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When we approach scripture to strengthen our knowledge of Good and Evil, we use scripture to strengthen the very thing that God’s Word is designed to destroy
- Bob Hamp
We believe that Community (relationship) is vital to the Christian life. Community is not only a means for growth as a follower of Jesus but it is also the very thing we were created for. When in the Garden of Eden man chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil our right relationship with God and one another was broken.
Jesus created the way for us to be reconciled to the Father and to exist as His chosen people in unity. John 10:10 "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." We live in a world of broken relationships, husbands and wives, parents and children, and even our relationships with one another has been reduced to 140 characters (twitter & texts).
Christianity is an essential and eternal change in the nature of your being, resulting from God's Spirit entering your soul, and allowed by your surrender to His desire to do so. This is called being "born again".This transformation on the inside is usually followed by an outgrowth of that change, gradually resulting in new and healthier thoughts and ultimately behaviors. Because of this, behavioral prescriptions (or expectations) can often work AGAINST this "inside out" transformation process.
The issue is more about our willingness to surrender to an ongoing transformation process of God's Life growing in us than it is appropriately answering the question about knowing what is good and what is evil. Stop trying to define people's essential nature by looking at a present snapshot of one area of their life. We are all in process.
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1,26,27, 3:22 | Psalm 90:2 | Matthew 28:19 | 1 Peter 1:2 | 2 Corinthians 13:14
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to bring life to dead souls, atoning for sin, by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday to earth to reign as King.
Matthew 1:22,23 | Isaiah 9:6 | John 1:1-5,14:10-30 | Hebrews 4:14-15 | 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 | Romans 1:3-4 | Acts 1:9-11 | 1 Timothy 6:14-15 | Titus 2:13
Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He provides the power for living, the understanding of spiritual truth, guidance, and gives every follower of The Way spiritual gifts.
Acts 1:8 | 1 Corinthians 3:17 | John 16:7-13, 14:16-17 | Galatians 5:25 | 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16 | Ephesians 1:13, 5:18
The Bible is God's Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without error.
2 Timothy 3:16 | 2 Peter 1:20-21 | Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6 | Proverbs 30:5
People are made in the spiritual image of God. People are the supreme object of God's creation.
Genesis 1:27 | Psalm 8:3-6 | Isaiah 53:6a | Romans 3:23 | Isaiah 59:1-2
Salvation is God's free gift to us but we must receive it. Salvation can never come by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness.
Romans 6:23 | Ephesians 2:8-9 | John 14:6, 1:2 | Titus 3:5 | Galatians 3:26 | Romans 5:1, 10:9-10
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God or eternally with God.
John 3:16, 14:17 | Romans 6:23, 8:17-18 | Revelation 20:15 | 1 Corinthians 2:7-9
John 10:10 (MSG) 6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Bob Hamp....For years I've seen and heard the phrase or question..."can you be a Christian and still..." Followed by any number of stances or behaviors. (Vote for Pedro, drink alcohol, support the -------- agenda, etc.). The question itself bothers me regardless of what issue its attached to. First it's terribly manipulative.Second, and far more important the question reveals how widespread is our fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to "be a Christian ".
Christianity (responding in the affirmative to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus) has never been about a club whose membership is defined by specific moral stances (knowledge of good and evil).Rather, Christianity is an essential and eternal change in the nature of your being, resulting from God's Spirit entering your soul, and allowed by your surrender to His desire to do so. This is called being "born again". This transformation on the inside is usually followed by an outgrowth of that change, gradually resulting in new and healthier thoughts and ultimately behaviors. Because of this, behavioral prescriptions (or expectations) can often work AGAINST this "inside out" transformation process.
You can be born again and do ANYTHING. (1 Cor 6)The issue is more about our willingness to surrender to an ongoing transformation process of God's Life growing in us than it is appropriately answering the question about knowing what is good and what is evil. Stop trying to define people's essential nature by looking at a present snapshot of one area of their life. We are all in process.
Sometimes treasure is hidden in plain sight, right in front of us. The English language can become a smokescreen. Language itself can obscure or reveal the most meaningful of realities. Jesus tells the crowd, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, I came that you might have life, and life abundantly.”
We read these words and unwittingly, we have multiple ways to drain the power from them. We read them through the familiarity of repetition. We read them through a modern, westernized thought process. We read these words through definitions and expectations that have grown old and stale over generations; all the while, hidden right in front of us is the mystery and power of God Himself, available to us for the asking.
The word “life” to us has become a description of either a biological state, or a way of characterizing our day-to-day wanderings and musings. We think of life as an abstract state defined by heartbeat, and nervous system activity, or we think of life as our calendar and life style. We wish for a “different life” or we notice someone has an interesting or difficult “life”, and so the word “life” begins to describe a lifestyle, more than actually describing life.
I wonder if for a few moments we could think differently about Jesus’ words, and particularly the power and mystery of this thing, this substance known as “life”. Long before living beings existed Life was. Long before the creation of planets and places life soaked the atmosphere of reality. While God was the only existent reality, the Bible tells us, “In Him was Life”. Before God placed Life into creatures, and before He breathed the Breath of Life into Adam, Life permeated the very air of existence. God is the Spirit of Life.
What if we begin to think of life as a substance? A vital, tangible consumable, reach-out-and-touch kind of substance. Not merely a substance, but a substance with power as its primary characteristic. The kind of power that takes an inanimate ball of mud and in a moment generates life right down in the core of this dirtball, transforming it into the first human. The kind of power that from nothing generates living creatures and plants. What if we begin to think of life almost like liquid electricity, a transforming power that God dispenses into the earth?
You may look back now, and notice that Jesus words’ belie a little bit of this thought. He isn’t satisfied just to offer us life; He offers us Life Abundant. It is almost as if Jesus views life less like a yes or no, alive or dead proposition, and more like a substance which is available in greater or lesser measure. According to His words, you could actually have more life than you have right now. This does not mean more appointments on your calendar, or more expectations of your day and energy. This means more of the power giving substance that allows you to bring something more than just your muscles and bones to those appointments and expectations.
God tells us things like this: “Today I give you a choice between life and death;” or “the power of life and death is in your tongue (words).” We read, “Stay away from high voltage and sharp objects, wear your seatbelt, and avoid lethal encounters.” I am fairly certain that He is talking more about the substance, and the atmosphere that we bring into existence, as we speak outwardly that which we carry inwardly.
Aliveness. The essence of being fully alive. Fully present and potent, engaged and engaging. Alert, connected, energized. These are all things that today we connect to our early morning Starbucks. These are all things that are a direct outgrowth of how much Life we contain.
This being the case, consider then that the enemy of Life is not simply knives, guns, and nuclear holocaust; but death, the enemy of life, is anything that drains from us the essence of aliveness that we are designed to carry and distribute. The fear of knives, guns and nuclear holocaust can be just as deadly as the actual experiences. Hatred or contempt, even apathy can be just as lethal as arsenic, because it steals from us the vitality and strength that is our birthright as sons and daughters of the Life-Giver Himself.
Placing before us life and death isn’t simply about harmful or helpful choices. This is God telling us that every day matters, and that every conversation is a chance to breathe life into another person’s soul. This is God telling us that the enemy can kill us with a Tsunami, but he can also kill us by engorging our soul with meaningless, lifeless activity.
The enemies of life are not simply the overt weapons of murder and medical conditions; the enemies of life are often much more subtle than this. Busy-ness, un-forgiveness, anxiety, contempt, daily routine, lowered expectations, numbness, self-sufficiency, over-commitment; the list could go on. What each of these things has in common is that they are subtle and they are life-draining. These are things that you could drift into and not even notice until you wake up one day and realize that your aliveness has ebbed to a near fatal level.
So we find ourselves drained of life, and we ask God to fix our problems. The irony is God has called us to fix (or take dominion over) all this stuff. I am convinced He would much rather pour this substance called life into us, in the midst of a problem filled world, than for Him to fix every problem we point out to Him.
From the beginning of time God has intended to fill the creation with His nature. His plan to accomplish this has always been you and I. Drink deeply of this substance called life. Drink it in every day, especially the ones that could easily be routine. Drink it in, and then hand it out to everyone you see. Especially the people you live with and love.
In Him was aliveness, and that aliveness opened the eyes of men and women, allowing them to Think Differently. John 1:4 BHRE (Bob Hamp Revised Edition)
Jesus Christ's free gift is…Aliveness. The essence of being fully alive. Fully present and potent, engaged and engaging. How much life do you contain? Talk to God and ask Him…"Dear God, in my heart I know the truth about Jesus. I know He is Your Son and that He died for me and rose from the dead. I confess I need a Saviour and I receive Jesus’ gift right now. Help me to follow You."
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