Archive for the A New Beginning In Christ Category

Sharing Jesus for the sake of Jesus

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Apologetics, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, God, Religion, Theology, Thought of the day on 07/27/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Most evangelism sucks!

Ok, that may be sound a little bit harsh generalization, but I believe it’s true! Most evangelism sucks because they are therapeutically good but theologically not sound. They are man-centered not God-centered. They are so superficial not incarnational. Evangelism day is a kick-off event for so many than a life style. William Temple the late Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: ‘To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Savior, and serve him as their king in the fellowship of his Church’. We have to face it; the message of the gospel is more than “God is doing something huge” kind of sermon. I don’t think the New Testament God is vague on this. He sent His Son to die.  R. C. Sproul said, “The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.” The message of the gospel is serious!

Evangelism is not an option. In fact, it’s a mandate. It is not a system that we adopt but it’s a truth that we should live out. The motive should not be winning people for the sake of church membership but for a God-honoring and purpose driven life. And the purpose is not to enjoy the darkness but to reveal God’s glory as the light of the world. Evangelism will never get easier because we adopt, change or focus on various techniques. Evangelism is a grace-based passion and caring for people. Passion and caring has nothing to do with technique but a heart. God doesn’t concern about our “evangelism techniques” but our availability and passion. I think we have gotten far away from what evangelism is all about. Personal opinion but I believe it’s true!

Why most evangelism sucks?

I will tell you why. We know what people want to hear, so customize the gospel according to the interest and characteristics of the people we want to address. We assume what works and what not. As the result we have a gospel-plus-something evangelism and our “techniques” make sense to us than the gospel. However, Paul and many others did evangelism in a very straight kind of preaching. They just go out and proclaim. They were concerned much about bringing the glory of God through their preaching than methodology. But, the way we do evangelism often times is superficial not radical. Our evangelism is not properly planned and it’s poorly delivered. We urge “unbelievers” to love Jesus, to follow Jesus, to accept Jesus, and to worship Jesus but we don’t even live out these truths in our lives. There is no power in our messages because there is less truth in our lives.

Evangelism is how to share Jesus with Passion and Compassion!

I know there are so many kinds of evangelism ideas in the modern Christianity. Not all of them are bad but most of them are sucks. Our evangelism is more about how to entertain people through popular music, drama, so-called spiritual dancing and various arts, self-help and non-confrontational preaching, and very superficial not scriptural teaching. The concern is more about the people’s felt needs than what God wants from people. The concern is not whether God will be glorified but will people be satisfied. Let’s forget about our customized innovations and be concerned about the gospel. The gospel is not for sale, it doesn’t need our advertisement.

Evangelism is about sharing Jesus with passion and compassion. What you share is a person not a product. The gospel is about a person. Evangelism begins and ends with this person, Jesus Christ. And, He is the content and object of the gospel.  Disciples, not converts, are the goal of evangelism. We need to be operating with passion and motivated by compassion. This is not to doubt the effect of our approach in evangelism. But, we should not be focused on our mechanisms but His grace. Our words, and actions will take us half-step in the process but it is totally the work of the Holy Spirit. The goal in evangelism is to bring a person closer to the person of Jesus Christ who is already drawing by the work of the Holy Spirit.  “Evangelism is the discipleship of the pre-converted man” as some one said. God doesn’t reach the Jews through signs and wonders and the Greeks through wisdom. “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ESV)

God doesn’t give us what we want in order to save us. He doesn’t give us “toys” to save us through the gospel. That is the modern day church gospel; the gospel of ME! The gospel of ME is basically man-centered and it is about how YOU can be the best person you can be, it’s about your bolster self-esteem, it’s about your dynamic relationships, it’s about solving your financial crisis, it’s about you and your needs.

However, God is passionate about His glory and He is taking the gospel seriously. The true gospel is about our total helplessness and need. We are sinners. We are God’s enemies. And we are need of a savior. God gives us what we need and what we need is the gospel. The gospel is about the person and the gospel is a person. We need this person, Jesus Christ, above all for satisfaction and justification. And evangelism is nothing but sharing this Jesus for the sake of Jesus. Don’t try to find ways to succeed in evangelism just share the person of Jesus Christ. Praise be His name!

Eyob B Kassa

July 26, 2012

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Developing The Spiritual Gift of Discernment

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, Religion, Theology, Thought of the day on 04/12/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

There are lots of things in life that needs clarity. Just because it looks “right” in any of your “measurement”, doesn’t mean every thing is just right. I am not minimizing the ability to reason or think through. But there are things that are way beyond our ability to look or think through, especially when we come to spiritual things. How do we know we are on the right path? How do we know it is the will of God? How do we know we are doing the will of God? How do we know? Where do we get the confirmation? from our senses? People? Or what else? These are not just easy questions. In order to approve all things and hold fast, that which is good or right, we need to develop the ability to discern.

Often times, making a right choice is more than doing something smart. The ability to discern is more than having a good skill. Discernment is a spiritual gift, according to the scripture, and that is  to be able to distinguish whether a saying, teaching, doctrine, written word, or event is right or wrong, or it is from the good or the evil one. But the question also is, how do we know that? How do we know whether the saying, teaching, doctrine or any word or experience is from God or the devil? Here are few hints for you.

1.     You need to know your Bible. Sounds simple, right! It sounds simple but unless you know the scripture, not the head the knowledge, but having intimate relationship with the word, there is no way that you discern what is from God and what is from the devil. It is through the scripture that you discern the source. Not knowing the scripture leads to error and destruction. “If I were the devil,” writes J. I. Packer, “one of my first aims would be to stop folks from digging into the Bible…I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorns, hedges and mantraps…” why? Because it is through the word that you come to the knowledge and understanding of what God’s will is.

2.     Don not accepts anything that you read or listens on face value. “The fool believes everything,” says the scripture in Proverbs 14: 15 but, “the prudent takes heed to his step.” The greatest mistake that we can make is when we receive and believe everything that we heard and ignore to discern. No matter what you heard, or whom you listen to, you need to carefully test and examine it in the light of the Bible. We are instructed to test, prove, examine everything in I Thessalonians 5:21. Remember, everything means everything!

3.     Listen to God’s voice and seek His precence diligently. Most people want to hear from God what they want to hear and when they want to hear,  but not what He wants to tell them. Because our lives filled with a bunch of hyper-stimulated and meaningless activities, we don’t have the patience to listen to His voice and seek His precence diligently. But seeking God must be our diligent work, because those who seek will find Him. When you have the gift of discernment it motivates you to seek God’s will and purpose and apply that with understanding. The bible says in Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Just your way looks right, feels right, sounds right doesn’t mean it is right. Not all the way is God’s way. There are “things”, “voices” or “ways” sounds or looks identical to God’s will, but how do you discern if you don’t develop the spirit of discernment? Don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. Don’t pray just for the sake of prayer, but develop a hunger to be in His presence. God doesn’t want your list, but your heart. The greatness of prayer is not on the length, or the quality of your words but the humbleness of your heart the ultimate desire to be in His presence more than anything else.

4.      Ask God for the gift of discernment. God gives gifts. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gift of Discernment is the ability to perceive whether such things as people, events, or beliefs are from God or the devil. People with the gift of discernment know that Satan and his demons disguise themselves as holy (1 Cor. 11:14-15), empowers counterfeit miracles (Ex. 7:11-22; 8:7; Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Tim. 3:8) deceive people (2 Thess. 2:9), and empowers false teachers (2 Pet. 2:1), false prophets (Matt. 7:15), false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13), and false doctrines (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3).

5.     It is one thing to desire the gift of discernment – and it is quite another to use it properly in a right way. We should not act like children concerning spiritual gifts as Corinthians did in 1 Corinthians. Spiritual gifts are not given for entertainment or any kind of personal gain. They should not also be treated as any kind of natural talents.  There is a distinction between a natural talent and a supernatural or spiritual gift. Both comes from God, but spiritual gifts are supernatural. And the Holy Spirit or God gives gifts for three general purposes:

1.     To glorify God (1 Pt 4:11) and Christ (John 16:14).

2.     To edify the body of Christ (Ep 4:12-13; 1 Cr 14:26).

3.     To lead souls to Christ (1 Cr 14:16; Ep 4:11).

The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to serve others, to bless others and to benefit others. So that the whole church, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14, may be edified or  the whole church may be built up. You are using the gift that you receive from the Holy Spirit for your benefit but it is NOT given to make you “special,” “glorify” or cute in any way in the church. It is one thing to desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit but it is quite another to submit to the giver, and use it to edify ourselves and others in a biblical manner.

The need for spiritual discernment among God’s people is greater today than it ever has been! And I think we all need to ask God, the giver of all gifts, through prayer, according to His will, in a manner that glorify Him and for the benefit of His church.

Eyob B Kassa

April, 12, 2012

Rest In His Hands

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, Thought of the day on 04/06/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

It is only in the hands of God, you will find rest.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find hope.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find peace.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find meaning.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find healing.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find purpose.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find forgiveness.

It is only in the hands of God, you will find life.

When you face trials of every kind,

When your peace disturbed,

And when you lost your hope,

Just come to Him, and rest.

All you need to know is His plan is good and wastes nothing!

Behold, His promises are true!

And His love is everlasting!

He said,

Can a woman forget her nursing child?

That she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget,

Yet I will not forget you.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

Your walls are continually before me.

Rest in God today,

Sink into stillness.

Let Him work in you and through you

Let Him to heal your soul

Let Him to restore your hope

Cast your cares and He will sustain you

Don’t be despair

Don’t be overwhelmed

Let your soul rest in His hand

Let His mercy and grace deal with your soul

Rest in His hands!

Rest in His hands!

 

(Rest is not about doing nothing or taking “day off” but it is about finding God and found by God)

 

My thoughts for today….

 

Eyob B Kassa

4/6/2012

Resting in God’s Peace

Posted in A New Begining, A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, Religion, Thought of the day on 04/05/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Have you ever felt like the whole world is on your shoulders? Restless, unsure, fearful, hopeless, helpless, etc? You are trying to do you best to stay positive and not lose perspective. You are trying to remain calm and stay focused. But still struggling with anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, and so on. You don’t like the feeling but you are going through it anyway. Even if you don’t want to, you still hear the sound in your head; even you smell it like it is real.

God knows our circumstances. He knows our nature. His eye’s are on every man’s business. He sees the big or small. And I think that is very comforting. But when you are going through what you are going through, it is hard sometimes to stay calm or focused. It is not easy to grip such a powerful stand and not lose perspective about your life.

When you experience anxiety, or when you are going through such a difficult time in your life, God doesn’t want you running from Him but to Him. That is why He said ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.’ The burden, which Jesus is talking about, is not just about this worldly struggle that you have. Yes, God cares and knows about that. But it is about your soul. It is about your inner peace. It is about His invitation to draw to Him and find rest. He wants us to trust Him and go forward with the heart of seeking Him and wanting to know His heart. God doesn’t want us to be anxious about anything. By being anxious, we cannot add “one cubit to our span of life”. God does not want us to worry needlessly. Our lives are in His hand. Even, the length of our lives is determined by Himself (Job 14:5). We can’t add to that. He is in control. We are not. So, what we can do is “…in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4: 6-9 and when we do that “ the peace of God, (not any kind of peace, but the peace of God) which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God wants us not to worry about anything but pray about everything. When we do that we start experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding, the peace that will guard our hearts, and the peace that will guard our minds in Christ.

Eyob B Kassa

4/5/12

Seeking God

Posted in A New Begining, A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Religion, Theology, Thought of the day on 04/04/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

If you examine your heart today, what do you think you will find? A lot of things right? I know!  When David examined himself by the word of God you know what he found once? A hunger, a strong desire for God. Read what he says in Psalm 42: 1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God When shall I come and appear before God?” What about you my friends? What do you long for today? For many it was God! How about you? God is never found accidentally. He said in Jeremiah 29 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” If you seek God and if that is your only desire in your heart God will satisfy you by His presence as He promised in Psalm 107: “He satisfy the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” What about those who don’t seek Him? The answer is simple, they will not find Him. Because seeking God is honoring Him, magnifying Him and satisfying in Him and He  will give honor to those by whom He is  honored, and those who have no respect for Him will be of small value in His eyes according to 1 Samuel 2: 30.

However, seeking God is not about making our possession. It is not about making Him something that needs to be added on as any kind of property. Seeking God is a diligent pursuit, a passionate hunger for Him and without Him everything is meaningless and empty.

God is looking for seekers! He is seeking those who have such intense passion or a deeper hunger for His presence, and who want to know him more, desiring Him more, glorifying Him more, and  satisfied in Him more. “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.”  (Psalm 14: 2).

What do you long for today? you know God is never found accidentally, but He will be found to those who seek Him passionately, earnestly, and consistently. Those who seek him will live (1 Chronicles 16:11) and the search should be done with all your heart, mind and soul (Deuteronomy 4: 29).

We need to seek God all the time not just when we are in trouble. Seeking God is more than a joyful admiration or praise, but it is about being satisfied in Him, acknowledging Him, and glorifying Him in everything and above any other things.

Seeking God or desiring God has a cost. But the question is how much of God do you want today?

Eyob B Kassa

4/4/2012

Life isn’t worth living unless you’re living your life with divine-purpose

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, God, Relationships, Religion, Thought of the day on 04/02/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Sitting in my car, waiting for a call, watching everybody driving like someone is chasing them …this morning; I was thinking: everyday people are just like this. Get up, dressed up, grab something to eat or drink, drive, drive…. Come home, exhausted, beat up…then go to sleep…then comes another day.  Life is like an endless waltz, we dance through our life till we can’t dance no more. But, is this what life is all about? There must be something more to life or everything is vanity of vanities as the scripture says. So let’s think for a while. What’s the deal with this thing called “life”? It seems like everything has been set up NOT satisfy us no matter what we get or how much we get. You can have anything you want but we are created with endless desires and wants. But why? Or how so? I tell you one thing. Everything that we want is in this world but something that we need is not in this world and until we know or get that we will never be satisfied.

We need God to satisfy us ultimately. We need Him so bad because without Him life is meaningless. Here is the word from Saint Augustine, “Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in thee.” We cannot live a satisfied life until we fully satisfied in Him alone first.

My advice to you today: avoid destruction. Slow down! Just pause for a while! Ask some serious questions, where are you going? What are you run after? What makes you want to really live? Put an end to this endless and crazy running! Because there more to life than sleeping, eating, graduating, career, marriage, etc.

You are created in God’s image to have an intimate relationship and to glorify Him by being fully rest in Him and satisfied in Him. Our greatest desire is to know God, to glorify him. Why? Because that’s how we’ve been designed. But the question is, are you living your life for Him?

Eyob B Kassa

4/2/12

My thoughts for today: The road to SIN starts in YOUR MIND…!

Posted in A New Begining, A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, God, Thought of the day on 11/29/2011 by Eyob B Kassa

The horrifying death of Christ on the cross demonstrates the righteousness of God; it reveals the horrible nature and reality of our sinfulness, and the glorious God who refuses to settle for anything less other than being glorious through His son’s terrible death.

But the question is, if God takes His glory so serious, shouldn’t we?

Sin may look desirable at first, test good at first but no matter who much we fantasize it, how pleasurable it be, it drags us down, brings us shame and finally death.

Sin must be defined according to God’s view and must be seen through God’s eyes. Sin is not doing something wrong, it is not! Sin is an attack on the infinite worth of God’s glory. And God takes sin seriously!

Sin must be seen as your enemy not a friend. You cannot take sin lightly because our sin cost God the death of his only begotten Son.

God is not a passive observer when you sinned. When we sin God grieves. Because He loves you so much He wants you to hate sin but follow righteousness.

Today, avoid those sinful cravings by live according to the Spirit. Romans 8:5, says “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit Desires.”

Avoid situations, connections, or any attractions that may lead you to making a sinful act. Remember Joseph? He did not only refuse to sin but also run away from it.

Stop playing around sin/temptation like Samson did. Some associations or relations may look harmless but they are the simple step to disobedience. In other words, stop playing with fire. Eventually, either you get burned or you get someone burned.

Avoid being vulnerable. Remember, an empty mind is the devil’s playground.

Meditate on the word of God. As Pastor John Piper beautifully defined it, “The word “meditation” in Hebrew means basically to speak or to mutter. When this is done in the heart it is called musing or meditation. So meditating on the Word of God day and night means to speak to yourself the Word of God day and night and to speak to yourself about it.”

Sin is a “me-first”, and flesh-centered life style and attitude. You can only defeat sin by being governed and controlled by the Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). You need to deliberately put the word into your mind and set your mind on the “things of the Spirit.” But this is not a one time action. It must be diligently worked out each and every day.

Eyob B Kassa

November 29, 2011