Archive for the Christian Life 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

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

The Gospel is Not for Sale

Posted in Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, God, Religion, religon, Theology, Thought of the day on 03/12/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Salvation: God’s free and undeserving bounty!

The scripture clearly says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” in Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV). If we don’t understand this basic foundation of the gospel message, then we lose everything. There are no “two paths or more” to be saved, and we cannot be accepted for our “works” because God is the only one who can save Isaiah 63:1. When the scripture says, salvation is free that means it has nothing to do with our works. And if it is free we have no claim; it is just a mere favor. We have absolutely no reason to say that we deserve it because it is God’s favor. And this God’s free gift, salvation is full available through God’s Son Jesus Christ (read Acts 4: 12; John 14: 6; John 10: 9 and so on).

Salvation is not something that any church or a minister can offer; it is God’s offering to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus Christ. Why? Because He (God) is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Everyone is invited; nobody is excluded (Rev. 22:17).

Why is it free? Because if we want to buy our salvation we have nothing to pay, we are bankrupt spiritually (Romans 3: 23 says…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.) and Isaiah 64:6 also says “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” We cannot save ourselves in any way so we needed a savior. But what was the problem? Why we need a savior any way? Because we all have sinned! Sin is something that we are all guilty of. It is in our nature. It is who we are. As the scripture says in Romans 5: 12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” By the way, 5:12 The Greek word anthropoi in 5: 12 refers to both men and women; see also verse 18. But you may say, “I am not that bad” or “I haven’t done anything like so and so.” Well, it is neither about the degree nor type of sin that matter, because God doesn’t put degrees on our sin. There is no big or small or there is no this or that type of sin. It is about the fact that we all have sinners and violates God’s law.

Salvation: Free, but not cheap!

Yes, salvation is free and it costs us nothing. But our salvation cost God His only Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t think your salvation is cheap because you received it for free. God as a giver has to pay a price (His Son) to set us free because we are bankrupted (spiritually, morally, etc), with no ability to pay for our salvation. No good deeds of ours CANNOT merit us salvation. As the scripture clearly says, we are spiritually dead in sin and inclined by nature only toward evil all the time,” but God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the scripture says, “for you were bought with a price.” For you were bought has an implication. It implies a price.  What price? The price of God’s own Son Jesus Christ. The price of His blood shed on the cross. If you want to know how much your salvation cost God, look at the cross of Jesus and you will understand. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” says the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1: 18-21 “but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

As the Israelites were slaves for Pharaoh in Egypt and the LORD brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, so were we. We all were enslaved to sin and needed a savior. No ‘hasty evacuation’ this time, but God send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us through His death. Jesus Christ, who is sovereign, glories, and everlasting deity taking upon Himself the form of a servant and willingly suffer the horrible and agonizing death on the cross. His death makes us precious because He bought us with His precious blood.

However, this salvation yet it is free it is not cheap either. The scripture clearly teaches us Jesus is our savior and also The Lord! Jesus died for our sins. He (Jesus) died for all, “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for HIM” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. This is not a “secondary effect” of God’s saving grace as many thinks but it is a supreme expression of divine grace. Salvation is God’s ultimate offering through His Son in which we live rightly from the beginning. Salvation is a loving act by nature. Without this loving act, which is salvation, through Jesus Christ, there is no other way that I can live for this loving act in the first place. To be saved means to live for Him.

Salvation: It is free, not cheap; and it is not for sale!

We are coming to the times where the gospel is put on a market like a commodity. The so-called “gospel,” marketing the “new-brand Jesus” to targeted consumers who treating Jesus as some kind of spiritual guru whose teaching is not different from any self-help franchise sold primarily as something to make our life much easier and simpler.  That is a pagan gospel not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” When Jesus taught or spoke, His words were not ordinary human words, but His words were divine, powerful, graceful and full of authority. In other words, God has made Himself known to us by becoming a man.

The Apostle Paul said, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5). Unfortunately, our evangelical methods are focusing on entreating the truth to a lesser degree that doesn’t offend the sinner as possible as can. But, the message of the gospel is not an invitation to a relaxing life. But doesn’t Christianity offer peace, joy, and abundant life? You bet it does! But whenever we put the message of the gospel to a lower level where it has no effect other than a “self-help message” it leaves multitudes in the “lukewarm” Christianity. They believe but not committed, they become followers but not disciples.

But we are saved by grace to fully commit to Jesus. Possessing saving grace and professing or living out grace goes together. Take one and ignore the other, you will end up like the modern cheap, misguided and ridiculous Christianity that has no power and grace but profess a “user friendly gospel”. Salvation is a gift from God, to live for God, and to walk with God. If salvation is not something we can do, it is not also something we do for God; but it is about what Jesus does.

The message of the gospel, which is Jesus, which is eternal life, is not something that is given to us to sell but to share. And it is not about our effective strategy or invitation, but it is about knowing Him, trusting Him, worshiping Him, loving Him, obeying Him, following Him and proclaiming Him. I am neither against our ambition nor using various mechanisms to spread the gospel. My problem is when we advertising the true message in a way that satisfying the desperate desire of the world, that makes the gospel irrelevant and powerless. I don’t think we have a message problem; our problem is delivering the message in its integrity.

So what are we to do about this? I don’t think I have the answer, but I do know we have the true gospel. The gospel that is powerful to save. The gospel that is powerful to save us from the bondage of sin. But, when the gospel becomes man-centered, when we are more concerned about our needs and wants than God’s glory, we don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ but a perverted gospel that is miss-directed, miss- focused, and miss-presented.

Look! The gospel may be for us but it is not about us. The Gospel is about JESUS!  Now we do need to be careful here. Yes, God gave us something wonderful, powerful and precious, which is His gospel even though we don’t deserve it. But, because the gospel is free doesn’t mean either it is cheap or for sale. The gospel is the power of God.

Eyob B Kassa

March 12, 2012