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Chancellor Christian Church Blog

Life's Journey

August 28, 2018
By Mark Dunn

This has been a very busy summer and I’ve still got a lot of things I need to do.  But one thing my mom always said was to make sure God is always in first place in your life.  Her favorite verse was Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (NLT)  While I haven’t lived up to this goal it has always been my goal and God has always provided.

In this nation we have such opportunities and so many material things that it is easy to become overly occupied with them.  And while they are beyond necessities, our life style is such that they are required.  One example is electricity.  Benjamin Franklin would prove that lightning was electrical in 1752.  But it wasn't until the 18th century that the path to the everyday use of electrical power began to take shape. In 1879, the American inventor Thomas Edison was finally able to produce a reliable, long-lasting electric light bulb in his laboratory.  By 1939 the percentage of rural homes that had electricity was only 25 percent.  Today we walk into a room and flip and switch and expect the room to light up.  We take refrigerators for granted, yet it wouldn’t be until 1913 that refrigerators for the home were invented.

I mention these few examples to demonstrate how easy it is for us to get our priorities out of balance.  We must continually strive to keep God’s perspective always before us.  Jesus told several parables to illustrate how important it is for us to keep first things first.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-46)  This is what Jesus means when He tells us to seek first His kingdom.

Jesus told us that trouble and hardship would be a part of our daily lives but He encouraged us by telling us He would always be with us and He has overcome the world.  Because of this we are overwhelmingly victorious in Him, even in the midst of our troubles.  The apostle Paul said this, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

And Jesus gave us this great encouragement: At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!  My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

May these words encourage you as you live your life each day, and may they be your guiding light.

The Father's delight

June 19, 2018
By Charlie Crowe

This is by a fellow minister:

He said it before the Son had done anything.

It was one of the rare occasions where all three Persons of the God-head were manifested together. On such occasions we are prudent to pay especially close attention. The Son is baptized, the Spirit descends in bodily form like a dove and the Father speaks.

The words of the Father, “Thou Art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased,” are powerful not just in themselves but also in their placement chronologically. The Father does not offer these after the resurrection or the cross; these are not given in response to a teaching or a miracle. In terms of the ministry Jesus had not yet done anything.

While the doctrine of Divine love may be in our heads it is often absent from our emotions or our gut-level reality. The world's system of merit-based love has so permeated our lives and experience that we project it on to God. We may not say but we feel, “God will love me if I do good and if I do it well.” Or “God loves those who accomplish great things for Him.” But as far as we know Jesus has yet to preach a sermon, teach a lesson, perform a miracle, or cast out a demon and yet the Father declares his affection and delight. What better way to begin a Ministry or for that matter a day than to start with the realization that apart from any merit of accomplishment the Father is moved by great and tender emotion?

Most of the frustration of life is built on the frustration of failing to meet expectations. Expectations that are set for us or are self-imposed, prospects of career performance, personal success, individual greatness, expected purity. Like a hamster on a wheel we exert effort but we never achieve what we hope for and therefore we live with a sense of personal disappointment and perhaps Divine rejection. Trapped by our own performance expectations we must stop, listen and make part of our very being the voice of God, “You are my precious and delightful child and I'm glad you're mine and this apart from anything you can or plan to do.”

What if more than anything else the Father wants to just sit with you, tell you that He loves you, and that He is delighted that you are His child?

God's dwelling place

May 28, 2018
By Mark Dunn
The presence of God
There is a false philosophy that is being propagated by so called Christian leaders that God is present in everyone.  Just because we are made in God’s image it doesn’t follow that the indwelling presence is in us.  There is only one way to receive the indwelling presence of God—though faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s blood on the cross (Romans 3:21-26).  Only by placing our trust in this work of Christ can we receive His promised Holy Spirit.  Here is how Paul clarifies this matter: “But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit.  For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.  No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.    
   And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.  When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom.  Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.” (1 Cor. 2:10-15)
Let me be clear here—only a believer in Jesus is this spiritual person.  Romans 10:8-10 declares, “Here is this very message about the faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are justified with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Just because one speaks of spiritual things doesn’t mean he is speaking the truth.  The spiritual matters that God accepts are very clearly set forth in scripture.  When Paul was writing to Timothy to make clear that he knew what the truth was he said this: “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.  Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit.  He was seen by angels and announced to the nations.  He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared as with a branding iron, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim. 3:14-4:8)
How does scripture define godliness?  There is more on this topic then I can include here but let me share this much with you: “Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.  Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  These teachings promote a godly life.  Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding.  Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words.  This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.  These people always cause trouble.  Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth.  To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.  After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
“But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things.  Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight for the true faith.  Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.  And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering.  Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.  He alone has immortality, and he lives in unapproachable light whom no one has ever seen or can see.  All honor and eternal dominion belong to Him forever! Amen.”  (1 Timothy 6:2-16)
Finally I have one more scripture on this matter; “For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others.  This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.  [Today circumcision as such isn’t much of an issue but it points to a certain kind of self-righteousness that satisfies man’s ego]  They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching.  And they do it only for money.  Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, ‘The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.’  [In America today we have a similar situation, as so many have an entitlement mentality and expect others to give them what they want]  This is true.  So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith.  They must stop listening to Jewish myths [today there are modern myths such as the theory of evolution, environmentalism, humanism, socialism, transgenderism, and such] and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.
“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure.  But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.  Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live.  They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:10-16)
Therefore let us always be mindful that those who are the temple of the living God are those who have been redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood atonement (Hebrews 9:11-28).  Don’t be deceived into thinking that since God is love, He won’t bring judgement against the wicked, for only His redeemed family is receiving an eternal kingdom, so be thankful and pleasing to God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.  For our God is a devouring fire (Heb. 12:28-29).

God is great

May 07, 2018
By Mark Dunn

Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world—1 John 4:4

We are praising the Lord Jesus Christ for how He has directed us in our endeavors over the last week and a half.  As some already know we started a benevolence project on April 27th, which God directed us too.  This was a house in which three elderly ladies lived that was in great need of repair.  We knew that the roof was leaking and that the shingles would need replacing as well as some sheetrock inside the house but we didn’t know how much needed fixing.  It turned out to be a four day project and there were over 25 volunteers who gave their time for this endeavor.

Not only did the obvious need fixing but there were 16 sheets of 4x8 sheeting that had to be replaced on the roof, more than half of the skirting was replaced, all of the fascia boards, the back steps were replaced, leaking plumbing was fixed, and guttering was replaced.  Then of course there was all the trash that had to be hauled away which filled a dump truck and a large trailer. 

Besides all the donated labor, the costs of the project have nearly been covered, which exceeded $4,100, and this has just been amazing as we are such a small group and this could only happen because of God’s providential provision.  I am realizing more and more that this is precisely the way God operates.  But as Americans we have become accustomed to success of our own making which gives us the credit.  God made it very clear that we would seek the credit instead of giving it to Him, for when Yahweh said to Gideon, “You have too many men.  I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against Me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ ” (Judges 7:2).

All too often we are under the illusion that we can do these things in our own strength.  And many times we do, but we miss the grace of God and the benefit that He gives in gaining the victory.  This is exactly what Paul discovered in his life when he said, “I have to brag.  There is nothing to be gained by it, but I must brag about the visions and other things that the Lord has shown me.  I know about one of Christ’s followers who was taken up into the third heaven fourteen years ago.  I don’t know if the man was still in his body when it happened, but God certainly knows.

“As I said, only God really knows if this man was in his body at the time.  But he was taken up into paradise, where he heard things that are too wonderful to tell.  I will brag about that man, but not about myself, except to say how weak I am.

“Yet even if I did brag, I would not be foolish.  I would simply be speaking the truth.  But I will try not to say too much.  That way, none of you will think more highly of me than you should because of what you have seen me do and say.  Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw.  One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud. 

“Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away.  But He replied, 'My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.'  So if Christ keeps giving me His power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.  Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ.  Because when I am weak, I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

So it is good to recognize what we have accomplished but know that it is because of God’s work in our lives and He alone gets the credit.  Paul put this in perspective when he said, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  Each one should test their own actions.  Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." (Galatians 6:2-5)

When we glorify God we do not nullify what we are doing in the process but keeping the right perspective, because everything comes from God in the first place.  He has given us our bodies, minds and spirits to serve and worship Him in all we do and when we keep this perspective constantly before us then we discover what is best for us.

This also means that we will have difficulty along the way because we have an enemy, Satan, who is seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) but greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  So instead of focusing on the problem we look to Jesus for the solution.  And here is how we can make sure that we maintain the right attitude in our lives: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)

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