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One Of The Biggest Lies The Church Believes

The biggest list the church believesDo you want to know one of the biggest lies the enemy has told us?

Lie: you’re playing defense, not offense (as you hold the ball in your hands and say, Really?)

Truth: you’re on offense (that’s why the ball is in your hands) and the only hope the enemy has is to convince you otherwise.

Here’s what I mean.

God has all power and all authority. Not only is He winning. He’s already won.

Jesus defeated the enemy at the Cross and recaptured the keys of the kingdom.

In other words, Jesus stripped the enemy of his power and authority (which he received when man fell) and delegated it to the church.

Yet many Christians live contrary to this reality. They’ve believed the lie that says, “You’re not powerful. You’re weak and defeated.”

They think they’re destined for a continual struggle against the enemy. read more…

When Christians Disagree: Unity, Facebook and False Teachers

Hixson Bridge at Shevlin Park

Hixson Bridge at Shevlin Park

Last week an old friend, and fellow Christian, messaged me on Facebook to let me know he thought some of the Christian charismatic leaders I followed were “false teachers.”

I didn’t (and still don’t) agree with him. But that’s not the point.

There are enough blog posts, Facebook comments and even entire books dedicated to, what I’ll refer to as “Christian Disagreements.”

But so few resources on how to walk in unity and how to honor those you disagree with.

It’s like we’re experts at arguing, persuading and debating (which I confess, I do a lot of) but almost entirely ignorant on how to walk in unity.

And I think something is wrong with that.

So instead of writing my friend back right away, I took a day to think it over. I wanted to not only get my thinking right but also my heart right before I responded.

read more…

Why Introspection Is A Waste Of Time

Why Introspection Is A  Bad Idea

Should you be more introspective?

Well, it depends what kind of life you want.

If you want to rob yourself of joy, stunt your spiritual growth and become a more self-absorbed person than yes, by all means, you should be introspective.

But seriously, think about it.

Have you ever felt empowered after an intense time of introspection?

Did you examine all your motives and then walk away feeling refreshed and closer to God?

If you’re like most people then probably not.

And why would you?

The nature of introspection is to look for things that are wrong in your life. Areas of your life that need to be corrected. Trying to judge yourself according to your own internal belief system.

And from my experience (and observation of many well meaning Christians) introspection does little to change your life for the better. read more…

What Do You Believe About Your Nature?

New Creation vs Sin Nature

What Kind Of Nature Do You Have?

The “sin nature” is a subject that is taught, preached and studied extensively in the church today.

Conversely there isn’t much focus on what it means to be a “new creation” in Christ.Think about it for a moment. How often do you hear the sin/human nature mentioned in a sermon compared to the “inward man” or the “new creation”?

If you’re like most Christians you’ve been taught about the sinful, fallen and corrupt nature of man far more than you have about being a new creation.

It’s as if what Adam and Eve did was more important (or powerful) than what Christ did.

And it’s a tragedy. When we neglect to teach Christians the truth about what it means to be a new creation we do a terrible disservice. We end up with Christians and churches who are completely ignorant of the abundant spiritual life available and who continue to strive against sin. Plus, it makes having a real relationship with God almost impossible.

Here’s why…

read more…

2 Reasons (aka “excuses”) Why I Haven’t Posted in 10 Months

It’s been a good 10 months since I’ve posted here.

And I’m tired of letting this blog sit here and collect dust while I wait for “inspiration” to strike. So I decided to commit to posting on here at least every other week (If more than 14 days go by without a new post you have my permission to email me and ask what’s up… my email is jmonen@gmail.com).

The truth is I have 23 “draft” posts I’ve written but haven’t published on here.

Why?

Well I have two excuses reasons:

1. My struggle with perfectionism

2. I’ve allowed myself to become too busy

OK. Enough about me and my excuses. Bottom line: I’m back.

Now let me ask you a question:

Do you ever feel like you need to “make a comeback” after it’s been a long time since you’ve done something you think you should’ve been doing all along?

Let me explain… read more…

8 Years Ago Today I Woke Up After Relapsing on Cocaine

Cocaine Addiction

8 years ago today I woke up in my parent’s bedroom after another relapse.

The night before I took my new ADHD medication, Adderall, and it reminded me of the feeling I got when I used cocaine. So I took some more Adderall, called some friends and went and bought an 8-ball of cocaine.

My mind immediately returned to a state of paranoia as I crept around the house peering out the windows looking for cops. This is how I spent countless nights before I was set free from addiction. I would usually drink a fifth of Malibu Rum and about 6-10 Coronas, snort/smoke about $400 worth of cocaine, smoke a pack of Camels all while looking out windows and peepholes in fear that cops were watching me and about to break in.

It was not what you call fun. I didn’t use or drink to “have a good time” like many do. I used because I didn’t feel normal sober. I used because drugs were my master. I worshiped them, sang songs to them and desired to be with them 24/7.

And on May 23, 2004 I thought my life was over.

I hadn’t used cocaine — my drug of choice — since the prior September (although I relapsed on alcohol and marijuana 2 months prior). So when I used again I heard voices in my head tell me, “See, God gave you 2nd and 3rd chances and you screwed it up. You’re going to die because God is going to teach others a lesson about what happens when you screw up.” read more…

I Made the Mistake of Reading George MacDonald (aka C.S. Lewis’s “Master”)

I didn’t even know who George MacDonald was until recently. I think the first time I heard his name was last summer when my good friend Matt Perkins of Northwest Anglican and my mother-in-law Tiffany Seppala were discussing his books over lunch. They said he was a great influence on C.S. Lewis.Discovering_the_Character_of_God

So I started reading, Discovering the Character of God by MacDonald recently and realized his writings aren’t something I can just quickly read through and say, “Oh that was good,” and move on with life. No. I say “I made the mistake of reading George MacDonald” because I can’t do that. I can’t read a chapter, smile and then just go on with life like nothing happened.

For whatever reason, his writing has challenged me at the core of who I am. As he writes about the character of God I begin to think about who God really is.

And I want to share a statement that really rocked me last night. So much so that I had to sit my book down, sit up straight in bed and really consider what I had just read. But before I share that let me give you a little background on George MacDonald in case you aren’t familiar with him. read more…

They Broke Through and Jesus Called it Faith – We Call it…?

Spiritual breakthrough hole in the roof

What happens when you or a loved one has a need. A need that only Jesus can meet? A need that can only be met by a miracle?

When it comes to having these needs met I’ve noticed there are primarily two schools of thought in the church.

2 schools of thought regarding breakthrough in the church

 

The first teaches that you can, and should, press in for breakthroughs. And even if circumstances seem to oppose this need being met you should still contend for the breakthrough and overcome the obstacles by the power of God that resides in you.

The second is more of a passive approach. This belief system teaches that God will move in His own time and there is nothing we can do to influence Him to move. And the breakthrough is not what’s important anyway, what’s more important is “accepting” that God has ordained these circumstances and that they are all part of a bigger plan. read more…

Fighting or Embracing the Process?

I just finished listening to a sermon (on podcast) by Banning Liebscher from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. He shared his story of being young and zealous for the Lord. At 19 years old he felt like all he wanted to do was travel around and preach (I think he’s in his mid-30s now). He didn’t feel “called” to the local church or to youth.

Today he is the youth pastor at his local church and loves it.

As he shared I found myself laughing out loud a few times because I could relate to what he was saying and his type-A personality. He talked about how he would think about the timeline of his life and how he would always feel like he was “behind” a few years (something I’ve thought about a time or two). read more…

Death, Destiny and Deadlines

Death, Deadlines, and Destiny

Every now and then I like to reflect on my own mortality. Some people might find that depressing but I, on the other hand, feel inspired when I think about the fact that my days are numbered.

It helps me get my priorities straight. If I knew I were going to live for a million years on this earth I don’t know if I’d be as motivated to do the things I feel called to do.

 

Death Reminds Me of Deadlines

As a freelance copywriter I understand deadlines. In fact I had an important deadline today…it was 5pm EST (So 2pm for me). I had to send my client 3 promotional emails that they will then send out to their list of 20-30k people.

I made my deadline with 45 minutes to spare and it felt good!

Knowing that I had a deadline forced me to focus on the task at hand until it was done. Focusing is not easy for me either. I love starting new things but it’s hard for me to see them to completion….almost impossible unless I have a deadline.

And when I think about death I’m reminded that there is a deadline for accomplishing God’s purposes for my life. This perspective helps me to focus on the big picture. It becomes much easier to say “no” to things too.

I believe God created all of us with unique gifts and a purpose. It’s the “why” behind our lives.

I don’t know about you but I want to remember that I don’t have an unlimited supply of days. I want to steward my time wisely. I want to get to the end of my life and hear those words spoken by my Creator, “Well done good and faithful servant.”