

A reminder verse:
[3] I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, [4] always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, [5] because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
(Philippians 1:3-5 ESV)

The pursuit is not to climb the ladder of hierarchy but to work on one platform (the Word of God)

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