Even as there are some elements of racism in some churches in America, ultimately, it may not be a white and black issue. However, more deeply, it may be an issue of biblical vs unbiblical.
We must stand by God’s Word and not find ourselves compromising just because of our racial reality, preference or family traditions.
We can only find freedom in the truth; if we don’t go after the truth, we will continue to be slaves. We will suffer the worst slavery, a greater horror than the physical and social slavery of our ancestors. That is, the spiritual slavery at the hands of doctrinal heresy that will eventually lead us to hell.
Many of our ancestors were slave, but they were spiritually free. Their prayers can still be heard today. Their prayers gave us freedom and opportunities, but some are choosing slavery over freedom today.
Sunday after Sunday they expose themselves to contaminated messages filled with selfish agendas, carnality, intellectualism, personal attacks, at times, feel good preaching, man-made religion and emotionalism. I encourage you today, be free according to John 8:32.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)
Boy, there is something about the 40s that is humbling, at least for me. As I took a long walk in some nature trails in Fairbanks, Alaska, I started thinking deeply about the men that were and are spiritual leaders in my life.
I have had supervisors in jobs, good spiritual friends, team captains, etc. but the men that I will honor with this article are the men that God used and is using the most in my life as minister.
Before I continue, let me establish that what I am about to do has a strong biblical foundation. Romans 13:7 tells us,
Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (NASB)
The word Render simply means, “To give or to do something necessary in fulfillment of an obligation or expectation.” Out of this definition we gather that Romans 13:7 is not just a recommendation, but also a necessity and, further more, an obligation.
On this article I will only deal with giving honor to whom honor is due. The word Honor is the Greek word τιμή timḗ; meaning, “to pay honor, respect.” First Timothy 5:17 tells us,
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (NASB)
The word Honor here is exactly the same word Honor that we see in Romans 13:7. So I conclude that the men that I am about to honor in this article, by necessity, I have the obligation to give them double honor because they were and are Elders and because they influence me with their preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Based on this strong Biblical foundation I give honor to:
Elder Doug Berrenguer: (http://www.sav-a-child.com/welcome.htm) This is the man God used to bring me to the feet of Jesus. He is an example of humility, service and love for God’s Word.
Apostle José Bosque: (http://jaxchristian.com) With this man I learn to persevere in ministry. I learn a passion for worship and the prophetic flow. Because of this man I got involved in prison ministry and active writing.
Pastor Deon Vanstaden: (https://www.facebook.com/dvanstaden?fref=ts) Pastor Deon is the man God used to ordain me publicly as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Deon is a great example of humility, hard work and service to God’s people.
Pastor Wallace Phillips: (http://carpentersshopchurch.blogspot.com) Pastor Wallace trusted me with pastoring a small Hispanic congregation that later became a bilingual ministry. This man saw me, first hand, in my ups and downs, but never doubted me as a minister. Pastor Wallace always encouraged me to use my gifts for the Lord, especially writing.
Pastor Jonathan Rissmiller: (http://www.abundanthopeonline.com) Perhaps he is the one that found me at my lowest, but even when he did not know me, his love for restoration in my life was evident. Even as we did not totally agree in doctrinal issues, outside of my parents and close family members, nobody has shown me more love that this man.
Pastor Sandy Outlaw: (https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Vision-Ministries-of-Murfreesboro/115102738547996) God used Pastor Sandy Outlaw to give me that second wind. With Pastor Outlaw I saw my full restoration; not only the return to the passion for ministry, but levels that I had never reached before. Pastor Sandy Outlaw is a great example of an uncompromising love for God’s people.
Out of these six men, two are of predominantly Cuban descent, one is African descent, and three are of predominantly Caucasian descent. I pray that this fact be a direct reflection of my multi-cultural heart.
These six men have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in me; nevertheless they have loved me through it all, and for that I will be eternally grateful. I pray to God that one day I can make it in somebody’s list as a man that impacted somebody’s life as you guys did mine.
Crime has a face, an image and is that “thing” that tells others, “watch out, be careful.”
It seems as if it is now fashionable to look like a thug. The problem comes when a person treats another person as if they are one; especially the police. When an officer approaches you and the first thing that comes out of your mouth are “F” bombs and you approach them in an aggressive matter, making threats and all, there is a great possibility that you will get hurt, shot or even killed. It has nothing to do with race!
I have an idea. It’s actually an old school idea…act like you have some sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Martin Luther King fought and died for us to have an opportunity, not for us to be given special treatment. It was a struggle for us to have access to jobs and education. He fought hard for us not to be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. He did not die for us to be in welfare. He did not die for us to be accepted in jobs and colleges just because we were minorities. He fought so that we could have an opportunity to fight and earn those spots.
He did not fight for standards to be lowered so that we were able to get in; He trusted us enough to know that we were qualify for the job, just as much as everybody else. Again, all we just needed was a chance. He did not die for us to kill each other. He did not die for us to destroy communities. He died for us to build them.
The statistics show that our number one killer is not the white man any longer. Oh yes, I know, there was a time when they were killing us left and right; they were our number one killer; but we are putting the current sick racist minds out of business; why? Because now, we are doing a great job in killing ourselves.
“A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally sobering fact, that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans.” (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/04/09/race-wars-part-1-the-shocking-data-on-black-on-black-crime/)
Beloved, 21 of us are killing us daily! Now, let me also say that the statistics are showing that whites are also killing whites. The difference is that they don’t go out stealing and destroying communities and just go crazy when a black person kills one of them; that foolishness is something that we are now, exclusively doing. Who is killing us? Us!
How can we fix this? We must stop listening to Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and all of these liberal civil rights organizations. We must start by making God our Lord; we must start by remembering that it was HIM who got us through some of the toughest times in the history of humanity. We must start by loving and respecting ourselves and each other. Lets stop killing each other, lets stop making excuses, lets start earning things, lets get off welfare, lets start our dependency on God and not on the government and let us work hard, not only to learn how to fish, but let us start owning some lakes, some rivers and some seas. In Jesus Name!
Even before I became a Christian, I was always impressed by the discipline and wisdom I saw in our martial arts heroes on TV and the movies. I was convinced that a martial artist was able to do everything. They look to me like they had some kind of special powers or something. As I became a Christian I recognized that many martial arts styles were filled with spirituality. However, something was lacking, they connected with the wrong source of spirituality.
First Thessalonians 5:23 tells us, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (KJV)
Here Paul is writing to the Thessalonian church, he is informing the saints that he is praying that God sanctify them completely. To be sanctified is to be made holy. When we talk about holiness we are talking about being different from the world, we are talking about being separated for God. We can then expand by saying that God wants us, as Christians, to be holy physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As I write this essay, I realize that perhaps Christian martial arts programs around the world are the only organizations that are able to fulfill this Bible verse. That is because we do our best to influence our students in all aspects, not only physically. Martial arts are designed to help us grow spiritually, mentally and physically. If our martial arts schools are all about stripes, bets and winning trophies in tournaments, we have lost sight of what this is all about. Lets address these three components individually.
I had a friend who used to be a great athlete. He was one of the best volleyball players I have ever seen. Even as he was only 5’ 8”, he jumped so high and moved so fast that his stature was not really an issue. This same young man became a Christian some years later and, not too long after that, he was overweight and completely out of shape. I remember inviting him to play some volleyball and he will always say no, until one day, he quoted a Scripture he used to justify his physical condition and evidently, the physical condition of 90% of the members in our church. He quoted First Timothy 4:8, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (KJV) This man was an Elder in the church now and well respected, so I listened to what he had to say.
One day I decided to really take a closer look at that verse of First Timothy 4:8. Obviously taking care of our soul is more important than any exercise. We can be in great physical shape and be on our way to hell. Physical exercise cannot compare in importance to salvation; that is clear. However, the way this Elder presented the verse was as if it was not important at all to exercise our bodies. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Bible here tells us that it profiteth little, no that it does not profit at all.
Going back to First Thessalonians 5:23, the word body there it directly refers to our own physical body. We then, have a responsibility to take care of our bodies before the Lord. The Bible tells us in First Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (NASV) Taking the condition of our bodies lightly is not Biblical. It is God’s will that we presents ourselves holy, separated for him in this area of ourselves also.
Emotionally (Soul) and Spiritually
The soul is what gives life to the body; if the body looses his soul, the body is dead. In Genesis 2:7 the Bible describe our beginning, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (KJV).
In the soul we have our feelings, emotions, intellect, our minds, decision-making, personality, etc. It is God’s desire that we prosper in all of these aspects of the soul I just numbered. The Apostle John tells us, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2 (KJV)
We can have a great physical condition, but walk around with a troubled soul. God wants us to prosper; He wants for us to be bless and in good health, but He do not want us to leave our souls behind. As a matter fact the Bible tells us that we can gain the whole world, but it will profit nothing if we loose our soul in the process (Matthew 16:23). This Bible verse is telling us that the whole world and what is in it can’t compare to the value of one soul.
Our spirit, on the other hand, is a different matter. Only those who are born again posses a spirit. John 3:3-5 tells us, “3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (KJV)
The spirit is the part of us that willingly cooperates with God; Jesus gave us the following truth regarding our spirits, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (KJV) Our spirit is the deepest part of who we are. Our spirituality or lack there of, will affect our soul. That means that when we neglect our spiritual walk, we will experience very uncomfortable emotions; sadness, regret, despair, depression, anger, etc.
What I am trying to say is that if you take your spiritual life serious, your soul will be strong enough to make the right choices, to read the right books, to avoid what is not Godly, etc. Taking care of your spiritual life will give you a stable mind. On the other hand, if we neglect our spirit man, our soul will be directly affected also.
Our soul and our spirit have a common enemy, the flesh. (Galatians 5:17 / First Peter 2:11) So, lets emphasize in taking care of our spirits as we already establish that is the part of us that is wiling to cooperate with God.
We were not created to die; after the fall of Adam and Eve we were introduced to two different deaths: 1. Physical death: We will all experience this death, with the exception of the rapture generation, and, 2. Spiritual death: This death took place instantly in the lives of Adam and Eve. The spirit in us is activated by the born again experience.
There is one thing that is designed to massively affect our spiritual walk and that is worship. In John 4 Jesus gave us a powerful lesson, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23 (KJV)
Worship is a spiritual matter; if we don’t take care of ourselves spiritually we will end up worshipping other things; that is call the sin of idolatry. That is the sin that destroyed Israel and caused their captivity.
David committed many sins, but God still said of David that he was a man after God’s heart. God did not say that of Solomon; Why? Solomon actually worshipped other gods (I King 11:4), David never did; he had a heart after God, but he still had a flesh that when against God’s Spirit. That is the struggle that we all have according to Galatians 5.
We most take care of our spirits; it is from the spirit that our worship flows. Just like physically we need to be careful with what we allow in, we must be, especially careful, with what we allow ourselves to be exposed to spiritually.
In conclusion, the issue of holiness is more than just going to church, participating in a few Bible studies, getting involved in a few ministries and so on. We can do all of these wonderful things and still be emotionally unstable. James 1:8 tells us, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (KJV) This is the reason why many times our testimony is so horrible among the lost, because, even as we identify ourselves as Christians, our double mindedness make us people that nobody can count on. This is the part that reflects our emotional instability. I will go as far to say that the emotions we reflect are perhaps our best witnessing tool.
If we are always speaking negatively, gossiping and walking around depressed or if we are people that stand for nothing, we are no different from the world. This means that we are not holy; we are not separated for God.
We also have to be careful that physically we don’t find ourselves unable to function. As Christians we are not called to be lazy, we are called to work six days out of the week. If you are always tired, you do the minimum in your job and come home to seat on the couch and watch TV until you go to sleep, you are not holy in that area either.
Lastly, we must be diligent in not infecting ourselves with the things of this world that are designed to steal our spirits through the worship of other things. The world has a system that is designed to worship Satan, who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is impossible to worship God when we are friends with this world system. The Bible actually tells us, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4 (KJV)
Unity in the Church can only take place under the umbrella of God’s Word and the recognition that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation and the only way to find reconciliation with the Father. True unity in the Body of Christ cannot take place by disregarding Sound Doctrine.
Sound doctrine is not the opinions of men, but the description of God’s character, the functioning foundations of the church and the absolute guidance concerning our way of living. Sound and perfect doctrine is what the original apostles gave us; even as they were not perfect themselves; but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they gave us sound doctrine.
Whether you believe that Jesus will return before, during or after the great tribulation, I can still be in unity with you. However, if you deny His return or if you start giving dates for His return or if you believe we are already in the millennium, I won’t be in unity with you.
If you believe that there is another way to salvation other than Jesus, I will not be in unity with you. If you believe in the baptism of babies, if you pray to any other god other than my God Jehovah and, if you pray in any other name other than the Name of Jesus, I won’t be in unity with you.
If you add and/or take from God’s Word, you are cursed and I will not stand in unity with you (Revelation 22:19). If you do not consider the Bible the only divinely inspired word of truth by God and believe in any other books to be equally divine to the Bible, I will not stand on unity with you. It is all heresy!
If you call sin, good and good, sin or both; even after the Word clearly establishes what is what, you are promoting the devils agenda and I will not be in unity with you.
We can disagree in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and how it comes about, however, if you don’t believe in the Spirit I won’t have unity with you. You may believe that you receive it all with the born again experience, I can still have unity with you and a respectful disagreement, but if you totally close your life away from the Holy Spirit and the crucial ministry He has to offer, we probably can’t work in unity.
If you call yourself a Christian, and after clearly presenting the solution to any particular issue according to the Bible, you still have a “but,” and insist in pushing your agenda and desires, I will not be in unity with you.
You can congregate in a home with a few families or in a twenty million dollar building; I will still be in unity with you. However, if you, calling yourself a Christian, do not congregate nor see the need to do so, I can’t be in unity with you.
You get the point! Understand that there are things that are non-negotiable. I know people make mistakes; they misinterpret something or were not properly discipled; however, there are also false prophets and teachers; with them I will not be in unity.
The death of Robin Williams is another example of how extreme, cruel and bloody this fight is.
Here is a man who seemed so happy. One of the best actors of our time; perhaps the best comedian ever. However, it was all a mask. In his secret place he was struggling with a severe depression. How can that be? All the money and all the fame! But we fail to understand that our hearts will always be empty without Christ.
I felt the death of this man and it reminded me that we are in a war to win the souls of men. We are not on this earth to change the world; the world will never change for the good; it will indeed get worst.
We are here to announce God’s Kingdom and to bring people into the knowledge and the righteousness of God. We are here to communicate to the world that God’s ways are indescribably, better than ours.
Beloved, while we prepare for our Sunday shows, while we fight among each other, while we insist in our selfish agendas, while we insist in feeding un-forgiveness, the white thing, the black thing, the Latino thing and, while we pursue degrees and titles, people are not waiting for their natural death, they are rushing into death by taking their own lives.
Let’s focus on Jesus, let’s pursue His breaking joke anointing and, let’s stop trying to change the world, but work on our own world, until our world looks exactly like God’s kingdom.
Let’s love each other so that world be able to recognize us as sons and daughters of God. For God’s judgment start with us!