The Truth Will Set You Free…

So many people will say the truth will set you free but what they mean is if you will simply be honest with yourself you will be free to live however you wish. Even those people who are sinning in the most blatant ways will misuse this passage to excuse their lifestyle. That is not at all what Jesus meant.

“The truth will set you free.”  That is one of the most misused and misunderstood passages in the whole Bible.  It is a statement so often taken out of context that its true meaning has been masked.  It’s a shame because this is one of the most powerful scriptures in the whole Bible.

So many people will say the truth will set you free but what they mean is if you will simply be honest with yourself you will be free to live however you wish.  Even those people who are sinning in the most blatant ways will misuse this passage to excuse their lifestyle.  That is not at all what Jesus meant.

The truth will set you free, but only the actual authentic truth has that kind of power.  What if you are trusting in some sort of false hope?  How can anything that is not truth accomplish in you what only the truth can?  You see, if we continue to accept something less than the real truth in our lives how can we expect to get the real change that only the truth can bring?  It reminds me of the passage in 2nd Timothy 3 where it says:

But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.

Repudiate means: to reject as having no authority or binding force.  You see, they have some kind of outward appearance that suggests religion but have denied that there is any power there to make real change.  If they deny the power, or the central truth behind it, then what do they expect?

There is a deception out there, and it is growing.  It is like the powerful delusion spoken of in 2nd Thessalonians 2.  Why?  Because men would not love the truth and instead embraced a lie.  So God will give them over to a lie, and they will love the lie and hate the truth.  But what is the true truth?

When Jesus said in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” what truth was He talking about.  Fortunately He tells us later in John 14:6 when he said “… I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  He is the way.  He is the truth.  He is the life.  I just don’t know how He could make it any clearer.  But what is the problem that He is offering to set us free from?

Sin is standing between you and God, a barrier that prevents you from being able to come to God.  In all honesty, if the experience in Isaiah 6 is any indication, you wouldn’t want to come face to face with God in your sinful condition.  Isaiah is undone before the Holy God, he realizes that he is unfit and destroyed, his lips stained with sin.  God actually separates us from Himself because we simply couldn’t take His glory while we are corrupted.  Jesus is the sacrifice that pays for your transgression and makes you clean, acceptable to come before God.  Not that you stop doing wrong and are instantly made sinless, but by acknowledging your sin and accepting the sacrifice of Christ you will be declared righteous, and when you die you will be resurrected into a new body, no longer subject to sin, and death, and separation from God.

There are false teachers out there who will tell you everything is fine.  You are alright.  God is love.  Jesus would never send anyone to Hell.  My friends, the truth is that Jesus doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we do that on our own.  How?  By rejecting the offer, the amazing offer that He has made us, purchased by his own blood.  He will forgive us, cleanse us, change us, take us forward and continue to work in us until He completes this work in us.

“But Jesus IS love, He wouldn’t send me to Hell, would He?” someone may ask.  Let’s think about this for a minute.

Imagine if you were in need of a kidney.  You were on dialysis and heading for an early grave.  But I heard about your need as as it happens I am a perfect match.  I go into surgery and give up one of my kidneys.  It is now on ice in a little red cross ice chest waiting for you to come to the hospital and get into surgery.  But you say no?!  What am I to do?  How am I to feel?  Can you be healed without a kidney?  No!  There is no healing without a kidney.  But you have rejected my gift?  You say you want to use positive thinking and crystals to grow a replacement kidney for yourself.

Now I don’t mean to impose my pettiness upon Christ, He is superior to me in every way.  His resentment is not the same as mine.  I am flesh and He is God.  Yet, His sacrifice for your salvation was vastly more costly than my hypothetical kidney would be.  There is no healing for you apart from Him.  He gave up His life for you… will you say no?!  What do you think you can find apart from Him to give you salvation.  You have a need.  He is the fulfillment of your need.  You have a problem.  He is the solution to your problem.  You have a disease.  He is the cure for your sin.  There is no other.  In John 6:68 & 69 when Jesus asked His disciples if they wanted to leave Him Peter answers, “… to whom would we go?  You [alone] have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!”

The Holy One of God is the Hebrew way of saying, Jesus was the Savior that had been promised from the beginning.  He was the Messiah who was to come.  He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.  Jesus himself said in John 5:39 & 40, “You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.”  The whole Bible is a testimony about Jesus and if you come to Him you will have life.  He is the truth that will set you free.  Will you accept His offer and let Him set you free?

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Don’t Blame Jesus Podcast has finally launched.

…we thought it was a perfect time to go ahead and make a podcast. We hope you like it and in some small way are blessed by it.

Rich dropped by the office on his way home so we thought it was a perfect time to go ahead and make a podcast.  We hope you like it and in some small way are blessed by it.  In the podcast we mention the contact email for the show so you can send us feedback, questions, even a short recorded audio file.  Who knows, we might use it in the show.  Email us at show (at) dontblamejesus (dot) com.  (You are smart enough to figure out how to email us with that address but spam bots are not. :)

 

Eventually I will figure out how to post an official subscription link for your podcast aggregator and will get the feed active in iTunes, but for now if you know how to paste a feed URL into iTunes the link is here.  You’ll have to right click (control click on a Mac) to copy the link.

Example of iTunes Advanced Menu Items

 

Open iTunes on your computer and go to the Advanced menu and select Subscribe To Podcast…  Paste in the link you copied, hit return and you are good to go.  As an alternative you can just use the player in the post or download it using the link.

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A child dreaming of death.

Even as a child I knew that death was an inevitable conclusion to my life…

I grew up in Southern California in a non-religious family. It’s not that we hated God or anything, we just didn’t think about that sort of thing. But even as a child, deep in my heart I knew there was something more than just living day-to-day and getting by. I had a recurring dream that haunted me my entire childhood, from my very earliest memory.

In this dream I began at whatever age I was currently. I found myself moving down what I can only describe as a tunnel of my life where I would watch myself experience typical activities, going to school, eating dinner and so forth. Then as the dream began to accelerate I would see scenes of myself getting older. I didn’t see faces from my future I just had a sense of who people were and what they were doing. I would graduate high school, then college; I saw myself get married, then having children. Later I saw myself in a successful career and vacations. Then, soon after, I saw myself with grandchildren on my knee. Then as the dream reached a fevered pitch I would slam into a wall that I knew was death, and awake with a start. Even as a child I knew that death was an inevitable conclusion to my life and it was with defeat and despair that I wept into my pillow.

As my mother began attending a community church my sister and I went along. My dad just really wasn’t interested at the time so we three went alone. It was there at Knott Avenue Christian Church that I first heard about God and His plan of salvation. It was there that I first learned about Jesus and how he died to pay for my sins. I slowly started to understand that God was really interested in me and that He had a plan to deal with my overwhelming fear of death. As I put my trust in Him I began to experience peace. Peace about my future, peace about my relationship to God, peace about my whole life. Eventually, even my dreams began to change.

It was many years later and I was having the same dream once again. Every thing was the same. The dream accelerated through all the phases of my life, rapidly approaching the wall of death that I had so often faced with dread. But this time the dream ended differently… pleasantly. Instead of merely hitting the wall and awaking startled and afraid, this time I passed through the wall as if it weren’t even there and found myself floating in the brilliant presence of the glorified Christ. The relief and peace I felt are beyond description. My heart began to swell with joy as I gently awoke with a broad smile on my face. Ever since, I have never had the dream again. Jesus has freed me from my fears and given me the assurance that I will be with Him forever.

If you want to know how to be saved from your sin and know you will go to heaven when you die my friend Mike Parrott has a simple outline and a video on his website.

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The NET Bible

I had originally intended to put this as a post script at the end of the first welcome post but I’m afraid it will get lost down there so I have decided to put it here instead.

I have chosen to use the Net Bible as the linked to and quoted reference on this site.  The reason is that it has a forward thinking copyright policy that allows it to be freely used in ministry on the internet.  From their site…

Bible.org’s ministry objective is to be used by God to mature Christians worldwide. To accomplish this we needed to quote a modern Bible translation in the production of thousands of trustworthy Bible Study resources that could be offered on the Internet for free. We predicted in 1995 that the number of Bible verses quoted in these studies would soon surpass available legal permission limits. We tried for a year, but could not obtain the necessary permissions. Lack of a legal ability to quote the Bible online makes online Bible studies impossible and threatened bible.org’s “Ministry First” model. Quite simply the only way we could secure permission to quote a modern Bible was to sponsor a new translation – the NET Bible. We now want to ensure that other ministries and authors don’t experience the same roadblocks. The NET Bible is not just for bible.org, but for everyone. (source)

It saddens me greatly that there are versions of the Bible with copyright so strict that it would prevent ministry from taking place.  In fact, when I did the album art for my friend Jolene for her new new project we had to put a huge copyright line on the inserts to clear usage of the NIV scripture she quoted.  That really bothered me.  Restricting scripture like that seems wrong.  Bible.org seems to have a much more balanced methodology, allowing ministry to take place freely but restricting exclusively commercial uses.  Quoting a Bible verse on a CD case shouldn’t be as big of a hassle as the NIV makes it.

Some of the cool things that I love about the Net Bible are…

I especially like the daily Bible reading page.  I set it up as my first bookmark every day when I get to the office so I get the important stuff first.  I find it truly helpful to be presented with the scripture first thing every morning.

As far as the reference materials, there is a study dictionary, study maps, word study and sermon illustrations.  And so as not to discriminate, in its older incarnation it included the Apocrypha to provide functionality to our Catholic brothers and sisters.

If you ever thought that you start reading the Bible again (or for the first time) give The Net Bible a shot.  The daily bible reading is still in the Old Testament book of Hosea so if you are new to the Bible you should probably think about starting in Luke and continuing in Acts.  Both of those books in the New Testament were written by perhaps the most intelligent Apostle, the physician Luke.  Both of these books are written as an eye witness account for his friend and young believer Theophilus, kind of like a history of the Church part 1 and part 2.  There is no better place to start.

I hope this is an encouragement to you to take a look into the Bible.  One thing, if you come to the Bible with a sincere heart, and give God permission to speak to you through it, He will.

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Coming up short?

Our local AF2 team, the Spokane Shock went to the Arena Cup for the second time in their three-season history.  This year, hosting of the Cup was awarded to the team with the best record so we got to have the championship game in our sold out home stadium.  What a crowd!  Ten thousand six hundred fans screaming their guts out for the number 1 Spokane Shock, it was incredible… except for the fact that we lost by 1 point in overtime.  I was dejected.

Now you have to understand that I am very invested in the Shock.  My dad had the incredible good fortune to get three season tickets in the front row of the center section, really some of the best seats in the house.  Plus, I did the audio editing for a lot of the in-game audio including a crafty edit in my own voice that turned Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ into ‘We Will Shock You.’  Not only that but my brother-in-law and I did all of the ribbon board graphics and much of the promo video, and we often do other projects with the voice of the Shock, Dave Mason.

During these first 3 seasons of the Spokane Shock I have only missed 1 home game, and that was only so I could go to one of my friends’ 40th birthday party.  When the Shock went to and won the Arena Cup in their inaugural season it was held in Puerto Rico so I couldn’t attend.  I was disappointed but glad that they won.  Imagine my excitement when the league announced that they were awarding the Arena Cup hosting to the team with the best record.  I was elated to have the opportunity to watch the Shock win the Arena Cup from the front row of our home field… except they didn’t win.

So there I was, lying in bed at 12:30 in the morning tossing and turning with regret over the win that got away from us.  Ears still ringing from the overwhelming noise I just couldn’t help but think ‘What If?’  What if we would have stopped the clock on the last play of the second half?  What if we hadn’t gone for it on 4th and 10?  I just couldn’t believe it, to come so close and fail by 1 point?  I was beside myself.  I kept lying on one side then the other trying desperately to forget this hurt, to forget this disappointment.  I just need to go to sleep and everything will be OK in the morning.  But my head was pounding, there was a sorrow and a rage that I just couldn’t shake.  How could this happen?  How could we get so close and lose heart?  How could we do great all season and lose the game when everything is on the line, in front of the home crowd?

Then like water cooling the fires of self-pity I heard the Lord say to me, “This is how I feel toward the lost all the time.  With time running short and the souls of so many on the line how is it that our team is coming up short?  The love of many is growing cold and they aren’t giving it their all.  Who will stand up, stop thinking of themselves and look to the harvest?  Who will defend my Name against those who mock and accuse and against those who wear my name in an unworthy manner?  Who will speak the truth?”

“I will,” I whispered. “I will.”

“Hurry,” He encouraged, “there isn’t much time.”

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Giving up control

Yesterday, my pastor gave another great sermon. It’s kind of unfair really, to be at Calvary Chapel of Spokane. I get amazing sermons every week. I’m spoiled…

Yesterday, my pastor gave another great sermon. It’s kind of unfair really, to be at Calvary Chapel of Spokane. I get amazing sermons every week. I’m spoiled… in a good way. Anyway, this sermon dealt with godliness and maturity in Christ. So you can track with me here is the audio from yesterday and here are the sermon notes. (Right click and ‘save as’ to hear and view the files.)

I paraphrased K.P. Yohannan last post and am going to do so again. My pastor quoted from K.P.’s new book and I think it is insightful.
“Unfortunately many Christians, even after decades of knowing the Lord, still remain shallow and carnal…. They have not really touched godliness. The reason is that they are still in control of “their lives” and God cannot mold them, for they are not like clay in the potter’s hand. Instead, they fight to save their lives, and in the end they lose them.” K.P. Yohannan

Pastor Ken went on to talk about how a certain member of the congregation has struggled financially for years and years and finally got fed up and went before the Lord for three days until he got his answer. He asked God, “Why won’t you bless me?” and God said, “Because you won’t let me.”

I am having a really hard time with this right now in my own life. I am constantly asking myself, God is this path from you or am I doing it on my own again? I want so badly to hear from God and in some small ways I believe I have. As I am transitioning from a steady full-time job to freelance media work I am being worked over regarding trust and I have come to the conclusion that God has indeed spurred me on to this path. Now the battle of faith forces me to constantly be on my knees trusting God. I know in my head that I can trust Him, I always have known that. It is another thing entirely to be relying on His provision for your paycheck. I have never had to live that way. It is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Some times I am scared, some times I am at peace, but at all times I am safe. The trick, I am finding, is to bring my emotions into line with the reality of the situation.

As K.P. said, to release control of my life to God is what is necessary. I pray that God will give me the faith to trust Him. “I believe, God help my unbelief.”

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A blog to change the world…

… the actions and attitudes of sinful humans should not be taken as the only representation of Jesus Christ in this world.

well, at least a tiny part of the world.  The purpose of this blog is to remind both Christians and non-Christians that the actions and attitudes of sinful humans should not be taken as the only representation of Jesus Christ in this world.  Jesus saves sinners, He forgives them of their sins, He changes them… sometimes really slowly… so don’t get impatient.

My name is Ken.  Together, my buddy Rich and I will do our very best to present a real version of what true faith is all about.  We want to serve as encouragement both to the body of Christ and those who have no relationship with God.  Whether you believe in Christ or think it is all a bunch of bunk, we want you to know that Jesus is much more deserving of your respect than the followers that bear His name.  ”Hypocrites,” you charge, “the church is full of hypocrites.”  I agree.  In fact, the scriptures make it quite plain that every Christian is nothing more than a sinner who is forgiven.  Of course, God loves us enough to not leave us that way, and slowly transforms us as we give Him room.  Give Him room…  I think we’ve found the issue.  Unfortunately there are many people who are Christian in name only and are as dead on the inside as ever.  Jesus even said that not everyone who merely calls him Lord will enter heaven.

K.P. Yohannan relayed an interesting story.  I’ll have to paraphrase since I can’t find the source at the moment.  It goes like this; A man left his home to go to work.  While he was away a thief broke in and took the man’s hat and coat.  The thief then went to the nearby store and robbed the store owner.  After the robber had left, the store owner called the police and reported the robbery.  He told the police about the clothes the thief was wearing, the hat and coat.  One of the police men recognized them from the description and confronted the man to whom the coat and hat belonged.  ”But I have been at work all day.” he protested, “I would never rob a store.  Honestly, you have to believe me.”

For non-Christians I hope the point of the story is obvious, just because someone is wearing the identity of Jesus in an unworthy manner, doesn’t mean that they truly represent Him.  My friends, please don’t let the actions of any person dissuade you from considering the claims of Jesus Christ.  What a disservice you would do to yourself to simply reject Jesus based on the actions of someone who may or may not know Him.

For Christians there is a meaning as well.  The scriptures warn us that in the last days the love of many would grow cold.  I say this because I have found myself guilty as well.  Brothers and sisters, let us not grow weary in doing what the Lord requires of us.  As He said, we will know we have life because we love our fellow believers.

Rich and I love God and are committed to loving people and presenting them with an honest picture of faith, salvation and the church.  We hope you will enjoy reading these thoughts and that our ramblings will encourage the body of Christ and entice those who don’t know God.

Our goal is to create a podcast where we can talk about these issues, answer questions from believers and non-believers alike and encourage everyone.  Life is hard, and the life of faith is even harder, but with the life changing power of God we can make it through.

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