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44 Comments

  1. Pat Travis
    12 May 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    Cindy,

    Is Jesus since his asension our king-priest? I saw no mention of his kingship on the throne.(i.e. Heb.1:3,8)

  2. Pat Travis
    17 May 2011 @ 3:29 am

    DoctorF…Jesus is our king-priest and He intercedes and judges from the throne…nothing RCC about it…No priest on earth but only our king-priest on the throne in heaven. You also speak of a spiteful father, how so? He gave His only begotten Son who willingly layed down His life for the purpose that whosoever beleives in Him may not perish and BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S WILLING DEATH GOD/CHRIST CAN BE JUST AND THE JUSTIFIER Of those who trust in Christ as an atonemnt for sin. Please give your scriptural reasons to disagree.

  3. Bill Garber
    18 May 2011 @ 4:26 am

    The texts cited for Jesus our Example seem unrelated to the example concept, let alone the stopping sinning part that follows along in #4 … so is there a difference between stopping sinning and never having sinned? Metaphors being other than reality, they are instructive just the same … I’m pretty sure the alcoholic will affirm that stopping drinking is vastly more challenging than resisting the first drink … perhaps Jesus had this in mind when he affirmed that experiencing the kingdom of God requires that the person ‘be born again’ … not that the person try harder, overcome, or in any other way make of ourselves what we are not … the Spirit makes of us what we not only are not, but what we have no part in … “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:6 How is aspiring to overcome different from aspiring to avoid the rebirth? … as to friend, Jesus was here, left, and promised to return for us. In the mean time, he is not with us and cannot communicate with us. Like the faith heroes of old, we are left to live by faith. I sense faith and friendship never overlap in the least.

  4. Pat Travis
    18 May 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Bill,

    You ask some valid questions. I would ask Cindy where this/her comment can be biblically supported,”While on earth, Jesus conquered sin using the same power that is available to us through faith in Him.”

    Which of us was conceived of the Holy Spirit? Who of us since the birth of Adam and Christ has any been without any “disposition” to sin?

    Christ is the second Adam and was tempted as such without sin and a fall. The Spirit of Christ/HS dwells in the believer to us as a promise upon receiving Christ… we who formally were dead in sins and hostile to God.

    Our battle of the “spirit vs.the fleshly nature” is constant till this mortal takes on immortality. Christ is that “holy thing” the second Adam who had no fleshly nature or disposition to sin and that does not require a “sinless Mary” but the indwelling Spirit from birth.

    Christ is “our example” but not our “prototype.”

    regards,
    pat

  5. Trevor Hammond
    19 May 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    There was a Time magazine a few years ago which had an article about a computerised image depicting the face of what an ordinary Palestinian man would have looked like and suggested that Jesus would have probably looked like that.

    The picture was very different from what the regular artists impressions of Jesus were like and I must confess that I was quite upset by the striking rugged features of the computer drawn face on the cover of Time. I thought it was insulting to say the least and was angry that people could even suggest something like this. Then it dawned on me…

    It was then that I realised that it did not matter whether Jesus had a receding hairline; was rugged looking; had straight or curly hair; tall or short; thin or burly; or even black or white for that matter; but that it was He who was the Annointed One who paid the price for my sins with His Precious Blood on Calvary. That was what mattered most. It was about who He was and the unconditional Love He showed, even to die on the Cross.

    Yeah, who is this Jesus?
    [MT 8:27] The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” [NLT]

    T

  6. Pat Travis
    19 May 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    Donnie,

    Indeed Repentance is due to the goodness of Christ’s/Father’s Grace towards us. I suggest we would never seek Him unless prompted of the HS and thus recognize our need of grace which follows also a recognition of our sinfulness. This is why “repentance” is a necessary condition of the “means of receiving” grace, I suggest, because it recognizes our need of unmerited favor…and yes this attitude of the true beleiver extends until the end of life or the second coming. The “condemnation/judgment” remains on those who refuse to recognize their need and fear that their sins will be pointed out.Jn.3:18-20.

    I won’t bother you again with this…just thought I would say high to someone I knew from Atlanta some 60 years ago…perhaps you are not that Don/Donnie.

    regards,
    pat

  7. Pat Travis
    21 May 2011 @ 10:54 am

    DoctorDoctor.give me the news…(As the 70’s song says) :>)

    You say, >>But, then again I have more moral fiber than the God of the bible.<< Interesting

  8. William Noel
    23 May 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    Cindy,
    That was a good review of facts. But facts only tell you about the person. Meeting them can be quite a different thing. I learned this doing celebrity interviews for magazine articles. Often the persona I expected based on a review of their biography and materials sent by their publicist contrasted greatly with the real personality that I met.
    We talk about meeting Jesus. But, is Jesus who we should be trying to meet? After all, Jesus instructed his followers to seek the Holy Spirit, who would be our abiding source of guidance and power. When people asked Jesus to show them the Father, he asked how they could be asking that question after spending so much time with him, because he and the father were one. Let’s not leave the Holy Spirit out of that picture because he is the abiding presence of God, not just with us, but IN us.
    Any discussion about knowing Jesus is limited to mere knowledge where a person’s primary relationship with God excludes the Holy Spirit. Fortunately, God love us so much that he is willing to overlook when we fail to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives and credit that work to a relationship with Jesus instead.

  9. Elaine Nelson
    23 May 2011 @ 6:23 pm

    Nowhere in the Bible is their a reference to “personal relationship with Jesus.” It is a rather recent origin.

  10. Kevin Riley
    25 May 2011 @ 12:20 am

    Would you call the relationship that Abraham, Moses, et al, had with God ‘impersonal’? Not that I believe their relationship was the same as what many today mean when they seek a ‘personal relationship’ with God, but perhaps we should pay as much attention to what we can observe in Scripture as we do to the actual words.

    • William Noel
      26 May 2011 @ 1:26 pm

      I suggest that you do a word study to see how many times the Holy Spirit appears through the entire Bible. When I did that, I discovered the overlooked third member of the Trinity was the most active and the God most likely to be encountered. So, no, I would not suggest that Abraham, Moses or any of the other patriarchs had an impersonal relationship with God. Looking at what they did and how God worked in their lives it is obvious that God was with them and in them. The part I find exciting is that we are offered that same intimacy with God we call the Holy Spirit.
      Unfortunately, Adventists have reduced the concept of the Holy Spirit to a mysterious and invisible divine force that only appears at the start of a public evangelistic crusade and sticks around just long enough to push people into the baptistry before disappearing as mysteriously and invisibly as it arrived. Imagine what a spiritual revolution would come in the church if we embraced the Holy Spirit as the God who is both with us and IN us as scripture promises and the patriarchs experienced!

  11. Elaine Nelson
    25 May 2011 @ 1:14 am

    Maybe someone can explain what it means when someone says he has a “personal relationship with Jesus.” How does one have a “personal relationship” with someone he has never seen, touched, or heard? All we can possibly know about Jesus is what other people have written about what they heard; John is possibly the only one who knew Jesus; all the rest were not eyewitnesses. The Gospels telling about Jesus were not written as biographies but to tell others what Jesus’ mission and reason for living.

    Today, we can read books about ancient people: Socrates, Plato, or Alexander the Great, but would anyone say that he can have a “personal relationship” with these great historical figures? One can feel that he knows Shakespeare by enjoying and being very familiar with his writing, but Jesus never wrote a single word.

  12. Anonymous
    25 May 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    I don’t usually post on blogs but I want to reflect on Elaine’s last post. The difference is that Socrates, Plato and others are dead. You cannot have a personal relationship with someone who is dead. But Jesus is alive. I talk to him every day. He talks to me. I have seen him answer my prayers in astounding ways. A personal relationship with Jesus is one where through the Bible and prayer and meditation I communicate with the God of the universe. I don’t have to physically see him to talk to him (I talk to people on the telephone whom I have never seen). Paul tells us in Ephesians that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus. “”I [Paul] pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” v. 16-17. And I am learning more and more what it means to live always in the presence of Jesus.

  13. Trevor Hammond
    25 May 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    No one I know refers to those guys as ‘my’ Socrates or ‘my’ Plato; but with Jesus, He qualifies to bear the title ‘my’ Jesus, ‘my’ Saviour; or as the beautiful hymn goes: “My Jesus I love Thee I know thou art mine.”… (so too the third line: “My Gracious Redeemer, My Saviour art Thou.”)

    A personal relationship with Jesus is an experiential one which we can testify to but one which is not so easily explainable. After all it’s hard to explain how God could send Jesus to die on the Cross for MY sins and redeem ME; and then to dwell within MY heart too…Wow! That’s as ‘personal’ as personal can get.

    How big is God, How big and wide His vast Domain,
    To begin to tell – these lips can only start;
    He’s big enough, to rule this mighty Universe,
    Yet small enough to reign within my heart.
    (from an old chorus)

    [Gal 2:20] – This text also reveals His personal and intimate relationship with us. It is who He is: a personal God, Saviour, and Friend …

    T

  14. Elaine Nelson
    25 May 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    In a conversation, there are at least two participants. How does God “answer” when someone “talks” to Him? How is is possible to have a relationship with someone who, although is claimed to be alive, is not there in person? All one can possibly know is what has been written ABOUT Jesus, and only humans, long dead were the writers. Their idea of God, according to the Bible, may be quite different than those ideas we have today.

    I have heard pastors say things about God and Jesus that are straight from their own imagination; which is the limitation we all have: our own imagination. There are people who communicate with angels–they are believed to be alive; I have known people who “asked” Jesus to direct such daily activities as whether they should eat a certain food, go to a certain place, and why not?

    Why not, indeed! When those who actively communicate with Jesus are speaking in a pastoral position, it may be considered to be the voice of God and has a far more authoritative message. One need only hear a well-known TV preacher excoriate women’s ordination; or condemn homosexuality as though it were God speaking. This abuse is heard daily from most TV preachers. If one wishes to communicate very personally, it is one thing; to transmit that to an audience as if it was the voice of God is what is too often practiced.

  15. Trevor Hammond
    25 May 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    So Mrs Nelson: “Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”…

  16. Elaine Nelson
    26 May 2011 @ 2:12 am

    Trevor,

    I refuse to claim something that I find impossible. Those who do make such claims are most unconvincing. Nor do I have relationships with any who are no longer here.

  17. Elaine Nelson
    26 May 2011 @ 2:17 am

    Christ said He would send the Holy Spirit to comfort the saints. Is a relationship with Jesus or with the Holy Spirit? Are they separate entities from which one may choose to talk?

  18. Trevor Hammond
    26 May 2011 @ 5:19 am

    God calls us his children. He is our Creator and we are the Creatures of His hand. He is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. “Our Father” is what Jesus used when conversing with God in prayer.

    We’re NOT talking ‘the dead’ here. The Triune God is alive and seeks a relationship with His ‘peeps’ – given the opportunity. He seeks to ‘enter’ the door of our hearts and ‘sup’ with us. The Holy Spirit dwells ‘in’ us and is a full representation of Jesus/God dwelling in our hearts.

    God even knows our thoughts! Now that’s how personal and intimate our relationship with Him is. It is what the Good News of Salvation is all about: At-one-ment with God. Jesus death on the Cross ‘repairs’ our relationship with God in terms of Salvation: He also ‘relates’ to us even when we are sinners, by bestowing His Love, Mercy and Grace to us who are reprobate, undeserving sinners who may not even seek a relationship with Him – but He still pursues His desire to rekindle that relationship which has been severed by sin. Christ is the ‘Head’ of the Church which again, asserts a relationship.

    Most Adventists Today who are not ‘governed’ by dodgy school of thought or ‘field’ of thinking and philosophy and subjects of study, nor the profession thereof; and therfore enjoy this ‘relationship’ with God.

    I am of the opinion that many who subscribe and are conditioned by certain ‘schools’ of thought tend to get carried away to such an extent that their field of expertise becomes even bigger than a relationship with God OUR Creator – like it or not…

    All this clearly points towards what we can call ‘relationships’. Even calling oneself a Christian would indicate some level of relationship.

    Not forgetting the ‘biggie’ that we are grafted into the Vine of His Royal Family by the Blood of Jesus.

    Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in men. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. [John 15:4,5,6,7,8]

    Related in Christ

    Trevor

  19. Anonymous
    26 May 2011 @ 10:02 am

    Elaine and Doctorf seem to believe that you cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus. I cannot comment on their experience or lack of experience with Jesus. I can only tell my experience. When our family moved from Scotland to America we flew into New York ahead of our possessions which we had shipped by boat. We arrived on a Sunday. On Monday I called the shipping company to make an appointment to pick up our crates. I was told the boat had not yet arrived. It was supposed to have arrived before we landed.

    I called on Tuesday. No the boat had not arrived. I called on Wednesday. Yes the boat had arrived. I could make an appointment for the next week to collect our possessions. I could not wait until next week. The delay was eating up our money for hotel and food for our family of four. I took the subway to the shipping company to see if I could get our goods earlier. The secretary would not let me see anyone in authority. I stood in the corridor talking to Jesus. I asked him how I was to manage when our money ran out which it would if we waited until next week. He said, “Trust Me, I will make a way for you.” Those words were so clear in my mind.

    At that moment a man walked by and must have seen the distress on my face because he asked if he could help me. I poured out my woe. He said “Follow me.” He took me past the secretary who glared at me to a man in an inner office. This man explained that our goods were a partial load in a shipping container. First they had to unload all the containers off the ship then they had to unload the containers. However, he promised that he would make sure that our container would be unloaded first after all the containers were off the ship. He told me to make an appointment with customs for 10 am on Friday.

    We rented a truck but I got lost in tunnels of New York and arrived at the dockside at 11 am. When the gate keeper found we were late he said we had to leave and make an appointment for next week because customs was so busy they could not take me now.

    So I talked to my friend Jesus. I needed to get those possessions that day. I was almost out of money. I drove through the gate parked at customs. The customs man said, “You have missed your appointment. Make one for next week. I talked to Jesus again at that moment. Immediately another custom’s man spoke up. “Is that the Reverend Mr. Newman?” he said. I said Yes. “Don’t worry. I will see you through.” We did not have to open a single crate and were soon on our way.

    However, we were much later than we had planned and we found that we would not arrive in Ohio before sundown, the Sabbath that day. Further, to my astonishment, the truck was only getting five miles to the gallon (coming from Britain I had calculated 15 miles to the gallon). We only had enough money for gas. No money for food or motel. At sundown we were in Pennsylvania. We stopped outside a motel. I talked to Jesus. “Lord,” I said, “If you want us to not travel a long distance on Sabbath see that the manager will accept an out of state check with no identification and US address other than a passport. We had kept a checking account open in Berrien Springs from when I was at the Seminary. Motels do not normally accept checks with no identification. I also asked the manager if we could charge our meals and pay for them with the check. He agreed for two nights.

    Sunday we arrived in Ohio having just spent our last cash on gas. I called my head elder to find out where we were staying and to borrow some money until the banks opened on Monday. No answer. He was at the Ohio constituency meeting. So we found a Holiday Inn with a restaurant and asked Jesus to provide in the same way he had for the Howard Johnson motel. He did.

    Now there is no way that you can convince me that Jesus is not real, that he does not listen, and that he does not care. Thomas had the same problem. He said he would only believe if he could see and touch Jesus. Jesus told him that wonderful as that was far better were those who would believe without seeing and trusting.

    You don’t have to see something to believe in it. No one has seen the quarks and other elements in quantum mechanics. In fact Einstein would not believe in them. But scientists find there is enough evidence for us to believe they exist even though no one has seen them. So there is much much evidence to show that people can have a personal relationship with Jesus even though we have not seen him in the flesh.

    I cannot imagine what life would be like if Jesus was not my friend. We talk together all the time.

  20. Glenn Hansen
    26 May 2011 @ 11:10 am

    David, The various difficulties described in your story could have been resolved by one thing–money. Unwittingly, perhaps, you have nicely illustrated something that the NT constantly warns about, the difficulty of riches. People with money don’t need to depend on Jesus for the things you described. They would not be caught without credit cards, cash, an ATM card, traveler’s checks, and so forth.

    A friend of mine once described how an angel filled his gas tank up when he ran out of gas on the Sabbath. He was no crack pot, being an ordained minister and holding a professional license in a healthcare related field. Truth is, I would simply buy gas on Sabbath,in an emergency, or even if I had forgotten to buy it on Friday. No need for an angel to appear.

    It is unfortunate when people fail to develop a working relationship with Jesus. Thanks to Trevor, I have been looking at the idea of being God’s friend in the Bible. I had never really thought of it as a doctrine but I have related to God as a friend for most of my Christian experience. I tell him my problems and leave the consequences with him. It appears that’s what you did in this case.

    I have seen people shunned by and isolated from their friends because of sin, failure to meet group expectations, etc. Unlike some human friends, God doesn’t reject us when we fail. That’s what a true friend is. It’s good to have a friend in high places.

  21. Elaine Nelson
    26 May 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    David, Hansen rightly says that all your problems could have been easily eliminated with money, but in this instance, you relied on Jesus, so you were asking Him to work many miracles in your behalf because of your inadequate planning. Should we ask Jesus to do for us what we have not done ourselves?

    If everyone had such faith, why are millions not healed from disease and sickness when they pray? Does God care for your needs and not theirs? How can one ever be certain other than a “burning in the bosom”? Your certitude is to be commended, but it should also be a warning for future such incidents and for other people that preparing is more effective than relying on miracles: because there is no certainty that all will be answered as were yours. Does this lead to the feeling that God is more certain to hear your prayers than others? Is that not a possibility? It seems so. Because your prayers in this instance were answered, you assure others that He will, likewise answer theirs, also? We know from the Bible that not all prayers were answered. Had yours not been answered would your faith be just as strong and would you be so certain?

  22. Anonymous
    26 May 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    Elaine, you ask excellent questions. First of all no planning can take in every situation. I had been assured by the shipping line that the boat would land well before I arrived. But that is not the issue. You question whether other people get the same answers and whether my faith would be just as strong if my prayers had not been answered. Actually God always answers our prayers. We may not like some of His answers. And when I have a personal relationship with Him I trust that He knows best. I just had Dr. Joe Kidder from Andrews Seminary take this past weekend at New Hope. He told many personal experiences of answered prayer. One of the most powerful was his need to attend Middle East College in Beruit. The church has been asking the Iraqui government for 40 years to accredit the college. Kidder could not attend without it being accredited. The church gathered on Friday night and spent all night, Sabbath, and into Sunday praying. They had never done this before. On Tuesday the Iraqui Government accredited the college and Kidder attended. At the same time God did not prevent the killing of an Adventist man in the army who would not work on Sabbath. They strapped him down and beat his feet and other parts of his body until he died.

    In the book of Acts Herod arrests James and beheads him. He then arrests Peter for the same purpose. God sends an angel to release Peter but he never sent an angel for James. Why? The Bible never explains. This is where faith comes in. If we had all the answers, if everything could be explained there would be no need for faith. God gives us enough evidence to know he is there and that he does care and then we choose whether we will believe or not. God has given you similar evidence. It is your choice whether you believe or not. I have many questions for God that will have to wait until Jesus returns. But because I hear his voice and have a relationship with Him I know that He has my ultimate good at heart and that it will not be until the new earth that everything will be put right.

  23. Elaine Nelson
    26 May 2011 @ 10:38 pm

    According to the various incidents, even if one’s prayer is not answered affirmatively, nevertheless, one could believe it has been answered. This covers everything: nothing ventured, nothing gained, on this one’s faith is based? Proof is in the heart of the believer, and for him it is proof enough. Transmitting and translating that faith is impossible, but for those who never get answers, they must simply “believe.” If prayer was effective, everyone would pray, but truly, the evidence is very carefully selected so when the answers are not affirmative, the default position is nevertheless, it was answered. Quite a fool-proof system.

  24. Glenn Hansen
    27 May 2011 @ 12:22 am

    Hudson Taylor realized that being able to trust God would be essential for his work in China. He therefore devised a “test” to determine whether God would indeed meet his needs. It was really a test to determine if he had adequate faith to wait upon God. Of course, both sides passed the test with flying colors although Hudson’s faith was severely tried in the process.

    Most of us crack; consequently, we come away from trials embittered and disillusioned. Wise people avoid the hard knocks but most of us lack wisdom as well. In the end, we still have to depend on our Friend.

  25. Anonymous
    27 May 2011 @ 12:31 am

    Elaine, Christianity at its core is a religion of relationships not rules. When you learn to love someone you don’t come at it from proof and rules. You build the relationship through conversation, through connecting with the other person. No one but you can know that experience. I cannot prove an experience. I can prove a law or a theorem but I cannot prove a relationship. It has to be experienced. Sadly much of Christianity and Adventism has been dominated by doctrines and rules rather than by entering into a loving relationship with the God of the universe. It was Jesus who said that the way his disciples will be known is by how much they love each other (John 13:35). Doctrines are only there to tell me something about God but without the relationship they are meaningless.

  26. Trevor Hammond
    27 May 2011 @ 11:33 am

    That’s why it boils down to asking ourselves if what we do, say, think or believe, is Christ centered. This would include what the main focus of AToday should be; especially since the name Adventist is used. This makes it imperative for Christ to be the main theme.

    It’s no use giving Jesus the ‘back seat’ and go on a tangent of our own and still expect His influence to be made manifest through this medium in a significant way. After all, this platform seeks to raise difficult issues and concerns etc., which may have disastrous consequnces if Christ isn’t central. Our search for answers and truth then becomes just meaningless ‘sweet nothings’.

    In Jesus

    T

  27. Elaine Nelson
    27 May 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    “Christ-centered” cannot be explained or taught. It is entirely dependent on each individual’s subjective evaluation as to whether his actions meet those qualifications. They cannot be judged by anyone else. Sadly, in controlling churches this judging often becomes a very objective test.

  28. Anonymous
    27 May 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    Elaine you are making such great sense here. We love to quote John 3:16 but never look at the next verse which says,”For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Our great privilege is to love people. God will take care of any judging that needs to be done. I am sure that it does not take you too long to know whether a person is loving or not.

  29. Elaine Nelson
    27 May 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    David, we are in 100% agreement! I just finished an essay requested by another SDA website on Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived,” quoting this verse which is far less frequently quoted than the verse just before.

    Whatever our beliefs, if we do not demonstate by our lives that the Golden Rule is our guide, religion is of no effect. Love knows no religious, ethnic, or geographical boundaries.

  30. Glenn Hansen
    27 May 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    Elaine, You are mistaken to say that “Christ centered” can not be explained or taught. If I peach a sermon taking Matthew 19 as my lead text, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” and then proceed to select numerous texts from Ps 119 about keeping the law, that is most likely a law centered sermon.

    On the other hand, If I chose as my text 1 Co. 15, “Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day” that is likely going to be a “Christ centered” sermon, especially if I follow up with numerous texts about Christ’s doing and dying in my behalf, such as “He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

    To people who do have a relationship with Christ, legalism is quite obvious. It’s unfortunate that, apparently, you still haven’t figured out the difference between the gospel and legalism. In a few words, the gospel is about justification, legalism is about condemnation, regardless of how you parse it.

  31. Elaine Nelson
    27 May 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    Glenn, I appreciate that your sermons are chosen with a specific topic. But while a sermon may be “Christ-centered” it must be received in the same manner as given by the listener. The speaker may very well be centered on Christ, but it’s the listener who must feel the same impulse as the speaker–not an easy task.

    Legalism is not something about which I worry, as we all have sufficient governmental laws to consider. Religion should never be about legal matters as that is subversive to consider. Micah expressed the heart of religion: “To do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Nothing needs to be added.

  32. Glenn Hansen
    28 May 2011 @ 12:05 am

    Elaine, I apologize for beginning my post with “You are mistaken…” Perhaps, God forbid, I am mistaken. Either way, initiating a conversation with “You are mistaken” hardly sounds charitable.

  33. Elaine Nelson
    28 May 2011 @ 12:42 am

    Glenn, no offense taken. Opinions are always strongy felt, otherwise there would be silence.

  34. Jeff Boyd
    30 May 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    Might we also say that Jesus is our Rabbi? By definition, a disciple isn’t a disciple without a rabbi. This would fit in “#4 Model”; a disciple is called to model the rabbi’s values and way of life (and way of death). True, as you mention, Cindy, I don’t want to sin, but that negation isn’t as motivating (enticing, drawing?) for me as the positive life of radical discipleship Jesus calls me to that impacts relationships, economics, vocation, etc. I do in fact want the Holy Spirit to get rid of the sin in me so selfishness (greed, lust, pride…) won’t hinder me from living life on the edge with Jesus. Three big components of this abundant life: compassion, peace and justice. These were marks of Jesus’ life; may they be marks of mine as well.

    Of course your list and descriptions of each item isn’t meant to be complete or exhaustive; that would be impossible. So I just add my bit without negating what you’ve written or getting too detailed in the various quests for the historical Jesus. Grace and peace, Jeff

  35. Elaine Nelson
    01 June 2011 @ 1:23 am

    Problem: It is impossible to “reply” directly to a comment but one must go to the bottom.

    Doctorf1, you have answered David just as I would. There is no way to prove to anyone that prayers are answered because a “yes” or “no” are still “evidence” that God heard.
    Most people, experiencing such “answers” would simply call it “good luck” or “bad luck.” If someone prefers to believe that his prayers are answered, that is a very subjective belief and it should not be expected by anyone else; to do so sets up others for such disappointment that they my reject all other evidences and Christianity. Such claims have no place in honest representation. Any time someone says he has had “answers to prayers” I simply am silent. If they believe that, just as they might have believed Camping’s prediction, deserves no comment. Please don’t teach this to vulnerable folk.

  36. Trevor Hammond
    02 June 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    Among the many different ways we can communicate to God in prayer there are those prayers which have only a few words and those that have no words, yet still, effectively, they constitute communing with God.
    1] [Matt 8:25] “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
    2) [Matt 9:20] Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.

    There are those moments too when we cry out to God in desperation. Whether some others may see it unwarranted and unnecessary; or esoteric; or not provable; and therefore brush our prayers aside as meaningless; by even suggesting their opinion of rational alternatives to fixing our problem, rather than asking God; yet still in all of this we know that by our personal experiential faith relationship with Christ, we are ALWAYS strengthened – NEVER weakened – when we pray.

    At that point, whether God says yes; no; wait; or whatever; hope, faith and love still abound in us because God is still the wonder working; miracle delivering; sinner saving; prayer answering God – and, as always, He Delivers on His Promises.

    [Psalm 107:4-9] –> without shelter, hungry, thirsty –> they cried to God
    [Psalm 107:10-16] –> imprisoned, suffering due to sin, no one to help –> they cried to God
    [Psalm 107:17:22] –> fools, rebellious, affliction, iniquity, near death –> they cried to God
    [Psalm 107:23:32] –> peril, melted courage, at their wits end –> they cried to God
    …and He delivered/saved/brought them out/from their distress.

    In Christ

    T

    • Trevor Hammond
      02 June 2011 @ 8:30 pm

      [Psalm 107:17-22] –> fools, rebellious, affliction, iniquity, near death –> they cried to God
      [Psalm 107:23-32] –> peril, melted courage, at their wits end –> they cried to God
      …and He delivered/saved/brought them out/from their distress.

  37. Trevor Hammond
    02 June 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    About twenty five years ago, I had come back home to Jesus after many years of worldly sinful living. I was so excited about my ‘one GIANT step for man, one small leap for mankind’ experience (I know – Armstrong misquote)and was so overjoyed that I wanted to share this wonderful redemption story with all and sundry. I had experienced the ‘power of God unto Salvation’ in Christ Jesus [Rom 1:16]. His mercy, love and what He did on the Cross, deeply revealed who this God really is, and how much I really mean to Him. (Thank you Jesus!)

    Some friends in the ‘hood’ invited me to stay over one night and it was at a house where they had previously told me that ‘something’ used to ‘trouble’ them at night (No, it wasn’t the Spooky IJ). One of the brothers at that house told me that when this ‘evil spirit’/ghost/devil/demon/whatever used to disturb him at night he used to curse or use expletives/vulgarities to get rid of it – but ‘it’ would always come back. I used to pass graveyards and hang out at late hours, intoxicated and high, whilst away from God and living in sin, but never did personally come across something like this during that time. Well, now I was on fire for Jesus and was ready to take on the world (so I thought).

    During the night, I was awakened (with my else still closed), and sensed ‘something’ creepy in the room but before I could even open my eyes or say anything or do anything… An evil ‘cloud of inky blackness’ enveloped me and literally wanted to take control my entire mind and body… and I was freaked out of my mind and terrified with fear…

    The only thing I could do was to SHOUT out aloud (in my mind),
    J–E–S–U–S!!!!!!! I was fully conscious at this time and the name of Jesus seemed to extend far away, ‘echoing’ into the skies. The ‘cloud of inky blackness’, which I know was of a satanic agency, was gone immediately, just like that, at the mention of JESUS name (well, it was more of a scream).

    I immediately felt a peaceful calm over me and opened my eyes and repeated Psalm 23. I like the part of the Psalm which says: “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”. That’s Jesus for You!

    T

    By the way the family never mentioned if anything troubled them in that home again. I have heard other people from other parts of the world also give testimony of similar experiences and how the Mighty Name of Jesus our Lord and Saviour brought deliverence! Amen!

    In the Mighty Name of Jesus!

    T

  38. Trevor Hammond
    02 June 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    The words of this Sandi Patty Song sums-Jesus-up so well for me:

    He promised us that He would be a counselor
    A Mighty God and the Prince of Peace
    He promised us that He would be a Father
    And that He would love us with a love that would not cease.

    Well, I tried Him and I found His promises are true
    He’s everything He said that He would be.
    The finest words I know could not begin to tell
    Just what Jesus really means to me.

    For He’s more wonderful than my mind can concieve
    He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe
    He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams.
    He’s everything that my soul ever longed for
    Everything He’s promised and so much more
    More than amazing, more than marvelous
    More than miraculous could ever be
    He’s more than wonderful, that’s what Jesus is to me.

    I stand amazed when I think that the King of glory
    Should come to dwell within the heart of man
    I marvel just to know He really loves me
    When I think of who He is, and who I am.

    In the more than wonderful name of Jesus

    T

  39. Ella M
    04 June 2011 @ 1:05 am

    Elaine and Dr. K
    When answers to prayer become so numerous to someone that there is no other possible explanation, one has to accept that their experience is real. When someone is healed (sooner or later), one has to admit there is something at work. Perhaps instead of asking why all prayers are not answered, one needs to ask why so many are answered.
    We aren’t the judges of every situation and lack knowledge of every circumstance. The rain falls on the good, bad, and indifferent or faith wouldn’t be a choice.
    If answered prayer sounds too subjective, it is no more subjective than is unbelief.
    God only asks that we experiment–“taste and see that the Lord is good.”

  40. Elaine Nelson
    04 June 2011 @ 1:30 am

    All answers to prayer are subjective and not subject to either proving or disproving. Which is why all claims should neve be projected for others to expect the same.

  41. Ella M
    04 June 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    A totally subjective response.