Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: vision

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

Thank you for reading our twenty third installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy in the book of Psalms chapter twenty four which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will ascend to heaven…

Who is this King of Glory?

Psalm 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

I am reminded of a song that we used to sing at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville which has the words of verse 8 verbatim. The messiah (Jesus Christ) had been through death and reappeared to his disciples, but there was still one last act to do while on earth and that is to ascend into heaven where he is today.

One of the questions that is asked by those who have not studied the Bible is “Where is Jesus today?” well I would point them towards the following verses in Mark and Luke, these explain better than I ever could where my messiah is today.

One Psalm – Two parts

The 24th Psalm is a wonder to me, like many Psalms it is one in two parts, part one is verses one thru six and part two is seven through to ten. I love that in the beginning of the Psalm in verse one and two he confirms the creation account and in verse three it asks “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” in verse four he answers “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” and verses six and seven talk about the righteous reward.

Jesus confirms this in the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five:

Matthew 5:8 (ESV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Part two speaks of the messiah and asks “Who is this King of glory?” it also mentions the gates of heaven and the ascension of the LORD as well as the invitation for him to come home. Reminds me of the hymn I used to sing at Sunday school:

“This world is not my home; I am just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue,
The Angels beckon me, from heavens open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

Make no mistake about it, heaven was open and willing and waiting for the messiahs return. We read that the messiah gets two distinct names that are befitting his majesty. He is called THE KING OF GLORY and LORD OF HOSTS, two very regal and majestic names that could barely do him and his glory justice. Let’s look at the book of Mark to see how he ascended.

Ascension (Part 1) Mark’s Gospel

Mark 16:14 (ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

So when Jesus came back it was not all hearts and flowers, like any good teacher he had to deliver a tough lesson to the eleven remaining disciples (twelve minus Judas Iscariot) he had to “rebuke them for their unbelief and hardness of heart”. Can you imagine this? They have spent three years with the best bible teacher ever to walk this earth, they have seen him die and be brought back to life and they still had unbelief?

Suddenly I don’t feel bad about having doubts on occasion about trivial things that happen in my life! Jesus makes sure that they are accountable for believing what they had been taught, don’t get me wrong it is a supernatural thing to hear and unless you had some sort of confirmation that it was correct it would be a tough one to swallow, but these guys had been in Jesus inner circle, they were well warned about what was going to happen.

They are given their (to use a British Army term) “Part one orders” They were to be the beacons of light to the world, they were the new evangelists and go to everyone proclaiming Jesus message. This is still the Christian’s commission today; we are to share Jesus with whoever God puts in our path. We are commanded to make disciples and those who believe will be saved. It is our job to be the tool used by God; the Holy Spirit convicts the heart unto repentance.

Jesus then ascends to heaven and sat at the right hand of God (where he is today) He promised that he was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:3) and to make intercession for us (Romans 8:3) He is in the right hand of the father to show his place in the order of heaven, much higher than the angels. Jesus also ascended leaving the Holy Spirit to minister to us; we are not alone or cut off from God waiting for his return.

The disciples followed Jesus command and “went out and preached everywhere” we do know historically that the gospel was not spread much beyond Jerusalem until after the Christian persecution.

Lastly we read that “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” I love this and this is where we mess up a little today in church, in the original blueprint the preaching came first and then the signs and wonders came after. The stuff that could change people’s lives was allowed to be the foundation and then the supernatural stuff follows to confirm the message.

Ascension (Part 2) Luke’s Gospel

Luke 24:50 (ESV) Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Luke being a physician is a little more clinical on his witness account of what happened next, he gives the exact location that Jesus left them, (Bethany) he listed what he was doing (lifting his hands and blessing his disciples) and what happened afterwards.

Jesus took his place as his last act on this earth prior to the second coming to assume the role of the disciples High Priest. Jesus spent his life blessing people and with the power and love that came from these hands, this blessing was for real.

As he was blessing them he went home. This was no ET moment, this was the culmination of forty days of intense ministry for the disciples and appearing before witnesses to prove the resurrection, even as he was leaving the earth he was putting the finishing touches on the disciples preparation for ministry without Jesus.

Jesus literally fulfilled the ministry of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) what greater example we could have but Jesus himself?

They had great joy knowing that Jesus mission was complete; imagine if Calvary had been the end? There would be no Christianity! They returned to Jerusalem (at least until the persecution) and went to the temple and kept in prayer and praise to God. They really believed that it was true and they now lived as public followers of Jesus. By attending the temple they wanted to be in God’s house, in his ministry and in his service. This is a true example of lives changed by Jesus.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

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Thanksgiving week – Day six – Calvary Chapel’s in my area

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Thanksgiving week – Day six – Calvary Chapel’s in my area

Firstly, I should begin with how thankful I am that you are reading this, this series was started a few days later than I was hoping but I had committed to a week of blogs and content. (The days were switched round of course)

Secondly, if you like what you read then please share any articles, pages or the links to any content that you may find useful to your newsgroups.

Why Calvary Chapel? 

Well to be honest with you, it is what I like. Plain and simple. I have done the denomination deal when I was exploring Christianity when I was younger. I attended Charismatic,  Presbyterian, Baptist,  Episcopalian and Brethren at some.point in my life. In this experiment I would have to say I liked the lively worship of the charismatic church but needed more word focused studies.

I left the church for many years (see my testimony page for more information) and when I was dating my wife, she suggested we attend the local Calvary Chapel in Glasgow, Scotland.

Church should be like life, in balance, different people find different levels of balance and although I recommend Calvary chapels,  I would not take you away from a church that is healthy that you are plugged into.

Are all Calvary Chapel churches the same?

Very much not, Calvary Chapel churches tend to reflect their pastor in many was, they all adhere to the Word of God,  they all share the same distinctives,  they all have a lead pastor, but I have never been in two that are identical.

Here’s to you

Here is a shout out to those Calvary Chapel churches in my area, you have all been a positive influence in my walk and you have all encouraged me.

Vision CC of Porterville – attended between 2007-2014 large church in Porterville,  California. These guys have a huge heart for lost in the area God has placed them. They reach out many times a year to the local apartments with food, Christmas presents and dinners for thanksgiving. Last year they did a service in the courtyard of the apartments.

They also have active women and mens ministries to help equip.the saints for the work of the ministry. Here’s to you – Pastor Ryan, Kurt and Bob.

They meet at the Veterans Memorial Building on West Olive Street at 10 am every Sunday.

Calvary Chapel Tulare – awesome church in Tulare, smaller in numbers than Porterville but a real community church where everyone is family.

They have an awesome youth and childrens ministry, a great seniors ministry at a local rehab hospital,  the men meet on a Wednesday for coffee, exhortation and koinonia.

Recently they have had a pastor change so here’s to you Pastor Jake (who departed) and Pastor John.

They meet on O Street in Tulare every Sunday at 10 am and Thursday at 7 pm.

Calvary Chapel Visalia

The biggest Calvary Chapel in the area and has been around for about as long as I have been born. I know these guys from men’s events, bible studies, services I have attended, VBS I have sent my kid to and quality time spent with the Pastors here, both verbal and even shared meals with them.

These guys have so many programs it would would be impossible to talk about them in one article.  Here’s to you Pastor Bob & Mike.

They meet on a Sunday, Avenue 264, Visalia at 8.30 am and 10.30 am and Wednesday night at 6.30pm

Calvary Chapel Hanford

This is one I have been in closer contact from this year on. The pastors there Geno, Gene and Jacob are awesome, such an encouragement.

They also meet Sunday and Wednesday.

The reason I talk about Calvary Chapel today is that I was an atheist who really didn’t live a Christian life prior to being brought into a Calvary Chapel where I heard the bible being taught verse by verse and precept upon precept. It changed my life and I pray that it will change yours too.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

A vision of clarity for the church (Part 1)

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A vision of clarity for the church (Part 1)

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

Titus 2:2 (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Regular readers of my blog will know that there has been something brewing in my heart for some time, a vision that we actually become the church we are supposed to be in the bible, a place where folks can come forward in confidence that if they reveal their gifts, they will have an opportunity to use them.    

Elder (in age or maturity) teaching the younger

I got a real life visualization of this in a non-ministry setting at the weekend.  

We visited with the guy I call “my mentor” & his really awesome wife ( I am not sure about mentioning his name online so he will remain anon) & we visited a beach down in the San Diego area, he is a surfer and knows the waters of that area well so he offered to show me how to “body board” I wasn’t confident, however it did give me time to relax and see God’s vision play out for me in a literal sense on that beach.

It was a nice day so people were all in the water and many young kids had smaller boards that they raved into the water with and often times the older men were showing them the basics, getting them used to the water, letting them fail on the smaller waves before allowing them to do it themselves,  this was true quality time and I thought, that’s one way to ensure surfing (or body boarding) survives.

That is how it should be with the church dear Christian

You see my vision is not unique, and I believe that it probably is  happening in many churches, but sadly it is probably not happening in many others.

It is simple, we have to raise up our newer believers while they are still baby Christians, disciple them in the word and have them evangelize their non-Christian friends. This has two benefits to the new believer:

1) they grasp solid doctrine right from the beginning
2) lots of non-Christians are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ from someone in their “sphere of influence”

We have to work on our established believers also, get them in, get them connected,  give them a chance to use their gifts and callings.  Then once they are solid, have them pour into others.

In my view, it is not enough to raise up a quality teacher, or to raise up a quality worship leader, or quality evangelist,  if that is the gifting of that person,  allow him to be the one who raises up many more. They may stay within your fellowship,  they may go to be used in the greater kingdom of God.

With more skilled people at the pastors disposal, suddenly the conduit is there for church growth,  but leaders have to be willing to share, share pulpits, share space on the podium where the worship leaders are.

With increased discipleship will lead to people wishing to go deeper with one another,  if the fellowship is smaller then that can be done corporately,  but as the fellowship grows, community groups. This does however require buy in from the ones chosen to be leaders.

If the buy in does not come from the top down, the average Joe in the pew (or foldable seat) will not see the importance if the leaders don’t. 

I will of course hear that “I don’t have time” that of course is tragic if you do not have time to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, you may have to defer to your elders.

I would go so far as to say that if the eldership does not have time to fulfill the duties of being an elder, they may wish to respectfully and prayerfully step down.  There should be no “honorary titles”.

Plainly put guys, we are failing this and the next generation of believers.

This is a lot to read and I am sorry, I have cut it into a few parts,  please stay tuned for another article soon (unless the LORD comes)

God bless and please share, comment or like as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE